After having gone through EVERY single column I have written, I have to wonder if there is anything I have NOT said to bring to the TNA vs. WWE debate. I have talked about bad booking to shallow writing to nonsense shopping for Divas to "re-training" talents from the indies all the way to the glass ceiling and it comes to me that there are few things I enjoy anymore about WWE.
I don't faithfully watch ANYTHING WWE and rarely, if ever, catch a WWE PPV. Contrary to my opponent in the coming week, however, I am planning something unthinkable. In HIS next column, he plans on watching TNA on Thursday and giving a minute by minute rundown. He will ONLY watch as long as TNA delivers for HIM. That's right, he will be watching with his hyper-critical, self righteous, highbrowed, indignant glasses firmly locked into place.
*Tactix shakes his head* *sigh* Critics.
In response, I will watch Smackdown ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Does it have to meet all of my wrestling needs? No, and it probably won't either, but I WILL do it and come Saturday morning, I will review the show, giving BOTH sides of the coin. Why Smackdown, you ask? This week, like Impact, both will be taped and, the way I see it, both will be on even footing as TNA will be coming OUT of a PPV as WWE will be going INTO one. As a general rule, both companies like to turn out some of their best things leading into and out of PPVs....at least it was that way with the WWE I remember.
SO, now you all will be treated to something new. I won't lie to you, I am NOT looking forward to the show. That said, I AM looking forward to the task of reviewing the GOOD in WWE. How is that any different from the TNA critic? The simple understanding that in each of the two major companies offered on TV right now, there is a balance of good and bad. Though my impression of WWE puts one side of the balance further out of bounds from my personal taste, others might find TNA on similar grounds. I have no problem with that. What I DO have a problem with are critics who don't understand that balance. If you're going to enjoy HBK and his feud with Triple H, you HAVE to take the Katie Vick story as well. I know it sucks, but you don't have to enjoy it ALL. If you're going to enjoy the Aces and Eights, you HAVE to take the Claire Lynch story with a grain of salt.
I CAN'T stand John Cena. That's my reason for not reviewing RAW. I think he's overplayed, overhyped, and oppressed as a performer. He works hard, but couldn't sell candy at a carnival if his life depended on it, let alone an injury. I won't even go into his personal life or his use of politics in WWE because it really could move into a column all its own. His problem as a worker isn't really his, though, it's Vince's. Cena is WWE's showhorse. No one can dispute that. His record of main event appearances alone proves that much.
I think another columnist gave some good insight into WWE when he said that they write their stories to elevate the faces and disprove the heels. Good always wins. That's how all the best children's stories end, isn't it? "And they lived happily ever after..." Don't misunderstand me, this isn't a criticism. It just plays to who the product is actually geared towards. Cena has come to represent on camera what is good and what is right. Fair play, following the rules, and , if necessary, bucking the system if there is an injustice seen. The problem is that by those very rules of conduct, there is one thing lost in the shuffle.....the bad guy.
"OH COME ON! What about CM Punk?!" What about him? Sure he's the bad guy right now. But in the eyes of Vince, he was the bad guy a year ago and even though face chants came his way, he wasn't booked as the face. Not when his repeated misuse and nonsensical title reign has been overlooked in the WWE PPV landscape, save for Hell in a Cell or when Cena is in the main event as well. WWE isn't building the company around CM Punk, regardless of how popular his clothes are.
So how is TNA built? Since the arrival of the Aces and Eights storyline, the lines of good and bad have been blurred a bit. Bully Ray, who once was booked as a top heel has been relegated to more of a tweener role, doing double duty as the feeling hits him. On some level, there is a good vs. evil power play happening, but quite often, the bad guy has won out for longer. Bobby Roode has been that guy for the year. His six month reign was as the bad guy victor and he headlined EVERY PPV during that time. Yes, he was dethroned, but not necessarily by a face. Austin Aries was a heel himself for the bulk of his tenure leading up to Destination X. He went tweener and returned heel once the belt was off his waist. There is no "Face of TNA"....there is no "Spokesman for the product". At least not in the way that John Cena is to WWE.
TNA is built from the HEEL up. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Bully Ray, Zema Ion to a lesser degree, Joey Ryan, even Crimson.....all heels. And why? Because it makes the heroes look good. It isn't about the good winning as much as the struggle to get there. Sting, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, RVD, James Storm....all faces. When the faces are at the top of the mountain, the heels look good. TNA isn't built around one man....sorry Hogan. The point is that when TNA is at its best, both face and heel look like they belong to the feud.
THAT'S what interests me. Without a set rotation of guys who are able to challenge for the World Title, TNA is better able to move guys up and down the card as needed WITHOUT the performers looking like any less of a threat to the belt. WWE isn't able to make those changes as easily, at least not from what I have seen recently.
SO....here's to the challenge. I hope WWE is up to the task as I plan on viewing this Friday's show with high hopes and low expectations.