Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few More Words....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Loss and Gain Effect.....

I've been vocal in months past about my support for the work and contributions of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, very vocal. Having said that, I would like to run another fantasy draft for you all. Barring the management members of the TNA product:

If I could replace as many members of the TNA roster as I wish or relegate them to other tasks , where I begin?

- I don't know how many readers here know that Abyss is a member of the TNA team of writers, but I would pull him from the ring and only use him perhaps twice per year, much like WWE is doing with the Undertaker these days. Keeping him as a writer seems like a decent trade-off because they need wrestling people and he seems to have some very good ideas.

- Christy Hemme needs her pay cut. Seriously. She is getting FAR more than any other Knockout on the ENTIRE roster. If that means she decides to hit the bricks, I say good bye and good riddance. It frees up money that can be used elsewhere.

- Hernandez. I would release this guy because a.) he has no charisma and it makes me not care about him. I feel bad about not caring, but Anarquia seems to have things together more. Replacing Hernandez would be Chavo Guerrero. He can talk. He can work. He can sell.

- Jackie Moore. TNA isn't using her on TV and hasn't since last month. Simple as that. Replacing her would be Melina, who is ready to come to the plate. My warning, however, is to beware of backstage drama as Melina has stirred up more than her share in WWE and a repeat offense could only jeopardize the progress made in the division. Bringing back Shelly Martinez might not be a bad idea either.

- Ric Flair. He no longer is serving a purpose in TNA. Immortal is all but dead. His only real allies are Eric Bischoff and Gunner, neither of which is a compelling reason to keep him on the roster, where he bleeds a half a million per year from the company. A cool 3/4 of a million dollars is what TNA would save by cutting pay for Christy Hemme and cutting Flair loose. Bring in John Morrison. He isn't a replacement on his storyline, but Bischoff doesn't need any more help than Gunner as his aide.

- Robbie E. has got to go. I've NEVER been a fan. From the beginning, I never got it. I could never get behind him the way the internet fanbase has gotten behind Zack Ryder. My question for Robbie is, can he be repackaged and reintroduced as another character down the line? With the right look, he very DEFINITELY could.

- Replace Karen Jarrett and GET HER OFF MY TV!!!!!! Traci Brooks is much less abrasive. She's an experienced Knockout, who can hold her own in ring.

The run down goes a bit like this....
On the way out or reassigned:
Karen Jarrett
Robbie E.
Jackie Moore
Ric Flair

On the way in:
John Morrison
Shelly Martinez

This was simple, cut a few and hire three. If TNA uses everyone else on their roster, they have PLENTY of members to create new stories for years to come.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Chamber......

A columnist from another site I enjoy reading from time to time put together a match I think is an amazing idea.....using the Eric Bischoff creation, The Elimination Chamber. His catch was using six different wrestling federations: AWA, ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA, and ROH. While I enjoy his picks: Shawn Michaels (AWA), Matt Morgan (TNA), Chris Jericho (WCW), Sabu (ECW), HHH (WWE), and Shelton Benjamin (ROH), I'd like to think a couple picks might be better by going with only the current top three organizations, ROH, WWE, and TNA. I say go with a three man selection. Two actual competitors with one enforcer per team as their own personal X Factor. Here are my picks.....

ROH- I like Ring of Honor, though I think they have a ways to go before being legitimate contenders for the second place spot, they have a decent roster. From said roster, I pick their current champion, Davey Richards and one half of the Tag Team Champs, Shelton Benjamin. Both are great athletes and have proven themselves over and over again. I say bring in Kevin Steen as their X Factor.

TNA- Of the class act talents on the TNA roster, I pick the current World Title competitors for Final Resolution, AJ Styles and Bobby Roode. If ever a better X Factor could be found, it MUST be someone like Matt Morgan.

WWE- Out of the entire WWE roster, I feel compelled to pick from their youth crop. From these, I gotta go with Dolph Ziggler (I HATE his name, by the way) and Randy Orton (As much as I dislike him, he's a pretty talented guy). As for their X Factor, I believe Triple H would bring something interesting to the party.

On the surface, this is something special....something that promises to be a guaranteed match of the decade competitor. In this column, I'm gonna do something else as well. I'm going to put together another three person team, this time Knockouts vs. Divas. I ONLY will use active performers...that being said.....

WWE- Natalya and Beth Phoenix are locks, but their final member is strictly for looks....Kelly Kelly.

TNA- Since this is a match of the best, Mickie James and Tara are my first and foremost and my beauty of the pack is none other than Velvet Sky.

Since TNA's Knockouts are second to none, I pick Knockouts to win, no matter what as the numbers game will take out Kelly Kelly right off the bat and then go to work on the other two.

This game of fantasy matchup is fun, but not without feeling as though I've neglected some of the other great candidates the industry has to offer. To that end, I humbly give credit to every athlete from each of the rosters as they all do a tremendous job showcasing their respective organizations.


TNA has been very quiet as of late as to their intentions for the next few weeks' worth of storylines leading up to Final Resolution, which makes me happy on one hand, but it also makes it difficult to speculate where all this is going....particularly with John Morrison potentially entering the mix. My best guess is that TNA management is looking for a place to best pencil him in. One of two things is going to happen, if things don't change, however....

- John Morrison will show up on a live Thursday showing of Impact, which could be done on the fly the day after his contract comes up.

- John Morrison will show up the week before Final Resolution to set up a match for the PPV.

Either of these options is acceptable provided that his entry makes sense and that it has enough merit to make people take notice. This needs to be made into a big deal.

I've merely glanced over the positives of Melina, but let's begin here...she ranks in the top 25 female wrestlers from the PWI Top 50. She has undeniable talent on the mic as well as in ring. Putting her into the Knockouts Division as a face would even out the tables a bit now that the heel to face ratio is a bit heel heavy. Thinking about the PWI rankings brings up another thought. Melina would make TNA's 12th Top 50 female wrestler. Fact is, only one woman in the Knockouts Division isn't ranked....Jackie.

Why do I keep bringing up the PWI Top 50? Because of the respectability of the publication. Pro Wrestling Illustrated has a reputation for choosing talents who can consistently deliver the goods in the ring.

So, with all the hype surrounding Morrison and Melina's departure and free agency, the ball is in their they cross the line? Give it one week and see.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

For Shame.....

I've been doing some investigative work here. I wanted to get down to the bottom of all the discord, all the discontent; all of the malice and contempt. I've sought these things for the past few days and it's becoming clear to me that WWE is going out of their way to piss off former employees and fans. Now, I don't use my words flippantly....seriously. It'd be one thing for WWE to mention horrible gimmicks that didn't work and just let that be that, but they said on their own website that Kizarny and Vito were two of the biggest turkeys to ever step into the ring....really?!

Now keep in mind that all this rides on the coattails of the "Future Endeavored" T-shirts based on their 'you're fired' press releases whenever they do spring cleaning or let someone go who is ruffling feathers of the guys they want to keep. I just don't get it, Vince. Are you really thinking this is a good idea? Let me not be the first nor last to say this to you, WWE.....this is not the kind of controversy you want to be spreading around. You alienate fans of these performers who now perform on the private sector. Eric Bischoff says that 'Controversy creates cash'......and it does. Here's the problem: some controversy just creates complication and misunderstanding. In this case, however, it goes beyond misunderstanding into being cruel.

Cherry, Kizarny, Vito, and a host of talents have every right to be upset. They were misused, undervalued, and even disgraced on their exit from the company. When they joined the Future Endeavors Club, they entered into something that columnists like myself are beginning to understand as the Pit. This is the place where WWE buries their failed plans, storylines, characters, and sometimes; their performers.

Thankfully, there is another company to wipe the mire from a tarnished character (i.e. Elijah Burke and Matt Morgan) and give another place to air frustrations (see Rhino's burning of the ECW TV Title; the debut of Team 3D in their "TRADEMARK THIS!" T shirts) and rise above (see also Mr. Anderson wins the TNA World Heavyweight Title).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where to Begin....

The more I hear about TNA's move to acquire the services of John Morrison and Melina, the more excited I get at the possibilities. Seriously. Can you imagine the splash it would make on Impact? I'm picturing Melina showing up in a storyline where a three Knockout team is comprised of the Knockouts champion and the Knockouts Tag Team champions. All the titles are on the line and anyone could end up the Knockouts champion and the match goes for 2 pinfalls. The first pinfall determines the Knockouts champion, in which case the last pinfall determines the tag champions.

I'm thinking Velvet Sky, Traci Brooks, and a Mystery partner vs. Gail Kim and Madison Rayne as Sting overrules Karen Jarrett for the booking of the match. This means that the numbers game, for once, can be shifted in favor of the faces. BAN KAREN FROM RINGSIDE! As for other Knockouts, they get to be lumberjills for the match. Bring out Melina as the mystery partner and, with a look of sheer dread from the back, Karen would know her time as VP is limited.

As for John Morrison....I know what TNA is wanting, which is to put him as the premier attraction of the X Division, and it's a decent enough idea, to be sure, but there is a place that needs desperately to have some credibility thrown behind it....the TV Championship. Putting his face behind that gold would AUTOMATICALLY give some dignity that has been lacking since its creation.

Setting up such a thing would be easy, as would choosing his opponents. First of all, let him win it in his first attempt and bar his previous opponent from a rematch. That should open up the lanes for opponents to be given some opportunities. I want to see guys like Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Petey Williams, and a few other guys on TV again.....can we do something about that? Morrison NEEDS top caliber opponents and Joe, Daniels, RVD, and Mr. Anderson aren't really doing anything right now. Why not put them into a battle over this belt?

I hope TNA has as much fun putting together scenarios as I've had. Morrison is such a versatile talent and, even though his skills on the mic are as of yet a bit raw and green still, putting him into battle with a veteran like Anderson might put him into a better position to learn some valuable skills....making him better able to make a run for the World Title sooner than later.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to Defend Yourself.....

I've been going on and on and on about the long list of complaints I have for WWE and even a few with TNA. While the list is insurmountably long for WWE, I don't know that I have properly and extensively defended my favorite promotion. SO, I've decided to put together my most compelling WWE vs. TNA column to date using some of my best it goes....

The differences between WWE and TNA could not be more drastic from where they get their talents (which I will cover, trust me) all the way to their use of nostalgia. Exploring further....

In regards to talent, TNA goes indy. Seriously, they roll onto the independent circuit and sign some of the best the scene has to offer. Additionally, they scour the reels for major talents that Vince has wasted....Matt Morgan, anyone? Though they have needed to ability to grow their own talents in the past, they now have a training facility to truly fine tune talents who need it.

WWE goes indy too. Would you believe it? But they don't buy in to showcasing indy talents as they are...not in the least. They are put through training in their style. WWE's main event style is something very foreign to up and coming independent talents and, if the training on the independent scene has been complete enough, WWE requires COMPLETE re-training. There is a formula they operate by and nothing, NOTHING is more important than adhering to that style.

Writing Staff:
 This one is my personal favorite.  TNA goes indy here too, but even more than that, they have picked up a great deal of former WWE writers who had success during the Attitude Era. That's right. They hire WRESTLING people.

WWE doesn't go independent. In fact, as of the past few years, Vince has hired SOAP OPERA writers to do work on RAW and Smackdown. The few, the remnant of writers from the old regime is small and has very little say in the comings and goings of the creative process, with an exception being Michael Hayes, who remains a top contributor to the Smackdown Creative Team.

Women's Division:
This one is so important to be separated from the pack as far as talents are concerned because WWE doesn't, for the most part, go to the independent circuit to pick up talents as Divas. Instead, they shop through catalogues and eyeball Hawaiian Tropic and Hooters swimsuit competitions, giving them an edge in Diva Search campaigns and NXT auditions. Look up the past 10 to 15 Divas and find out where they got their start. You won't find them, for the most part having worked for Ring of Honor. I'm just saying.

There is a reason TNA has more than 10 Knockouts who are ranked in the PWI Top 50 Female Wrestlers list. The indies bring up a LOT of tremendous talents and going there first is the smartest thing to do to give young, talented, beautiful performers a chance to shine on one of TNA's showcase divisions. TNA goes indy. Why? Because that's how you build a decent division. If it isn't broken, you don't fix it.

Debuting Legends:
TNA has used legends of the ring rather sparingly in recent years, but they have, on occasion, brought in former WCW and WWF talents to make a finer point. Lex Luger, Rick Steiner, Tatanka, Animal from LOD, Buff Bagwell....the list goes on, but the point is that they aren't asked to perform, for the most part. They have a good reason too. Most of these guys aren't able to move the way they used to and so they are used to put over talents without getting into the ring. Looking at the time when Jeff Jarrett had Scott Steiner as his enforcer and forced Sting to choose a partner....TNA brought in about 5 former WCW performers to make the point that Sting wanted to use a young upstart to bring down the regime, choosing Samoa Joe as his partner ultimately.

WWE uses legends to either get a young guy over or has them performing in squash matches to solidify crowd heat on a heel. They used to use Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, and guys like that to put a face pop together for guys like John Cena or Eugene, but they also used them to build heel heat for teams like La Resistance or guys like Alberto Del Rio. I'm not saying a legend was used for Del Rio, of course, but I am saying that guys like him are built on that template.

How about that? The fans of TNA and WWE are SO different. I'm being general on purpose here, so do let me explain. WWE's target audience is younger, just as they were before the Monday Night War began. They run from about 5 or so up. This explains the purchases of John Cena merchandise and leads WWE to have to explain history about the nWo when Kevin Nash is cutting promos and listing off The Rock's accomplishments because they are quite simply too young to know who these people are.

TNA's fans know more history. Simple as that. You don't have to list off the accolades of Hulk Hogan or Kevin Nash, when he was there. The target audience is in the mid to late teens and up. With the kind of programming pushing the envelope of censors and such, TNA's fanbase will always run higher. Now, with that being said. There is a portion of the fanbase who serve as the X Factor....the Attitude Era fans.

I don't use the term lightly either. Talk to people who USED to watch wrestling and ask them when they stopped. Most will tell you they stopped when Steve Austin and The Rock weren't around anymore. Ever wonder why that is? With TNA doing all the pushing of envelopes, those very same fans may have a reason to tune back in, this time with Vince's competition.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Walls of Jericho....

Chris Jericho has popped onto my radar once again. I had thought he'd all but vanished from the professional wrestling scene, but he still keeps making his rounds on the media to give his thoughts on the state of wrestling as a whole and where it's all headed. While he continues to hold that he's not coming back....I think we all know better.

In recent days, vignettes have been released, suggesting that "it begins....", and even though initial talks stalled between Vince's representatives, Vince is wanting Jericho back to try and bulk up the ratings going into this year's Wrestlemania. In my opinion, Vince is thinking too short term. Once the smoke from the fanfare or chaos resulting almost certainly in The Rock losing at Wrestlemania has cleared, there is simply a wide open space filled with......nothing. The vignettes have been hinting at Jericho as he always returns with bravado and flair, but with talks not going as well as planned, it's anyone's guess as to whether or not he'll return next year if at all.

Think about this, WWE is trying to plan out a Wrestlemania future without The Undertaker as this marks the 20th victim of the Streak. Additionally, there are rumblings that the careers of Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry, Rey Mysterio, Goldust, and William Regal are coming to ends this coming year and even possibly at Wrestlemania. Even Christian is up in the air unless his injury affords him a few more years in the ring, but if Edge has taught us anything, it's that time isn't on his side.....or WWE's.

Losses of veterans on the WWE roster is going to cost them dearly. The Rock isn't going to stick around and even if he endorses Cena upon his leaving, the fans won't accept it. Meanwhile, in TNA, the list of veterans is resolute and the schedule ensures they will stay that way until the younger portion of the roster can be built into the major players they need to be. Like it or not, TNA is going to grow in the coming year once more and if they can introduce another show as I've predicted they will, WWE may find their audience tuning in to see a Styles Clash rather than an Attitude Adjustment.

Protocol and the No Compete Clause.....

I just got the news.....John Morrison and TNA are VERY interested in working together. In fact, TNA is wanting to bring in Morrison AND Melina, just as predicted. Am I psychic? I don't think so. But there are patterns of activity in this business and if you've done your research and seen firsthand how things play out enough times, you can pick out that pattern and use it to your advantage, in this case, it makes me and my sources more credible.

Right now, the plan on TNA's end of things is to make John Morrison the star attraction of the X Division, making guys like Kid Kash, Austin Aries, and Jesse Sorensen look like their division matters again. I think this bodes well for both parties as the familiar faces TNA has for the casual fan will integrate well with those unfamiliar and make for a more recognizable product. It's a time tested tradition and it works. Once the crossover is complete, the X Division will have about 9 performers and the Knockouts Division will have a very lucky 13.

The question comes to me though, when will the debuts take place? The way WWE's contracts work is something necessary to give an answer to that question. When WWE does it's spring cleaning and fires a lot of talents, they are bound by the "no compete clause", which states that they have a 90 day period in which they are not allowed to compete at a rival TELEVISED promotion. That being said, the contract is domestic, so they are free to leave country and work in Japan if they choose. Now, once the 90 days is up, they are truly free. BUT, if their contract simply expires, they are free to do as they wish. When Christian came to TNA, he had only the previous weekend worked a PPV for WWE and showed up at the Genesis 2005 PPV in Orlando the following Sunday. John Morrison's contract is up this weekend and he will be free to do as he pleases. Melina has been free for a couple of weeks now, but TNA is wanting to debut them together or, at least bring them into the company together to make matters of contract less complicated.

So with a little bit of education and a lot of hype, I bring you tidings of great joy to all the TNA Nation....we're expecting company......

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ANYTHING can happen......

The nWo did something that made fans stop and take notice. True or false? True. Turning Hulk Hogan into a heel faction leader was the best decision WCW ever made in the '90's. True or false. Absolutely true. If critics hadn't said WCW wouldn't ever compete head to head with WWE with any sort of success, WCW might not be remembered to this day. When Eric Bischoff helped put together the elements of WCW that brought success to the product, they thought he was a genius.

Two WWF guys (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) who were on the top in their game switched sides and no one called them 'WWF rejects'....I'll never understand why. TNA picks up WWE's highest grossing superstar up to that point in Jeff Hardy (say what you want, Cena fans, Hardy sold more T Shirts at the time) along with Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, Elijah Burke, and all of a sudden they are 'WWE's rejects'. Go figure. Anyhow, back to the subject at hand.....

The nWo was a breakthrough story that changed the rules and made a noise loud enough to break people's routine on Monday Nights. It could have fallen by the wayside, but it didn't and history will always look at WCW differently than they do any other rival promotion WWE has ever had....because they gave Vince a run for his money. TNA has the same opportunity. Are they in a similar place as WCW was in before the nWo? Not quite. WCW had a much longer and richer history. TNA is still VERY young and it may take a few more years before the numbers pick up, but rest assured, TNA is growing and will continue to do so as long as WWE continues to put out a watered down product that is getting more thin on veterans every year.

TNA is on the rise, make no mistake. The fans are beginning to stir and getting out and on the road is bringing in more fans the way WWF used to do things. Why? Because TNA NEEDS the fans and they know it. They need to cater to a serious audience who wants a more serious product than what they're getting. Are there flaws in the product? Absolutely, but that is to be expected in such a young company that celebrates its' 10th birthday next year in April. Going from a weekly PPV to a nationally recognized promotion that is ranking higher than WWE consistently in the UK and Europe in general in less than 10 years is something to take a bit more seriously than calling them a fly by night operation.

My point in all the history and such is that ANYTHING can happen. The fans created an environment where good things could happen. The fans helped create the nWo into an experience. Fans brought Stone Cold Steve Austin to the big dance. The fans created the Attitude Era. Fans created an era of change and fans are creating it again by putting TNA high enough on their priority list of things to watch on Thursday nights to build their promotion into something WWE will one day fear.

Jo Mo No 'Mo....

It's now official. John Morrison's initial contract is up. He's signed an extension that lasts until the end of the month, but then it's up to him. His match at Survivor Series was a farce to get Zack Ryder over and Dolph Ziggler another win. TNA has this chance to make contact and, I am guessing the feelers have already been sent out. Having worked with Eric Bischoff in his stint as Johnny Nitro, I'm going to go out on a ledge and say it'll be easy to get into the groove of being showcased the way he was meant to in the first place and not with a second rate ECW World Title that was doomed to failure to begin with.

The only reasonable thing to do is send him in from the crowd to either defend Jeff Hardy or as aide to Jesse Sorensen. I'd LOVE to see Morrison and Sorenson vs. Aries and Kid Kash.

In a twist of other WWE news, the Miz and Truth tag team was broken up due to another violation of the wellness policy. Ron Killings, or R-Truth has been suspended for 30 days and that is explained by the beatdown this Monday on RAW.

In what is the single piece of WWE news outside of contract expirations that interests me, a vignette on RAW has my curiosity piqued.....

This is HUGE. Kane is the Zack Ryder of the Attitude Era. How? Vince has tried and tried and tried to kill the big red machine for YEARS. He's done everything possible to bury him: given him the short end of the stick in every encounter with The Undertaker, the Katie Vick story ( look it up), and the shortest title reign in history. The fans will simply not allow their hero to die. And to bring back one of the best pieces of the character, his mask, is something long overdue.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Status Quo....

So The Rock turned on Cena, just as I knew he would. Cena becomes the "good guy" and The Rock plays the "bad guy" in WWE's newly christened "Entertainment Era" as per their website. So the status quo remains unchanged and TNA is the new face of the unpredictable or at least the place where change is being seen from week to week. In a column earlier I gave WWE the recipe for success in booking out the next few months leading up to Wrestlemania, but WWE ignored the warnings and advice and kept right on marching....

So this is what we're left with in WWE: a worn, tired, old company with very few original ideas left. Fact is, they even let go of a potential gold mine in John Morrison. I knew he would lose if his renewal wasn't imminent, but even though it doesn't renew there, his character does get a fresh breath of life, just somewhere else.....right? If TNA gets their hands on that raw talent and he pairs up with someone familiar....say Jeff Hardy? Maybe Pope? Some of the storylines write themselves, continuing feuds begun in WWE, but renewed on new battlegrounds. My final debut prediction for the year? Yep....John Morrison.

With Morrison in TNA, provided a contract is offered, a possible wrinkle begins to show. What about Melina? Would she decide to join up if John does? Rather than speculate, I can only hope she'll make the decision right for her.

TNA's decision day has come and there are a number to talents ripe for the picking and I do hope they pick what talents will benefit the entire roster and not just for a few simple matches before they are dispatched. IF the boys from the South decide it'd be best to hire Morrison, what do you suppose the WWE marks are going to say...."TNA is full of WWE rejects." How about this....TNA is full of WWE oppression and burial victims.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WWE's Twitter.....

Of all the complaints I have against WWE (and the list keeps growing), quite possibly the most recent trend, (yeah, I said it) is there overwhelming plugging of Twitter. Now, I'm not a fan of Twitter, never will be because, quite frankly, any time I spend here online is not likely to get interrupted by anything important and I have plenty to say that won't fit in the box.

I didn't watch the entire three hour episode of RAW. Why? First of all, when confronted with such a horrible first segment, I began to wonder how long the flight to Connecticut was so I could bring the entire TNA Nation with me to storm Vince's front door and take his company by force. After that, I shut it off and went strictly to the highlight reel to discover that YouTube makes it possible to hate WWE even more because you come to realize there was more garbage to fast forward through than you ever could possibly have dreamed.

But the reason I want to talk about most here is the sheer amount of things WWE tried to have trending during their episode. The ironic thing is that despite their most avid attempts, rarely did anything they said during the show actually create trends. I suppose you could attest that to the fact that their target audience is too young to use Twitter and those OLD enough to use it are ALSO old enough to know not to care.

In short, they went out of their way to make me not care about the fact that they have a ppv event this evening. Yeah, I have pay-per-view in lower case because I believe with everything in me that they don't have the writing prowess or the strength of story to capitalize on such an event.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breathing Easy....

Whew! I thought today would never get here! Okay, before I go any further, let me warn you all ONCE AGAIN that this is going to spoil a BUNCH of what happens the next couple of weeks for TNA television. Now that I've gotten that off my we go....

First thing's first.....who attacked James Storm? I keep getting asked that question...that and whether or not he's okay. For the record, he'll be fine. To answer the question I started with, Storm's attacker was a very angry and returning Kurt Angle. This does something special that I didn't even think brings in another face to feud.

Why is this important? It buys time. With the history already there, it'd be a bit negligent not to use it to the fullest. Will this be a very long feud? No. Fact is, though, it doesn't need to be. It just needs to be long enough to complicate the story for a couple of months. Occupying a wrestler who is supposed to be in a much larger title feud isn't terribly difficult. Simply pick out a character to pass time and put over said wrestler to make him credible as a title threat. Once the feud has run its course, you may return to the title feud, already in progress.

Now, with this underway, the question of who the title shot for Final Resolution should go to is a very valid one. Let me be the proud one to tell you AJ Styles has another round of battle in him. To the cheer of the crowds and me, as a HUGE fan, we'll see Roode vs. Styles in a 30 minute Iron Man match. I know, a traditional Iron Man match goes 60 minutes, but on a card that promises to be even more stacked than the last one, this is still a very big match. I'm hopeful for the seeds of a full fledged Fortune title match to be planted at Final Resolution. Kazarian is holding things together only well enough to keep things from spilling out into the parking lots and such, but that won't be the case for long.

Okay, I've given you guys some of the biggest news in the World Title picture, but there is one piece still missing from the world of TNA as a whole. We have a new tag team I think will hold gold for a very long time if left unchecked......wait for it......Matt Morgan and Crimson! Wait...huh? Yep. you read that right. The feuding champions are not entirely unlike a Kurt Angle/ Chris Benoit tag team from the opening days of the Smackdown brand extension. They, too, were feuding champions. As I recall, they broke a trophy and knocked Stephanie McMahon on her butt. Not going to lie, when I saw that segment, I cried because I was laughing so hard. During that time you had Edge and Mysterio as well as The Guerreros (R.I.P. Eddie) feuding and in TNA, you've still got Mexican America and, for the moment, Ink Inc.

There is very definitely more to this equation and the story is entirely too much to get out in one post. I'll keep you all in the loop, but you've got to watch it all happen, it'll really make things come to life. It makes everything happening worth the wait.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If You Didn't Believe Me....

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Bruce Pritchard's partnership with TNA would make the product look a bit like Monday Night RAW from back in the late 90's and early 2000's. In the weeks to come, you'll find that I was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. As I have said before, I won't reveal details as I know some of you would rather be surprised about it all, but for those of you who just want to be made known as to what's going down.....I'll give you guys the scoop tomorrow. For now, I'll give you guys one guarantee....there is going to be a guaranteed half hour of wrestling on the next PPV. As far as anything else....I'll let you speculate until tomorrow.

I am very much loving the storyline between Kid Kash, Austin Aries, and Jesse Sorensen. Sorensen is quite possibly one of my favorite guys on the roster and he has a wonderful part to play in the X Division as of now. It'll be nice to see him blossom as a performer in the coming years.

Let me tell you guys, it's tough to say a lot about what's coming and nothing all at once. Some of the details are impossible to reveal without making it easy to guess who is coming back or who wins the title or who retains. I will be grateful for when tomorrow comes and I can pull back the curtain a bit and show you some of the details. I do have one piece of news that just hit me today. Backstage talk is saying that Jesse Neal is on his way out of TNA. Suggestions were sent out that those who aren't featured often on TV should relocate to Kentucky to receive further training at OVW's facility. Neal refused the suggestion.

That being said, Ink Inc. may be looking for another replacement unless the team is being dissolved. No word as of yet what TNA is looking to do with the tag team or with their newest recruit, Toxxine. This would leave 3 official tag teams including Mexican America. TNA is still looking for teams to fill out the division and they may re-sign Hernandez to keep another team on the docket.

On a related note, the Bucks, who performed in TNA as Generation ME ran into the exact same problem in their tryouts for WWE as they did in TNA. They weren't shaking hands. They weren't trying to garner some support from the veterans. That, as it turns out, is why they have no contract with WWE.

Looking forward to tomorrow. SO, if you don't want to know what's coming, you might want to avoid the first post of the day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Survivor Series? No thanks....

Of the six matches booked for Survivor Series, there are two I'd like to talk about that are ruining the card....The Rock's return match and the US Title match.

Mick Foley is trying to insert himself into the Cena/Rock vs. Miz/Truth match as the matches' special guest referee. If WWE goes for this, it'll be the single most lopsided PPV in the recent decade. With a main event clogged with bigger stars, the undercard is threatened. How, you might ask? With so many of, what WWE considers to be, megastars in the match, the undercard stands to lose time to make their matches worth the time they are given. If you consider that The Rock, John Cena, AND possibly Mick Foley coming down to their own entrances AND playing to the crowd, you're looking at anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of wasted time....and that's time NOT wrestling. It also further complicates any sort of turn for Cena, lightening it, if he should turn at all. Foley's presence would make it so The Rock could get screwed without ever involving Cena. It's as if WWE is trying to shaft the fans....and they are STILL going to buy it. Why? Because the Attitude Era fans want to see The Rock and the younger fans want to figure out who The Rock is.

Dolph Ziggler is set to defend his US Title this Sunday. While his opponent was SUPPOSED to be Zack Ryder, it's now going to be John Morrison. Why? For those who don't know, John Morrison's contract expires at the end of the month. If I had to make a guess, I would say they are wanting to bury him one last time before sending him packing. Zack Ryder could do a run in post match, or Ziggler could make him look like a total chump. Whatever the case, if Morrison IS leaving, expect him to lose and lose big.

Survivor Series is a platform upon which WWE has always put emphasis on those they are wanting to push. Mason Ryan is one performer that, sources within WWE are saying doesn't deserve the push he is getting. Comparisons to Batista roam free and it becomes obvious as to why they are pushing him. Admittedly, he isn't as talented as the Animal, but given time and tutelage under a man with credentials like Kane or Taker or even Triple H, he could quite easily succeed. There are some on the roster who envy his position, but few dare to question the voices in authority for fear of being "future endeavored".

That leads me to one last thing. WWE has released a T-shirt for Laurinitus with the words "Future Endeavored" on the front. This shirt has caused some SERIOUS backlash (NO, WWE!). Former Diva Cherry, who debuted as a valet for the tag team Deuce and Domino had the following to say....

"I have 2 say that t new "Future Endeavor" tshirt is pretty hurtful for me at least! A lot of dreams were crushed w that statement. Not cool"

Other talents have expressed similar sentiments as Vince continues to alienate former employees. The problem is that without enough public support for promotions like Ring of Honor and TNA, some of those same performers will be left with little choice but to return to WWE and take the abuses they signed on the dotted line for.

Music Break....

I was looking for something more to post here this morning when I came across something VERY interesting. I'm not a country music fan, for the record, but when I found this, I really couldn't resist. Now, barring the inevitable adolescent chuckle I got from the title of the video, it wasn't bad. Why do I even bring up country music? Toby Keith begins some of his shows with footage of his appearance in TNA, laying on some throwdown on Jeff Jarrett. Granted, this video isn't him, but TNA is based in Nashville, for those who don't know. What's in Nashville? CMT, the Grand Ole Opry, and everything else country music related.

Alright....I'm going to post it! Here it is....keep your eyes open for a familiar face....


I promised I wouldn't spoil the show. And while I have no intention of breaking my promise, I'm pretty excited about the things I've seen coming. Skeptics will tell you TNA is setting up for another failure, but I'm going to tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm wanting to see where each and every storyline goes, no exceptions. The divisions are getting more than enough time in recent weeks to ply their craft and showcase themselves, which is saying something great for the ability of TNA upper brass to promote their best talents.

Additionally, we are going to be guaranteed a great deal of in ring action in the coming weeks. I've been saying it for months but you can bet on another debut in that time as well. I believe there is something big coming and the Fortune feud is looking to pick up another wrinkle, further walking us down the rabbit hole. THIS is the difference between a PG environment and PG13. That one step up the ratings system allows so much deeper storylines and more intricate detail, rather than simply glancing over a horribly simple story.

Notice how in this entire column, I have yet to mention ANY names or divisions who are going to be getting a bit of an overhaul. I want you guys to share in this, so let me just say that things in TNA are going to be changing from top to bottom of the card. It all makes sense; it all is in line with what has been happening in recent weeks and you won't have to wonder where the changes are coming from; a far cry from where WWE is sitting right now.

I will say one thing, however. I was wrong about a part of my prediction....I'll let you all just watch the show and take note as to where, but I was thinking one story would go somewhere other than it has.

Tag Team....Part 2. News....

In the event anyone was wondering where I've been; as it turns out putting together columns daily is pretty darn taxing. I've got a couple more questions to toss out to my tag team partner TFC, who is back to throw down, so let's jump right in.

Who should TNA try to snap up in the last round of WWE releases and how do you bring them in?

Tactix: This question is pretty near and dear to my heart as I've been talking about one more debut for sure before year's end. As many know, four WWE talents have reached the end of their 90 days no compete clause, which begs the question of who they are, right? Melina, Chris Masters, Kozlov, and DH Smith. Out of the whole bunch, I can think of uses for all of them, depending upon how TNA wants to use them, but I most would like to see Melina and Chris Masters in TNA as there is ready need. If Chris Masters teams with Matt Morgan, you could really have something special WWE would drool over, particularly HHH, who has gone on record saying he wants to rebuild the Tag Division. Melina would work well as the enforcer to Karen Jarrett's Gail Kim. Put her on the side of Ms. Brooks and stand back, giving her and Kim a solid 6 minutes of screen time to put on a clinic.

TFC: I want to thank you for reading and would love for you to pop over to my MMA themed blog Thank you again. First of all, WWE has let a round of wrestlers go from the company including Melina, DH Smith, Chris Masters and Kozlov. The only perfomer that I don't think TNA should pick up is Kozlov. I think the rest of the talent has the ability to be flexible with their characters. Kozlov on the other hand was not graced with the look to play anything else than a mad Russian. I have spoken with Tactix about this and he has a totally different view, but I will let him tell you about this. Smith and Masters are two of the most undervalued talents WWE has had for a while. I think they are both supernaturally strong and very talented. Masters could teach Smith a little something about working the mic, but he is talented in the ring. 

What is the difference between The Rock turning heel at Survivor Series and Cena turning heel?

Tactix: There is SO much difference between Rocky going heel and Cena going heel that it's barely a question of if, but how they do it. As much as I want Cena to turn, I simply don't see it to be so. Cena is the Hulk Hogan of WWE now. He sells T-Shirts, hats, posters, whatever they need him to. The Rock no longer needs WWE. If The Rock turns heel, Cena ONCE AGAIN turns in his shirt for a cape and becomes invincible. It's been the same story for the past 7 or 8 years. Vince, however, still believes Cena must remain a face. If Cena turns heel, WWE's PG format jumps a level to PG13, but if The Rock turns heel, Cena must defeat adversity and the show remains PG. Simple as that.

TFC: Ok, there is no doubt in my mind that this tag team match involving Cena and the Rock on one team is going to go down as simply as it looks. One person is going to turn on the other. I want to talk a little bit about what the difference is between the Rock turning on Cena and Cena turning on the Rock because the two situations do not have the same outcome. First of all if Rock turns on Cena, then it is the same old same old wwe. It is the same kind of Cena is a martyr storyline that has been going on for so long now. He will have to fight his way back against the big mean Rock. This means that there will definitely be a continuation of the PG era boringness that WWE has been putting out forever now. On the other hand, if Cena turns on the Rock, that would be the best possibility for the ending of the PG era. This would mean that Cena has turned Heel which in my eyes would not only be best for the company, but it would be the best for Cena's career. He has become very predictable and boring. Don't get me wrong, I think he is one of the strongest most talented guys on the roster, but they have put him in such a box with his current character and storyline that he can't do anything too risky or out of the box. But I am dreading Survivor Series sooo much because I think they are going to have Rock turn on Cena. The fans act as if WWE can't do any wrong so this will be fine for most, but true professional wrestling fans are getting bored with the PG era and unfortunately may lead to the downfall of the company that I have loved for so long.

This ends part 2, but do yourself a favor and toss in some traffic at TFC's blog, Thanks once again to TFC for throwing down some thoughts and giving a second perspective on these questions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The H factor.....

Bobby Roode is a great heel champion. His rise, albeit, a bit rushed feels like I've seen something like it before. I couldn't put my finger on it until I watched his promo just before his title defense this Sunday. I must have watched that piece of footage four times and then it hit me. A current WWE superstar- one of the only veterans left- could have said those words with only slight modification and it would have made PERFECT sense to the entirety of the WWE Universe. Why? Because the way he would have said it AND the way Roode said it works. Now, I hope you'll bear with me, because I have gone through the trouble of typing out that very promo.

I will put names where they would belong and show just how professional this promo really is. I'm sure you're asking who else this promo could have been spoken by. I will prove that it could have been used by none other than WWE's current COO, Triple H.

Bobby Roode: Let me make one thing perfectly clear, JB....I was Beer Money. I was Fortune. The fact is, I never needed a James Storm....a Kazarian, and I sure as hell didn't need you, AJ Styles. The fact is-is all you guys ever did is cramp my space and prevent me from reaching my full potential. And now that I've kicked you all to the curb, I now proudly stand here, your World Heavyweight Champion. You see, I was always the leader....I was the true star. And AJ; your ego and your jealousy got the best of you. You couldn't deal with see I was the face of the company and you couldn't deal with it. JB, you could look me in the eye and you could call me selfish and I would stare back in your beady little eyes and I would say "you're damn right, I'm selfish".  I will do whateverit takes to keep this title around my waist- I will win at all costs. I am the leader of the selfish generation; I am the "it" factor of professional wrestling. AJ, you've seen what I did to my partner to get this title. Imagine AJ- just imagine what I am capable of doing to you. Fortune four AJ, no more.

Now, let's look at this again. This time the feud takes place sometime during the Evolution break up and it makes a few tweaks to the storyline in order to fit, but it IS all in the exact speech style he would use.....just watch....

Triple H: Let me make this perfectly clear JR...I WAS DX. I WAS Evolution. The fact is, I never needed a Shawn Orton, and I sure as hell didn't need you Batista. The fact is- is all you guys ever did is cramp my space and prevent me from reaching my final goal. I now that I've kicked you all to the curb, I now proudly stand here, your World Heavyweight Champion. You see I was ALWAYS the leader.....I was the true star. And Dave, your ego and your jealousy got the best of you. You couldn't deal with see I was the face of the company and you couldn't deal with it. JR, you could look me in the eye and you could call me selfish and I would stare back in those beady little eyes and I would say "you're damn right I'm selfish!" I will do whatever it takes to keep this title around my waist- I will win at all costs. I am the leader of the selfish generation; I AM the "IT" factor of professional wrestling. Batista, you've seen what I did to Michaels. Imagine; just imagine what I am capable of doing to you. Evolution is no more.

Uncanny.....isn't it? TNA is making the strides it takes to turn Roode into a veteran star. I can think of no better model for him than this. 

Fallout....Part 2. The End

With very little to say about RVD vs. Daniels, I'll say say RVD won and leave it at that. Daniels seems to have very little purpose in the climate of Fortune's pending implosion. This thing could go anywhere in the course of the coming weeks, I suppose we shall just wait and see....

I was very much looking forward to Crimson and Morgan's battle and I wasn't disappointed as the two fought and fought and in spite of referee interference, fought to a double DQ. This is developing into a full on, honest to goodness, blood feud right in front of my very eyes and I am LOVING every minute of the action they are a part of. I'm not gonna lie to you guys, I hope this carries on another month and brings on the debut of Chris Masters. I would love to see Masters interfere on Morgan's behalf to form a tag team, while Crimson; wanting to win gold, makes a run for the TV Title.

I know I've mentioned this before, but Karen Jarrett is REALLY getting under my skin and I can't wait for the day Traci has had enough and works Karen like a day job in the middle of the ring. Her interferences and shenanigans are ruining one of my favorite divisions TNA has to offer. Even so, Gail Kim's victory brings Traci the potential for more trouble than she's prepared to deal with on her own. To that end, I predict for you all that she'll talk to Sting about him finding her an enforcer to look after her best interests.

On the Jarrett note, I thought the three-time match restart between Jeff Hardy and Jeff Jarrett was BRILLIANT!!!! It gave Jeff Hardy a rocket boost into whatever the future may hold for him. I was awed each time Jarrett had the match restarted and cheered each time Hardy got the three count for the win. I'm looking forward to Thursday's Impact.

So....just as I thought, AJ lost. I had the feeling Roode was going to complete the heel turn and take out AJ in a good, well paced match and if any critics have something negative to say about the finish, I want to remind them that that's how heels win matches....via cheatfall. Roode has a lot to answer for going into Thursday's tapings tonight. But don't worry, I won't spoil it this time....there is too much to look forward to. A VERY strong showing for TNA this month.

Fallout....Part 1. Top half

Before I launch in on this column, let me say THANK YOU FOR CROWNING A NEW TV CHAMP!!!!! Robbie E. is quite possibly the best transitional champion for this belt as he will give it a shred of dignity and defend it.

Now....on to the matches....

Robbie and his minion, Big Terry are a pretty good match, in my humble opinion. Why? Because if TNA has aspirations for the TV Title, adversity in the numbers game for anyone challenging for it is the way to go about it. My first pick as his ultimate challenger? Crimson. Put him in there once his feud with Matt Morgan has run its course. In the meantime, give a couple of other guys some TV time. Put in Anthony Neese, Gunner, Daniels, or even Kazarian. Sure, I'd love to see Kaz gunning for the big belt, but I believe if TNA wants to restore honor to the title that AJ Styles once held, they need stars with accolades running to claim it. Kaz has a title history, as does Daniels and Gunner.

I would rather not refer to the Tag Team Division until the belts have abandoned Mexican America, but I would be overjoyed, if Hernandez IS NOT going to be re-signed, if they would replace him with Chavo Guerrero as I have stated before. He can be a mouthpiece for the team and his legacy speaks volumes for the Tag Team Divisions he's worked for.

Having said that, if TNA really wants to keep the straps on Mexican America, put them up against someone who can be a legitimate threat to the titles. Reunite the Motor City Machine Guns and team them with Tessmacher and Tara to even up the odds. I'm just tossing out options here..... bring in Pope and Devon and use them to initiate a debut. Fact is, Ink Inc. CANNOT create a believable feud and it's bringing down the division as a result. I can only believe TNA is biding their time before bringing back the Guns or another equally iconic tag team unit to match Mexican America pound for pound.

I do have a question.....why is Abyss playing the part of Kane? I mean, no selling a table spot is pretty substantial to a match like this. With he and Anderson taking the win, I'm not sure I know where they can take him as a face to Bully Ray's heel persona. I suppose a movie title from a couple of years back might shed some light...."There Will Be Blood."

How about that X Division, huh? I'd say things are getting even better as Austin Aries can make the belt hotter and harder to keep around his waist. TNA did some pretty phenomenal booking on the PPV with as much as I've covered thusfar. They gave the X Division some time to work out a proper three way bout and it came out looking terrific. Funny how it tends to work out that way.

You know more is coming, but in the break, I'd like to give some props to the writing team for Turning Point. I've been very impressed with the decisions being made here. Good logical sense. TNA needs that focus in order to make a strong product. For the first half, I'd say this may end up as a candidate for PPV of the year for them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Judgment Day......

With the battle set to begin this evening, I think it best to put a few thoughts here.....there is at least one more debut in the works and you can bet it's coming. Now, I won't put any dates on this development, but I WILL say that it comes in the face of current storylines and will make complete sense, which is something real wrestling fans will appreciate.

Note: The current VP of the Knockouts Division is facing some adversity as Velvet Sky won't make her match easy on Gail. Before too long, the faces will need some backup lest the balance becomes undone. Having said that, there are a couple of recently freed contracts I can think of that might be able to restore the balance of power.....

Additionally, there has been little news as of yet on the status of the four most recent 90 day restriction clause former WWE employees. No news sometimes means good news. A good portion of the world had no clue Christian was coming before walking out at Genesis 2005. Likewise, no one saw Jeff Hardy coming until he returned at Impact on the January 4th live show in 2010. It goes like this, a good storyline allows for debuts and returns in order to restore order or to offset the powers in control. In the climate we, as fans, are facing, there is a good chance another name will cross the line either at Turning Point, or before Final Resolution. Keep this under your hat.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Fly......

With quite a few matches for me to cover, I say we get right into it....

The X Division match on the card is looking VERY interesting to me as they are putting in Jesse Sorensen, who looks quite able to light up the X Title chase. Austin Aries has been a catalyst for what I believe to be a truly great period in this division's history. Every competitor brings something different to the table; Aries brings charisma of character, while Kid Kash brings experience, having been here to the dance; and Jesse brings a young hunger that you can't put a handle on or a cage around. This may be a contender for match of the night if they have the time to pull out the stops.

I know I've covered my feelings for this Jarrett and Hardy feud, but I do have a thought. This might be another good place for Kazarian to make his presence felt as it's his wife who is the assistant to the VP of the Knockouts Division. He, too, has a stake in the outcome of Hardy's comeback PPV match. We may see some kind of interference here, but more than likely, Jarrett has an ace to play (or a guitar).

Daniels and RVD strikes me as the possible sleeper match of the night. It's far enough down the card to not be noticed, but high profile enough to be given some time. Look for this one to put a candle on the night if both men come with their A game. Daniels seems to have the most to gain from a win here, so I predict him as the victor.

Crimson vs. Matt Morgan is such a great matchup and there's not much I can say other than Crimson can use a victory here to continue his build, while at the same time opening another door for the debut of Chris Masters, who TNA would be very wise to snap up while the iron is hot. Putting Morgan and Masters together is a blending of styles worthy of note and should make the Tag Team Division something worthwhile once more. I see Crimson capitalizing here, but Joe lurking in the shadows somewhere.

Lastly, and certainly not the least....AJ vs. Roode. With Styles injured going into the weekend, it'll be interesting to see what TNA plans to do, whether it be writing him out as another victim of an attack or allowing him to compete and having some sort of shenanigans take place to even the odds, but I fully expect a very classy looking heel Bobby Roode to retain here.

I've said before, this looks like a potential powerhouse card, provided there are few botches and lots of time given to the performers and not to the backstage segments and interviews. Only tomorrow will tell how things play out, but this is going to be a good night, make no mistake about it.


I'm not going to waste any time today getting into the bulk of this column because there is so much to talk about....

First, one thing I would like to bring up is something I never thought I'd think....I'm actually sorry I don't see Garrett Bischoff vs. Eric on the card. Seriously. I know, I know; I probably shouldn't think that, but I am actually legitimately impressed with this story....and I like it for a couple of reasons.

1. It makes sense. The only other family squabbles we've seen in the past decade have come between Vince and Shane and, let's face it folks, those have not been the best planned out feuds. They've hinged on 'daddy cheating on mommy' and the like. Do what you wish to defend it, but Vince vs. Shane NEVER had as much at stake or the clean, tangle-less build as this.

2. Garrett isn't a terrible performer. In my opinion, with some in-ring training, he could be a straight up legitimate part of the roster. I'll be the first to admit it; I wasn't crazy about the notion of another daddy vs. junior feud, but this one isn't as bad as some critics try to get people believing.

As for what is ACTUALLY ON the card.....there are a couple of matches that come across as meaningless to me and I'll tell you why: the competitors are having difficulty making me believe the feuds to be important enough to devote a match to. There is no compelling reason for the two parties in question to be in battle.....Mexican America vs. Ink Inc., Eric Young vs. Robbie E., and Anderson/Abyss vs. Ray/Steiner. If anything, these guys should get together after work and play a pick up game of basketball or darts.....not go into battle with teeth bared and claws unsheathed. Checkers, not chains; Chutes and Ladders, not Tables, Ladders, and Chairs.

 TNA needs another tag team to generate some worth for the title once again. I want Devon and Pope. I want Matt Morgan and a debuting Chris Masters. I want something more than what I'm seeing in the tag division right now. Ink Inc. vs. Mexican America was an embarrassment the last outing at Bound for Glory and I feel quite strongly that this match will not be any better unless some changes are made. Enough said.

The TV Title is being treated like a prop; a figurehead, as it were. I can't take Eric Young seriously as the champion of a belt without credibility. Draping it over the shoulder of a guy like Matt Morgan or Crimson or just about anyone else on the card would give the belt IMMEDIATE drawing power just by being defended. Had this title been given a legitimate run as something worth fighting for, I might feel differently, but with Eric Young having held the belt for over 6 months, I really don't care.

The hodge podge that is Steiner/Ray vs. Anderson/Abyss is, without pun, abysmal. Anderson and Ray had their battle, and a great one, I might add, but after the dust settled, Anderson won....let it be. This wastes my time, not going to sugar coat this.

As for the beginning of the matches I want to see.....Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim. A first title reign vs. THE first title reign. It's a winner right out of the gate for me. Velvet has a lot to gain from winning this round of battle. I say keep the strap on the face and build for the time to FINALLY get Traci into the role of Vice President to replace an ousted Jarrett. With this match, I say bring in Madison Rayne to cause a distraction and then debut Melina as the enforcer hired by Traci to aid Velvet in the event Madison should get involved.

So much more to little space in which to write. Oh well. Keep the dial tuned in, I'll be back for the me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turning Point.....

The card for Sunday looks like this:

TNA World Heavyweight Title Match
AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode

TNA Tag Team Title Match
Ink Inc. vs. Mexican America

TNA X Division Title Match
Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen vs. Austin Aries

TNA Knockouts Title Match
Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky

TNA TV Title Match
Robbie E. vs. Eric Young

No DQ Match
Daniels vs. Rob Van Dam

Jeff Jarrett vs. Jeff Hardy

Crimson vs. Matt Morgan

Mr. Anderson and Abyss vs. Scott Steiner and Bully Ray

That's 8 matches. You can bet on over 2 hours out of the possible 3 in order to make this thing a PPV worth the money. I'm seeing the potential for a debut in the next month, paying close attention to the signs in the Knockouts Division, one of the last potential two debuts I'm betting will be a Knockout to help put the balance of power in the hands of Traci Brooks as Karen Jarrett's replacement. The seeds have been planted and once Jeff Hardy has dispatched Jarrett, the transformation can begin. Give it three more weeks....I'm just saying....

In the next day or two, we'll do some exploring of the card and see who benefits from each win and loss going into Sunday. In the meantime, bear this in mind: TNA is looking to improve on their storylines and the like from Bound for Glory, bringing all of the homegrown talents to the forefront of the show, so expect a greater emphasis on them as the year wraps up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wandering Down the Rabbit Hole.....

The previous column got me thinking about the way the promotions do business as far as it relates to the product we see each week. I've watched ROH, TNA, and as much as I can stomach of WWE and they all have their own personalities and quirks as I would expect, but there is an innate something that separates TNA from the rest. I've heard Jim Cornette gripe and complain about WWE and TNA like he's got some kind of curb on the property of mass appeal; I've heard Paul Heyman talk about the wrestling business as a whole; I've listened to what just about everyone has to say and it convinces me more than ever that NO ONE has it all figured out.

Paul Heyman wanted to come into TNA like Napoleon and fire every performer over the age of 35 or 40 save for one. Jim Cornette had very definite ideas about how TNA should be run and his creative differences with the head writer, at the time Vince Russo, were known far and wide. I may not fully agree with some of the writing of TNA, but there must come a time when creative differences can be negotiated upon and agreed so one can choose the battles more carefully. I, personally, miss Jim Cornette and his creative genius (yes, I do believe he's a genius).

Eric Bischoff has this habit of doing thing just to get under the skin of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC, for short). I can respect his zeal for controversy, but sometimes controversy creates chaos, not cash. It is important to know the difference. Orlando Jordan should teach him a valuable lesson (look up his debut if you need an example).  I talk about all of these promoters and leave out Vince McMahon....why do you suppose that is? Because he has cut out his most valuable fanbase....the Attitude Era fans, who supported his ventures up until now.

Cornette wants to appeal to a cult fanbase in order to build a following that can match the big dogs.

Heyman relied on that in the days of the original ECW and has similar ideas for any other wrestling venture. His view of the veteran's purpose has changed since his days of ECW.

Bischoff wants to appeal to the casual wrestling fan who can recognize fake and real and does things to blur the lines.

McMahon wants to appeal to people who's bedtime is before RAW is over.

Who's right? I can't answer that conclusively just yet because the war hasn't fully begun....yet.

200.....Another Beginning....Tag Team Edition

I told you there would be some SERIOUS talk to be had, so this column will be much longer, but rest assured, we'll get it all said. So without further tag team partner holds the keys to The Fighting Truth, the one and only MMA blog site I have a link to here. I'll leave him to the introductions.

TFC:  Hello Everyone, I am TheFightingCripple or TFC. I run my own MMA/Pro Wrestling website at So, if you want the news in the world of Mixed Martial Arts I would love it if you stopped by. I have been a professional wrestling fan since I was two or three years old and I occasionally write about what is going on in that world as well. I am a jack of all trades I guess. I want to thank Tactix for the opportunity to collaborate with him. Well, there is alot to cover so lets jump right in.....

With the debut of Epico, should the WWE take Epico, Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio and start building a luchedor stable? If so, what should it look like?

Tactix: WWE, in my opinion, has very little idea how to put together a latino faction without making it look like a joke. My best example is the Mexicools. Super Crazy, Psycosis, and Juventud Guerrera were too talented to be subjected to that and WWE knew it. Nevertheless, week after week, they came out riding lawn mowers and before I knew it, they had all been released.

TFC: One of the most interesting potential storylines that I would love to see WWE run with is the relationship between Epico and Sin Cara. Epico is such a Lucha Libre sounding name that I believe the storyline needs to be that he used to wear a mask and somewhere along the way he had lost the mask to Sin Cara and he has come to reclaim his pride. This storyline would last a while eventually bringing Hunico into the mix with Epico and Hunico standing up against Sin Cara. Maybe during the three pay per views between Survivor Series and Wrestlemania have Sin Cara (Negro) come back with a slightly different mask, of course. Also, Epico and Hunico could beat Sin Cara (original) each regaining masks. Somehow along the way the two Sin Caras bury the hatchet and decide to take it to these the other two because they dont have respect for the lucha libre history or culture. This whole thing would peak at Wrestlemania with the return of Rey Mysterio. He would be the peace bringer in the whole situation and would create the luchador stable as the mentor for these "new guys" even though Sin Cara has quite the following already.The one thing that the WWE needs to make sure is that this does not start to look like they are following TNA's lead with having a Mexican based group. But, I think if done correctly, the Lucha Libre group would look totally different. 

Where does TNA go with Fortune in order to have enough heat to build until Against All Odds?

Tactix: I think I've covered this one pretty well, but I believe we really need to see Roode's viciousness and maliciousness shine through. He needs to looks menacing in order to bring Kazarian into the mix, but it HAS to be slowly done or else the surprise behind it will be lost. If Storm becomes the challenger for the big title this month and Roode retains, I would give Daniels the next shot, since he beat RVD and 'earned' it. This would put so much pressure on AJ since he'd lost out on his title opportunity without it being his fault. I would do a run-in finish by AJ on Roode to give Daniels his first run as World Champion. With this much chaos in the ranks, Kazarian can't remain silent any longer and a three or four way bout is scheduled for Genesis. This goes to a no contest as everyone comes out to duel at the finish and PRESTO! You have the heat you need to put it all on the line....if it builds higher, you could take it all the way to Lockdown.

TFC: First and foremost they need to drop this stupid screwdriver storyline. I think this could actually end up as a pretty sweet tag team situation if a little imagination is used. You wouldn't have to go away with Roode dropping the heel act either. First of all with AJ Styles being hurt, they need to play that up as he was attacked not just back stage because that has been done before. No, I think to make it seem really interesting while letting AJ make an appearance without having to step into the ring, they should set up a security camera somewhere and show him either getting hit by a car or being jumped by Daniels. While this whole situation is brewing, the feud between Roode and Storm should continue. Roode, though I think was given the belt too early, should now keep it to let TNA keep a little bit of credibility in this issue, but the feud should continue. Some information needs to arise about the inner workings of Fortune and about Beer money. Maybe about how when Beer money first joined fortune while Roode was fighting it, AJ was there supporting Storm. Then Daniels should come to Roode's defense talking about how bad Storme and AJ treated them and how they always wanted to spotlight. This should culminate with a tag team match, but instead of there being a clear winner, all hell needs to break loose and Roode should continue with this heel storyline by turning on Daniels. This would set the stage for a new king of the mountain match where the feud really is brought to an end. 

Before I go any further with ANYTHING, my tag partner and I would like to offer condolences to the Morgan family. Matt Morgan's cousin, a 32 year old police detective, was shot and killed as he was walking a nightclub dancer to her car in Newark, New Jersey. Our most sincere thoughts and prayers are with Matt and his family for the healing to begin sooner than later.

I want to thank TFC for this round, but there IS more coming; I can promise you that. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last Call....199

The title of this post is not without a hint at a couple of TNA's options for this Sunday's PPV.  If I had to be in a spot like this as a booker, I'd be coming up with a storyline to launch RIGHT NOW. If AJ Styles is legitimately injured, there's no need to hide it, but rather write around it. Seriously. Bring Sting out to announce the situation here. Sure, it sucks that the people won't be getting AJ vs. Roode, but they may be treated to something almost as good, a bigger build to a blowout match featuring the entire stable.

As usual, I've got some ideas. Let's just say AJ is written out via attack backstage and there are no witnesses. With this, we explore only one thing.....who did it? The first two suspects should be obvious. Daniels, James Storm, but THE third- in my eyes- is Bobby Roode. I say we put some leg work into this one, eh? (Team Canada reference) Let's look at how well this would work with each candidate.....

- Daniels......With the current screwdriver storyline, which I find to be absolutely ridiculous by the way, this is a possibility, but for the attack, I don't see Daniels in it with RVD as an enforcer of sorts. No vote from me here.

- James Storm.....He lost the belt AND his rematch due to the same kind of attack backstage (Sorry about the spoiler). This is a real possibility and, quite frankly, a good one. I LOVE this idea. Storm and revenge for robbing him of the title that was rightfully makes the title seem important. Take some notes, WWE.....titles are important.

- Bobby Roode.....We know he's made the turn and now is a heel. Something like this would be in his character now. He's ruthless and calculating, wanting to hold onto his prize with all of his might. I LOVE the way he's coming into his own here. If they write him into it as the attacker, this should push Kazarian over the edge. I can very easily see Kaz replacing Storm OR AJ and taking the fight to Roode, but in a twist of events during the match based entirely in the ring, Kaz comes just short of victory.

This whole unfolding of events over the course of the night could bring the last member of Fortune into the equation. I can very easily see this only building to Final Resolution, if they're not careful, so maybe Storm could take on Roode for this PPV and have Roode retain. I see the potential for one more attack backstage at Final Resolution on the number one contender. Something like that could bring out Kazarian and make the build for a match at Genesis that goes to a no contest due to EVERYONE in the faction brawling. Jeff Hardy comes in to try and help only to get turned on, bringing him into the match at Against All Odds.

The next two columns will be a tag team effort to shed some fresh perspective on the most current news right now. With my having covered in two bits concerning OVW and TNA's exclusive signature with them, we'll leave that alone, but virtually everything else is fair game.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Train of the Mundane.....

I've been wading the news desks and panning the landscape and I am having some pretty desperately horrible times finding things exciting to talk about on WWE's side of things. Vince is making this VERY difficult for his fans, critics included. I'm beginning to just see the silence filled with things already said about his product.

Right now, everyone is getting anxious to see what is coming that'll shock the wrestling world back to life and Vince, it seems, isn't doing it. I think TNA would be doing it if they had been working live on Thursdays or Tuesdays, but I digress. TNA has been doing things right, as far as I'm concerned. One critic said that they pulled the trigger on the Roode/ Storm feud too soon. My response......Nope. They did things the way they did in order to bring in the rest of the stable to try and salvage something that is going to be in the main event down the road. Mark my words, guys. This feud is going to be HUGE.

The way Vince has been building things, unless my predictions from a couple of days back come true, Fortune is going to be the thing to watch in the wrestling world as a whole. I hear a few Ring of Honor people in the distance and, to be fair, Jim Cornette has done some good things with their product, but unless they can put together a higher quality televised product that's readily available, their days are going to be little more than a blip on the radar.

Turning Point and Survivor Series are on the way and whichever one pulls out a surprise may just make the difference and put a seal on the next few months as the front runner. As per usual, my money is on TNA as they are seemingly the company with the focus on making a story compelling. Say what you want about the Bischoff feud, but it makes sense. Try comparing that to Michael Cole's challenge, I dare you.

Ramping for Another Round.....

It's come time once again as this column is waltzing right up towards the number 200 column, which promises to be another something special. If you recall, the 100th column covered the big 'what if', dealing with if WWE bought out TNA and vice versa. This hundred is going to fall on a couple of very large things coming down the pike. Trust me, it'll be worth a few more column's wait.

Now, down to business....I've already touted TNA's decision to sign on the dotted line with OVW as their exclusive training spot. I stand by that choice made as it's been common knowledge that WWE doesn't often scout from the indies to put performers right on their big stage. Common practice is for them to 're-train' as Triple H has said before, in the developmental league before being called up to the main roster for a place on their programming. TNA has needed this for some time now as too many of their talents seem thrust into situations they are either unprepared for or not prepared enough for.

My best example is Crimson. Had he been put through more extensive training before being brought up to the roster, my hunch is that he'd be further along in his push and, perhaps, a champion by this time already. His mic skills aren't awful, but they could use some real fine tuning in order to get his personality and subtle mannerisms down to an art. Real crowd manipulation takes time to learn and, truth be told, there are only a handful of people who can read it almost perfectly. Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin stand out in my mind as being some of the best, but Bully Ray has rapidly come into his own on that note.

If you'll notice, I refrained from adding John Cena from the list. I did so because there is a vast difference between manipulating a crowd and playing to a crowd. Where Jericho and the others excelled is being able to get a crowd to cheer or boo based ENTIRELY on factors outside of their words. They could turn heel or face with a look. John Cena has yet to be truly allowed to break free in his tenure with WWE and, particularly in that respect. It's this shackling that holds his character where it is and threatens to be for the foreseeable future. WWE has him grandstanding, but not playing games. He's kissing babies, as it were, rather than turning a crowd against him on his own whims.

My point is that this piece of news is significant because the stars coming into TNA will already have an idea what to expect from the big leagues. With the knowledge and training they gain, they'll be better able to walk out of the minors and into the main event.

Monday, November 7, 2011


In the next day or two, I will introduce a partner to tag team the first of two columns that I want to call "The Best of Both Worlds". This is the first time here that will feature another perspective on the business and the top stories happening right now and in the coming future. I hope you get as much of a kick out of reading this as much as I've had collaborating with the man I'll simply call TFC.

Developmental Positioning.....

If I've said it before, I've said it a thousand times.....TNA is getting serious about how they're doing competition these days. For anyone who hasn't heard, TNA has a signed exclusive agreements with OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling), a developmental outfit responsible for turning out the biggest stars in the Attitude Era. The fact of the matter is that OVW was WWF/E's developmental program before moving their base of operations to Florida and the creation of FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling).

The stars from OVW include Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, Kurt Angle, Test (R.I.P), and the Champ (chump) himself, John (Super) Cena. With a list of top shelf acts like that, it goes to show that TNA, along with the minds of Eric Bischoff and Bruce Pritchard, has an idea of what they're getting ready to do battle with in the long run.

Developmental training is the best way to get talent to move around and get them acquainted before making their mark on televised programming. It gives a green talent a firm foundation on which to place a decent character and helps build confidence in said character. The minors is also a good place to send the injured reserve to ease their way back into a place on TV again by allowing them to work with and train younger talents on their way up.

Think about this.....TNA is right now putting together a place to bring in even more talent and it gives a reserve from which to draw from in the event they have need of it. If the WWF hadn't had OVW to pull from, they may have lost out on some of history's best tag teams and single's performers.....and, as it turns out, so would we.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another direction.....

TNA's Fortune feud could not demand anything less than a huge match involving them all. I think we can all agree on that much for certain. The mainstay King of the Mountain gimmick match may well be a good fit to see who is ultimately worthy of holding the big prize, but I'm convinced there'll be at least another month's worth of building this thing to a fever pitch, particularly with AJ's possible ankle sprain.

With that in mind, Final Resolution is next in the PPV line of succession. Do I believe this new or revisited match is the best for that card? Not if I had to choose. If it were me, I would put any brand new gimmick match in February to face off against No Way Out. Against All Odds is a tremendous place to introduce something like that. Since it's something new and contains the bulk of the best top tier talents TNA has to offer, it stands to reason that they wouldn't want to put it up against the Royal Rumble OR Wrestlemania and particularly not in the coming year.

With Crimson, Matt Morgan, and a couple others creeping into the title picture, it seems to me that this window of opportunity could close fast if they don't put some serious heat together to force the feud into the forefront and develop into something culminating into this match at Against All Odds. If ever there was a time to bring Kazarian into the picture, now would be the time as he could put some perspective into the feud and maybe bring more heat to the table by serving as guest referee for the challenger for Final Resolution. That move would DEFINITELY put the Fortune 500 over the top and make it the hands down "Feud of the Year" contender, far overshadowing the PG Rock/Cena feud.

Whatever is on the drawing board for TNA's production and creative teams, this is quite possibly the best time to start watching Impact if you've been away for some time. With some emphasis finally being placed where it needs to be, TNA is bound to get some serious traction to move forward into the new year with some steam behind them.....mark my words.....

"Necessity is....."

"....the mother of invention."

Before I begin the brainstorm, there is a bit of bad news. At a recent house show, AJ Styles injured his ankle. His tweet the day after said that he wasn't sure he'd be ready come Turning Point. This puts some HEAVY pressure on TNA officials to find either a way to write it into the storyline, which should be easy enough, or to write out a DQ finish that would be big enough not to cause much disappointment with the fans in the Zone.

Now we come to the fun part....bringing the brainstorm right here. I suppose the best place to begin is to find out how many people to include in the gimmick match. I say we go with 6, just as a primed and ready example. Then we need to decide from one of two options.....either we alter the ring with a structure or we add stipulations without one.

With any cage match, you run into a problem of time and space. With 6 men in a cage at once, it could take forever to crown a winner. So you'd have to regulate how many men are in the cage at one time. That was the way of the Elimination Chamber. It provided a solution to all of the factors. Time, number of guys in at one time, provided an added weapon; the apron area, replaced by the chamber floor grating. Every problem solved.

Now the use of outside objects made Full Metal Mayhem and TLC great matches to watch and showcased 6 guys in the beginning. The difference here is that it needs to be innovative. With so many ladder type matches, King of the Mountain stands out as the original one here.

What can TNA do to combine a cage with ladders? One solution is to construct a cage that extends all the way to the barricades surrounding the ring. Allow access to the areas underneath the ring. By extending the cage that far, it gives a cameraman the ability to get in and work the match and eliminating the camera hole in the other cage matches TNA puts on. In addition to putting the emphasis on getting the prize, it also give room to work the match and prevents outside interference. Again, the dilemma of timing is key here, but with enough cut back in the way of promos and backstage segments to make room, I doubt very much it'd be a big problem. Give that a shot. Lemme know what you think.