The Fish Tank – Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield, JR’s Retirement, AJ Styles & Mickie James’ Future
Before I get to business I want to thank PWMania for reaching out to me and allowing me to contribute to their site.
This comes during an interesting time in the world of pro wrestling in both TNA Impact Wrestling and WWE. The two companies are putting on some of the best matches each week. I like how there is a focus more on ring work, specifically in WWE.
Daniel Bryan seems to take on a member of the Shield each week, which on the surface appears repetitive. However, when the company has to put on so many hours of programming each week it happens. That said every encounter between the two sides has been entertaining and brought something different, which is a challenge. Kudos has to go out to WWE for recognizing and rewarding strong mat work and providing them the time to showcase their abilities. Now if they would only give that Dolph Ziggler a push ;).
This week saw the main event of “Night of Champions” end in controversial fashion. Seeing the WWE championship vacated made some paying PPV customers question why they ordered the show the night before. It wasn’t that the matches weren’t up to par, but the outcome didn’t stick 24 hours later. You had to know there was something that would happen to continue the Orton and Bryan feud. The problem is when you have so many PPVs in a short amount of time WWE tends to have repeated match-ups with different twists. I would say I don’t know why the company puts on so many events a year, especially so close together, but numbers don’t lie. If people are still buying them, they will keep the amount of shows on its schedule. “Battleground” will have the same featured contests, but with some sort of stipulation. The same could happen for “Hell in a Cell”. At least with the superstars involved, we are pretty much guaranteed getting your money’s worth with good matches.
I must say I have loved the Rhodes storyline because I know it’s leading to a nice push for Cody, who is ready to take his career to the next level. I also have loved the involvement of Goldust and father Dusty the past few weeks. They have both proved they can still be relevant and entertain to the highest degree. Whether it’s a tag match, War Games, Survivor Series or a WWE championship main event between Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes, there is so much potential into where this goes.
I’m sure there are many like me out there who watch a lot of matches today or things transpire on Raw thinking how good it would be if Jim Ross were calling it. This isn’t a knock on Michael Cole, but Ross had such a way making even the smallest of matches or events seem important. He will always be the best in the business in my books. Even though we haven’t seen him really on WWE TV it was sad hearing about Ross’ “retirement”. However, fans can take solace in the fact we have decades of matches JR called to look back on and watch. Whatever the reasoning, the legendary broadcaster has earned even more respect for taking his exit with the utmost professionalism. He has always been a company man, no matter what was thrown his way. I’m looking forward to what Ross does next in his already historic career.
Much like it did in WCW, the backstage stuff that goes on in TNA Impact Wrestling currently is getting more attention than what we are seeing on camera. New rumors or breaking stories are coming out of the company every week. This week the talk is about Mickie James leaving TNA, a huge blow to the knockouts division. The multi-time champion brought huge star power to the knockouts championship and had some good matches during her time with the company. You could hear there was some frustration with James when I interviewed her earlier this summer. However, she got to turn heel and be featured on TNA TV each week. Given James has been knockouts champion, it leads me to believe the promotion wasn’t planning on her exit because why would you push someone on their way out?
AJ Styles has been another topic of discussion in recent weeks. Given he won the Bound for Glory Series leads me to believe there is some hope the “Phenomenal One” sticks around. Styles has been the face of the company since TNA’s inception, but the company didn’t do much with him for quite some time. He is a great worker and, much like Ross, has always done what was asked of him and put his best foot forward. I actually have enjoyed Styles work as of late and adding an edge to his character. It will be interesting to see where Styles ends up after Bound for Glory.
For all the flack Dixie Carter and TNA management get, I think the idea of decreasing the amount of PPVs has proved a great idea. I like having a big show every few weeks on Spike TV and not just because it keeps a little more green in my wallet. It gives Impact importance, as well as its actual PPVs. It gives them more time to develop storylines and present its paid shows as something special. I enjoyed the days of the Clash of Champions on TBS, and this schedule sort of reminds me of that.
This week there is a story up featuring an interview I did with Barry Darsow. From Smash of Demolition to the Repo Man, he portrayed so many personas throughout his career. Repo Man was one of my favorite characters in the 1990s and feel the gimmick could have worked today with this economy. The veteran will be at a great WrestleReunion this Saturday at Hogan’s Beach in Tampa. Bobby Heenan is also making a rare appearance, along with other WWE alum. You can check information and the Darsow interview at www.miamiherald.com/sports/wrestling.
I also have some great columns up on John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s Layfield Report, which you can read at www.layfieldreport.com/Scott-Fishman-Blogs_.html. You can also follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN (twitter.com/smFISHMAN), where I enjoy receiving feedback and tweeting during shows.