Anthem’s TNA: Where is it going?

ROSEMARY AND JADE endured some punishment in their gimmick-strewn monster’s ball match for the former’s Knockouts title on Impact Wrestling last night (January 26). 

They were unfortunately let down at a critical moment by the camerawork: after Jade had springboard moonsaulted a barbed wire board she had rested atop Rosemary, an extreme close-up of the defending champion revealed that the spikes on the barbed wire had been heavily clipped.

I endorse the safety precaution: these women are not paid enough to even consider cutting or marking themselves up for this company. My point is that if TNA had held a wide angle camera shot as Rosemary sold the impact of the board, it would have preserved the illusion.

Josh Mathews did Rosemary and Jade another disservice after Rosemary had retained the title: “Over the past six or seven months, women’s wrestling has been taken to a new level, no matter where you watch, on what particular night,” he opined. “However, what we just saw here tonight on Impact has set the bar for a brand new standard.”

Instead of making this patently absurd declaration, Mathews could have praised the match in such a way that the viewer would judge it on its own merit.

We’ve witnessed much better matches between female performers on Raw and WWE pay-per-views “over the past six or seven months” than the Rosemary vs. Jade match last night, and I’m sure these two would be the first to admit it.

After watching the first four episodes of Impact under Anthem, I have many questions for new ownership.

The most crucial is: why are you even bothering?

It was only on last night’s broadcast — four episodes into the new era — that you acknowledged the X division champion existed: he (DJZ) retained the title in the usual, throwaway, flip-filled multi-man X match that left no impression at all.

Former top babyface hope Moose lost for the second straight week to Drew Galloway. Moose desperately needed to be rehabilitated after the credibility-crushing fiasco on the previous week’s broadcast.

The theme park audience actually booed Moose in his Grand championship match with Galloway on January 19 when the judges selected Moose as the winner of round two — a round which Galloway had clearly dominated. Even the witless commentators disagreed with the judges’ decision. And then Galloway, the heel who had been unfairly graded by the judges, won the title from Moose in round three of the January 19 title match, and defeated Moose again on last night’s programme. It’s booking madness.

The presentation of the Race For The Case match on January 19 was a shambles. There was no atmosphere either when the cases were grabbed in the muddled free-for-all or opened on the inexplicable Fact Of Life episode on which former super-villains DCC clowned around, next to Jeff Hardy, whom they had been attempting to erase from existence fewer than two months earlier. Feast Or Fired was easier to digest and infinitely more exciting than this — and that was an overblown Money In The Bank rip-off.

Aron Rex’s new character is roughly 20 times less interesting than Dalton Castle, and Rockstar Spud’s singing conceirge feels like something he might have done three years ago.

Lashley is champion again, and you have no challengers prepared. I have no wish to see Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards or EC3 ever again.

What’s your plan, Anthem? How do you intend to hoist the company from here to the next rung of the ladder? I’ve watched four episodes of your wrestling programme and I have yet to detect any character or story line or invovation that will make any difference in the short- or long-term.

The company is just getting by. What’s the point of that?