I went to bed last Thursday night without watching the end of Impact Wrestling. I had caught the beginning where MVP, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley come out upset that Eric Young had evaded their attempts to take the TNA World Championship from him. MVP called out Eric Young who promptly threw down a challenge to MVP which was then accepted by the impetuous Kenny King due to MVP’s injury. Eric Young won in short order thanks to help from everyone in the back who is now anti-MVP. In the next segment, MVP set up a second match for the champion against Bobby Lashley. This is where I stopped watching. Much to my surprise when I saw headlines the next day, Bobby Lashley had been crowned new TNA World Champion. Here’s my break down of this epic ineptitude.
As noted in previous editions of this column, I try to start with a clean slate. When EY came out for his verbal beat down, the crowd in Bethlehem PA was very much behind him. I feel like the Orlando crowd was getting behind him too. I can accept that everyone doesn’t view him as a blatant rip off of Daniel Bryan so he’s worthy of being cheered. Even though many people, including myself, ripped the decision to give EY the belt, he is trending in the correct direction so you shouldn’t take the strap off of him. Having the heel faction in charge continue to put him behind the eight ball is Wrestling 101. I did think to myself “More copying of Daniel Bryan” but what other options are available for an unworthy, small wrestler? I can accept repeating that aspect of the angle by having EY take on both King and Lashley. After that point though, I start scratching my head.
I don’t get why you’d take the belt off of EY once you commit to the angle. If the wrestler in question were a big name, I may be able to accept it. I am assuming that MVP was going to be the recipient of the title had he not been injured. I’m also assuming they were going to have him win the strap at the Slammiversary. If that was the case, why not give Lashley the title at the PPV? Jeremy covered this on Stunt Granny Audio 260 when he said that it was carnie booking. If the advertised match doesn’t happen, the person who was advertised for the match has to win. I think that is a dumb theory. MVP isn’t a big enough name to get me to accept this angle though I would argue he’s a more recognizable name than Lashley. TNA doesn’t realize that Lashley isn’t a big enough name. Lashley may have been in the WWE but he was far from a big name there even if Donald Trump chose him as his combatant in a Wrestlemania match against Vince McMahon & Umaga. One would think that TNA would realize that if Hulk Hogan can’t move the needle, no retread from the WWE is going to do so.
Since I’m assuming MVP was going to win at Slammiversary, the next question is why chose Lashley instead of letting MVP heal? MVP is doing all of the talking for his faction. He is the more complete package as far as wrestling and mic work goes. It is terrible how he has been booked going from baby face to heel with a drop of a hat. I think MVP’s delivery and demeanor have come off well in the segments. If you believe MVP, his injury wasn’t major. Why not wait until he heels to move the strap over on the next PPV? You could feud Young with King and Lashley so that Young can finally get to MVP. You could build up EY while waiting for a better option as your future champion to recover.
Bobby Lashley has said next to nothing in the group. Kenny King has supplied the comedy for that group. I’m really glad TNA decided not to give him the belt. The reason Lashley hasn’t gotten the mic is that he is terrible on it. It’s been quite a few years now that being good on the mic is a required skill for a main eventer. Brock Lesnar may have a mouth piece in Paul Heyman, but he’s got a couple of things Lashley doesn’t. He isn’t terrible on the mic. Lashley may have won the NAIA Wrestling Championships but Lesnar trumps him by winning the NCAAs. Lashley may have been in MMA but Lesnar was the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Could Lashley tie most of us into a pretzel? Sure. Does he have a resume even close to that of Lesnar? No.
Another person that I could think to compare Lashley to is Roman Reigns. He was in The Shield. He was the guy who didn’t get any mic time in his group. Reigns still isn’t getting much mic time which I think is a good decision on the WWE’s part. But he and Lesnar both possess something that Lashley hasn’t even had, good in ring skills. Lashley may have a laundry list of accomplishments, but it hasn’t translated to the ring for reasons that are unknown to me. Lashley is a big guy but not a monster like Lesnar. Lashley (6′-3″, 275) is about the same size as Roman Reigns (6′-3″, 265) but he doesn’t possess his athleticism. Lashley isn’t going to pull off an apron drop kick any time soon. Lashley has neither the mic or in ring skills to be a champion.
Another reason I could think of to take the strap off of Young is that he needs to go film his show “No Limits” for Animal Planet. In that case, TNA shouldn’t have committed to giving him the title in the first place. EY isn’t taking off time though. He was on Fox & Friends to hype both his show and TNA. I’m just throwing this out there, but maybe if he’s the guy getting TV time, EY should be the one toting the strap. After EY is the pitch man, Lashley comes in an awkwardly stares at him to end the segment. The reason Young is out there is that he has been at a minimum good on the mic or else he wouldn’t have stuck around as a comedy act or been recruited to be a TV host.
The timing of these title changes is a whole separate problem from worthiness of who has the strap. TNA has now gone two consecutive pay per views, keep in mind that they only have four, without a Heavyweight Title change. But to keep you on your toes, they decided to have EY win the strap the show prior to one while Lashley won the show after one. Anyone that shucked out money for either of those has to feel like an idiot or at a minimum like they didn’t get their money’s worth. It is a no win position to try and defend how their decisions not to have the pay offs on PPV.
Giving the TNA World Title to Eric Young was a mistake. Having MVP win it Slammiversary would have been a mistake too. Allowing Bobby Lashley to win the title on a regular televised show is the biggest mistake of the three. Congratulations TNA, you have allowed Ring of Honor to become the second best promotion in America. – Kevin
Filed under: Kevin's Blog, TNA News, TV Recaps | Tagged: Bobby Lashley, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Eric Young, Fox & Friends, Impact Wrestling, Kenny King, MMA, NAIA, NCAA, Paul Heyman, Roman Reigns, Salvador Dali, Slammiversary, The Persistence of Memory, The Shield, TNA, UFC, WWE |