Clem Shoots: All Quiet On The Impact Front
Last week, TNA Wrestling held their annual Turning Point pay-per-view. Coming off a string of high-quality shows in the months preceding it, I had high hopes. The potential was certainly there on paper and it stood every chance of continuing the trend. So why did it fail to entertain this fan in particular? By playing it safe at every turn.
No risks taken, no surprises sprung, no titles changing hands, no cliffhangers to keep me coming back. I mean, I've heard of transitional pay-per-views, where nothing much happens because they're in the process of furthering long term angles, but this was a joke. It was little more than a placeholder. Fans could tune into Impact Wrestling the following Thursday and not have missed a beat. You could make the argument TNA have always profited more from (and preferred) Impact over pay-per-views, but they're not exactly trying to swing the balance back the correct way.
Looking at each championship division on it's own, it's hardly surprising they put out such a lackluster show. They're all merrily chugging along with a single token challenger, but they don't have any juice. No lightning-in-a-bottle feud every professional wrestler should be striving for the moment they lace up their boots for the first time. Whether it be the TV, Knockouts, Tag or X Division Championships, they're being defended, but only in a professional sense. No butting heads, no personal insults, no grudges to hold. Close to 90% of the show this month is feud free, and the other 10% is relying on the tried and tested programs of Bobby Roode vs James Storm and AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels. Two matches that have played out a million times and aren't even for titles!
All of this would be moot if the top tier battle for the World Heavyweight Championship was shouldering the burden. Unfortunately, Jeff Hardy has been about as enigmatic as a cardboard cut-out. He may inexplicably sell the most merchandise, but that doesn't mean he's earned this blind faith and devotion. In the past two months, Austin Aries has pretty much had to lead Hardy by the hand to half decent segments and matches. But it seems 'A-Double' is not long for the World Title picture. What with the Number One Contendership being such a big deal elsewhere and ominous allusions to Open Fight Night, I can feel 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived' being quietly swept under the rug. Leaving our World Champion wandering the backstage area cutting promos in his head like a roaming psychopath. Who is this modern day wordsmith going to shout "creatuuuuuuuuures" at next? Whoever it is, I don't envy their task. It's akin to babysitting.
However, we do have three weeks until the next pay-per-view 'Final Resolution' and assuming he can put his issues with James Storm to the side for a little while, I have every faith in Bobby Roode to try and coax some life out of Jeff Hardy. I was pleasantly surprised by the renewed focus on 'the IT Factor' this past week. Even with him treading well worn territory with his former tag team partner, Roode carried Impact Wrestling on his back for the majority of 2012 and he did it with style. So much so, I wouldn't be adverse to seeing him end the year in the same manner, as our World Heavyweight Champion.