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Clothes don’t always make the man

January 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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More like Terry Taylor than tailor-made

Is that suit tailor-made...or a Terry Taylor hand-me-down?

While I’m pleased to see Ric Flair give A.J. Styles the superstar rub, the Nature Boy gimmick is not exactly tailor-made for the TNA World champion. Although, much like Flair in the ’80s, Styles is certainly one of the top in-ring performers of his era, A.J.’s innate personality doesn’t exactly exude that of a kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing, limousine-riding, jet-flying son of a gun. (Painful to watch the new Little Naitch recite that line last night on Impact.) The Nature Boy gimmick clicked with Ric because it fit him as well one of those tailor-made suits from Michael’s in Kansas City that the NWA World champ used to crow about it in the old WTBS Studio.

If the angle had been slowly played out with a subtle, serious transformation of Styles into the gimmick, A.J. might have had a shot at pulling it off. But the whole angle with Flair/Styles feels rushed and forced, but that’s to be expected with guys like Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, who have very little understanding of effective storytelling and psychology. Worse…with A.J.’s Southern accent and over-the-top delivery, the new Nature Boy gimmick came off like comedy, much like referee Charles Robinson’s transformation into Little Naitch in WCW years back. The Robinson stuff was hilarious because he was a small guy and legit Flair fan living out his fantasy–great TV. But this is your TNA World titlist, the wrestler whom many fans identify as the face of the promotion…the champion you’re trying to help get to the next level as bonafide superstar.  I understand the problem: as a babyface, A.J.’s a little vanilla; as a heel, he comes off as a goofy redneck. The pairing with Flair is an inspired idea but the hokey execution was way off the mark. When it’s played for laughs, there’s no way Styles can fill Flair’s alligator shoes, so he loses whatever benefit he might receive by associating with the 16- (18-?, 20-?) time World heavyweight champion. Here’s hoping Styles is a little more subtle and in control in his next promo as “the Champ.” (Having Flair rip off A.J.’s wedding ring from around his neck would be a nice touch: “You won’t be needing this anymore. Wooo!”) I would have built Flair’s influence over A.J. like a slow-simmering fire that gradually reached its boiling point after about two months. Instead, TNA tries to instantly repackage Styles into something he’s not.

Speaking of instant-gratification booking, even I was surprised they’d have yet another Styles/Angle title bout on free TV last night. Never mind the stip at Genesis that stated Angle could not wrestle for the championship again in 2010 if he lost–Hogan “changed his mind.” Geez. There went months of a possible slow, compelling buildup with Angle trying to goad Styles into another title match on PPV–all sacrificed to pop a rating for one night. (That’s the kind of short-sighted booking that buried WCW.) Even worse: another rehash of the Montreal Screwjob (the Orlando Screwjob?). My God, what a shit finish that was. Even more incredulous: Tenay and Tazz don’t even bother to show a replay of whether or not Angle submitted–instead a bloody Bisch comes out to no reaction to close the show. This does not bode well for TNA. As Santayana said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  1. Cleatus
    January 23rd, 2010 at 00:50 | #1

    The TNA Originals (Daniels, Joe, AJ, etc.) need to get out of TNA before their careers are permanently tainted. They might even be better off sitting at home for a year versus getting buried in this circus. First they job Daniels to Val Venis, then The Pope to Orlando Jordan. WTF? I like OJ just fine but how could they bury The Pope like that? It was almost as bad as MVP getting laid out like a bitch with one Big Show punch. There went the MVP/Miz feud.

    I think I’m just going to quit watching wrestling altogether. I can’t take it anymore. Watching all these young, exciting guys getting buried by the old guard just flat out sucks. It’s like Leno/Conan. I don’t need this crap. Selfish pricks have ruined everything. Everywhere you turn there seems to be bullshit. I watch wrestling to escape, not to be reminded how shitty real life is. :::Bangs head on table:::

  2. William Burnett – Little Rock
    January 23rd, 2010 at 04:27 | #2

    Thanks to Scott, & taking a few minutes to read his web site, I have gained hours in my life by not watching the crap they put on TV now days.

    Pro wrestling “died” … when Bruiser Brody was murdered. That’s when it all changed for me.

  3. DW
    January 23rd, 2010 at 10:14 | #3

    The TNA originals were almost not on this past weeks Impact. It was mainly Hogan and the Fossil Squad. Nasty Boys? Two heart attacks waiting to happen. Saggs gassed walking to the 4 sided ring. No build up and Jones is beating the Pope? I agree with Scott’s comments about the Styles/Flair situation. I like it but not instantly with no build up. Walthman and Hall look like the before pictures for Celebrity Rehab. I’m waiting for Dr. Drew to escort them to the ring. I hope I’m wrong but I think the TNA originals are screwed as long as Hogan is in charge. And Bubba TLS has to go. NOW! Everytime his dumb ass comes on I start chanting “We want Lauren! We want Lauren!”
    I guess if you’ve made your radio career kissing the Hulkster’s ass you get your 15 minutes of fame on TV, but the guy totally sucks!

  4. Old School sammy
    January 23rd, 2010 at 19:31 | #4

    The rating was big still (for TNA) but that was one cluster-eff of a show. The line about Dr. Drew escorting Hall and Waltman to the ring was a good one!

    The sad thing is, if I am Samoa Joe, what am I thinking about my future (or lack thereof) in TNA these days…

  5. DW
    January 31st, 2010 at 11:50 | #5

    On next weeks TNA, Mr. McMahon comes out under a mask wrestling as “Mr. In-Vince-Able! Challenging Hacksaw Butch Reed to a Geritol rumble match. Falling down counts anywhere rules.

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