The John Report: Ten Thoughts on TNA Impact 01/04/10Remember my ill fated attempts to write about Impact in a "five thoughts" kind of format? I did it for a few weeks, then I kinda gave up. I really didn't feel motivated to do it in December considering the Hogan news had come. It was all about January 4th, so as promised here I am. For this three hour show I'll go with the "ten thoughts" instead. There are already spoilers out for the show on January 14th, but I've yet to read them. I'm just going based on what I saw on Monday. I'll try to go in order from the start of the show to the finish.1. During the first match, which was not a great showcase of the young talent as Homicide was climbing the structure for over a minute, we saw Jeff Hardy appear. Later, we saw him with Shannon Moore holding some envelope. The idea is that it's a contract. It was pretty shocking. From what I had read, Hardy had verbally agreed to come back to WWE at around WrestleMania time. Now there are questions of if he failed a third drug test. I'm not sure yet. The news is still trickling out. In terms of on screen, I think TNA has to use him as a top guy or near the level of the top guys. He was the best babyface in wrestling in 2009 and he doesn't have bad matches. Hopefully they use him right. As a fan I'd rather see him in WWE. They used him the right way the last couple of years and he thrived. In TNA I don't know if they will do that. I'll be watching, though.<!--more-->Regarding the drug policy, TNA does have drug testing. Bryan Alvarez wrote in a recent issue of Figure Four Weekly that a TNA wrestler told him he failed a drug test, was told he failed a drug test by management and nothing came of it. They don't have any way to punish you. In WWE they do. They didn't before, but they have since they introduced the Wellness Policy. In TNA you get paid less, you work less and you travel less, but you also don't have to worry about drug testing. I think that's a big reason why Jeff's there. I'm not saying he has a drug problem. I don't have that info. I'm not about to pretend like I do. Lots of people use drugs that don't have a problem. Same with alcohol and gambling. It's just that if he works there he won't have the deal with the ramifications of his usage. TNA should be ashamed of themselves for not incorporating a good drug testing policy in a business that has seen far too many people die at a young age. Doing drug tests and not having any kind of policy after somebody fails is like letting somebody drive through a red light, seeing them do it and not punishing them in any way. Somebody could get hurt if that action is repeated. In the wrestling business, the action has been repeated far too often. It's 2010. You should know better, TNA.2. I thought there were far too many "what is he doing here?" type of scenes backstage. We get it, people walk backstage. They even cut away from some matches to show somebody watching backstage. I understand the point of it was to give us the idea that "anything can happen" and they did a good job of that, but it felt like it was a little too much. "It's Ric Flair he's here! What's Hall and Waltman doing here? Foley can't get in! Jeff Jarrett's here! The Nasty Boys are here! Orlando Jordan! Val Venis except we can't call him that" Shut up already. And they ask why is Sting there? Because he works there. It's his job. Been there for years. He's in his 50s. Get down from there, old man. You might break a hip. This stuff was really annoying. Way too much of it.3. The first hour wasn't very good. I also thought the idea of Hulk Hogan, the face of the company that has said in interviews that he's the booker, not being at the show till 50 minutes after it begun was lame. And with a police escort no less! That made me laugh. A police escort going to a theme park. Better watch out. Maybe his son Nick was driving the car? He tends to attract cops. What's even greater is that during his promo in the ring, Hogan said he was in the back all day. Um, we just saw you in a limo "arriving" to the show. You know why? Because the announcers said it every ten seconds. The whole thing was cheesy. They could have had an interviewer standing outside of his locker room reporting that Hogan's about to address the world. Then again, it's Hogan. It's not a surprise that he would do something to kiss his own ass. He's the master of that.4. The Hogan promo at the start of hour two was a good "this is who we are" type of promo. As I touch on in the next point, his message about being a wrestling show rather than a sideshow like Raw sometimes didn't work considering the lack of actual wrestling. I wasn't a big fan of the nWo reunion with Hall, Nash, Waltman and Bischoff in there with Hulk. All they ever seem to mention is changing the business, but they don't seem to mention how their egos got so big that they killed a promotion because of it. It's easy to remember the past, but it's even easier to forget the past. Also, Scott Hall shouldn't be a wrestler anymore. He doesn't look like a wrestler. He looks like a guy in his 50s that should be helping the younger wrestlers. Please don't push him. By the way Hulk, you are the Vince McMahon of TNA since you bought your daughter a nice set of chesticles just like Vince got his. Classy.5. There was far too much "we are about wrestling, this is what we do" talk, yet if you watched the show it seemed like all they were doing was talking or going nuts about "new" people. Every time I flipped over from Raw it was somebody cutting a promo or doing something backstage. Instead of focusing on the young talent that you are harping about being so great (Joe, Morgan, Hernandez, Pope, Wolfe, Lethal, Consequences, etc.), why don't you actually focus on them? Chris Daniels, the number one contender for the World Title a couple weeks ago, was on for maybe 10 seconds. In a three hour show. The guy's been there for seven years. I'm really worried about what's going to happen to these midcard wrestlers that deserve pushes that are probably going to suffer due to Hogan's boys being on the show. The Nasty Boys? No. What a turn off. They weren't even good in their prime, yet they'll probably be beating Beer Money in a few weeks. By the way, the company that promotes wrestling as opposed to skits had 6 matches run a total of 25 minutes aside from the main event. That doesn't feel like an alternative to me. It feels like Raw.6. What do I think about Ric Flair joining TNA? I think after seeing all the women that work for the company he's probably due for his fourth divorce in the next few months. I don't mind if he wants to wrestle again. I never believe wrestling retirements anyway. What else is the guy gonna do? He nearly went bankrupt due to not saving his money, he reportedly pays $125,000 per month total to two ex-wives (that's $1.5 million in a year) and he could use the work. Good for him. I think he'll wrestle, but I hope it's more of a special appearance on a PPV rather than a regular thing.7. I thought they did a good job in promoting the women of the company, which have become a draw for them. The Knockout Tag Title match was better than any woman's tag you'll see in WWE because they actually got more than three minutes. They did have a few botched moments, but I'm generally a big fan of Kong, Hamada, Sarita & Taylor Wilde. I especially like Sarita. Great athlete…Not sure why ODB/Tara only got two minutes. Funny because ODB's been doing promos about how "up north" (that's WWE) they have diva matches in skimpy outfits, yet here they had a two minute match while showing lots of boob and ass. Tara, you have a phenomenal ass by the way. Phenomenal everything, really…The Beautiful People playing poker was pretty lame. I guess it was their way to introduce Sean Morley (aka Val Venis), but some of the dialogue was really bad. Even Velvet Sky-Canton's (yeah I said it) ass couldn't save it.8. My favorite person in TNA other than Angle and Styles is Samoa Joe, yet I hate how he's being used. The guy should either be a heel monster that nobody can slow down or the babyface that is unstoppable like he was in his first year or two with the company. What is he now? A guy that has to cheat to beat Abyss in five minutes? Weak. Use Joe better. The last year in TNA he hasn't been booked properly. The heel turn didn't really work. Now he's just another guy instead of being a top guy like he should be. And I miss those "Joe's gonna kill you" chants too. Now he's not going to kill me. He's going to barely win a match by cheating like every other chickenshit heel in the history of wrestling. It's not the same.9. I understand showing Dixie Carter all night, but she was on at least 15 times and I never got the sense of why. Her facial expressions ranged from content to confused to having a "I really bought this company?" look. Either she's a really bad actress or she had no idea they would shoot her so many times in the show. Was she angry about Hogan? Was she angry about Jeff Jarrett? I have no idea. She's the owner and I understand mentioning her. I'm not a Dixie Carter basher. I like her. Think she's smart. It's nice to know she cares so much about the company. However, if you're not going to add anything to the stories being told on camera then stay behind the scenes. That's all.10. The best part of the show was the Angle/Styles main event. They're the two best workers in TNA and I'm glad that they were smart enough to give them 25 minutes on free TV. I think it was one of those matches that was very good in the time it was given, but could have been better if it was at about 17 minutes just because they did the finishing sequence for too long. There were too many long two counts or submission attempts. They tired the crowd out. I still rated it at ****1/4 and I look forward to watching it again. I'm amazed at how great Kurt Angle still is despite all his injuries. He's a little nuts, but the guy's a warrior. Styles is fantastic too. One of my dream matches is Styles vs. Michaels. We'll probably never see it, though. I'll never complain about Styles vs. Angle. I could watch them every week, no problem.5.5 out of 10I'll give it a barely above average rating. I enjoyed watching it, but it's far from perfect. TNA should be happy with the 1.5 average rating they got. They average about a 1.0 on Thursdays, so to get a 50% increase like they did is great. More people watched TNA on January 4th, 2010 than ever before. The 1.8 peak rating for the Hogan promo is a very good number. I'm happy for the company. The wrestlers have worked so hard and it's paying off. I didn't love everything on the show, but it's a three hour show with a new booking team. There are going to be hiccups. Good first effort. I look forward to more and I hope the ratings go up for the first Thursday show with the new regime on January 14 (Jan. 7 is a replay of Jan. 4). That's going to be key for them. And I look forward to the next "Monday night war" in a few months, whenever that is.I know I didn't mention the Mick Foley stuff. It was time filler. All that time so he could get beat up by a fat old guy like Scott Hall and a small guy like Sean Waltman. Not effective.On the plus side? Hey, at least there were no midgets.------------------On my facebook page we tried doing a TNA Impactfest (I know the same sucks – we're not doing another one). Once Raw started, it didn't have that many posts. My buddy David Kleber went through it to compile the best of the bunch. The regular comments are from the people while the ones in brackets are Dave.Impactfest sounds like the name of a very horrible porn. (Wait until you see the Val Venis sighting)Scott hall is still alive???? And not in rehab???? I give him two shows before he fucks it up. (Thank you for writing, Samoa Joe)Shockmaster through the Impact Zone for the win! Virgil has to be there. Same with Scott Norton.when did Macho Man become black? (or is he just tanning and using Randy Orton's secret baby oil?)Haha wow, they pissed their fans off within the first 15 minutes...smart plan trying to win fans over. (That’s why they needed three hours, in case they screwed one up.)Why Jeff, why? *sobs* I love how everyone writing in the "iMPACT!fest" are grown men who would rather watch leprechauns and 2 minute women's matches than guys who can actually "wrestle..." (Maybe if there was … wrestling on the show?)Hopefully Nick Hogan isn't driving the limo. They need the cops.I hope we get a Velvet Sky wardrobe malfunction!!!!What a treacherous bastard! You get that awesome sendoff and you do this? Fuck you Flair. (Thank you for writing, Vince McMahon)no you idiots, we don't want to see poker, we want to see boobs! please shut up and strip!Uh-oh..Hall got violent. Must've been told the bar was closed.Hall looked like a douchenozzle (so did X Pac).ok folks, at what time do we switch channels (and commentfest-like festing?) (Hmm, dramatic drop in comments after Hogan, weird)commercialfest!Nope John, Jeff will be skinny cause heroin, and meth keeps you thin. (So does prison.)Ah, good ol' Monday Night Nitro again; it brings back old memories to turn the channel from another wrestling show to watch Raw.So... thats it? right... off to see Bret.Hall's all about the party too... unfortunately the party was in 1995.Speaking of coming out of the closet...OJ!!!I guess a suplex is code for cut to a commercial in.surely the masked man is DDP, he is an experienced stalker (Thank you for writing, Sara Calloway)How about a "Who Needs Hogan" chant? The best part of the show is two guys who were already there.Thanks to Dave for his help.---------------------I'll write about TNA weekly on my blog. I may even go for some running diary type of reviews of it for something different. I'll start with 1/14 and see how that goes. Hit me up with any feedback via the various methods below.I'll be back on Saturday for Smackdown. Next Monday I've got a special column. One I'm very proud of. Thanks for reading.John Canton - oratoryjohn@gmail.comCheck out the blog at: johnreport.wordpress.comAdd me on Facebook at Facebook.com/thejohnreport and Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreportThe Bring John Canton to WWE petition is here.Visit My Archives to view ten years of The John Report columns.