Saturday, November 29, 2014

Booking TNA's First Show on Destination America


This week on the the v2 wrestling podcast we looked ahead to TNA Impact's debut episode on Destination America and talked about how we would book the show.

I've decided to go further and put together my idea for the whole show. I am only going to use people signed to TNA with one exception, as I do not know what their recruitment plans are, and I think this could quickly lose credibility if I magic CM Punk, Jim Ross and Michael Elgin onto the roster. The exception is Alberto Del Rio, who is strongly tipped to join TNA. This show could easily be rewritten to exclude Del Rio if he does not sign.

I would very much hope that between now and the debut on Destination America TNA fleshes out its Tag Team and Knockouts divisions, which are particularly poor at the moment. Hopefully I haven't included anybody who will not be on TNA's roster in the new year, but it's not always the easiest thing to keep track of.

My aim is that everything should be short and sharp. accentuating larger-than-life personalities and the pomp of a wrestling show that takes itself seriously and exists within a consistent narrative. Matches need to serve a purpose other than passing ten minutes of TV time for the sake of it, and there should be no long rambling promos. TNA needs to live up to its name of Total Nonstop Action by making the promos short, punchy and memorable.

Bring back the 80s style promo where a wrestler gets thirty seconds alone in front of a camera to get over his character and motivations. Matches should also be action-packed and hard-hitting, not high spot-oriented but fast-paced and athletic, without long rest holds. Make it look like the wrestlers are in a fight, and really hurting each other.

I'll break up the show into four sections, each roughly thirty minutes (the third section will be slightly shorter and the fourth slightly longer). Obviously commercial breaks can be inserted where necessary, but only between segments, and never in the middle of a match.

Borash plays the lead announcer role with an emphasis on getting over characters and storylines. Mike Tenay is the analyst who talks in more depth about the wrestling itself. There is no heel colour commentator; I would like to introduce Taz later on as a manager, so I have removed him from commentary. Borash and Tenay subtly encourage fair play and sportsmanship; when somebody cheats or acts without class, they condemn it. Christy Hemme does the backstage interviews.

SECTION ONE

Start with Jeremy Borash in the ring. He talks excitedly about the things that differentiate TNA - this isn't the place where people stand around in the ring talking for 20 minutes, this is where you will find wrestlers, not sports entertainers, this is total nonstop action, with the most exciting athleticism anywhere, great tag team wrestling and women who can actually wrestle. He quickly runs down the main plans for the show - an X Division number one contender match between Kenny King and Austin Aries, a Tag Team Championship match with James Storm and Abyss defending against the Wolves, Jeff Hardy will be in action, plus we will hear from the TNA World Champion Bobby Roode.

King's music plays and he comes out for the number one contender match. He tells Borash to get out of the ring unless he wants to get hurt, and cuts a short arrogant promo to establish himself as the heel. Aries' music interrupts him. The commentators stress the history of the X Division, and talk about former champions and classic matches, acknowledging that both of these wrestlers are ex-champions. King wins a back-and-forth, hard-hitting, all-action athletic contest clean in 15 minutes. Afterwards, Aries and the announcers are surprised by the result and King celebrates his victory obnoxiously.

At ringside, the announcers briefly talk about King's victory and announce the title match is in two weeks right here on Impact. and next week Borash will host a face-to-face promo with King and Low Ki.

SECTION TWO

30 second pretaped Samoa Joe promo.

The two tag teams are interviewed backstage by Christy Hemme to build up their title match. Focus on the unfair way Storm and Abyss won the belts. Storm insults the Wolves, things get heated but not quite physical, and the Wolves vow to regain the titles. Maximum two minutes for the entire segment.

Bram's ring entrance begins. The announcers are shown talking about Jeff Hardy's history in TNA, leading to a short video package. When we return, Bram is in the ring and Hardy gets his full ring intro. Hardy beats Bram clean in the typical Hardy formula match in around 7-8 minutes.

The announcers hype that the World Champion will be here next.

Short video package on the Knockouts, focusing mainly on Taryn Terrell. The announcers reveal that next week she will be live on Impact.

Bobby Roode comes out for his full ring entrance. He talks about the importance of the world title and invites Lashley to come out and face him like a man. Magnus walks out instead, and tells Roode that he should be more worried about him. Magnus quickly runs down his credentials as a former champion. Roode tells Magnus that if he wants the belt he will have to earn a shot. Magnus vows to go through whomever it takes. The whole segment goes around five minutes.

SECTION THREE

60-second montage of classic TNA moments. This should not focus on aging stars. Pick out the best moments from the likes of Styles/Joe/Roode/Storm/Daniels/Magnus and show Angle and Sting when they looked much younger.

The announcers briefly discuss the Roode-Magnus exchange, and list other potential challengers to the world title. They announce that TNA will be holding a number one contender tournament featuring eight top stars, starting next week with a Quarter Final singles match of Samoa Joe vs MVP. Meanwhile the other six contenders will meet in a tag team match, as Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson and a mystery partner face Lashley, Magnus and Ethan Carter.

30-second Beautiful People promo.

Ethan Carter (with Tyrus) has a full ring entrance; his opponent, already in the ring, is jobber Norv Fernum. The match goes under five minutes and is almost a complete squash. When Fernum does briefly rally, Tyrus interferes from the outside. After the match, Carter and Tyrus beat on Fernum some more until Jeff Hardy comes out to make the save. The heels flee and Fernum is helped to the back while Hardy stands alone in the ring.

30-second Austin Aries promo, talking about how King got lucky tonight but he will face him again any time and prove he is the better man.

SECTION FOUR

The main event gets full ring introductions and a 60-second montage video on the history of the TNA tag titles. In the main event, the American Wolves win clean to regain the belts. Again this should not be a plodding match; it should be all-action and hard-hitting, with Sanada and Manik getting involved to help the champions, and the Wolves showing that they are athletic, resourceful and tenacious in overcoming the odds. The aim should be to give it an epic feel, get the Wolves over as strong babyfaces and tell a 20-minute back-and-forth story. Afterwards, the babyfaces celebration is the focus.

The announcers remind us of the main points for next week, with on-screen graphics: the number one contender tournament begins with Joe vs MVP, Low Ki and Kenny King go face-to-face, Knockouts champion Taryn Terrell will be live in the arena for an interview, and six of the top world title contenders meet in the six man tag team match.

Mr Anderson walks down to the ring and demands to know who the mystery man in the tournament is. Alberto Del Rio walks out on to the stage. The announcers react with shock as Anderson stares in shock at Del Rio, who cuts a very short mission statement promo. The announcers hype the ramifications of Del Rio being in TNA as the show ends.

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