Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Profile.....Matt Hardy

In the past month, Matt Hardy has become the subject of virtually all the news....none of it is good, however. He was pulled over and arrested for DWI and subsequently fired by TNA for doing all of this while under contract AND suspended. In the most recent story concerning Hardy, police were sent to his home after over 30 phone call were made concerning his safety after posting an ominous sounding YouTube message.

Note: This the one and only piece I have ANY intention of doing on Matt Hardy until such time as he can get some kind of control of himself. Responsibility and integrity go hand in hand here. You cannot treat life like a wrestling storyline, sending messages that give an impression there are plans of suicide on the docket....particularly when you have a following.

I really have no idea what might prompt such erratic behavior save for a break from the confines of reality altogether. Since the Lita/Edge/Hardy storyline from March through September of 2005, there was something different about Matt Hardy. While I understand that heartbreak and betrayal can do things to a person lasting years after, this seems to have echoed long into life and career since.

My heart goes out to Matt Hardy and I do hope he finds whatever it is he is seeking, but notoriety has a price and the cost is high, one way or another.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exploring a New Schedule....

A couple of columns ago, I talked about removing a PPV each quarter. Upon further thought, it seems like a more reasonable thing to do, a more responsible thing to do in light of current buyrates and the way of the economic downturn. Let's dig a little deeper and see what shows up.....fair warning, this column might run a little long.

Let's begin by putting together a live special the week of December 29th. That will be the beginning of the schedule. The average episode of Impact has about 90 minutes of show with another 30 minutes of commercial filler. I would cut that down to either a mere 15 minutes of commercial interference or make it a commercial free 90 minute show. Something big HAS to happen to tease a debut or a reformation or something to make Genesis a MUST SEE event.

I say make Against All Odds one of the big four. I love the tournament concept. It works well for TNA as they did an AMAZING job with last year's event. This brings us to February, if I'm reading my calendar properly. SO, we have a large event in WWE's dead time. Good so far.

Cut out a PPV here and insert another live special. This time, put together a specialty division show featuring the Tag Team, X, or Knockouts Division. Maybe this event could feature a Knockout main event, which would be a good change and would showcase the Knockouts Division in full glory.

My pick is Slammiversary. I simply can't cut that out. It's a piece of TNA's heritage. It's also a good place to build up feuds to a dizzying height. That brings me to the feud killer.....

Lockdown. This HAS to be a top four PPV. The Lethal Lockdown Match has become a staple to the entire event. This is TNA's Survivor Series. This is the event that darkens the mood of the year. This puts us to May on the calendar.....still good.

Cut another PPV here and put together the Bound for Glory Series for the year.

Victory Road is my next pick on the list to remain in the lineup. For this, I want to see an X Division innovation match of some kind. Something brand new that could make this a special event.

This is where it all gets tricky. August is SummerSlam, historically. By putting the next mile marker here,we could run into problems, BUT if TNA plays the cards right to begin with, a true division of the audience will take place and people will break with tradition and choose the franchise PPV in TNA.....Bound for Glory. Yeah, I did it. So what?! I think TNA has it in them to rock SummerSlam's face off. Period.

Another PPV gone....more money saved. Building toward the next PPV I'm keeping in the lineup....

Turning Point....surprised? That's the reaction I was hoping for to put a really nice smile together when the build is getting bigger and better for the last big show in my schedule outline...

Destination X or Final Resolution, Take your pick. I know, I know....That falls in DIRECT opposition with another big WWE staple, Survivor Series. November is tough, though. Without that competition, it just doesn't seem worth it. I would throw everything I've got at this one too. By using as many members of the roster as they can, this HAS to be big.

How's THAT for thinking outside the box? Call the year a wrap, put a bow on it, leave it under the Christmas tree, and bring in the new year with some egg nog and junk food.

Consolidation....

So the WWE Brand Extension Era has ended as HHH announced that Smackdown and RAW would finally become one roster once more. Okay, so this separation has lasted almost a decade. I truly wish I could generate some kind of feeling about that, but alas, nothing. I was furious when they broke the roster in the first place, although the roster wars storyline where each manager was choosing who to bring to their respective show was entertaining. Once again, I can thank Easy E, Eric Bischoff for selling that storyline like a million bucks.

In TNA's news, James Storm will be taking it very easy for the next couple of weeks as he has a partially separated shoulder following his last match against Mexican America with Robert Roode. This could mean danger for his chances in the Bound for Glory Series. It'll be interesting to see how he's used in the coming weeks as the time grows nearer to BFG.

Meanwhile, I'm getting seriously prepared to be disappointed in how Samoa Joe is going to be handled. I am loving what he's been doing as I can remember some similar things during his runs with Styles and Daniels, but this is on a scale much larger and, if there's anything I know about gravity, when something is lifted high enough, it breaks when it finally lands. I don't want to see Joe's push as a destructive force ending without a real solid title run, littered with pieces of the victims he's gone through. His place in this Bound for Glory Series makes surviving the series that much more of an accomplishment. I do like that element to things.

I have been watching the Eric Young vs. Scott Baio videos TNA has been posting on YouTube. I'm having a bit of difficulty breathing right now between full blown pangs of roaring laughter. Really. I'm hurting right now. Santino and Kozlov had nothing on this. I won't lie though, I'm laughing in spite of myself. I hate having to admit when I'm wrong. It seems like Eric Young LOVES this kind of character...the one people laugh at and have difficulty taking seriously. Does it work? It does for me right now.


Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Save WWE....

Before I begin this column, I'd like to say thanks to everybody who comes in and reads the posts, the 10,000 hit milestone is a good feeling. As long as people read 'em, and pass 'em along, I'll keep 'em coming, fresh and new whenever possible. One more thought before I begin this....there are some in the great teeming masses who believe that WWE did the right thing by going PG. While, I am NOT in that number, I know where they were wanting to take it and it was a nice idea. Getting a younger generation in there to see some fresh and rising talents is a good thing, but there was a cost.....

Up until 2010, WWE had been catering to the remnant of the fanbase who watched The Rock and Stone Cold and Mick Foley and once those talents went the way of a unified roster, those fans started leaving wrestling to put their money elsewhere. Did The Rock and all the rest do the right thing in leaving the ring? I'd like to think so. Granted, they had plenty to offer the up and comers, but the money gets better in Hollywood, truth be told. Foley and Austin popped in here and there and, when Shawn Michaels came back to wrestling in 2002, it seemed, at least to me, that a new era was about to begin.

Let's fast forward a bit to the beginning of problems....my best estimation is 2005, when WWE began releasing talents in droves. When the Tag Team Division and Cruiserweight Divisions fell, many talents were suddenly left without a trade to ply. I bring all this history to the table to give an idea where things went wrong so that the same mistakes won't be made in the restoring of things to their former glory.

When WWE decided to go PG with their product, Attitude Era fans, like myself, and those who'd been around for the roster split, who'd been used to WWE pushing the envelope and having some pretty compelling storylines, were introduced to a great deal of very shallow thinking. A PG product truly begs a lot of surface-level thinking and not much in the way of a top tier outside of the same 'ol.

My solution? I suggest a few things right off the bat....
- Pull EVERY Diva without a wrestling background from television for 6 months, sending them through rigorous in ring training.

- Break the glass ceiling and give some younger guys like Ezekiel Jackson, Wade Barrett, and Daniel Bryan some room to break away from the censors and get over like the days of old. Be patient with some of the up and comers and DO NOT FIRE PEOPLE WHEN THEY DON'T GET OVER RIGHT AWAY!!!!

- Triple H may be wanting to rebuild the Tag Team and Cruiserweight Divisions, but it MUST be done in a way that requires NO startup time. They need the divisions NOW.

Lastly, and this MUST be done in order to bring back the shine and gloss of the WWE I knew and loved....LEAVE BEHIND THE PG RATING!!!! This will enable the writers to explore deeper and write with more cohesive vision. Tell us a story without worrying how the censors will take it and stop trying to pass off simulated violence as something all parents would condone. Dumbing down the product is an insult to the fans who really care if WWE fails or not.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Plea for the X Division.....

I've been ranting and raving about the glories of TNA as the only face of "Wrestling" left in the sports entertainment market for 3 and a half months and I've had all kinds of comments from every side of the fence, which I love, by the way. I'll take the good with the bad. I'd like to hope I'm siding with a large audience here, who hope that wrestling is taking a turn for the best. I will say this, though, I am NOT going along with an initiative launched by Eric Bischoff putting a weight limit on the X Division.

The X Division isn't about weight limits...it's about NO limits. It's been on the moniker for YEARS. Now is not the time to change it, if ever.  I've been a fan since it's inception with Jerry Lynn, Ron Killings (No, I will NOT call him R-Truth), Kid Kash, Petey Williams, and Samoa Joe in later years. I simply can't fathom what Bischoff is thinking with this move. Sure, a great many of the competitors were beneath the 240 lb. mark, but that's not my point. By changing the moniker, you change the nature of the title, which encapsulates so much more than high flying spotfests. It also included hardcore brawls and last man standing type events that shouldn't be limited by weight class.

This is wrong for TNA and don't think this opinion dies with me. Putting limits here is precisely what I want to avoid. I want give fans a variety of performers spanning all classes competing for the X Title and not a cookie cutter shape operating on one style of wrestling. The thing that made guys like Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero great was that they could compete with guys of ALL sizes and weight classes and make those matches look great. You took away the 6 Sided Ring and put in a generic 4 sided one; you took Joe and AJ and Daniels off the top tier, and you forced a loyal fan of the original concept away from home, don't take away the last refuge for TNA's heritage.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Falling into Place....

Apparently,  Angelina Love and a certain 7 time Women's Champion from Canada have tossed out some fighting words on Twitter, teasing a confrontation at a pop culture fan event in Toronto this weekend. As both have plans on attending, my guess is there will be something to this event. This just goes to show there might be plans to put together some kind of agreement between the former champion and TNA.

Additionally, Chavo Guerrero has been asked in the wake of his release from WWE about the possibility of joining up with TNA as well. His response? He has one opponent on his list he still wants to wrestle...AJ Styles. My response? Cross the line.

I've got another idea for the PPV I'm going to book as BorderWars....make this a faction/ tag team based PPV with every match save for one or two being a tag team or faction match. Imagine a lineup something like this.....

AJ Styles/ Daniels vs. Beer Money
Motor City Machine Guns vs. Kid Kash/ Lance Hoyt
Ms. Tessmacher/TBA vs. Mickie James/Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Tag Titles
Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
Crimson vs. Samoa Joe
Jesse Sorensen vs. Suicide vs. Xema Ion vs. Robbie E. vs. Kazarian for the X Title
BorderWars Main Event.....Team Canada vs. Team USA vs. The British Invasion vs. Mexican America

My goal in this PPV would be to load this down with as many members of the roster as I can to give each wrestler the best payday for their outing. Take a look at the card and tell me that wouldn't be money in the bank. (Yep, that was a WWE dig)



To Make Money.....

I've been giving this some thought for quite some time and I've come to some conclusions about how best to save TNA and fans alike some hard earned dollars....allow me to elaborate....

TNA is spending upwards of 500,000 bucks apiece for guys like Hogan, Flair, and Sting. Other top talents command almost as high a paycheck from the top. I say let a few contracts expire. Let Sting, Flair, and Scott Steiner celebrate their last matches respectively and, if they wish to stay employed in the white tower after the ring work is finished, drop them down a ways on the pay scale to free up monies for new talents and the like. Younger talents could really benefit from having a coach of the caliber of a Ric Flair or a Sting to guide their steps.

Cut out 4 PPV's per year. Let's say that each Pay Per View costs 400,000 dollars to put together; that's including pyro, stage prep., lights, sound, etc. Cutting over 1 million dollars in PPV sounds like a lot to ask, but I have to point out that each PPV costs 35 bucks a pop for the fans in the US. I don't know very many people hardcore enough to spend that kind of money these days on a PPV only to be watched once. Cut a PPV each quarter and then rearranging what PPVs remain to look something like this...

Live Special------PPV------PPV-------Live Special-------PPV------PPV----

With the live special format, you could make it a limited interruption 2 hour live event as a ramp to build toward the next coming PPV. Putting those dollars to use in this way might coax some into spending the 35 bucks for a PPV because there are fewer of them and at the end of each quarter would be one of the big four. Lockdown, Bound for Glory, and two more yet to be named or rearranged.

My last thought is to create something new or bring back something old. Think about BorderWars, as introduced in my last column or WarGames from way back when. I'm talking about something to attach to another PPV to make it stand out as one of the big four. Survivor Series has its main event with two teams of 5. Royal Rumble has a battle royal. Wrestlemania is where feuds die and begin. SummerSlam is where feuds intensify. It just tends to work that way. TNA's formula needs to wax and wane opposite where WWE does in order to garner some interest during down time.

All I ask is that you think about it.....


Friday, August 26, 2011

Revelation.....BorderWars......


Immortal, D-X, nWo, Team Canada, the Main Event Mafia....all pretty good stables, but there is a formula to get everything in a stable a person could possibly want. A tag team, a lightweight, a heavyweight, a woman, and maybe a mouthpiece. Degeneration X had everything on the list in their second reformation and that's one thing WWE had over WCW. WCW wasn't in the business of creating woman wrestlers. Right now, TNA has almost the perfect stable in Mexican America. The one piece missing is Chavo (see The Guererro Conspiracy). 

I would love to see a faction war. I don't mean one side vs. another...I mean a real faction war, where there's more than two sides. I would divide the roster into the four faction World Cup I suggested putting together two columns ago. My list of combatants goes a little something like this.....

Team Canada.....Petey Williams, A-1, Jack Evans, Angelina Love, and Trish Stratus

Team USA....Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, Velvet Sky, and Tara

Mexican America would stay as is with Rosita, Sarita, Hernandez, Anarquia, and Chavo

The British Invasion would have to be Magnus, Rob Terry, Doug Williams, Winter, I'd toss in a couple of sympathizers like Melina and maybe Jesse Sorensen.

Give these guys a big match, I'm thinking a Rumble sized match, where 4 people enter the ring, one from each corner after a few minutes each. Put two rings side by side and give them some space to work this match and, for Heaven's sake, make this the main event. I would drop an entire paycheck to see something like this put together.  Mr. Bischoff, I just want 20 minutes of your time, hit me up.  

Call this thing something cool....like BorderWars. This wouldn't be an every year kinda thing, but you could do it, if you wanted. It'd be like WWE would do with Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, but this is bigger and better than the Rumble and Lethal Lockdown is better than Survivor Series. Raise the bar, guys. Put something on the line worth fighting for.....maybe the Xplosion Title (Where the holder can challenge any champion at any time for their title and, if they win, the Xplosion Title would become vacant. That's my plan....solid.

Benefit of the Doubt......


There is some backstage heat on Jeff Hardy with him tweeting that he was coming back. My take on the situation? SO WHAT!!?! WHO CARES? Just because he revealed when he was coming back to work DOES NOT mean he would be performing. Wrestlers in TNA do have some input as to what is done with their character. Why could he not be collaborating? Sure, his brother was released which conflicts with the way he's brought back, and sure, he might be pissed. But he might just be more willing to work with you if he knows that what Matt did may have blacklisted him. Do you really think WWE will want to take Matt back with his newly established eccentricities? I think not.

DWI is a pretty serious gig. Kurt Angle was arrested for this offense, but his performances and focus has been exemplary since that time. Matt Hardy's tardiness and lack of focus coupled with his aloof posts on YouTube more than speak for themselves and warranted something more. There is a sense of responsibility and professionalism that must be abided by in order to get what you want out of the business and this, I daresay, goes against that very code.

Should Jeff have posted his intentions on Twitter? Who am I to say? Sources close say he's turned himself around and I, for one, would like to believe that. Further, his refusal to go along with a couple of those posts his brother put up has to count for something. And my last thought...Jeff Hardy will garner ratings for his return or so I hope. A little slip like that might just help their cause, not destroy it. Let's give the man one last benefit of the doubt before we blacklist the last remaining member of Team Xtreme.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

After BFG and Answers to Criticism.....

It's tough to make calls about the direction of TNA once the lights of Bound for Glory have gone out, but I'd like to see a few things happen.

- I would love to see another insurgence of Dixie Carter where she reveals her plans to bring back the 6 Sided Ring. The story would go back and forth, with each month the Hogan regime gaining ground until something huge happens, namely Dixie hiring a group of superstars to finally take out the regime on the surface and drive them behind the curtain.

- Wouldn't it be cool if a new gimmick match could be created by the mind that gave us the Elimination Chamber? WarGames in TNA? Come on, you know you want it too.

- Stables reunion for a World Cup Tournament....Mexican America vs. Team Canada vs. The British Invasion vs. Team USA (Kurt Angle and the World's Greatest Tag Team)

and

- AJ Styles vs. Joe vs. Daniels one more time.

Switching gears....I was looking through the roster just today because I keep hearing these ridiculous accusations of TNA only taking "WWE rejects" or "has beens". Let's have a look, shall we? On the 64 member roster, there are 10 in the listing who aren't even wrestlers (I'm most definitely counting Flair, Hogan, and Taz). In the number remaining, 16 are former WWE performers. Of those, all but perhaps one are still very capable of working a respectable match with about anyone. That wrestler is Scott Steiner, who is on the cusp of retirement anyway. Would anyone call Kurt Angle a "reject"? How about the former Victoria? Jeff Hardy? Before answering that one, keep in mind that WWE made him a world champion twice in the final year he was with them. CM Punk owes a great deal to him for putting him over and being given a title reign by Hardy.

Of the wrestlers TNA has from the WWE roster, a couple are, in my opinion being booked stronger in TNA than they ever were in WWE. Anderson, Ray, Devon, Pope, and Matt Morgan are my best examples as SINGLES performers. I have seen TNA make strides to create new stars in what was given up on and discarded without the proper time or attention. I dare WWE to do the same in the new era.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Underused.....

One comment in a Facebook message board got me to thinking. "If I had to pick my top 5 favorite wrestlers who got screwed out of some much deserved notoriety, whom would I choose?" Well, you understand this list would have to be in no particular order, but I'm obliged to answer the question with relative ease. I am basing my picks on technical prowess and the ability of said performers to work a crowd.

5. Curt Hennig- Some may know him better as Mr. Perfect. His 'Perfect Plex' was one of the most beautiful things to watch. He could cut a good promo, work a match, and was a fans' wrestler. He loved performing and I'm sorry he never got to see the fruits of his labors bloom.

4. Dean Malenko- He never won the big belt, but he was one of the best of all time, in my opinion. Vince wasted title reigns on some guys during the Attitude Era that might have been better placed in the hands of this man. A dream match for me to see would be a Malenko/ Angle match. I don't remember seeing it during the Attitude Era as their paths rarely, if ever, crossed.

3. Test- I wish Vince hadn't buried him under the reign of HHH. Had Test been given a chance to shine as champ, I think the top tier would have been better for it and may have given a more rounded chance for the up and comers in the new eras to follow a more sporting chance.

2. Chavo Guerrero- I've watched this guy almost as long as his uncle. While Rey was given the Sympathy Title (I dub it thus due to it being a reign built around his relationship with Eddie), Chavo was left to fend for himself. He floundered in the midcard his entire WWE career. It should have been his reign, not Rey's

1. Raven- I put him into the list for two reasons. First, he could cut a promo like no one else. Second, he was very good with his character. His reign as champion in TNA lasted a single day. He was forgotten about in WCW and his days in WWE were made into a farce. I was sad to see him misused and put into a role that made him look inferior.

That's my list of 5, but there are plenty who could echo the stories of these men.

Many Happy Returns.....

I want to scrap everything else to talk about the returns of Jeff Hardy and a man I've been wanting to see since I heard he was released from ECW.....Lance Hoyt.

Ever since Vance Archer, Hoyt has been in my sights. When I heard that Kid Kash got snapped up off the independent scene, it occurred to me that these two HAD to be reunited. In the 6 Sided Ring Era, these two were kinda like the Michaels and Diesel of TNA. Hoyt, in my humble opinion is far more agile than Nash ever was and his contributions in the Dallas and Hoyt timeframe are well documented. If you need proof, look up the Fight for the Right Tournament the week after Bound for Glory of 2004. His work there was a revelation to me that he could legitimately become a true power for TNA, but the brass in the white towers dragged their feet and he left shortly after the Rock and Rave team went belly up.

I just got wind that Jeff Hardy is going to Impact in the next set of tapings. This puts him in ring after a 5 plus month hiatus. With eyes cleared and senses sharper, I sense things playing out far differently than they have for Matt, who wants to crawl back through the WWE doors. Word is that he'll be returning as a face rather than a heel this time and that is how it should be. His work for TNA is only as good as his focus, though; when it's sharp, he's unbeatable as an entertainer, when he's a mess....well....Victory Road speaks for itself. (90 seconds?)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Divisions....

WWE is looking to revamp and reintroduce a Cruiserweight Division. It's about freakin' time! Ever since Vince buried the Cruiserweight belt under the reign of Hornswoggle, I was thinking there was no limit to the depths to which he could sink. Then he recast the Tag Team Titles....yuck! With Triple H as the acting overseer of the company's shows, I think this is a good move. HOWEVER, if they can't put something together that will take off with virtually no setup time, I'm betting it will fail. Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and a number of other talents would be counting on this to make a really name for themselves. You can bet they aren't candidates for the big belt anytime soon.

TNA's creative juices are flowing and, for the moment, it seems things are going good. I have been saying it for months now that Impact Wrestling needs another show. The roster is deep right now, but the spotlight is small. It may be time to put together a new show featuring a recap, but focusing in on storylines that have yet to be fully developed. Let's put more emphasis on the X Division and have them main event said show or have the Knockouts headline the show or even toss in a groundbreaking debut or return to set off the show. Advertise a long awaited return from a TNA veteran who has been making history in the sport for over a decade. That'd get me to tune in. One more thing.....DON'T DISAPPOINT THE FANS!!!

I say put the show on another night WWE doesn't already occupy. Let's say that's on Tuesday. Now, wrestling fans can have wrestling on every day save for Wednesday during the week. I think that's a pretty good gig, all things considered. Maybe create the buzz by announcing huge news....wait....we've already done that and have been very effective in letting people down with the results of that. I've got a better idea. Announce the return of Dixie Carter. Announce that powers above her head are pushing to put Hogan and Bischoff on the sidelines due to their inability to remain objective to the current Sting situation. Phase them off TV and put in a new General Manager. If it were me, I'd want someone who is recognizable but not time threatening the way that Hogan or Triple H are. Toss out some ideas....I've got nothing outside of trying to re-recruit Jim Cornette. I will say this...Heyman is suicide.

Drops in a Bucket.....

The big news spots in TNA right now are the departure of Matt Hardy and the heat rising with Vince Russo and others behind the scene. Let's do a bit of analysis....

Matt Hardy was arrested in the last couple of days for driving while intoxicated. In the time that followed, TNA fired him out from under his suspension. He was put on suspension for being habitually late to tapings and not being prepared to work matches for said tapings. I feel the need to ask.....what kind of boss puts up with that sort of behavior? I don't think it a very long stretch to say that Dixie and company was right on the numbers. Even under suspension, there must be a code of conduct employees must abide by in order to be gainfully employed or if they hope to have an advancement opportunity come their way. Just because you were a star where you came from doesn't mean you don't have to earn your keep.

Vince Russo has ruffled some feathers. Hogan, Bischoff, and Jarrett normally don't see so completely eye to eye on things, at least not historically, but in this case, Vince is on thin ice. Before now, Dixie Carter has held him in high regard as they enjoyed some moderate success under his writing, but here's the fact, he's been burned out for years now and in order for forward progress to be made, distance needs to be put between TNA and Russo, for the greater good. WWE was given a small breath of fresh air when new writers suggested giving CM Punk 5 minutes of open mic time to criticize his employer on live television. New writers mean new ideas or a new spin on old ideas.

With the future of Matt Hardy still up in the air, it is only natural to wonder what Jeff is going to do with the information. Does he stand up and perform for the company giving him another opportunity to sell the house for him or does he fade into history? Were I in his shoes, I'd be giving everything a long hard look and see what manifests itself.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Life Blood.....

In the past couple of months, I've been watching Chris Masters. He's got talent. He has potential on the mic. He seems to be a very much underutilized, underappreciated talent with worlds of that good old fashioned 'it' factor....at least he could be. In WWE, he was held back by a Lex Luger-esque dead end persona that focused in on his physique. Even though Scott Steiner has done it for years, he was made many years before that element of his character manifested itself. Masters has yet to be given a running mate to cut his teeth as a true blue asset.

If I were to put him in league with anyone on the entire roster to help build them both into a super power, it would be Matt Morgan. His mic skills are light years ahead since his last stint with WWE as the stuttering idiot bodyguard for Paul Heyman. I, personally loved him referring to himself in the third person. He would have a physical equal in Masters as well as perhaps a chemistry as a tag tandem to rival even America's Most Wanted as TNA's greatest homegrown tag team ever.

As for how to build the team. I'd put together a tournament for the tag team titles and have him put into the tournament without his permission. He gets upset and decides he's not going to participate because he doesn't even have a partner. Let it build a bit by having notes left in his locker room after matches saying that some one's looking forward to putting together the most dominant tag force in wrestling. He has no clue and, with the tournament bracket now focusing in on him, he goes to the ring to face whoever has been sending the notes as a partner.

When Masters finally comes out from the curtain, the smile of revelation would immediately set up his satisfaction. I would want this tandem to work with Master training with Angle to make him into a chain performer, tactically gifted with the punctuation of the power and intensity Morgan brings as a brawler big man. Giving Masters a deadly submission maneuver would simply set off exactly how they need to be perceived, as a precision instrument of finesse and force.

The Nation of Violence......

Let's build Joe to the top and give him the army he was supposed to have. First things first, the taking out of competition angle they're using would be perfect for this formula. Management calls Joe into the office stating that he'll be suspended if he continues his tirade. Joe makes the promise that he'll stop. One by one the performers continue to get beaten down and each time, the victim blames the Nation of Violence. Joe gets pulled back to the office again and is told that he was the Nation of Violence. Joe insists that it isn't him. It all comes down to PPV. The build hypes up "Who IS a part of the Nation of Violence?"

We'll put this one at Lockdown. Joe says that he will lead whoever is a part of the Nation of Violence into the Lethal Lockdown Match, but no one will know who's in it until that day. 4 members emerge from behind the curtain. Joe, Daniels, Kazarian, and Vladimir Kozlov.

Kozlov emerges from the curtain in black, very much like the rest of the group. I'm thinking long trunks and black glasses, but I could be swayed on his ring attire. At any rate, he would HAVE to debut with a profoundly devastating finisher lest his push would go away without him ever realizing whatever potential there might have been without a Nation of Violence as a backer.

My money is on a feud between this stable and Mexican America very much circa LAX vs. AJ/Daniels or LAX vs. 3D from a few years back. A larger number in the fold means a good rivalry with some longevity. I'd set it in motion with a 6 month long feud, culminating at Bound for Glory or Turning Point for the finish.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Guerrero Conspiracy....

In my next couple of columns, I would like to put out ideas for the debuts of WWE's latest members of the Future Endeavor's club. From the crop of male talents, I would want to add only a couple of talents; in fact, I would only pick 3....Chris Masters, Vladimir Kozlov, and the subject of today's column, Chavo Guerrero.

For this one, you need 3 things in order to make his debut possible and worth the prep to set it all up. First thing, Jeff Jarrett needs to be the front man for Mexican America. Second, phone calls or texts need to come up making interferences more difficult. Lastly, it has to be a PPV people will watch where the reveal is made.

Here's how I'd set this whole thing up....
Jeff Jarrett is the AAA World Heavyweight Title holder. He decides he wants to defend this belt against their top guy who has a stable behind him. Jeff won't care if they bring their posse 'cause he'll be bringing his own. He decides it has to be done on a TNA PPV. Let's just say it's Turning Point. In the weeks leading up to Turning Point, miscommunications arise between Mexican America and Jarrett and Jeff is upset by the losses he's been accumulating as a result. TNA puts Mexican America in Jarrett's corner. In the moments before the match, Hernandez gets a phone call and he tells the guy on the other end to wait until everything comes together before he comes out.

Fast forward to the match....there are chairs set out for each stable. Mexican America screws Jarrett out of the title and the opposing stable beats him down after the match.  Impact rolls around and it all begins with Jarrett coming out and demanding to know what happened. Mexican America comes out and they tell him they had their orders and he's out. Jarrett asks who could possibly give that order. Hernandez says they need a brother to lead the army over the borders. Which leads to Chavo's countdown. Bringing in Chavo to lead Mexican America brings me to a feud with another faction I will introduce in tomorrow's column.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tag Team Rebirth.....


Word around the water cooler over at WWE is that Trips is looking to rebuild the now dead Tag Team Division. Let's face it, since the letting go of Kozlov, Hart Smith and even Masters, who could have been paired with just about anyone to put together a decent team, they are burning bridges faster than a pyro in Madison County with a bad case of OCD. Heck, put him with Tyler Reks as they aren't doing anything with him anyway.

If I were Vince McMahon, I would put together a list of people I want to rebuild the Tag Team Division. I'm not talking about something for kicks, I mean really putting things back a few years and resetting the clock. No more PG, no more move bans or burying guys who're working their tails off only to find they've been given a burn notice. I love that show, by the way. MacGyver meets The Pretender....it really doesn't get much better.

My first picks to rebuild the Tag Team Division are VERY simple. Haas and Benjamin. Sure, They let them go a couple years back, but they stand a better chance of anyone else of giving fans a throwback AND a decent match to boot.

Second on my list would do the same thing AND toss in some history besides. I say bring back the New Age Outlaws. TNA ousted them a few years back, but there was a lot of old scabs opened when they were here. Call them storyline, call them whatever you want, fact is, it's news, it's another iron in the fire, it's an easy payoff for everyone who puts it on the table. Not to mention they can put a tag team from today on the map.

Third is something they really need to think about....there were a number of decent tag teams from only a few years ago who could use some work now that Vince dropped them out on their posteriors. Deuce and Domino, MNM, bring back Kane and X-Pac, there are a hundred different ways to do it, but don't forget about nostalgia. In this case, it's your best way to bring back some Attitude Era fans who are still miffed that you canceled their show in favor of the After School Special Kids Hours. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rumor Mills and Dream Matches.......

Okay, I've been hearing things......

-I've heard that once Tough Enough stops filming Stone Cold Steve Austin will make his first appearance in TNA. Additionally, Goldberg has been in talks with Eric Bischoff to join up for his last appearance on the national stage. His chosen opponent? Who else? Steve Austin. While I haven't heard anything from the parties close to the situation, I have my doubts about this one. Austin has a love/hate relationship with Vince just like Hogan, but I have only seen loyalties with WWE since his departure from the ring.  Couple that with virtually an open challenge from CM Punk to take him on at WrestleMania and Vince may bite for that match up.

- Velvet Sky was asked on Twitter which female wrestler she would most like to face, to which she replied without hesitation, "LITA!" While that would be awesome, I have no idea if she's ever been in contact with TNA upper management. My best guess is 'no', but there's a time tested statement that seems to ring true....'never say never'.

-On a related note, Angelina Love was asked something similar, to which she replied "Trish Stratus". I do know that Stratus DOES follow the TNA product, but I don't know if or when she would ever join up with TNA in the future.

It seems only fair to all you readers to toss out a few more names to the wind as far as how likely we are to see them in a TNA ring.....

Most Likely.....
Melina- With things being as they are, I doubt very much she'll be able to stay idle for long. It's been said that a good wrestler always has one good match left and I'd say she's got a few and TNA is her best back up option.

John Morrison- Where she goest, he must go. I'm putting my best guess behind him that WWE won't be so forgiving of his relationship with Melina; especially if she decides to join the enemy camp. Sorry fans, but WWE has a history of making guilt by association a thing of the present.

Gail Kim- The first Knockouts Champion will return if I'm guessing correctly, by the end of the year. Since WWE won't allow her to wrestle until her contract runs out, I'm putting her at Turning Point or Final Resolution at the earliest.

Moderately Likely.....
Trish Stratus- She tunes in, she's got friends there, she's been challenged. My guess is that she's weighing her options right now. She probably wouldn't be around more than a year, but she'd take a championship run along the way.

Goldberg- I know he's spent time with Bischoff and it was brought up....will he join up? Who knows? I'd say the chances are better than they were a year ago, but not so good as they perhaps are hoping. He's an X Factor for the next few months. Let the critics run wild...."TNA is full of 'has beens' and 'WWE rejects' " I love it when people don't get the bigger picture.

Not Likely....
Lita- With each passing year, I have my doubts about her. She's been keeping busy with her music and the like and, if the Hardys couldn't convince the brass in TNA to put her on speed dial, no one can.

Stone Cold Steve Austin- He's a WWE guy through and through. Would it be cool? Believe it. I say hire back Shark Boy and put them together. You can't buy that kind of AWESOME. Not without asking for it by name, anyway.  Is it likely? Not by a long shot.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Heat Exchange......

There are two feuds I want to cover in this column today.....one is an exchange of Twitter post between Crimson and Goldberg and the other has MUCH more history behind it....Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo.

Let's cover the one with the longest history. Rewind the clock back to Bash at the Beach 1999. Hogan was touted to face Jeff Jarrett for the WCW Title. Jarrett laid down and Vince fired Hogan on camera. It was chock full of emotion from every side as WCW was beginning to lose traction in the Monday Night Wars with WWF. That exchange would create some very real conflict during the remaining days of WCW.

Fast forward to today. Hogan and Russo have been tooth and nail behind the scenes at TNA creative meetings, with Hogan openly criticizing his story plans and saying that the reason he has difficulty writing stories now with more believable action is because he was never a wrestler. I, myself, will admit that running the race and writing about it are two very different things. I will say this, Hogan is still a rookie in terms of his longevity with TNA and that counts for something. If Russo were to be moved as was the plan in years past to a less active role in the creative team's direction, perhaps things would be different, but better? Who knows?

On the other side of the spectrum, Bill Goldberg has taken somewhat of a passing interest in Crimson. In the past week, he tweeted that he thought a spear was weak without a jackhammer. I have to ask, what about Edge? He did that sort of thing all the time! Apparently, anyone with an undefeated streak has something to prove. Crimson's response was pointed, saying he was taking bullets for the country while he was working Chris Jericho. Goldberg's response to that was "Who are you again?"

I would like to take a couple of minutes to analyze a match between Goldberg and Crimson.....Goldberg wins.

My last thought is about Summerslam as I'm sure people will want to know what I thought. Good showing, but they wasted their potential million dollar investment on a 20 dollar return. So Punk isn't champ....that's okay. Cena isn't champ....even better. HHH isn't champ....best news yet. Alberto Del Rio is champ? Really? I'm missing something. This feud was deflated from a month out. Come on, Punk....Cross the Line, we'll put that talent on display.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pulling Down Points....

Just for the record, the points standings are showing what everyone has been expecting....an undefeated record yields more points than anyone else.

Crimson.......50
Robert Roode...35
James Storm.....33
Devon......30
Bully Ray.......28
Gunner.......28
RVD...........25
AJ Styles.......21
Pope.............17
Scott Steiner....14
Samoa Joe......-10

Yep, you read that right....Joe has a whopping NEGATIVE 10! While skeptics would say this has much to do with the new regime's lack of interest in what Joe has to offer, I happen to be MUCH more optimistic about the current status of the Samoan Submission Machine.

The great thing about this standings list? You can actually see that TNA wants to make this exciting for the fans. It's almost like the NCAA guys who fill out the brackets every March to try and win the office pool. I happen to think this is genius planning for a summer where it can be difficult to come up with a story that will last until the highlight PPV of the year. I think it gives a broad perspective and some insight into who TNA wants to throw their influence behind from week to week, responding to how the crowds cheer and what's being written in the various blogs (HELLO!) and research groups they subscribe to.

As for me, I would LOVE to see Joe headlining BFG this year, but I wouldn't be entirely disappointed if Angle rules the roost with even a returning Jeff Hardy to pull off a swerve for the big belt at the biggest event of the summer.....SUMMERFEST!!!! (I HAD to say it.....darn you, Jeremy Piven. At least read the script once!) Bound for Glory is going to be a hot ticket and it's nice to know TNA is trying to centralize this thing by having a couple of the big shows in the middle of the country or at least closer to than Florida.

While Jeff Hardy and Joe would be nice, Crimson could surprise every critic and put on a true wrestling clinic with the single best delivering worker in TNA today. Angle is the most suited veteran to create the 'next big thing' in professional wrestling. With the air being let out of the CM Punk sails, SOMEBODY has to be the victor here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Samoa Joe....WWE?....REALLY!?

Sources close to Joe say that he's been looking long and hard at a possible debut in WWE once his contract is up in coming months. Considering how underutilized has been up until the past couple of weeks and fan frustration over the same, I can't say as I blame his looking at the other camp. I do feel the need to point out, however, that WWE's history of pushing talent that isn't homemade, especially if they came from TNA is very bleak at best. I could point out a few....

Kid Kash was released after winning the Cruiserweight Title when WWE decided to downsize the title.

Vance Archer (Lance Hoyt) was released shortly after the ECW/WWE product went under.

Braden Walker (Chris Harris) was let go without having worked more than a handful of matches with the ECW/WWE brand.

Marquis Cor Von (Monty Brown) was let go during the fall of the ECW/WWE brand.

Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) has been trapped in midcard hell for most of his career and is quite likely to stay there as his stature isn't what WWE views as "Championship Material".

I could go on, but it seems incredibly defeating to announce how many stars TNA has put out that WWE has squashed in the name of creating brand superiority.

While a few could name R-Truth or Kharma as exceptions to the rule I would like to point out that Truth used to be K-Kwik of WWF fame and they made Kong change her name so they could use it as a trademark. CM Punk is another name that could have been thrown around, but let me save some time and point out Punk sought out friendship at the highest levels and solidified his standing with those people BEFORE he was pushed. Few have been around the WWE company long enough to garner such favor.

To put it bluntly, there are talents on both sides of the camps who are beating down the doors to move to the other camp....what those thinking of leaving TNA don't understand is that the grass on the other side isn't really green...they're just able to afford the paint to make it look that way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Building of Bound for Glory....

I've been betting on Joe for months now....it would appear that my bets are about to pay off. At the last night of tapings this week, Joe got into a battle with Devon. I'm still putting my money on his actions being only the beginning of his road back to the top. Joe's capable of headlining and has proved it time and time again. Fact is, Unbreakable 2005's main event was the best all around match of the past decade, in my personal opinion, as the feud was so well built and coming out of the battle, the war still raged on for months to follow.

While some complain that Kazarian, Daniels, and AJ have been underutilized as some of the best performers in TNA bar none, I would argue that this position, as the true killers of Immortal will put them all over the top. I'm also betting that upon Jeff Hardy's return, we'll see the final death blow.

All of this brings to mind which feuds are brewing and will last through Bound for Glory....let's do some examining......

Kurt Angle and Crimson are in a program now that has some very serious potential. The injury angle is good and should make Crimson look like a beast. A championship run right now for Crimson may give TNA the credibility of making new champions even more than WWE right now.

Joe's feud with Pope seems to have no end, even if it's via Devon's suffering. As much as I'm not a fan of what's happening, I think TNA's new creative team is still learning how best to use Joe's volatile personality by experimenting with his chemistry with Pope. I like the feud, I just think it's been played to death. Guys, let's move on.

Ken Anderson is, arguably the best mic worker in TNA without doubt and a face-off between he and CM Punk would have sold without any build whatsoever. I know I'd buy in. Facing facts....he can be on anyone's radar and put on a program that makes waves. He proved it with Angle, Hardy, RVD, and now with Ray. I think this feud may continue as his beatdown can be built to a HUGE deal with him siding with Fortune to finally strike down Immortal. I don't see him wearing gold for at least a few months under that storyline.

The character I am extremely leery of right now and the potentially disastrous element of the entire puzzle is Abyss. He seems to be played right now as a whiny crybaby and puppet and I think he has the ability to morph into a much more creative friendly character once Bound for Glory has come and gone. Whatever they choose to do with his role, you can bet his part will probably be a train wreck. I feel it only fair to warn you all now before you get fired up only to be let down.

I only have a couple of items to cover....the Knockouts and the Tag Team Titles. Expect Mickie, ODB, Jackie, or Angelina to hover around the title scene as TNA prepares to receive a former champion back into the fold. I have no doubt whatsoever that Gail Kim will be back and in proper time to make a difference in the division.

Beer Money is still the hottest tag team out there, but I'm hopeful that the Machine Guns reunion is on the horizon and, with Pope and Devon potentially being added to the division along with Ink Inc., another team may be coming in with great fanfare for the long time fan. With Kid Kash back in TNA and Lance Hoyt as a free agent, why not bring back Kash and Dallas? Seems like a good idea to me.

Think about it, TNA.

Trading and Infringing....

Melina and Chris Masters are not taking kindly to being released. I say this...I don't blame them. Melina wasn't allowed in the building for RAW the following Monday and Chris Masters was let go after being told repeatedly that he'd been improving in the ring by HHH. While Gail Kim has been vocal about the fact that she quit rather than being let go, she makes a good point. In a recent tweet, she said that she doesn't understand why, if WWE doesn't think of her as a threat to the product, they shouldn't just release her from her contract.

I don't like the way WWE does business in the way of contracts. A 90 day no compete clause is standard operating procedure. I cannot fathom what kind of difference it makes in the grand scheme of things whether it's 90 or 190 days. A person with a following is not going to be forgotten. Brock Lesnar is a classic example of WWE's vengefulness. When he left WWE after only 2 years on the roster, WWE was like an iron clamp, preventing him from doing ANYTHING until that 90 days had expired. The Dudley Boys are another. When they were let go, they had to get rid of the camouflaged shorts and such in favor of khaki and black respectively. The fact that Spike (Brother Runt) had been called and warned not to wrestle under a name he'd gone by for over a decade was cruel.

Men and women who've made their living using names and personalities now owned as a WWE trademark have suffered great loss trying to reinvent something new to go by. While Ray and Devon have made their way to TNA along with a great deal of former WWE talent, there have been a few who are still having troubles finding work thanks to the trademarks WWE have used to hold them back.

Thankfully, Melina and Gail Kim can still use their names as they were never given an alternate personality. Raven, Sting, Hulk Hogan, and others were very smart in taking control and holding on tightly to their personas. Sticking to your guns has been good for you and it makes you better for it in the long run.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taking Off the Gloves....

There are a few time tested formulas to building to a PPV the right way. While WWE has squandered their best chances of squashing their competition, TNA has been gaining some ground, putting over Crimson like a million bucks. The CM Punk nitrous boost has already lost it's fizzle as Crimson is rising to new heights. I must admit, I was thinking RVD would come out of Sunday's PPV as the victor, but even a DQ victory is fine by me and the loss of 10 points besides comes, to me, as an added bonus to keep things interesting.

The World Title scene could not be in a better position for a new contender to be crowned. Kurt Angle right now is FAR more suited to put over a new champion or to reposition a former champion. Fact is, I would even have no problem if he held the belt going into Turning Point. It would fit the bill to have him drop the belt there, but if management sees fit to debut a new champion for that PPV, so long as it makes some sense, I say more power to them for making the decision. Right now, things look more promising that Crimson, Pope, or even Joe could take the reins for a time. THIS is how you build a champion. This is how Austin was build. King of the Ring put Austin on the map. The Bound for Glory Series is putting Crimson, Pope, and even guys like Gunner on the map for TNA.

Immortal is on the verge of dying off and it seems about fitting for the stable to finally be allowed to collapse. Bound for Glory would be the best place for the final death bell to be sounded for Immortal as that is where they were formed. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if TNA pulled the trigger on the debut news or the re-emergence of Matt and Jeff, but I may be getting a bit ahead of myself. Be assured, fans, there will be news coming in the months ahead of more acquisitions and debuts to grace the stage that is TNA. Make no mistake, TNA is getting things right and there is some traction now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Exodus....

Before I begin this column, I would like to apologize for how late this is for those of you who have come to expect them like clockwork. Unfortunately, my internet has been more temperamental as of late. Who knew something like that could throw everything into such chaos? BUT, now that I'm up and running, I say onto the news of the day....


Spring cleaning was postponed and came into it's own with a couple of surprising developments. First things first, however. I was troubled to hear that Amazing Red is no longer with TNA. It's a shame that he has come and gone as much as he has for as long as he's been a part of the company. I understand his position in all of this. When creative has nothing for you in the coming weeks, it can be a little bit daunting to try and keep yourself in shape and ready for when you're needed. The problem in all of that is that there simply isn't enough time in the 2 hour block to get EVERYBODY spotlighted. It sucks, but someone has to get cut. For the record, I still hold that there is bright at the end of this tunnel with another block of time to shine a spotlight on the rest of the roster.

Back to spring cleaning....your newest members of the WWE Future Endeavors Club....Chris Masters, Vladimir Kozlov, Gail Kim, David Hart Smith, and by my own prediction, Melina. I would never wish for people to be let go from either one of the top 2 federations in the land. It makes for a difficult adjustment for everyone involved in those releases. Most affected, I believe, are those who are released and the friends left behind. In this case, however, with little exception, the product will suffer...mark my words.

What this inevitably means, is that those releases are going to be looking for work and what better place for the first Knockouts Champion and the former cheerleader for MNM? Based on past releases, WWE has a 90 no compete clause in place to prevent any released talent from competing on TNA television, at least. BUT, WWE has allowed some Divas, who they feel may not make a difference in the shifting of power, to escape the 90 day period. One can hope this is the case this time. And what a mistake it would be!

I have one more thought to leave you all with. There is a story to be told with Samoa Joe. He has yet to garner any points in the Bound for Glory Series. Does that strike anyone odd?  Seems to me that being vocal is about to pay off. By my estimation, there is a plan afoot to put him right back where the fans want him...on the top tier.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Booking Wrestlemania's Top Feuds...

So WWE's top feud is Cena/ Punk. I'm not impressed. At least not with how it's been done. I know, I know, I'm a TNA guy, but somehow it just seems like this story keeps popping up and it gets me riled because after all the stuff WWE has done to keep younger talents down in the past 10 years, they have the nerve to expect me to believe Punk came back for his ego? Nah...not buying. How would I dissect this feud? First of all, I wouldn't have made the match for SummerSlam. Instead, I would have stretched it out until at least Night of Champions. I'll even go week by week....take some notes, WWE.

His confrontation with HHH couldn't have gone better. It was played out perfectly. I say keep up pretenses. Let him attend a couple of indy shows, even ROH, if it suits him. Let him keep the WWE Title in tow. HHH could still have crowned the new champion, but it wouldn't have been in one night or even two. I say make it a 3 week tourney. Tape could be sent in to RAW to play the week before the final match between Rey and Cena in which Punk is shown taking a conference call from a mysterious someone. He tells the person he knows and that Cena won't forget his priorities.

 Punk cuts through the crowd and screws Punk out of the title, escaping back through the crowd. About that time, familiar music cuts in and The Rock comes out to a thunderous applause. Cena is still recovering and Rocky takes the mic in hand and says that he doesn't want to see Cena take his eye off the ball. It takes focus to beat the 'Jabroni beatin'' etc.

HHH comes out the following week and says that he's been looking over the contract of a certain superstar and says that he found something rather interesting. He says that under the terms of this contract, signed, sealed, and delivered to WWE Headquarters, if he should win a title at any level of WWE competition, he is contractually obligated to renew said contract for  x number of months or years. Punk shows up the following Monday and contests this claim, stating that he was lied to by the man who got him signed in the first place....HHH. Thus begins a new battle in like pattern to the Austin/ McMahon feud of the 90's.

This formula isn't hard to put together, guys. Really. If WWE were to put their heads together, surely something like this could have come together rather smoothly, but what else can one expect from a company that doesn't even stand for 'World Wrestling Entertainment' anymore?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rebuilding an Empire.....

The critics will not be silenced by history lessons. Insurmountable evidence will not convince them that there were outside and inside factors that killed the WCW empire. The AOL/TimeWarner merger, top star monopolies, creative control clauses, and even simple disconnect from the desires of the fans killed the titan, not a writer, an executive producer, and a superstar. I cannot convince the critics of that the powers that be didn't want a wrestling program on their station anymore. And while people will believe whatever they feel they must, it seems a shame that those feelings can't be redirected into a positive place.

Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Hulk Hogan, who have professionally had their differences in the creative processes of WCW, though never had all three been present at the same time, now have had an opportunity that, up until now had never been open to them. They have the chance to rebuild an empire. Do I believe this opportunity is real? To quote Kurt Angle, "It's real..." While the opening days of their collaboration may have lost a following of the inevitable closed minded critic, who hadn't the stomach or the will to press through the fumblings in order to get to the Immortal turning point.

In my opinion, the formation of Immortal marked a turning point in the creative direction of the TNA product. Some have a problem with the moves TNA has taken away from the 6 Sided Ring Era. I can sympathize as I, too, miss that ring product, but what must be understood is that this couldn't last forever simply to cater to the loyal fanbase. There was a world of potential fans who had difficulty accepting the additional sides to the traditional ring. In order to wrangle those fans in, they had to put together a more familiar product.

Choosing writers and support cast to put together a new era of TNA history required a template to operate from. Why not pick the era that garnered the most success? A great deal of the supporting cast of the new regime of TNA is now comprised of former WWE employees who lost their jobs when they re-branded their product to a more "family-friendly" product. The Attitude Era was over and these people, who still had a great deal to offer the wrestling world now had no place to write with the freedom open to them during that era. It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.

I've covered the necessity of competition in the wrestling marketplace, but now I must communicate the necessity to bear with the youth of the newly christened product. Also, being patient with the inconsistencies with full knowledge that time will build a better product as they learn to graft old tactics with a new cast of characters to ply their trade in a revised market.

Wrestling in the Marketplace.....

Ever since WWF bought out WCW a decade ago, wrestling has needed a marketplace. Back when the rivalry was in it's thick, there was always another option for wrestlers wanting to sell themselves into the mainstream. Once the rivalry died, so too did the wrestling marketplace. WWF was it. There were no other options. When TNA launched in 2002, it was an independent company put together by men who loved this business and the fans alike. Almost 10 years later, TNA is a national organization and, on a small scale, a global promotion, outshining the re-branded WWE in the UK.

When there was competition, there was restlessness and some of the best stories were able to be told. A wise man once said that necessity is the mother of invention. No truer words were ever spoken than in the Monday Night War. When TNA tried to go to Monday Nights, it didn't work, and critics will speak their mind about the alleged folly of such an action. Why couldn't history have repeated itself? TNA seemed to have some confidence that their merits would pay off. Unfortunately, TNA never let their merits shine during it's brief Monday night tenure.

Despite the failed effort to divide a loyal WWE audience, TNA did do one thing right in it's time on Monday night television. They let people know there was something else out there. WWE now had a rival, albeit, a smaller one. While Eric Bischoff and company may have been wanting a live format, the cost of the Monday night endeavor may have convinced them to play things a little bit safer this time, whereas WCW's promotion already had a following with a proud and historical lineage.

The value of competition in the marketplace is tremendously high because it gives rise to a new generation of stars to take the reins of a business with a new life and personality. Characters like CM Punk, Matt Morgan, Ken Anderson, Alberto Del Rio, and Wade Barrett are making their path to household fame, leading the way for this new crop of talents.  Unfortunately, however, unless WWE fans can recognize the need for competition in the landscape of this business, the product will remain the stagnant, predictable, second rate product it has been since 2010.