Monday, October 31, 2011

Muppet Break.....

"There is said to be a lot of buzz among the WWE superstars, divas and crew today - as many of them grew up big fans of the Muppets. A lot of people are doing whatever they can to be featured in a segment on RAW with the Muppets."- unnamed source


*sigh* I would love to know who okayed this. Seriously. On the docket, we have Kermit watching intently to the divas' costume match and I use the term match loosely. The hecklers Waldorf and Statler are to have some sort of commentary during the event. I wish I could say I was joking about ANY of this. Before ANYONE accuses me of not liking the Muppets, let me assure you nothing could be further from the truth, even though the Truth and Muppets will be on the same show....go ahead....laugh.


I, in fact, am a very big fan of the Muppet franchise and I believe the new movie will be a good start to getting the younger generation into what the crew brings to the table. I do NOT, however, believe the Muppets' best place to be featured is on Monday Night RAW. My reasoning is very simple....any WWE fans may not understand this......being invited to be on the Muppet Show is an honor and a WWE performer being featured there works just fine. The Muppets on RAW insults my intelligence. Let's look at some of the events featured on RAW over the years.....


- Mae Young and Mark Henry.....yeah, I went there.
- Edge and Lita's sex celebration
- Vince McMahon cheating on his wife with nearly every blonde on the roster.
- Shane/ jumper cables/ Kane......if I have to fill in the blanks, you haven't been watching long enough.
- Dawn Marie marrying Torrie Wilson's dad in his underwear.....the honeymoon footage is even worse.
- Kane lighting J.R. on fire......go get the marshmallows, kids.


If my point isn't clear and you WWE fans still believe it's a more family friendly product, I give up....there's no convincing you. For anyone else, I have a suggestion.....watch the highlights on YouTube, chances are the wrestling will be in short supply. I, myself, may catch a highlight or two, but Nielsen won't be getting ANY numbers from me on their radar. There, I've said my peace. 

Explaining the Mystery....Part 2. Deeper....

I've put my best case scenario forward, with TNA utilizing everything they can in order to put maximum character into the current storyline. I believe the job is only half done, as it'll take a good month to put together a cohesive story where every member of Fortune is inescapably tied to the World Title picture, but in the meantime, putting Bobby Roode in a title match against AJ Styles does a couple things right off the bat.

First, it brings the AJ fans to the table right away. It makes people excited to see that their guy is in the hunt for the gold. What makes it compelling is that he's already in a feud with Daniels. The web also includes RVD, who has come to AJ's aid and gotten involved in the feud with Daniels. This ties up one part of Fortune, but leaves interference open to both James Storm, who is locked into heat with Roode AND the X factor in all of this, Kazarian.

The feud web is intricate and well designed.....it's designed to pull as many pieces of the puzzle together as possible to weather away the faction's resolve to remain. I've never seen it done quite like this before, which is refreshing. I still believe we're going to see something new coming down the pike in the next couple of months as TNA adjusts things to bring in perhaps one or two more elements together.

My prediction has been a new gimmick or the return of the King of the Mountain match. A match like King of the Mountain would put together all of the elements and relationships there are to tell a great story even in the face of a match where so much is going on. A new gimmick match, however, could tell the story even better by letting it all build. The Elimination Chamber brought in a sense of suspense as no one knew who would enter the battlefield next.

Hulk Hogan once said that TNA just needs one or two pieces of the puzzle to put them on the map. A few of the columnists believe he meant performers. I'm not so sure. WCW had Bash at the Beach 1997 to propel them to the top. One leg drop created a the most potent stable in the history of this business. I daresay one story could make a company. I once believed it might be Immortal. My prediction fell very flat. I can admit it.

This, however, could be the very thing TNA needs to launch into the clouds. Careful planning, studying the story to cut out any gaps, writing together the perspective, and pulling the trigger will assure something the critics aren't expecting......victory.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Explaining the Mystery....Part 1. The World Title

Right now, TNA is in a very intriguing spot in their development, they're about to split up a faction in an unorthodox way....with the ultimate prize at stake. With Fortune imploding, the top tier is as strong as it has ever been in TNA's history, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, all the signs are, to me, pointing at one of two things.....

-King of the Mountain.....Kaz, Roode, Storm, Daniels, Styles, and possibly a return to the top tier for Jeff Hardy

or

- A brand new gimmick match featuring perhaps a new ring look. Since the top is filled to the brim with TNA's brightest shining talents who can work under whatever conditions are tossed into the hat, it seems reasonable that these guys be the first candidates to perform in said match.

Whatever the case may be, it can be reasonably assured that we, the fans, will win out. While WWE is theming their PPVs right and left, TNA can do something special by putting together the best stable feud in the history of the company so far. If anyone wants to know the reason why to split up Beer Money and the rest of Fortune, I see no better one than to put them all in the title hunt. TNA originals at the top of the card, who would have thought? Doubters of Eric Bischoff and Hogan......I've got two words for ya.....WHAT NOW?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Building the Top Tier......

I believe the time has come to put some faces and names with the scenario I introduced yesterday. This revelation serves two purposes. First, it puts WWE fans up to the looking glass and shows that TNA is doing something to put their best foot forward in the land of improvement. And second, it gives me a platform from which to leap into another multiple part column I'm going to call "Explaining the Mystery" to put a few answers and such to the way the cards have been played in building up this house of cards.

Before launching in, let's have another look at the scenario, shall we?

"I've got a scenario for all of you. Let's say you have a champion, a TNA original, no less. Let's assume he's in a championship feud with another TNA original. Sounds like a pretty good deal for all those people criticizing TNA of not pushing their own, eh? Okay, following the storyline; the champion moves on from facing one TNA original to facing another TNA original. I can see you WWE marks starting to get red in the face. Now, that new challenger is already feuding with....yet another TNA original. Now you have 3 talents in the championship picture. It only gets better from there."


Now, the champion we know to be James Storm, but the championship feud is between he and Robert Roode, who will take the title from Storm in the coming week. Moving on from there, AJ Styles, who is still in a feud with Daniels, will challenge for the World Title at Turning Point. That makes Styles, Roode, and Storm the trio in the top tier with Daniels as a possible fourth. 


I know that makes a lot of old school TNA fans very pleased, myself included. RVD is the hurdle for Daniels to overcome if he is to become that fourth name on the list. The winner of the Matt Morgan and Crimson skirmish should determine the fourth name, in my opinion, but since plans aren't clear beyond Turning Point, that secret shall simply remain veiled. 


One name I am certain will play an integral part in the coming weeks will be Kazarian. His stake in the breaking down of Fortune is pretty high and if it comes down to the wire, he could become the fourth name on the list without having to face a single opponent. It all comes down to whether or not the TNA Creative Team believes he has what it takes to break in right off the bat or if he needs a warm up opponent to build him into a power on that level. Personally, I like the idea that anyone can break the glass ceiling if the push looks good and makes enough sense. A Fortune World Title picture makes my eyes water with joy. 


The invention of a new kind of match makes me want to freak out like a 16 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. In fact, if a new match type were to be introduced, I can't think of a better designer and innovator of such a match than Eric Bischoff, the mind behind the Elimination Chamber. His contribution to the WWE product is unparalleled and outranks any other General Manager WWE has ever had thusfar.


Some of the critics and WWE marks would have everyone believe that TNA is moving too quickly with their stories; that they have no clue how to pace themselves to make it all last long enough to make a difference; that the logic isn't there for the feuds that exist at the top of the card. Why don't we ask CM Punk if he agrees with that assessment?

Naming Names......

In the scenario I introduced yesterday, I used a current storyline from TNA's main event level. I will ultimately reveal names and put it all together, but for now, I'd like to talk about a match that has been building since Bound for Glory.....Jarrett vs. Hardy.

I don't know if anyone is dreading this feud more than I am. The last time Hardy and Jarrett feuded, it was in Hardy's first TNA run and he was completely buried by Jarrett. Jeff Jarrett sold absolutely none of the offense Hardy put up in the ladder match that culminated their little feud and it was that that turned me off to the Jeff Jarrett character in the end. Cockiness I can handle; edginess I can handle; but no selling and completely disarming another competitor isn't right and guys like Rhino and Raven paid dearly in their own feuds with the "King of the Mountain".

This column wasn't intended to be a Jarrett bash, but his heel character does nothing but pollute. I have high hopes that Jeff Hardy has enough fan support to put him over the top despite the opponent in the other corner. Given the new direction of the company and the building of him as THE guy to center the new top tier around, I believe this feud to be the gateway to a fresh set of faces to pit him up against. If Matt Morgan were to turn heel the way he did when he held the tag team gold with Hernandez, Jeff would be facing one of the best heel personas in the past few years and at the perfect time in his career as well.

I say push him past Jarrett quickly and into the upper-midcard to begin his ascent to the top, bringing Morgan and Crimson with him, to join Storm, Roode and the last TNA original to rejoin the top tier for another shot at gold.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Damage Control....

I've got a scenario for all of you. Let's say you have a champion, a TNA original, no less. Let's assume he's in a championship feud with another TNA original. Sounds like a pretty good deal for all those people criticizing TNA of not pushing their own, eh? Okay, following the storyline; the champion moves on from facing one TNA original to facing another TNA original. I can see you WWE marks starting to get red in the face. Now, that new challenger is already feuding with....yet another TNA original. Now you have 3 talents in the championship picture. It only gets better from there.

I won't give specifics before the time has arrived,  but I will tell you that there is a plan and it looks AMAZING! In answer to a question I read earlier this morning, I will shed some light on the Bobby Roode situation and subsequent title win. The question is.....why would TNA do a World Title change on free TV when it could go so much better on PPV?

This question is easy. There are two major reasons with a third reason on standby as to why this is done......

1. Even in a taped environment, people will tune in to see a title change....... Want proof? Look no further than Mick Foley. The date? January 4th, 1999. Raw is WAR. Mick Foley won the WWF Title from The Rock with The Corporation and DX respectively at ringside. On a night that changed the tides for the Monday Night War, WWF was able to capitalize and win a much needed victory in the ratings.

2. It builds heat on a story....... People are still talking about James Storm winning the World Title from Angle on TV. All that attention has become a catalyst for what is coming. With all of these feuds still intact, it deepens the storyline and will ultimately create a new top tier. This is all a VERY good thing for the company. TNA has needed a solid TNA original-led World Title picture and now they have that.

3. Injury....... I'll even take this one a step further and tell you guys that on August 10th, 2003 at a house show in Des Moines, Iowa, Christian won the Intercontinental Title from Booker T because Booker was injured at a show prior to the event. Things happen and results sometimes have to be changed on the fly to put the belt on a performer who can carry it.

I have no problem standing aside and letting TNA take bullets for bad decisions, but this is something WWE has tried before and succeeded and TNA, in my humble opinion, is in the process of succeeding as well. And though the circumstances behind the storyline are different in almost every way, the outcome will produce an even more fresh product. With Hogan off camera and the feud between the Bischoffs in the background, I am seeing the product grow right in front of my eyes into something I am proud to say I'm a part of.

Spoiled.....

If you don't want to read spoilers, please turn back now. This is the only warning that will be given....if you've made your decision to stay....follow me....

At the latest TNA tapings, the event I predicted a week back, happened. Beer Money is no more. Bobby Roode, who tonight faces Samoa Joe and wins the number 1 contendership, turned on his long time partner during the championship match. At the finish, he hit James Storm with a beer bottle and stole a victory and, incidentally, the World Heavyweight Title.

I'm of two minds on this matter. On one side, TNA has doctored a decision made at Bound for Glory, so I'm glad Roode has the belt. On the other, James Storm held the belt for only two weeks, making it a very hollow first run. The way this was done wasn't quite right, but I can accept it for a couple of reasons.

Eric Bischoff and Bruce Pritchard have put together a compelling heel turn here. Aside from the World Title changing hands on free TV argument WWE marks will inevitably use to criticize TNA, Bobby Roode turning heel is something I saw coming two weeks ago, so I believe it makes sense. Even though James Storm could have had his run until Turning Point, where they could have capitalized on the feud and made it last into the winter months, there is still a way to weave this into a profoundly good story.

Make the championship bout between Storm and Roode for Turning Point and give the victory to Bobby Roode, ending any rematch clause angle. I believe putting James Storm into a title chase might deepen an already good character. In fact, this might be the feud that puts TNA ahead on the year, provided they don't lose focus and put anything higher on the card. In the days leading up to Turning Point, this will only get better, raising the stakes higher each month and making the title look like a million bucks.

If the top brass use this little opening to bring in Chris Harris and the America's Most Wanted team back, it could bring Team Canada back as well, creating a very nice Lockdown match for the coming year. Look for this feud at or near the top of the PWI Feud of the Year list......trust me on this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reactions.....

If you've ever wondered how I am able to write more than one post in a day or how I come up with some of the things I write about, look no further than the "wrestling fan" writing a column about how screwed up the business is and how it should go back to a time when Kane wore a mask, Ken Shamrock was a wrestler, ECW was independent, and Vince held the WWF together. Now, I happen to believe the product was good back then, BUT I can accept that things are different now and some of the things that worked then just wouldn't work now. I get that, hence my suggestions go as more of a hybrid of then and now.

My gripe today is about a blog colleague criticizing the Bischoff family feud on Impact. His claims are that the high profile should be given to the current champion and getting him over whilst building up the title hunt for those in line. While I can't dispute that the championship hunt is important, I would like to rewind a decade and some change back to Wrestlemania X-7. Can anyone tell me one of the high profile matches on that card? Well, well, well, is that Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight? "That's too old and can't be brought into it."

Fine. Let's fast forward to October of 2003, No Mercy, to be precise. I see a pretty lackluster card with, wait.....I see an "I Quit" match between Vince McMahon and....um....Stephanie McMahon. Is my point becoming clear yet? Amongst WWE marks, the double standards fly liberally and they clearly forget all the times Vince McMahon has put a family feud in the highest tiers on his WWE programming.

I'm not saying that the remarks are without merit, though I believe that some grace be extended to a young and experimental product, still finding its legs as a world power. Many have criticized TNA's decision making in storyline and their direction, but most don't give them credit where it's due in their ability to garner support worldwide as well as move as far as they have in less than a decade. Yes, they need to put the focus on the World Title, but that is being done and in a progressive manner. Let's put the cap on the comments and let things take shape before putting criticisms on it just yet.

Defending the TV Title.....

I have a problem, people. I haven't seen the TV Title defended on TV for quite some time. Now Eric Young is the current title holder and has been since the end of May. Can someone tell me why he's still champion in his what will be his 6th month? No? Well let me spoil the surprise. The reason Eric Young has yet to lose the title is because he isn't defending it each month like he should.

The TV Title should be defended each month at LEAST twice and NEVER on PPV. That's my personal opinion, but I believe that no person should have to pay to see the that title defended on PPV when it's supposed to be defended on a weekly show. The fact of the matter is that not defending it cheapens the belt and makes it very much a throwaway title. Folks, this should not be. I believe true competitors should be clamoring for a chance to hold it and continue holding it. As for who?

I'm glad you asked. By my reckoning, the TV Title is a transitionary title to prepare a potential world champion for the big leagues. My saying that does not mean it ranks lower, but that it is a stepping stone to the World Title; a launching pad to becoming the face of the company. Having said that, my list of potentials goes something like this.....

Crimson, Matt Morgan, Daniels, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Gunner, Rob Terry (to a lesser degree), and RVD as a veteran worthy of giving the belt some credibility. This is just a list of competitors who could make it into it's own division if they wanted to and even create something special out of it in the process by putting something to lose into a feud. The TV Title NEEDS to feel like special because right now, it's not being treated as such.

I can even do the work and start everything off. Sting comes out and says that the current TV Champion isn't being challenged enough as his reign is almost 6 months long. So he calls out Young and announces a 10 man gauntlet match as the main event of Impact Wrestling with the winner becoming the new TV Champion. In a greatly executed match, Matt Morgan becomes the new TV Champ. I believe putting the strap on him first would do two things: it would make him look like a threat to the world title picture, provided he can hold the belt longer than 3 months, defending against perhaps 10 competitors. That could be a story in and of itself.

Easy, eh?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If You Thought I Was Kidding......

I was roaming about the internet, checking my email and such and I came across what I consider to be the most terrible thing for a WWE fan to come face to face with.......this should be the realization that all you hold dear is crumbling around you into a mass of meaninglessness.

I am sorry to have to post this to gloat, but if you WWE loyalists have anything to say to the negative about TNA and their problems......at least we're not this.....

I Love My X.....

For those of you who have no clue what the X Division is....SHAME ON YOU! You've been taking Vince's poor excuse of a product so long, you probably believe Hornswoggle deserved the Cruiserweight Title before it was retired. Now I will grant that the X Division isn't quite what it was a few years back, but the list of competitors for the X Title is EVERY BIT as good as it was 6 or 8 years ago save for one man (where ARE you, Petey?).

I've been talking about a second show to promote some more of the main event tier stuff so that Impact will have more time for the homegrown divisions they have who DESERVE the TV time for quite a while now. The X Division is one of those divisions that could develop real household names provided they give them the time they need to make the matches worth watching over and over.

Zema Ion, Austin Aries, Brian Kendrick, Anthony Nese, Doug Williams, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Kazarian, Jesse Sorensen, and Kid Kash make up a profoundly talented roster of names to challenge for the X Title, but without the time to exercise some character development, it makes the title seem more like a token than a title.

If you want a good division, you have got to make the characters in said division stand out from the rest of the roster. Jim Cornette once said that the way to get a character over is for them to be themselves with the volume turned way up. I agree only so far as there is ample time in which to do just that. I believe Jim wasn't only talking about their ability to use the microphone either, but rather the wrestling style they utilize and incorporate as well as the attire they bring to the ring. You all have very definite ideas about what makes a person take a character seriously and I'll leave it at that.

One more hour provides the opportunity for perhaps 3 or 4 good matches to make 2 divisions shine as well as give more writers a job. Think about it, TNA....you guys know how much we love our X.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No Looking Back.....

There are some within TNA's top brass who have doubts about the World Title reign of James Storm, believing him to be too southern to make a believable champion. To this, I have a question to ask.....has anyone ever heard of Stone Cold Steve Austin? I believe they call him the Texas Rattlesnake. Now, I realize that James Storm is no Steve Austin, but the fact that they gave him the belt despite the fans' and backroom's advice and demands tells me they should SHUT UP AND DO SOMETHING WITH IT NOW THAT THEY'VE GOT IT!!!

WOW.....that feels better. Robert Roode was THE guy, but Hogan had other ideas and that is what put James Storm on top. My thoughts are very concrete on this matter. Storm may not be what the fans wanted, but he is what they've brought to the table and not doing something good would be wasting and, ultimately, burying a good talent who could do some real good for the credibility of the title as well as the entertainment value of the show.

To those who say James Storm doesn't make sense. Think back a few weeks to when Storm and Angle had their last match. In a very respectable match on Impact, Storm came just so close beating him. When Sting put the match together, in a storyline sense, he would have known that Angle in a doubly weakened state would have difficulty beating a competitor like James Storm and would ultimately be defeated.

In news relating to Hulk Hogan, there is talk of another match in his future between him, Flair, Bischoff, and Bischoff's son, potentially going down at Lockdown. Let me assure all of you, this match is doomed to failure. I, for one, wanted Sting to be the end of his in ring career. There is nothing left to prove. In my opinion, if they want to make a match like that happen, put Garrett in the ring vs. his father with a no DQ stipulation and presto, you have a throwaway match that won't completely wreck the card. I believe that a match like that should NOT clog a card of the magnitude of Lockdown. Against All Odds, Final Resolution, or even Genesis would do just fine. The fans want to see the precious time put into the product being fed to the TALENTS, not the authority figures and referees.

I've been talking about divisions being given time to make their respective titles mean something....this kind of thing goes against that and, while WWE's fans have little interest in wrestling as much as shallow thought storylines, TNA's fans won't sit idly by and remain quiet.

The Knock List.....

As the title of this column suggests, my focus is on the Knockouts Division. With the division under the oppression/ leadership of a manager of sorts, it is possible that the storylines for the Knockouts Title will improve. That being said, competition for the Knockouts Tag Titles will suffer under the constraints of time unless one of two things happens....

1. Impact cuts down on the amount of time devoted to promos and development of main event and other storylines elsewhere.

OR

2. Another show is premiered that will allow those belts to be defended under conditions that will allow the division to flourish.

As I have written before, I have NEVER been a fan of the Knockouts Tag Titles, HOWEVER, if they are intended to be used strongly, they NEED to be showcased, much in the way the X Division Title and Television Title also need to be defended regularly. The assembling of tag teams also needs to be done as there are 9 Knockouts with three on reserve, putting the total to 12. At least 4 teams can be put together with 4 Knockouts chasing the big belt at any given time.

Rosita and Sarita are doing fine as a team; Tara and Tessmacher are as well. If ODB and Jackie can be utilized consistently, they could join the ranks as could Angelina Love and Winter. That leaves Velvet Sky, Gail Kim, Mickie James, and Madison Rayne to compete for the Knockouts belt. In my humble opinion, this is the perfect blend of green to veteran.

The Knockouts Divisions separate TNA from EVERY other organization save for the all women's feds as they are showcasing their young talents as both beautiful and lethal. The fact that they give these performers time to develop and change proves TNA as a place where women can ply their trade in the ring with every bit the talent and precision as their male counterparts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Please Read Instructions.....

In "Free T-Shirts?" I gave the address for your free Bound for Glory t-shirt. The instructions for this offer were quite simple......send a PHOTOCOPY of your ticket stub to said address along with the size of the t-shirt you are requesting. The shirt should arrive within 10 business days of your request.

NOW, you don't think I would put something down as simple as that and not have something else on standby, do you? With the loss of Beer Money in sights and the feud between Roode and Storm on the horizon, it seems to me that things are looking up for the world title picture. Roode, Storm, and Crimson and Morgan circling like sharks and Joe at least looking like a dangerous contender as well. This is how I pictured things looking a month back.

Would anyone like to put WWE's GM and Impact's GM to a contest? Yeah, I thought not. Sting is quite possibly the best face GM I have seen so far, though Teddy Long a few years back was pretty good as well.

While TNA's story is getting clearer by the week, WWE's and RAW in particular, seem to get more and more hazy and confusing. Can anyone tell me why that might be? Could it possibly be that the writers have no clue what works in a wrestling environment? Why might THAT be? Perhaps those people have only written for soap operas previously. The defense rests, your honor.

While Sting and the merry band of faces on the roster are showing themselves more clearly, Bischoff and company seem to be lying in wait.....in wait for just long enough for a decent Turning Point.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eye of the Storm.....

Right now, TNA is in a place of wonderment. They are in a position WWE wishes it could be in right now....where the new guys are holding the titles. Here's the fact of the matter, save for two (Tara and Hernandez), EVERY title is being held by someone who hasn't held the gold they now wear. Tessmacher, Velvet Sky, Anarquia, Austin Aries, and even Eric Young are all holding titles that either begin their list of accolades or add to them. While Eric Young's title is technically the same title once dubbed by him as the "Global Championship", it's a technicality and for this column's purpose, not the same.

This is truly historic. The icing on the cake is that the youth initiative WWE had been implementing has been haphazard as of the last few years. And though it seems they are taking some steps in the right direction, their list of usable veterans to bring up the youth into the top tier has been razor thin. Meanwhile, TNA's roster has been a fortified stomping grounds of a who's who in wrestling legacy and has served as a base from which new talents have leapt and reached the top.

The new era in which TNA is moving promises to be about handing a legacy to the originals to move everything into the future. Angle has gone on record saying that he's all about building new champions in his last while wrestling. Others are falling in line by actions, working up to life after wrestling and leaving the credits to younger stars to run with.

My congratulations to James Storm as his reign marks a new day for TNA....a calm in the eye of the Storm.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wrestling Matters....right?

I'm here to complain for once. I love TNA. I love the guys and gals who go out and do the stuff that makes us chant. I have a very sincere and quite major complaint right now. Last night, there was just over 7 minutes of actual wrestling. I wish I could say I was kidding. 7 minutes. It takes more time to make chili dogs in the microwave by heating everything separately. If I had been doing that and the wrestling had taken place back to back, I'd have missed the entirety of the ring action.

Here's my point. TNA needs to do some generated focus on what their slogan has been..."Where Wrestling Matters." 7 minutes is a disgrace and a shame for people to spend money to see. In a 2 hour show, there had better be at least 6 matches and an hour of action. The filler can still exist, but can we sprinkle it on rather than slathering it on thick?

James Storm won the title belt while a friend of mine was in the bathroom....seriously. I wish I could say I was kidding about this. Bruce, Eric, Hogan, Dixie, and anyone else who has some pull....we WANT to see the talents WRESTLING during the show. I've been a die-hard fan since TNA's inception and have seen it at its best. Right now we're not seeing it. Please prove that wrestling does, indeed, matter.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TNA's Best Defense.....

In the war of words between the WWE marks and TNA marks, it seems almost necessary now that Bobby Roode is now being used as ammunition, to remind WWE's minions of the position they themselves are standing in.

Right now, John Laurinaitis is the acting General Manager of RAW while Triple H is what? Active wrestler? COO?

Three weeks ago, CM Punk wanted Triple H on a silver platter to beat on and now they are teaming as if they'd been friends the whole year? Really?

What did the walkout of RAW personnel do to further anything on WWE programming?

Where do Miz and R-Truth fit in now that they've been re-instated by Laurinaitis?

Does WWE care about ANYTHING other than the Rock returning in a few weeks?

Did I mention that the Muppets are hosting RAW next week?

Why does John Cena get ANOTHER title shot? In the past year, he has either held the belt or been in contention for it EVERY MONTH since Wrestlemania!

There have been five real contenders for the big belts since Wrestlemania: John Cena, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Christian, and now Mark Henry. All have been in rotation for 6 months.....

TNA's story is not without error either......

Bobby Roode SHOULD be champion right now. In a twist of storyline, however, I take at least some solace in knowing a TNA original is keeping the belt warm. James Storm may not be my first choice as a standby, but he'll do in a heartbeat.

Hogan shouldn't be in front of camera anymore as he was thwarted by Sting, but I take some comfort in knowing he's plugging the show like mad on ESPN and other outlets.

Eric Bischoff has been running damage control since Spike fired TNA's strongest supporter with the network and has, for now, managed to keep TNA in the clear for the foreseeable future.

The returns and debuts of talent are easier made when said talents make a face debut, but Gail Kim has broken the tradition, making something a bit different right from the start. I still want Karen Jarrett FIRED!!!! But I'm willing to concede provided there are people surrounding her to such a degree that she doesn't have to be seen every week.

There has been some upheaval since Bound for Glory, but the backlash has been tolerable and more welcome, I must say, than the COMPLETE chaos running amok in WWE as they are rendering RAW virtually unwatchable.

WWE would be in a better position now than TNA if they had kept their personnel under lock and key and not gone to the children when their parents are the ones with money. Another lesson in Survival Tactix........complete.

Landing on Spikes......

If ever there were a better person to act as a liason between TNA and Spike TV officials than Eric Bischoff, you'd be hard pressed to find one. With the upper brass at Spike having a bit of a sour view of Dixie Carter following the Main Event Mafia tease a year back, it's said Eric has salvaged a potential dire situation for TNA. It was believed at the time that Kevin Nash and Booker T would be returning to TNA television to reunite, but instead ended up opting back to WWE. For anyone wanting to know, both talents had either lead Dixie to believe or allowed her to think they would return up until the 11th hour.

So that brings me to a few questions to explore......if TNA were to find themselves without a network, what happens to the company? First off, Spike has been a pretty faithful home and TNA has provided some good numbers for their network so finding another network might not be such a difficult thing, BUT providing fans enough time and information to make the switch along with TNA might pose problems. In the past, when TNA went from FOX SportsNet to Spike, there was little to no notice beforehand and we, as fans had to do the digging on our own in order to find where they were going to be on. I would suggest that one of the old Turner Networks may come back into play after over a decade of disuse. TNT or TBS both have a long history of wrestling product and their management structure has changed a bit over the years, potentially making them more apt and willing to provide the time to TNA to land should Spike become less than friendly.

Whatever the case, TNA is in no ready danger and the position on Spike is secure, so speculation to that end is purely speculation, nothing more. Speaking of speculation, this may be the best time to throw out a few guesses as to whom TNA will be debuting in the coming months. The white tower has been keeping a tight lid on a name or two who may turn some heads and raise the ratings standard for the company. Kurt Angle was THE guy to raise eyebrows in the 2000's but going into the 2012, another performer young enough to make a splash for a couple of years might be willing to make the jump.....

The Candidates......

Chris Jericho- He's been in talks with WWE in the recent past about a match at Wrestlemania, but if things fall through, who knows what might come from a talk or two with the Dixie? Jericho in TNA would mean some great matches with the likes of AJ Styles, Daniels, Roode, and a host of TNA originals, waiting for a healthy rub from a seasoned veteran to get them talked about for years to come.

John Morrison- With his time in WWE dwindling, crossing the line might mean a fresh start for JOMO, which, admittedly, is something he genuinely needs right now. In the realm of pure athletes, I doubt you'll find a better free agent. PLUS, once his contract officially runs out, there will be no 90 day no compete clause to hold him back. AND if he comes in with Melina, you have a built in draw to TWO separate divisions, not just one. TNA has done magical things to characters WWE has wasted over the years; reviving Matt Morgan, Pope, and a few others on the roster, making them relevant to the product in the long run.

I've mentioned guys like Goldberg and Chavo Guerrero before, so elaborating seems a bit like killing a fly with a bazooka. ANY of these talents could elevate TNA to a higher level if used in a way where they look more like a weapon and less like a toy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FREE T-Shirts?

True to my word, through various means of information gathering, I've found the address for the free T-Shirt for those of you who went to see Bound for Glory in theater.

TNA Bound for Glory Screenvision Offer
209 10th Avenue South
Suite 302
Nashville, TN  37203



Here's to free stuff!

Heels and Two Faces.....

I've given two spoilers already, but this third one isn't as big as the other two. I predicted the return of the very first Knockouts Champion and so it was that Gail Kim returned to the Impact Zone at the recent tapings. I won't lie to you, I was stunned to find her return as a heel aligning herself with Mrs. Jarrett. The recent turn of events has me a bit puzzled as to where this is all going.

With James Storm as the new World Title holder, Sting as the Voice of TNA Management, and Gail Kim returning as a heel, where are the good guys? I'll be interested to see where this all goes, but at the moment, my feeling of confusion is almost overwhelming. WWE has been erratic in the last few weeks, but this is something far different. Not worse....just different. I get the impression that more is in the works and that TNA is trying to put together a story arc that has further reaching implications than I know about at the moment. While some of those developments are only beginning to manifest themselves, others remain shrouded and closely guarded.

I would ask you all to think back to the Attitude Era. Some of the elements remind me of the Stone Cold/ Undertaker/ Vince McMahon storyline that lasted almost 6 months. Piece by piece, the elements pulled back layers of story and it made the show a MUST SEE each and every week. This is getting there, but the unanswered questions may make this difficult for some of the old school hardcore TNA fans to see. BUT I'm a wrestling fan and I love a story deeper than WWE has been putting out, so I'll go along for now to see what's coming down the pike.

With Dixie Carter now back in control, which I'm told is the driving force behind the follow up shows in the next couple of weeks, it's time to turn attentions to Turning Point, where so far, I can see Bobby Roode in the hunt for the gold in a tag team feud. The end of Beer Money is nigh, people. It's too bad, but we knew it had to happen some time. AJ and Daniels aren't done....Bound for Glory gave no indications that Daniels is through yet.

Crimson's streak is still unbroken, telling me something big is coming and I can't be sure it's Goldberg, but I can safely say, it'll have to be something big enough to launch his career to the top tier in a convincing way. I am having a bit of a hard time with people believing the RIDICULOUS notion that just because someone has an undefeated streak means they have to be copying the 100+ win streak of Goldberg. Okay, I feel better now.

I do apologize for the length of this post, but there is simply so much happening right now in TNA and the length could not be helped. Thanks for the patience, guys....you're the best.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Not Be Roode?

For those who have no desire to read spoilers, please forego reading this until after this week's Impact.......

I am still unclear as to why TNA has it in their minds to not put Bobby Roode in the driver's seat, but after this week's tapings, I am simply speechless. With Sting as the Voice of Authority named by Dixie Carter, James Storm was slotted to not only face Angle on Impact, but go over for the title. My question is why? Perhaps there is a reason upon further analysis, so let's dig deeper.....

- James Storm gave Angle a run for his money (no pun intended) a couple of weeks before Bound for Glory, but that wouldn't give him number one contendership....would it?

- James Storm was the runner up in the Bound for Glory Series, then? Nope. That would have been Bully Ray.

- James Storm won more matches during the Bound for Glory Series, then right? Nope. That would have been Crimson.

I'm still at a loss. Unless the number one contender was injured, put under suspension, or otherwise unable to compete, Bobby Roode should have been able to exercise a rematch clause.....unless I'm mistaken. Whatever the reason, I'm disappointed in TNA's lack of faith in a man who put on a true wrestling clinic at Bound for Glory....and more accurately, in Hulk Hogan, who reports suggest, lobbied to see Angle retain.

You can bet I'll keep you all updated as to the situation behind Bobby Roode's newest hurdle, but for now, things are beginning to look bad for Hogan and his hand in the decision making process.

The State of TNA Address.....

To all of you who love the product, I say to you that things are going to change...again. With Dixie right back in charge, it'll be nice to see how things transpire. But that isn't what I'm looking to talk about now....I want to talk about how the PPV has faired by my estimation.

I've been to a great number of websites and read columns from over 20 different columnists and all have said the same thing.....the ending was wrong. Roode should be holding the title right now. TNA will have to answer for this with those fans, but not to me. I'm okay with Bobby Roode chasing the belt for one more month. There may yet be a way to solve this for the fans so opposed to the decision they want out, but TNA needs to do this quick. Capitalizing on the heat is something WWE is no longer capable of doing, but TNA is young enough to know when they've pissed people off.

How is TNA doing right now? Unless Hogan and Bischoff collaborate to do some damage control, I believe we may fall witness to some serious backlash. The week of tapings will settle some of the hard feelings, but not dropping the belt will be something big in the months to come. Count on that. What I believe is really not terribly important, all things considered, but a lot of people believe that the months of build to make Roode look like a top tier talent was wasted. Even though I think he IS top tier and has some genuine momentum going into Impact this week, I do agree something needs to be done....as for what?

Angle needs time away to get himself right for his competitions for 2012. Him dropping the belt to Roode on Impact by admitting that he cheated may satiate some viewers, but I doubt the feelings would be totally changed about Sunday. HOWEVER, if Roode were given the title and told that Angle would return to challenge at a later time might give fans a bit more to chew on. The three I's Angle used to use as a motto could very well come into the story....integrity being the operative word.

The End Result.....

For those of you who didn't see Bound for Glory, you missed an AMAZING show. BUT, I'm going to do a couple of things. First of all, I'm going to give you a rundown of the results. Secondly, I'll throw in a link to a website to catch the TNA PPV's right after they happen. I also have a first....I need to ask a favor. SO...I say let's get to it.

In the Pre-Show, there was a TON of commercial type hype. It did contain something not on the PPV card, though. I'm talking about the Tag Team Title match between Mexican America and Ink Inc. In a match better talked about than watched, I'll tell you Mexican America won to keep the belts.

On to the card.....

Austin Aries vs. Brian Kendrick.....this one was a slow starter. I was hoping for a nicely paced opening match and it did blossom into that, but the start was a bit slow. Not complaining, it's just the way it is. I loved the placement of the high risk spots, and there were a few. At the end of a decent opening match, Austin Aries retains.

RVD vs. Jerry Lynn.....Based on their history together, I expected some high risk spots, some very dangerous hits, and an added dose of attention to detail. I wasn't disappointed. This was a good grudge match given the perfect amount of time and nasty looking spots to make a solid match. In the end, after a coast to coast Van Daminator, RVD wins.

Joe vs. Crimson vs. Matt Morgan......I was a bit disappointed in this one because there wasn't time to properly build anyone. If Bound for Glory had gone another hour, this is one match I would have given about ten minutes more just to give some more story into the ring presentation, but for better or worse, it did what it had to and that was the point. In a twist of circumstance, Crimson wins.

Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson......To say this match was good gives it no credit at all. This was about as epic as it gets. PLENTY of nasty hits, falls, and a couple of spilled beers to change things up. A lot of people complain about Anderson not landing the Senton Bomb squarely at the finish, but I wasn't too disappointed in the finish, the Mic Check did the job and gave Anderson a nice W in the win/loss column. Check this one out if you can find it.

Velvet Sky vs. Winter vs. Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne......If I didn't mention it earlier, I think Karen Jarrett needs to be FIRED! Her as the guest referee was a profoundly horrible mistake and deserves to be fixed. The action in the ring was cheapened as Karen paraded about the ring asking about her attire and such. I was disgusted, to say the least. Without Jarrett, I'd have given this one another ten minutes as well as I think they could have made a great match. The four women in the ring didn't deserve to be taken advantage of like that. Thank god for the red mist to her eyes and Ms. Brooks coming out to make the final count to give Velvet Sky her first Knockouts Title.

Daniels vs. AJ Styles.....This is another one I wish would have been given more time, another ten minutes for sure. It may have gone down as match of the night with more time, but minus the time, it just kinda fizzled. AJ gets the win via threat to carve Daniels up with a screwdriver.

Jeff Jarrett's Confrontation......IF Bound for Glory had gone the extra hour, I'd have suggested this be on the card as a match with 20 minutes or so worth of time to put on a clinic, but since that wasn't the case, the confrontation leading to an inevitable feud between the two had to do.

Hogan vs. Sting......This could have gone horribly wrong. They could have given this more time and made it a disaster, but entering nearly 17 minutes, it was over and I could breathe easy. Quick. Painless. AND it did the job of putting Dixie back in power and turning Hogan face once more. Sorry about the beatdown, Sting, even though you won.

Angle vs. Roode......I know the critics say Roode should have won. While I have my own thoughts as to what happened, I think the match itself was great, going over 30 minutes and giving both men enough time to build the other into a fighter. I believe something is going to happen here. I know Angle is hurt and needs to take some time off. TNA would do well in making Roode a champion in next month's PPV, Turning Point. Angle retained, in case you didn't read it from me earlier.

You guys can catch replays on http://www.justin.tv up to a couple of days normally, but when RAW is on rotation, it may be hard to find it after. It's free to sign up, but simple viewing is free as well. Check the site an hour after each PPV to see if the replay is there. It won't be hard to find.

This was a GREAT PPV and well worth the time spent in putting it together. Only time will tell how well TNA did with the theater promotion, which leads me to the favor...Just before Bound for Glory went on, Socal Val came on with instructions for how to get your free t-shirt. Since none of the people I know brought a pen or paper to jot down the address, did anyone get the address?

The instructions told viewers to photocopy the ticket stub and send the copy along with a size to get the free Bound for Glory T-Shirt. I just need the address. Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Criticisms...Part 2: Turning Red and Yellow....

Another criticism is that Hogan turned face after a year and a half run as a heel. I share some of those feelings, BUT I also understand that the best way for Hogan to be able and get people behind him is as a face. As a face, Hogan is the red and yellow American hero and part of our culture now. I was glad to see that back, but I was even more happy to see the bumps he promised not to take.

The match was everything I figured it'd be....plenty of interference and then, with the face turn, Sting and Hogan cleaning house. So now the company has been handed back to its rightful owner and Sting is no longer the crazy one.....or so it would appear. There was one character I thought I'd see in the ring that never showed up.....Abyss. My guess is something's coming on that front, but I'm at odds as to what it could be....he's been working against the grain with Immortal in recent weeks, so that means something.

I also called the Hardy/ Jarrett confrontation and that will culminate into a match or series of matches in the coming weeks. I just never want to see Jarrett in another ladder match as long as I live. With that segment, though, I was a bit disappointed, because I wanted to see a match, even a short one with a twisted finish, but that would have dug into a match elsewhere, so I didn't complain.

My TWO complaints about the entire show are really rather mild. I want to see Karen Jarrett fired. The Knockouts match could have been done without her ever being in the ring. By putting pressure on Traci Brooks to call the match a certain way, she could have stayed out of the ring and some of her little distractions could have been avoided. Traci can take a bump....Karen cannot.  Having Karen involved in the Knockouts Title match cheapened the match and made the victory seem a bit less than it might otherwise have been. NEVERTHELESS....my Congratulations to the new Knockouts Champion, Velvet Sky.

Complaint number 2.....The Tag Team Title match was absolutely awful. The most redeeming thing about it was that it was taken off the actual Bound for Glory card. Shannon Moore, who I've praised as an underutilized, underestimated talent sold very little offense from Mexican America. I was ashamed of the outing both teams had as I know they could have done better. The ladies were the most entertaining portion of the match. Von Eerie, Rosita, and Sarita......I love you gals. Your modest contributions made the entire thing watchable.

Criticisms...Part 1: Angle Keeps It.....

Before anyone goes and shuts down the window based on the title of this entry, I would like the chance to explain. I got done watching Bound for Glory and came right home to check out what people said about it....I was blown away by what I read. There was a mass of people who HATED what TNA did in not giving Bobby Roode the TNA Heavyweight Title. They didn't like Hogan turning face again. So much criticism without stepping back and looking at the bigger picture.

The next few posts are going to address all of the criticisms and, hopefully, explain why what was done was actually better for business AND for the performers as well. Regardless, however, I am not going to give answer to criticism without stating where TNA shone.

The first one is probably the one most controversial....Angle retains the title. Bobby Roode battled Kurt Angle in, what I consider, the match of the night. It lasted nearly 30 minutes, which was PLENTY of time, and gave them more than an opportunity to tell the best story able in that time. I don't care what the critics say, Bobby Roode was NOT buried last night. Angle won, but it wasn't clean. Yeah, I might I have wanted a clean victory for Roode, but the more I look at the entirety of the card, the more I am certain this was the right thing.

With Sting winning the bout against Hogan, this means Dixie is calling the shots again. That being the case, Bobby Roode's case will be heard. You can bet it will be addressed. Angle played the part of desperation and did it well. His character knew cheating was the only way he could have put Roode away, which in my humble opinion, made Roode look even better. A couple of columns back, I addressed some comments Hogan said, one in particular about Roode perhaps needing another month or two of chasing the title to actually pick up the brass ring. The story isn't over and the next time, I am betting the farm, Bobby Roode will have Angle scouted.

This is classic WWE underdog story writing at its best. I'd ask you to remember when WWE was great.....I know it takes a while, but remember when guys like Brock Lesnar and John Cena were chasing their SECOND reign. Both were screwed out of the title and were made to look AMAZING in the chase. Bobby Roode is being booked under a similar template and, while the world of armchair critics believe he should have gotten the belt on his first try, these are the same people who complain about champions being booked too quickly. Try to keep in mind the course, young grasshopper.....

In all things, patience, Roode fans. His plight will be realized and, when it is, you'll thank me for holding back the criticisms....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Must Win....

The battle lines have been drawn, weapons have been brought to arms, allies have been contacted, and now the stage has been set. Today is a must win for the men and women of TNA. Bound for Glory is the best of the best stage upon which to perform here and this is the day to pull out all the stops. The card is powerful, as are the contenders.

While critics are watching this one; waiting for the failure to come, I'm looking on in anticipation; knowing full well that I won't get what I'm expecting, hence the appeal. No matter what the case, something big is going to happen here, it always does, but the stakes have never been higher than they are this year.

TNA's roster is full, their staff is stacked, and their writers are on full alert....

Tonight will be an indication of what is coming down the pike. Rumors are swirling around about Hogan possibly turning face once more after BFG, but one way or another, there will be change. The aftermath will be epic as the results of each match run down the ticker tape. You can count on the officials over at Spike to be watching this one as well as what happens will very much impress either a 'must watch' or 'must miss' feeling with the core audience TNA has drawn for tonight's festivities. A positive review will bolster the ratings, sending them into a feverish frenzy and THAT is what we're aiming for.

I have no intention of running down the card yet again, but only to say that Dixie Carter, Hogan, and Bischoff are like thousands of generals before them who stood on the morning before battle to survey the troops and once all is ready, they wait for the curtain.....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Proof....

Former WWE writer and Ring of Honor director Dave Lagana announced on his website today that he has signed with TNA. Here is part of his statement:

"I leave Ring of Honor Wrestling to tackle new challenges. I’ve accepted a position as Director of Creative Writing with TNA Wrestling. My duties will be to focus solely on the development of new wrestling shows beyond the Impact Wrestling show. I’m excited to see what the future holds and thank everyone for the support over not only the last nine months of this site but through my entire career."


Things are beginning to heat up. I've been mentioning the possibility of another show beyond Impact for months now and this is a prediction, I'm proud to say, that is beginning to take shape. The addition of new writers and new members of the team goes to show TNA is getting serious. This is more evidence that Spike is behind the development of the TNA product into an actual power. 


With this added member of the arsenal of former WWE writers and staff from the Attitude Era and shortly following, it also proves, at least to me that this is going to feel a little bit like WWE from that time period, with the edgy, sometimes dark, provocative programming TNA is expected to bring to the table. This isn't to say it'll be subpar....in fact, I believe very much the opposite. TNA is going to get a bit of a facelift and that much in the way of production value and directing from the very best that the business has to offer. 


Do you know what I like most about all the changes? They're not shopping for in ring talents. It's all about writing consistent stories worth telling and TNA has had their share of problems in that area over the past couple of years anyway. Additionally, it appears that Dixie and the board all believe that they already have the best players in the world right now, and I would venture that they're absolutely right.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The World of Hypothesis...

In a recent interview, Hogan mentioned some of the guys on the TNA roster....AJ Styles, Robert Roode, James Storm, and Jeff Hardy. He said AJ may not be 'the guy' in TNA. He said Robert Roode isn't ready to be yet. He said that Storm could perhaps be one of the best heels in the company if they built him that way....

He said Jeff Hardy is 'the guy'.

I'm probably going to be chastised for some of the things I'm about to say, but before the criticisms fly, I would like a chance to run a new pattern....let's play devil's advocate.

AJ Styles isn't the greatest mic worker, but he'd been improving and I think Hogan is wrong, but for the sake of argument, let's give it a second look. He works harder than a great deal of the talents in the locker room for every match, BUT he's not the draw. He works better as a face because he isn't as versatile as some other performers in the locker room. AJ Styles puts on the show, but he doesn't put people in the seats. PART of the problem is the booking. That much I grant, but without the charisma, there is only so many directions to go with the character. AJ Styles shines when he's the underdog chasing the title, but as a champion he seems to flounder. In my opinion, with a little bit of work and I'm NOT talking about a mouthpiece or as a lackey oppressed, he can become 'the guy'. I want him to be 'the guy'....but unless some real charisma asserts itself in the next couple of years, we may be treated to only an occasional reign in the top ranks.

Robert Roode is being prepped right now to see how people respond to him. This is the strongest his character has ever been and it's pretty spectacular, but is he there yet? Maybe, but one, perhaps two more swings at the highest level might perfect the hunger and truly bring out what is meant to shine in our newest star.

James Storm is a great talker and can cut a great many 'someones' into pieces with his microphone...I'd even say he's one of the most versatile performers on the roster. He works as a heel; he works as a babyface; whatever is asked he can do and do quite well. I have to give him every confidence as a top tier guy.

Jeff Hardy I have written about at great length and so shall remain silent concerning his story, albeit the best surrounding him in recent memory.

Hulk Hogan has some good points, but I think he's a bit premature to say who is or is not 'the guy' right now for TNA's foreseeable future. With a mind like that, the lower tier remains the lower tier forever because there is no hope of moving higher. And without the hope of breaking out, it's only a matter of time before performers decide that the areas of work elsewhere are more attractive.

Lands of Uncertainty....

As many will know already, the man who once served as the Senior Vice President of Sports and Special Programming for Spike TV was recently dismissed. His replacement has yet to mention TNA in his revamp plan going into the fall season. Now, this being said, Eric Bischoff's relationship with those in authority has grown quite good over the course of the past months and that leads me to believe there will be few problems with Impact Wrestling's timeslot and ability to broadcast on Spike TV in the future.

Without absolute certainty, however, there is unrest.....and rightfully so. While I see no problems looming on the horizon as TNA is Spike's best source of ratings at the moment out of anything they're putting out there, assurances are a bit on the thin side of things. If there is one thing TNA has been good at, it's consistency. They can put up consistent numbers from week to week, which means they have a good core following. While rises are what the upper brass want to see, repeat performances are rare and TNA's track record is good in that regard, meaning Spike can pretty much guarantee at least X number of viewers each week in their slot. Few shows can say the same.

Nevertheless, with a major backer now gone, we can thank Eric Bischoff for not giving up on the product and going to bat for the fans to keep TNA fighting as the strong second place wrestling promotion in the world. Don't count out the underdogs just yet....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Missing Identities....

My rants have been many these past months and more than a few have surrounded the loss of the 6 Sided Ring....and today is only marginally different. My understanding of the way things are right now is that this piece of TNA's identity isn't gone forever and the one time thing wasn't it. I'm now under the impression there are plans of bringing it back as a staple, just as it was before. My question to explore for today isn't IF it'll be back, but rather WHEN and HOW....

The WHEN....if I were TNA right now, I'd be running my fingers through the mail bags and seeing just what kind of fans we've got, whether loyal to the product no matter what or to what TNA used to be but no longer is. Since Hogan and Bischoff are signed on for another 2 years, it seems safe to assume there will be some kind of compromise. While I can promise you, we're looking at after Bound for Glory, I can't promise how long after. Since I am a betting man, however, I'd put my money on either Final Resolution or Genesis.

As for the HOW? While the official end of Immortal is in sight, I'm guessing there is one more hurdle needing to be overcome....Immortal's fail safe, shall I say. If everything goes wrong, this, that and the other thing happens. But then again....I may be completely off base and everything goes back to normal beginning the week after Bound for Glory.

Whatever the case, in the interview I posted a number of weeks ago here, Jeff Jarrett was pressured by the reporter to comment on this very ring and his words were that there is a battle not even on the radar yet.....so who really knows?

Ratings.....Is it Hogan?

Over the course of the last nearly 2 years, the television ratings haven't changed much. NOW....some of my column writing, critique giving, advice mongering cohorts.....sorry....colleagues seem to believe that either TNA or Hogan are the problem with the way people perceive the product. I believe I can make the case that neither one is the problem AND both are.....have I got your attention?

This is all my opinion, mind you, so do take this for what it's worth. To fully do this thing justice, we've got to go back to December of 2009. Oh yeah, I do mean to go back that far. At about the time Hogan was announced, there were some pretty good elements happening and once he came on board officially, things began to change. At Genesis, the 6 Sided Ring left without so much as an explanation...FAULT: Hogan

World Elite was disbanded and Eric Young was brought into The Band. The Band imploded within 6 month's time and Eric Young was back to his cartoonish self....FAULT: TNA

The depushing of Desmond Wolfe, Hernandez, Matt Morgan, Samoa Joe, Daniels, and AJ Styles....FAULT: BOTH; TNA wrote each guy out of their respective pushes, but Hogan supported his favorites.

Need I go on? I believe I do....with all the negative press out there about what he's done to the TNA product, I don't think enough has been said about his work promoting the product in the media runs and appearances and even though the ratings have been somewhat lacking, I think Impact Wrestling is still the better show than anything WWE has been putting out and it is getting better.

I get the feeling from so many critics of the product that the 6 Sided Ring decision was the deal breaker. I mean, it was a piece of TNA's identity....right? Well....I happen to agree. That sin must be answered for and I believe a one time shot at Destination X just wasn't enough to satisfy me. The era of 6 Sides goes back almost 8 years, guys. I know I've got a lot of you reading this who want to see TNA bring back that piece and you'd actually start actively telling people Hogan made the right choice for the company for once if it was brought back. My suggestion?

TELL THEM!!! Write it on their Facebook page, write it to their website. I've done it....nothing yet, but with more voices, this thing could come back in ANY way. Let them know that there are still fans of TNA out there who want their ring back.

Where a promotion's identity is...THAT'S where the ratings are. THAT'S where WWF was. They were Attitude, now they are Absent. Total Nonstop Action became Total Nonstop Acting in the months following Hogan's arrival, but the good news is that it's gotten better and will only continue to improve....of that I am certain once the smoke clears.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When the Morning Comes......

As promised, I am fully intending to answer the last question from my previous post, but before I do, I'd like to thank Hogan for dropping TNA's name on ESPN. That kinda thing only helps the company up to the next rise.....

So you want to know where Dixie Carter's return would leave Hogan and Bischoff?

Personally, I LOVE seeing Dixie Carter on stage...her performances are believable and really help bring some much needed clout to the decisions made.  As much as she is hesitant to be on camera, a few well placed cameos would be a welcome addition to what I propose....

Keep Hogan and/or Bischoff in charge. My thoughts, however, are to give them an oversight character....someone to keep the decisions fair and in the best interest of Dixie and the Board. This is only an on screen entity and would make the number of appearances by Dixie to the bare minimum, in accordance to her wishes. Still, her presence to book a high profile match would be absolutely valuable and would put a very nice personal stamp on things.

Yeah, I know Hogan should stay backstage more often and that is valid. Yeah, I know they need to disband Immortal. Yeah, I know more guys need to be in the fold fighting for the titles, but here's my thought on all that...an oversight character standing for the decisions made by upper management would suit that just fine. I imagine a revised Steve Austin/ Bischoff Co-Manager type of deal. Right now the man who fits the role best is Sting, but it could be somebody like Jim Cornette or someone else entirely....the possibilities are quite literally endless.

One More Countdown.....

In 4 days, TNA and Direct Auto Insurance Presents......BOUND FOR GLORY. Yep. I'm feeling it. With the whirlwind chaos that WWE is in right now, seems to me some of the E's elite need a break. Come on folks....pull up a chair and cross the line....

This time, I'd like to take some time and ask a few questions.....who knows? Maybe I'll answer a few of them.

- How long should the next TNA Title reign last?
- How many competitors after BFG until Genesis will be repeat competitors for the belt?
- Who should fall on that list?
- If Dixie Carter takes over the company once again, where does that leave Hogan and Bischoff?

Before I run out of space to answer ANY of these questions, let me toss out answers to the easy ones.

1. The TNA Title reign should last AT LEAST 2 months. IF they deem someone worthy of holding the belt, it shouldn't change hands until December.

2. In my opinion, there needs to be at least one more repeat competitor for the title just to give the run some credibility. While I don't believe it necessary to make every holder of the belt to be new, I believe that even the competition over the belt should feel new from month to month. My thoughts are Jeff Hardy will be in the hunt before year's end once more, but my hunch is we may even be looking at Genesis before the Enigma finally reclaims the prize, if TNA can play things easy and let it build a bit more.

The last 2 answers aren't terribly difficult, but they require more time and space than I am prepared to expend in one post. SO....I shall give the first of two now....

3. The top three front runners, in my eyes are the three competing head to head to head at Bound for Glory.....Crimson, Matt Morgan, and Joe. If there was a time Morgan was more ready to do some more heavy lifting, I am struggling to think of one.

 Crimson's streak has yet to be snapped, which leads me to question who should be the one to put the streak on ice? I know for fact that Bischoff has been in talks and there are definite feelers being sent from both sides to see if an agreement can be reached. My belief is that this rogue won't bow to Vince's new PG playground for kiddies, which leaves him to set foot on new ground. Why not Goldberg? Both he and Samoa Joe know a thing or two about streaks. Tickets to a show featuring Joe, Crimson, and Goldberg would sell faster than raffle to win Velvet Sky's phone number.....okay, maybe not that fast....but you get my point. Even a few years ago, Goldberg looked like a beast and, from what I'm told, he hasn't missed a step. He's been feeling the itch and he wants to give it one more run. The war is over and the smoke has cleared, but there are still a few legends left to bring in the new crop. Joe and Crimson could benefit GREATLY from a money feud like that. Even if neither comes out the victor, few left can say they got the shot to step into the ring with Goldberg.....and were able to walk out on their own power.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Here Comes the Pain.....Revisited...

A while back, I wrote about the youngest and last Undisputed Champion, Brock Lesnar. 2004 was a sad year for WWE....not quite as sad as this year, but sad nonetheless. They lost Golbdberg, Brock Lesnar, Jeff Hardy, and for another extended stint away, The Rock. Now I still miss seeing Lesnar lay down some heavy beatings on John Cena back in the day, but what I wouldn't give to see it now.....

Cena never beat Lesnar. He never beat Goldberg either, but let's not think about that just now. Brock is the one I want to see again in WWE. Putting him back into a WWE product means leaving PG behind forever....seriously. His character was either above the law as a face, or defiant of the law as a heel. His use of excessive force to attain that which his quest entailed knew no bounds. Only 5 opponents can ever claim a victory over 'the next big thing', out of which only 2 are still wrestling and only one still works for WWE......Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Goldberg, and Big Show.

If there was ever a time to see John Cena outlasted, outgunned, outclassed, and generally outdone in every way, this would be it. If Brock were still in WWE, Vince may not have pulled the trigger on John's Super Cena persona. His character would never fit into the landscape of today as he was more beast than Mark Henry will ever hope to be and the Hell in a Cell match from No Mercy 2002 against The Undertaker more than proves it. A bigger threat to the status quo can not be found anywhere else....period.

Area 151.....New Territory....

Number 150 comes and goes....time flies when you're having fun. I am really loving how TNA is using their 'down time' in the days leading up to Bound for Glory. Tons of little vignettes and interviews and backstage segments. It's those little bits that make me even more excited about what's about to go down in 5 days.

It's been announced that TNA will post a 30 minute live show on their Facebook page, including, but not limited to promotional material AND the Tag Team Title match between Mexican America vs. Ink Inc. I think this is a tremendous idea on one side of the coin as both teams can operate without the compromises and time constraints that will be felt on the main card. On the negative, those not on Facebook may miss out on this match in its entirety UNLESS it ends up on the Bound for Glory DVD, which will be out in stores before Christmas, no doubt.

This development makes me wonder if another match or two will be moved onto the main card in place of that. Perhaps the Knockouts Tag Belts are worth fighting for. This is new territory for TNA as this is the very first year not under the rule of a benevolent leader. It's a place, I don't think TNA is accustomed  to performing in...one filled with many histories that will define where the entire company storyline goes from here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cross the Line......Unsafe Working Environments....

The boss gets into a limo and is assailed with a firework booby trap; Brock Lesnar on a rampage puts half a dozen guys into the hospital; top brass insists on feeding talents to the streak of Goldberg; Big Show throws people off stages and laughs....you know the funny thing about all of these things? None of the talents walked out on WWE when those things happened.

Shane McMahon gets a car battery hooked up to his unmentionables; talents can get mugged in the parking garage in order to ensure someone doesn't make it to whatever PPV is coming....the point I'm making is that TONS of crap has happened to talents....heck....Mark Henry has put more people in the hospital in the past two months worth of storylines than two mid-card "fired" talents did in one night and suddenly it's no longer safe? No one even went to the hospital! Fact is, anyone walking into the hospital who was in the cage during the Miz/Truth debacle wouldn't have even been given a lollypop because they'd have been accused of whining.

SIDE NOTE: While I'm thinking about it, I did some checking. Does anyone realize how much John Cena holds the big WWE gold? If he goes into Survivor Series this year with the belt around his waist, he will have held the gold just over 3 years since his debut on April 3, 2005. That kind of thing is unsafe for the career of a budding prospect wanting to hold that gold someday....good luck getting close. 12 other guys held the big belt during the remainder of the time....think about it. END NOTE

TNA never claimed to be safe. TNA never promised a safe working environment with people who always follow the rules....yet the talent remains. Umm, wait a sec....what am I saying about WWE's talents who decided it was better to leave due to an unsafe working environment? Don't even think about crossing the line....we're not taking a bunch of whiny, slanderous, mutinous, cry babies off the market.

End of Silence.....

Over the past weeks, I've written dozens of posts without a break, so I decided to take one....but now that time has passed. I'm finding myself more focused, more poised, more collected.....in fact, I think I could quite possibly run this thing through right until the end of the year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves; let's begin with today.

With the title of this post being also the title of an album by Red, it seems only fitting that Crimson sit in the spotlight for a profile shot. Being the only undefeated star on the roster for the moment, his stock is rising almost as fast as his number of critics. Some have called him the 'poor man's Goldberg and others simply don't believe he's got what it takes.....me? I think he's one of the finest in the new crop of talents getting set to make a mark on the Impact Zone.

Last year, when Crimson made his debut vs. Jeff Jarrett, I was IMMEDIATELY impressed. His disappearance shortly thereafter for a few weeks was a disappointment to me as his performance up to that point had been good. I wanted more from this guy. When he became the prophet for EV 2.0, it seemed things were looking up, but he seemed to stall once again....

NOW, he's in top form, having beaten everything in his path. He's also managed to do something else...he's managed to get people talking about Samoa Joe again. The fact that he's working with Matt Morgan and Samoa Joe on the card speaks volumes about how TNA top brass feels about his work so far....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old Ideas Become New....

Last Monday night on RAW, the world saw the WWE locker room walk out on Triple H. Most of the current WWE audience wouldn't know that the walk out threat has been made before. Would you believe that it involved someone who is believed to be taking Trips' role as COO in the coming weeks? If you'll allow me to set the scene....

In weeks leading up to the segment below, Mick Foley had been getting underneath the skin of the management, namely HHH and Stephanie. In response, they used the power trip and booked him in must win matches with his career on the line, where he eventually lost and was fired......


Now this is only half of the segment, but you get the idea.  This angle was run 12 years ago and has been brought out of mothballs to try on a new audience with a spin. Since most of the audience now wasn't even born when this happened, it stands to reason that it'll work since it's new to them. I don't blame them for it...in fact, I hope it works for them.

The thing is, in order to get new ideas....you need to have pressure. Necessity is the mother of invention and during the Monday Night Wars, WWF invented characters they thrived for YEARS off of....up until last year, when PG decided to stick it's head in where it didn't belong. It was that kind of thing that made WWF great, the need to stay in the game (no pun intended). Fact is, whether Vince cares to admit it or not, fans control his fate. A simple decision to watch Monday Night Football instead of RAW would put his empire on notice...maybe even throw his product into a tailspin.

My point? 15 years ago, people wanted to see something with more edge, more substance, more meat as it were; and they were treated to WCW, who shook things up until WWF decided to fight. Now, with soap opera writers and a group of people who are catering to kids at the expense of the long time WWF/E fans who've been watching upwards of 6 years...they have become complacent and lazy, booking the same top talents month after month on PPV and night after night on their programs. When is enough enough?

I have taken the liberty of convincing two friends of mine to go to Bound for Glory in the theater about half an hour away. It does remind me, however, that many people won't have any idea where it's playing near your neck of the woods. My apologies to all you ladies and gents overseas as I have no clue where you go for your viewing pleasure of BFG. I have done the rest of you a service and provided a link to the page where you can check your theater AND buy tickets online....you're welcome.

http://www.screenvision.com/s/showing/TNABoundForGlory/

Friday, October 7, 2011

The WWE formula....

About 10 years ago, WWE put together a formula, a tried and true method for getting fans to watch RAW and Smackdown! where the opening sequence would pretty much tell the people what they were in for for the next 2 hours. The whole thing was pretty much set that answers would be given out and, at the end of the show, there were just enough answers not given to carry over until the next week. It made the show easy to follow and kept the storylines crisp and clean with very little to explain. Vince had his lackeys helping him oversee the show he was not physically on site to view. While most often that show was Smackdown!, every once in a while during the reign of Eric Bischoff, who was the greatest General Manager RAW ever had...yeah I said it....Bruce Pritchard served as the overseer, seeing to it that all the knots were tied down and such.

With his expertise and the 22 years of service to one Vince McMahon, his new position as the head writer for TNA may give us something that feels kinda like Monday Night RAW from that timespan. Not going to lie, those were some good days, with HBK's return in '02, the first elimination chamber in the same year, the rise of Evolution....good days indeed. Having a heel GM was a good idea and Bischoff played the part perfectly. Having that kind of personality forces the faces on that brand to turn up the volume on their characters. It makes for more distinctive personalities. It makes heel characters not have to work so hard to get over.

SO....what do we have to look forward to? With the Knockouts, Tag Team, and X Divisions as trump cards, you have a hybrid capable of doing things WWE can no longer do....like succeed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vince Russo is missing....

In the course of the past couple of weeks, Vince Russo, who had been head writer for TNA since 2004, has been removed from his role and relegated back to a senior writer. Duties have since switched over to Bruce Pritchard, the former 'right hand man' of Vince McMahon. His 22 years of service there should come in handy in TNA. As for whether the product will be better? I said it for Hogan and Bischoff and was very much proven right.....give it a year. To those who wanted Russo's head, you've got some reason to rest assured, but the man who played Brother Love in the 90's is yet untested in his new role.

The Last Entrant?

It's believed that the very first Knockouts Champion is getting set to return within the next month or so. Now, it isn't the re-signing of Gail Kim I was talking about when I predicted the signing of a bombshell name, but someone else entirely. While, I'm still waiting on confirmation, I can say this....you won't be disappointed. A lot of time goes into the negotiations and contracts of new talents as well as making sure the investment is worth the time taken.

Don't expect a debut at Bound for Glory, but then again, don't count it out entirely. I'm putting my money on a debut at Final Resolution or in the weeks leading up to it. My case has already been made about TNA's love of bringing people in while there is a lull in sports events and prime time TV specials in the winter months.

There is one more thing I'd like to cover before I wrap up for this column....

There are critics of the Bound for Glory Series who say it was booked poorly and, to be fair, it had some flaws. I can explain, at least partially, why things were done the way they were. As the tourney was getting underway, the whole idea was to scout a potential champion, whilst prepping the World Heavyweight Champion for face off against him. Over the course of the months that followed, it became clear that management didn't want to put the streak of Crimson up against Angle, who ruined the one previously held by Samoa Joe. That put him out of the running and coming up with a story to do that would be done nicely with Joe.

It all makes sense IF you are willing to turn a few rocks and see what's underneath. They didn't want Steiner, RVD, Ray, Devon, or even Pope because they didn't think it wouldn't be a believable victory. For a time, it was Matt Morgan on the docket to receive his push and then when he got injured, it was time to use their newfound problem solver, Joe. He has effectively put a cap on the entire thing and has saved the writing staff over at TNA a LOT of hours of meetings. For that, in my opinion, he should be rewarded. The point TNA has made in the recent past is if you haven't been following the product, we'll only educate you once or twice per year. So much for the critics who don't follow it....no wonder they have a problem.

Dissecting Bound for Glory....Part 5: Marketing

If someone would have asked me the best avenues through which to release a wrestling PPV, I would have gone with internet, PPV channels, and sports bars with a cover charge. Now that the internet has pretty much dominated the landscape of shopping, information gathering, and even entertainment, I may have pushed that option over the rest. TNA's use of movie theaters is thinking outside the box. By even offering a free t- shirt to each fan attending, TNA has gone above and beyond what WWE is doing. While Vince and  company are in a deadlock, trying to find a way to compete against Monday Night Football, Dixie and her band are looking to improve on the PPV side.

The ratings are solid, tracking between 1.2 to 1.7, which is pretty good, all things being equal and for such a young company, I don't think they could ask for such numbers otherwise. Now Vince would be thrown into wild and enthusiastic depression if he had the same numbers, but his baby have seen consistent 4.0's and even higher during the Attitude Era, but they've been rendered to where they consider it a good week with 2.7, which is what they've been trending for the past month.

But enough about ratings. In "The Monday Night War", Mick Foley made the assertion that WWE had been the better show for almost a year before it showed up in the ratings. Ratings are a very moody thing as channel surfers the country across often don't change the routine on their weekday viewing choices. That makes the number TNA is doing that much more important. SO....TNA's main event, Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle is what TNA is trying to put the majority of focus on. The reason? A couple of weeks ago, some heavy editing was done on the Ric Flair match with Sting, as mistakes had to be covered thoroughly. It was the feeling coming from the backstage area that changed the views of the upper brass, who wanted to put Sting/Hogan in the limelight. Now, a TNA original gets the press, putting the writing staff into overdrive to promote that feud as the driving force going into the event.

If WWE were to put their PPVs into theaters as TNA has done, people who might have otherwise have simply missed it would have the opportunity to see said PPV at a discounted price, but also perk up the buyrates back the where they are used to having them. It'll be interesting to see if TNA continues this trend, but I, for one, am behind the idea all the way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Silver Linings.....

So Hogan, Bischoff and the crew are around for awhile longer. The more I think about it, the better it sounds to me. Before you roast me like a witch at the trials of Salem, let me explain. The past year has gotten MUCH better than it was last year. I now can sit through Impact without wincing. The angles seem more fresh and better planned out. The crew is coming out on the road more often and I'm told that will continue and then some. As the year comes closer to finish, it looks more and more likely that TNA will come closer to RAW in TV ratings as theirs haven't changed much in the past weeks, while RAW has been floundering against NFL games. Great teams vs. terrible teams; terrible teams vs. terrible teams.....it really doesn't matter. WWE is bleeding.

Bischoff and Hogan have, this year, put more into the product than I could have hoped for. A few things remain, but I'm coming around more and more as some of the players are solidifying their spots in the company and becoming who they need to be in order to keep TNA moving. If the Bound for Glory Series is here to stay, which I hope it is, it will be a throwback to the King of the Ring and will draw in a few more Attitude Era fans, by my own reckoning. If I were Dixie Carter, I would put a bit of pressure on her managers to put more matches into the tapings card in order to get more talents out there for the fans to care about. A 4 match card is subpar and 25 minutes of wrestling on a show where 'Wrestling Matters' simply will not convince the more avid fan of the brand.

A few years ago, TNA put on a great feud with Awesome Kong and Gail Kim, leading to a main event on Impact and put the Knockouts Division on the map. A return to emphasis on their two biggest ratings draws would be smart. Knockouts and X Divisions. Main events there would make the lower card guys feel like they've got an important place on the roster. Same goes for the Knockouts. I would love to see those guys and gals put on a 15-20 minute clinic on Impact some week. Hogan, Bischoff....you guys have the stroke to make that happen....give it to the fans.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All the Lights....All for Not?!

It is official now. Hogan has re-signed with TNA. I, for one, am of two minds on this whole ordeal. First thing, I'm a bit disappointed as it seems he's been playing the fans from the start IF and only if he decides to stay in front of the camera. His skills are best used elsewhere as a part of the fed to help branch this thing out. This could makes things VERY difficult for TNA if his place on television isn't used EXTREMELY sparingly.

NOW, having said all of that.....IF this is on the up and up AND he's genuinely wanting to push guys who've been there from the start, a few things need to be done. The whole 6 sided ring deal HAS to be brought up in the first place and IN THE OPEN. I'm not talking about a chat on a radio station concerning the thing. I'm not talking about in the planning team meetings for creative or at a dinner chat with the Dixie Carter and the family. I'm not even talking in meetings with the talents who perform each week. I think it's worthwhile to put this in perspective and talk about the rebranding of an emerging power. This is a piece, a significant piece of TNA's heritage for the bulk of their existence (from 2002 all the way up until 2010). I believe Hogan and company owe the fans an explanation, even if it's only a storyline.

SO......I'm going to remain optimistic because not enough is known right now to be at all concerned about the future of TNA. His seat in the limelight isn't a sure thing just yet, so I'm not going to make rash predictions, but what happens at Bound for Glory will very much tell me what we're in for. Go ahead, TNA....impress me. I am not so set in my mind that it will not be convinced. That is how ALL wrestling fans should be.....willing to bend, willing to forgive, willing to understand, AND, whenever possible, willing to be taught a few things.