|When will people ever learn?|
Screen Grab via ImpactWrestling.com
The promotion gets a lot of bad press for supposedly ripping off WWE storylines. Then again, WWE’s Summer Of Punk was after all a rip-off of ROH’s original version, and both were modern revisions of Shane Douglas’ “Birth Of The Franchise” promo that launched ECW. It’s not as if there wasn’t precedent for TNA’s Fall Of Styles. While I don’t think that all of it is deserved, I do think that they 100% ripped off WWE last night, but not in the way you think. No, I think the comparison between Eric Young and Daniel Bryan’s title reign are way overblown. Young may be over with TNA but I don’t think he’s ever been the guy any fans were clamoring for like Bryan was, and facial hair aside the two men couldn’t be more dissimilar, both in-ring and out of it.
When Young lost his title last night after succumbing to the “insurmountable” odds of wrestling two dudes in the same night after he did that same thing just a week ago, TNA was ripping off the angle that killed WWECW - putting the title on Bobby Lashley. For those of that you that don’t know, the incident in question is from the infamous 2006 iteration of the December To Dismember PPV. The main event was an “extreme” Elimination Chamber match for the ECW Championship, but backstage a feud was brewing between ECW creative head Paul Heyman and WWE Lord Of All Vince McMahon. McMahon wanted the title to be put on Lashley, while Heyman wanted to put the title on CM Punk. McMahon figured that the fans would take anyone as a new Champion, Heyman knew that even WWECW fans were discerning and wanted something different, which is what CM Punk represented. The fans revolted, Heyman left ECW, and WWECW folded shortly after. Last night we had MVP forcing Lashley down our throat in a really unappealing way, when what the fans want is right there.
Again, not saying that Young is in any way similar to CM Punk. He’s probably even further from Punk and what Punk used to stand for than he is to Daniel Bryan. And while Lashley winning the title on free TV has more to do with the angle than just giving the fans what you think they want, it reeks of desperation and possibly could lead to a final curtain for the company. Lashley is not a TNA original. His first run at TNA was barely a year long and his return is fairly recent, so he’s really being hotshotted into the title scene here. The timing is pretty awful too, seeing as he was involved in the three-way dance between Young and Samoa Joe just a few days ago at Slammiversary. Why not put the title on him then? It benefits no one, and other than Lashley not being the one to get pinned at the PPV there’s no real reason to have this title match here other than to have the title change hands. Young had already wrestled that night. It devalues the title inasmuch it doesn’t become something to be chased or earned but something the boss practically hands to you by having you beat an already broken-down wrestler.
The rest of the show was remarkably forgettable other than the free TV return of Kurt Angle, but I want to express my continued frustration with the Bully Ray-Dixie Carter feud. At Slammiversary, the feud continued after Team 3D was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame, only to have Bully Ray later get beaten by Ethan Carter III. Tonight we had the TNA return of Tommy Dreamer to talk to Dixie about how terrible it is she isn’t a wrestler and is running a wrestling company, which lead to Dreamer getting punched in the dick. I’m convinced that the only reason this happened was because TNA creative realized people were cheering a man who has threatened to murder people within the last year threaten a helpless woman with getting put through a table. Then again, I also don’t want to give TNA that much credit.
That this feud is continuing at all is upsetting, seeing as EC3 beat Bully Ray at his own game and that presumably should be the end of the story. This whole thing started with Bully getting mad over losing a table match and Bully’s anger cost him the Texas Deathmatch at Slammiversary, so why is he still fighting? This angle running concurrently with the MVP angle (and in TNA in general) makes even less sense as we’ve seen what a wrestler running the company looks like and it’s not pretty.
TNA is on a vicious cycle here and if they don’t break out of it I fear for the future of this company. We’ve seen the heel stable take over the company so many times one wonders how the TNA Board Of Directors does anything anymore, and I only can wonder what the end game of Lashley’s title run will look like, and what it’ll mean for everyone involved going forward.