Friday, January 8, 2010

The History of TNA: Year One

Producers: Bill Banks, Bryan Edwards
Distributor: TNA Home Video
Released: 11/07

Featured Talent
Jeremy Borash, Dixie Carter, Rudy Charles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Harris, B.G. James, Jeff Jarrett, Raven, Bob Ryder, Elix Skipper, James Storm, AJ Styles, Mike Tenay, Andrew Thomas, Don West

The Good
The story of the company now known as TNA is fascinating. There have been numerous attempts by groups of individuals with moneymarks behind them who tried to get a pro-wrestling company going. The failures of the XWF, WWA, MLW and other groups are the typical; TNA was the exception. This documentary tries to tell the story of TNA made it past that first hurdle that those companies could not. This is fascinating to see because it shows how much luck it took along with all the effort. When they lost their moneymark, HealthSouth (one of the largest healthcare services providers in the country), they were blessed by getting picked up by Panda Energy. After surviving that first year, NWA-TNA apparently was primed to greatness. That romanticism aside, this documentary had some funny anecdotes and a frankness from the interviewees that made it unique. The second disc features five matches and they are all in the good to great range.

The Bad
While this is an interesting story, it seemed lost or at least distorted in this format. There is a reason why Vince McMahon has never done a documentary about how his early time could have made him or broke him. However, the massive entity that the WWE is today is far from what TNA is current, yet they played it as if that was not the case. This had a fair amount of WWE bashing (without naming them), but played up the innovative cruiserweight division from WCW, the ravenous fans of ECW and the longstanding legacy of the NWA. In doing so, they undermined much of their uniqueness. That sort of poor production made this seem so low-rent compared to WWE’s documentaries. The negativity, the ramling, the excess kayfabe, the poor interview spaces (one room has an echo and people walking by and another has the TNA logo butchered for some reason) - those things which should have been left on the cutting room floor are in this. Another qualm was all the face time people received. Do I need to see Christopher Daniels in his makeup, yet out of character talking about things they are not showing clips or stills of? This is the first TNA Home Video production I have seen and I was so underwhelmed I fell asleep twice trying to sit through it.

The Rating: ***1/4

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