Dr. Wrestling:Angle, Tito, and Sabin
It’s the competition of the wrestling business that provides a better product, but after the past few weeks of Impact, it’s obvious that the wrestling business will go as far as the WWE takes it because TNA will not be a competitive product in the wrestling industry. That being said, the WWE product has been really solid the past few months and Summer Slam seems like a really good card. Sadly, there’s a reason the Total Divas reality show gets a better rating than Impact.
Earlier this year, TNA made the announcement that it would feature less PPV events, which is a good move because the amount of PPVs really make each indivdual pay-per-view less important so basically scaling back the number of shows would allow TNA to build to major PPVs with a special event atmosphere. However, the episodes of Impact that are advertised with names of PPVs, such as this past week, Hardcore Justice doesn’t really make sense because with the exception of a title match, it’s basically just another episode of Impact. That being said, it was last month at the Destination X episode that Chris Sabin, who recently returned to the company after two knee injuries, cashed in the X Division title to defeat Bully Ray and win the TNA World Heavyweight title. Sabin is a solid performer, but I don’t know if many would put him on the same level as other X Division stars that were main event wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, or Samoa Joe. Regardless, Sabin’s return to the ring was something TNA could use to push him and it’s great that Sabin was able to return after some serious injuries. If nothing else, Sabin added something new to the main event scene, which is better than Sting challenging for the title again. That’s not a jab at Sting because he’s a legend, but rather if TNA is going to attempt to continue to establish itself as a company, the future is going to be build around the younger stars so it makes sense for them to invest TV to push Sabin. The title win also gave Sabin the opportunity to make it to the next level and become a credible main event star for the promotion. However, during a steel cage match on Impact this past week, Sabin dropped the belt to Bully Ray after former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz helped Bully get the win. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bully Ray deserves a lot of credit for completely reinventing himself and he’s arguably, the best heel in the business, but if TNA was going to give Sabin the chance to be a main event performer for the company, why have him drop the title after a month? Wouldn’t a decent run as champion help establish Sabin as a legitimate main event competitor?
A few weeks ago, TNA hyped an August warning as a debut for the company, which led to some speculation as to who was going to appear on Impact and when Tito Ortiz showed up, there was almost zero reaction from the crowd. Tito announced he was retired from MMA about a year and he wasn’t relevant for year prior, but signed with Bellator to fight Rampage Jackson in November. If Tito isn’t relevant for the MMA audience, why would he be relevant for a wrestling audience? I understand it’s an attempt to promote the Bellator PPV, but is a wrestling program the right platform to promote MMA? How does it benefit TNA? If anything, it makes Bellator look bush league that a scripted storyline is being used to attempt to promote a legitimate fight. Don’t get me wrong, Tito accomplished a lot during his MMA career but it’s ridiculous to use a scripted wrestling program to try to promote an MMA fight. Another point is that 99% of the Impact TV audience doesn’t order TNA PPVs so why would they order an MMA PPV? It doesn’t make sense and it won’t help either company, but the the Bellator PPV will probably get the same buy rate as a TNA PPV so I guess it make sense for Tito to appear on Impact.
Kurt Angle was arrested for a fourth DUI and he has subsequently entered rehab for it. Obviously, it was a dumb decision and there’s no excuse to drive intoxicated, but at least Angle is getting help for it. Hopefully, Angle can resolve his problems because they have somewhat overshadowed his career in the past few years. There haven’t been any reports about Angle’s status to return to the ring, but he should put his health before wrestling and if that decision is retirement from the sport then it’s the right decision for him. Regardless of if Angle wrestles again, he is one of the greatest of all time, which he accomplished in just a few years during his WWE career.
Until next week
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