For every positive action in the world of wrestling, there is an equal and oppositely absurd reaction. Parallel Lines will be a regular feature highlighting all of the goods of the weekly wrestling shows, right next to all of the brain-shatteringly bad.

 

TNA IMPACT

Well, this is my first RAW IMPACT report, where I deliver a one-two review of the new Monday Night Wars, and apparently it will be my last too since TNA’s big announcement tonight was that they’re moving IMPACT back to Thursday nights. Taz and Tenay kept saying that IMPACT was “going home,” back to Thursdays. Basically what it really means is that TNA has been shitting the ratings bed since moving to Monday nights and this is their only way of saving face.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even though this was TNA’s final Monday Night IMPACT (for now), it was probably their best. The month-long experiment that was the New Monday Night Wars featured some of the most ridiculous booking in TNA’s history. There were power rings, and pratfalls, and every other type of stupidity that Vince Russo could throw at a wall. Tonight, however, featured (mostly) coherent storylines and some great in-ring action.

 

 

The new Top 10 Contender’s Ranking System was put into effect. Last week Eric Bischoff announced the creation of the ranking system to determine who was worthy of a TNA World Title shot. The key to the system is the fact that fans vote on who they want to see at the top of the card. Since it went live last week, Desmond Wolfe has been leading the pack (ugh, I already hate myself for that pun).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The system works. Wolfe actually got his title shot tonight against the new champ, Rob Van Dam. Unfortunately RVD basically swallowed Wolfe whole and made him look completely out of his league. In essence what this match said was that TNA is willing to listen to the fans to an extent, and put together the matches they’d like to see. But, if the guy that the fans want, isn’t who TNA wants, they’ll make sure that the fans don’t see that guy as being worthy of their votes anymore. Good idea. Bad execution.

 

 

Last week Hulk Hogan promised to award Ric Flair’s Hall of Fame ring to a worthy recipient. It was revealed at the top of the show that the lucky winner was none other than “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal. Jay came out and proceeded to give the single greatest Ric Flair impression that the wrestling world has ever seen. The crowd loved it. It was brilliant. I love Lethal’s Randy Savage impression but it’s been going on for too long. If the only way for him to transition out of that gimmick is by going into a Flair rip-off, then I’m totally sold on it after his performance tonight.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unfortunately this is TNA and a good thing can only last so long in this company. As soon as the real Ric Flair made his completely-expected appearance, Lethal dropped the act and began groveling at the Nature Boy’s feet and gave back the ring. Instead of pushing Lethal into a new direction, this unequivocally threw him under the bus and left him as just another jobber. The exchange between him and Flair led to a huge battle between Flair’s boys (Beer Money, Wolfe, and AJ Styles) and Hogan’s (RVD, Abyss, and Team 3D). This brawl then stretched over the NEXT 3 SEGMENTS OF THE SHOW!! 20+ minutes of nothing!! And after it was finally all over with, Jay Lethal was never heard from again. The night started off so well for the guy, and ended so, so terribly.

 

 

Another advantage that TNA has had over WWE pretty much since its inception is tag team wrestling. Tonight IMPACT gave us really solid tag team matches. The first one was between Douglas Williams & Brian Kendrick and the new team of Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal, which was given the name Ink Inc. The second match was a 3-way dance between Beer Money, Team 3D, and the Motor City Machine Guns. Again, solid action.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The only real complaint about the first match isn’t really complaint. It’s more just an “ugh.” Ink Inc? Gross. As for the 3-way dance, it started off well enough, but then ended embarrassingly badly. The match was thrown out once The Band (Hall and Nash) interfered to attack 3D. Out of nowhere the Guns got involved and actually did an awesome job of taking out The Band. Then Eric Young showed up. 3 weeks ago Eric Young was given the super-face push by hitting an elbow off the top of a cage on...THE BAND! Tonight he ran out with a kendo stick and shockingly aligned himself with...THE BAND! I don’t even want to go into anymore than that. Just stupid. The segment ended with Hall and Nash hugging Young. Unfortunately, rather than looking like an equal compared to his new Bandmates (I’m sorry), Young came across looking like the child they sponsor for less than a dollar a day.

 

 

WWE RAW

Overall this was a fairly standard, lackluster RAW. The highlights of the show were the opening and closing segments. Batista and Sheamus started off the night. Both delivered fantastic promos. It’s a shame that Batista is supposedly winding down his career right now. Over the last six months he’s been producing his best work ever. Sheamus keeps improving, and with a few more appearances as strong as this one, he’ll have no problem getting accepted as a full-time main eventer. The closing segment was an episode of The Cutting Edge, featuring The Rated-R Superstar and Randy Orton. Again, both of these guys were great and the tension they built during their segment was believable and intense.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even though the opening and closing segments were so strong, the rest of the show was rather....blah. After the draft last week, RAW was given an influx of new mid-card talent. Unfortunately the mid-card on RAW simply never feels important, at all. Even with the addition, and progression, of guys like John Morrison, R-Truth, and Ted DiBiase, the RAW mid-card simply feels stuck. You get zero sense that any of these guys have a shot of moving up to the main event. The reason for that is probably because, aside from Sheamus, no RAW mid-carder in the last five-or-so years actually has.

 

 

Chris Jericho and the Miz also did a great job on the mic last, but that’s no surprise. They both got more screen time than anyone else on the roster. They both accompanied their NXT rookies (Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett) to ringside during their respective matches. Then, they provided commentary during the new tag team champions’, The Hart Dynasty’s match. Whenever they were on screen they provided some fresh air. I’m a big fan of both of these guys and am excited at the idea of seeing them work together as a team.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I thought both Miz and Jericho were great last night, but there were a number of things that bothered me about each of their segments:

1) They brought out their NXT rookies to replace them in their own matches. I like Bryan and Barrett. I think they both have great futures ahead of them. They both looked believable and credible in the ring against Batista and Cena, respectively. The problem I have is that they’re on NXT. The point of that show is for the rookies to impress the fans enough that they’ll win the competition and THEN move on to the main roster. If they’re able to work on the main shows already then what is the point of NXT?

2) The Hart Dynasty just won the tag team titles last week. Already, Jericho and Miz are being position as their first feud. That’s the good news. Those four will have awesome matches. But, the commentary last night overwhelmingly overshadowed the new champs. Miz and Jericho came off looking really strong while the champions walked away looking totally undeserving of holding their newly-won titles.

3) Jericho and Miz formed their new partnership based on their similar histories/break-ups with the Big Show. It makes sense and they’ll be great together. Still, I don’t want to see either of them in a tag team anymore. These guys are two of the best heels in the company and could have awesome, entertaining feuds with anyone on the roster. Hell, Miz is the US Champion, but I can’t even remember the last time he defended the belt. Both guys need to get out of the tag scene so younger guys can take that spot, and also so the two of them can stand where they deserve to be, as individuals at the top of the card.

 

 

That’s it for this week. Can’t believe I’m saying this but I think IMPACT won the night. I guess if you’re gonna fail on Mondays you might as well go out swinging.