Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where We're Going....

In the weeks before the only major PPV of March, it's beginning to look like a good PPV. The card is stacking up something like this.....

Crimson/Morgan vs. Joe/Magnus for the Tag Team Titles
Sting vs. Bobby Roode
Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy
Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for the Knockouts Title
Anderson and AJ Styles vs. Daniels and Kazarian?
Zema Ion vs. Austin Aries for the X Title

My guess is that we'll have some kind of contest for Garrett Bischoff against Gunner or some such thing. I'm not completely against this little feud.....still. I know there are people up in arms, but with Anderson joining the fray, Eric Young and ODB as Knockouts Title contenders, and both Robbies in action in the coming weeks, seems to me the only people we're really missing are Hernandez and Anarquia, but if they're out getting some extra training in, I'm all for it. Those two have needed to have a break from TV as their skills were very.....questionable, to use a generous word in their last feud against Ink Inc.

I do have a couple of things to toss out there for the critics. I know there's been some hate thrown at Garrett Bischoff. I'd like a couple of moments to retort. If ANY of you have never seen Vince McMahon don his sweats and cutoff t-shirt, please run straight to YouTube and look it up. The difference between Garrett and Vince? Garrett has something to work with. Vince is and has always been cannon fodder. I would challenge that being a train wreck has been his only appeal. In any case, Garrett has been a way for creative to come up with ideas to include the dormant portion of the roster. Rest assured, once this thing has run its course, guys like Doug Williams, Hernandez, Anarquia, Kid Kash, and the Latina Knockouts will be back to throw down once more.

I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, but right now, TNA is doing a pretty good job of getting as many people television time as they can. I've been predicting another show in the coming months and I ask everyone to be patient, the announcement will come. We'll get some more face time, even if it's only an expanded look at Xplosion with a bit of a different format.....perhaps a throwback to the Sunday Night Heat days of old.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Knocked Out....

This is a pitch for the Knockouts Division. Even as we speak, there is a great deal of pushing for the first ever Ladder Match in WWE by Natalya and Beth Phoenix. I'd like to toss a few names into the landscape here as to who should combat this small women's bout with one built to last involving 4 to 6. I'll even go so far as to give a 2 on 2 Tag Team bout as well as the 6 woman singles' bout.

I'd like to begin things by putting the names on the list.

Angelina Love....She's one of the best workers consistently and has been out of the limelight for a while, meaning that she's going to be a fresh face for this kind of match.

ODB.....She's durable, plain and simple. She can take a hit like a running back and keep ticking towards the goal line. I think she would make this match something special.

Gail Kim.....A high-flyer is something this match needs and I see no better competitor to fit the bill than Gail. She is a part of TNA history as the first woman champion to compete in a cage for the company and against Awesome Kong to boot.

Mickie James......She's been a part of TNA for enough time for me to be convinced that she'll work very hard to prepare for this kind of bout.

Velvet Sky.....I was hesitant to put her in for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being that TNA will need a couple of people left out to perform the days following whichever the PPV featuring this bout takes place on. Since she's been improving in leaps and bounds for quite some time and since I can see some potential in more than one facet of the match, I put Velvet in this list.

Tara.......It would be stupid for me to not include a history maker like Tara. She's one of the best veterans in the business as a whole, let alone this match. She goes into it. Period.

I would like to include an X Factor to this match. I say make this a bout debuting a brand new Knockout, Melina. My tag team suggestion is ODB and Mickie James vs. The Beautiful People. I love the way it looks on paper and including Melina into the Beautiful People stable wouldn't be out of character. Additionally, it makes for a great story, where Winter becomes the scorned and enemy of Love, turning her attentions elsewhere.

Who is TNA?

For a long while, TNA seemed to have an identity crisis. 2010 was the 'year of hell' for TNA as everyone was adjusting to the change in management. During the course of 2011, however, the little company that could seemed to find footing and discovered itself once more. I hope you'll bear with me as I give you who I perceive TNA to be.....

1 Part WWF......TNA has the greatest women's division on the planet. It's a nod to a better time for the big W's ladies. Lita, Trish Stratus, Ivory, Molly Holly, Victoria, Tori, Chyna, and the beginnings of Gail Kim all brought together storyline and character development, making them an integral part of the show. TNA's take is one step bigger, putting a tag title into the mix.

1 Part WCW......The X Division is to TNA what the Cruiserweight Division was to WCW. God Rest Eddie Guerrero as he helped the division as a mainstay. Guys like Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Juventud Guerrera rounded out the division, providing stability and show stealing matches with intensity and pinpoint precision. TNA's spin is their innovation of new matches to put emphasis on each competitor.

1 Part ECW......ECW was known for being a place to be personable with the fans. The fans always came first. In fact, the amount of time the performers gave to the fans was second to none in the business for their time. TNA devotes time to their fans on a level virtually unparalleled.

TNA is their own. TNA is their fans. TNA is no longer under threat of losing themselves in the shuffle as they once were. With a main event that is entirely different from WWF, WCW, and ECW of their glory days, this is something special. While many would complain about the booking of finishes on their PPVs, I would contend that having an interesting finish is something necessary to lead into the weeks' programming to build upon.

I look forward to what TNA's 10 Year Anniversary will bring as the stops will be pulled out and fans will be given something to sink their teeth into. Bet on it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heyman and the Drew's New Dues.....

At the request of a long time commenter, I bring to you one piece of history that runs full circle right now, as I write this. Before I go too far, I would like to bring this to the surface because it needs to be heard to make my point fully understood.....

For those of you who agree with Heyman, I understand your position. I, however, respectfully disagree with the plan Paul Heyman had in mind when negotiations were happening. If this conversation were to happen now, however, I think we may have something to talk about. Having a look at what we're seeing on TV, I see Sting as the authoritarian with Flair and Hogan on the sidelines as cheerleaders or managers, so to speak. I don't think this is too far from what Heyman was talking about. Sometimes you don't even see them, which is fine for spotlighting the younger stars he mentioned in the soundbyte.

Now, do I think Heyman would save TNA? Not a chance. I don't doubt his creative genius still has juice left, but I wouldn't hand him the keys to the city. In my humble opinion, no one should have the reigns of control unless they had the wherewithal to adjust this company in such a way as to go toe to toe with Vince tomorrow, particularly as a head of creative. Even Hogan had someone to answer to. The powers that were making the decisions at the time gave him some very lofty power and they learned a tough lesson not to run the course they did. It's taken nearly 2 years to come back from it. A Heyman shift would only have led to a power struggle which would have been chaotic for everyone from the top on down the line.

NOW.....onto WWE's latest pet project, Drew McIntyre. For a guy who was 'handpicked' by Vince, he's had a VERY hard run of bad luck, beginning with Tiffany. As many of you will note, Tiffany was the manager of ECW for the end run. What some don't know is that Tiffany and Drew were married. In 2010, an domestic disturbance was reported involving Drew and Tiffany. Tiffany was suspended and later released, but Drew was demoted and has yet to recover from the backlash.

His newest gimmick reminds me of Orlando Jordan in his last run with TNA. One day, Vince and his cronies will tire of making Drew pay and move on to someone more deserving....but I doubt this new gimmick will last much longer as fans who've been used to seeing a less edgy character in the past are going to grow tired of him rather quickly.

Making the TV Title Matter.....

I've been giving this a great deal of thought. The TV Title is replete with examples to illustrate that TNA has not invested the kind of time necessary to make this title matter to anyone. I won't lie, it puzzles me, to be sure. When the title was under the reign of AJ Styles and defended against the likes of Kevin Nash, Booker T and the Main Event Mafia, it was worth fighting over, but in years recent, the title has been repeatedly buried with subpar defenses and lengthy times of empty space, not defended at all.

With all of this not in dispute by any outlet I'm aware of, I suggest we have a look at a few possible contenders to liven up the landscape.....

Ken Anderson.....I've had Mr. Anderson as a suggestion for the Tag Team rejuvenation as well. Why? Because he's one of the most versatile performers TNA has and he's not being used anywhere as of this moment. Fact is, he makes people listen to him and he can make a reign look legitimate. Period. Using Ken as a launching pad to making good use of the belt is a respectable place to start.

Austin Aries......I can see a few of you scratching your heads, but you shouldn't be. The current X Division Champion is more than capable of making the TV Title worth a great deal. In fact, if Anderson and Aries ever engaged in a verbal war, even the shells would be worth fighting over. CM Punk would be jealous of the kind of ammunition these guys could drop on each other. Aries isn't a good champion....he's a GREAT champion. He, too, would make the title look good.

Daniels......He's an original, he's one of the best talkers TNA has....the man can do it all, and very nearly has, to be blunt. Put him into the running and you've got a volatile situation, to be sure. Bringing back the Fallen Angel persona and giving him a run would make the longtime TNA fanboys, like myself, mark out like a 16 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Kazarian.....I was a bit hesitant to put him in here, but with the kind of talent in here, I think he'd fit in quite nicely. His work in every facet he's been placed in has been virtually spotless. He's got a great set of accolades to his credit and he's another former champion to boot.

This round of guys looks a bit like an X Division who's who and I'd be hard pressed not to agree, but the truth is, every guy can carry a match. I even say it about Anderson, though it seems sometimes that he needs help maintaining his resolve. When he's good, he's one of the best, but when it appears that the feud is beneath him, he can get a bit sloppy. I put in the great mix of guys here who know how to consistently put together a great match because he may need that extra bit of help to cover any kind of blemish he may bring to the table.

I say do this up right away. If TNA can jump on this and put every guy here into the running for the TV Title, the reign of the Robbies will end and a new era will take it's place, one where the gold strap will mean something again.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rebuilding a Tag Team Division......

I had initially wanted to write about rebuilding TNA's Tag Team Division, but on the heels of listening to an amazing CM Punk interview, I decided to throw caution into the wind and toss out my quick fix program for both WWE AND TNA.

Let's start with the bigger company. For whatever reason, Vince and company has this inexplicable rolling of the tides effect when it comes to their tag division. For a few years they'll have about 10 teams and then, whether in the draft or spring cleaning, 75 percent disappear. At Armageddon in 2006, they had a 4 Way Ladder Match; that's 8 guys, for those of you keeping count. The following year, however, the division splintered and was left with not enough to duplicate a match even half that size.

My suggestion? Put off the spring cleaning schedule and take the guys who are on the main roster, but not on TV and send them back to FCW. Experiment, tweak, fine tune, and then bring up tag teams, whether that means pulling together guys from that roster or mixing and matching them from who was brought down and repackage them. The whole idea is to bring back the Tag Team Division, but with so little to use to begin with and tag belts that rarely get defended anyway, I see no problem in taking 6 months with this endeavor, at least to get the ball rolling with a couple of well thought out tag teams.

Having said all of that, the question is, how do we reintroduce the revitalized division? I'm glad you asked. I say put together some kind of tag tournament, with only one bracket match each week, alternating between shows. This will mean one tag match on RAW and another the following week on Smackdown and so on. At this rate, they'll be able to fill out the roster slower, making each team the focal point of action on the respective show for the week. If they supplement this with vignettes for a couple of feature teams, all the better. It'll let fans know that a new era is truly being built up.

Okay, now that that's up to snuff, WWE Creative can take it from there.....

As for TNA....this one is far easier. Most of the work has already been done. By putting together Magnus and Joe in the Wild Card Tourney and breaking down the rest of the division, it gives more wiggle room to put things together. Here's my breakdown....

Kid Kash and Gunner
Robbie E. and Rob Terry
Pope Dinero and Daniels

This is one I want to talk about just a little bit. I want to bring someone out of obscurity, so I picked either Anthony Neese or Mark Haskins to place in training under Mr. Anderson. 'Ol Ken hasn't had much to do the past few weeks. He's been on the tour, but not on the tube. It'd be nice to see him as the Jedi master, overseeing the bringing up of an underling.

Any good Tag Team Division has at least 4 teams and, after these revisions, you'll have 5, counting Magnus and Joe and minus Crimson and Morgan, who will be off to bigger things. TNA needs less work because almost their entire roster has SOMEWHERE they can be used.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Status Quo.....

For those of you who read my little rant about WWE's lack of gusto, this might interest you. Over The Limit, the PPV replacing a former classic in Backlash is looking to feature Sheamus vs. Bryan vs. Orton for the World Heavyweight Title and John Cena getting yet another WWE Title shot. Ladies and gentleman, those of you wanting to ride out the waves might have to wait a while before you see any noticeable change in WWE's status quo.

If you needed any more proof of the status quo, WWE officials are now planning on moving any Divas competition from the card to a possible dark match before Wrestlemania. The commonly held belief is that a Divas match will take away time from the matches people really want to see. Now, I'm no fan of the Divas WWE has in their employ, with a few exceptions, but that attitude is just the kind of thing that will keep the division exactly as it is....filler.

For the record, anyone curious about Chris Brown will find it disappointing that there will be no MMA style match between CM Punk and the rapper. This leads me to a piece of advice for anyone posting in Twitter: take every comment with a grain of salt unless you're prepared to go the full 3 rounds. PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

The ongoing quest to liberate the TNA World Heavyweight Title from the shoulder of Bobby Roode feels something like WWE circa 2002. If you recall, Triple H held the World Heavyweight Title from just after the brand extension in September until November and then from December all the way until November of 2003. TNA's plans are a great deal different, with Roode only lasting another couple of months as champion before going into the hunt once more.

The theory I had about Bully Ray taking the belt off of Roode may not play out, but I DO believe he'll make a run with the belt some time this year, even if only for a month or two. I also have hunch that we'll see a main event appearance from someone who has been typically viewed by some in the upper brass to be upper-mid card at best. Keep watching and you might see it coming.....or not.

I also look for a resurgence of the Tag Team Division, bringing in four teams to compete for the belts. Look for Chris Sabin to make his return in the coming months. Mike Tenay brought up the former MCMG member's name, stating that he is sidelined with a knee injury. Just the mention gives me the impression that he's only got a month or two of recuperation as they will want to have him back with some momentum going into Slammiversary.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Browned Edges......

Wow. Guys, I write this right now on the heels of something incredibly profound. I just watched a TwitVid from CM Punk directed at Chris Brown. For those of you who either haven't been following this story or don't know how far it's gotten, I think it best to give a brief timeline, so strap in and get comfortable......

Yesterday, CM Punk tweeted about Chris Brown with the following....
"I would like @chrisbrown [to] fight somebody that can defend themselves. Me curb stomping that turd would be a #wrestlemania moment." 


In response, Chris Brown threw a brick back......
"Positivity regardless of how u feel! @CMpunk contact my assistant and I'll have em send u an autographed pic for my biggest FAN!!!"

The tweet Brown threw out next, which was ultimately deleted, goes like this......
"@CMpunk needs more followers. He's such a leader! Not to mention the roids he's on has made it utterly impossible for him pleasure women."

So what is the response from the Straight Edged Superstar? Have a look.....



Seriously, this is all good and fine until someone makes it sincerely personal. If something comes of this, great, we've all learned something, if nothing comes of it, let it be known that only YOU can prevent Twitter fires.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Facepalm.....

For those of you who have no idea what facepalm is, let me explain. You know those times where something goes wrong and you can do nothing else but put your hand over your face? THAT is facepalm, folks, and WWE is loaded with it. Coming out of Elimination Chamber, it has become obvious to me a couple of things.

1. A sideshow stooge like Santino Marella, whose antics are fitting of the PG rating, can get over with an increasingly fickle WWE fanbase.

2. Kane, who has been in year's past one of the most violent characters in WWF history, can be made to look about as threatening as a newly weened puppy.

No title changes, no surprises, no nothing. I give up, guys. I look at this dying breed of WWE veterans and I see what they're bringing up the ranks and I shake my head in disgust. Santino?! Really?! I still can't get past that one, by the way. In any case, it seems that just when I believe that the WWE I grew up watching was beginning to creep back in, it's snatched out from under me like a slick rug.

GEEZ, Tactix, what do you want from them?

I want to see a Divas match that reminds me of Lita vs. Trish or Victoria vs. Molly Holly or Gail Kim vs. Melina. I want to see an actual slugfest involving weapons between them (Survivor Series 2002; I love you for that one, Tara). I want to see a story brewing between the female performers instead of generic promos with virtually no build for any championship bouts.

I want to see the Kane that eliminated 11 competitors in the Royal Rumble and took on the Undertaker in an Inferno Match, not the Kane that can be stifled by John Cena.

I want to see the changes CM Punk promised. In fact, I look at CM Punk as a man who is standing in a room filled with lesser thans. I want to see something extreme. I want to see Laurenitis go absolutely mad and throw his weight around, forcing Punk into a Lumberjack Match against Brock Lesnar AND Batista, handicap-style. While I understand that one is impossible, you guys get my point. I want the intensity back that came from high impact (no pun intended) action and suspense. You can't teach that to most of the guys WWE has in their stables.

The Wrestlemania card is stacked up to the rafters, making the days that follow even tougher to capitalize on.

Rock vs. Cena
Taker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as the X Factor
Punk vs. Jericho
Money in the Bank
Even Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan looks promising

The card looks good right now, on paper, but if all the matches deliver, WWE faces another problem, the days that follow. The day after Wrestlemania determines the direction it all runs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm Done.....

If you read the title of this post and decided to see what it meant, you're not the only one. These are the exact words from Sting's latest official Twitter post. "I'm done...." If you don't know what this means, but DON'T want to be spoiled, you might turn back now. HOWEVER, if you don't mind one way or the other, do feel free to continue......

The most recently released statement by Dixie Carter listed the two main events for Lockdown and Victory Road respectively. Victory Road will feature Sting challenging Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. While there are no spoilers for the following month's PPV, Lockdown, Dixie DID mention James Storm vs. Bobby Roode for the main event. Since Victory Road has not yet happened, the World Title was never mentioned.

NOW, why the crytic Tweet? To assure all of you wondering who don't mind being spoiled, Sting isn't retiring just yet. He, on the other hand, isn't contractually allowed to challenge for ANY title as the GM of Impact either. That being said, his powers to that end are limited. Next week will reveal his resignation as GM and the official challenge will be made to explain the Tweet fully.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The State of TNA Address 2012......

I have come to you all to day to lay all cards on the table, as it were. I say we have look at what TNA's true state of affairs truly is. I want to dissect some of the complaints and expose either truth or fallacy. My journey begins first with the Knockouts Division.

I want to give a shout of respect to the women of this division. Truly this is the best place in the world to find beauty, charm, and talent. The characters are all distinctly different, which is something I CANNOT say for the Divas Division up in CT. My only complaint is the lack of continued focus on the Knockouts Tag Titles. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the titles at all, but if they want them to remain relevant to the product, they need to have the titles defended in a convincing way rather than as an afterthought.

Next up is the X Division. I want to give Jesse Sorenson some kudos for taking his licking like a man. He put himself on the line and that takes some guts. I truly wish him a speedy recovery and optimal healing conditions. With the exception of the events of last Sunday, the division has an amazing track record of delivering a flawless set of action packed matches. With phenomenal athletes rounding out a unique division to the world wrestling experience, TNA holds a trump card in the field.

Now, I want to talk about a soft spot. The TV Title. I'm not at all satisfied. The belt is rarely defended and, when it is, the finish is rarely clean. This belt was held by AJ Styles, for crying out loud, one of the greats on the entire roster and yet it's being treated as though it doesn't deserve to be fought over. If that's the way it's going to be viewed, I say axe the whole enterprise. BUT if you want people to take notice of another division, let's put one together with people who need something to fight for in the time they have in waiting for the top tier to sort itself out. Anderson, Morgan, Crimson, Devon, Pope.....the talent on the roster writes itself into a tremendous place provided you have a place to put them.

The Tag Team Division needs help, people. We all know it. TNA knows it. The wild card tourney was the minimize people noticing some of the talents' departures from the company. With one team dissolved entirely and another having not been revived, it makes sense to throw something together and see what develops. Hence Crimson/Morgan. That team was working. Joe and Magnus are now the force to be reckoned with and I think a name could be helpful to cementing themselves into a place on the TNA landscape. Undeniable, though, is the lack of teams to take up the slack. I say pull the Robbies off the TV Title scene and see how they manage on a more prominent level. I wouldn't be opposed either to a re-imagining of the Ink Inc. team with Shannon Moore and Kid Kash as the members. I'm also pushing to bring in Chavo back into the world television spotlight and united with Hernandez to reform LAX.

There are more TNA fans who have been loyal from the beginning than those in the office know. Hence there even being a 10 year anniversary this year. A few throwbacks might be nice to liven up the atmosphere. Let's bring back AMW. Let's bring back the Motor City Machine Guns. Why not have a true faction war with 4 factions vying for power? Let it build to a four way faction gimmick match. So many places we could take this, guys.

The top tier, the main event.....TNA has the best lineup of contenders right now as it relates to their World Title picture. The object of the game has been very simple.....remove Bobby Roode from power. I am truly enjoying the simplicity of the story here. It makes Roode look like he belongs in the main event full time and not just as a side show. The way he has played his heel card has been reminiscent of a HHH from 2002-2004. I see this picture getting more interesting by the week and month, as veterans and newbies are getting their moment in the sun. Truly this is the place where there is no glass ceiling, only a land of opportunity.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are You Serious.....

If you were wondering if WWE ever thinks of TNA as a threat, you need look no further than the second episode of their YouTube show called "Are You Serious?". In this episode, they put up footage blunders and old promos for Hulk Hogan AND Sting. The goal is to put on display some of the worst of the worst and they come up with stuff that isn't as bad as stuff from their first episode.

In any case, one of the co-hosts is none other than BG James of former 3 Live Krew fame in TNA. His storied career as a member of D-Generation X's reboot squad brings him right back full circle to WWE once more as a trainer of sorts. In fact, he was doing training with the Funkasaurus Brodus Clay, whose character has been put on ice for him to go back and get more in ring training in FCW. That fact alone should make the footage on that show.

Whatever the case, WWE is putting together a slight smear campaign for TNA's resident legends and I, for one, am not worried in the least. In fact, a spotlight like that may even help the cause by fans wondering what happened to them and finding them on a show that looks a lot like RAW did back in 2002, which was a VERY good year, by my own reckoning. With a host of footage from fan favorites like Kurt Angle, Bully Ray and Devon, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Pope Dinero, Matt Morgan, and a few others, I think it clear that WWE could make attempts all day to discredit TNA's Champions, but when the smoke has cleared, they are the ones struggling to make Santino Marella look like anything other than an undeserving circus clown with no business lacing up the boots of Randy Orton let alone replacing him in a match of any kind. I'm just saying.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dave, Santino, and Wanderings.....

Okay, I've been sitting on this for a few hours to let the anger wear off, but it still hasn't. Randy Orton's replacement for the Elimination Chamber is a guy who is a freaking clown. That's right......you guessed it....Santino Marella. Santino Freaking Marella. I say it over and over in my head and it still feels wrong. I don't recall feeling such anger over a decision that makes no sense. Not only is Santino not on the same page as the rest of the guys in the match, he's not reading the same BOOK. What the white tower is thinking, I'll never know. All I know is that they are out of their ever-loving minds......writers....Vince....all of them have taken leave of their senses.

Speaking of creative teams, TNA welcomes Dave Lagana of WWE Creative Team fame circa 2002 to 2008. It's nice to see ANOTHER Attitude Era writer come into the fold. Now, before you go and tell me that 2002 wasn't a part of the Attitude Era, I would venture to you that all the way until the announcement was made to begin the brand extension, that it WAS. The announcement was made the night that a certain man was named as the GM of RAW. You might know him.....Eric Bischoff. In my humble opinion, he was the best GM RAW ever had because he made things interesting. He made you root for the good guys to win out despite the odds.

Here's where my predictions come in. According to IWantWrestling.com in his words:

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


That's right guys.....I've been saying it. Now is where it happens. A brand new show is on the horizon and it's attached to the TNA name. Here. Not abroad. You know they've needed it. Now they can use every part of their roster and truly fill out the landscape with a story for every title and people to fight for them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Off the Deep End.....

I use the term "deep end" to be a bit facetious, because WWE is so shallow on their top tier. Why do I say so? Randy Orton was rushed off injured reserve to compete in the Royal Rumble when he wasn't scheduled to be cleared until a month later. As a result, he is once again back on the injured list following a convenient 'concussion' as reported by WWE.com.

To further illustrate my point, it's been suggested by officials to bring back Mark Henry, who is ALSO on injured reserve with a groin injury, early to fill in for the newly re-injured Orton. My question is simple. All of reports I'm reading suggest that Christian is set for a return. Why not put HIM into Orton's spot instead of rushing another guy off the reserve? LET YOUR ROSTER HEAL! Don't rush people off the bench when they still have muscle tears and tendon rips and the like. WWE is running the risk of damaging their roster beyond repair and, unless they can start thinking outside the box and pushing guys they perhaps might not have otherwise, locking themselves into a box with a glass lid.

I've been talking about Ezekiel Jackson for a long time, but let's really give him a look.....he was the last ECW Heavyweight Champion and Christian made him look like a million bucks in the match putting him there. When ECW went under, suddenly they had nothing for him and he's been a lower mid-card player ever since. But why? Seems to me he has the size and build Vince normally drools for. I can understand if he can't talk, but then Brock Lesnar really couldn't either, to be fair, and I'm as big of a fan of him as anyone. So he can't talk....so what? Give him a mouthpiece and let his actions speak for him.....doesn't sound too hard to me.

Bringing another face into the mix means a fully vested roster without much waste. Less waste is good right? TNA has 6 guys who could legitimately make a run for the World Heavyweight Title and a possible 3 on standby who could take over at a moment's notice. What's with WWE not pushing some of their guys? Seems to me that this is a no-brainer, but WWE has never listened to me before, why should they start now?

300.....

This is 300. I only planned on doing maybe 50, but this is 300 posts, guys. I've been giving this post thought for quite some time. What can I talk about here that I haven't covered before? Do I crack down on the naysayers? Do I throw down on the critics and skeptics? Do I throw stones at WWE's glass house? I suppose I could do some of that, but not now, not today. I think this post needs to be something a bit more special than that. I've got some of my favorite pieces of TNA video as well as throw out a card that might be a bit unorthodox.

I've got about 2 videos I'd like to throw in for examination....

1. The performer that TNA fans have been waiting for to make his return.......
His run with Lucha Libre USA has earned him his current tag team titles, which he is still defending there to this day. I have lost count as to how many people have asked me where the Maple Leaf Muscle has been since his last match. Now you know....As for whether or not a return would be possible, I would say yes, but only time and his options will tell.

2. I HAVE to give a "What were you thinking?" to TNA for this little gem....

Okay, now that I got all of that out of my system, a few columns ago, I made plans to talk about some things that could change or rearrange the order of matches on a PPV card. I think I'd like to go into a possible scenario. Let's suppose you've got Bobby Roode and a certain GM (Sting) wants to get the belt off of him. I say you make 2 matches. One against any opponent who has a rematch clause unused and one against the winner of a battle royale later on in the night depending on who holds the belt after the first match. Have the first title match at the beginning of the night to put the plan into effect. As the night goes on, you start teasing a special "secret weapon". At the end of the battle royale, every eliminated performer is required to remain at the top of the ramp without going back to the locker room as the new #1 contender has the final match of the night as a Lumberjack Match. Fact is, however, even if there was a title change at the beginning, I'd let the match take place. 

Another option is to enforce the 24 Hour Rule, just like the days of the WWF Hardcore Title. Put the target on the back of Roode for an entire night. Now both of these could be tailor made to fit TNA's custom framework and it could be done very effectively, given the time to fully blossom. What do you guys think? 24 Hour Rule? Lumberjack Match? What kind of stips would YOU use to guarantee a new title holder before night's end?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking Through....

Something is happening, folks. News has reached my ears concerning the possible firing of once lead writer Vince Russo. While this is a great piece of news to some, I'm sure it's a huge blow to him and his confidence in the wrestling business as a whole. That notwithstanding, TNA is growing.....they are starting to turn heads, and the ones who once buried TNA and only gave them a matter of a few years, waiting for them to collapse are now praising them for putting together a great show from week to week. Columnists from PWI to internet information sites like Lords of Pain and NO DQ are giving TNA a second look as a possible place to put more stock.

LOP Columnist, Hustle writes:
What I like about the TNA roster is just how stacked it really is. There are people like Alex Shelley, Matt Morgan, Christopher Daniels, Jeff Hardy, Doug Williams, Bully Ray, Rob Van Dam, etc, that are also in the running for the list, and would probably be included in the lists of other people.


There are considerably more, but I will cover other examples not unlike this in a later column. My point is that TNA is swaying people now, which is an AWESOME development and bodes well for the future of the company. Anyone who criticizes Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan for their treatment of the product needs to listen to what some of the most harsh critics are now saying about the Hogan/Bischoff led product now. I am glad to see people finally seeing what I have in their ability to put together a group of writers and producers and performers to rival ANYONE. EVEN Vince up in Stamford. Yeah, I said it. Right now, WWE's roster is dangerously shallow while TNA's has some true depth, with a fully stacked deck of amazing talents and every division showing definitive signs of life.

Stay tuned here, though....I've got some more commentary coming on the departure of the controversial Vince Russo later.

Your Champions....Part 1. Top Tier

I've decided I'm going to take this prediction thing to the next level. I'm going to try and give you guys my prediction of who will gain the big belt this year. By using climate of push, rivalry potential, and believability, I think I have an idea of where this thing will go.....here's hoping.

Beginning with who will uncrown the leader of the 'selfish generation'.

1. Bully Ray....As a heel, he does it better than Roode, but I get the sneaking suspicion that he can be so heel, it becomes cool. I LOVE his character right now as it's a bright unique spot in the top tier, which is something WRESTLING needs, and not just from TNA either.

2. Jeff Hardy.....I was going to get here, but I see history becoming a factor here, making it become a very personal storyline for both guys. I think it could turn into a beautiful feud, maybe even popping an honorable mention for feud of the year.

3. Matt Morgan.....I think it's his time and this year that he will claim the gold at the top. I can see him turning heel and making his pass in a big guy vs. little guy type of feud. I expect a gimmick match as the deciding factor with Morgan taking the belt in the end.

4. Crimson......Once again, history never hurts a compelling storyline. Once Morgan has turned, I see Crimson sharpening his teeth on every competitor, forcing another set of fierce matches between the future former tag team partners.

5. Samoa Joe......This one makes PERFECT sense to me. Why? Because you can bring the streak in to make it a marquis match. I don't see TNA letting these two into the ring alone to carry the top end of the card, but I would think the returning Kurt Angle, fresh from Olympic pursuit would make an interesting figure to put into the mix to give it some top notch value.

5 changes is more than enough to be proud of bookers and performers alike. A title reign longer than 3 months will call for a new champion to be crowned. We'll see what time tells, but I'm expecting a truly breakout year for TNA, both as a company AND a generator of household names.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Golden Lining....

From every columnist from me to the 'ol hype monkey WWE supporter, I keep hearing how good TNA is doing right now. It puts me in a good mood, to tell the truth. I get to post this from a place where the company I started this blog for actually is getting better reviews week to week than the big dog. Fact is, with Elimination Chamber a week after Against All Odds, I'm gonna go with TNA to have the better card between the two. Two Elimination Chamber matches kinda cheapens the special vibe to me, but what do I know? In any case, I wanted to say thank you to TNA for following at least a part of the model I set out instead of continuing in one on one action for the World Heavyweight Title. BUT, that's not why I'm here now. No....I want to explore the card. Let's have a look......

AJ Styles vs. Kazarian....I wanted to talk about this to pose a thought. What if this whole deal is to ultimately bring both guys into the World Title picture? Would that be a bad thing? That would make 6 guys, not including Kurt Angle, who is out for Olympic training, vying for the big belt. Now, I'm not entirely opposed, so long as it makes sense, which is always my moniker. Regardless of what happens afterward, I'm going to have to give this one to Kazarian with a face turn after, whooping on Daniels, who wants Kaz to finish the job.

Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley for the X Title.......I LOVED the last three way bout on Impact, but this one feels a bit different than the whole Kid Kash, Jesse Sorenson story. It seems more about the returning Shelley and the fanfare for said return than it does about anything else. I'm not even sure why it's for the title, other than Aries just happens to be holding it right now. In any case, I'm going to side with Alex Shelley taking the belt this time. Why? Mostly because the reign is doing little to help the division and spreading the wealth seems like a good idea now more than it might have earlier. Not scientific, but it's my reason.

Zema Ion vs. Jesse Sorenson for #1 Contender......I'm actually excited for this one. I believe that the winner of this one will end up being the next X Division Champion. However, Jesse seems to be TNA's white bread babyface golden boy at the moment, which doesn't bode well for Ion, but I have been surprised before and I wouldn't be disappointed in being wrong. Nevertheless, I'm still going to go with my gut and say that Jesse Sorenson will be #1 Contender.

Magnus/Joe vs. Crimson/Morgan for the Tag Titles......Looking forward to this one too. Both teams have gelled in such a way to make this a match I am looking forward to. I think we might see something interesting come out of this one. I'm going to side with Magnus and Joe with Morgan being pinned. Does it help Morgan? Not really, but if the psychology plays out right, he'll have his hands full with the challengers working on Crimson early and throughout the match, ultimately resulting in a double team pin on Matt. This will mean Crimson will probably turn as this will be his first loss, even if it wasn't on him. SO....Magnus/Joe take the belts and go on to face someone new.

Tara vs. Gail Kim for the Knockouts Title......They are, in my personal opinion, the most talented, surgically accurate pair in the two wrestling companies today. If this match is given a solid block of time to let them brawl and showcase, I see this one being a GREAT match. Even though Gail Kim has held the belt for just shy of 2 months, I think her reign is going to end here. I give the win to Tara.

James Storm vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode......I asked for a match something like this, with multiple competitors and a good blend of veterans in the mix. I think this could very well take match of the night if it isn't overbooked, as TNA sometimes has this inexplicable habit of doing that. I can see this one going to anyone in the match, but I'm going to say that they should give the belt to Bully Ray, for one reason.....heat. He is such a talented talker and can manipulate the crowd of what company he works for.

Now, you might be wondering why I didn't include Gunner and Garrett's match on here....simple. I truly don't care enough about it to. This is just going to a simple filler match to fill up space on the card. But that notwithstanding, these are my predictions and I'm pulling for the roster to shine Sunday and wrangle some new fans.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Build......

Right now.....and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually like the build WWE is doing for CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. After seeing the confrontation in the highlights (since I don't watch WWE for a host of reasons), I find myself wanting to splice every Jericho/ Punk segment together and watch story unfold, but here's the kicker....I don't even care about the Mania match. I am simply liking their interaction.

I liken this feud to the Austin/ Rock feuds of yesteryear. THESE guys are the two best on the roster, not Orton, not Cena, not anyone else. The psychology and chemistry they have is so similar that a TNA guy like me wishes it could be a fatal four way between those two and our two best talkers. Tell me you guys would love to see Anderson, Bully Ray, Jericho, and Punk talking smack all day long. You KNOW you would.....and you'd tell your friends all about it too.

But this isn't about wanting to see our guys vs theirs. No.....this is about loving a story unfolding in front of you that doesn't have to be about the title. Don't misunderstand me, it's about a title, just not one made of gold. I love that it's not about the gold, but about being the best in the world. Both have now laid claim and now both are vigorously fighting over the reputation title. It's a thing that The Rock and Stone Cold have fought over in the past and I LOVE seeing the next generation reboot.

There IS something I've been noticing when comparing WWE and TNA these days.....this is completely off topic so be warned. TNA's roster is more full. Let me explain, WWE has been having most of their upper mid-card guys pulling double duty in the past few months or so. Why? Because injuries and the like have been claiming main eventers and WWE doesn't see fit to pull the guys who've been sitting on the bench all this time because once the injured reserve is healthy again, they want them to have a place to fit in. Never mind that these are guys that signed on to get TV time. Never mind that these guys have more to offer than what they're given.

So while TNA's roster is flourishing and gaining ground, WWE's has been losing characters. I don't see why they can't move guys up the card right now. A few are white hot with fans. Kofi Kingston seems to be a fan favorite....I'm just saying. Without testing, you'll never know for sure if a main event run will work with fans.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Main Event.....

I have a question to put to the world who comes here to read what humble little me has to say about a sporting event I love. In fact, let me ask this in two parts.

Part 1. Where does the World Heavyweight Championship match fall on a given PPV?

Part 2. At what weight does a person need to be in order to compete for the World Heavyweight Championship?

(Optional question) Why would anyone model their PPV card after WWE's?

I think someone, and you know who you are, has a couple of questions worth answering. SO, without any delay, let's look at ALL three questions I've put out here. Since we're talking about how a card is assembled, I think it only fair to go back to the humble beginnings.

In the early goings of the professional wrestling card, the World Heavyweight Championship was always placed at the top of the card, meaning that it would take place last on the schedule. This predates the WWWF (yes, you read that correctly, which later became the WWF/E. SO, to say that this model is from Vince McMahon is COMPLETELY inaccurate. The reasoning behind the treatment of the World Heavyweight Title is because often, the superstar defending the belt was also the one traveling from region to region. Back in those days, the NWA, which was the unified group of wrestling promoters who each held their own territories.

The tradition of the World Heavyweight Championship lasts to this day, regardless of which company you deem the top dog in the industry. TNA's weight cut off is 225 pounds to qualify as a heavyweight contender. The X Division cuts off at 224. To date, the TV Title has no weight classification. Do I think of one title as better than another? In a way, yes I do. NOW, having said that, I want to be clear, I don't view any title as less prestigious. BUT, when you look at how a wrestling card is put together, I think that a great many fan will be confused as to why a World Title would be put anywhere but at the top of the card, last on the performance schedule, unless you have a darn good reason for putting it elsewhere.

In my opinion, each weight class is the best in their respective weight class. WWE views their titles VERY differently than TNA, in my opinion. They have a very distinct class system, where each title has less value than the largest belt on the card. I don't believe TNA has the same feeling. When there is an entire PPV devoted to the X Division every year, I don't think the system TNA uses holds the same view of each title. The TV Title, I have said VERY LOUDLY in the past, NEEDS some life breathed into it by someone who is versatile enough to move a match competing for said title up the card, even putting it at the top, if it makes sense. I say why not? Why not put the Knockouts Titles, every one of them, on the line at the top of the card? If it makes sense, I think they should go for it.

To be clear, the simple reason WWE and TNA culture uses the World Heavyweight Title at the top is to give a top star a bit of a break as it relates to their workload. Most world title holders don't have to do very many different stipulation matches to defend their title. Why? Because, in the current tide of public opinion, performers should only be given a title reign of a few months (less than 5). Anyone else on the card may be subject to being put into gimmick matches over whatever title is on the line. When a world title is on the line, however, you have less gimmicks (unless you have more than one gimmick PPV) matches because the reign is shorter and less likely to last long enough to need one to stack the deck against a  given champion.

Now that the air is clear and the way a card is assembled is made known, I have to ask if there is some merit to change the way a certain card is compiled? What would influence where a title match is located on the card? I put this question to you guys before I answer it in the next column.

Expansion......

Is TNA growing? To everyone asking this question, I would refer them to just about every anti-TNA columnist writing on the internet today and have them read something new from them about the product as it sits right now. Almost every column I read is believing TNA has turned their game around. I will grant that they have their opinions about their value as it relates to WWE, but the fact of the matter is that TNA seems to  be swaying people. Do I see THAT as growth? Absolutely.

If you want more evidence that TNA is growing, look at the UK crowd on the last 2 weeks of Impact. The sound was deafening and they were into it. Few things kill the mood of a product than a dead crowd, but these people were lava hot for TNA. To those who went to see the shows in either Manchester or London, you guys have MY thanks, but also the thanks from the guys from top to bottom of the organization.

You're still not satisfied? Let's look at some more figures. 4,300, 2,500, 900, 1,500.....these are some pretty good numbers for tapings and house shows. Fact is, these are up from a year ago....when TNA's house shows averaged about 650 to 700 fans last year, these are AWESOME numbers. I LOVE to see the numbers going in TNA's favor and not just because I'm a huge fan of the product. I love seeing another place for wrestlers trying to make it in the business to go. WWE isn't the only thing on the block anymore and THAT is good for EVERYONE. Ask any fan from the Attitude Era what made it so great and they'll tell you that it was because WWF HAD to think of new stuff because there was someone else to compete with.

With TNA growing, the talk of another show is picking up, people. Wait for it. It's coming.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spotlights.....

Over the course of the past few months, I have been pondering what has been going through the minds of the upper crust in the TNA brass and it occurs to me as to why some of the guys I wanted to see spotlighted had been in the shadows. Touching on about 4 guys, I think I have the reasons as to their demotion or at least a portion of the reason anyway.

RVD.....He's a good talent and a credit to the roster, but he's slowed considerably as of late, even from his time in WWE. His wins against Daniels and some of the other TNA homegrowns have not been taken with much fanfare, nor have his entrances. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that TNA is experiencing some buyer's remorse from their deal with RVD as he's not invested as much into them as they have in him, by my way of thinking.

Matt Morgan......The guy is like a swiss army knife. He can appear just about anywhere on the card, which is rare for a guy of his stature. TNA knows this. They also know that he needs to recoop from his injury last summer. To that end, they have given him a lighter schedule in terms of ring work by putting him together with Crimson. BUT, look for him to break out of the Tag Team Division the moment more teams materialize. They know they have lightning in a bottle and they also know that time is of the essence to get him to the top of the card.

Samoa Joe.......I've been saying it for nearly a year that TNA needs to do something big with him and, it seems only now are they listening. It's been AWESOME seeing him in a division he's not competed in up till now. His chemistry with Magnus has been improving by the week, which means this is a team that might pan out to be better for him than his mid- to lower-mid card singles status before. I say give him gold and let him run with it. So why has TNA management waited so long to put him someplace? I can think of a couple reasons. First, there were circulating reports of him sending feelers to WWE to see if they had any interest in his unique talents. That is a no-no, for the record. Second, after his push was destroyed by Kurt Angle and then he was given the big title after, it seemed like there was no place for him to go. A simple case of being written into a corner.

Pope Dinero......What I wouldn't give to see this guy get some love from the people in the offices writing for him! He can work a microphone better than most, he's got charisma in spades, and he can work a very compelling match. Why haven't they pulled the trigger? He's been known to vent his opinions about the product, the negative ones, on Twitter, among other places, ALSO a no-no. Stand behind your product, even though you may not like where they have you and come up with something yourself.....pitch it with enthusiasm and hope for the best. Or launch your own YouTube channel and post videos. Worked for Ryder. Just saying.

If there are people I've missed, I apologize, but these four stick out at me as simple workhorses who do FAR more work than they need to be, even if that work consists of riding the pine.

Why Not Cross the Line?

When WWE performers get their marching papers, their "Future Endeavor" papers, they have one of a great many options, depending upon a number of factors. Let's have a look at a few factors.

- Schedule (Does a performer want to travel a lot?)
- Moving up the card (Is there a promotion that will see what WWE missed?)
- Networking (Might there be a tag team partner that will bring me back into a big promotion?)

Without diving too far into details, because every story is different, I'll hit some of these factors.....

Schedule......WWE runs their performers ragged and torn. Jeff Hardy, John Morrison, and a long list of other performers have left the business never to return because of WWE's REALLY hectic schedule. TNA is traveling more for their tapings, running their shows back to back in the course of one week in terms of tapings. Every two weeks they have their tapings on Mondays and Tuesdays for the coming Thursday airings. Additionally, they have house shows, which run once or twice weekly depending upon the tapings schedule. In any case, you're looking at a 3 day work week. Ring of Honor is a different animal, without a true traveling schedule, but their exposure is somewhat lacking.

If a performer is truly looking to heal themselves after running WWE's schedule, right now, TNA is growing into a traveling show in their own right, which means that TNA might not be the place to go to heal anymore. They still travel less than WWE and that might sound good, but when you consider a binding agreement and appearances for autographs and publicity, some former WWE employees NEED a complete disconnect, to do things they didn't have time for when they were on the road all the time. It sometimes is necessary to do things on your own terms for a while before feeling ready to make the commitment once more.

Moving up the card......TNA is reported to have had plans to bring in John Morrison to headline their X Division, to make him the divisions' star attraction. Why? Name recognition. If a guy like Morrison is getting the top brass to take notice even to build a division around you, why not sign? Simple. Why would you sign on the dotted line if you want a spot at the very highest echelons? You're offered the silver ring, but you want the gold one; even if the silver one is a lucrative venture, you want that top spot for the big gold. Matt Morgan is sitting on some gold right now, but that was never in the plans for him on the TNA docket. Before being on the injured list last year during the BFG Series, he was a front runner to be in the place Bobby Roode is now. Now, they need him to hold up the Tag Team Division.....being a team player like that has it's perks. Ask AJ Styles. He's held every gold TNA has ever crafted.

Networking......Shawn Michaels trained for a great many years before making it big in WWF. Why do I bring up Shawn? If it weren't for a guy he met on the road all those years ago, a guy by the name of Marty Jannetty, we might not have had "The Heartbreak Kid" for not one, but TWO successful WWE runs at nearly a decade apiece. By not signing with a huge operation right away, he met Marty and THEN the two went into business as a tag team. When a wrestler makes connections, it's a big deal. Good friends bring each other good fortune, look at the Kliq. Look at the nWo.

Why not cross the line? Maybe the schedule wasn't right, maybe they didn't believe they'd be used in the way that would lead to the top of the card, maybe they didn't want to feel like outsiders without people to give them a hand up into the organization. Whatever the case, people don't sign who maybe should. And others sign who maybe shouldn't have. But you'll have that anywhere.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Gaming Community....

For the fans of the wrestling video game experience, I've been asked to talk about any news regarding the release of another TNA video game. Let me preface my information by saying that playing the first game was a unique experience. I won't say it was a great game, but I won't say it was an embarrassment to wrestling games either. I really want to put out one thought to weave into the landscape here. TNA is new to the world of gaming and, as a result, we received a rather crude first effort. Knowing this after the fact, TNA decided to pull licensing from the former developer, Midway Entertainment, and work on a follow-up for handheld systems and, released TNA Impact: Cross the Line in 2010 for PSP and DS with Southpeak Interactive Corporation, who developed the Two Thrones franchise for XBOX.

Right now, my information says that TNA is really concerned about putting out ANYTHING subpar and, to that end, is shopping for a major platform developer. Since I have no word on their deal with Southpeak,  I would guess that their deal was inked strictly for their handheld division. That notwithstanding, I would look for TNA trying to cozy up to EA Games, Rockstar, or even Rocksteady to put the plans of landing a good competition alternative to the already monster RAW vs. SMACKDOWN series into motion.

Do I believe we'll see a great TNA game on the way? Absolutely. When? That, my friends, is still up to the men and women in the white tower in Nashville to decide. Regardless of when, you can bet the next game will be well worth waiting for.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tag.....

As this site's moniker suggests, I've a huge fan of Tag Team wrestling and TNA has a long history of having a great division. I recent months, however, things have come down to only about three teams, with each team being dissolved ultimately. The Joe/Magnus wildcard pairing is working as is the Crimson/Morgan team, but truth be told, more must be done to ensure there is some kind of division to work with once the feud has run its course. I would offer a couple of solutions.....

1. Bring back Mexican America and the British Invasion. Hernandez and Anarquia worked well enough together, but to really set it off, bring in Chavo Guerrero to work with them. His work ethic alone would improve the quality of the matches they end up putting out. As for the Invasion, Mark Haskins and Doug Williams would do just fine to bring this together, but getting Rob Terry back with the group would be a nice touch to restore a balance of power.

2. If there is ANY inkling that there are going to be some performers released or relocated to the training facility in OVW, do the right thing and perform some damage control by putting together people who have worked together before and have some good proven chemistry together. The Motor City Machine Guns come to mind, but with Chris Sabin still on injured reserve for a short time yet, someone else must be brought to the game. During the early 2000's, WWF had the best tag team anywhere because there were more teams to work with. APA, The Dudleys, The Hardys, Edge and Christian, Too Cool, the list goes on. These were good, cohesive units with a great deal to offer the company even if just for a good change in the card that might otherwise have been cluttered with meaningless singles matches.

Here are the names of guys who haven't been around TV for a while....
-Devon, Pope, Anarquia, Hernandez, Anderson, Rob Terry, Shannon Moore, Rob E., Anthony Neese.....they've got enough people on their roster, the question is how to go about using who they have.

A possible pairing? Why not put Anderson with someone like Rob Terry and bring a bit of glory to the TV Title? How about running them with the Tag Belts? What about teaming Pope with Daniels? I'm playing the fence here, but bringing in some new faces seems like a possible option as well. The point is, right now, the division is pretty barren, not of talents, but of teams and the sooner TNA can rebuild the division, the better off they'll be.

Shout-outs....

TNA is doing AMAZING for two of the best performers ever to step into WWF to be giving props to Bobby Roode as TNA's world champion while being under contract with WWE, even if it IS only a Legend's Contract.

Both The Rock and Mick Foley were throwing out shout outs to the champ on Twitter, The Rock, even gave mention to James Storm to finish off his post. All this makes me question how much tension there is between the white towers in Stamford, CT and Nashville, TN. Ever since "Cookie"-gate all those years ago, it seems as though they could REALLY make themselves a nuisance for WWE, a proverbial thorn in the side of the big dog in the yard.

For those who have no idea what "Cookie"-gate was, have a look.....


For those who are curious as to the identity of the well dressed guy who came out to see who TNA had out in the catering area; it was none other than the masked man himself, Rey Mysterio, who is a long time friend of Konnan. Konnan, at the time, was a member of the 3 Live Krew, alongside Ron Killings and BG James, none of which work for TNA any longer. Nevertheless, this piece of footage was some of the best shoot footage TNA has had in their 10 year history.

With well received numbers in attendance both in London AND Manchester in the UK, TNA, it appears, is getting some much needed momentum going into Against All Odds in the coming weeks and I can't complain about that. Hi Dwayne! Hi Mick!.....Thanks for the free publicity!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TNA's Nasty Landings.....

For every amazing spot TNA's performers hit, as illustrated by Austin Aries below, there is an equally awe-inspiring miss. Mark Haskins suffered an injury following his miss in London.....also below in the same minute.


How about another pair? Hit......


How about another miss?

WWE has it right in their opening segments at the beginning of their DVDs.... Every performer trains for years to make us stand to our feet. So cheer them, root for them, but don't try it at home.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Future Endeavors Club.......A running history.....

As some, or rather, many of you now know, WWE has released some of their most promising young athletes from their roster over the years. Whether by firing on impulse, or contract disputes, or even backstage politics, talents have been exiled, released, fired, or simply not renewed. These releases are ALL public knowledge and can be looked up at a moment's notice. To illustrate, I will, in this column, give as many of the main roster releases in a single year as I can. As I do, keep in mind their tenure in WWE AND the amount of credibility a win against them might have been to a young and hungry talent looking to break into the business. I'm going to start all the way back in 2008, just to show how many have been lost.....

2008....
Armando Estrada....manager for Umaga
Ashley Massaro....former Diva
Balls Mahoney.....ECW
Big Daddy V......ECW
Bobby Lashley......ECW
Braden Walker......Former TNA Chris Harris
Cherry.....former Diva
Chuck Palumbo
Colin Delaney.....ECW
Domino.....former Tag Team Champion
Elijah Burke.....TNA's Pope
Kenny Dykstra......Spirit Squad member
Lance Cade......former Tag Team Champion
Nunzio.....former Cruiserweight contender
Paul London.....former Tag Team Champion
Robbie McAllister.....former Tag Team contender
Rory McAllister.....former Tag Team contender
Shannon Moore......ECW
Steven Richards......ECW
Torrie Wilson.....former Diva
Trevor Murdoch......former Tag Team Champion

Keep in mind this is just in 2008. Some of these guys could have been used to elevate what we have now, but WWE's brass was more determined about cutting costs than they were about maintaining a working roster. Even worse than 2008's releases were those that came the following year......

2009.....
Candice Michelle.....former Diva
Jeff Hardy......former World Champion, etc.
JBL.....former World Champion, etc.
Mr. Kennedy.....former US Champion
Brian Kendrick......former Tag Team Champion
Victoria.....now TNA's Tara
Umaga......former Intercontinental Champion
Tazz.....TNA's color commentator

I'm holding a few names off the list HERE to make a point. These ARE HUGE NAME PEOPLE! In terms of what they gave to WWE, their releases were IMMENSE losses to the main roster. Out of these names do you know how many truly wanted to leave? By every report I have ever heard, there were only 5. Victoria, Torrie Wilson, Jeff Hardy, Tazz, and JBL. Even with those losses, WWE could have used the remainder of the people on the list, but without patience or the willingness to go to their audience and ask what THEY want, cuts were made, mistakes were made and now we're left with a company scrapping things together to make it work in a PG world that ties the hands of the writers who attempt to put things together that will sell.

Meanwhile, TNA's roster has a blend of veterans and homegrown talents who have invested their time into making this a great roster to build talents. WWE has a roster to do big things, the problem being that most of those top tier talents can't move out of the way and give the undercard something to fight for. Why? Because Vince and his writers believe that keeping the status quo will ultimately win out in a battle of popularity. For a time, it will work, but when the top tier's talents begin to crumble, there are few primed talents to carry the company from there. I've preached this time and time again. Once the legends of the Attitude Era have lost their usefulness and The Undertaker and Kane have run their course, there will be plenty cause to be worried.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Entering.....

Some news that I am curious over has entered my mailbox. WWE has signed "Real Deal" Marcus Anthony from the FCW roster to an actual WWE deal. If I had to put this guy's physicality and ring style into words I would tell you to imagine the strength and high impact of Batista and the raw talent of Brock Lesnar in one man. If he can talk as well, he is something WWE hasn't seen in over a decade. He will become bigger than John Cena if that is the case. Mark my words. It will be interesting to see if they rush him into the main event the way they did Lesnar or if they'll wait as they did Cena.

Whatever the case, if they don't push him as the next big thing of this generation, they may very well miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime. Since a Lesnar-esque opportunity is rare at best, his rise needs to be built in strength and, without either a strong mouthpiece or enough time to build his persona on his own, he will fail....and you can take that to the bank.....and TNA will take his contract. To the victor, go the spoils....

In other WWE news, WWE has been scouting the indies for wrestlers 200 pounds or close to round out an all-cruiserweight show to be launched on the WWE Network this fall. Since many feared the netowkr would fail without more set programming in place, the launch of said network was pushed back to an indefinite fall date. My thoughts.....without this division as an attraction of your two current running shows, you may find great difficulty wrangling in anyone curious enough to pay their cable or satellite provider the extra money to see it, let alone giving the performers a mainstream place to ply their craft.

Could Have, Should Have.....

This is the column where I set up a couple of grievances. I want to know why there were promos set up or personas and then the characters were sabotaged and quietly released. I want recompense. These are guys who SHOULD have been the future of the WWE, but were exiled before they had the time to get over. This is only 5, but more exist that could have been, should have been......

5. Sean O' Haire......
This guy could have been the next smooth-talking heel to carry Smackdown. He was quick, intense, and a partnership with Victoria might have made them the ULTIMATE power couple. But the point is moot, now that his release came on the tail of a horrendous story involving Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Rikishi. So ended this story.....

4. Matt Morgan.....
The stuttering idiot persona destroyed him. Simple as that. The funny thing is that this was his SECOND time around. He had the look Vince wanted, did everything he was asked, and was let go. Shame on you, Vince.

3. Nathan Jones......
If you ask me whose name goes best with the words wasted hype, no name comes to mind more than Nathan Jones. This promo was AWESOME! I remember thinking he was going to end anyone in his path. Fact it, if WWE had played their cards right, he could have.

2. Kevin Thorn......



If WWE didn't waste their chance with a character this man played by the name of Mordecai, they were DEFINITELY short-sighted in light of the coming Twilight film's success to capitalize on the Kevin Thorn character. This was the current generation's more talented take on Gangrel.....gone.

But the man I wish could have been put to better use that they let go on impulse was Ken Anderson. He should have been WWE's best talker since The Rock, but he was fired on impulse because of another upstart......Randy Orton, hence my dislike. So I give you his TNA debut, which happens to be one of my personal favorites......

1. Ken Anderson......


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The DNA of TNA.......

Contrary to the title of this post, I'm not going to be talking about Matt Morgan. In fact, this column is aimed to reach one person and you know who you are. When TNA was founded, in 2002, they were doing it in a four sided ring. Fact is, they used that very four sided ring until 2004, when the decision was made to switch to a 6 Sided Ring. The decision to switch back was controversial and caused ripples in the land of public opinion. Some, like myself, wanted TNA to keep the 6 sided ring, while others, like the incoming Hulk Hogan, determined that it made the promotion feel second rate. To the dismay of more than a few fans who had been watching during the 6 year span of the ring, the traditional ring was brought back and has remained ever since.

The problem TNA was being faced with was the problem of champions. With so many young performers, the decision was made to move certain performers up the ranks that they felt would bring in fans. SO, AJ Styles, Abyss, Samoa Joe and Ron Killings were given their just deserts and their own personal title reigns. However, in the history of TNA, only 5 actual TNA homegrown performers have ever held the World Heavyweight Championship;  Abyss, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, James Storm, and the current champion, Bobby Roode. During the 6 Sided Ring Era, an overlooked fact is that Jeff Jarrett held the belt more than ANY OTHER PERFORMER, with one reign lasting nearly an entire year. That kind of title dominance makes the promotion look like they have no trust in their tier of talent fighting for that title. So my question to my audience of the day is this.......Is TNA in the business of creating new stars? I would argue that they are.

TNA has given WWE's former pet projects new life and a better persona. Ken Anderson, D'Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan, and others have been revitalized and given the chance to build a name for themselves under a new banner. The X Division, whose emphasis in recent years is on and off, has created more TNA highlights than ANY other division and THOSE stars make this company something special. Additionally, the Knockouts Division gives women who WRESTLE for a living, a chance to compete in a division that gives them time to develop and ply their trade. Some come from WWE's Women's Division as exiles because that division is dead, only the Diva's Division remains, consisting mostly of swimsuit models and beauty pageant queens.

I will put this out there for you all, though, the object of the professional wrestling game is to win people over as fans, loyal fans. How do you do that? How do you go about creating a top tier that is second to none? I say there is one thing.....give perspective talents a resume. Guys like Matt Morgan have built a very nice resume for themselves without winning the big gold, but not for lack of management pushing for it. Injuries play a big part in a company that prides itself for not using move bans or limits for the performers. That notwithstanding, you build credibility by putting names on that tier people the casual fan will recognize. Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Sting, and the other veterans serve one purpose in this ultimate goal, to put together a resume for the new breed of champion that people will believe. If you have champion who has defeated some of the best in the history of the business, you have a champion who will one day help create a resume for the next generation.

In the new era, TNA originals who have put in their time are being placed in a position where they can showcase and get their magazine covers and accolades BECAUSE THEY HAVE EARNED THEM in their years of service and loyalty. I can be relatively certain that TNA's top tier of main event talent will only expand to include Crimson, Matt Morgan, and a few others in the coming years and THAT is something TNA can be proud of......a rotation of performers fighting for the biggest gold the company has to offer that is large enough to give fans a variety of contests under a variety of circumstances rather than the same thing from month to month.