Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When I Crossed the Line.....

The thing about being disenchanted is that sometimes you look at things a shade differently than you otherwise might. Sometimes something that might escape as simply bad taste becomes something worth making a big deal out of. Sometimes, a player who has jumped ship makes the disenchanted wonder why that might be. Sometimes, when an era ends, you have to wonder if it was headed that way to begin with, or if it was something that was planned out long ahead of time.

I crossed the line in large part because of Jeff Hardy. I wanted to know what was so attractive about a small grassroots company in Nashville, Tennessee. What would make the glo-paint clad leader of the Imagi-Nation leave a goliath like Vince McMahon? Bear in mind that this was 2004 and April 6th was the last time Jeff had wrestled on Raw. His last opponent was, of all people, The Rock. He lost that night and didn't pop back up until June 23rd of the following year. Among the reasons he left was burnout.

By the time Jeff Hardy arrived on the scene down south, things in TNA had shifted away from some of the madness that was being written by Vince Russo and was being booked, in large part, by Jeff Jarrett and Dusty Rhodes. In those storylines, Jeff Jarrett might have been champion most of the time, but there was a promising young roster to compensate for what might have been lacking on the landscape back then. I saw something there during a pay per view that was different from WWE. It wasn't as well produced, granted, but it had some of the best in ring action I had ever seen.

I was hooked by something new. WWE had its charms, with Goldberg on the scene and the feud between HHH looming on the horizon, I figured that things would remain as they were for a while to come. Once Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, and Steve Austin were gone for good, so it seemed, things began to cool. Once Eric Bischoff and Kurt Angle left, things had gone cold for me. Sure, there were a few great things to come about, but the number of good things were getting fewer and far between.

When 2005 came and Christian showed up at Genesis, TNA seemed like the place to be and with the return of Sting and the debut of Kurt Angle, I was sold. Even when Jeff Hardy went back to the WWE, I was hardcore TNA by that time. Matt Hardy's story polarized me to WWE. Edge and Lita and their newly heel personas made Edge a household name at the time, but it fully turned me from the product.

The Hardy Boyz took Tag Team gold that year, but I no longer cared. I was happy they experienced success, but I was upset at the journey. Lita's farewell to the WWE Universe of the day was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever sat through. She deserved better. WWE owed her more than what she ended with. Trish Stratus left WWE as champion. Lita left with nothing.

I crossed the line to see something new. By the time Lita's farewell was on camera, a new women's division was on the horizon elsewhere and it was being given a spotlight. Guys who were doing the kinds of things The Hardy Boyz were famous for, were doing it under a brand new banner, now rebranded for the world to see. In the years to follow, Jeff came back and was restored by putting himself on display as a role model of what to avoid and how to take responsibility for bad choices. I can get behind that. It's something new.

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