Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alterations....

From the looks of things, Angle is getting ready to take his big time off. By that, I mean that his time for preliminaries for the 2012 Olympics is coming up. That being said, as predicted, James Storm will be able to rush forward, back into the title picture once Genesis is over. Additionally, in a match seen tonight, AJ Styles and Kazarian are freed up as well for reasons that will become clear in the next 24 hours. THAT means, the entire Fortune stable save for Daniels is going to be available to feud over the big belt. The question now is whether or not they're going to roll that way.

While my predictions have been fairly spot on so far, there are signs that TNA upper management has some doubts in moving towards such a large match. My concern is that there won't be enough steam in the feud to last beyond Against All Odds if they don't pull the trigger on it. Now, things in this business need to always be in a state of flux, at least where booking is concerned so as to allow some room for change if it's needed. But this feud is something fresh and has some steam left in it if they would simply run it and run it hard. By making each week's consequences more severe, Sting has put this thing into a spot where they can finally put some legs on this this and make it walk tall.

If Jeff Hardy, Kazarian, Daniels, Styles, Storm, and the current champion, Bobby Roode can keep the heat on, there will be plenty of fanfare for a match involving all of them, no matter what the stipulation is.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of the Decade....2000-2010

I know that this is a bit late, getting ready to go into 2012. Fact of the matter is, I wasn't around then to put this kind of thing out, so I wanted to do it up the way I would have back then. To that end, I want to throw up my top 7 Wrestlers of the Decade. These are in no particular order, so there are arguments why any one of them could be right on top. I would like to disqualify 2 performers for not being with us the entire time or even a bulk of it. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Rock and Austin had their decade in the year before and a successful run at that, but in the 2000's they were splotchy, at best. SO without any further ado,

7. Kurt Angle.....His beginning? 1997. He went all the way to 2006 before jumping from the E and COMPLETELY turned TNA on its head the following year, becoming the most successful talent acquisition they ever got their hands on. He makes the list by merit of accolades as well as being one of the best all around performers in the history of the industry.

6. Shawn Michaels.....His return in 2002 is the single best thing to have happened to WWE in the past 10 years. His return forged virtually a completely new career that lasted 8 years. In my eyes, he never missed a step, an opportunity to put someone over, or a chance at a match of the year award. He was a solid worker that WWE misses even now.

5. Eddie Guerrero. I miss this man. I do. He was a true performer in EVERY possible meaning of the word. His presence was undeniable and it didn't matter who he was facing. No matter who it was, you knew that Eddie would make them both look like a million bucks. His pinnacle achievement was realized and capitalized on. He went to the top and stayed there. And so it shall remain.....

4. Chris Jericho.....The very first Undisputed Champion had a debut second to none, a list of good matches longer than Everest is tall, and enough charisma to fill an ocean and drown the entire current WWE roster. I cannot think of a bad match with him in it. I truly can't. Even his second coming debut was epic. NO ONE has EVER....Ech....Ek....EVER had two epic debuts like him.

3. AJ Styles......Why him? He has remained the most faithful, hardworking, forgiving performer on TNA's talent roster. His dedication to making the company better flies in the face of all the critics who have said he should have left and to those of you who still believe that....the joke's on you.

2. John Cena.....He has sold more merchandise for WWE than anyone in recent history. In fact I wil venture that he ranks in the top 5 for highest grossing Superstar of WWE's history. Next....

1. Edge.....More titles than anyone in WWE history. THAT is an accomplishment. He has held more gold for WWE than anyone else.....does that surprise anyone? It certainly did me when I read it with my own eyes. 31 recognized titles and all for WWE. Even the WCW belts count as WWE since they had already acquired the company by that time. His retirement speech was the stuff of legends and was completely off script, making it that much more special.

So that's it, right there. Any questions? You know where to find me......

New Concepts #3. Patience

So Zack Ryder and CM Punk are in the dog house because of low ratings. Vince seems to think that demoting people when the ratings drop is an effective means to achieving the numbers that are lacking. Is there any possible explanation why ratings are going down? For the record, last week's Smackdown popped an astonishingly low 1.9 rating. Just note that Impact consistently hovers between 1.1 and 1.25 on the ratings scale. What does it all mean?

WWE has no patience. Seriously. The writers and Vince are scrambling to try to find something to work out as well as The Rock and Stone Cold did from the Attitude Era. So far, only John Cena can put up the merchandise sales numbers to be competitive. Punk is catching up, but far too slowly for the suits in the back room. I watch a lot of wrestling documentaries. Do you know why? It gives such good perspective into how a performer is created. Jim Cornette said something interesting to me. When Steve Austin was "birthed", so to speak, the writers threw their hands up and just said "Let's just let him be himself...." and that was how it needed to be. That's how good performers are born, where it just them being themselves with the volume turned way up. They let Austin flounder a while before they let him be himself.

Punk is lightning in a bottle. So is Zack Ryder. So is Daniel Bryan. Letting Punk and Bryan speak their minds is a good start to building an effective empire. Worrying about the ratings is something best reserved for the Monday Night War almost a decade ago. WWE needs to give these guys some rope and be patient, allowing them to bloom and shock the fans they claim to be trying to win over.

They lost out on Ken Anderson, Matt Morgan, Elijah Burke, among the vast number of other performers released during the spring cleaning in years past. Why? They did not have the intestinal fortitude to sit back and wait for these guys to really break loose. WWE had Monty Brown. His promos were incredibly intense in TNA and I am sorry we lost him. They could not give him time to improve his skills. Is it really any wonder so many people leave unhappy? How about a lack of a brand new concept...PATIENCE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It Begins....to crumble....

I've been talking about what is coming down the pike for WWE for weeks now and since Chris Jericho is now dodging questions, it seems that he's the "surprise" they have in store for January 2nd. If that weren't enough, Brodus Clay is FINALLY getting set to debut next week in new packaging as well. To further complicate the entire situation, Skip Sheffield is also looking to make a triumphant return. The rumor mills are saying that Sheffield is going to get a HUGE push upon his return.

Brodus Clay is in a spot I would never want to find myself in.....he was forgotten about....for almost a month's time. Does this seem strange to anyone else that someone who WWE has touted as a monster powerhouse renegade, set to light the top tier on fire vanished from the "coming next week" promos after about a month? Truth be told, I'm not optimistic about his chances of success in the coming weeks. I expect a systematic burial or them giving him the microphone and letting him talk.....which is almost as bad.

The rumors in the wind are also saying that Sheffield will be making his return under a new persona....his FCW character, known as Ryback. As best I understand it, this character is a time traveler from the future. Do I believe this kind of persona could work in WWE? In another time....perhaps. The problem enters with the PG environment and is only further complicated by a lack of believable opponents to face right out of the gate. Suffice it to say that this could be a bombshell from which WWE may never fully recover from. This only to be outdone by......

There are those in the white tower in Stanford, Connecticut that believe the WWE Network will fail within the first year. I've mentioned that the launch date already is leaving some very good jokes open for business should the venture go belly up. Think about this....they launch on April Fools' Day and then they have a going out of business sale all on the same day. Without everyone on your team supporting an effort as monumental as a network, don't you think you'd want to launch the network first? Maybe run some historical spotlight programs leading up to the biggest stage of them all? Just a thought....I am, but a lowly column writer who would know nothing about such grand matters as putting together a product that just works.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Division Development.....

In a twist I didn't see coming, Tony Nese is finally going to be getting some TV time. I don't remember having seen him in the past 4 months AT LEAST. Additionally, he and Zema Ion are working a best of 3 series. I can only guess it's for the X Title contendership prize. This means 6 true competitors now compete for the gold there. Ion, Nese, Kash, Sorensen, Aries, and Kendrick. Is anyone else stoked about more X Division matches and a longer time for them?

In the Tag Team Division, life has gotten more and more bizarre as teams have been thrown together that have no business being so. Abyss and Steiner? Really? I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed at the Creative Staff on this one. Unless this has a purpose and that purpose is going to be made clear, I say shut it down and put the teams back that have some kind of cohesion. For the sake of the holders of the gold and those who care about the division. At least some of the attention is off Jesse Neal having parted ways with TNA....Yep. Neal was being asked to relocate to OVW to get more training. He refused and now the future seems to be up in the air for his girlfriend....the Knockout known as Toxxin. My suggestion? Make the move for a year and come back with a better gimmick. Just a thought.

The Knockouts Division now includes Traci? Wait....when did THIS happen? Did we give up on the idea of a VP? I'm confused. We need to get ourselves together, people. If we don't need a VP of the Knockouts Division, tell the people we're doing away with the position entirely. Don't give us hopes of a face VP and then simply not keep us in the loop. I'm just saying. I would like to congratulate Rosita for becoming PWI's Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year. Her story is compelling. Look it up if you get the chance.

The TV Title is in a state of flux. I'm wondering what's in store for this thing. It's almost as worthless as the WWE Championship. The difference is, it looks more prestigious. Yeah, I said it. What?! I will say this for the belt, at least it's being defended. The competitors could not, however be more meaningless. And that's all I have to say about this nonsense.

Ahhh....the World Title. Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and James Storm are all top tier hunters for this belt. I LOVE this cast. Fact is, toss in Kazarian and maybe John Morrison and the list of the best World Title contenders is better than any other company on the planet in terms of match quality. I have yet to see any on these guys put on a bad match when all elements are there. Victory Road 2011 doesn't count, for all you Hardy haters. A lot has changed in the months following his hiatus and it's been for the best. Welcome back to the middle of the road, Jeff Hardy. Now let's stay there.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Indian Circuit....

TNA, as some of you already know, is launching a new product in India to cater to the audiences nearer to Eastern audiences. The fact of matter is, they've pulled out some pretty big stops and got some high class performers to round out their roster. These talents include, but are not limited to Chavo Guerrero Jr., Shawn Diavari, Chris Masters, and Luke Gallows, who performed in WWE as a member of the Straight Edge Society. Additionally, current American product members made appearances to give some added star power to an already bolstered show.....Matt Morgan, Mickie James, Magnus, and the TNA founder Jeff Jarrett.

To those who believe TNA isn't going out into the world and making disciples....think again. From the cast of characters, you'd think they are running like they've got the itch to be the best in the world. They crowned Matt Morgan as their first champion. Really. I have one thing to say about this development....Congratulations, Matt, now come back here and take the big belt here in the States too. It'd be nice to see you with two belts draped in a cross pattern like Rambo. Chavo and David Hart Smith are the Tag Champs. Can you believe THAT? A Hart and a Guerrero? Does the world get any more unfair? Why do I say unfair? BECAUSE WE DON'T GET TO SEE THAT HERE!!!! I would LOVE to see Hart and Guerrero in TNA as the Tag Champions.

I hope with all of my being that this creates in influx and sharing of talents for both sides of the organization. Seeing Chris Masters and Chavo on TV again would be a welcome change. We'll trade Robbie E. and Scott Steiner for that. Seriously. Additionally, the talents in OVW are going to be able to get some more exposure in a new market that is getting ready to explode. I'm not kidding about this, some of the fans in India have yet to even see something like this and TNA bringing that to the table is something worth mentioning.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Profile....Christian

For some reading this, there will be a sense of confusion as to why I am talking about an injured WWE Superstar. To those who I'm actually talking to, you know why I bring him up. As a former World Heavyweight Champion in TNA, I look at Christian Cage as a consummate businessman with the sense to know his body isn't going to last forever and a more open schedule would lengthen his career for the long run. TNA was VERY good to him. With two World Heavyweight Title runs on his lengthy list of accolades, he was given the keys to the city. Not only so, but he was given runs against Sting, Abyss, and Jeff Jarrett for said titles.

I've always been a fan of Christian and when his debut in TNA came about, no one was more shocked than me.....



He was allowed to trademark his own name and profit from the sales in merchandise, and was given a number of different T-Shirts as well as a DVD chronicling the rise to the top of the TNA World Title food chain. His departure was a massive blow to TNA's talent pool, make no mistake. His WWE return, however, was treated with a failed championship and another 2 years of high profile losses, none of which elevated talents to the top tier. Any DVDs detailing his success as a WWE performer? Nope. I have been deeply disappointed in WWE's treatment of Christian as a champion AND as a top class performer who can make ANYONE look like a main eventer. Very few are able to have such an honor to be bestowed upon them. Christian Cage, however, has this quality in spades. An Instant Classic to the core.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Illogical Stances.....

WWE officials are leaning towards two things these days. First, at the appease of Vince McMahon, the feel of the new network set to be launched, fittingly, on April Fools' Day, is said to be more of a lifestyle type of channel and less of a wrestling channel. Though plenty of actual wrestling programs are set to air with bonus features added as well as the potential for the PPVs that aren't in the big four, the focus is said to be surrounding the culture of pro wrestling rather than the product itself.

Compoundly, CM Punk is in danger of losing the WWE Title in the coming weeks due to poor ratings performance during his segments. I have a question for those in the white tower....if you guys are losing viewers in droves and ratings are becoming erratic at best, why launch a channel where the norm is what you are already doing right now? The direction of the WWE product is moving away from the ring and, as a result, is becoming an inferior product than it was even a year ago, which was dismal at it's apex.

I am at a complete loss for words. With so much talent on the roster and the budget to make this thing into a powerhouse for the long haul, why alienate such a powerful core fanbase by moving even further away from an in-ring product? The level of ineptitude is staggering, people. I have been saying that the returns of The Rock and anyone else from the, now dead, Attitude Era is a band-aid on a bullet wound, but so far, critics have yet to catch on. If they plan on removing the straps and placing shackles on the performers who can do something about the ratings they seem to be so afraid of losing, no progress will ever be made. THIS is WCW reborn, not TNA.

Champions of the Indies.....

So the current champions of WWE right now are CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.....WOW. This is coming from a guy who has been brutalizing the THEM company here. For once, the E has decided to try something new. I have a question, though.....we, as the fans of wrestling, have been calling for changes to be made YEARS ago and nothing had happened. Don't even try to tell me they were waiting for the right time because that is nonsense.

In addition to the pro-Bryan sentiments, I do have this little piece of trivia to add.....former WWE writer Seth Mates had this to interject via Twitter:

"To borrow a holiday metaphor, this is the time of year (between Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble) when Vince (McMahon) 'tries on' his new clothes or new main eventers."

"Foley (99), Jericho (01), Evolution (03), Edge (06), Sheamus (09), Miz (10), Bryan (11) among those elevated during this stretch of (the year). And to continue with the bad holiday metaphor, Vince has (until) Royal Rumble undercard to return them if they don't fit just right. Also, Jeff Hardy in '08 - almost forgot him."

"So don't be surprised if Bryan loses the title at (Royal Rumble). Not a dealbreaker...just Vince's history with change."

How about those nifty new Anti-Cena shirts? You want to know my response? NOT BUYING! I'll make my own friggin' t-shirts. Cena isn't changing and even though they'll sell plenty, you may be surprised to know that the proceeds from these shirts ARE going to feeding the Cena campaign for champion. So Cena's pre-Mania victim.....I mean feud, is Kane....is anyone else very upset by that? We, the people, just got a wish of a masked Kane back and ready for action and now we have probable cause to believe Kane will be crushed beneath the possible heel turn of a Super-Cena. This feud is believed to last from Monday Night RAW until the month before Wrestlemania.

My opinions of WWE's tactics of late are cautious optimism as they have acquired this nasty habit of doing well enough to draw me in only to stab me in the back with one of their cliche` storylines or a stupid feud or something else that just doesn't make sense to anyone who is older than 5 years old.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fountain of Youth.....

With the influx of young talents rushing up the ranks of WWE's championship pool, a lot of pro-WWE columnists are looking at this as the greatest thing since sliced bread. My take on this phenomenon is quite a different one. I look at this as a panic tactic WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon is trying to see if the crop of talents can make this thing work. He's run very slim on options since putting the spring cleaning brigade on overdrive the past few years. Due to his lack of veteran star power, he is forced to operate with young talents, who are all quite talented guys in their own right, but also very green to the WWE main event style of playing the game. I am seeing this as more of an experiment than a change in the run of the mill.

Daniel Bryan as champion is something that wrestling magazines and independent columnists have wanted to see and were vocal about for a time. Knowing this, Vince has this opportunity in a part of the year that notoriously has tremendous difficulty putting up numbers against the Bowl Game armada. It's this that is slated to make it's appearance during the Christmas week, not to mention NFL games leading up to the end of the season. Those games tend to put a bunch of pressure on the WWE product viewing numbers. Trying new things is a way to pass the time before the college football season ends. Once that is behind them, they can more effectively build behind the champion in power after Royal Rumble.

Let's look at the champions....CM Punk, who has done very well for himself, in the eyes of the WWE white tower. His merchandise sales are up and his popularity is soaring pretty high. Despite all of that, though, I doubt very much that it is enough to carry a main event at Wrestlemania. On a related note, Daniel Bryan is an apparition. He is something people did not expect. He did VERY little this year save for winning the briefcase that gave him the title in the first place. Outside of that, his build was COMPLETELY absent. So much for waiting until Wrestlemania.

SO....here's what we've got....CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Neither of these guys is ready to main event, in my humble opinion. This leaves only one of two options....put the straps right back on the main event tier i.e. Orton, Cena, and the like....OR one of the main event elite is going to win the Royal Rumble and cash in to face Daniel Bryan for his title. My mind is set that Chris Jericho is coming back to add star power to CM Punk's match on the card, regardless of whether or not he has the belt. Despite his rumored return, don't look for him to stick around, though.

I have no problems accepting the undercard as they are because they are needed to help build the lower tier guys in there to take their places. Additionally, those guys have been there deceivingly longer than most of the other guys on the contenders' slot save for Cody Rhodes.

Why do I keep bringing up WWE? Because news about the competition gives power to be able to adjust tactics and continue building a competitive organization. Looking at the trends, you can more effectively put together something different without expending much energy, allowing for a true alternative to whatever is being put out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End.....?

Due to events that have been set in motion from a long time of neglect and that being of my own doing, effective immediately, I'm taking some time to realign my priorities.......while this is only temporary and I will be back to throw down once more....I need this to put things back where they need to be for my sake and for the sake of my family.

I hope you will rest assured that this isn't good-bye, but only a reprieve.....

In the meantime.....I'll be thinking of my return.

Tactix.

I Wouldn't Have Believed It.....

A few days back, I wondered what a chairs match would look like. Believe it or not, folks, WWE is finally doing one on Sunday. Mark Henry vs. Big Show.  Is it wrong of me to want to see that. I mean it....two colossal behemoths clubbing each other in sheer PG fashion until blue food coloring pours from a fake gash. Why do I hate thee so? If I had no idea what WWE had been doing the past few years, I would insist that THIS match out of all the others would end in a pool of blood. Nope....PG glass ceiling.

Which brings me to one of the better, dominant, stiff workers the WWE has had in the past 10 years.....Dave Batista. This guy RADIATED intensity right down to the Ultimate Warrior rope freak out taunt. In a recent interview with the Daily Star and I would like to cast eyes particularly on this segment, taken verbatim about the WWE product these days.....

"He told FT this week: “It’s brutal. I can’t watch it. I can’t connect with it. I no longer know this business. I don’t do PG wrestling.

“Love me or hate me, when I was there everyone took one look at me and knew I could beat someone up. I don’t think they look at Miz that way.” 

Looking at our exclusive picture, you can see the man has a point. He went on: “It’s sad. It’s not their fault. These days the guys have their hands tied, they are so limited in what they can do. 

“The difference is that guys like Rock, Austin, Triple H, excuse me, but they had to have the living sh*t beat out of them to get where they are. They went through war and the audience knows it and the audience appreciates it. 

“The guys today will never get to that level. It’s sad, but that’s the reason for it.”

FT wrote a couple of weeks ago that joyous as Rock’s return was, it laid bare some of the difficulties WWE have in creating stars of his calibre, magnifying the gap between his stellar capacity and what is on offer today. 

Batista left the company because of the new direction, and obviously feels nothing has changed. "- The Daily Star.

I don't think he's wrong. When your product consists of 15 minute segments of sheer posturing and less time on story development told in the ring, I think he has a valid point. Now, I can recognize that this is, to some degree of the wrestling world as a whole, but TNA has done far better in in putting together a watchable product with twists and turns in a easily picked up storyline that MAKES SENSE. WWE is still grasping at straws with people who are more concerned with making a group of shareholders happy than the fans.

Need something else? Sure, why not....how about Bret Hart?


Did you catch it? "The problem isn't the wrestlers....it's the office directing....it's so the same every week."
 
I rant and rave about all of the things I hate about WWE and give TNA a bit of breathing room because WWE can do so much more than what I'm seeing. They are a GOOD company that has run aground a bit, which I think is terribly sad and unfair to the performers, not to mention the fans. I want to believe in WWE, but there is so much discord amongst the talents in the locker room. And why wouldn't there be? If there were was only one way to do things without taking the initiative to talk to the fans and cut out the middle man altogether, I think I'd be looking for work elsewhere too.

Suddenly crossing the line doesn't seem so bad....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Changes....

Wonders never cease....Karen AND Jeff are now gone.....I can't even begin to explain how that feels. Yep, I'm going to end this paragraph on that note.

Something I have been predicting is about to happen. What am I talking about? Despite her denials, a masked knockout will be revealed in the coming weeks to be Melina. She's finally crossed the line. This is GREAT news for the division as they can really use her expertise. With Karen gone, this may make Traci the next party in line for the VP position, which would make a welcome change of the tides.

I will say this....I am not a fan of the hodge podge tag team innovation happening right now. It, frankly, annoys me. It almost makes me wish they would pair up Abyss with Doctor Stevie. I actually miss that character. I am SO looking forward to the reunion of a decent team that looks like they belong together.

I'd like to take the time here to thank you guys for coming in and reading....it's been a bit of a weird week, I know....hence the breaks in columns. Funny thing about news....when it breaks, it often breaks big, but when it doesn't, it can be tough to fill in the gaps. That being said, is there anything you'd like to hear about? A perspective on anything in particular? By all means, I am open to comments and suggestions. Just throw something up and I'll do what I can to accommodate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Genesis Effect.....

In the upcoming weeks, TNA has their work cut out for them. I am waiting for the pairings TNA has put together for the Tag Team Title tournament to make some sense, but I have yet to see anything that is working, for the moment. This makes me believe more than ever that the two teams I mentioned in column's past are about to make a comeback, or at least one of them.

With James Storm hot off of a victory over Kurt Angle at Final Resolution, I wouldn't be surprised if they put him into the main event at Genesis. I DO, however, wonder what possible opponent they would pick for him if they should decide not to do a three way bout. Fact of the matter is, they could do a Fatal Four Way, including Styles, who never lost at Final Resolution.

Since Karen Jarrett still is VP of the Knockouts Division to this point, I am looking VERY forward to Traci Brooks finally snapping and engineering a coup against her boss. Whether or not Morrison comes over to TNA right now or not, I would very much like to see Melina make her mark in the Knockouts Division. With a fully loaded female roster like that, there would be absolutely no question who has the best women's division.

Right now, I am very curious to see where they take the direction of the Tag Team, TV, and X Titles. I see no ready opponents for any of them at the moment.  With Genesis looming in the closing distance, something needs to materialize for things to be able to move forward.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Triple Threat?

I'm sure that by the title of this post, you're thinking I'm going to talk about the main event for Genesis. Nice try, but I'm actually talking about the main event trilogy for Wrestlemania this coming year. WWE has tipped their hand and given us a look at what's coming. We've got John Cena vs. The Rock as we all know, but we've also got CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, which is a fairly new development. Lastly, we've got something people are far less likely to clamor for.....The Undertaker vs........HHH. Again. For the third time.

Okay, I get it...the theme is the Attitude Era main event star's final runs. If you add in the possibility of Brock Lesnar vs. Steve Austin, which has been brought up in the recent past, and you've got a pretty potent card filled with a hodge-podge of both kinds of performers critics give TNA crap for. You've got performers who can no longer go and performers who have a place that will last for a while to carry them. The problem is that once again, this is a band-aid on a bullet wound. You can pull in a couple of guys for a 'one more match' type of thing but once that match is used up, there is nothing left to fall back on except what The Rock did last year....hosting the event.

Triple H is The Undertaker's last opponent? Really? If they decide to end the story of Taker here, they are absolutely out of their minds. The mystique of the Undertaker story begs to be ended on a more supernatural, ethereal note. In my mind, the only man who could put the Deadman's story to closure is Kane. IF IF IF Taker wants one more year AND if Kane is looking to retire as well, the best close to this story is a Last Man Standing Match.

Neither man is able to answer the count of ten and Paul Bearer, along with the druids come in with two coffins. Each is taken to the top of the ramp, laying side by side. Bearer calls down the lightning and both coffins are revealed as being empty. And so ends the stories of Kane and Taker.....and it allows a comeback if WWE NEEDS IT.

In the meantime, Taker's opponent for this year really HAS to be something fresh and unless they can do something special here, they are in for a tough year for the character. I'm NOT saying that the upcoming Mania card trifecta isn't an entertaining one on paper. I AM saying, however, that the results seem entirely too predictable for me to be able to sit back and enjoy it as a fan instead of a critic.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Entrance Fee.....

As it turns out, Jericho has opted to go back to WWE after all. With that being said, he will be most likely involved in either the Royal Rumble match itself OR in a run in during the CM Punk match, leading to their Wrestlemania feud. In other spoiler WWE news, Kane's return will be to the RAW brand and the decision is still in the air about whether he'll return masked or not.

As for TNA, the current plan as far as the Jarrett situation is to give Jeff the axe and give him the opportunity to get the India project TNA is working on underway as an overseer. My response?



THAT means we're going to be treated to more Karen Jarrett as the VP of the Knockouts Division, but not with a couple of consequences for her part in the Cage Match. Expect there to be consequences for Roode AND for Karen on Impact. Roode escaped the champion with a 3-3 draw decision by the referee against AJ Styles, but he has Jeff Hardy to look forward to at Genesis. Sources I've been talking to have led me to believe there may be another force involved in the match, whether stipulation or contender. Which is it? I have no idea.....yet.

The Genesis Device.....

Final Resolution has finished and post-PPV announcements have been made....

- Someone is getting fired on Impact......Karen? Jeff? Which Jarrett remains?
- Since Jeff Hardy won the cage match....he will face Bobby Roode at Genesis.....

AND.....the subject of this column....a Tag Team Tournament will take place over the course of the next month with the winners facing Crimson/Morgan at Genesis.

Note: On the predictions I made yesterday.....All but 1 and 1/2 were accurate. Since I didn't get the winner right for the Roode/ Styles I docked myself, but since I did speculate a draw finish, I'll take a half point. I also missed them giving the X Title to Kid Kash. Outside of that, I had it pretty much right....not a bad outing, in my humble opinion.

BUT anyway, I have a few speculations about a couple of the teams to be featured in this tourney in the coming weeks. The two most notable are also the ones I would wish won't have to face each other unless it's for a title.....

1. America's Most Wanted.....Earlier this year, Matt Hardy picked "Wildcat" Chris Harris as a tag team partner against Beer Money. I believe TNA is wanting to put together the team once more to bolster the tag ranks, at least to get things started again. With that in mind, arguably the most fluid team in history would come to blows with none other than.....

2. The Motor City Machine Guns......Chris Sabin has been healing all this time and, fro what I've been told, is just about ready to debut. He HAS been training in his time off and, I think he'll be very close to 100% by the time it comes game time.

If Kurt Angle has ANYTHING to say about it, we may see one more tag team....this time from the outside.....

The World's Greatest Tag Team.....Haas and Benjamin are in ROH at the moment, but what I don't know is when their contracts are up. Could they make an impact ON Impact? Only the next few days will tell us for sure.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Game Day.....

With every match on the card, ready to be put into motion, it seems there is little to discuss. However, in light of John Morrison's latest YouTube post, it seems reasonable to potentially alter my stance. Potentially is the key word.....


Who knows if he's looking to re-emerge in TNA tonight? I won't count out the possibility, but I also won't count him in, either. SO....as for my predictions?

X Division Title match.....Aries vs. Kash
This one is a tough call. Kid Kash has been doing some dynamite stuff in the past few weeks including his last PPV appearance. While I don't want to see the strap leave Aries for anyone other than Sorensen, I'm going to predict a win for Kash.


Tag Team Title match....Pope/Devon vs. Crimson/Morgan
This is going to be a good match. No question in my mind. Now, exactly HOW good? A fair question....if TNA decides to showcase Crimson more, it could go either way, but if Morgan and Devon get some good momentum going, this match is going to be a very sound match. Crimson/Morgan retain is my stance.

Knockouts Title Match....Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
Before I go into any length, I am going to go with Gail Kim retaining the belt. Why? I get the feeling there is something in store for AFTER the match. While, for once, this could go off without interference, I'm not going to hold my breath. I'm going to go with an ultimately clean pin for Gail, but a pre-match beatdown for Mickie.

TV Title match.....Robbie E. vs. Eric Young
I am SO sick of seeing these two fighting for the worthless belt. I couldn't begin to care about this match UNLESS someone worthwhile comes in to clean house and takes the belt for himself. Seriously....not even going to pick a winner.

World Title.....AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode
I truly cannot wait for this match. I LOVE Iron Man Matches anyway, but this one has two guys who can go for 30 minutes nonstop without taking a breather. With all the technical wrestling Roode has in spades, Styles has a counter. This will be a hard fought battle with no real winner ultimately. UNLESS someone comes out to force a decision, I'm going to go with a No Contest.


RVD vs. Daniels
This one I really want to see Daniels come out on top for. I think it's time to start his rise to the top to get the Fortune feud to come full circle as each member has something going on right now except Kazarian. I have nothing to indicate it one way or another, so I'll say Daniels.


Angle vs. Storm
This one could go either way and I can get behind that, but I'm going to have to side with Storm. Angle needs the time to train, to ready himself for what is ahead for his qualifying matches for the Olympics. A loss will explain his absence.

Battle of the Jeffs (Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett) Cage Match
With escape as the only option and the career of Karen or Jeff being on the line, I'm going to go with Hardy for one simple reason. I WANT KAREN OUT OF MY LIFE FOREVER!

I think that covers my predictions, but as I said, I am not counting on an appearance from anyone new, but SOME news would be AMAZING. In the meantime, enjoy the PPV anyway....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Game Changer.....

I was talking with a friend of mine and he mentioned that Impact mentioned having been in talks with the Highlight of the Night, Chris Jericho. SO, I scoured the net for ANY news that might have existed to this end, the closest I found was a piece Kurt Angle did a year or two back for ESPN, mentioning him having a talk or two with Jericho about the potential for him to come to TNA.....


Now, with this having been on the docket a year or two ago, it seems reasonable that they would give it a try once again. Further, with Jericho having been snubbed by WWE in his lack of presence on WWE 12, it seems more likely that we'll see him turn up, at least for an appearance. Whether or not that is a lock for a contract is certainly something up for debate.

SO.....which is the best example of foeshadowing? THIS?



Or THIS?


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Card....

Looking down the card, I have a bit of speculation to do....Here's the final card for Sunday's PPV:

AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the World Title
Pope/ Devon vs. Crimson/ Morgan for the Tag Team Titles
Kid Kash vs. Austin Aries for the X Division Title
Mickie James vs. Gail Kim for the Knockouts Title
Eric Young vs. Robbie E. for the TV Title
Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett in an Cage Match
Kurt Angle vs. James Storm
RVD vs. Daniels.

More than half of the card is title matches....Seriously. How long has it been since WWE has put that many different titles on the line? Now, I am wondering if there is a way we could manipulate the card to account for a debut or two. IF Morrison and Melina were coming in together, I could see no better place than in the Jarrett and Hardy match, provided that Sting said something to the effect that he had some insurance in place in the event the Jarretts somehow were able to cheat his authority.

Another option would be for Jesse Sorenson to come out and attack both Kash and Aries and have both gang up on him, only to be stopped by his entrance. The beatdown would continue and Morrison would make the save.

Later in the night, Traci would send out an enforcer to stave off interference from Madison Rayne, leading Winter and Angelina Love to come out. This would bring out Tara and Tessmacher and a brawl would ensue. I would truly LOVE to see a real Knockouts Four on Four Elimination Match. Rayne, Winter, Kim, and Love vs. Tara, Tessmacher, James, and Melina. THAT would be a great match.

In the next column, I'll go ahead and give some predictions about how everything will play out. Until then, I hope you guys get plans set in place for Sunday to watch Final Resolution.

The Face-off.....

If anyone read my posts yesterday, I think you know I'd put together my fantasy card built around an entirely main event level card featuring, what I consider the best matches to possibly fill out the card as a whole. That being said, I give you the following:

Matt Morgan vs. Sheamus.....The Battle of the Big Guns. I like BOTH of these guys and I think they are VERY evenly matched on the surface. HOWEVER, Matt Morgan has a great deal more experience, even without the big gold to show for it. If it were over a title, I would give it to Morgan for his first big gold achievement.

CM Punk vs. Sting.....Why? Because I LOVE the idea of Punk in a feud with one of the great kings of the mind game. This would be a portable money printing machine. Punk, with his knowledge of the business and his poise in ring would be a benefit as Sting would need someone with his skill to make the match worth watching. CM Punk would ultimately win out in a match that would make Randy Orton jealous.

Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles.....I've heard more than one news report that Ziggler is among the best workers in WWE right now. It seems fitting to put Styles here as he is the poster boy for TNA, with his squeaky clean image and face persona. There is little doubt in my mind that AJ would be the victor, given his experience and expansive moveset.

Samoa Joe vs. Ezekiel Jackson.....There is no other place to make this even. These two must face one another. If WWE had built this guy as they should have, I would have given the triumphant victory to big 'Zeke, but since Joe's story has been a bit better, I'd give it to Joe.

Miz vs. Jeff Hardy.....I don't remember these two ever meeting in WWE, but if they had, Hardy would have put him through a stage the way he did to Orton. Now, Jeff is in a place where he could use a victory. Without much thought, I put Jeff over.

I can hear it now....why aren't more WWE guys going over? Since WWE has flooded their roster with youth and gotten rid of most of their veterans, this is what you're left with. I will grant that some of these match ups could go either way, but with experience on the side of TNA here, TNA gets a huge sway of momentum.

Fatal Four Way Elimination Match: James Storm vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett vs. Bobby Roode
Now on the surface this kinda looks like a Nexus vs. Beer Money match, but since all of these guys have had some success as singles competitors, this would be a pretty epic performance. In my personal opinion, it would come down to Bryan and Roode in the final fall, with Bryan taking the win in the end.

What we're left with is Zack Ryder and Velvet Sky, which means that I will pick one partner for each to compete in a mixed tag. By putting together glamour and beauty, we come to Kelly Kelly as Ryder's partner. By putting comedy and athletic ability together, we arrive at Eric Young as Velvet Sky's partner...

Eric Young and Velvet Sky vs. Zack Ryder and Kelly Kelly.......Believe it or not, I would LOVE to see a match like this. The humor and sex appeal would make this the perfect halfway point for the card. That being said, I have no clue who to root for. I want Zack Ryder to win in a battle vs. Young, but I want Velvet Sky winning over Kelly Kelly, but I want the partners to work off of one another.....I say call it a draw.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

WWE's Best.....

Since I've put down WWE so often, it seems only fair that I put together something nice. It's on the heels of watching WWE's Chris Jericho documentary that I feel compelled to give WWE SOME credit. With this entry, I will also throw out a few rules here to balance the playing field, as WWE's roster is much larger than TNA's. It seems to me that any star who should be at the top of WWE's game should have the following qualifications.

- At least 4 years' experience in the mid-card.
- At least one victory over a main event level talent.
- At least one undercard title before entering the main event
- They must be able to perform for the next 5 years

With these qualifications, I may make one or two exceptions. Since WWE has flooded their roster with tragically green talents, it seems to me that certain talents must be given some leeway. That being the case, I think it best to jump right into the bulk of this thing. My Top 7.....

Zack Ryder....It's no secret that I think this guy has main event written all over him. With all but the third qualification under his belt, I think he is qualified enough. His lack of a mid card title is trumped by his ingenuity and use of social media to make him a mid card mogul. It earned him a spot on Sports Illustrated's list of 100 Most Influential Social Media Users in Sports. That's good enough for me.

Dolph Ziggler....I HATE his name. No one will ever convince me that his name sells. Nevertheless, his talent is undeniable. The current US Title holder is entering a trend, pulling double duty (2 separate matches on the same card) in the last 3 PPV outings. For any convinced that he doesn't have the tenure under his belt...he was one of the 5 members of the Spirit Squad (Nicky), who feuded with DX during the 2006, making his time with WWE comparable to Ryder, his opponent for TLC in a couple of weeks.

Sheamus....I like the big bad ginger. Seriously. I think he's one of WWE's best right now and has an impressive resume for someone as new to the company as he is. In terms of his time spent, he spent time on and off camera working angles for DX and made his first in ring appearance on camera in 2009. He is a Brock Lesnar for WWE. By this, I mean that he is an apparition. WWE, as a general rule, doesn't push new talents the way they have pushed him. But under the tutelage of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, he was LAUNCHED into the main event long before anyone else on this list.

Ezekiel Jackson....This one might shock you, but he reminds me of another big man who got the big break where he didn't...Sgt. Bobby Lashley. He has been spent criminally in the undercard for too long and, in my humble opinion, with either training on the mic or a spokesman, could EASILY have been what Mark Henry has been. I was a fan when he first came in, and saw him wasted without a second thought. You're missing it, WWE.

Wade Barrett.....This guy blows me away. He can cut a compelling promo, he can chain wrestle with the best, and he can command a legion. Not many guys in the wrestling business can claim that on their resume. He's still a new talent, but the Nexus' first on screen rampage with him as their leader makes me bend my own rules here.

CM Punk.....No one should be surprised. His infamous promo leading up to Money in the Bank is going to be remembered for a long while, mark my words. His controversial persona, however, is one that begs the question of whether or not WWE upper brass will, at some point cut him off. Nevertheless, with more than enough time under his belt and a list of world titles to his credit, he is well on his way to becoming what already claims to be...the Best in the World.

The Miz.....I HATE the Miz. I really do. I don't think he is ANYWHERE near as talented in the ring as the upper crust of WWE do. HOWEVER, since WWE, these days, has this thing about giving guys a shot if they can use the mic and, since he seems to feel at home in front of said microphone, he deserves to be at the top of the card. Simple as that.

That would be 7. Now...I'm sure there are those out there who will throw up their hands and try to tell me that Randy Orton, John Cena, The Undertaker, Kane, Mark Henry, Triple H, and God knows who else deserves be there. Here's the thing, Cena and Orton are set for life. They will be at the top of the card and it doesn't matter what the fans say or think. Taker is on his last legs. So is Kane. Triple H isn't needed in the game anymore. Mark Henry will not be around much longer; he's already had a 15+ year run and he'll be done in the coming years. I will expand this list for only one more Superstar and that is because he is a guaranteed sure thing.

Daniel Bryan....Mr. Money in the Bank is right now riding the waves to Wrestlemania. If CM Punk isn't busy and if Stone Cold Steve Austin or Chris Jericho don't show up to take some of Punk's thunder, I see Bryan cashing in on him. I like his resume. I like his ability to cut a promo. Contrary to most, HIS promo cut last year during NXT was quite possibly the thing that gave CM Punk the idea to put together his pipe bomb in the first place. Look it up, it's all there. Not to mention he is the single best wrestler on their ENTIRE roster. Look up his work in ROH. It runs circles around EVERYONE else....even Orton and Cena.

The Top Seven Faces....

Alright....I've been thinking, guys. If I could pick the 7 performers TNA should build their company around....who would best represent? Before I launch in, I'd like to offer a few rules.

-They must be young enough to compete AT LEAST 5 more years.
-They must be versatile enough to compete ANYWHERE on the card.
-They must have enough charisma either in the ring or on the microphone to warrant such a push.
-They must be either TNA originals or have competed in TNA for 3 years or more.

Outside of those guidelines....pretty much anything goes. With those restrictions; Anderson, Pope D'Angelo Dinero, and anyone else who came over in the Hogan regime or shortly before would be disqualified from this column. Kurt Angle would also be disqualified since once his contract is up, he may not re-sign. Would I alter the question to give some star power? Nope. So here we go...

AJ Styles.....There should NEVER be a surprise to see his name attached to TNA. He has been the single most consistent member of the roster since day one and has done it all. He has done everything from winning every title, to crafting a new one. There is NO ONE more qualified to fit that bill.

Bobby Roode.....This should come as little surprise as he has been one of the most entertaining performers in the past year, for sure, but one of the most durable performers since the beginning of the company's history. He weathered through tag teams, factions, failed singles competition, and finally reached the pinnacle.

Matt Morgan....This guy BARELY squeaked through, having been around for 4 years. He's the quickest big guy in ANY televised company right now. He can work a microphone with compelling ease. It's only a matter of time until HIS time comes. He can perform at a consistently high level and is among the best TNA fan favorites they have.

Jeff Hardy.....because of his tenure before his most recent return, he DOES qualify. HOWEVER, whether he remains on this list will be determined entirely by how he performs in the coming year. IF he can keep his nose (and veins) clean, he should be displayed prominently as one of the greatest success stories since Eddie Guerrero. Since his status is questionable, I will count Hardy as a reserve on this list, making another spot available.

Note: This list is designed not only to appeal to the wrestling fan, but to the general public as well. A casual fan MUST be satiated by the sight and spectacle as well as the skill. That being said,

Velvet Sky.....She's not the most talented Knockout as of yet, but she is improving and she's arguably the single most popular Knockout on the roster. Segments with her in them bolster ratings. Period.

Samoa Joe.....I've been very vocal about his character. I have been a fan of his since he first came into TNA and my position has not changed. He is a dangerous figure to be reckoned with who has fallen victim to storyline tailors and politics. Nevertheless, he has earned my respect as a class act performer and he deserves some credit.

Sting.....You can say what you want about the Icon, but he is the single most widely known wrestler who has NEVER worked for the WWE machine. That fact alone earns him a spot, but compoundly, his presence on the microphone as well as behind the scenes is invaluable to TNA at this stage in the game.

With one spot left to fill, my final pick is James Storm. His storyline this year has made me a believer that he can be trusted to carry the ball. His short World Title reign means very little to my opinion. He is a great worker who can deliver some compelling lines through the mic as well as taunt with the best of them. He can sell T-Shirts with his catchphrases and still make the phrase relevant. Not many people in this business can pull that off.

Being edged out, even if only by a little, Kazarian. Why? I'm going to call it an X Factor. Maybe next year we'll finally be treated to Kaz's very best. I believe, while we may have seen some of his quiet resolve, once the seal breaks, we may see the finest that Kazarian has to offer. The Fortune feud is still gaining steam and would be given great poise and an added element of urgency to the mix once Frank has had enough. Would the feud turn him heel? Maybe. But an ultra face or an anti-hero Kazarian would work every bit as well.

I say put them together on a collector cup, send them to the frontline to sign autographs, and put the spotlight on them. The lights over in TNA are every bit as bright. Just watch...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quick Questions.....

I have a few questions that I'd LOVE to know the answers to.....maybe you guys have something on the books that I haven't discovered yet.

-What does a Chairs Match look like? We've seen Tables matches and we've seen Ladder matches, but I've never seen a Chairs Match. Just curious....

- Why is Ezekiel Jackson such a pushover? He could quite probably bench press half of the locker room and then eat the other half for dinner after doing a few reps. WWE is making him look like inferior to a good portion of the roster on Smackdown...just curious.....

- Why does Vince and company shop for Divas in catalogues and bikini contests when he knows they'll be potentially injured in his product? Seems to me that he just hates models....not that there's anything wrong with that...is there?

- Why is it that when Evan Bourne gets busted for the first offense of the WWE Wellness Policy that Air Boom isn't stripped of the titles, but when R-Truth is busted for HIS first offense, Awesome Truth is disbanded? Could it be that all WWE wanted was a vehicle to push Miz back into the title picture? Could Vince be so devious that he would sacrifice one tag team and yet, without destroying the entire Tag Division, keep the straps on the only other team left?

- Where has Petey Williams landed? When do we original TNA fans get to see the Canadian Destroyer again?

- What ever happened to the idea of bringing back America's Most Wanted? For a while, backstage, there was talk about Chris Harris turning on Matt Hardy back when Beer Money was going strong and using that story to propel Bobby Roode into singles competition while reuniting one of TNA's greatest tag teams in their history.

- If Triple H truly wanted to rebuild the Tag Team Division, why doesn't he simply call up names from FCW, where tag teams are being built as we speak? Why not put some undercard names together by their look they way they did with Air Boom? Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins, with a bit of tweaking, could be a primed team, if given a cohesive look and a bonded moveset.

Additionally, USING some of the other teams they already have in a progressive way; the Usos, for example, could be a great team, provided they lose the bright colors and go to long trunks or something less gawdy like that.

-After seeing footage of Hunico, Epico, and Primo, I almost expected to see the TNA talents, whose look was DELIBERATELY COPIED coming out to destroy them and drag their carcasses home to torture them on their home turf. Why do people believe that WWE is the innovator in most things? The gimmick themed PPV was done by TNA years before WWE caught on. The genius of the double standard runs wild among the devout WWE mark....

I have more questions for WWE than I do for TNA, but for all you who believe I wish to call for WWE's demise, nothing could be further from the truth. I want the company I loved watching back. I want to see a company where every division is making a difference in the company. I want the belts to look like they mean something. I want to see a PPV where I don't feel as though pushes have been wasted or that storylines are being fumbled. I want to believe in Vince's world, once again, but until he restores control to the wrestling writers and removes their reins; allowing them to think outside the PG box, this level of inconsistent booking, and the loss of talented performers who deserve better will continue....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

References and Street Credit....

At the beginning of my day yesterday, I had an idea in mind of what to bring to the table today, but a conversation has swayed my decision. I have come to a topic for the day and THAT means that what I WAS going to bring up will have to wait until another time. I would like to take a walk with you all back in time to 1996 and the formation of the nWo.

If you'll bear with me, I will set the stage for the shifting of the balance of power. WWF/E was thrown off kilter by the nWo. Why? Because no one saw it coming. Not only that, but people wanted to see something that hadn't been done for a great long while; since the Four Horsemen, in fact. A stable showed up to run the asylum, so to speak. Hogan became the the spokesman for the New World Order and solidified his heel status after having been a face character for many years prior to that point.

The end of the nWo is well chronicled and I won't go into much depth except to say that the sheer size of the stable killed the nWo as well as the booking of the nWo platform, which by 1999, was being done by Kevin Nash, who is an entire column unto himself. Suffice it to say that the faction was killed from within.

NOW, fast forward to 2002. Seeds of a new faction rising up were being planted that would come to fruition in the following year. A brand new power, this time in WWE. Evolution. Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista. With each member having a part to play much like the Four Horsemen and the nWo before them, Evolution worked VERY well for WWE. Why? I would refer back to another column entitled "Invasion of Privacy". They started small and stayed small; they built the story slowly; and were VERY dominant in every division save for the Women's Division, at the time. It all worked because of veteran leadership.

The Nexus and The Corre, respectively had a decent spokesman, but bad booking led to a disbanding and reformation of The Nexus stable under a new leader. The problem with Nexus AND The Corre was that they separated. They lost members to injury, failing of the wellness policy, and then lost their leaders to other feuds, ultimately creating their own demise. WWE allowed the stables to fail. I don't know why. BOTH stables had merits and BOTH factions had a strong character taking the lead (CM Punk and Wade Barrett, respectively).

I hope you'll forgive the length, but I do have a point in all of this. WWE had the opportunity to recreate history by allying THE top face in the company with THE top heel tag team in the company to form a brand new power; a strong power. If Cena had turned on The Rock, it would have meant a water-tight reason for The Rock to be away for the 3 month time span leading up to Wrestlemania. John Cena, when allowed to play heel, does an AMAZING job. This is coming from a guy who is NOT a fan of the character at all. SO.....you've turned Cena heel, now what?

Truth dropped the ball by failing a drug test. NEVERTHELESS, even with that happening, the stable could have kept moving, with Cena and Miz running rampant on RAW, tearing through opponent after opponent, leading The Rock to make either an appearance via satellite or live. He'd state that he already killed an organization in his first run with WWE and it seems only fitting a decade later to do it ONE MORE TIME. WWE could run the finish to the Cena vs. The Rock match however they felt like it and either break up the stable shortly thereafter or keep them all together. By that time, it really wouldn't matter because what brought them to the big dance had already run its course.

Hogan, Nash, Barrett, Punk; they all ran a successful faction because of their presence. Without that presence, the head of their stable, the groups all failed. There is too much history backing this stuff up to dispute. Cena turning heel would be MORE than newsworthy and may have created WWE a machine by which they could have printed their own currency if they so chose.....and, mark my words, the people of the WWE Universe would have bought it...... hook, line, and sinker.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tag Team of the Year......

Before I launch into what may end up being a bit of a rant, let me say that there truly no clear cut winners for me. I wish there were. My problem is that aside from Ink Inc. and Mexican America, there haven't been any teams in WWE OR TNA who've been together the entire year. That being the case, there has to be some kind of compromise to address that fact. With that, I believe there should be TWO pairs chosen. Since I'm not a fan of the idea that the winner HAS to have been together for six months or anything like that, I say let's explore my picks.....

- Air Boom......Surprised? You shouldn't be. When WWE DOES invest time into putting together a decent tag team, SOMETIMES they get it right. THIS is one of those times. I have always liked a team that can take the match to the turnbuckles and use opponents as a landing pad. Bourne and Kingston are the best high flyers on the entire roster and putting them together seems, to me, like a no brainer, but WWE took their time and I even like the name....go figure.

- Crimson and Matt Morgan.....This is the one I'll bet surprises people more. On the one end of the spectrum, you have the lightweight competitors who are aerial in their attacks, but these guys are pure power through and through. I HAVE to pull for these guys because they can run the division in ANY company. I fully believe that, too. Crimson is improving and putting him together with another bigger guy like Matt Morgan, who is without hesitation my pick for the quickest big guy in the business today, seems like a match made in training Heaven.

Since there IS a women's tag division, I should give credit where credit is due.....Fact of the matter is, there is no contest for me, my pick for Knockout Tag Team of the Year? It's dynamite.....TnT.

Tara and Tessmacher.....They are the perfect blend of experience and talent in training and they work exceptionally well together. If I didn't mention it, they are both drop dead gorgeous. I posted a vid from Tara and Tessmacher that was put together by Tara and they are VERY funny gals. Seriously. If you don't believe me, give the rest of their videos a look on YouTube.

Keep your fingers crossed, guys as there will be some developments coming about the Motor City Machine Guns in the coming days. Until then, thanks for coming and keep passing it around....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

One Week....

We've got two specialty matches lined up and I can hardly wait for Final Resolution. I love the build they are giving Bobby Roode and that he's now the biggest heel on Impact. An Iron Man Match seems fitting for AJ and Roode as I know they can pull it off.      

I have mixed feelings about the Battle of the Jeffs Cage Match. I love Karen being held in handcuffs, but I don't like that she's involved at all. I do, however, still get a wave of joy seeing her throw that tantrum of hers. So funny. Jeff Jarrett NEEDS to sell Hardy's offense like a million bucks or it will stall Hardys push to the main event. If ever there was a good place to stick John Morrison, this would be it for me. Have Morrison come in as a face, preventing Jarrett from leaving the cage.

A guaranteed 30 to 50 minutes of action is great for a card's beginning. Seriously, nearly an hour of action set in stone is an improvement for WWE OR TNA from the previous months' worth of PPVs. The TNA Tag Team Title match is also looking to be a good one with Devon and Pope vs. Crimson and Morgan as the marquis match. I look for this to be a great match with plenty of psychological storytelling by Pope and Morgan, being highlighted by the finesse of Devon and finished off by Crimson.

Mickie James vs. Gail Kim is one I've seen before, but never here in TNA. I am truly looking forward to that as well. Even though I can see some interference from a mile away, I get the feeling Melina will be waiting in the wings to render aid via Traci Brooks, keeping the Queen Bee at bay.

This PPV is going to be a good one with plenty of surprises in store. Only one more week, guys. I'm getting excited about TNA's chances on this card.                                                            

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wrestler of the Year.....

CM Punk. I'm going to put his name above the top of the list because after his pipe bomb promo, there was a silence....I'm talking about a momentary hush where you suspended belief. Did he actually say that? Did he have an accomplice to help him get air time? Is Vince going to give this a real fighting chance to sell? I will say that the answer to whether or not he was given a fighting chance to take the reins took place in a match where he was systematically buried by Triple H in the months that followed. Even though Vince sold him out and arranged him BENEATH Cena AGAIN after having beaten John on 3 consecutive meetings on PPV, CM Punk's promo earns him my vote for Wrestler of the Year for an experimental promo cut on a whim.

I may never know whether or not everything he said was planned or if the plug wasn't being pulled because of miscommunications from the man upstairs, but I do know that CM Punk is ALSO in the running for the most EPIC FAIL of the year and that not of his own volition. The treatment of his push is, without doubt, the most EPIC FAIL OF THE YEAR, only being challenged by a lack of a John Cena heel turn at Survivor Series. The TNA treatment of Bobby Roode is only a blip on the radar of bad decisions next to the two WWE has wasted this year.

In case any of you missed this promo from Punk, I GLADLY post it here as the single best piece of WWE footage I have seen in the past 4 years.....


I still get goosebumps seeing this footage. It's really a genius piece. CM Punk is the most underrated, underutilized, underappreciated talent WWE has right now. Yes, he's in a main event. Yes, he's got the big gold. And yes, he's foregoing a spot in the Royal Rumble to defend said belt. A champion is only as good as his opponent. WWE's idea of the best opponent is Del Rio? Really? CM Punk, a man who, only six months ago was the hottest topic on the internet and the wrestling world in general is reduced to carrying Alberto Del Rio's rear end through a program that is consistently losing viewers on TV?

Additionally, he's holding a belt he doesn't even like. For the record, a number of Superstars on the WWE roster have taken a petition to change the WWE Title. The man leading the charge? John Cena, for whom the belt was designed in the first place. In the coming months, WWE is looking to re-introduce the WWE Title with a different look than we've seen in the past 6 or 7 years. My response? IT'S ABOUT FREAKING TIME!!! Yeah, I've got some venom about WWE's belts. They went from having some of the most prestigious looking titles in the WORLD. The WWE Title, The Women's Championship, The World Tag Team Championships, The WWE Tag Team Championships; each one was replaced by an inferior counterpart. The Diva's Title, The Spartan (say what you want about them, but the unified titles are hideous) Tag Team Titles; they are all shadow predecessors of much greater, classier belts.

Okay, rant over. My point in all of this is that CM Punk is in a terrible place right now with an opponent who couldn't deserve the push less. Punk is a class act performer who holds an inferior title in an inferior feud and is handling it all with more class than someone else might have with half as many complaints about the job. Thumbs up to CM Punk.

Sugar and Spice.....

I've had a BUNCH of stuff just saved and built up here on my draft board and the time was just never right to put it out here and show it off, but I've found some really great vids and stuff I'm gonna throw out here and see what you guys think. Setting this thing all off, I've got a vid posted by Tara. This is from 2 weeks ago's when the Knockouts had a lingerie match. Though I'm not a very big fan of that kind of match as I think it somewhat cheapens what these women are doing for the company, I understand why it's happening. All that aside, this is TnT telling what they liked most about doing the match....


One of my favorite posts put up by a female performer EVER. I thought I was going to die laughing.

If you are a fan of Tessmacher, she did an interview with Diva Dirt, and the link can be found here...
http://www.diva-dirt.com/2011/12/01/listen-live-dd360-with-brooke-tessmacher-sara-del-rey-plus-maryse-interview-sneak-peek/

Prepare yourself. The 15 minutes worth of chatter before the actual interview is brutal.....trust me and press on, I think the interview is worth wading through the muck.

Next up is perhaps my favorite female indy wrestler, Alison Danger and her take on women's wrestling on television. I will grant, the interview is a bit dated, but I think the point then is the same now....


For the record, and you all know this, every WWE Diva she mentioned in this interview is no longer with WWE....coincidence? I think not.

Quite possibly my favorite group of vignettes TNA has done in recent years has been for Jeff Hardy. The entire Jeff story leading up to Bound for Glory blew me away....


This kicked off one of the best stories TNA has done since the beginning of the Hogan Era. The emotion behind the return was compelling and it made me really feel for Jeff. It's tough being THE guy. Ask the man at the top of any wrestling fed. Being at the top in BOTH of the top two wrestling companies in the world can only be stressful. There is some fun, to be sure, but all that is secondary to the load you have to carry for a company that expects you to represent them in your conduct, your attitude, your treatment of fans, and in your life outside the company.

I've got so much more on the table and I'll throw down more stuff like this as well from time to time, but this is a tribute to some of the best I've seen. Enjoy....

The Nature of a Heel.....

I don't know why it is, but I love talking about bad guys. I mean, the guys that make a fighting champion look good; the guys who you hate and it gives you pleasure to see get beaten down. I would like to know what makes a good heel? I have my own ideas which I will dispense, to be sure, but I'm curious how my opinion stacks up to yours. Let's have a look.....

Cheating- Ric Flair was called the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" and it wasn't for no reason. He cheated his way into more title runs than anyone else in the business so far.

Lying- Eddie Guerrero was famous for using a foreign object and then flopping while the ref was distracted, handing the weapon off to his opponent before hitting the mat. The genius selling of this phenomenon made his persona so interesting.

Distraction- More tag teams can account for this as their edge than any singles performer. It does happen that a performer will bring in outside interference to aid in victory when possible.

Overboard tactics- Beating a guy down and continuing to do so long after the bell has rung is a good indicator. Bobby Roode is the most recent example, but so many can claim the moniker.

Use of weapons- Triple H is my favorite example of the use of a weapon to bend opponents to a person's will. This does often march into overboard tactics (see Triple H's use of the sledge to Shawn Michaels at Summer Slam 2002)

While each of these traits is a good ingredient to creating a convincing heel, all of them and an additional factor can make for a menacing villain. What else makes for a good villain? The ability to make a crowd believe that every vile threat he or she makes is well within their power to carry them all out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Developments....

Somebody tell me you didn't laugh until you cried at seeing Karen Jarrett jumping up and down throwing a tantrum like a 5 year old. I'd read about it, saw it firsthand, and I still was completely unprepared for how much joy it gave me. I was watching a parent and child interacting at a department store this week. The kid was riding one of those little 12 volt riding vehicles around the store, to the contrary of the rules in place. A good friend walked up beside me and said "Doesn't it give you a swell of joy watching the children play like that?"

I thought about it for a minute; looked back at him and told him "Nope, what gives me a swell of joy is knowing that since they didn't follow the rules and leave the riding toy alone, that parent is going to have to remove the kid from the car in a few minutes and that kid is going to embarrass the heck out of him." You know what I love about that story? I love that Karen Jarrett is going to be handcuffed to Sting at Genesis at ringside for the match between the Jeffs. I love that because they couldn't follow the rules, there were consequences.

Between Final Resolution and Genesis, TNA has debuted more wrestlers than any other time of the year. I would place bets on John Morrison and/or Melina making their first steps onto TNA's stage in the next couple of weeks, if not at Final Resolution itself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homage to Characters Missed.....

This column is very near and dear to me. I want to take some time and thank some of my favorite former TNA performers. These performers would be welcomed back by the fans and talents alike as they embodied some of the best talent TNA has had to offer. I do have my personal favorites, which I dispense here, but I give many thanks nevertheless, to the service each and every performer has given to the fans of TNA. Without further ado, I would like to use this as a petition to every performer mentioned here that we wish you Happy Holidays and hope you'll one day make a triumphant return.

1. Petey Williams....The Canadian Destroyer is the talent I most miss. His talent was greatly underutilized in his time, but I believe in a return, there would be more fanfare, pomp, and circumstance if he were to grace TNA's stage once again than ANY other former talent TNA has ever had.

2. Taylor Wilde.....The Knockout who beat Kong in her debut was, perhaps the greatest loss TNA has suffered in the division since Kong herself. Though I respect her decision to walk away and pursue a life of normalcy, I know that TNA would welcome a chance to see one of the brightest lights the Knockouts Division has ever agreed to let go in good faith.

3. Monty Brown......The Alpha Male running rampant once again would be something of a godsend to put in the path of someone like Crimson. Though his contributions have never seen the glint of World Championship gold, I am confident his path to glory would be in coming should he ever see fit to make a return. Fact of the matter is, he'd only be one POUNCE away......period.

4. Christian Cage.....I grant that this is a tall, a VERY tall order, but Christian  brought some of the best heel heat and face pops TNA has ever experienced. His arrival at Genesis 2005 made waves and breathed new life and confidence into his character once his return to WWE was imminent. The proof is in his nearly single-handed shouldering of the ECW brand before its collapse. A return to TNA once his injury has passed would be something of a welcome home party.

5. Nikki Roxx......Her name under the TNA banner was Roxy and she was among the greatest Knockouts TNA employed. To her credit, TNA was shady in their dealings with her and yet, she has been more professional and more classy than ANY other womens performer in ANY televised wrestling promotion in the last 20 years. I would welcome her back to my TV in ANY capacity, even as the VP of the Knockouts Division if they should take the product in her direction.

While this list only scratches the surface of the tremendous performers lost over the past few years, some of the greatest moments in TNA history have come under the ushering of such stars. A welcome day would dawn if even one of these would return to the thundering applause of the TNA Nation as a whole.

The Wrestlemania Conspiracy....

As reported yesterday, Chris Jericho has been speculated as the target of the January 2nd date the promos and vignettes are for. What was UNREPORTED was that Chris Jericho was livid about being left out of WWE's WWE 12. The words thrown around after his omission changed the climate of talks of his return. Some within the company hold hope of Jericho not wanting to miss out on a Wrestlemania payoff, but others believe Jericho doesn't believe that kind of disrespect is worth such a payout.

WWE are sticking with the idea that The Undertaker could fit the hype attached to the vignettes, but none believe it out of the question to introduce a new character to be a fitting replacement in a pinch. Once the mid-point of the month comes around, WWE will make their decision and do their storyline writing to adjust to it.

My question to all in the WWE Universe is why would WWE be on such a roll of stupid errors? By my reckoning, it began with the PG Era and since has been a comedy of epic proportions ever since. From the guest hosts who turned it into a weekly circus to the systematic burial of CM Punk to the jabbing (or snubbing) of former WWE employees to the most recent Sin Cara T-Shirt, which is, even now picking up speed. By all means, look up the controversial shirt....pictures still swirl the internet. I believe Hulk Hogan said it best.....
"You can make a lot of little mistakes, but you can make very few big ones. 'Cause once that plane starts going down, it's really hard to pull that nose up with so much weight behind it." (The Rise and Fall of WCW)

Vince has been erratic in his treatments of RAW over the course of the past 2 years. His presence makes people nervous; he calls for rewrites almost weekly (the week of CM Punk's return, there were 6 rewrites of his return segment alone), and very few people can walk by without feeling like they have to walk on eggshells. His newfound love of Twitter is fast becoming the inside joke in the locker room. With so many banned words from the commentator's booth, as well as forbidding their talents to mention any other company by name on interviews, TV spots, etc. it seems impossible to tell what to say and what not to without some sort of list of things to memorize before making appearances. Additionally, WWE seems content to push talents to make appearances on TV outside of the product on talk shows and radio shows and the like as often as possible.

The WWE machine is looking to march forward with their own network. The inaugural launch date is on the same day as Wrestlemania this year. April 1, 2012. Does it strike anyone else as odd that WWE would pick a day like that to launch such an epic campaign? If I were in their place, I would remove all irony and foreshadowing by removing the launch date of a network from April Fool's Day to some other time.....just a thought. If the network fails, which, in terms of the programming they are looking to promote, seems likely, there will be more than just comparisons to the XFL to contend with.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few More Words....

Recent conversations about the TNA vs. WWE rants I've posted here have made me wonder: Am I being too hard on the WWE product and not hard enough on TNA? Am I being biased against a company I once took solace in watching just a few years ago? Could it be that my arguments are not only unfounded, but also without any merit? I think that's a very fair line of questioning. Considering the climate of WWE and TNA, I think it wise to explore that line and see what turns up.

Now, I've watched what many are calling the Match of the Year....Money in the Bank 2011's very own John Cena vs. CM Punk. As far as storytelling is concerned, it was a classic. As far as the finish is concerned, it was a testament to the fact that WWE still knows how to tell a story. As for match of the year? Maybe. There's a strong case to be made to that tune. Here's my dispute.....While the match was great, what was done with the momentum CM Punk had leaving the event? It was WASTED! He was rushed back and conveniently wasted beneath the shadow of the WWE's superman and the story surrounding HIM. PUNK WAS THE DRAW THIS YEAR!!! NOT CENA!

What most people seem to ignore is that despite the glitz and glam the WWE is famous for, they have no strong top tier. It's filled with the same guys we've all seen time and time again and, even though John Cena has stepped away from the title picture, he's still the focal point of RAW. Where does that leave the WWE Champ? Sure, you could say he was in the main event of RAW this week and you'd be right, but John Cena's RAW opening segment was the highlight of the entire show.

Does WWE have a Women's Division? Nope. That died when the Divas and Women's Title merged. I would give them credit for having a strong division if Vince would give me OR them a reason to make me care. Ask Tara, Gail Kim, or Mickie James why they jumped ship. They were asked to job to Divas who hadn't had 6 month experience in the ring, let alone 6 years. I've tried to give credit where it is due, but two or three shining talents in a division doesn't make a strong division.

Okay....I've given WWE some shots and, I think, the shots are fair. Let me give TNA a couple.....

TNA blew a big break in giving Bobby Roode the World Title on their grandest stage. Do I agree with what was done? I didn't at the time. Now? Bobby Roode's heel persona makes TNA a better product, something compelling. If you want to take shots at what was done? Fine. I've got no problem with that but don't try and say Roode is anything less than one of the finest performers in wrestling today.

I WANT KAREN JARRETT FIRED FROM MY TV!!!! I don't think it's too much to ask to rush this storyline through baggage claim so I can move on with my life. I think she is a poison to the Knockouts Division, who are SECOND TO NONE in the wrestling world.

I've been vocal about the misuse of the TV Title and I think it's just and fair to say that it makes the title look flimsy and not worth the trouble of fighting for. Repairing a broken title hunt is NOT difficult. Fact is, if TNA wants to have their own version of the FTW Title from ECW that only two people fought over, it needs to be made clear that no one else should go after it.

I have plenty of gripes as far as the TNA product goes, but explaining what TNA is now is like combining the best of ROH with some of the glint and glitz of WWE. In fact, if you look at the list of players, it kinda reminds me of what RAW USED to be. RAW used to be filled with veterans with a smattering of guys they could train. Now, RAW is filled with guys waiting to be trained by guys who aren't qualified to DO that training. Now this is only an opinion, so please take it as such, but TNA is now what I miss about WWE. I miss being edgy, I miss seeing women work a match every bit as hard as the men on the card. I miss seeing guys in situations where they can carry a match 15 minutes or more for the main event. I miss seeing a really good, compelling tag team bout where each team looked like they belonged in the hunt for the gold.

Seeing RAW now reminds me that there was a time when no one knew who TNA was because there was nothing else more important to watch than WWE. It reminds me that WWE knows better than cheating their fans out of money they paid in good faith to see a product that is cutting edge and relevant to the fans who stuck around when WCW was in their face, ready to do battle from week to week.

Vignettes.....

With WWE and TNA in deadlock with the storylines they have going on right now, WWE is grasping at straws. Their cryptic vignettes about January 2nd have been met with multiple conflicting rumors. PWI's insider reports that the vignettes are being run for the return of Chris Jericho. Certainly this would be good news for the Red and Blue brand products, but since talks, up to now, have fallen through, WWE's optimism may not pay off for the return of Y2J.

The Wrestling Observer reports that the vignettes are formulated for the return of The Undertaker. And even though it could be used as a reasonable alternative to Jericho, The Deadman's return, however, brings its own share of problems. Who would his target be to feud with until the event where the Streak is on the line? Why would he be coming back as a force to punish? Unless his target is Mark Henry, whom WWE has plans to turn face anyway, it may determine how long his heel run may last.

While these reports point to one established talent, other sources say WWE could use them to introduce someone new with MASSIVE fanfare and push. If talks ultimate run to stalemate and Jericho cannot be pulled from his busy-ness; if it doesn't make sense to WWE to bring in The Undertaker with these vignettes; if no one new can be found to fit the bill for these promos; WWE may be in for a very hard road to Wrestlemania. As it stands, Cena is still a face, but could be entering a slow burn heel turn, which is a VERY long time coming. CM Punk and Del Rio are not selling the card the way they were expecting and the various divisions outside the title picture are crumbling. All does not bode well.

Meanwhile, TNA's Tag Team Division woes are beginning to lighten with Pope and Devon joining the fray, Ink Inc still intact, and Mexican America with every member still under contract. With the inclusion of Matt Morgan and Crimson leading the pack, TNA, it seems has put a patch on the leaky division, but, admittedly, they need more players to fight for the Tag Team Division gold. Another light is on the horizon though, as an injured star on the roster is almost mended; promising a return of one of TNA's best tag teams in their history, The Motor City Machine Guns.

The X Division may be on the verge of another breakthrough as John Morrison's contract with WWE is now over. Another player there, perhaps, combined with the talents of Aries, Kendrick, Sorensen, Kash, and Anthony Nese and Zema Ion on reserve, may create a new resurgence of the division still in process of being rebuilt.

The Knockouts Division is also facing a regime change as Karen Jarrett's reign as VP of the division will be challenged in the coming months. The influx of another Knockout to join the ranks as Jackie's contract has now expired only proves that TNA is getting geared to make a new run as the dominant force in women's wrestling.

The weeks ahead will determine what WWE has in store for their fans, whether fanfare or failure in waiting. I genuinely hope WWE's promises of a new future leave behind the present they are dragging behind them right now.