Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Well Oiled Machine.....

WWE.com has just announced the most recent inductee into the Hall of Fame for the Class of 2017 and the man they've chosen was the face of TNA for just over a decade.....Kurt Angle. When Angle came to TNA in 2006, there was never a bigger name to bring into the fold and since that time, he has put in HUNDREDS of amazing matches that have every reason to be called classics. With foils like Desmond Wolfe, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Sting; only one man has been consistently able to pull a great match out of even the toughest of acts and to that effect.....Angle is in some rare company.

3 Stages of Hell
Iron Man
Lethal Lockdown
Elimination Chamber
Hell in a Cell

There hasn't been a match in the WWE OR TNA archives that Angle hasn't tackled AND knocked out of the park and with over 30 different titles to his name, there are few who can claim to be his equal. The TNA Enforcer in me is in awe of who this man has become to the industry and how much of an ambassador he is to whatever company he finds himself a part of.

On behalf of THIS site, I send Kurt Angle MY sincerest congratulations for yet another title to add to the legacy of this well oiled machine....the cyborg.....the Olympic hero.....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Did I Say Something About Rebranding?

I have been talking about TNA getting a rebranding for a while now and some little evidences that COULD prove it's being done. That said, AT LEAST one of those is happening right now.


LIQUIDATION SALE.

Yep. Seriously, folks, we're talking a HUGE deal on the Brown Bag Special, which normally contained a few DVDS and a T Shirt, but NOW, they've upgraded the number of DVDs by 1, added in another t shirt AND tossed in 3 random items for TWENTY BUCKS! Seriously, I have been telling people to buy it up when it happens, but now that it IS, I'm shouting it out.....BUY BUY BUY!!!!!

SO, as for OTHER signs of the sale?

1. Dixie is gone. I defended her, sided with her, and all around jumped on her bandwagon trumpeting her swan song for a long time. It wasn't until the thing behind the scenes fell off the rails altogether with Billy Corgan that I became ABSOLUTELY certain that if she didn't go, everything would come apart at the seams, leaving nothing....absolutely nothing left to salvage. And so she has, but her successor was something ELSE I called for.......

2. The return of Jeff Jarrett. I called for this back when the story about the mystery investor was running and I wanted it back then quite badly. I knew Jarrett was a far more capable negotiator than Dixie and have always known it. Even when he negotiated buying company back from Dixie behind the scenes, I was for it. THIS, however, is something slightly different from what I had in mind. I would have wanted to see TNA fold into the Global Force Wrestling banner, but what it looks like right now, is that it is far more likely that Global Force Wrestling AND TNA will take full advantage of the new branding as Impact Wrestling, which has been the more prominent label anyway. Jarrett may try and twist things, but he also may not and simply use Global Force as maybe even a developmental league, which would do the brand a WORLD of good.

3. New investors is a HUGE deal. Once Dixie was gone, there was only one thing left to do, find someone ELSE to sit at the helm. With ANTHEM Entertainment ALREADY as a partner AND the fact that they believed TNA's bones were good enough to shoulder the amassed debt Dixie and company had accrued over the past number of years, it seems like TNA has a good partner in them for at least the short term. Bringing back Jarrett was the best business decision they could have made and with the return of Jarrett, also brings back merchandise mover Don West, who brings this column full circle.

As for other changes within? The bulk of those remain to be seen, but the general feeling is that the whole enterprise being made is intended to bring the company back to the roots that made them a boom from 2003 all the way to 2008, when "TNA" chants were happening at WWE events anywhere in the country. It was THAT era, folks, that made WWE nervous. IF TNA puts the wrestling of that era with the CURRENT storytelling, you WILL have a force to be reckoned with.....make no mistake.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Good Parts of WWE...Yes There are Some.

Hello everybody, I am The Fighting Cripple and I know it has been a very long time since last writing for this blog and when I left I was becoming pretty disenfranchised with the WWE. This seems to come in cycles with me after the end of the Attitude Era. I get tired of the bland state of the company and then they do something to reel me back in. Don't get me wrong I am not the fanboy that I was during those glorious years of Degeneration X  and Mick Foley but I will say, there has been some aspects that have me watching every week again and I want to go over them now.


The Feud Between Sasha Banks and Charlotte
Its no secret that the Women's Division has struggled since the likes of Lita and Trish Stratus graced the mat, but this rivalry has been fantastic. On one side you have the arrogant daughter of Ric Flair, Charlotte. She is great at being a heel. She is such a bully and does such horrible things to her father that you just want to hate her. On the other side you have the determined, much smaller underdog, Sasha Banks. This mixture has led to matches that can easily be compared to some of the great rivalries in history. They have even participated in one match that hadn't been done before, a Hell in a Cell match and they will be in another on Dec 18 at Roadblock.  It is on this night that they will be in a 30 minute Iron Man Match. They bring out the very best in each other and make it very convincing that they actually hate each other. If they can spread some more of that talent around the women's locker room, the company could have a goldmine on their hands.


The Introduction of the Cruiserweight Division
When I first heard they were going to be introducing the 205 division to Raw, I will admit, I was cautiously optimistic. They have had a smaller division before with mixed results. Its well known that Vince likes the big guys. Then when "The Brian Kendrick" became the second Cruiserweight champion, I just assumed they were going to use the little guys to give him one final push. Well, he lost the title fairly quickly  to Rich Swann on the debut of 205 Live, the company's exclusively cruiserweight show. The match at Survivor Series for the rights to the division was also a very neat idea. I hope that this gives the smaller guys a way in to the WWE that they didn't have before.


TNA Talent Being Treated Fairly for a Change
Anyone who has kept an eye on the talent across their career will know that when someone leaves WWE, if they don't retire, will end up in TNA. When the tables are turned and a TNA talent comes to WWE they usually find their new homes in WWE to be less than hospitable. That is until AJ Styles showed up. The current WWE World Champion is the cornerstone of Smackdown and has an entertaining feud with James Ellsworth (thanks to Dean Ambrose). It doesn't always happen this way, Samoa Joe has been stuck in the NXT purgatory for quite some time. There are some rumors out there that Bobby Roode is going to get the call up to debut at Royal Rumble. So, at least some of the TNA guys are getting what they deserve.


Great Tag Teams
The tag team divisions across all three WWE brands are very strong right now. The New Day just became the longest reigning WWE tag team champs of all time. Randy Orton is a full fledged member of the Wyatt Family, Sheamus and Cesaro have had an entertaining  run and my favorite duo right now, Big Cass and Enzo Amore, are constant crowd favorites. NXT had the Dusty Rhodes Invitational Tag Team Classic which had great matches and crowned the Authors of Pain as the winners of the tournament. It also introduced this generation to the shark tank when they put Paul Ellering in the cage and hung the cage above the ring during the final match of the tournament because he kept getting involved.  


The Raw vs. Smackdown Idea is Finally Working
The last reason I have been so engrossed in what the WWE has been doing is because they are finally making something work that they planned a long time ago, the battle of the brands. Survivor Series was a shining success when it came to making the battle strong. There were 3 traditional survivor series matches, one for the men, one for the women, and one for the tag teams. But it has continued on each show's individual storylines. This last Monday a disgruntled Sami Zayn threatened to jump ship over to Smackdown if Foley didn't give him a match with Braun Strowman.


Overall, there is still much that can be fixed within the company and the product, but those are the reasons why I still watch.  Thank you for reading and please let me know why or why you are not still watching the WWE. Thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Suits...

SO....anybody wanna get down and dirty into a few of the lawsuit details?

Here's what Billy Corgan has claimed:

He had no idea the kind of financial straits TNA was in when he was first courted by Dixie as a perspective buyer, but jumped in knowing that the company was in the forefront on the wrestling scene. As a minority shareholder, he was made the President of the company and then was barred from his day to day duties by another minority shareholder. That part is profoundly confusing, admittedly, but let's press on. AND this part is the one that throws me......Dixie's share in the company was put on the line to cover any expenses owed IF TNA was not able to pay back the losses in investments covered by Corgan himself.

All this to say that Corgan wants ownership and majority control of the company to try and right the ship, provided that there is a way to do so. Backstage, more people than not are wanting to see this side of the scenario triumph, with Dixie finally leaving the company for good.

NOW....Dixie's lawyers are contending that Corgan knowingly walked into this nightmare and is now preying on a company that has few assets with which to pay back whatever is owed. They claim this as a case of "predatory lending at its worst." They claim that Corgan's loaning of liquid funds were simply a way for Corgan to gain higher ownership stake that Dixie allegedly agreed to pay up as an option for failing to repay the loan.

My take in all of this?

Dixie has written out so many bad checks on TNA's behalf and can do no worse than she already has now that the cat is out of the bag. The longer this drags out and the more Dixie comes out swinging on her way out, the more desperate she appears and that, folks, is something that she has been supposedly trying to avoid.

I'm done making arguments for you, Dixie. You're on your own. Your promises have landed you right here, in front of the world and now that the throne is on the line, you may want to back down since the straits this company is in now requires more money to repay than you have proven you can handle. The game is over and it's time to move forward with more experienced players who can handle the responsibility.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All the Ingredients....

So with all of the drama and upheaval surrounding TNA these days, I guess I've found it difficult to put into words all that's RIGHT with the product and, from this writer's perspective, that is a nagging little problem I'll have to have looked at. In the meantime, let me just say that the product right now as things currently stand is about as good as I've ever seen, with characters on point and the bulk of the divisions operating at peak. I have LOVED what the Hardy's are doing from every angle possible and the knowledge that MOST of the product in that little sphere is actually being written by Matt and Jeff and given the okay by Corgan as creative head makes everything on THAT side of the world right as rain.

It's also tough to see beyond the void left by some of the homegrown talent TNA had in their roost for so long. EC3 has become a kind of balm for what has ailed in that department, taking a former WWE develomental talent, turning the volume up, and taking him of the leash has made him into a potent young talent the likes of which proves TNA is still in the business of remaking careers with ever so slight tweaks and adjustments, not the least of which being creative freedom.

I'd also like to comment a bit on Gail Kim's induction to the Hall of Fame this year. She has EARNED her place. As arguably the single talent responsible for the Knockouts Division, Gail has embodied everything a woman wrestler should be. Durable, loyal, tried and true, this division suffered in her short absence and upon her return, she put the clock back right where she left off. Ms. Kim, as the TNA Enforcer, I would like to offer my personal congratulations for a job well done and a career one should strive to emulate.

I had a thought just this past week as WWE's Paige was suspended and began running roughshod on Twitter claiming she'd zip over to TNA and have a little program with Rosemary, which I found intriguing as just about anything. By show of hands, who's game for that, aside from me?

I've also been thinking that if TNA moved off into the sunset WITHOUT Dixie in tow, there is a wishlist I have for the company I am DYING to see brought about. Believe me, that column will be coming up soon, but for now, suffice it to say that all the pieces right now are right where they need to be in order to keep this ship running forward. Here's hoping the courts find a way to lock up the last bit of backstage politics with new management at the helm of the lot.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Final Crisis....

So this is where it ends....
So THIS is when it ends.....

I gotta admit; I expected more. More runs around the course; more grandeur; more glint, but alas, I-we- we get none of that....at least not yet.

So the story goes something like this:

Dixie Carter has been doing things to try and secure funding for short term deadlines.....like creating more minority shareholders in the company and that don't sit well with those with a larger stake to claim, more specifically Billy Corgan. In fact, her negotiations with potential investors and the like have met with such cataclysmic failure that Corgan has filed a lawsuit AGAINST the company he sits as President of.....a fact that is truly glaring.

What little success Dixie may have had in the early goings of her tenure with the company have not only evaporated, but have left such a dry hole in the ground that it has turned into sinking sand, consuming everything thrown into it.

So what now? Seriously. WHAT?! Tapings go out until the end of the month and then some, but then we have nothing. 2002-2016....a nearly 15 year legacy with admittedly very little to show for the efforts. I'm angry, folks.

I'm angry for all the potential stars who were cast out before their time or who were mistreated by those in authority over creative. Matt Morgan, Jay Lethal, Nikki Roxx, Daphne; you guys all deserved better.

I'm angry at Dixie for not standing aside and allowing other more capable hands hold the reins and dictate the direction of TNA. I defended you and fought for you tooth and nail and this company has become a smoldering hole in the ground as a result. Your pride and lack of understanding of the true condition of the business you're in is unforgiveable as all of this COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED! There were TWO separate times when the tides could have been shifted.

1. In the week or two prior to Hulk Hogan and company showing up, had their intentions been made more clear about the production vision and how they planned on changing the product off the off, fan backlash would have shown where the best benefit could have been seen.

AND

2. In the wake of the Immortal clan's departure, if company loyalty had been rewarded more readily, WWE would not hold the contracts of some of the best talents TNA ever had in their stable.

"The road not taken" eh?

*sigh*

So what we have now is a case of hurry up and wait. Until Corgan and the rest of the minority shareholders put their case before court, things look to be moving at a snail's pace.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Answering the 10 Count....

So is it true? Is it NOT true? Is TNA's proverbial final swan song a done deal or are we being led by our noses? No matter what your opinion of the current product, whether jaded or stoked, satisfied or disappointed, the fact remains that the rumors of TNA being on legitimate last legs continue to run even as the most recent set of tapings wrap up for the week going all the way to November. I, for one, am completely lost in this....

First I hear that Bound for Glory may be cancelled for the first time as a purchase is written on the wall and in stone at that and then, at the 11th hour, an influx of funds comes in and saves the day on Bound for Glory AND the set of following tapings. THEN, I'm hearing news that WWE is posting leaks on their website that TNA's library may be coming soon to the network. Follow that with word that Dixie addressed the locker room just before the BFG PPV stating that she will NEVER sell to Vince no matter what.......yep....totally lost.....

So what's the real story? Well, simply put, I have no idea. I can speculate, but as far as putting together any kind of data to back said speculation up, it's really just a guess based on bits and pieces and wishful thinking. Keep in mind that there is no pattern to watch here...it's almost entirely guesswork, but in order to fill in the blanks, we HAVE to know the players at the table.

1. WWE....They want the library. Seriously. Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and everyone else WWE by way of NXT brought out of the free agent pool from the TNA or NJPW side of the fence have a legacy in those tapes...over a decade's worth of highly acclaimed matches and content to match as well as hype package fodder for the returns of any number of talents from their roster's past.....it's all there.

Now, if rumors are true, they have low-balled their offer on this little gem and it is truly an insulting deal to Dixie and company.

2. Aroluxe...Ron and Don Harris' company has a stake in this pot and, though my understanding of how MUCH stake is more than a little veiled, the fact of the matter is that they have a seat at the table.

3. Billy Corgan.....As a minority shareholder and the current President of the company, his interest is clear. Poking and prodding could reveal that Corgan and his contacts may have saved the company's big PPV and subsequent tapings to boot, but they could just as easily reveal that the funds came from the sale of his share to someone with a far more vested share in the outcome of the month or so of negotiations.

Could there be more? Absolutely. I've heard rumors that Sinclair Broadcasting, the parent organization hosting Ring of Honor is also interested in taking a stake in the company, but nothing is even written in crayon on the matter as far as a deal, from my understanding of the situation.

My HOPE is that the final piece to the puzzle reveals that a man I haven't heard one iota from since his final farewell over a year ago is the company's white knight and is finally wanting to put the gloves on and take the reins back for the first time in a number of years. But holding my breath for the return of Jeff Jarrett is NOT what I plan on doing until such time as his role is revealed, if it exists at all. Is it possible? Sure. Do I believe his return is smart business? Absolutely. It would give GFW a fully GLOBAL platform to launch a new banner from AND give TNA a rebranding to boot.

I've been preaching this ever since it was rumored he was returning to be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame a long while ago. I still stand by it. If Dixie sold off her share in the company and allowed GFW to fold themselves into the fray, along with Jarrett's team of investors, I believe the company COULD bounce back and not only survive, but THRIVE with some of the best names in TNA's creative past as well as their talent past as well. Scott D'Amore and Jeff Jarrett working alongside Billy Corgan and the current crop or writers would be an amazing fit.

Setting aside this pipe dream, I acknowledge that without a set group of investors who are committed to the success and forward push of TNA, the end is absolutely nigh. I realize that it took a long time for me to say it, but I'm not blind in all of this. The breath of life is all that remains and must come soon.....