Grading TNA's Booking of Every Roster Member Part 1
by, 02-16-2013 at 08:04 PM (5284 Views)
In a previous post a while back I gave my thoughts on TNA's storylines at the time along with a grade but now I want to expand on that a bit. This time I am going to grade the company's use of every single active member of their roster and give a short blurb on the positive and negatives in the way they have been used in recent months along with some likely suggestions for improvement.
Before we get going it is important to note that the grade does not reflect the actual abilities of the wrestler. For example, if a guy who should be main eventing PPVs gets booked as a jobber then that is a low score even though it is not that wrestler's fault. I am including nonwrestlers in this also. With that being said, here we go!
Abyss/Joseph Park-The Joseph Park lawyer character brings me back to when I was a kid in the early 90's and most wrestlers had silly gimmicks. I like it. He gets a great reaction and it's been fun to see him act lost in the ring or even trying to get into it. On the bad side, what happened to his search for his brother Chris...you know...Abyss? He dropped it after fighting Bully Ray which made no sense. Plus, the seeing his own blood and unleashing the beast is fine but it's annoying no one has mentioned it to him to get his reaction.
AJ Styles-I really liked AJ's work in the ring right before facing Daniels "for the last time" when he kept messing up. It was different, interesting, and cool to see his signature moves going awry. The worst year of his life storyline worked well. I don't think his reaction to losing to Daniels made complete sense considering he beat him only a month or two beforehand in the last man standing much but I am interested to see how he comes back. Big negative is that AJ Styles has not been on television!!
Austin Aries-Great to see that they have kept A Double main event relevant because there was a legitimate worry that he would sink back to the midcard after losing the world title. Fun to see him and Bobby Roode work together (sort of). I like them as tag champs. It's a good sign for him when he's over enough that he has trouble making the fans hate him even though he's acting like a jerk. One problem with his booking is I think his title reign was too short.
Bobby Roode-Again, smart they kept him as a main eventer after losing the title. Has not done much outside of bickering with Austin Aries but it's been mostly fun to watch. Weird that not even a comment came out of Roode betraying Aries in the triple threat match at Genesis when Roode moved Hardy out of the way when Aries went for the 450 splash. The next Impact they acted like that never happened. Interested to see what "going for all the gold in TNA" will mean. Sort of in limbo right now but hopefully we'll see what's next for the It Factor soon.
Brooke Hogan-Well, nice to finally see her do something meaningful with marrying Bully Ray and causing friction between Hulk and Bully. She's been mostly a non factor as executive in charge of the knockouts which is frustrating in comparison to someone like Karen Jarrett. She has been okay on TV (much better than Claire Lynch at least) and does fine in the segments bossing the knockouts around, so there's that.
Bully Ray-Hard for me to deal with him not being a bad guy because he was over as hell as a heel. As a good guy, brings a great intensity to his interactions with Hogan but has also shown the slightly softer side with Brooke, which I don't mind. Has seemed important while not needing to be in many important matches which is a great quality. Brought down slightly by his involvement in the Aces and Eights story which has lacked focus. Deserves to be in the world championship scene and isn't yet.
Chavo Guerrero-Good that he is in the tag team division and don't mind him and Hernandez as a pairing. Problem is that Chavo isn't over. His moveset is almost completely copied from Eddie's and has done the same few moves every match which is disappointing because Chavo can be a good worker. He is also hampered by having to be the voice of his tag team because Hernandez is no good. Unmemorable run with the tag team belts.
Christian York-I think it's awesome that York got a contract especially when he was on the first ever TNA show. Solid wrestler although at times goes too slowly trying to not screw up a spot that is supposed to be quick. He is also not a good talker. It was stupid for TNA to put him in matches with Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy right away from a perspective of getting the crowd behind him, although he did show he could hang with them. I did like his role in the recent X Division tournament losing to RVD in the final at Genesis, which the Impact Zone crowd deserves blame for not reacting better to. Not on the UK Tour so maybe lost a little momentum.
Christopher Daniels-He has lately been the most entertaining thing about Impact Wrestling in my opinion. Gets great heat from the crowd regardless of where they are, has a great entrance, catchphrases, is still an excellent wrestler, and gives us many reasons to worship him now. He was great with Kaz as the World Tag Team Champions of the World and TNA has recognized his talent by giving him plenty of mic time along with a recent world title shot in an entertaining TV match. Only drawback right now is he doesn't have a next feud yet.
Devon-Devon has done an admirable job being the voice of Aces and Eights when they are full of guys who are not good talkers. Hard to remember that he is the TV champion since he never seems to defend it. Gets good heat but (and this is a theme with all the Aces and Eights) looks so weak because he loses all the time. How have they not built more to a feud between him and Bully??
D.O.C.-I will give the guy credit that for a huge man he can move around in the ring. Moveset seems limited to brawling type punches, a big boot, and a chokeslam. It really needs expanding. Has a good look to him but like every Aces and Eights member has been booked weakly and loses all the time. If they want us to care about these unmasked members TNA needs to make them threatening.
Doug Williams-I think last seen getting squashed by Matt Morgan. Based on his talent he deserves better but can't really blame TNA when they have him working for OVW as a trainer. Should appear on TV a bit more often though.
Eric Young-Funny working with ODB, and I get why he had to be written off TV to do his Animal Planet TV show, but why is he still not being seen?? Seems like a giant waste.
Gail Kim-Exactly how she should be booked when she is out of the Knockouts title picture. She is in matches and winning often to keep her looking strong while also losing to the women that are the number one contenders to make them look even better. Unfortunately, because TNA has now gone to having only one segment for the Knockouts, there is no time to build a non title based side feud for her.
Garett Bischoff-I liked him being put as an underling to Kurt. It was a way to keep him involved without having him do much. Although at the same time I was thinking.....do something! He had no character at all which drove me crazy. Wondering how strong he will be booked (betting not very) as a part of Aces and Eights. He seems okay in the ring but needs to add signature moves before he can really be judged. If that move he did to Angle was his finisher I liked it. Putting him in Aces and Eights is like a cop out to giving him an actual gimmick. I have more hope for him than most other people. At least they didn't give him a title run or else someone would have rioted.
Hernandez-Has a cool moveset (loving the extended suplex he's been doing lately) but man is he careless sometimes. Lack of ability on the mic is why he's stuck in the tag team division and unlikely to ever break into the main event. Probably a smart choice by TNA. Still feel they could do more with him as a singles competitor for something like the TV title though because Super Mex is entertaining in the ring and believable as a strong competitor.
Hulk Hogan-Yeah, he's not a wrestler but he's still insanely over and he draws ratings so you can't blame them for having him featured. Guy can still talk with the best of them. I don't like when they treat him as some powerful force when he can barely walk at times.
James Storm-Great at hyping up the crowd even if it's the most generic stuff about drinking beer and kicking butt. Don't think his wrestling style always fits his character (throws too many kicks for a brawler!). I like that he's been on TV a lot because he deserves it but they seem to be fitting him into everyone else's story right now. Randomnly teaming with Hardy or Styles or Velvet Sky a few times then going on to something else. Fighting someone for a week then moved elsewhere. Even Hogan admits they dropped the ball a bit with not pushing Storm to the top when he was so over in his return. Didn't like the tease of him winning a #1 contender's spot then losing it on Impact. Waiting to see what they do with him next.
Jeff Hardy-A lot of people on this site seem to have this big problem with him but "The Charismatic Enigma" gets the loudest pops of any wrestler in TNA from his creatures of the night (whatever that means), has a cool gimmick, is a fantastic wrestler, and sells the most merchandise for the company. Not great on the mic but can be intense enough. Sounds good enough for world champion for me. They have booked him to be very resilient which happens with a lot of top babyfaces. The man still puts on some great matches. Would like to see his next feud get more personal but that's just nitpicking from me.
Jessie Godderz-One half of Hollywood's power couple is a joke but the Mr. Pectacular moniker works for him. Needs some more signature moves in the ring but I like his intensity. Okay talker. Mostly a jobber and more of a manager (cheater) for Tara right now than a real wrestler. However, that's where he should be while he works on his in ring technique.
Joey Ryan-Here is some bad booking. Joey Ryan was over a bit with his 87%ers gimmick and interrupting Gut Check and it was fine for him to be teamed with Matt Morgan. I don't mind, but I don't think the sleaze gimmick is great but at least he's a good talker. But why did he get an X Division title shot almost immediately? Why did they get a tag title shot immediately?? It made no sense and similar to Christian York you don't let the guy establish himself if you're going to have him lose those matches. Right now doing absolutely nothing.
Kazarian-Great wrestler who can handle himself on the mic and half of the best tag team in wrestling today. Relegated to being the #2 in his tag team because when he competes in singles matches lately he always loses. Thought that Daniels was carrying Bad Influence on the mic until Kaz did his AJ Styles impression which was hilarious. Think he deserves to be booked slightly stronger.
Kenny King-Very good in ring performer whose gimmick seems to just be being cocky. Haven't heard much of him talk but he's done fine when he has. Another guy who got his first X Division title shot way too quickly. I liked him being a sore loser to Christian York at Genesis. Feud that seemed to be bubbling in the X Division with him, Ion and others got interrupted by the TNA UK Tour so it's wait and see for what happens next. Still feel like something is missing with this guy.
Kurt Angle-I don't think I have to mention his ability in the ring or on the mic. I will say in the ring he could do with adding a new move now and then because it's ALWAYS the same stuff from him. Angle's currently out of the world title scene which is a good break after being in it consistently for so long. Hurt by being involved heavily in the Aces and Eights storyline because that just hasn't progressed. Why did they target Kurt originally? What is the group even trying to do? Keeps getting hurt too.
Agree/Disagree? Be sure to check out part 2 for the rest of the roster.