Say It Like You Mean It: The Impact Wrestling Preview, 12/12

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:

The annual “Feast Or Fired” match returns to IMPACT on Thursday night – featuring Samoa Joe, James Storm, Mr. Anderson, Gunner, Chavo Guerrero, Zema Ion and more superstars! Four briefcases will hang in the ring – three will contain shots at TNA World Titles, while the fourth will cost one unlucky superstar their spot on the TNA roster! Who will earn title shots – and who will be FIRED?! Don’t miss the Feast Or Fired match this Thursday on SpikeTV!

What This Probably Should Mean: Samoa Joe wins the World Title shot, reasserting himself as a true main event player. Zema Ion gets the X Division Title shot, receiving an opportunity to put his new DJ character in the ring. Either Gunner or Storm wins the Tag Team Title shot, adding additional drama to what feels like a slow burn breakup, and Chavo Guerrero gets fired.

What This Probably Shouldn’t Mean: Chavo Guerrero gets anything good.

Dave Thinks: This match is interesting (and sad) in that it features six wrestlers that have been utterly misused and incorrectly pushed over the last year. Mr. Anderson seems like the hottest character by far going into this match, given the success of the Aces & Eights funeral segment he led, but he doesn’t feel like a good choice to be TNA’s version of “Mr. Money in the Bank” (remember how that worked out in the WWE?).

***

TNA Says:

Who will be the next TNA World Heavyweight Champion? The Finals of the World Title Tournament is set for December 19 during “Final Resolution” on SpikeTV as Jeff Hardy will battle Magnus to crown the new titleholder! Tune into Thursday’s IMPACT for the latest on Hardy and Magnus as they prepare for their showdown for the gold!

What This Should Mean: Individual promos from both men throughout the show followed by a man-to-man, show-closing faceoff between the two. Magnus asserts himself as a clear heel to oppose the super-over Hardy, but does so verbally without the two men touching.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: TNA doesn’t use a healthy chunk of their valuable TV time (at least thirty minutes combined) to hype the match that will effectively redefine TNA’s identity heading into 2014.

Dave Thinks: It’s a great move by TNA to take a week off from the title tournament to hype the final. With that said, if they don’t make good use of this show promotionally to build that match as something really special, well then they might as well have not produced a show for this week at all.

***

TNA Says:

Speaking of the World Title, this past week AJ Styles told TNA President Dixie Carter that if she wanted the belt, she would have to come to his home in Georgia to get it! How far will Carter go to get back her intellectual property? Tune in and find out on Thursday night!

What This Should Mean: A blend of actually-funny comedy from Rockstar Spud and dead-serious intensity from A.J. Styles. Styles refuses to give Dixie the belt back, but instead offers to defend it against the winner of the ongoing TNA title tournament.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Four segments worth of Dixie Carter’s terrible, self-congratulatory acting.

Dave Thinks: TNA deserves a lot of credit for building up a huge title match (Hardy vs. Magnus) while also hinting at the next huge title match (New Champ vs. A.J. Styles) and the huge title match after that (New Champ vs. Feast or Fired Winner). Unfortunately, all this strong long-term booking will still result in me being a sad panda if A.J. is one and done with TNA in 2014.

***

TNA Says:

Also on Thursday: The X Division Championship will be on the line as Chris Sabin will defend against Austin Aries, plus who will step up to battle TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim in her ongoing open challenge?

What This Should Mean: Aries and Sabin have a long, strong match that reestablishes the prestige of the X Division Title. Sabin goes over with a pull of the trunks or his feet on the ropes to continue his development as a heel. Gail Kim’s next opponent continues the upward trend in quality.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: A short match that ends with Velvet Sky distracting Aries while Sabin gets a quick, cheap win. Gail Kim’s next opponent does not continue the upward trend in quality.

Dave Thinks: TNA is at its worst promotionally when they’re lumping the X Division and the Knockouts together like this. It’s basically an indicator that the creative team is only interested in the top one or two storylines and everything else is a desperate attempt to fill out a card.

Final Thoughts

This show will be a good indicator as to whether the new, post-Hogan/Bischoff braintrust in TNA has any idea how to tell compelling stories. Feast or Fired should provide some insight into who will be pushed in the early months of 2014, while the Hardy/Magnus build will demonstrate whether TNA has learned how to make their televised “super Impacts” seem any more like pay per views than they did in 2013.

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