Friday, May 11, 2007

It's All About the Wrestling: Double J, The Macho Man, Showcasing and Sacrifice

One of the great things about being a fan is that we can change our mind when the wind blows. A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “Two Words, One Man”, which heralded the dreaded return of Jeff Jarrett. The entire article was about how I despised him. My hatred for him was not born out of his being a heel character because I have never liked Jeff Jarrett. That did not change when he returned from his self-imposed hiatus to become the fifth member of Team Angle at the TNA Lockdown pay-per-view. That did not change when he gift-wrapped a title shot for Sting at the Lockdown pay-per-view. It did not even change when he cut a heart felt in ring promo after Lockdown. No, I hated Jeff Jarrett but something happened and now I can’t help but like the guy.

Sure his storyline for the upcoming Sacrifice pay-per-view is a little weak but it is good to see Jarrett helping to push to promising young guys, Robert Roode and Eric Young, instead of pushing himself. Double J’s tenure with TNA has been pretty much been Jarrett himself pushing the Jeff Jarrett agenda. This new willingness to help make the overall product better is something that can be respected and appreciated. And boy was that guitar shot to Ms. Brooks sweet.

While Jeff Jarrett has a long history in both TNA and wrestling in general, one young TNA star doesn’t have any legacy to pull off of so he has adopted a fantastic gimmick, all the while putting on a tribute to one of the best wrestlers ever. I am speaking about Jay “Black Machismo” Lethal. Lethal is quite the promising young star and has recently been highlighted in TNA’s X-Division because of his new Macho Man impersonation. I’ve heard many people complaining about the gimmick, calling it stupid and the like, but really the gimmick was stupid when the great Randy Savage did it.

My only complaint with Lethal is that he doesn’t pull off the flying elbow drop quite as well as Savage did. The real Macho Man seemed to be able to suspend himself in mid-air as he came in to drop the elbow, an even more impressive feat when you look at his size. Lethal though is much, much smaller, yet he seems to fly twice as fast towards his awaiting prey. Regardless with a little more work, and maybe a valet, Lethal could really take off with this gimmick. It’s nice to see TNA showcasing some of their young talent.

Black Machismo though isn’t the only one TNA should be showcasing, they should be featuring their X-Division more and not in goofy gimmick matches that make little to no sense either. What TNA needs are more matches like the Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin vs. Black Machismo/Sonjay Dutt tag match from the last Impact. From the fantastic teamwork to the insane moves, this match had it all. It had everything wrestling fans truly want, because it was real wrestling. If TNA wants to bring in more fans they need to showcase these types of matches on a more frequent basis.

Recently Brother Ray (of Team 3D or the Dudleys, take your pick) said that TNA seemed to be trying to hard and should maybe take a “less is more” approach. I have to totally agree with him. In the recent months TNA has been trying to fit as many of their stars on Impact, in the short amount of time they are allotted each week. Not enough story and not enough wrestling equals a less appealing overall product. If TNA could give us a tag match like the one from this past Impact, the product as a whole would be better for it

If the overall product is better, the buy rate for their pay-per-views will be better and that is where TNA needs to make up ground. Sure they don’t have the install base that WWE has but because of this they need to up the percentage of people who watch their product and also buy their pay-per-views. The upcoming Sacrifice pay-per-view should be a something good for those that do buy TNA pay-per-views though.

This Sunday (Mother’s Day), TNA will put on the Sacrifice pay-per-view. All three championships will be on the line. Unfortunately all three championship matches will be three way dances so TNA will be flexing their gimmick muscle yet again. The X-Division championship will be up for grabs as Chris Sabin defends his title against both Jay “Black Machismo” Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. The NWA tag titles will be on the line as current champs, Team 3D battle against former champs LAX and the dysfunctional team of Scott Steiner and Tomko. While Christian Cage must defend his world championship against both Kurt Angle and the Icon, Sting. The most interesting match to me though is the mid-card bought between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Both these guys exemplify what TNA is striving to be and I expect this match to be the best of the night.

As always you can e-mail me with your questions, comments and flames at pwp.chris@gmail.com. I’ll catch you next week with a score sheet for Sacrifice and another It’s All About the Wrestling.

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