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More questionable booking on TNA Impact

My main frustrations with TNA continue to be the creative team's failure to apply basic booking concepts and take full advantage of having such a talented roster.

Take Thursday night's Impact, for example. Jeff Hardy versus Sting is something of a dream match – at the very least it's a compelling match – because they have never faced each other and Sting was one of Hardy's favorite wrestlers growing up. With Sting now an out-of-control heel and Hardy one of TNA's top-level babyfaces, this story line basically writes itself. It's a program that potentially could produce three pay-per-view matches between the two this summer, which just might spike TNA's poor buy rates.

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Instead, the match took place on Impact and did not come off as anything special. What a wasted opportunity. And speaking of wasted opportunities, if TNA is turning Mr. Anderson babyface, it's way too premature. Like Hardy-Sting, a program between Anderson and TNA world champion Rob Van Dam could headline multiple pay-per-views.

During the Hardy-Sting match, Anderson did a run-in and laid out Sting, allowing Hardy to pick up the victory. So Sting, supposedly a nasty heel, came off as the wronged party. After the match, Sting attacked both Hardy and Anderson with his bat. It's unclear whether Anderson is legitimately turning babyface or if he is setting up Hardy. Either way, it's all just too convoluted to have any significant impact.

It seems as if the TNA brain trust believes that ambiguous characters and confusing plot twists are required to make a story compelling, but a simple approach – clearly defined good guys and bad guys with transparent motivations for their actions – is often the best way to captivate viewers.

Other thoughts on Thursday's show:

I liked the opening segment in which the top 10 contenders were revealed. It's a unique concept. However, it's hard to buy Sting and Kurt Angle as the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders, respectively, ahead of Hardy, who was No. 4 (A.J. Styles was No. 3). The rankings are based on online fan voting, win-loss records and career accomplishments. Judging by the order, however, the fan voting didn't mean much. And what do career accomplishments have to do with who the top contenders are right now? Heck, why not put Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair at the top of the rankings? …

Angle being ranked second was absurd considering that he hasn't been on TV in a month. Even more absurd was what happened after the rankings were announced. Angle said that he no longer considered himself an elite performer in TNA, a statement that is totally inconsistent with his character. Then he said he was relinquishing his No. 2 ranking and that he needed to earn his spot, which he would do by defeating the nine other contenders, starting at No. 10 and working his way up. Come on, no one would do that willingly. That sounds like something a heel authority figure would do to stick it to a babyface. …

I liked the angle with Sting attacking RVD from the crowd while the latter was slapping hands with fans (although it wasn't as good as when Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio did a similar angle in WWE last year). …

Desmond Wolfe was really good during the angle in which he was forced to turn Chelsea over to Abyss for 30 days. Abyss, by the way, reportedly received 16 stitches in his arm as the result of Wolfe attacking him with a broken bottle. Someone really needs to save Abyss from himself. It would be one thing if mutilating himself translated into ratings or pay-per-view buys, but it does neither. …

It was nice to see Jay Lethal in a high profile match, as he teamed with RVD to defeat Beer Money. Lethal got the win for his team when he forced Robert Roode to submit to the figure-four leglock. It appears that Lethal has dropped The Black Machismo gimmick. As entertaining as Lethal was doing the Randy Savage imitation, it's probably the right call if he is ever going to move up the card. Hopefully, Lethal will still break out his Savage and Flair impressions (and whoever else he does) from time to time. …

Lethal did come off looking like a geek, however, when he acted all giddy about RVD being his partner. By the way, why did RVD wrestle in a T-shirt? …

It looks as if Kazarian is going to be aligned with Flair. As long as Kazarian doesn't bleach his hair and start wearing feathered robes, the association should benefit him. …

I was glad to see the underrated Roxxi back. Her clean victory over TNA Knockouts champion Madison Rayne in a non-title match was portrayed as a big upset, but I don't see it that way. Sure, Rayne is the champ, but I don't think most people believe she is championship material. …

The backstage skirmish between Team 3D and Ink Inc. was well done and believable. …

I've been an Eric Young supporter ever since he abandoned his comedic gimmick, but his character has been damaged by the frequent turns, especially the most recent one in which he inexplicably joined The Band. Young's delivery on his promo on this show was fine, but I just don't care anymore what he has to say. …

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I didn't like the finish to the Orlando Jordan-Rob Terry match. Jordan had a submission hold on Terry's injured knee, and the referee just stopped the match and awarded it to Jordan even though Terry did not tap out. If TNA didn't want Terry to lose by submission, it could at least have done the "passed out from the pain" deal. …

After not having a match at the Sacrifice pay-per-view last Sunday, Matt Morgan got about 10 seconds of screen time on this show. Huh?

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