Monday, July 9, 2012

X Marks the Spot

Austin Aries, new TNA Champ
Photo courtesy: Impact Wrestling
By Drew Robbins
@NGPDrew  on Twitter

TNA is never going to be the WWE.

For most of its history, TNA has been a company operating in ignorance of this fact; they’ve aimed their content at the same audience, tried directly competing with the WWE and its flagship program, and, in a move that is inarguably the most notorious of all, hired a consortium of wrestlers that were either well past their prime or were from an entirely different era altogether.  Last night at Destination X, the company’s latest pay-per-view event that annually aims its glance at the roster’s brightest young superstars, TNA fell victim to none of these expected tropes and instead shifted its focus elsewhere:  inward.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never much cared for TNA; if a company can’t envision itself as anything better than a generic-brand clone of its top competitor, then, in my eyes, why should I picture it any other way?  Last night, though, I couldn’t tear myself away from what was suddenly a unique interpretation of the medium that couldn’t be seen anywhere else. 

Destination X was not aimed at the middle of the demographic, didn’t offer itself up as direct competition to the WWE and its brand of wrestling, and the only superstar in the spotlight that was past their prime was Kurt Angle, a grappler who, even after years of wear and tear suffered in the ring, is still better than most on his worst day.  Destination X was instead aimed at crafting a new image of the company that wasn’t a replica of anything else on the market, and, in that vain, it was a rousing success.

Rubix gets some air
Photo courtesy: Impact Wrestling
The event wasn’t perfect by any means thanks to a few hiccups in storytelling and a few matches that felt like ho-hum filler used only to best utilize the three-hour timeslot, but it was an unquantifiable amount of steps in the right direction for a promotion that has spent much of its life walking backwards.  TNA successfully highlighted a burgeoning focus on the independent scene’s most talented members and did so in a way that was unlike the WWE or any other federation across the globe.

At Destination X, TNA defied expectations and became what it was always meant to be:  TNA, a brand defined not by its competition but by its own vision of how wrestling should be. 

1 comment:

  1. Austin Aries as champ? Well, looks like TNA has picqued my interest. I'll dvr it thursday night and see what happens.