TNA Sacrifice 2014 Review: Good Matches, Decent Creative Direction; So What’s the Problem?

Mike Killam

TNA Wrestling produced their annual TNA Sacrifice pay-per-view in Orlando, FL this past Sunday. Quick results are as follows:

  • The Wolves defeated The BroMans to become new TNA World Tag Team Champions.
  • Mr. Anderson defeated Samuel Shaw in a “Committed” match.
  • Kurt Angle and Willow defeated Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III.
  • Sanada defeated Tigre Uno to retain the X-Division Championship.
  • Gunner defeated James Storm in an “I Quit” match.
  • Angelina Love defeated Madison Rayne to become the new TNA Knockouts Champion.
  • Bobby Roode defeated Bully Ray in a Tables match.
  • Eric Young defeated Magnus to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

Top to bottom, this was one of the better live events TNA has produced in quite some time. Their roster is well-developed at this point, and they have a load of talented workers, most of which are experienced. Shaw and Carter were the two youngest, most "green" workers on the Sacrifice card, and both guys played to their strengths, maximizing their gimmicks and spots in their respective matches. From an in-ring standpoint, I had very few problems with the PPV.

What’s interesting is that I had almost no creative issues with the PPV either. We got two title changes, which gives you a reason to tune in on Thursday night, and EY retained CLEAN in a very solid match against Magnus, adding a shot of much needed credibility to his reign. I like the brief reprieve from over-booking that comes with a babyface TNA world champ. Sometimes it’s OK to let two guys go out there and duke it out for guts and glory. On the other side of that coin, sometimes it’s OK to screw with a match for the sake of storytelling.

BmRmeeBIYAAPkMCThere’s one thing, and one thing only that the TNA critics are going to balk about. The image to the right pretty much explains it all. For those that didn’t watch the PPV, Dixie Carter came out dressed in all black with hipster glasses, a wig, and a fake mustache/beard combo. She pushed Bully Ray through a pair of tables, and a dead referee suddenly came back to life – it’s a Sacrifice miracle! – to ring the bell for Bobby Roode.

As ridiculous as that all sounds, I didn’t hate the angle as much as 98% of people online seemed to. There’s that part of me that despises the on-screen Dixie character, and wants her off television completely, but at this point we have to come to terms that Team Dixie isn’t going away. If she wants to dress in drag and push a beloved babyface into tables, why not? Did it draw heat? Yes. That crowd was dead – and we’ll get to it later – but in that moment they finally got off their hands and chanted “Dixie Sucks!” Mission accomplished.

As I said, the in-ring card was good at worst, great at best. The Knockouts had a decent match from what I saw, but a crazy thunder storm made sure I literally took a bathroom break – sorry ladies! The return of Kurt Angle didn’t come across to me as a big deal, as he sold most of the match on the floor. Otherwise they all worked fine, with Jeff (sorry, Willow) actually pulling out a few new tricks. Anderson and Shaw was mostly a brawl, but it’s serving to get Sam over and teach him to be comfortable on PPV and in the ring.

Roode and Bully was pretty good, but it’s hard to look past the angle to see the match. Nothing wrong there though. Sanada and Tigre Uno put on one of the best X-Division matches in recent memory – definitely the best of their Best-of-Three series. I’m hoping both guys move on to something great, but the division isn’t exactly amazing right now so I’m not holding my breath. Gunner and James Storm had the best match of the night, again. Their rivalry is deeply personal and reminiscent of Storm’s feud with Roode years ago.

So if the in-ring card wasn’t bad, and I had no problems with the creative booking of the PPV, why did I still leave the show with a negative vibe? The thing is, no matter how good a show is, if the crowd is dead most of the night, it’s hard to invest in what’s happening. TNA did their best to build a solid PPV card, and all the matches delivered in one way or another, but the Impact Zone in Orlando was dead, as per usual.

And that’s the rub. If TNA is going to host shows in small venues with fans that don’t pay to attend, that’s going to keep happening. No matter how good the in-ring product is, and no matter how exaggerated their “creative problems” may be, improvement means NOTHING if they aren’t willing to do more to improve their public image. The Impact Zone is cancer. It’s time to treat, or throw in the towel.

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