This IS Compelling By Dustin T Hull

It seems these days that a few terms are thrown around improperly on a regular basis. The ones I shake my head at the most are what I call “warped palavers” as they are meant to be used as a way to justify ones stance on a topic that really cannot be defined beyond opinion. Perhaps my favorite of all is the term “compelling” because many use it to define something when the word in general is opposite by meaning. Let’s take a look at how some have misused the term in relation to these current Bethlehem tapings. I’ll cherry pick a few of my favorites from forum pages across the internet.

Stories on Impact are boring and not compelling in the least.
Follow along with me for a minute as I tell you this story:

There was an older man who took a new guy on the scene under his wing. After finding some success working together, the new guy managed to get ahead at the cost of his mentor. He took a prize away from the veteran who was helping him and said “no hard feelings; it’s just business.” The veteran managed to put this aside until one day the new guy secured another reward. Thinking this wasn’t the big bonus he wanted, he gave this consolation to the veteran. When the up and comer went to cash in his prize, the veteran snapped and cost the new guy his big prize. Of course the two came to blows on a very personal level, but the mental damage was done to the veteran and he would never be the same.

A few months later, the veteran managed to fall into a morbid mentality and began speaking in religious dialogs. He started seeking out those he deemed weak and playing on their emotions. He managed to recruit a protégé and an apostle to spread his word. He became violent and malicious towards all, separating sons from father figures, adopting the lost, and even trying to pit brother against brother. Those who were overlooked and underappreciated would no longer be as such as he will not allow what happened to him to happen to those he deemed worthy of his gospel…

Sounds like something out of a crazy religious thriller, but this is essentially the James Storm character over the course of 2014. This transformation and in depth story has been for one specific person on Impact wrestling. While not every week this year has been ground breaking for his evolution, I don’t see how something this deep can be overlooked when making a statement as “not compelling in the least”.

These Bethlehem tapings have NOT been compelling at all

Coming out of the NYC tapings, we witnessed a shift of focus for the Carter Dynasty. With Dixie having been shelved, Ethan became a bit more volatile, fired the two hired goons, and took out his personal hired gun in Rhyno. When we arrived at Bethlehem, Carter turned on his employee and Spud was crushed that his best friend was blaming him for the fall of Madam Dixie. Slowly, Ethan became more and more abusive towards Spud, mocked him, tore his jacket, insulted him and even fired him. Ethan took out all of his aggression for what happened to Aunt D on Spud to the point that he had enough. Through conquering his own self-doubt (which was reaffirmed by Ethan’s insistent degrading comments), Spud joined EY in the tag tournament to the loudest pop we have heard all tapings.

The EC3/Spud story has been built over the better part of a year, but the story of Spud turning face has been told at these tapings… And it has been told very well if you ask me. These two play off each other nicely and Spud is a great sympathetic character in this role. The Bethlehem crowd has played into this turn, even managing to chant “You’re a Wanker” after Spud made the statement. You can argue that this would have happened anywhere else, and I would agree with you. But it didn’t happen there, it happened in Bethlehem and personally, I have found it quite compelling.

The show has been focused on too much wrestling and that is not compelling

Since starting at the Bethlehem tapings on October 1st through this past Wednesday, there has been 253 minutes of “in ring wrestling” on Impact. That is out of 720 minutes (if we say 15 minutes of commercials per hour, that’s still 540 minutes) of total Impact since Bethlehem. If we include commercials, then roughly 55% of Impact has been wrestling, but this also includes a 27 minute Full Metal Mayhem for the Tag Titles, 20 minutes of a #1 Contender 4-way match, 17 minutes in the Tag Tournament Final, and 17 minutes for Bobby Roode’s title win. Therein lies the confusion of what is “too much” wrestling on a show. A 50% split seems like it’s actually a pretty good balance. But my bigger issue with the statement is the last part.

While I get that many look for storylines in pro wrestling, matches like Full Metal Mayhem ARE compelling in my opinion. The 4-way match was great and the battle between Aries & Roode kept me fully invested. Samoa Joe & LowKi taking on MVP & Kenny King was back and forth and well-paced. And Roode winning the WHC back was extremely interesting (for me).

Ultimately, that is what it boils down too, isn’t it? You see, the warped palaver that is being thrown around is the idea of “compelling” television. Unfortunately, most of those on the internet will not tell you that the word is purely subjective as by definition it pertains to what you enjoy as a person. Impact has provided the key ingredients needed to be an interesting television show; interesting characters such as Storm, in-depth and dramatic stories such as Spud & EC3, and even some great action with a payoff as in Roode vs. Lashley 2. Perhaps we should look at ourselves and ask what it is that determines a compelling product to us. When you do, please remind yourselves that what delivers dopamine to your nucleus accumbens might not be the same for all fans. So try to steer clear of using warped palavers in your own conversations because you might just take all the fun out of watching a product we all love.
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