Okay.  I can’t start up a wrestling blog right now and not discuss the recent TNA happenings.

When I heard that Hulk Hogan had signed with TNA I was fairly surprised, and I didn’t really know what to think.  Some people speculated that he did it to intentionally run it into the ground.  I’m not sure what he, or anybody else really, would gain from that.  Also at that point nobody was really certain what his role would be: wrestler, writer, etc.  To me that’s still unclear after watching his debut on January 4th.  Hogan’s promo confused me.  I wasn’t really sure what he was saying or what he meant.  Then he and Eric Bischoff were at odds with Scott Hall and Sean Waltman, and all four were hearkening back to NWO with their black leather.  Apparently that was on purpose!  I guess they’re back.  Which is pretty cool, except you can’t escape the fact that 1) they’re not young guys and 2) that already happened and then it ended.  It wouldn’t bother me too much if the rest of TNA didn’t turn out as it did.

First, let me say that I think it would be very exciting to have TNA rise and become a bigger competitor to the WWE.  Competition is generally a healthy thing for businesses.  But I can’t help but think it won’t happen if TNA stays at the level they are currently at.  That is not to say they are doing everything wrong.  Let me explain.

The first match was in a cage (Steel Asylum).  The cage was red, which is a nice idea but somewhat distracting.  The biggest problem was that the bars were so thick that it was difficult to see inside of the cage unless the camera was through the openings.  That might not seem like a huge deal, but if you can’t see, you can’t see.  If I had never seen TNA and had tuned in to watch because of Hogan and had been greeted with that, I don’t know that I would have kept watching.  Seeing a match shouldn’t be a challenge.  The fact that the wrestlers suddenly stood up and started to fight again after the bell had rung didn’t make much sense either; the match was over and had been decided.  Then what happens?  Jeff Hardy.
Jeff is really a fun wrestler to watch, and is very popular despite the fact that he’s been out of the WWE for a little while now.  Advertising him may  have helped TNA’s viewership because of his status.  People (and you can’t forget the kids!) love him, so him coming back was a big deal.  Of course, I’m not sure anybody knows how long he’ll be there with his legal trouble and all, but if he did/does sign on to wrestle they should scream that to the mountain tops.  Even though I didn’t understand 100% why he attacked Homicide…

I will say that if I had not known Ric Flair was at TNA (I had to Tivo it), I might have had a minor heart attack.  I just really didn’t expect that (though I guess because of his association with Hulk and the Australia tour it’s not SO shocking).  He just seemed like that kind of loyal WWE guy.

Um.  The Beautiful People were a little trashy, but that’s the idea.  The rest of the Knockouts that night put on pretty solid matches.  That division could work really well for TNA if WWE can’t quite get their Divas division to keep rolling like it is.

The real story with Jeff Jarrett still seems like a mystery.  The promo involving him was pretty good in showing conflict, though, and could open up some storylines that might interest new viewers, especially those familiar with Jarrett.  It was good to see Sting back, as well, and I’m interested to see what will happenwith him in the upcoming weeks.

The Nasty Boys stuff brought back more of the, uh, classic? performers.  It’s fun to see all those guys again, but one has to wonder if it’s wise to only focus on the already well-established and previously retired performers.  They won’t last forever, especially in such a physical business.  That being said, I liked Booker T and miss seeing him!  It seems like getting these people would attract fans of the “old days,” but if they aren’t in shape enough to wrestle (due to injuries or whatever), it will be a disappointment and won’t really help at all.

The main event was spectacular.  It brought in Kurt Angle, who new viewers were more likely to know.  But more importantly, it was a solid and exciting match.  I thought of it as a good way of introducing new viewers to the World Heavyweight Champion.  If they keep that kind of thing up and manage to have good promos and not try to relive the past too much, one would think they could just keep growing.

Whatcha gonna do, brother?

Note: As time goes on, and as topics arise that I feel passionately about (and that I know enough about), posts can focus more on one subject and have more new ideas.  But for now…