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"God, this was horrible! This show didn't have a single match above two-and-a-half stars. It had one matchnote Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell that I gave minus-five stars!"
—Bryan Alvarez, on Victory Road '09
Total Nonstop Action (TNA) may be somewhat more hardcore than WWE, but it certainly shares its propensity for idiotic ideas. Of course, having Vince Russo as your booker for years isn't going to be good for anyone.
Important Note #1: If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it was probably a Wall Banger. Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there's a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.
Important Note #2: If you're here to mention the fact that TNA isn't hardcore all the time and proceed to say that's not how ECW played (as TNA has most of the same wrestlers), please don't. Despite its name, ECW wasn't always all hardcore all the time, as evidenced by the Malenko/Guerrero matches. It's pointless to even talk about TNA vs. ECW since it was always a Replacement Scrappy for WCW.
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Victory Road 2009, regarded by many as one of the worst wrestling PPVs in years, and easily the worst PPV of 2009. Utterly predictable, poorly booked, sub-par matches boring and uneventful even by TNA standards...but what sends this show into Horrible territory is the match between Sharmell and Jenna Morasca, who both have little-to-no experience in the ring. They moved like drunken zombies over the course of ten long, agonizing minutes.
In 2010, for the second year in a row, TNA held the title of "Worst PPV of the Year", and in this case possibly one of the worst of all time, with the first Hardcore Justice PPV. Despite being an ECW throwback, most of the old ECW stars had to change their names in order to avoid trademark infringement, and since WWE owns the ECW video library, no footage of them could be shown. (Even then, announcers regularly slipped and brought up the copyrighted names of the wrestlers.) Severe Continuity Lockout ensued. Only two matches had been announced prior to the PPV, and one was changed when one of the wrestlers hurt himself while training. Most of the wrestlers were severely out of shape, nearly all of them were approaching retirement age. Tommy Dreamer didn't book any of the great cruiserweights and, due to various contractional obligations, could not book many of the best ECW alumni. Therefore, the roster full of past-their prime brawlers. And even then, they were the only aspect of ECW lore in the show—it was held at their standard venue, with no alumni as commentators. Although the show was ostensibly a one-off, several of the performers became regulars at Impact. It was loaded with anti-WWE sentiment leading up to it, despite the fact that WWE did an arguably better tribute. And this is before we get into the individual matches:
It opened with the FBI (consisting of [Little] Guido Maritato, Tony [Mama]Luke, and Tracy Smothers, with Sal E. Graziano) versus Kid Kash, Simon Diamond, and Swinger in a six-man tag team match which ended in a dance battle.
Team 3D fought Balls Mahoney (wrestling under the name "Kahoney" for this PPV) and Axl Rotten in a match that culminated in the two men fighting with toy lightsabers and treating a styrofoam head as a steel chair. This was played straight.
Tommy Dreamer bladed for his match with Raven, a match whose premise was built on contrivances and retcons. His children were in the front row. Mick Foley was the ref, who brought out Mr. Socko in utter sincerity (despite having previously done it for reactions' sake).
Watching New Jack inform Jeremy Borash he's basically going to rape him was meant to be funny; instead, it was more disturbing than anything.
On the bright side, the PPV had two genuinely good matches — Too Cold Scorpio vs. CW Anderson, and RVD vs. Sabu. Sabu even managed to go the whole match without botching.
Victory Road 2011: For the third year in a row, TNA captures the title of worst PPV of the year with this god-awful show, main-evented by a world-title match lasting only 90 seconds, as one of the contenders was strung out to the point of being a risk. Also included were a match in AJ was demoted to bumping and selling because an out-of-shape Matt Hardy dictated the pace, an opener between two aging wrestlers that, at one point saw the two attacking each other with blow-up dolls and plush toys, wrestlers obviously blading and covered in dye, multiple screwjob finishes (and one godawful double count-out) and an unconvincing Women's Wrestling match way below the standards of even WWE Divas.
Lockdown 2011 manages to top Victory Road's record for having the shortest championship match by having one (with two in-ring promos that outpaced it) that lasts only 40 seconds. Thankfully it was for the Knockouts title instead of the World Heavyweight title this time. But it gets worse considering that the champion lost to Mickie Jameswith a broken arm.
Bound for Glory 2011. After months of build-up in the Bound for Glory series, Bobby Roode lost in his opportunity for the TNA World Title against an injured Kurt Angle, losing in spite of having his arm under the ropes while Kurt was using the ropes for leverage. This completely soured the PPV audience on what was otherwise a solid card for the promotion. The finish did no favors to anyone, as Angle was working hurt and needed to lose the title anyway, and people are protected due to rope breaks so often that Roode just looked like a choker on the biggest night of his career. Worse yet, it had came out a couple days prior to the event that Hulk Hogan did not believe that Roode was a PPV headliner, and many believe it was due to Hulk's influence that Roode was denied his championship run. Not that it meant anything anyway, because Roode won the belt soon after, following a segment that ate more than three-quarters of an episode of Impact. This show also had Christopher Daniels cut a promo during an I Quit match versus AJ Styles, in which he threatened to kill Styles.
The Ric Flair/Fortune angle wasn't well received, because while the wrestlers were great and still has loads of charisma, they still played the heels, despite being unable to pull it off. Their enemies included Dixie Carter and the EV 2.0 faction, which worked harder against them.
Kurt Anglewent on a one-month leave of absence in 2010, thus making his leave of absence pointless, and then said that he would mow through the Top 10 Heavyweight Title contenders in order to prove that he was the best wrestler in TNA. Shortly before he completed this, Rob Van Dam was almost murdered by Abyss and TNA set up a tournament to decide on the champion, even though the Top 10 Contenders system was put up to avoid the need for such a tournament. In order to keep the angle interesting, Angle said that the next match he lost would lead to his retirement. Nobody bought it. The final four in the tournament wound up all being faces, and Angle wound up wrestling Jeff Hardy in the semifinals. This would've been a good match, but TNA intentionally had the match end due to time expiring because they didn't want to have either man lose momentum. This set up Angle vs. Hardy vs. Anderson as the main event of the biggest PPV in TNA, Bound for Glory, which Angle only avoided losing on a contrived technicality.
Samoa Joe's 2009 Face-Heel Turn. It started with him turning into a textbook Wild Samoan with a phallic tattoo on his forehead. Granted, he was still a face at the time, taking out the whole Main Event Mafia member by member. But then he threw a King Of The Mountain match (see below) with Kurt Angle apropos of nil just to give Angle the win. Mind you, this was built up to for five straight months.
A year later Joe was involved in another ridiculous angle at the beginning of 2010—he got kidnapped by ninjas. This ultimately amounted to nothing, as the announcers barely discussed it, and his return had no explanation.
The acquisition of Adam "Pacman" Jones, a pro-football player who got suspended from the NFL after he paralyzed a man in a strip club shooting. It's thought he was only signed because Jeff Jarrett was a huge fan of his team. His gimmick was throwing dollar bills at felled opponents. Contractual obligations related to the above suspension meant he couldn't do any wrestling—all he did was toss a football before tagging in his partner, Ron "The Truth" Killings. Despite all this, he was still paid through the nose and even got the Tag Team Championship belt.
TNA's known for some of the worst gimmick matches, which tend to go more for what is unique than what makes any sense. However, none are as stupid as the King Of The Mountain match: which goes, as Wrestle Crap explains, like this:
"The match begins with five men, all of whom are 'ineligible.' For what, we will explain later. Anyway, to earn eligibility, a competitor must score a pinfall or submission. Now, if you get pinned or submit, you must go into a "penalty box," like in hockey. You will stay in there for two minutes, at which point you can come back out and attempt to become eligible. Oh yeah, eligibility...we should probably talk about that. See, you become eligible to take a title belt, which you must retrieve from a TNA official. Whoever is eligible can take the belt. Oh yeah, and find a ladder. And then climb the ladder and hang it above the ring. Oh, and if the belt is dropped, then the official gets it back.
Blindfold matches are pretty much doomed by default, but the 2007 Six Sides of Steel blindfold match at TNA Lockdown failed even on their merits. The blindfolds were all too loose, and the no-DQ clause meant they weren't forbidden from simply taking them off. Ostensibly a blood feud, neither party played up the match. The whole thing relied entirely on Willing Suspension of Disbelief. This got The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Worst Worked Match of the Year" Award, as well as some of the most vitriolic jeering the crowd's ever given at a match (with Dixie Carter having the gall to call them idiots for their disapproval).
Throughout the years 2007 and 2008, Christian's Coalition dissolved in the worst way imaginable. Not long after the gang became Tag Team Champions at Bound For Glory, AJ Styles and Tomko, its two most beloved members, not only distract Christian by coming out off-cue (costing him a world championship opportunity) but aid his sworn nemesis Kurt Angle in retaining said title. AJ spends weeks trying to merge the Coalition with the Angle Alliance (as they're now called) but is suddenly too brainless to actually help Christian, while Tomko gives subtle notes that he knows creating an Enemy Mine out of thin air will fail. Heavy implications are made that Kurt's wife seduced and conned AJ into it all. He's eventually humiliated by losing matches that get him into reindeer and turkey suits to the tune of less than no sympathy from Kurt. Meanwhile, Tomko's awesome "Tomko's for Tomko" speech gets him a failed attempt at a sucker punch from Kurt (who demanded he pick a side). Bafflingly, Christian approved of the speech. Then Tomko tells AJ what Kurt told him. Even after a large group of people "help" him, he can't decide until Final Resolution in January 2008. His decision? Pretend to side with Christian, then turn on him... because Karen's seduced him again, this time in a bathroom stall, and told him to. Immediately after, Kurt tries to bribe Tomko into the Alliance with Karen, but Tomko declines by citing his wife and kid. Kurt proceeds to disparage his wife leading to and then during a heated brawl between the two. Christian helps him beat Kurt decisively in a match, and even tells him later that the world applauds him for being his own man. Tomko eventually backs up Christian heading into the next PPV, where again Christian is facing Kurt for the title. Cue Against All Odds, in which Tomko turns on Christian out of nowhere, on the grounds that that Christian promised him stardom for years but he never got it. Note that immediately prior to this, and even earlier than that, Tomko was the darling of the audience, which included army members. Following all this was a storyline between AJ and Karen where she and Kurt suddenly fall apart, a couple of PPV multi-man tag team losses by AJ and Tomko to Christian, and a tag team title loss which has horrible post-booking in itself to set up a tournament which Tomko can't even be part of due to a suspension for missing that year's Lockdown Fanfest. After this, Tomko's character was torn a new one. Returning from suspension, he turns on AJ in a bloody beatdown along with Team 3D, Booker T, and Kurt Angle, all because of AJ and Karen's suspected relationship. He ends up destroying AJ and Christian with the same pack the following week. In the end, Tomko had completely fallen from grace, all that made him great having been stripped from him. His career would never recover.
Later on, TNA would briefly rehire Tomko for an angle involving AJ being repeatedly attacked by a mystery assailant. Midway through it, Hulk Hogan and co. arrived, and AJ was almost immediately turned heel and aligned with Ric Flair. Left with no role, Tomko was reduced to job duty and eventually released. He has yet to resurface, at least in a wrestling ring.
One of TNA's worst traits has to be every gratuitous shot it takes at WWE. The policy for giving ex-WWE wrestlers a push by taking shots at them is also stupid, even if they deserve it sometimes. The fans are even more volatile towards WWE, booing them at every opportunity...which is funny because those wrestlers are more or less the same character from WWE, tweaked slightly to avoid legal problems. How a firm that had Traci Brooks pose for an online-only Playboy pictorial can find it in them to they bash the WWE Divas for just being eye candy and Playboy potential is beyond us.
On the first Impact of 2011, Samoa Joe confronted a paranoid Pope backstage and accused him of spending his charity money on strip clubs and pit bulls, and claiming that the Pope was receiving noise complaints at his mansion. This was mercifully dropped without much further mention, but the resulting feud was not. Lowlights included Pope making fun of Joe's family by showing pictures of pigs on the video screen (including of pigs mating) and Joe hiring Kazuchika Okada (repackaged as a Kato ripoff named Okato) to follow Pope around with a camera filming his every move.
The completely and utterly deplorable angle between Kurt Angle and Jeff and Karen Jarrett. Heck, any angle involving Karen Jarrett is a failure waiting to happen. But the fact that they were exploiting a divorce between two parents for money meant it couldn't be anything but. But then Karen mentions how much happier the kids were in Jeff's care, followed by them entering his house and filming their (oblivious!) children. It's thought this could have really screwed up the kid's lives, and it was done in utter sincerity! Worse, it was dragged out for no reason, even after Kurt had to give Karen away at her and Jeff's marriage! Is it better or worse that the feud's impact was completely ignored, with the three sharing a faction without any ill will between them soon after?
TNA's grievous mishandling of the Main Event Mafia "regrouping." TNA gave much promotion for the return of a group known only as "they" on 2/3/11. TNA newcomer Crimson came out in a suit, saying "they" made him an offer he couldn't refuse, and even had Scott Steiner make his TNA return the week before the reveal. In the meantime, however TNA had not secured the contracts of Booker T, and kept fumbling with Sting's (see below), and they granted Kevin Nash his release for whatever reason, allowing Booker and Nash to make triumphant returns at the Royal Rumble event three days after the Steiner return aired. This of course, left TNA scrambling for alternates at the eleventh hour, and they instead turned to Fortune to make a Heel-Face Turn, which was a better move for the company anyway as it put four TNA originals in the spotlight for a change. Of course, this would have made more sense if TNA had not ran a segment where Crimson choked out AJ in the back, as well as another backstage segment in which Kurt Angle completely waffled Styles with a baseball bat.
The last-minute switch from the MEM to Fortune also had the unfortunate side-effect of completely castrating the Immortal super-stable. By removing Styles, Kazarian, and Beer Money, the only active wrestlers left in Immortal were Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, Rob Terry, and Gunner and Murphy. In addition to losing the talent of the team, Kaz and Beer Money were the X-Division and Tag Team champions respectively, which means that there was no payoff to Immortal losing those belts, and the ramifications of Immortal losing the belts was hardly even brought up, if at all. On a side note, Kazarian won the belt from Jay Lethal after completely disrespecting Jay's entire family, and not even a month later, Kazarian became a card-carrying babyface. It also forced Ric Flair to speed through an angle which would have made sense running over several weeks; what resulted was him icing all the members of Fortune in the back, then costing AJ Styles a match in the very next segment of the show. You would think Flair would have a harder time backstabbing the stable he created in the image of the Four Horsemen!
The return of Sting, who, at this point, had faded into obscurity. Their promotions ripped off the "2.21.11" promotions WWE used to hype The Undertaker's return, to the point where many thought Sting was joining WWE. It didn't help that they were aired moments after the Undertaker's return. Then, on the night proper, Jeff Hardy defended his title against a mystery opponent (Sting) and lost, nullifying several storylines and teasing which most likely would have lead up to Hardy defending the title against somebody who didn't come out of nowhere.
Mexican America was a blind rehash of LAX, even down to its theme song, and an utter failure at that. Unlike LAX, though, it featured exclusively Mexican characters, the majority of which were played by wrestlers who weren't even Latino, let alone Mexican. Only one member, Sarita, was any good, and she got the least time out of any of them—the others were near-fatally reckless (Hernandez), under-experienced (Rosita), or remarkable only in their obnoxiousness (Anarquia). Oh, and their lazy entry gimmick (involving a giant Mexican flag) blocked a good quarter of the Impact Zone.
2012 introduced an angle where Kazarian and Christopher Daniels tried to prove AJ Styles was having an affair with his boss, Dixie Carter, leading to AJ, professional athlete and all, being knocked out by Dixie's non-wrestling husband. Dixie revealed that in reality she and AJ were secretly giving aid to a pregnant drunkard crackhead named Claire Lynch, but Daniels and Kaz apparently knew about this the entire time and quickly revealed that AJ was the baby's father. AJ found this accusation so offensive that he demanded to wrestle Daniels in a match with the stipulation where he would admit to being the father if he lost or taking a paternity test to prove his innocence. Even though AJ won the match, the whole thing turned out to be a wash, as a woman posing as Claire's lawyer informed everyone that Daniels paid Claire to make the whole ridiculous story up. This could at least have worked to make him an even bigger heel but it was never mentioned again. One would think Dixie Carter at least would discipline Daniels and Kaz someway after such a revelation, considering all the embarrassment their lies caused her and her company.
In 2012 TNA decided to hold a program called "Gut Check", where once a month a wrestler from outside the organization would come in and compete in a match and the next week would be evaluated by the judges and determine if they would receive a contract and join TNA. Good in theory, but in practice, the wrestlers all got sent to TNA's developmental and forgotten until TNA cut their contracts without doing anything with most of them, often for petty reasons. The best case scenario was they'd wind up jobbing for a while.
Let's look at the fates of all the Gut Check contenders, shall we?
Alex Silva: made one appearance, offed by Aces and Eights, released.
Joey Ryan: turned down, started an angle with the judges, won his place in a match vs. Al Snow, put in a directionless tag team with the directionless Matt Morgan, released.
Taeler Hendrix: made three appearances, released.
Sam Shaw: made two appearances, fall guy for Jay Bradley, repackaged. Now makes regular appearances on Impact feuding with Ken Anderson over Christy Hemme.
Magno: turned down after botching some of his moves during his match against Adam Pearce
The Big O: turned down. Despite placing in the Top Six when TNA held a voting for who fans wanted to see come in for it.
Ryan Howe: turned down. And then it was never brought up again.
So your shot to be the next big thing in wrestling? There were four Gut Check contestants did anything of value in TNA, plus one who needed a gimmick change to work. That's 5/14, or 40%. And only one enjoyed lasting employment so less than 10%. Or, to put it in more direct terms, a failure on TNA's part.
What's even worse than all this? Go look on the Gut Check website at the sheer amount of talent that had tried out yet got turned down. For those who follow indie wrestling and recognize even some of the people who tried out, this can be rage-inducing.
Eric Young is as loyal as a guy can be and has done and put himself in silly angles and gimmicks for years in TNA. In 2009, TNA decided to let him have a shot and he turned himself around, dropping the goofy character he had been and became a hated Heel as the Leader of World Elite and looked to be an upcoming force in TNA as his anti american character was getting praise. But what happens in 2010 when Hogan comes around and makes it all about him? Eric gets dropped on his head and becomes a dumbass again and put in a team with Orlando Jordan and he somehow gains strength when he pulls down his pants. Needless to say, the fans crapped on it and it was a Gooker contender.
Eric Young seems to have finally been rewarded for his efforts by winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, this might be because he's one of the only TNA originals left as several other of the companies most recognizable names (Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Kazarian, and most notably AJ Styles).
Eric Young becoming World champion. First of all, he was still doing the stale "comedy" character, which makes it the equivalent of WWE having Santino win their world title - i.e. the one guy who shouldn't be the face of the company, being the face of the company. Secondly, there was no build to the title match beyond however much of the show took place between Young becoming number one contender & the opening bell to the title match, since it all happened on show. But the most idiotic thing of all? It was just rehashing Daniel Bryan's title win from WrestleMania XXX (Y'know, the biggest pro-wrestling show in history) a few weeks earlier, and everyone promptly called TNA on this. Regardless of what you think of Young, this was a terrible way to book his first world championship win.
Yeah, EY is basically TNA's Santino . . . if Santino were an actually good wrestler . . . and funnier. Sure, there is a terrible element to it, but it's not the fact that EY is the one that became champion, the reason it's so bad is because it wasn't properly booked. And while it could be seen as TNA rehashing Daniel Bryan, the only real similarities they have are their status as underdogs and the fact that they both have beards. Really, it's a different story line (and an admittedly better one) where the guy in power (MVP) is manipulating things towards him becoming champion, whereas Daniel Bryan's story revolves more along the fact that he's been screwed out of the title and no one's taking him seriously enough to really stop him well enough. Even then, the story at least makes more sense because it doesn't have the stupid pre-plot of him joining TNA's Wyatt Family for no reason . . . then leaving because reasons.
Hulk Hogan Comes to TNA
TNA's decision to replace their iconic six-sided ring with a traditional four-sided ring was met with universal disdain, as it essentially furthered TNA's transformation into a WWE knockoff. The change was meant to appeal to the new wrestlers TNA hired (including Hulk Hogan), and the TNA crowd wound up booing Hogan after the announcement was made. Hogan responded by saying "Real wrestling happens in a four-sided ring." Now there are some advantages to using a four-sided ring, particularly since many wrestlers are trained in them and they can allow for more protection from bumps, the wrestlers at TNA had been using the six-sided style for years by that point, had to completely change their style, and weren't told beforehand.
TNA also made the brilliant decision to reenact the Monday Night Wars in the first half of 2010, despite the fact that they have considerably worse ratings then WWE. This in itself was merely a poor business decision, but the angles that were run at the time were easily the worst angles in years, including the Badass Decay of Abyss reaching its low point, Orlando Jordan's bisexuality becoming an angle, Ric Flair and Hogan's WWE Hall of Fame rings becoming more valuable that the actual TNA Championship, Bubba the Love Sponge being there at all, Tag Team Championship reigns so bad they've made the title worthless, and the recreation of the nWo even though everyone involved is over the hill. Within six months, TNA had to switch back to Thursday nights, and actually lost viewers in the long run due to this decision.
Orlando Jordan was repackaged with a new gimmick that would bring his real life bisexuality into play. The only problem? Instead of being just a badass wrestler who happens to be bi (like CM Punk is a badass wrestler who happens to be straight edge, as a face anyway) Jordan became a creepy predator and a nigh-on rapist who sexually assaulted men and women on the roster, including So Cal Val, who he spent several weeks fondling. His antics included spraying lotion all over his chest, wearing a diaper on New Year's Day, and rubbing himself down with a Samoa Joe action figure. The worst part? He had hoped that his character would inspire real life bisexuals to come out of the closet.
The nWo reformed yet again under the name The Band, even though key members had pretty much lost it following years of drug abuse, and win the Tag Team Championship.
Bubba the Love Sponge's stint in TNA is regarded by many as the low point in TNA's history. Off screen he was an asshole. On screen he repeatedly said as many offensive comments as possible, culminating in his infamous quote about the Haitian earthquake—which got Awesome Kong to beat him senseless. Then Bubba deliberately set Kong up to appear on a "rival" radio show, only to ambush and harass her with a multitude of racial slurs and other insults. In the end, they both got fired. The good news, though, is that Bubba's last moment onscreen consisted of Mick Foley punching him in the face.
It was also around this time that Ric Flair returned to wrestling, despite the profound, beautiful, heartwrenching farewell he gave and received less than two years ago. To elaborate on why this was such a fail: the general idea of Flair's return and his role in TNA was to have him "mentor" AJ Styles and help AJ grow into his own as a character beyond "I am TNA" in order to make AJ into a household name. Except Flair and Hogan turned Styles and Abyss respectively into virtual clones and usd them as a backdrop to continue their own feud, jumping back into the ring against each other within three months of arrival, and the "household name" part banked on Hogan using his stroke to bring enough eyes to TNA in order for it to even be possible—which failed drastically, as thanks to both Hogan's and Spike TV's utter lack of care for actually promoting the company, not one iota of the initial Hogan!TNA ratings spike would last for substantially long. The Styles-Flair partnership later found much more solid footing when it became Fortune, but the decision to keep Ric heel after Fortune was turned face left him with no foundation for over a year before he was released and headed back to WWE having accomplished absolutely nothing in TNA save for a few memorable insane promos.
Cue an utterly nonsensical "The Network" angle that started off with the aforementioned title match between Jeff Hardy and a mystery opponent, starting yet link in the long chain of power struggle angles. The representative of "The Network", Mick Foley, was revealed in May 12 of that year. A month later, he got fired mid-storyline. His first acts? Officially change the name from TNA to Impact Wrestling and change the company's motto to "Wrestling Matters", and reveal that Kurt Angle's mistress is Chyna, another ex-WWE wrestler who didn't even do much before leaving besides a lackluster appearance at Sacrifice. Everyone saw right through the motto change as yet another potshot directed at WWE, who had only recently changed from World Wrestling Entertainment to WWE. Despite another set redesign, Impact's format remained virtually the same.
October 14, 2010 (or "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Shocking Swerves")
The October 14, 2010 episode of iMPACT — the one immediately following Bound for Glory and the big "THEY" reveal — was so colossally awful in every way, it has its own folder.
The show opens with Hulk Hogan talking, and it would be almost an hour of promos and non-wrestling segments before the first match, a Fingerpoke Of Doom title match. In total, TNA had about 16 minutes of wrestling on a two-hour show — and since the main event bled into the aftershow, ReAction, it's more like 16 minutes of wrestling in a three-hour show.
Ric Flair comes out to interrupt Hogan's promo, looking to take him out and getting cheered like crazy by the audience, then throws it all away by aligning his group Fourtune with Immortalnote (retreads of the Four Horsemen and the nWo, respectively). Not only did this invalidate much of their potential as mouthpieces for their groups, it ignored their decades-long blood feud. It also yielded a group consisting of what was then around 2/3 of their whole roster, all of whom were heels. Not even Vince Russo could get behind it, and it was more Hulk and Bischoff's idea than his.
Also of note—nobody in Fourtune were fit to be heels, in fact, Immortal was widely considered to be their greatest foil!
Fourtune later turned against Immortal in 2-3-11, becoming the "They" of yet another "They Are Coming." Thus giving the feud that should have been in the first place. The worst part? This would never have happened if Kevin Nash and Booker T didn't jumped to WWE.
There is also RVD and EV2.0, the reason Fourtune joined forces with Immortal in the first place. There were already problems within the ranks, and that's not even getting into the problem of having what essentially amounts to three different stables being the focus of every show.
And what did J-Woww do during her one appearance? Get into a backstage catfight with Cookienote newcomer Becky Bayless as a Snooki lookalike, the valet of new wrestler Robbie Enote a Paulie D parody. Truly, money well spent. And what show did the morons run her segment up against? Jersey Shore.
The hour-long postshow, ReAction, was dedicated to showing how Immortal was formed. When you need an hour just to explain an angle, on top of having practically an entire two-hour show filled with nothing but promos...doesn't that seem a little insulting to the audience's intelligence?
What the hell happened to the X-Division? Once regarded as a landmark in wrestling, ever since 2007 TV time for it decreased dramatically. X-Division matches are rarely seen on TNA anymore, and even the current champion (whoever it is) isn't even in the top contenders for the TNA World Title. Let's not forget, it once went to Abyss, who lost it in a fluke. Worse, the rematch (an Ultimate X match) turned the heel (who outweighed the face by over 100 pounds) into the underdog. It was only then that the Network established a weight limit (which was periodically ignored), ensuring only cruiserweights (who never get booked for main events, thanks to Bischoff) could contend for it. Then they ruled that the title must be fought exclusively in triple-threat matches, a rule which was soon discarded as well, as well as instituting a referee headcam that made everything look sickly yellow and was kiboshed two weeks after its introduction.
The TNA Legends Championship, which later became the Global Championship, then the Television Championship. Confused yet? This title, pretty much willed into existence by Booker T, is easily the most pointless, extraneous, and convoluted yet. It was perpetually loaded with bullshit rules that, among other things, prevented huge chunks of the roster from competing, much less getting the belt. Many of these rules were utterly arbitrary or based on things that could not be quantified, making the belt inherently pointless—for example, Eric Young, then a nigh-unknown, won it during the Legends era, when only "legends" could compete. Americans couldn't win the title in America during the Global period, but Rob Terry, a Welshman, won it in Wales, then lost it to AJ Styles, an American, in Florida. It was then retconned into being the Television title, which would have to be defended each week. He only defended it five times total, the fifth on Pay-Per-View. An attempt to go back to the rules in 2012 ended in two weeks with the title holder's contract expiring. In the meantime it was passed between wrestlers for the most pointless of reasons, before eventually going back to Eric Young, who holds it and the original World Championship belt. By this point it had lost all reason to exist. After Abyss won it in 2013 it hasn't been referenced since. You'd think that would mean the official end but he's still shown as holding the thing on the official roster page.
The establishment of the Knockouts Tag Team Championship was a good idea... executed far too late. There are only nine people left in the division, and yet they still managed to get three people to hold the belt at the same time. TNA has even lost six of their best Knockouts, and they still thought it was a good idea to keep the title around. The major storylines have only been driving the wedge further, with the whole Knockout division showing no real concept of priorities and a bounty on all the titles except the Knockout tag team. Oh, and by the way, Eric Young is one of the current champions, and he and his partner are the longest reigning champs in the belt's history (mostly because they never get screentime).
Rob Van Dam wins the TNA World Heavyweight Championship — not so bad. Except that AJ Styles, the man many consider to be the greatest wrestler alive, was completely decimated by Van Dam. RVD then says in an interview that he won't drop the title to anyone who didn't work in the Attitude Era — not so good. TNA nearly uses up all the guaranteed appearances for RVD in his contract, so they book him into an injury angle that lets him vacate the title without having to lose a match to anyone — Wall Banger of epic proportions, made worse when he showed up a month later, completely peachy, on the same night they crowned a new champ! It's just another reminder of how badly TNA is mismanaged, and another thing people will point to when the inevitable Death of TNA book is written.
The TNA Knockouts Championship deserves its own page on here with the amount of times the creative team have played hot potato with it. See the Wall Banger entry for details on the infamous Lockbox fiasco but Madison Rayne ended up as a good champion for a few months...before she lost it to Angelina Love via DQ and then was immediately awarded it back on Impact. What's worse is that they counted both title reigns instead of just admitting their mistake. Then Angelina wins the belt back (legitimately this time) a couple of weeks later. Then she loses it a few weeks later to Tara who lays down for Madison Rayne to win the belt back on the next episode of Impact. Later, Mickie James and Winter started feuding. Winter won the belt but then Mickie inexplicably won it back in her rematch two weeks later. Then she defended it two weeks later on a PPV and Winter won the belt back in the exact same way. It gets worse - Winter lost the title at Bound For Glory to Velvet Sky and in the meantime was only featured on TV twice between the two events, despite being you know the champion. And then Velvet drops it to Gail Kim four weeks later. This pass-the-title malarkey went on hold for a while... then Madison Rayne beat Miss Tessmacher for the belt at Hardcore Justice 2012. She immediately dropped it back to her on the following Impact, seemingly for no reason but to put over Brooke Hogan and introduce ex-WWE jobber Tiffany. (The latter's gotten better since then, and Hogan is gone.)
November 18, 2010 (or "How I Learned To Stop Caring About TNA Or Pro Wrestling")
Hulk gave a speech at ReAction dripping with hypocrisy. He severely downplayed the astounding feats of many a wrestler, and lost much of his support from fans. Not to mention, he ignored that the audience to the shows got in free, as TNA was little more than a theme park attraction. It's the speech that got Brother Ray to split up 3D, become Bully Ray, and join Immortal. What did Hogan say, exactly? Well...
"Well, brother, we're lightening the load around here. We're trimming the fat. We're thinning the herd. I mean, you know, it's pathetic. It's pathetic, that Dixie would let this company get in the shape it's in. It's her train of thought! Raven? Who hasn't had a damn shower or bath? Y'know, with RVD, and that whole crew out there? They meant to professional wrestling what Hulk Hogan, who sold out Shea Stadium? who put 94,000 people in the Pontiac Silverdome? who slammed a 700-pound giant? They mean to professional wrestling what Hulk Hogan means?
"No wonder this company was in the shape it's in. It's time to get rid o' the trash, the garbage, the worthless piece of crap out here, and we started with Dixie Carter. Yeah, we're gettin' very real around here. We are so, real, it's unbelievable. Because, if you don't get over like I said, you're fired. If you don't draw numbers, if you don't entertain, if you don't put asses in seats, if you don't put the coinage in the piggy bank, you're fired. No more games. No more "Kayfabe." "It's a work." "I've won 34 tag team belts." Who gives a damn, how many…fake belts you won!? If you don't draw money, you get fired around here. If you don't put asses in seats, you're gone."
Also that night — Ric Flair admits he's banged a horse.
Jeff Hardy, TNA Champion
A reign so inept, it deserves its own section.
On October 10th, 2010, Jeff Hardy wins the TNA World Heavyweight Title... after the title was vacated for what ended up a pointless reason, a heel turn with no foreshadowing, an angle designed as a carbon-copy of the formation of the nWo, and said nWo rehash being named Immortal and thus guaranteeing a certain spotlight-hogging geezer more time in front of the camera. Suffice to say, it wasn't a good beginning.
And this is without mentioning the fact that all this was to put the title in the hands of a potential drug convict that proceeded to remodel it into a silver Aztec sun belt. When you are shooting to become the number one wrestling company in the world and you are turning your World Heavyweight Championship into secondary silver, you know things are not running smoothly in the organization.
Ok, so we've gone a while with Jeff Hardy as champ. Even if you ignore the incredibly stupid stuff that got him there. The past couple pay-per views have had Matt Morgan and Hardy fight it out for the Championship. Then, at the Final Resolution pay-per-view on Sunday, Dec 5, 2010 Hardy shows up and is messed up, allegedly from traveling too much. Also, on Wednesday of that week he's got a court date where he is facing serious charges for possession of opiates and cocaine. So, might TNA have him drop the title in order to ensure that their World Champion, not suddenly find himself in jail? No, they don't. They let him keep it, and then tape the next few weeks of Impact in advance so they can go on Christmas break. And it does not even seem as if he's going to drop it at the next pay-per-view. Also, how the heck does TNA determine who's the number one contender? It seems to always be whomever is most convenient.
Advance one month to TNA's first PPV of 2011, Genesis, on January 9, 2011. To start things off, Jeff Hardy was not billed as defending his title on the PPV at all. However, immediately after a rather mediocre #1 Contender Match that saw Ken Anderson defeat Matt Morgan, Eric Bischoff came out and announced the title match would be done immediately. Ken Anderson then proceeded to no-sell two Twists of Hate and a Swanton Bomb (and Mr. Anderson was in the middle of a concussion storyline) before pinning Jeff Hardy for the title, but not before a number of attempted run-ins. All to cap off a PPV that's been largely derided as a contender for Worst PPV of 2011.
Hilariously enough, Anderson wore Jeff Hardy's customized clown-shaped belt as TNA World Champion. What happened to the old belt that actually looked like a championship? Eric Young found in the trash (sounds about right) and now considers himself the TNA World Champion because this is exactly what your title needs to build legitimacy.
Moot point, for Anderson promptly drops the belt back to Jeff Hardy at Against All Odds.
Victory Road 2011: A title match that lasts ninety seconds. The final match of the card was Jeff Hardy vs. Sting for the TNA World Championship. However, it took Hardy close to six minutes to head to the ring, visibly strung out. Shortly thereafter, Bischoff comes down to announce it as a No DQ match, but apparently this was a cover-up to hide the fact that he told Sting to forcibly pin Hardy down as quickly as possible before someone got injured. Ninety-seconds later (this includes sixty-seconds of stalling by Jeff Hardy), a visibly pissed off Sting hit Hardy with a Scorpion Deathdrop and forcibly kept him down for the one-two-three. One of the performers in the main event was so impaired that that he couldn't even work the damn match without there being a real possibility of him injuring someone. If he really was so bad, WHY DID YOU EVEN HAVE HIM GO DOWN IN THE FIRST PLACE!? Change the damn main event, turn it into a three way between Sting-Anderson-RVD since their match ended with a countout (stupid in of itself), and actually give the fans something to go home with. Seriously, does anyone in this company know how to run ANY business?
Jeff Hardy clearly came out in no condition to perform. Before the match even began, the ref held up his own arms in an "X", a signal to the back that something was wrong. Sting, the ref, and ring announcer Jeremy Borash were visibly not happy with the situation.
And Sting refusing to risk his life and well-being with this man, hooked the leg completely over Jeff's torso so he cannot kick out. This raises the question of just why would TNA trust this man to put the lives of their workers in the hands of an irresponsible Jeff Hardy, much less the top prize of their company?
When fans started to chant "BULLSHIT" after the match, all Sting could do is nod his head and say "I agree, I agree." And he said it loud and clear on camera.
Anderson was added to the match making it a three-way bout. Despite the contest involving three competitors it doesn't even reach the ten-minute mark before Sting pins Anderson after a Scorpion Deathdrop.
As a post-script to all of this, Hardy returned to TNA later in the year (after his drug case had finally been settled) to begin a feud with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett is the co-founder of the company, and in various promos done after Hardy's return, he ragged on Hardy and told the audience that nobody had any confidence in Hardy any more. Hardy — who was not only allowed to work a match while he was in no shape to do so, but now has what amounts to a felony drug conviction on his record — was cheered by TNA crowds upon his return (though how much of the cheering was real is debatable, since TNA is known for using "canned" crowd reactions on taped shows). To recap: Jeff Hardy, a perpetual fuck-up who very nearly gave TNA the worst PR black eye since Jesse Neal said he was on food stamps, is the good guy — and Jeff Jarrett, one of the founders of TNA and a man with a vested personal interest in seeing the company succeed, is the bad guy.
Amusingly, the live audience for the Bound for Glory PPV may have shown how bad this return feud is. In a promo given by Jarrett where he berated Hardy for coming back to TNA, Hardy comes out (in a shirt with his own mugshot, which says a lot about his sense of humor or that he still isn't taking the whole "convicted for drug felony/ruining his career/ruining his reputation" thing seriously). They come to blows, and have to be separated by event security. So what gets the most heat in this? Cheers for Hardy "trying" to atone for his mistakes or Jarrett standing up for his company? Boos for Hardy being selfish or Jarrett for being a complaining heel? If you said the biggest moment was the crowd chanting from D'Lo Brown, well, you would be right. At this point, the only way this feud would be worse is if the two men fought for the right to use the name "Jeff", but that's a ridiculousidea, right?
The feud ended with Sting firing both Jeff and Karren Jarrett and giving Jeff Hardy a future title shot.
And in a few months that last idea was actually done in another feud—for the right to stay in TNA and to use the name Bischoff.
Jeff Hardy is not allowed in the UK, due to his felony conviction. TNA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to keep advertising him for their 2013 UK tour anyway when tickets went on sale eight months beforehand. A few days before the tour is scheduled to begin, Hardy is pulled from it, with TNA citing an "injury" (which turned out to be caused by a Nancy Kerrigan-esque strike with a hammer, which was undersold like crazy). Normally this wouldn't be such a bad thing, but Hardy's still their world champ (despite TNA having had an opportunity to pull the title from him immediately before the "injury") and TNA's taping a month of Impact episodes on that tour, meaning that the world title won't be on Impact for a solid month. At the UK shows, his absence was not addressed beyond flyers. Nobody was fooled.
What makes it worse is that immediately before he was kayfabe injured, Hardy defended his title against Christopher Daniels, a man who (along with his tag team partner, Frankie Kazarian) was one of the most entertaining performers in TNA during 2012. Not only that, Daniels is a longtime veteran of TNA who has always worked his ass off to give the fans a good show. If anybody ever deserved a run with the world title, it's Daniels. Prior to this, TNA seemed to want to keep the title on Hardy to keep him happy so he wouldn't go and sign with WWE. That's likely the reason they had the previous champ, Austin Aries, drop it to him. Since Hardy wouldn't be able to visit the UK, however, there was no reason not to have him drop the title to Daniels (which would have made smarks everywhere ecstatic) right before the UK tour, let Daniels go into the UK as champ, and then have him drop the title back to Hardy immediately upon TNA's return to the United States. That way they could keep Hardy happy (probably), mollify the UK fans by at least giving them a world champion even if it wasn't the one advertised, and show some gratitude to a man who's done a lot for the company over the years. Instead? They let Hardy beat Daniels clean and then hog the belt for the next few weeks while doing absolutely nothing.
Aces and Eights
In July 2012, a mysterious masked gang showed up in TNA attacking wrestlers during or before matches. Their symbols was the Dead Man's Hand and called themselves the Aces & Eights. Interest at first was held wondering who they were. At Bound For Glory 2012, two members faced off against Sting and Bully Ray. During the match another member interfered allowing them to win. Afterwards his mask gets pulled off and its revealed to be...Devon. You could literally hear the air being sucked out of the Arena and the Angle afterwards.
The whole gang was a joke when it was revealed who the members were. You had Devon, a past his prime D'lo Brown, Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco who are only employed because of their dads, DOC (Luke Gallows in WWE), and Knux (Mike Knox in WWE) not really threatening are they? Not even Bully Ray for all his work and mic skill can make this believable.
Garrett and Wes getting wins over Kurt Angle in singles competition which should never have happened
Mr. Anderson gets beat up by them one week and a week later decides to join the gang for no reason.
DOC appears to be The Starscream of the group as he wants more power, however his contract is running up and he notifies them. What does TNA do? Nothing...he leaves TNA and the plot is dropped.
The fact that they're down to THREE members (four if you count Taz who is behind commentary which has gotten so bad you can hear him yakking even when the mutes on) and it is still going on. Something that should've ended months ago has been going on for a year and half despite being stale and nobody cares anymore about them.
Finally at the tailend of 2013, it was put out of everyone's misery.
Dixie Carter has proved to be the most hated figure in pro wrestling today, and given what she's "done" to TNA in her power, it's not exactly undeserved.
An infamous promo of hers after Bound for Glory 2009 where she told the roster to "step it up" and improve their game, in a time when TNA was working to restore itself and had been putting on rather good shows and matches. And then came Bischoff and Hogan...
Her constant self-insertion into angles, even without any charisma or mic skills.
Severe talent and money mismanagement. In interviews, she always goes on about how loyalty is important in TNA when she's never shown any of that to the roster. Taylor Wilde admitted as Knockouts Champion that her pay was so marginal she had to work a second job, and Jesse Neal qualified for food stamps to support himself and his fiancée. Even Gail Kim was paid not even a third of what WWE had offered to pay her in 2008, during her amazing feud with Awesome Kong.
Most of the money that should go to the wrestlers goes to a bunch of Z-list celebrities and past-their-prime wrestlers who don't add anything to the product - Jenna Morasca, who competed in "that one" Victory Road match, was paid $500,000 during her time in TNA, and the cast of Jersey Shore, who showed up for one night to stink up the joint, were paid $10,000 at a minimum. Hulk Hogan, especially, was paid $140,000 a month - more than most guys on the roster make year-round.
Just read this article to let you know how terribly inept she is at running the company.
Jesse Sorensen's case is a notable one. He was signed in 2011, being built up as a strong contender to Austin Aries's X Division Championship. But then at the 2012 edition of Against All Odds, Jesse got his neck damaged by a top-rope moonsault from Zema Ion. This caused panic among his fans and family, fearing he would never walk again. Soon after, Dixie approached Jesse's mother, assuring her that TNA would take care of the situation.
But it was not to be: She never did anything about it, leaving Jesse and his family to pay his medical bills, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While he was still employed in TNA's management, his pay was so low that he had to work two different jobs as well, just so he could cover the expenses. His mother had to sell her restaurant and file for bankruptcy. All this while Hulk Hogan, his daughter Brooke, and Eric Bischoff were being paid $35,000 a week.
And then Jesse was fired in 2013 because of budget cuts. With a company that treats the people who work for and sacrifice their bodies for them that way, the hopes for them going out of business aren't without merit.
MVP's arrival in TNA was intended to keep Heel!Dixie from abusing her power over the company. He initially supported Eric Young as he became the World Champion, but was turned heel a little while later to take his own shot at Young for the belt, becoming the very same person he was meant to stop despite Dixie still being a very prominent part of Impact. Comparisons to The Authority angle over on WWE were inevitable.