Re: TNE - Welcome to the Future...
You asked me to drop by some thoughts, and I've only given out one piece of legitimate feedback in months on end, so I'll see what I can do for you.
Opening commentary started off well; touching on Tazz and Cole's history was something that you needed to do realistically, so that was good to see. The last line from Cole was a little dodgy, however - "Let's take it to the back where there is said to be a heated argument" sounds far too formal here. If Cole's hearing about some kind of conflict backstage, it should be big news, and we need to hear that from his dialogue. I see what you were trying to do with the argument, kicking off the first Impact with a bang, but the end result came out as incredibly formulaic; for one, your opening description of the scene meant we could have been in the parking lot for all we knew as readers. It was literally 'these four guys with Vince McMahon' and that was all I knew, not to mention you didn't go into the emotions of the participants in the segment, stopping any real deep character development from the first sentence. Secondly, the most formulaic part of the entire segment was how you had each guy only say one line, as if they were going in order, and this just isn't how real conversations flow. Now, I'm not familiar with a lot of TNA's talent, but I've watched a Vinnie Mac promo or two, and he just didn't sound like himself here. It felt like he should be more indignant; also, he said "guys" and "listen", which just made it sound like you were putting words in his mouth - you read his dialogue and it doesn't jump out as the classic Vince McMahon we all know. Jesse Sorensen didn't even have anything to say, which didn't do him any favours, and Kid Kash's "you are" meant he didn't sound like a real person in a real situation because he would have muttered "You're all out of it..." and even then it sounds like a weird insult. AJ Styles saying he dropped down from the "main event scene" immediately suggests the X Division is a 'lesser' place to compete, and that's not an image you want to be portraying to your audience, whether it's true or not. If Daniels is referring to a previous victory over AJ, we don't know that, this is a new show with new stories. I know I'm nit-picking at this point, but it was an incredibly short segment with a lot of things that could have been improved.
There's also an issue which I'm going to address now which applies throughout the show; the entire premise behind your thread is the merging of WWE and TNA, no? Thus, thinking contextually, your brand spanking new product which you're presenting to what is still essentially WWE's audience with a smattering of TNA's fanbase thrown in, and therefore your casual audience hasn't got a clue who these new wrestlers (or 'superstars' as they'll see them) are. Imagine you're a casual WWE fan, say ten years old, and you tune into Impact, the new show, because you hear Randy Orton's on it, and one of the first things you see is four random guys arguing with Vince McMahon about a title you've never heard of before. Admittedly, this is a huge thing to ask of you, but if you're taking on a huge project like this, you need to think about how it would have to be presented. You'd need copious amounts of commentator praise/information to keep the fans up to date with the new stars, in addition to promo time, whether on the mic or in a VP, about who they are and what they plan to accomplish in this new TNE promotion now that the titles are vacated and it's a level playing field. You could make a big thing out of it, too, and it's an exciting prospect, but you need to remember that this isn't TNA just carrying on from where it left off with a few WWE guys tagging along; this is a global brand mashed up between WWE and TNA, and as a result, you need to present anything and everything to do with TNA as being brand new to the audience, as if each TNA guy was an NXT Rookie, because let's face it, you and I wouldn't have a clue what's going on if we didn't know TNA existed, like many casuals don't.
Definitely think you could have made a bigger deal out of the Raw highlights package, just to sell the first show of this gigantic WWE/TNA union to the absolute max - it's huge! It's the biggest event in the history of modern pro wrestling, and I just kind of want to see you tell me that more. Add to the spectacle of it all.
I feel you could have described the "X Division stars"' entrances a little more, but that's not a huge problem. However, I have to say it; Batista as TNE Impact General Manager is possibly the most bizarre choice of a BTB GM I've seen in my entire time here. Not only is he known as being the most awesome, kick-ass guy in the ring ever (I WALK ALOOOOOOONE, for one), he's a total bad-ass on every front, and you've immediately cooped him up in a GM role; I'm not even factoring in the fact you basically had him stroll down the ramp holding hands with smiling bunnies while singing the theme tune to My Little Pony and then get on the mic to say "This is great! I can't wait to get started!" I realise I'm over-exaggerating, but it's for a reason; I want to see Batista kick ass and take names, not be Mr. McMahon's puppet and say "Please, call me Dave" - it makes him seem really weak, and he's just not suited to it. I hope that makes sense. I felt he began to kick it up a notch in badass when he took it to Styles (I also appreciate you called your own decision into question with the very indy-esque shot by AJ here), but then you suddenly had the crowd boo Batista, leaving me wondering where he stands on the face-tweener-heel scale. I'm all for a Beat the Clock Challenge, though, it's a good solution; my thought is that a BTC Challenge is usually over a single show, so it'll be interesting to see how you work it. I also think you meant "set* the time" not "beat the time" to AJ seeing as the time to beat hadn't been set yet, surely.
As with the Batista alignment issue, I was left wondering who's face and who's heel between Aries and Styles; this is a problem which also leads back to the whole 'introduce it to a WWE audience' thing from before. While I don't doubt the match would have good (reading it through, it was fine) and to my personal taste seeing as I find many independent circuit matches entertaining, one wonders how the WWE audience would react to such a different style in the very first match on the new show; maybe opening with a WWE vs TNA match of sorts would have helped to 'gel' the audience with the new guy's style, so they'd know what to expect later on. My concern with having Styles go over in six minutes is that it makes Aries, a fellow contender for the title, look really weak, and thus it might have been an idea to have the challenge be open to both guys, rather than just Styles. The attack from Austin saved his bacon a little and showed that he and 'Tista are clearly the heels against Styles' anti-authority face alignment, but again I felt more description was needed; explore the tension between Styles and Batista more, talk about the crowd's reactions, etc. I need to be immersed in your writing, and I didn't feel that here.
For the ease of comprehension, a small thing; writing out a speaker's full name is something DH suggested to me long ago, and it actually makes the entire layout look smarter. Totally your decision whether or not to go with it, though. I would have thought the interview was a little short but you mentioned in your 'stage directions' that that's just Storm's style, so that's fair enough. In terms of the promo itself, it was good; you established him enough to an audience as the won't-back-down cowboy character and as (I'd assume) a babyface, and therefore I'd say this was well done.
"Beth hits a few nice moves" is an effort issue on your part; if you want me to be involved in the show, I need to feel like I'm there more, or least watching it at home on TV, and nothing tunes the reader out more than vague description like this. There's also the argument that if Phoenix is going to win clean, she should hit the Glam Slam, because of how dominant it shows her to be, unless you're bringing the Fallaway Slam in as another finisher (which I doubt, seeing as I assume it was just the Crossbody roll-through counter). Lack of commentary before and after the match hurts the storytelling in my opinion, too. Batista (or Dave, as you seem intent on calling him) genuinely didn't sound like himself, I'm afraid. I couldn't visualise his words being said by him, and that's a real issue for someone who's going to be such a big part of your show.
As before, I feel we need more description with RVD's entrance. You had Taz briefly mention the women before you cut back to RVD; surely if he's a Raw guy, you could have saved this promo for next week's show? If Christian's heel turn was such a big deal, it would have been one of the main talking points for next week; instead, you cram it in here. RVD's soliloquy sounded horribly like a long list of short statements, with no real flow to it at all; you could have lengthened this considerably, but again, it felt lacking in effort. Similarly, you could have brought more Van Dam-isms in here, such as "man", "dude", even "bro" to keep things feeling like a real RVD promo. Christian's reasoning was good, really good. I've always said the best heel turns are the ones with great reasoning, and this was one of those occasions, but you dropped the ball by just having Van Dam leave, when a confrontation, or at least a Christian narrow escape, was clearly on the cards. Lots and lots of wasted potential here, I feel.
You're certainly putting a lot of emphasis on the X Division from the get-go, which is of course a positive; however, this segment again felt weak. Aries' original attack was his own doing, surely, so Styles' accusations at Batista are pure paranoia, which is more of a heel action, and the thumbs-down wouldn't have been visible, because Styles would have been on the floor - or at least that's how I read it. Kid Kash's line made very little sense, I'm afraid, and AJ punching a wall is again a bizarre thing to happen. You also went from Batista saying he was impressed to saying that it wouldn't be hard to beat Styles' time, which is a massively hypocritical statement.
Zima/Gabriel is definitely a good match in prospect, and you also laid down the face/heel lines well, but once again, I was left wanting more from you. You needed to tell me why Zima was going to get a chair, so I can see some elements of a real character, rather than - 'well, he's the bad guy.' We need to see emotion; frustration, self-doubt. I don't think I've ever seen a low blow blocked before, but I liked the finish (though Gabriel headbutting someone when he could just punch him was odd). Gabriel advancing in the WHC tourney seems like a good decision given his undeniable talent in the ring and his passable mic skills.
You showed good knowledge of Kane's traits to have him cut his usual backstage promo, though again, you've got some Russo-esque booking going on by having a cage match randomly thrown in. A cage match of all things is usually advertised at least a week in advance, not to mention the kind of thing used to end a feud, not for a first-round match in a World Title tournament. Just an all-round peculiar decision. Not sure about Storm here, too - he went from talking to this backstage worker to addressing Kane, immediately making the entire thing disjointed, and the fact that he would agree to such an impromptu match-up makes me question the credibility of his judgement, tbh. The entire thing felt like it could be one of two things; either you wanted to sell Impact as being 'unpredictable', or you wanted your first Impact to have a big main event... but regardless, I can't get over it, it makes zero sense whatsoever to do it from a booking standpoint.
The match followed a basic cage match formula, and you got some crowd reactions in there, too. You got one reference to Storm's emotions (pain), which is generally more than you'd done for the other matches, though you suffered from the same issues as before when it came to "hits some vintage Kane moves" - I can't stress enough how much you need to tell the reader what these are. Storm going through the ring seems a little extreme, seeing as that usually spells a period of time out of action... and you just started this thread. I don't really understand why Kane would start attacking medics, nor why Sheamus would stop on the stage if he's making the save; the whole idea of making a save is that you then - you know, make the save. It also doesn't help that face Sheamus doesn't back down from anything, and you completely went against this. A very odd ending.
Before I conclude, here's another mini-rant. Looking over your Impact roster alone, tonight's show didn't have Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Mark Henry, Samoa Joe, Alex Riley, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Cody Rhodes, Evan Bourne, or Kofi Kingston, and that's a big list of talent not to include. Hell, you could write a five-star show with that roster by itself. That's an issue that needs addressing, because if you've got all this talent to spare, your main event shouldn't be Kane vs James Storm, and you shouldn't be restricted to four matches on your inaugural Impact. It's also worth noting that with your first ever TNE Impact, you'd be wanting to pull out all the stops to make it seem like an explosive show so you'd get more viewers, and leaving out so many earth-shattering guys makes the show seem very, very shallow.
Overall, there are positives and negatives to take from this. You remind me a lot of myself in 2008; everything was quite rushed, I wrote what I thought was a good idea, and I ended up leaving a lot of talent on the bench while I came up with promos that weren't well characterised. There's a lot to work on, but there's also some real promise here which would make me recommend this thread to anyone in the section. Firstly, always make sure you're utilising the roster at hand. Secondly, try to play on the MASSIVE premise behind your thread - the biggest wrestling promotion in the world is now at your fingertips, but you've got to handle it correctly, including the factors of having TNA guys presented to a WWE audience for the first time. Thirdly, watch as many promos as you can from certain guys (Batista especially) to make sure you get their characters down, because that's important for the atmosphere of the show. Fourth, lay out your roster in front of you and decide who's a face, who's a heel, then ask yourself 'how am I going to show this to the reader? Who can he attack (heel)? Whose mum can he insult (heel)? How many babies does he have to kiss (face, unless you're doing it in a creepy manner)?' Fifth, more description. Re-read your show when you're done and ask yourself if you could imagine a scene in front of you based solely on what you've just written. If you can't, you need to paint the picture for us more. Finally, lengthen your promos and lengthen your show, because I have a suspicion I've written more for this feedback than you've written in the entire edition of Impact. And a final point after the final point, you keep at this bad boy until it's fucking amazing, because the potential is absolutely there. Hope I've been helpful to you, man; I know I've got a lot of criticism, but if you take it on board, there should be considerably less next time. Looking forward to Raw, man, get on it.