RBTR – TNA: Against All Glory

Mitchell Gadd

Hello, and welcome everyone to another edition of Reading Between The Ropes. Loyal readers of this column will know that I’m not exactly TNA’s biggest fan, and have often stated the reasons for my continuing indifference towards their booking and product as a whole. Indeed, it was only the beginning of this year that I completed my trilogy of instalments citing reasons why I am continuously dumbfounded by the folks over at Universal. The sad fact was that I never planned on making a trilogy. I never set out two write three scathing columns about NWA: TNA.

It began 2 years ago as a single column explaining why I, unlike so many others at the time, felt the hype surrounding TNA was unjustified or, more accurately, a little foolhardy. Then it spawned a sequel several months later, where I accused TNA of trying to hard, and not utilising the undoubted talent they had on their roster. It was a hideous case of over-booking. That theme also provided the backbone of the third, and what I thought was the final chapter of the series. The constant run-ins and ref-bumps, with particular reference to the Destination X PPV, provided me with plenty of ammunition for the third instalment.

However, several months later, I find myself at a cross-roads with TNA once more. While I will leave the first three columns with diffidence towards TNA to stand alone, as a glorious trilogy of their mishaps, I will still present another column that finds this writer shaking his head at NWA: TNA. Just what is it this time, you ask? Well, where do I begin?…

Well, the big Bound for Glory PPV this weekend (weather permitted) provides the basis for my malcontent. One only has to look at the top of the card to find oneself in some sort of time-warp. Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash for the belt? Was it not only a few months ago at Against All Odds that the very same duo competed for the very same prize. That wouldn’t be such a bad crime if it were not so deplorable the first time. Not necessarily the match itself, but the combatants. Two that headlined a summer PPV 5 years earlier in WCW. If Against All Odds gave us a dinosaur of a match, Bound for Glory is giving us the relics of the aforementioned dinos.

Post match following Against All Odds Kevin Nash made it very common and public knowledge that the match was “all smoke-screens” and that he had no idea how he got through the match. He claimed he and Jeff fooled the fans by producing a match where little physical demand was placed on either guy, particularly Nash himself, and that they used a lot of props, surroundings and tricks to do so. Newsflash for Mr. Nash – you fooled nobody.

TNA, in their infinite wisdom, decides that they can pair the two together after they stumbled through a match this summer, all that after stumbling through one five years previous. Not only with that match fresh in the minds of the TNA fans still keeping faith in the company, we also have the post match comments of Nash fresh in our minds to. Perhaps it will be even more difficult to provide those “smoke-screens” after revealing the revelling in the illusion the first time, right Mr. Nash? After the talk of bunnies, magicians and tricks in the second of my (still in tact) trilogy, I begin to wonder if the brain-trust at TNA doesn’t even have any bad tricks to pull on it’s suspecting fans anymore. It simple has no tricks at all.

Mr. Nash explicitly gave away what those of us with a brain already knew about his first meeting with Nash in TNA, and now he has to perform the same “miracles” once more while the kids in the audience are already shouting “illusion!”, “trick!”, and “the bunny is under the hat!”.

If that wasn’t enough to take us back to Against All Odds, we only have to look at the next match down on the list. Granted, this has a much more positive feel about it in terms of the memories it conjures up. However, what does it say for the brain-trust at Universal? The top two matches at Bound for Glory are both matches seen on PPV this summer. That’s two for two!

Sure, Style and Daniels could have a great match in a phone box, but even TNA has hideously over-booked the meetings between the two. The Ultimate X match at Destination X, and the aforementioned Against All Odds encounter both also instigate memories of a company not allowing it’s athletes to simply go out there and perform; something most of them, particularly these two, are more than capable of doing. It’s another criticism from that second edition of the three-piece.

Put Styles and Daniels against each other again! By all means, do it! But with the same stipulation? And the same “main event” following it? Even I have to question that one. An Iron Man contest doesn’t even play to the strengths of the two wrestlers in question. Minus a Koji Clutch or two, these two might be better off with a different scenario.

But that’s the meekest of the gripes. We then have a Monster’s Ball contest on this card. Again, something TNA has done previously on a PPV, and with terrible results, in my opinion. Granted, some people liked the first Monster’s Ball contest, but some people also like CZW Death Matches. It may seem harsh, but for God’s sake, go and watch the first Monster’s Ball and try to pick out anything innovative and ground-breaking. I challenge you! It was simply mediocre tripe.

Then there is the return of Ultimate X. A fairly new concept that has nearly been driven in to the ground by TNA already. After the fantastic cage match Turning Point, TNA didn’t wait it out and leave us salivating for a long-awaited and anticipated rematch in a cage, they simply gave us a PPV with EVERY single match inside a cage. It was overkill of overkill. It negated any chance they had at building a big money draw for the rematch inside a cage between Triple X and AMW.

Now TNA risks doing the same with Ultimate X. It’s not as if they can top anything done in Ultimate X before. They’re trying to top the un-toppable. If you’ve done all you can with one match, yet you still desire to use it, the best thing to do is put the match on reserve for some period of time, and bring it out when it’ll seem relatively fresh once more. Ultimate X is fair from fresh now, yet it’s still in it’s infancy in terms of existence.

I’ll reserve comment on Hoyt vs. Brown, for fear of trailing off on a negative tirade that leads to thoughts of wanting to end one’s own existence. Even Liger vs. Joe has the most hardened of fans trembling with anxiety at just what the wonderful people at TNA will have in store for two of the world’s greats. I guess the X Division Four Way is probably the anomaly in all of this, then.

Monster’s Ball, Ultimate X, a Styles-Daniels Ironman Match, and Nash vs. Jarrett for the title. This latest offering from TNA is hardly ground-breaking, is it? One of the most common rebuttals for TNA’s heavily repetitive card is that they have a new audience. With a Spike TV deal, they not have new fans watching their product.

It’s a fair argument, but if for those that have stuck by TNA for quite some time now, it’s hardly a consoling answer.

If TNA really wish to open their new audience up to matches they’ve already churned out on PPV then why not simply show a re-run of Against All Odds and hope that nobody catches on? I mean, you have to be cost-effective when blowing $20 million, right?

Indeed, I hereby christen TNA’s latest offering “Bound for Odds”… no, wait… “Against All Glory”. Now THAT is a fitting title.

Until next time,

Mitchell L. Gadd

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