Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Point of No Return....

In the development of Bobby Roode, TNA has been using the EXACT formula I've laid out for the perfect heel.....is that a coincidence? I'd like to think not. Have you ever SEEN an episode of a wrestling show, and I don't care what the promotion is, but there's a brawl brewing and the crowd erupts with a chant...."LET THEM FIGHT!" They yell from the rafters. For once, TNA gives the fans a long segment where the brawl is on and there is no one to stop it from happening. Whatever the reason, the officials, trainers, AND security was nowhere to be found and, as someone who has participated in the shout once or twice.....I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

In this column, I would like to cover a couple of things......for one, the main event scene. This has been the subject of so much debate amongst the internet wrestling community about how TNA is doing things. The second item on the docket is a the role of a General Manager as it relates to the talent on screen. I'm going to use WWE's old model as a template and do a few comparisons. SO, without further ado, here we go.....

I feel the need to ask this because it BEGS to be asked....what's the next logical step when you have had two or three contenders, each wanting their own title shot because they believe the system is cheating them? I feel compelled to ask that, because as far as some critics are concerned, "this makes no sense". I would like to believe that these critics are kidding, but some are downright serious. Were I in the decision-making places, tucked into my little office, I think I would HAVE to pull rank and divide the allegiances. When a title is on the line, there is some sense of urgency, I want to believe, that rates higher than personal loyalty....at least in a storyline. When you have one contender who is not only breaking rules without remorse aligning with the World Champ, but is demanding a title shot (as Ray is), I see no other choice but to give it to him, with a twist. I say throw in an elimination stipulation where if he's eliminated, he can't challenge for 3 months. How about THAT!?

I HAVE to know. I'm pressed to ask. What does a GREAT General Manager look like? I had one critic tell me, personally, that a GM isn't supposed to be an enforcer to maintain order for the product. Okay, Mr. Laurinitis, you don't have to get involved because things NEVER escalate to a level that makes it NECESSARY to get physically involved. Another reason why TNA is superior? Chaos is interesting....Chaos makes it possible for the roster to be used in a very unique way. It makes it critical for the GM to be tough AND have the ability to challenge for claims of superiority. Sting can use a weapon to make a statement to the roster in a similar way that Stone Cold Steve Austin did as a co-General Manager. The difference? The Austin story made a point to avoid physical contact, lest Austin is allowed to come unglued on someone. That made it interesting. In TNA's version, no one's afraid to lay a hand on Sting, which makes the power struggle that much more interesting, at least to me. It makes for challenges in storyline writing.

In any case, a General Manager is supposed to be able to maintain order, whether on a peaceful show where people behave, for the most part OR on a show where the villains are actually looking to run the asylum themselves. TNA is committed, folks. They are focused upon making their show interesting and a little bit of anarchy makes the show edgy and puts a unique perspective on the screen.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Peasant Rumble.....

Why call it the Peasant Rumble? Because there was no royalty to be found on the card. I feel bad to say it too, because this is usually the only event I look forward to watching, just to see people who spend most of their time riding the pine and it gives them the chance to get a payday out of the deal. Of the people who came as surprises to the crowd, Road Dogg surprised me most. BG James had been a big part of the success of TNA, as a member of a VERY successful tag unit with 3 Live Krew and the James Gang.

My thoughts on the entire thing are like this......if WWE had been priming their young talents riding the bench instead of making John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, and Alberto Del Rio the focal points for nearly the entire year last year, this might have been a GREAT PPV. In fact, if they'd been working at it for the 2 or 3 years before now, it'd be worth a million bucks, but they have been squandering their roster to such a criminal degree that this Rumble felt like shopping for talent at a garage sale.

I used to get a charge out of watching the Rumble match, mostly because it seemed like you knew a few people wouldn't get a true shot, but you also knew that whoever DID win the thing would be guaranteed at least an interesting story leading up to Wrestlemania. With this Rumble, they had a list of nobody performers sparsely sprinkled with main eventers. I truly want to see WWE shake off the shackles that so greatly bind them to make this wrestling fan torn about what to watch on a Monday or Friday night, but until that time, I'll be sticking to Netflix to watch shows more worth my time.

*Spoiler Alert*
Now, TNA is in the best position, because in three weeks, WWE has their last PPV until April 1st. That means they have no PPV in March to divide the audience. IF they can deliver the goods at Against All Odds, which consists of.....
- a Fatal Four Way in the main event
- Tara competing against Gail Kim for the Knockouts belt
- the Tag Team Titles being chased by Magnus and Samoa Joe
-the X Title being both defended by Aries against a returning Alex Shelley
 AND a #1 Contenders match between Zema Ion and Jesse Sorenson.

There is no reason TNA can't step it up and do some magic for this event to gain a foothold to shut up the naysayers. All they need is a bit of momentum and with the UK tapings as a great launching pad towards Against All Odds and a stacked card to boot, there should be sufficient momentum to be had.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Year's Predictions.....

Since January isn't over yet, I've decided to throw out my predictions for the year. To that end, I have to ask, when I predicted TNA firing up a new show, I didn't even consider them creating a new market in India, but does that count? Really? Now the idea sounds a bit tough to figure into the equation.....unless they overhaul Xplosion, which they SHOULD. In fact, that will be my first prediction.

1. TNA will overhaul Xplosion and put it either on Spike weekly or streaming on Spike.com. This move seems to be a fairly safe bet as they need to use their roster to it's full potential. There should be no dark corner for anyone to hide in, like WWE has. It will further force a gap between TNA and WWE's television programming.

2. TNA will welcome 2 big returns and 5 actual debuts, making 7 full-time additions to supplement their roster. Within this grouping, I'm going to suggest 2 returning X Division stars to offset Kid Kash's most recent injury. To round out the list, I'll predict the reformation of at least one tag team from TNA's past to help revitalize that division.

3. TNA will see a ratings surge once March rolls around, with momentum carrying them all the way to Bound for Glory.

4. Slammiversary will be HUGE, with some pretty big fireworks. TNA's 10 year HAS to be big as a landmark and you can bet there will be a spectacle surrounding it. If they can land some attention, they stand a good chance to catch some of the disgruntled WWE fanbase, who are just about to stop watching wrestling altogether. Eric and Hulk have GOT to capitalize here and I predict they'll do just that.

5. Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Crimson, and Matt Morgan will all be main event players this year, exchanging respectable length title reigns amongst each other. While Crimson and Morgan will only make this prediction come true if TNA can refuel the Tag Team Division, I see no reason for them not to be able to make it happen on both fronts.

That's all I feel confident about predicting for the moment, but rest assured, I'll keep the lights on all of these predictions as the year goes on. In any case, I'm stoked to see what is coming for the year as I believe this is the best time in the past decade to be a wrestling fan, with one company on the rise while the other tries to stay afloat long enough to bring up a new star to light the way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I Talk WWE.....

On the boards I read daily, I keep getting asked the same question over and over again....."Why do you talk about WWE so much when you're clearly a TNA guy?" The answer to this question is longer than you might imagine.....SO I've decided to answer that question here to silence the question once and for all. I will, after this column, refer anyone asking that question here in the future. I have copy and paste on standby. Without any further delay, here we go......

Okay, I've made it very clear that I am NOT a fan of what Vince McMahon has done to the WWE product since I left that camp years ago. NEVERTHELESS, most of the general professional wrestling public, whether due to habit or hope for the future of the product, still follow the larger WWE brand. My quest has been to turn people toward the TNA brand, but I've come to the conclusion that putting their backroom and decision-making errors on display is every bit as important as glorifying the better brand.

There is another reason, in addition. WWE creates more news. Seriously.....go to any professional wrestling website that covers BOTH companies and you'll find a great deal more news coming from WWE's side of things than from TNA. Why? The answer to that is two fold.

1. WWE has it's hands in more things than TNA.
2. WWE has a longer history than TNA.

Never mind that WWE has the larger roster. That doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that WWE is on the verge of falling down. I've been telling you all that bringing in Attitude Era stars under PG format is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound and after Wrestlemania, we'll see just how true it was. WWE ALWAYS (at least after the debut of Goldberg, which launched a surge of popularity) has run into a slump after Wrestlemania and it lasts about 2 months, which is the entire build towards Summer Slam. Why? Because almost every feud has a deadline.....a place where WWE management believes a feud should end. Most of the time, a feud goes to either Survivor Series or Wrestlemania. Those that run to Wrestlemania have the same formula....embarrass the opponent on the "grandest stage of them all". It's a very old formula that WWE has employed for many years.

I believe it to be a job of mine to report the downturn in efforts to bring in the unsatisfied masses leaving WWE's circle to find another bastion of relief.....TNA. Tides are turning, folks, and I am in a good position of calling it play-by-play. That's why I talk about WWE so much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If You Won't Use Them......

I've been scouring the WWE roster page and have noticed some characters they have that they are doing absolutely nothing with. Of these wrestlers, I have chosen how best to use them and paired them off with TNA's finest who are also facing some down time.

- Trent Barretta, Tyler Reks, Justin Gabriel, Curt Hawkins, and Ezekiel Jackson are on tap for this one, so strap up and sit tight......

First, I want to see what he can do as a singles performer....I mean cut the strings and let him go. If he can work it on his own, I say let him run for the TV Championship. If he can't, have him work with Trent Barretta as a tandem as Trent has always struck me as a tag team tactician.

Tyler Reks is an easy one. He needs a dark character to run with. You could run him face with Jeff Hardy as a "Creature of the Night" or you run him heel with Abyss. His character would put together a pretty epic battle with either star as face or heel. Fact is, if one of those is his first feud, continue the storyline with Joe or Daniels. Pair him with Winter and you can run him alongside Gunner. I've had my sights on Reks for quite some time and if WWE won't use him, TNA could.

Justin Gabriel is a natural X Division choice, but I could see him becoming every bit the performer AJ Styles has been. He's a little bit bigger than the usual X Division competitor, which lends itself to a tag title or secondary title. Someday, if he DOES reach the plateau of Styles, give him the big gold.

Ezekiel Jackson, if given some in depth mic training with a guy like Anderson, Flair, Hogan, or Bully Ray, could become what Monty Brown should have been.....a shoe-in for the Heavyweight Title. A guy with the size and build of Big 'Zeke is rare and WWE has flubbed his pushes EVERY TIME he's had one given to him. Don't worry, Vince.....we'll use him right.

Re-"Bourne"......

Reports within the walls of the Titan Tower are suggesting that Evan Bourne, who is still serving out his 60 day suspension, may not be brought back to television at all. While the report is still new and unconfirmed, the report states that the first suspension is "completely unrelated" to the second.

My own personal commentary on the subject is that he pissed off the wrong people. If I had been in a similar position, my offense would have had to be giving unwanted advice. Just a thought. WWE doesn't know what they are giving up here. Air Boom could still exist, but without Bourne, there is an element that would be missing. No matter what the loss, however, as CM Punk has said, "The wheels will just keep turning" and everything will cover up the fact that Evan Bourne, who is Matt Sydal, is also out of a job.

Where does he turn? Every time someone is released from WWE, I wonder if there was training they missed out on because of their size, shape, or ring presence. Yes, it's the job of the head of talent relations to determine whether or not someone has the "X Factor" to put them into the top tier straightaway, but in recent years, the formula for that factor has changed. No longer can they simply jump off of ladders or put people through tables in order to make a name for themselves, like the Hardys did or the Dudley's in years past. No longer can they continuously put their bodies in harm's way like a Mick Foley. Was Evan Bourne fun to watch? ABSOLUTELY. The question is, though.....could he have been something more than merely sideshow?

Ask Jeff Hardy. Ask Randy Orton. Ask anyone in TNA OR WWE who was known as a tag team tactician before reaching the top if they ever thought they would be anything more than a sideshow attraction. For a long time, the answer would have had to be 'NO'. Ask the same thing about those who never did reach that top tier. John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Billy Gunn, BG James....the list is longer than I care to run with. My answer is that they SHOULD HAVE BEEN on the top tier, but never were afforded the chance to shine as singles OR were buried to such a degree that a build-up would have been a futile exercise.

So where does Matt Sydal go? My first suggestion is TNA, now that Kid Kash is injured. This might give him a place to fit in as the best in a particular division. HOWEVER, with rosters not taking on a lot of outside talents in recent times, my guess is that it'll take 6 months anyway before we know for sure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fast Facts......

Eric Bischoff's WWE tenure.....

- Introduced the first Women's Cage match between Victoria and Lita in 2007.
- Was the innovator of the Elimination Chamber
- Reintroduced a retired WCW Title that is now being defended to this day.
- Co-General Manager shared duties with Stone Cold Steve Austin

And now he works for TNA? Seems to me that WCW needed to go down in order for his master work to truly shine. Just food for thought, nothing more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Divas vs. Knockouts.....Ladder Edition

I held off writing this because I wanted to get some facts straight before I launched onto yet another of my little WWE vs. TNA campaigns. In the latest issue of WWE Magazine, an interview with Natalya and Beth Phoenix revealed that they want to be the first Divas to ever compete in a Ladder Match and are launching efforts to convince upper echelons of management to that end. When news of this reached my ears, my first thought is that TNA could make that happen without hesitation by putting together a Ladder Match to trump ANYTHING WWE could possibly come up with.

IF WWE were to give Beth and Natalya what they're asking for and IF, for the sake of argument, things go without a hitch, what then? Does the Divas Division get a new wrinkle? Does their status quo change even the slightest once the lights are out for the PPV it is featured on? My short answer is MAYBE. Vince's hatred for the division is seasonal. He loves the ratings pop that SOMETIMES comes from the division, but he is sexist. It's true. Look it up. There are reported cases of sexual harassment from former Divas under his employ going back over 20 years. He loves to look and yet shows no faith in the division beyond the occasional risque spot under PG format magnifying glasses.

Enter TNA. If there was another company IN THE WORLD capable of putting together a bigger and better example of how to perform this kind of match- CORRECTION- there IS no other company who could pull off this kind of stunt in the public eye. Beth and Natalya are PHENOMENAL athletes and have as good a chance as any on the WWE payroll of pull off this kind of match, but TNA does this kind of thing as a general rule of operation. They know how to showcase their women's division better....period. Put Gail Kim, Tara, Angelina, and anyone else who thinks they can do this kind of thing and give them the best trainers money can buy to prepare them for it. Let's think about this for a moment.....Jeff Hardy, Al Snow, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, The former Team 3D, the list of possible mentors is ASTRONOMICAL and no one can dispute it. Whether you're talking about a tag team variation of the Ladder Match or a multiple player format for the Knockouts Title, TNA is the place for this kind of match to truly deliver the goods.

The comparison of the amount of time will tell how much faith either company is willing to invest in their respective division. I believe that kind of match should be given a solid 20-25 minute spot. Planning this kind of match is absolutely critical and TNA management knows it, which is why we have seen very few dangerous matches involving the Knockouts in recent years.....save for the Daffney razor wire spot.....look it up. Mark my words, if WWE wants to play, TNA can play this one in spades.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Bourne Identity......

This is a bit of a profile spot. I've been doing some digging and I've got some questions for the men in the Titan Tower. Every last question is surrounding Evan Bourne. 

When Air Boom was formed, was there ever a plan to put together a legitimate Tag Team Division? I ask this question in complete sincerity because there wasn't a single team that looked like it belonged together up until Epico and Primo came along that was getting showcased. For the record, that was nearly 8 months ago. In fact, the Usos, who have been around the WWE roster for 2 years, have yet to be pulled out of moth balls and put to good use. Additionally, there are more than 10 people on the WWE roster who have yet to be put to ANY use outside of Superstars events. THAT is waste, my friends.

How do you go about picking superstars to undergo the wellness tests? Unless this thing is COMPLETELY random, the locker room has a mole; an informant; a tattle-tale. Do I believe Bourne was in the right for smoking modified marajuana? Nope, but do I believe there are those in the top tier who follow a similar MO? Yep. My second part to the question is: If it IS all completely random, how did he get hit twice in a row? Seriously, either he's got some potent bad luck or someone has it out for him.

This next question falls on him alone....why not try NOT using the stuff that is screwing you out of the two biggest paydays of the year? If WWE were a Hostess Cupcake, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania would be the creme filling. Those two events put out the biggest payouts of every event over the course of the calendar year. Those events pay out pretty decent funds for very little screen time. There are report flooding the internet about guys taking anywhere from 20,000 dollars into the millions. This is for less than 10 minutes worth of work, ladies and gentlemen. 

The last question fall on the shoulders of the men in the suits who preside over the fate of Evan Bourne.....how long does he have before he's shown the door? I ask this question because the writing is on the wall. Bourne will be gone before year's end. You heard it here first. I have no idea what the details of his contract are, but he'll be released shortly after Wrestlemania if officials haven't put ink on his "future endeavored" T-Shirt already. We may see another talented performer shining his boots before crossing the line.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Further Explanation....

If you read my previous post, you're probably thinking "FRICK! This guys is off his rails with hatred for WWE! He doesn't think there is ANYTHING redeeming, does he?!" This is the post that sets it all straight for you guys. I wrote a post a long while back called "How to Save WWE" and there were a bunch of you who enjoyed what I had to say. Since that time, however, my thoughts have moved past some of the criticisms of that day. In fact, this post is going to give the brights spots and THEN shine on the dark ones, so without any further dalliances, here we go......

CM Punk......This guy is quite possibly the most critical piece of the new generation of WWE. When they put him into a feud with someone strong, like a Randy Orton (nevermind my dislike of him outside the ring) or even a John Cena, he shines like the sun. When you put him into the mix against a weak persona like Del Rio or someone of that caliber, it's like performing in a vacuum. His charisma is siphoned from segments the both of them are a part of and people want to see something compelling.

Daniel Bryan....Perhaps the most underutilized member of the upper card, Bryan is a wrestling machine who has a great deal to offer WWE right now. He, even now, is learning how to work the main event level and, when allowed to do so, is able to showcase a style a few shades different from what normal WWE fans are used to seeing. Triple H would have people believe that the independent circuit style matches aren't what WWE should showcase, but I would contest that what guys like Bryan, Punk, and even the lower card guys like Bourne bring to the table is the "Holy crap!" factor WWE is missing right now.

Wade Barrett....I feel bad for Wade. I really do. He has been bludgeoned with the glass ceiling so many times that I've lost track. He should be in the main event tomorrow....I mean that. He has charisma and an ability on the microphone to make people listen, regardless of what he says....you can't teach charisma, only psychology, and he could put on a clinic if given the opportunity to do just that. He can lead a faction, he can work a promo, he can wrestle a top notch match. Is there anything else needed to the recipe?

Air Boom....This is a bright spot tarnished from the inside. Evan Bourne needs to get his head on straight and buckle up because this is a POPULAR tag team, which is a rarity in these days for WWE. Triple H has gone on record saying that it is his goal to rebuild the Tag Team Division. Unfortunately, a division like that is only as good as those in the employ of a decent push. Air Boom as the cover team is quite possibly the best decision WWE could make.

Now for the Darkness.....trust me, this will be painless....unless you enjoy the PG way of doing things.

1. The main event is it. You want to know what I mean? Go to ANY PPV over the course of the past year and compare it to Wrestlemania X-7. For those paying attention, that card had Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock and HHH vs. The Undertaker for the 1st time. You know what else it had? TLC between three of the best Tag Teams WWE has ever had.....the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boys, and E&C. Nowadays, the undercard is the portion given less time and less development. Change it or give up the entire enterprise.

2. Give up the Divas Division. Bring back the Women's Division. This title was held by the best WWE ever had....Trish Stratus, Lita, Sable, Ivory, Molly Holly, and Chyna. Put a spotlight on Beth Phoenix and Natalya and STOP FEEDING THEM TO THE MODELS!!!! If you want a Women's Division, develop characters and scout them in the indies. Don't teach them how to take a bump, they know how to do that already. Let them do what they know and teach them how to succeed.

3. Make the undercard shine. There was a time when the Intercontinental Title was fought over by Triple H, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels, now it's been arranged as a second rate title. That's not necessary, nor is it fair. Make the 'lesser' title the main event on a PPV....would it really hurt that bad? Wrestlemania X featured 2 main event championship matches under normal rules, but the only match people remember is an Intercontinental Title match defended in a Ladder Match.

The main event will take care of itself. WWE has a tendency to put together something for the main event at the expense of the undercard, so I have no doubt they can cinch up the slack. We've seen better....Wrestlemania X-Seven was arguably the best card they've put together in the past 20 years....I expect more from you guys, WWE.

Realists vs. Optimists.....

WWE......I've been hard on them, even sometimes brutal. Some would go so far as to call my shots at the Stamford based titan unfair. I respect these points of view, I even would have echoed them in waves during the various high times of last year, but with the burial and subsequent nothingness reigns of CM Punk, the non-heel turn of John Cena, and the most recent cease-fire of the Ryder Revolution, I'm more than ever convinced that WWE is on the downturn.

Some will praise the return of Brodus Clay as a herald to WWE's expansive creative writing staff, who are, even now, creating an army of equally colorful characters to load into their roster, but when your most popular tag team is destroyed from within, your most talented women's performers are being fed to the resumes of the undeserving, and your most socially and techno saavy member of the undercard has been dismantled and demoted, there simply doesn't seem to be much to leave for the grandest stage on Earth to showcase. The Rock vs. John Cena, Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, and a potential rehashing of HHH vs. The Undertaker; the card is the last potentially ground-breaking PPV WWE has in its tank. I use the term ground-breaking INCREDIBLY loosely, by the way.

Don't get me wrong....the ride will be filled with humor (see The Rock vs. Cena), one-upmanship (see CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho), and high stakes (Triple H vs. The Undertaker), but after the smoke has cleared, The Rock will return to Hollywood; Chris Jericho will go back on tour with Fozzy; and one or both Triple H and The Undertaker will be headed into wrestling retirement. Who remains to carry the banner?

John Cena? Randy Orton? How about the new bloods? Wade Barrett? Daniel Bryan? CM Punk? Del Rio? The unsung heroes WWE has trainwrecked along the way are immaterial; Christian, Kane, and Rey Mysterio have given their best, but have never been given their dues.....not properly, not fully, and most of all, not without sacrificing a great deal of dignity in the process.

While the vast viewership of WWE watch with breathless anticipation for the show they about to be given, realists who see the smoke and mirrors are calling their bluff and pointing to the 2 bastions for professional wrestling who aren't timid about using the term......Ring of Honor and TNA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Losing It......

I gotta be honest guys, I may be losing it here. So much has been going on recently that I am having a tough time maintaining a daily or even weekly post here. I really do appreciate your patience. After the little time away, I've managed to get my hands on some pretty good intel, though.

1. Lockdown is scheduled to be shooting from Nashville. That's right. Home base. In the coming weeks, we'll see exactly where this ship is headed to better be able to run the course. So much for the 6 man main event I predicted a couple of short months ago up until recently......at least until Slammiversary.

2. Evan Bourne is on his second strike on the WWE Wellness Policy. This means he's GOT to straighten up or risk blowing his career with WWE. Strike number 2 equals 60 days out of commission. Air Boom is dead, unless Vince has some very good reasons for keeping them together. Under the circumstances, however, it seems like cutting losses might be the best course of action.

3. Did anyone see Big Show wreck AJ's train? Seriously.....she got worked like a day job, ladies and gentlemen.....need proof?


That kind of bump is pretty nasty, considering he outweighs her by nearly a quarter ton. That's like being hit with a mattress attached to a semi. Not so good. I bet the next few meals are served through a straw.

As we draw nearer to the 10 Year Celebration TNA is cooking up, I'm getting psyched. The deal they'll be offering to partake in the festivities is going to be more than I can refuse.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Controversy Creates......?

Eric Bischoff's book claims that "Controversy Creates Cash", but many of you who've been reading this blog long enough know that I say sometimes controversy creates complications. Not surprisingly, WWE has decided to induct The Four Horsemen stable into their Hall of Fame. What IS surprising is that Ric Flair, one of the original members, is slated to be at the Hall of Fame ceremony to accept the award alongside his former teammates. Additionally, he has stated he will be there in spite of what TNA officials may have to say to the contrary.

To stir the pot a bit, Hulk Hogan has announced his return in Impact in tapings to come in England at the end of the month. To further add to his return, he'll have no hair as he's shaving the head bald and no trademark handlebar moustache. What will his new role be? I have no idea, I just know he'll be in attendance in London.

Another thing to consider.....this year is TNA's 10 Year Anniversary. Have they announced where the party is going to be? Nope. Not yet. I can pretty much guarantee myself into the number of celebrants so far to date, as for where everything is going down? My first guess is The Asylum in Nashville, which would be an AMAZING trip all around. I promise more information once I can get the details.....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Double Standards....

Chris Jericho.
Brodus Clay.

Right now, I am getting very tired of hearing the "Wait and see what happens" argument from fans of both of these guys. These are the same people who called for Hogan and Bischoff's releases before their first month was over. I still stand by their play calling, by the way. Since the addition of Bruce Pritchard as the head of creative, TNA has been more focused and more oriented towards the casual wrestling fan.....period.

This not withstanding, had TNA fans like myself listened when haters told us to leave TNA behind and let them burn, we might not be enjoying the success they're having now. A great many columnists tout TNA's improvements and I could list them here if need be. My point is, waiting to see what happens when a HUGE character swerve makes a character go from dangerous to goofy without ever being physically on camera is a bit too optimistic. This choice was high risk right out of the gate. Clay did everything in his power to make it work, but I doubt very much that anything whatsoever will come of his work here.

Chris Jericho has been a waste of time. Simple as that. He's done NOTHING but posture to the crowd and not talk. He mock 'cried' on camera just this week. I'm not impressed. WWE hasn't done anything to make me care about Jericho. At all. No matches. No interference. No backstage segments to speak of. Nothing but him in front of the fans taking time from more hungry talent. Wait and see? Nah....I'll pass. I was excited at one point, but they lost me. They had two weeks to showcase him and did nothing with the time.

TNA is due to have another debut. I missed out on my last prediction for TNA, but out of the 8 possible first time debuts, I did have 7 right. That's gotta count for something. In any case, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that TNA is pretty satisfied right now with the people they have, but I am still predicting about 4 or 5 more debuts. I'm saying two high profile stars for the top gold and X Title respectively, one more Knockout and one more tag team. My turn to say it. Just wait and see what happens.....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GPS.....

I've been looking at where this thing is headed. TNA seems to have some sort of idea for which direction to take these storylines. Unfortunately, including all of Fortune into those plans seems a bit out of the question, unless it all happens the week before the PPV. I'm not above saying I was wrong, BUT upon closer inspection of WWE's PPV schedule, they are running NO PPV's whatsoever in March. Victory Road is TNA's March PPV and there are two possible outcomes for how things could play out.

1. They move to a multiple competitor main event for March, probably a three way building to a full blown 6 man match at Lockdown the following month instead of the Lethal Lockdown match.

2. They maintain a one on one format for the coming two PPV's, building alliances leading up to the Lethal Lockdown match in April.

If you had your choice, what would you pick?

In other news around TNA, Samoa Joe, who is one of my favorite performers on the roster, is finally getting some more momentum and this time, in a new division. With Crimson and Morgan dominating the Tag Team Division (or what's left of it), Joe has started teaming with Magnus of British Invasion fame. Not going to mince words, They have some good chemistry and could become a new and rising team, provided they can come up with a snappy name....something that could sell. In any case, it's nice to see Joe AND Magnus getting some screen time.

With Madison Rayne, Gail Kim, and Mickie James dominating the screen time for the Knockouts Division, I have to wonder what TNA has in store for the rest of the Knockouts in the weeks leading up to Against All Odds and after. I love Mickie and Gail; they are a credit to the division, but I am really wanting to see some Velvet, ODB, Rosita, Sarita, and the rest of the division TNA touts so proudly.

If there was ever a time when TNA could pull ahead in terms of quality, this would be it. WWE is at the place where they are going to be ramping towards Wrestlemania and WWE's history shows nothing but difficulty in the months shortly following the one per year spectacle. TNA capitalizing on that fact by doing everything they can to be different would be the smart way to play the game....which is why I suggested the Fortune feud to begin with.....because it's something different from what we're seeing anywhere else in the mainstream.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Train Wrecks.....

Brodus Clay FINALLY debuted last night. I am going to be brutal here, so brace yourselves against something whilst I let it all fly. While the people like me out there who were expecting this....


Instead we were subjected to this......



Where does a self respecting, intelligent, human being, intent on putting someone in traction go wrong to turn into this? Just who did Brodus Clay piss off in upper management for them to believe this is going to work? Sorry, I almost forgot which era of WWE we're living in. I thought this was going to be for the fans who want to see someone looking dominating in ring. I simply can't take this seriously. Strap some rockets on this thing because we're going to crap in record time.

We waited 6 weeks with promos like the first one here and next week never came and then.....I am completely speechless. Truly speechless. Epic fail, Vince.....epic fail.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Two....Against All Odds...

I've been talking big about AAO this coming month...now it's time to sell it. You've got about 6 guys hovering around the big gold belt, but not all members of Fortune are present as I initially predicted. As of this moment, in my opinion, there's Kurt Angle, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy....while I realize this is only 4, I think Sting's quest needs to be an alliance breaker for Daniels and Kazarian with the twist being in store for AJ Styles.

The Angle: Sting is listening to AJ's problems with Daniels and Kazarian when they come into the picture and decide to throw their own weight around by beating down AJ for a couple straight weeks. Sting decides to break the alliance by putting together a best of three bouts gauntlet where the winner decides who is banned from Against All Odds. Depending on who TNA management wants to give the title to next after, you could have any two of the guys compete in the big 6 man main event. Even if AJ wins the whole thing, one of the other two will be banned from the building for the finish.

I love the way the Knockouts Division is being booked right now, interference and all. Now that Karen has been fired from my TV just as I asked, even the interference seems more important now. I am still waiting to find out if any surprises are in store for another new debut in the coming weeks, but I believe we'll see a grand total of 5 debuts or returns this year. Expect to see Alex Shelley making a return in the coming weeks with a possible Motor City Machine Guns reunion before mid-year. Additionally, you may see Mexican America with a bit of help in Chavo Guerrero, who has been touring with TNA's India promotion. Chris Masters may make a debut as well as he, too is working the India tour.

Against All Odds may be TNA's saving grace leading into their 10 year celebration. I am loving that in spite of the critics, TNA has not only survived 10 years, but has done very well in recovering from the dismal year that was 2010. In fact, even though the numbers aren't showing it, TNA has been gaining more support abroad in addition to their current fanbase in the States. Way to go, guys! Congratulations to the entire crew for 10 years.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stagger.....

I realize that these posts are a bit erratic, but there is a reason for it....with the news being as sparse as it has been and TNA's white tower holding tight grips on every development coming out of their creative meetings, there is simply not much in the news WWE has that I'm terribly interested in....I'll give you some highlights...

Ultimate Warrior and Kevin Nash are in internet wars, casting insults and challenges that neither party is going for each direction. Nash made the challenge for a 100, 000 dollar MMA-style event days before Wrestlemania IN Miami. Offers were made to Nash and Warrior regarding possible venues and, as of yet, everything is at a stand still. My take on it? Nash seems willing, but Warrior is nothing more than an armchair quarterback who has gripes with just about every old school veteran in the business and sees fit to do little more than posture and talk. Nothing will come of it. Do I care? Nope.

Jericho the Mute stills says nothing.

One thing that DOES interest me is that TNA will hold their first ever Impact broadcast outside the US in Wembley Arena in London, England later this month. Every top star is slated to be there to celebrate the event. Me? I'm looking forward to the event as it will prove that TNA is looking to expand out a little more and reach their European audience. Still waiting for them to come further north here in the States, but this is a wonderful gesture and will, hopefully serve them well as they move forward with things.

As for more meaningless drab? Bill Goldberg, whose opinion of Vince McMahon I share, has shown interest in coming out of retirement to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, should he return to WWE's ranks. Additionally, when a fan said that he should have speared Jericho when he wasted 11 minutes of Raw last Monday he responded with a resolute...."Would have been my pleasure."

The more that is added to the Wrestlemania card the less excited I am in the way things are looking to play out. So much fat on the card and not enough substance. Here are some things to expect, just to ruin the festivities.

- A worthless Divas match where there is no real competition for a title.
- Potentially Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes......and I thought it got better after Cena vs. Rock....wrong.
- Cena will beat the Rock and turn heel for the first time in nearly a decade. To bad they didn't play the card when they had it at Survivor Series....what a waste.
- CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho......an oddball choice of posturing, considering Punk used to be the strong, silent type and kept his mouth shut and NOW Jericho is playing that role and Punk can't keep his mouth shut....not that he needs to. Personally, I want to see a war of words AND fisticuffs, but I digress.
- WWE is trying to bring in another Jersey Shore personality in to work a program with Zack Ryder.....The Situation. Seriously. First Snooki and now The Situation. Are you guys intentionally trying to drive your biggest PPV into the ground?

Wrestlemania USED to be where feuds go to die or to begin, but as of yet, I have seen so little that holds my attention, I won't be watching anything more than highlights, which should more than satisfy my WWE watching for the year. Way to ruin my excitement, guys.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Lane Highway.....

There is a steady line of people looking to come into TNA or looking at bringing a friend of theirs into the company. While the list is rather long of people wanting in, there only seems to be one person wanting out right now to go back to WWE.....Rob Van Dam. I am at a loss as to why anyone would want to leave, other than the contract guarantee WWE provides legends. Rob certainly fits the bill of a legend, but if recent months has taught anything, it's that his ability to go is waning. Nearly into his mid-40's, Van Dam is running on his last legs, just like many of the Attitude Era performers. The difference between he and they is that he isn't a top tier guy. TNA and WWE may have had him booked that way for a time, and I may catch some flack for saying it, but RVD is a upper midcard talent...not the main event anymore.

As for those looking to come in? I'm glad you asked.....

Chavo Guerrero.....His time with TNA's India promotion has given him a newfound vigor for the business he had been lacking in years past, or at least that's what he's said on his Twitter page. I look for him to jump into Mexican America sooner than later to revive the now dead establishment.

Ken Doane.....the former Kenny Dykstra of Spirit Squad fame has been trying to get into TNA since his release from WWE a few years back. Unfortunately for him, TNA has not shared his optimism in his abilities as a compelling performer.


Tara has been wanting to bring Jillian Hall into TNA for a while now, but after the birth of her last baby, Hall has gained some weight and she's had some concern about getting back into ring shape in light of that fact.

Kurt Angle has had his eyes on a few former and current WWE performers; among them have been Chris Jericho, Charlie Haas, and Shelton Benjamin. All of these performers have opted not to join up with the company and resigned with their current employers- Jericho with WWE and the World's Greatest Tag Team with ROH.

There was a time when Matt Hardy was pushing to get Lita employed in TNA, but she wisely decided to run against the rumors and not join up. Why do I say wisely? Since Matt's TNA employment, his downward spiral has been VERY well publicized. Then again, in the days before the Slammy Awards, she was arrested for DUI. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Journey.....

So here we are....set up for the Road to Wrestlemania. But more importantly than that, we're getting ramped up for a battle of storylines. TNA is working hard to try and put together some feuds that promise to have some staying power. We haven't seen the last of Jeff Hardy as the object of a top tier feud. Angle is taking time away, but this is NOT saying he'll be out for long. Roode will remain in the top tier, if not champion going into next months' PPV. And the rest of Fortune will be circling like sharks for the time being.

In WWE, I can't help but feel sorry for Brodus Clay. This guy has been getting the shaft for almost 2 months. I would be livid if I were him right now. You're a beast, they're pushing you as one on the promos and on your scheduled debut, they boot you and continue to boot you until everyone has forgotten. It sickens me, to be blunt. He was scheduled to make his debut this week, but was, once again, pushed to the side in favor of other plans.

Jericho's return was built and then his arrival bored me to tears. I know that was the plan, to make Jericho the heel by overstaying without talking, but it was 11 MINUTES I'LL NEVER GET BACK! I am not kidding about this, he postured for just about all that time....beckoning for the crowds' affections. In a 2 hour show, 11 minutes was just Jericho NOT talking. Add to that the nearly 15 minutes of John Cena at the beginning and you have almost 30 minutes of NON-action. If Vince's plan is to move away from the sports portion of "sports entertainment", he's on the right track.

Now, before anyone throws out an anti-TNA slur about their segments, I will interject that their spotlight seems to be shifting from place to place, making each division the focus as of recent. I have LOVED the Knockouts focus with the Title match in the main event from last week. Compound that with Sting's place as GM, which is the best face GM in pro wrestling since Jim Cornette was with TNA. I view this as much more than a simple issue of segment control. I am looking at all of this as story progression.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Countdown to the....Save Us Code.....Do You Understand?

Money. I'm convinced he's only around for the money. This is his second return, making a total of three runs with WWE. The thing about this run is....I really am finding it hard to care. He's beginning to remind me of Brett Favre. The grandiose is getting old and I daresay, so is the hype for every one of WWE's veterans, mostly because there are so few of them and they haven't brought very many back that they have fired from the Attitude Era and the beginning of the Brand Extension.

Granted, he can still work a match, but had they just said he was coming back, it would have generated more than enough fanfare. The 6 weeks worth of cryptic messages and all the speculation was wasted, in my humble opinion...money spent just because they can. Most everyone knew it was going to be him. And what is he coming back for? His reputation? CM Punk has him in some serious jeopardy now, claiming to be the "best in the world". I realize I'm not very good at hiding my sarcasm.

I have very little joy left for the land in Connecticut as they have taken this Piece of Garbage (PG) product and siphoned some of the best things out, leaving only the campy, predictable, promo laden product that barely keeps things inside the ring. Am I upset? You're absolutely right, I am. I was watching this thing at it's best, when tag teams had entered a new renaissance, as did the Divas Division; we were spoiled. I was convinced it would never end.....

If the WWE veterans who now call TNA home were to up and leave tomorrow for WWE once more, I would probably stop watching wrestling for good. Seriously. It would mean that WWE has finally decided to end it all. By tying their hands behind their backs and expecting them to operate under the iron blanket of the PG environment, when they'd been allowed to utilize so much more in the years before, it would cripple them. Imagine Anderson PG. How about Kurt Angle without intensity. Could you imagine it? Neither could I. Speaking of Angle, I remembered I had seen it a while ago and it just popped into my head......enjoy.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Decisions.....

With the holidays riggers behind me, I'm back to full strength and ready to jump back into this thing with both feet. Having said that, I've not lost track of things in the companies who are, even now, in deadlock with their top stories. TNA is continuing to find ways to make Bobby Roode look like a credible champion, which I thought would be a difficult thing. Come to find, his recent allegiance with Bully Ray is giving him some credibility....and a bit more story to run with as things ramp up for Against All Odds, which promises to be an even bigger event than Genesis will be.

Did anyone else have gasping laughter when Sting mocked Madison Rayne at the beginning of Impact this past week? I thought I was going to die. Knockouts in the main event.....who would have thought that would happen? I did....that's who. TNA has given a great opportunity to showcase the best women's performers in the world and Gail and Mickie delivered a great match. Who was beneath the mask? I've been hearing that Melina has arrived.....could that mean Jo Mo is in tow? Maybe.

In WWE's news, the spoiler mills are in full swing, with most of the attention being directed towards Chris Jericho. However, not escaping the rumors, Brock Lesnar's retirement has brought him to the forefront as well. Who is behind the cryptic messages? UFC President Dana White states that Brock is still under contract with his organization, so even if a return were imminent, it would not be tonight, or so it would appear. That would leave the vehemently denying Jericho as the most obvious choice. HOWEVER, none of this is a lock as WWE is keeping the mystery arrival a closely guarded secret, but rest assured, there will be little surprise who the mystery component is once his or her arrival is upon us.....the announced main event will spoil everything. If we're looking at CM Punk? Expect Jericho.....period.