TNA Impact Wrestling’s Real Strength Is the Roster

TNA has done an excellent job converting Eric Young from a laughable low-card babyface into a believable top-level heel …

For the past several months, I’ve groaned when Eric Young was portrayed on TNA television as a top-level heel. But since Impact Wrestling debuted on Destination America this past January, Young has taken his performance to a new level.

It’s a team effort. Young wasn’t hurt by his previous performance, he was hindered by TNA’s previous booking. There’s also nothing wrong with comedy characters, there’s a place for them on the show. But I had an issue with TNA trying to convert EY from a laughable babyface to a maniac heel in such a short period of time. At one point, I believe I wrote it felt like WWE trying to book Santino Marella as if he were Brock Lesnar.

But Young’s performance the last several months has continued to improve. His TNA World Title match on Friday’s Impact Wrestling against Kurt Angle was terrific, and highlighted an awesome night of action.

TNA titled the show May Mayhem and it certainly lived up to the billing. Taryn Terrel and Gail Kim in a Six Sides of Steel match for the Knockouts Title. A Gauntlet Match for the TNA X-Division Title. The Wolves and The Dirty Heels in the second round of their series. EC3 and Mr. Anderson in a physical match and then the “I Quit” TNA World Title match with Young and Kurt Angle.

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From start to finish, the action was off the charts.

It’s the type of show that TNA should be booking. Episodes like Friday’s is what can separate TNA from the rest of the pro wrestling pack. Ring of Honor is coming to Destination America, and their focus is almost exclusively on the in-ring product. WWE doesn’t like to even be recognized as pro wrestling, and their product is almost entirely different. TNA’s strength is its roster. The show should be booked to that strength, and focus on work in the ring.

There were two promo segments, but the show was dominated by in-ring action, and it should receive rave reviews. It was electric. If I were a Destination America executive, that type of show is what I’d want to see from TNA. When ROH serves as its lead-in beginning this Wednesday, Destination America can tout it as the “best night of action on television.”

Young is a believable top-level heel. That’s a testament to his performance and TNA’s patience to stick with the character change, even if they felt it wasn’t headed down the right track.

Quick Strikes

1. TNA did a nice job publicizing their move to Wednesday nights and making sure the audience was kept aware of it. Josh Matthews and Al Snow mentioned it multiple times and they ran graphics throughout the show.

2. I really like TNA making the show as episodic as they can. It’s not to the extreme that something like Lucha Underground is, but they go off the air with a preview for next week’s show, just like network dramas. TNA is advertising the third match in the TNA Tag Title Series as well as Rockstar Spud deciding whether or not to cash in the X Division Title.

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Match Results

1. TNA KO Title: Taryn Terrell [c] def. Gail Kim in a Six Sides of Steel Match

2. TNA X-Division Title: Rockstar Spud def. Kenny King [c], Manik, DJ Z, Mandrews, Argos, Crazy Steve and Tigre Uno in a Gauntlet Match

3. The Wolves def. The Dirty Heels (Wolves lead best-of-5 series 2-0)

4. EC3 def. Mr. Anderson

5. TNA World Title: Kurt Angle [c] def. Eric Young in an ‘I Quit’ Match

The Finish

Friday’s episode was one of TNA’s best since the move to Destination America. The focus was not on long-winded promos but on hard-hitting matches. That’s the perfect focus for TNA. If it continues to deliver shows like this on Wednesday nights, with the potential for a better audience, it should be good for TNA.

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TNA and ROH aren’t going to be competitors, they’re going to be partners. They have to do. Success for one should mean success for the other. But ROH should push TNA to continue delivering a great product like this show.