Thursday 27 October 2011

Roode Awakening

TNA rushed it again at their latest TV tapings. Let’s backtrack a bit before we get to that...

The company spent a considerable amount of time preparing Bobby Roode for his title match with Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory. He had been pushed so strongly as the promotion’s next breakout star slash saviour that most fans felt it was a certainty that he would defeat Angle for the championship. Anyone who saw the match will know that didn’t happen.

I wrote two blogs on Roode’s main event chances and the decision to have Angle retain shortly before and after the pay-per-view. They’re available here and here. In short I thought Roode had the potential to make a difference to TNA’s stale main event scene and that the decision to have him lose made him look weak, as well as making the time and effort that had gone into his push ultimately pointless.

Since Bound For Glory TNA has continued the baffling booking with regards to their world championship. At the October 18th IMPACT taping James Storm defeated Kurt Angle in a nippy little match to become the new TNA world champ. The result and the match itself had come out of nowhere: there was no build-up for ‘The Cowboy’s’ title victory. Shocking the audience is all well and good but in this instance it had come at the expense of another potential main eventer who should have been protected (Roode).

At last night’s IMPACT taping (which will air on November 3rd in the United States) Storm lost the TNA world championship to Bobby Roode. That match should have been built to gradually over a course of months and been put on pay-per-view. Instead it was rushed through in three weeks of television.

James Storm would have made a fine TNA world champion had he been given the chance to establish himself in the role. As it is he only held the championship for six days and clearly only received it in the first place to facilitate a heel turn by his Beer Money tag team partner. A three or four month title reign for ‘The Cowboy’ would have allowed him to get over as a true main event star and restored some much needed credibility to the currently fairly worthless TNA strap.

Had Bobby Roode turned heel gradually by exhibiting signs of resentment and jealousy at his friend’s success the eventual heel turn would have been more impactful. A longer approach would have given fans the chance to anticipate the betrayal and resulting feud. The approach TNA has gone with feels like something that’s been thrown together in a very short period of time with no thought being given to the future.

Following Roode’s title victory it was announced that he would defend the gold against AJ Styles at Turning Point. AJ could have played a key role in the slower approach and it would have been nice to see him face Roode in a singles match on pay-per-view in which Roode used heelish tactics to gain a tainted victory, foreshadowing his heel turn. The match we’ll see in a few weeks should be fine but it won’t have as much meaning as it could have done.

The decision to put the title on either man is fine: both have qualities that will help them establish themselves as main event performers if they are given the company’s support. The decision to split them as a team is also a good one as the two men have achieved everything they can as Beer Money Inc. Fans like both men and can believe in them as world title competitors. The problem is simply that TNA did not devote anywhere near enough time to what should have been, from beginning to end, six months of programming. The writing team has made its job much harder by doing things this quickly.

The feud should be good. But it could have been so much better.

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