Character Development Strong On Impact Wrestling

TNA is letting its talent have space, and it's working on Impact Wrestling ...

This was a solid episode of Impact Wrestling. There were some production points that will still drive you crazy — such as not really explaining the eight-man tag rules — but the action was good and TNA made some positive steps in adding layers to some characters like Matt Hardy, Maria, Reby, Tyrus and Crazzy Steve.

The show should be helped by a return to the U.K. next week, where TNA usually draws larger, more lively crowds.

Comparatively speaking, there was much more storyline development and progression on this show than there was on Monday’s Raw. There are still some elements that make Impact feel like a lite version of WWE, including the promo segment to open the show, but for the most part TNA is starting to do some really productive things in the way it presents its televsiion.

First and perhaps most importantly, characters are being given space and the audience is given the chance to miss the characters. Unlike WWE, where with so many hours of television to fill on a weekly basis, every character on the roster is shoved down our throats, TNA is doing an excellent job spacing out its roster.

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For example, the first week of Impact on Pop, we didn’t see The Wolves, who is one of TNA’s top acts. Last week we didn’t see ECIII and this week Jeff Hardy was nowhere to be found, along with the Knockouts — there wasn’t a single knockouts match on this show or even a mention outside of the Maria promo.

That’s great, actually. TNA isn’t over-exposing its top talent. 

And when we did see ECIII this week, he delivered an excellent interview where he solidified why he is now a babyface, and also why he did what he did as a heel. Nothing irks me as a viewer more than a wrestler suddenly turning heel or babyface and then completely changing their attitude, without any real reason or explanation why.

Moreover, when we have seen some wrestlers, such as Lashley on this show, they are presented in such a way to get themselves over. Lashley was booked in as close to a squash match as you can get in 2016. He beat Aiden O’Shea, who was allowed to get some offense in, but ultimately the match was there to get Lashley, and his signature moves, over. Mission accomplished.

These production elements are things that separate TNA from WWE. The roving reporter wandering backstage to interview talent is another excellent touch. It gives the viewer a reason for the camera to be backstage, and also, the talent is acknowledging the presence of a camerea.

There was an angle a few weeks ago on Rawwhere the Authority was plotting in what was supposed to be a secret conversation. Instead of appearing natural, Triple H and Stephanie were standing in a half-moon, so the camera could get both of their fronts, and also completely ignored (apparently) the camera man standing in front of them while they plotted some evil stipulation to a match, or whatever it was.

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Give the audience a reason to believe in what they’re seeing, and they’ll suspend disbelief. Reiterate to your audience that you’re not based in reality, and they won’t take you real or seriously.

Maria Takes Strides

Maria has come a long, long way since being in that silly Divas Search with WWE 10 years ago. This was a good promo she delivered on Tuesday and it’s good to see that TNA plans to utilize her in more than just the valet role. Gail Kim was also good in this segment in confronting Maria, and TNA let it breathe without the two coming to punches, rather than blow it off too soon by having them brawl.

Trevor Lee Wins X-Division Title

It was a good swerve replacing Shane Helms with Trevor Lee. I don’t think anyone was clamoring to see Shane Helms wrestle Tigre Uno, no offense to Shane, but Lee is the exciting new young star that TNA fans got a taste of during the Global Force Wrestling invasion storyline last year.

Lee is also very new to this audience and national television, so pairing him with someone more established like Helms should help him gain some credibility from the casual fan, and also I would imagine that Helms is going to be able to guide Lee along the way.

Match Results

1. Lashley beat Aiden O’Shea

2. Crazzy Steve, Abyss, Eric Young & Bram beat Beer Money & The Wolves in a hardcore war match

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3. Drew Galloway and Tyrus fought to a no-contest

4. Trevor Lee beat Tigre Uno to win the X-Division Title

5. Matt Hardy beat Kurt Angle to retain the World Hvt. Title