Say It Like You Mean It: The Impact Wrestling Preview, 11/28

Thanksgiving

Like every other wrestling company, TNA creates a weekly preview of its flagship show, Impact Wrestling. And, like every other wrestling company, they don’t always tell the truth when hyping their product. Thankfully, Dave is here to try to figure what TNA is trying to say, and tell you what he thinks, so you don’t have to do either. 

TNA Says:

IMPACT continues the longtime tradition of pro wrestling on Thanksgiving! After the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, join the rest of your family for a night of IMPACT WRESTLING! TNA President Dixie Carter will host the Thanksgiving special, and she promises a night to remember!

What This Probably Should Mean: Lots of wrestling. Minimal Dixie. (This is more like “Pie in the Sky Scenario.”)

What This Probably Shouldn’t Mean: Dixie kicks off the show with a ten minute promo which generates more “get off TV” heat than Dads on Fox. She does her usual tired rundown of A.J. Styles (seriously, if she wants to pretend he doesn’t exist, why does she talk about him so damn much?) and uses the term “Dixieland” no fewer than four times. Dixie appears throughout the show as festive holiday filler, ultimately leading to at least 45 minutes of Dixie Carter in a two hour wrestling show.

Dave Thinks: It’s smash-your-face-against-a-doorframe frustrating how Dixie doesn’t hold her writing staff accountable. That she actually claims to take pride in the product — even if it’s because her face is plastered all over it each week — might be the most frustrating part. Every time since the one week Dixie generated actual wrestling heat, the boos have just been directed at how abysmally bad the product she allows on TV is.

***

TNA Says:

Speaking of Thanksgiving tradition, the infamous TNA Turkey Costume returns on Thursday night! Who will be humiliated and forced to wear the Turkey Suit on the broadcast? Tune in and find out!

What This Should Mean: Through some “We hired back Vince Russo for one night” machinations, Ethan Carter III is supposed to wear the suit, but because of the language of his “Ironclad TNA Contract” (insert laugh track here), the suit actually ends up on Dixie.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Having contacted the Nielsen folks, TNA already mailed out turkey suits to every fan who actually watches Impact weekly. They will arrive promptly on our doorsteps at 8:55pm EST, so that we can put them on just before Impact so our loved ones who happen to be in the room will get the full effect of how willfully and persistently dumb we all are.

Dave Thinks: Without the Turkey Bowl — a surprisingly good thing that TNA actually did each year —  to give the the turkey costume meaning, the entire concept becomes as stupid as it sounds.

***

TNA Says:

The Main Event of the Thanksgiving broadcast will feature Team Angle vs. Team Roode in an 8 Man Elimination Match! As the war between Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode continues, who will they pick to join them in battle in the huge tag team match on Thursday night?

What This Should Mean: Team Angle consists of Kurt himself, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, and Eric Young, who always weasels his way onto these cards somehow. Team Roode consists of Bobby, Bad Influence (Kaz and Daniels), and Magnus. Young gets double-teamed early by Bad Influence, leading to a quick elimination. Magnus gets a big rub with a win over Hardy, but is eliminated by Joe to even up their emerging feud. Bobby Roode gets the better of Joe to make the match three-on-one: Bad Influence and Roode against Angle. Suddenly, Abyss’ music plays and he runs off Bad Influence, leading to a man-to-man confrontation for Angle and Roode. Angle finally gets the clean victory over Roode (albeit in a convoluted-as-heck elimination tag) that he’s been denied since they started the injury angle.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Any combination of events that ends with Kurt Angle “injuring his neck” or “getting a concussion” to avoid a finish. TNA thinks they’re doing the whole “delayed gratification” thing setting up Angle’s eventual clean win over Roode, but all TNA has to do to realize what a bad idea that is is to look at the WWE. They kept delaying gratification for Daniel Bryan until people stopped buying pay per views.

Dave Thinks: Obviously there will be more matches throughout the night, but, to unapologetically use a cliche, “the word on the marquee is wrestling.” Build your show, even your throwaway holiday show, around the promise of cute costumes and silly skits, around wrestling. I can’t even begin to explain how fundamentally abhorrent it is to me when a two hour wrestling show is advertised with only one match on the card.

***

Turning Point Coverage: Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray, Two Title Tournament Matches, Joseph Park's Challenge

TNA Says:

After beating Bully Ray this past week and forcing the Aces and Eights to disband, Mr. Anderson is holding a public funeral for the end of the Aces and Eights on Thursday’s broadcast!

What This Should Mean: Anderson leads the crowd in a legitimate celebration of the fact that we will never hear from Aces & Eights again. Bully Ray stays well enough away from the whole thing. The segment acts as a launching pad for fans to start caring about Ken Anderson again.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: This whole segment is a long block of overly-clever filler to flesh out a holiday episode on which TNA doesn’t want to give away any storyline development because nobody’s watching (but, like, even worse than usual). Bully Ray is eventually so incensed by Anderson’s zingers that he comes to the ring and challenges Anderson to yet another match on next week’s Impact.

Dave Thinks: Outside of “This is Your Life, Rock,” I don’t think these long, planned talk-with-video-clips segments have ever been successful or good. With that said, the success of this segment depends on two things: how much time it’s been given (less is more — anything more than seven minutes is way too long for this) and which Ken Anderson we get: the funny, spontaneous one or the “here’s my routine of Attitude Era material” .

Final Thoughts

Wrestling on Thanksgiving is a decades-long tradition, somewhat proudly maintained by TNA each year. This week’s show is built around a mock Survivor Series match which will continue TNA’s top-shelf Angle vs. Roode feud, as well as a tryptophan coma-inducing amount of Dixie Carter.

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