Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Further....Part 2: The Middle Bouts

So we've reached the middle of the match up pool and there's quite the stacked deck here. I, for one, love these picks, but I'm sure there are more in the masses. By all means, give me comments on these if there are others I might be missing. Well, before I go and ramble even more, why not just jump in...shall we?

Samoa Joe vs. The Rock

Two Samoan machines duking it out is something I would LOVE to see. The Rock could carry the feud on the mic, but Joe would absolutely deliver in ring. This isn't to say that 'ol Rocky is a slouch, by any means. What I AM saying is that this one is a feud that almost writes itself. Rocky came into the WWF as the smiling Samoan while Joe came into TNA as the undefeated, angry Samoan Submission Machine. Give Joe a win here and he'll be cashing checks FOREVER.

The Undertaker vs. Samuel Shaw

The Deadman vs. the psychopath. I love where this feud could travel, provided TNA creative were up to the task. Even if Attitude Era writers were to take this one on, you could count on something special in terms of shock value endings, events, and the build to a main event level match. Sam Shaw has the makings of dominance, he has only lacked the one storyline to set him apart as the new generation's cerebral assassin in the truest sense of the words. And NO, Triple H, you're not my pick.

Bobby Roode vs. Triple H

I wrote a column back when Roode won his first World Title that diagrammed his inaugural speech as  the "It" Factor. In said column, I stated that if his speech were tweaked just a bit, it would have been something word-for-word to come from Triple H during his feud with Batista in the mid-2000's. I love the kind of punch for punch jab work that could come from this match. Roode is one part Trips with a smattering of Benoit and Angle for good measure. The technical prowess of Roode is dialed back by other columnists, but I won't shy away as he is every bit as good as most of the best in the ring today.

This is a trifecta of matches I'm very much behind, but with these matches, I have a very specific order I would want these matches to finish in. That said, I would book Joe to finish over Rocky, Taker to ultimately down Shaw, and Roode to put down Trips. Sorry H fans. This is the middle of the match ups peeps, and I'm getting really fired up about the whole thing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Leading Edge....Part 1: Super Legend Card

Okay people...this is gonna be something very special. Why? Because this is filled with match ups I've never covered before, for one. For another, these legends are among the greatest for their day or any other. I'm not talking about from just WWF either, but TNA as well. Seriously, people...I love this set of pairings and there IS one name on my list that I will have to explain, but rest assured, I will do just that. All I ask is for you all to keep an open mind.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. James Storm

Is this really any kind of surprise? If I didn't know better, Storm went off the Austin template from back when he and Roode teamed together forward. The difference? He's not the talker Austin is, but he definitely IS the brawler. You can count on this being something special from the beginning. Do I believe this could be an Andre vs. Hulk match up? In a TNA vs. WWE event, without question....especially provided that the most watched era made a return and if both were on even footing in terms of booking.

Edge and Christian vs. The Wolves

If there was any need for me to explain why Christian is on the list before now, I hope the need is gone. Yeah, Christian was in TNA and yes, he's kind of an X Factor on the entire list, but I see no reason not to include him and since The Wolves have been to war with the other two greatest history making tag teams in the Attitude Era.

Austin Aries vs. Shawn Michaels

For me, this was about two things: Age and experience. Aries and Michaels are in their 40's and despite that fact, they could easily still steal the show on every card EITHER of them are on. This makes for the very best match if Aries plays the heel, but I have no problem if the shoe is on the other foot either. Both guys work so well on the microphone as well as in ring that no fan would care who wins or loses in the final match.

From the perspective of a lover of pure entertainment that is well paced, properly balanced between promo and in ring action, AND a decent match up to boot, this is the beginning of the best card I can manage from what is in TNA's current wheelhouse and what WWF was able to churn out in their prime. Truthfully, I couldn't even care less who wins in any one of these battles, so long as they are booked out with high stakes, good story, and a large crowd to witness the spectacle.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

3 and Three.....

So here's to the launch of TNA's new hope coming in the first week of January and the ten hour marathon lead-in, but here's ALSO to the second show and ALSO to the now THIRD show, putting Impact onto the small screen in a way that would make WWE jealous. This brand new announcement broke just last week. Destination America will now feature THREE shows dedicated to TNA, making good on the notion of them building the network around the little company that could.

In the newest show, TNA's greatest matches will be put on display. This is an AWESOME idea as it would expose people who know virtually nothing of the brand to a new way of looking at the business as a whole. It's no secret that I believe TNA's talent roster and match quality trumps virtually everything in WWE's wheelhouse across the boards, but this show is where you look for the proof. I have to say, this TV deal is quite possibly the best thing to ever happen to TNA and I doubt very much we'll EVER see another company given this much airtime and immediate exposure to the casual wrestling fan.

With this "Best of" show on the weekends at around midday, the Impact broadcast on Wednesdays and Impact: Unlocked in a Tuesday or Thursday slot, we're looking at a pretty powerhouse schedule with plenty of opportunities for the name and talent to get some good traction out the gate, provided that viewers can latch on quickly. This is a job for TNA creative to work on. Good writing and booking= good match ups and rivalries.

With WWE looking to bring Sting into the fray of their programming come the Royal Rumble on the Road to Wrestlemania, TNA is going to have to up their game and put their best foot forward to move ahead. To that end, I've been thinking about a topic for the last few columns of the year AND that of the one to roll into the big quad 1000th column. I think I have an idea.

I'm thinking of doing another WWE vs. TNA column with another twist: I'm looking at a Legends version, with the idea of pitting the long standing members of TNA against some of WWF's best. I don't need to say it, but I will anyway; each face off HAS to be declared against two who have never squared off before AND each member of each organization MUST never have been a wrestling member of the opposing roster. I've picked a list of fan favorites from each and I say we have a war.

From TNA:

Bobby Roode
Samoa Joe
James Storm
Austin Aries
Angelina Love
Velvet Sky
Samuel Shaw
Eddie Edwards
Davey Richards

From WWF:

Steve Austin
Shawn Michaels
Triple H
The Rock
Trish Stratus
Christian (I WILL explain)
William Regal
The Undertaker

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Closing In....

Right now, TNA is on the hunt for the future. One recent report states that officials offered Alberto Del Rio 400,000 dollars for a one year deal. The catch? They wanted exclusivity. Meaning, they want him to be TNA all the outside work; no AAA, no ROH, no one else. For those of you who aren't clear, that's a heck of a lot of zeros. As it turns out, they offered the same deal to AJ Styles to return. Unfortunately, he declined. That's a lesson TNA should have learned the first time: Always reward your most loyal employees.

This post marks 996 columns, which is 4 away from the big 4 digits. 1000. That's a landmark and I'm very proud to have been able to keep this thing rolling long enough to reach it. I've asked before if there's anything in particular I should write about, but in the end, I have something in mind that just might do the trick. I'll keep that little morsel to myself, for the moment.

In other TNA news, they've announced a little update on the format of this new show, Impact Wrestling: Unlocked. This announcement is such a throwback for me, being a WWE fan of yesteryear, before the dark times. Anyone remember WWE Confidential? It was kinda like a real interview show, where the host would get into the performers' heads about where the ideas for their personas came from, how they determined their finishers, and even little intimate bits and pieces like pets and hobbies. Apparently, Mike Tenay is going to host said show, which will also feature a review of the events from the last Impact broadcast AND various extra matches, footage, and the like. As for who fills his shoes on Impact? Former WWE commentator Josh Matthews, who signed recently, has been in the home base in Nashville, brushing up on TNA history and reacquainting himself with his former partner, Taz.

With everything moving at a fever pitch, it doesn't look like Destination America is sparing any expense in the fanfare...with a 10 hour TNA marathon highlighting the history of the company leading into their innaugural episode, which will air live. For the record, Spike NEVER aired a marathon of any kind. AND, if Destination America is successful in their play for Netflix, this will mark the biggest step forward in TNA's history. This is bigger than the secured deal with Spike from 2004 and the best move so far in terms of their ability to garner fan support. Now, how does the public forum grade success on the Netflix front? Stream count? If that's the case and if TNA decides to try and make a play to put a few of their best selling PPVs up, the 9.99 price tag for Netflix won't sound as funny as it did when WWE tried to secure subscribers to their exclusive channel.

So, who is going to make a play for Netflix if TNA finds their way there in addition to their already secured spot on Wednesdays AND their replay on the weekend AND Unlocked? Don't look at me, I've already got my subscription to Netflix and I already use it regularly.

Friday, December 12, 2014


No other show ever produced by WWE has been able to capture the raw talent (no pun intended) of the developmental roster like THIS YEAR'S NXT. Let's be more clear about that. NXT is what WWE SHOULD aspire to. NXT is now what TNA has been for YEARS, but with a bigger machine behind it. The Knockouts....I mean Divas in NXT are LIGHT YEARS ahead of anything on the main roster and the talent in the tag division is spotlighted in a meaningful way. In short, WWE's developmental program is outranking their main roster. Seriously, I am shaking my head at this because this SHOULD NOT BE.

Right now, the ONLY thing of note in the WWE main roster is the debut of Sting. Perhaps Dean Ambrose is in there somewhere, but there is an abysmal chasm between the life and energy in the developmental league and the main roster and right now, NXT is all people seem to be talking about, which speaks volumes about how upside down management in WWE is in terms of where emphasis is placed.

Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Kevin Steen.....these are talents WWE is NOT known for scouring the countryside for. Okay, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, but in all fairness, Bryan has never been given his just desserts and Punk is gone; driven out by the machine that intentionally buried him. I despise WWE's philosophy of only utilizing their own creations when what makes men and women famous in the indies can't be capitalized on and ultimately trademarked. WWE would make out like thieves if they allowed certain performers to maintain their indy personas and simply transplant said talents from the indies and let them loose on a bigger stage. If necessary, they could turn the dial back a tick or two, but allow them to develop their own personas more fully and flesh out more detailed characters. In any case, I digress....

What baffles me is the fanaticism over NXT and those in their wheelhouse when TNA has been showcasing top indy talents for the past 10 years plus, creating brand new champions yearly and it's taken three talents NXT has plucked from the indies to turn their eyes from the main roster. I'm now, more than ever, convinced that it has very little to do with the TNA product as much as it is the WWE machine's fandom doing the work here. It's brand loyalty, pure and simple. I suppose to each their own, but this NXT rise is something to be proud of, while the main roster is decaying as this post is being written.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Playing With Fire....

So here's the current running story I've been hearing:

Netflix has been wanting for some time to feature a weekly running, syndicated program on their streaming service. That said, with the success of MOST of their first run programming ala Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, etc., Destination America approached representatives from Netflix with a pitch on a company to rival WWE, TNA (Impact Wrestling). With the new brand relaunch, I have no idea how TNA is going to be spelled out, which is exactly why I had problems the last time they played with the logo. Is TNA going to be dropped out of the name entirely? Is it Impact Wrestling now? With their new logo, as shown below, I have no clue what to tell you guys, but what IS important is that the reps over at Netflix are considering the request seriously, knowing full well that their platform is something special as it crosses a LOT of lines that before had been blocked by the network change. With more homes than ever before subscribing to Netflix on a monthly basis, it seems that TNA might finally be able to make up some much needed ground.

With that said, I see no reason to believe anything less than amazing things....I'm not talking about the kinds of things that turned out to be "Pacman" Jones or King Mo or even Rampage Jackson or Tito Ortiz. This is something that will actually matter in the long term and give their brand some actual visibility.

A deal like this gives fans from all over a better chance to get a hold of TNA programming as there are a great many fans who DON'T have cable, but DO have Netflix, whether through their cell phone carrier, web hotspot, or whatever the case may be. This factors in an entirely new market of people TNA is now able to impact for their cause, and yes, that was a pun on purpose.

In addition to giving more potential fans to the product, it also puts more money on the table for all parties involved. This means more potential funds to sign new performers for their roster, securing those currently ON the roster, and bonus potential for those on staff. This is HUGE, folks. Stand by on this, peeps, TNA getting this deal would take this thing up a few notches.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

All I Want For Christmas is.....

I realize I've been scarce of late, but work seemingly never sleeps, and as an added bonus, neither do I. In any case, I've been doing little but waiting for the news of late to blow over. CM Punk has signed with UFC for a multi-fight contract. Do I care? Not much, honestly. Some might call that a bit hypocritical, but I don't agree in the least. He was battered by a non-stop schedule by the machine and NOW, he's not, nor will he be in the training process for each of maybe 5 or 6 fights in a year long time span. Seriously, this isn't news to me, so I'm not outraged, as some seem to be.

No, that isn't what I'd like to talk about in this column. No, I have something else in mind. If I could have anything...and I mean ANYTHING for Christmas as it relates to TNA or GFW or any other promotion that doesn't have a McMahon at the helm, what would I ask for? Since I like to shoot for the moon, here's my short list. If I could have ANY of these things, I'll be happy. Let's jump in....

1. An announcement bringing TNA to Netflix in some form or fashion.

2. Bullet Club invading the Impact Zone, leading to a GFW/ TNA blended roster.

3. The signing of a Melina and John Morrison.

4. The return of AJ Styles.

5. King of the Mountain and the World X Cup

Exactly how possible are ANY of these things? Well, I happen to believe numbers 1-3 might be VERY possible. 4 and 5? I have my doubts. When AJ Styles left TNA last year, there were some hurt feelings, at least if the reports were anything to go by. As far as the King of the Mountain match? Who knows the reason for its disappearance, but whatever the case, it isn't out of the question, only unlikely and my guess to why has more to do with the creator of the match than the format itself. As I understand the idea, Jeff Jarrett crafted the match and was given the moniker to boot.

The return of AJ Styles at this point has less to do with him as the face of the company as it does with current headlines circulating that his finisher, the Styles Clash, has been the cause of a few injuries on the independent circuit. While some of the weight could certainly fall on him, after seeing footage of each case, I firmly believe that Styles is NOT to blame.

You wanna hear something interesting? Apparently, Destination America is in process of negotiating TNA into a streaming content agreement with Netflix. THIS, folks, is a game changer. With TNA partnering with Destination America AND Netflix, there is virtually no limit to how much exposure they could get. Could they stream live? I have no idea what the logistics would be, but could they stream the replays? Absolutely. For more reasons than I care to count, this is a big move for TNA and I can't be any more excited for the coming year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Immediate Reaction....Punk on Colt Cabana's "The Art of Wrestling"

The machine's head struck Phil Brooks. There's simply no other way to say it and, while I'm not a fanatical CM Punk shadow, I DO respect his contributions to the history books and I respect his candor in the interview. There were no punches pulled and shots very much were fired and the volley lands squarely in WWE's court for response.

Without diving deeply into the ocean of the interview, which was nearly 2 and a half hours long, I will put a couple of important bullet points up concerning what was said. I will post the interview so you can listen for yourself right below this column.

1. The double standard
2. The money payday loss from WWE Network for PPV
3. "Sucking it up"
4. WWE booking
5. The Shield = the Punk stable
6. Concussions and the Staph infection
7. Termination Day= Wedding Day

Seven points, seven deadly sins, seven dwarves....wait, what? What matters in it all is that most of what was said is in verbatim (words spoken through the eyes of those within the confines of the story)  isn't far from what I've been saying in general here the past few years. WWE caters to the masses, not the minority. For that reason, they have a sweeping approach to doing business, and this is nothing new to those of you who have been reading this blog longer than a minute.

When Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, and more of their top talents began leaving in droves, I began asking why. CM Punk's story is one I've seen somewhere before....without the added bells and whistles that would have been filled with drug abuse and the like. THIS is the reason why a lot of former WWE talents go to places like TNA or ROH or other promotions. WWE HAS no off season. TNA works less than half the year, which HAS to feel like vacation to most of the guys and gals who spent years on the WWE road rash schedule all but a couple of weeks during the year.

I've got sympathy for those guys and gals who take it on the chin and come in week after week when they're bruised and battered and have little left in the tank to give to the fans and the sport in general and still lace up the boots and put on a show. Seriously, my hats off to those of you in the number. I have much respect for that. Moving back into the Punk interview, he made some observations about booking and how the face and heel movement goes down that were very thought provoking. It helps for fans to take a breath and look past the glint and glitter that is on the fringe of every piece of WWE merch or video package and look at the characters themselves. Are they relatable? Do they make sense? Is there coherence with the running history this character has leading into the storylines? This is all stuff we, as fans can understand and get behind, but WWE's fans, by and large, are kids. Simple as that, so when he says that the heels have a smaller WWE, that's the ever-loving truth of the matter.

As I've said before, TNA and other promotions work villains so well and in such a less contaminated environment, where it's okay to be fans of the bad guy. "It pays to be Roode" and this comes from "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived" get the point. If you want to work as a heel, TNA is the single best place to start. If you want to be a face, TNA's heels will get you over enough to make that happen.

But in spite of everything spoken, a couple of things rang out, which echoes something I said all the way back in a column here called "Is it Fair?" This was back in 2012 in the months before Wrestlemania that year. Little did I know how true my comments were. Did Punk deserve the same amount in bonus pay as The Undertaker? Sure, he did. He worked his ass off and, if anyone on the roster deserved to put 'Taker's career to rest for good, it was either Shawn Michaels or him. No one else is believable. Even Randy or Cena didn't have the athleticism to make the feat work and stand up on the highlight reels without looking manufactured or canned.....maybe that's just me.

Was he the best on the roster at the time he was at his apex? I think there's a case to be made. Angle was gone, The Rock was gone, Austin was gone, Michaels was gone, Taker was all but gone, Hogan had been gone, and Cena was gone for a few months during the virtually every top tier star was out for the count when Punk filled his role. In the name of fairness, he was the only name on the card, not trying to put anyone down, but speaking in terms of name recognition, the casual fan would only have been able to name Punk off the card. On the other hand, as he correctly stated, each time he headlined the card, it did better than the year prior.

To fully wrap your minds around it all; the perspective of the guy who stood on the top of the summit; listen to the interview and gain some insight. In fairness, Vince McMahon shows up on Steve Austin's podcast, which emanates from the WWE channel, and not surprisingly, I might add; to rebuttal a few of his talking points, but from the stuff that was covered there was fringe in comparison to what WWE needed to cover in public on record. A simple apology and the promise of non-retaliation is laughable in light of what Punk covered this past week. Nice try, Vince, but you'll have to do better than that in order to put Punk's fans and converts back on your side of the line.

For the Punk interview, just copy and paste into the web browser:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Who's the Punk?

Just a couple of days back, CM Punk was asked and appeared on Colt Cabana's show "The Art of Wrestling" and pulled back the curtain on his beef with WWE, which included, but was not limited to being fired on his wedding day, being forced to work with a concussion and a staph infection after being misdiagnosed ringside, and the list goes on and on.

Wrestlers and wrestling personalities have weighed in on the interview; everyone from Ryback and J.R. to The Rock and BG James have tossed their name behind an opinion in the matter and it seems like every has the same thing to say: There's two sides to this. To my mind, I'm dying to know what the second side of this story actually is. Apparently Trips and Vince are up in arms over it and I'm curious as to why, if untrue, they have anything to worry about. After all, they're both bigger than the industry....aren't they?

Ryback and BG James take the far more favorable second story approach to the interview, but The Rock, in kayfabe classic style, says "The Rock has drawn more in one night, than Punk will in a lifetime." I can only shake my head at such a double edged statement like that. On the one hand, it's funny if it's all kayfabe. On the other, it's such an arrogant and unfair way of putting one's two cents into the mix.

Whatever the case, CM Punk has become the single most polarizing performer in the past 5-10 years in the past week. My take on the situation is that some of this confirms what I've been saying for the
past few years about WWE's take on some of their fan favorite talents. At the same time, however, I shutter to think that much more of my suspicions were true from the interview.

Over the years, I've put a lot of labels on WWE, but even if some of the stuff said by Punk is true, I almost feel sorry for Vince and company for how much shame this puts squarely on their shoulders after. I hope that this teaches a lesson not soon forgotten about how to make a performer work as a company cheerleader instead of a workhorse. I think Benoit, Guerrero, Hennig, and a great many others who only got the taste of success even though they deserved the lion's share, would agree.

As for behind the scenes, a great many are in the number who didn't like Punk, but after this interview, there's at least some respect. So many performers are afraid of losing their jobs and for this reason, there are few questions put to the higher-ups, few concerns raised, and even fewer disagreements brought up between said performers and WWE executives. Those people felt vindicated as he became, as he did in the time after the 'pipe bomb', a voice for the voiceless.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Let The Announcement Floodgates Burst.....

For those who are getting like me; a bit antsy and  wanting more in the way of answers as to how this whole thing is gonna go down once TNA is finally done with Spike and running with the Destination America crowd, here are a few announcements made in the past day or so:

TNA's "Best of" specials WILL proceed leading into the New Year's countdown to the best TNA moment special. So for the final two weeks, we'll have the countdown and two other specials that relate to that spirit of things.

Right now, TNA officials are working with Destination America officials on TNA's official reboot, which is expected to tape LIVE from the Manhattan Center. A set of tapings would follow, chronicling the following two weeks and making the run leading into the events of the UK Tour, which is still planning on being run as usual.

Moving forward, Josh Matthews of WWE fame, is expected to take over the task of lead announcer once the Impact machine makes the jump and Mike Tenay will still have an on air role within the company. While there is no word just yet what that looks like, I believe he will have a role in the new programming coming out the door.

This leaves coming schedule puts one of TNA's lead stars in a bit of a pickle....Jeff Hardy, who, once again, will not be accompanying the TNA team on the UK trip and has the next few weeks off as well. Well, on that note, he's taking bookings at 6,000 bucks apiece in Canada, now that any possible legal entanglements have been cleared up.

I've got some stuff to air in the next column surrounding CM Punk and the recent scathing discussion he had concerning his treatment, push/ depush, esc. For now, I'll say that there's a great deal of smoke being blown from both sides of the biz concerning how things played out. SO, until then, Happy Turkey Day...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Counting Down to the Threshold....

Right now, there are more than a couple of things waiting in the wings and we are all a part of history being wrestling history come full circle. In the 90's there was ECW, WCW, and WWF and nowadays, we're being delivered something even more fresh. With GFW and NJPW looking to bridge the pond and put their own brand of programming on US soil via internet means, I think it safe to say that they are sitting in the ECW spot, while TNA and their newest deal and list of potential acquisitions on hot standby. They represent the pre-Bash at the Beach '96 fever pitch of WCW.

A few players right now stand out as way makers, putting the fates of their allies face forward and giving direction to their ships. Sting, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle; all three have decisions to make and I don't think Angle or Sting are going to change their minds as to their sides. Sting has made negotiations for more than one match, or so I'm told and, from all news I've gathered, is still slated to make his final match at Wrestlemania this coming year. Angle looks to make his revelation of a new deal with TNA official in the coming year. The one who has yet to pick a side is AJ Styles. Why do I place him so high? Because in the GFW/ NJPW alliance, there is no man bigger or more important to their platform.

What's so special about AJ Styles that no one else in their stable can compete? Domestic support, for one. As the former golden boy of TNA, the second place wrestling promotion in the country, he has name recognition. If the casual fan has never seen a match, they still know where he used to work and THAT has value. They also know the caliber of the opponents he faced while in WWE's competitor and that, too, has value. Why? For the very same reason I criticize WWE FAR more harshly than any other promotion. When WWE was firing veterans who could have been giving guys like Styles a respectable resume to submit to the masses, TNA was rounding them up and building up Mr. Styles into a marketable commodity, worth every penny in the contract he signs.

As his one-year deal with New Japan comes to a close in the coming weeks, he faces a choice ahead of him. Does he make a TNA return or does he sign with GFW and work them towards their possible launch into the television market. With GFW so far from their deal having ink attached to it, I would not be a bit surprised if he stayed in Japan OR if he entertained the offers TNA is now more willing to offer for his talents. Whatever the case, he's the one man I'm watching the most closely out of all of them....and so should you.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Well, well, well....seems I have need to put some clarity to my statements from yesterday. I've watched it back and I still have no idea what all the fuss is about. Before I go ANY further, let's look at a couple of other debuts and do some comparisons, shall we?

1. Goldberg....

2. Chris Jericho.....

You'll notice with these debuts, there are two GLARING differences: J.R at the commentary and The Rock as the channel for the crowd energy. The Rock was the pinnacle of WWE's popular superstars during the eras, or at least shared that spotlight with Steve Austin. Triple H is NOT The Rock and his track record for putting over WCW talents is HORRIBLE. Need evidence?

Scott Steiner.....

This took place prior to Goldberg's debut and once his first official feud was set and Triple H was announced as the first PPV opponent, it was the beginning of the end of his rise and two straight losses via shenanigans sealed his fate and Scott Steiner spent the rest of his WWE tenure relegated to the undercard.

The list of talents Triple H has NOT given credence to is VERY long. So long, in fact, that each of the losses handed to former WCW talents was given on HUGE stages. Scott Steiner's first loss was at the Royal Rumble; Goldberg's first loss was at Survivor Series; Chris Jericho's was at Wrestlemania as was Booker T's. Seriously, folks....Triple H is NOT where Sting should be laying his career to rest.

When WWE first leaked Sting's involvement in the Survivor Series festivities, it was described as an unveiling, which would have given some time to find a suitable replacement for The Undertaker, provided he was unable to fulfill the kind of role requested at Wrestlemania. Not confronting the leader of the establishment, which was his TNA role in virtually every case. Believe me, this isn't me hating on Triple H or WWE in general, it's that in the end, the send-off isn't filled with pomp and circumstance, like most fans want.

Triple H is one of the greatest heel performers to ever grace a WWE stage. He's also one of the biggest player of backstage politics in the history of WWE, placing himself as high as a person can be in the hierarchy as a person can be long before he was running the company on the daily. Triple H can put on a great match with almost everyone, but he only elevates those he deems worthy, and those in that number are few and far between.

I think Sting deserved a better debut and a more proper opponent, one who could pace his farewell match with enough gusto and drama to tell an amazing story in the squared circle and, in my opinion, that man is NOT Triple H. In fact, NO ONE on their current roster has that kind of talent to serve as Sting's final opponent. So this post is, if nothing else, a plea to the powers that be to seek out Sting's final opponent with care and give him the kind of send-off he deserves.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is Late Better Than Never? Really?

It finally happened. Sting debuted in WWE at Survivor Series. The thing is, by the time he arrived, stared down Triple H, and delivered the Death Drop, the magic was gone and what might have been a very epic debut became what WWE is now....watered down and predictable.

Let's face it, when the news broke about Sting making his debut at the PPV was leaked, I could tell that there was only two places his presence could POSSIBLY go...either during or after the Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose match OR during or after the main event. Seriously, there was no other place where it would even make sense on the card.

What's worse, Sting's debut and, likely, his final match in WWE looks to be against Triple H, which, if true, would be the worst decision WWE has made since going PG. The logical question to ask here is why and the answer is so simple.....because Triple H is the boss. Think about it, people. He's wrestled less than 5 times since losing his hair. That isn't just on TV either. That's cumulative.....across the boards. WWE could not have picked a less suitable opponent, unless it was the Undertaker.

Speaking in terms of booking, logistics, and just about everything else, there is no way Sting wrestles this match and wins cleanly. Triple H has put so many careers on life support that this potential match seems more like a final nail in the coffin that is WCW and, for Vince and Trips, it's the final closing of the book. I mean, what else is there? Sting, Goldberg, Hogan, Bischoff, I think that covers the most important bases.

So I'm asking all of late better than never? As I've said on a few occasions, Sting's best entry point into WWE would have been in 2002-03. Why? Because of where WWE's blue brand was, at the time, in terms of booking. There was virtually NOTHING of note happening aside from Angle vs. Lesnar and, to be fair, the blue brand suffered greatly for it. The Undertaker COULD HAVE had his feud with Sting and have been able to carry himself to a great, and I do mean GREAT match as his bones and joints could have handled the stress. But now? Taker is virtually out of the question for a final retirement match.

If the current plan is scrapped and we get Shawn Michaels OR Chris Jericho, I'm in, but otherwise, I see no point in it and I have no desire to see the shovel of Trips go back to work. For the record, I'll be following WWE's treatment of the Sting storyline closely, but not enough to watch 3 hours just to see the part I want to keep track of. Sorry peeps, but WWE lost my paying business years ago and the ability to keep my attention for longer than 10 minutes at a time.

So is late better than never? For Sting, I say no. If it had been me, never would have been the best course.

Survivor Series and Other Potential Disasters....

Team Cena and Team Authority either ends in a draw or no contest or Cena wins. I simply see no way around that. Further, I see loopholes as wide as the ocean is wide and these X Factors will either come into play, or be held at bay based upon which of the three options WWE writers go with. Want a VERY quick rundown? No problem.

1. Team Cena wins. This option makes sense because you expect it and WWE is not in the business of delivering the unexpected anymore. I see chaos running rampant once Cena's team does come out on top with the X Factors coming into play to help clean house.

2. Draw. TNA did a finish like this once, where the final survivor left standing could not answer the count of ten. This finish does two things, it saves those X Factors until later, but it also draws out the storyline even further and raises the stakes even higher.

3. No Contest. This one brings the X Factors right into the thick of things and keeps the individual feuds of the parties involved moving along the path they're all headed towards Wrestlemania weekend with. As for the X Factors? Bray Wyatt, Sting, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, and Triple H himself. I see this becoming something WWE would do if they really want to put Sting over as the hinge pin and the threat to the establishment.

That's right, Sting and Randy Orton are slated to be used, as well as one more surprise I take to mean Chris Jericho, provided he's free, willing, and the crowd isn't hyped enough about those revelations. I see no reason to believe anything other than those are in the cards, but if there IS another, I would see the Undertaker as a last minute change, but with his health fading as much as it has been, I highly doubt it.

*sigh* People, I am not excited, even about this PPV for WWE and even though Sting may finally make his first appearance with the establishment. I, like a great deal of the fans outside the Sting to WWE camp, truly hoped Sting would remain the greatest wrestler to ever not set foot in a WWE ring, but alas, it appears that will not be the case.

But in spite of everything being said about how great Survivor Series is gonna be, I still say eh.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Who's Coming? Anyone? Who's Coming Back? Anyone?

With everything going on and the whirlwind set to take place in the course of the next month in preparation for the relaunch or even rebranding of TNA, I can safely say there's sure to be more than a fever pitch of speculation going around as to who's coming back or who's sticking around and making a return at the turn of the calendar year. That said, I see no reason not to do a little speculating ourselves as to who could be making a return or debut in the coming year. SO, without further ado, I say we launch into this thing....

1. AJ Styles....When looking into this the right way, I say we look at the obvious first. Styles left TNA after having taped episodes of Impact long ahead of his departure at the beginning of the year. His contract with NJPW only had a year on it from beginning to end. Granted, he's slated to be penciled into the GFW picture for one PPV, but that's only one commitment and he hasn't made a signature on the dotted line for anyone else as of this post. So why NOT TNA? Rumor has it that officials are drafting a new deal to offer him anyway, why not?

2. Melina.....Back in 2012, this was in negotiations, but a deal couldn't be reached, but today? The situation is JUST a little different and with the relaunch, officials ARE in the market for a couple of new talents and, in particular, a brand new veteran with some street cred to boot. Once again, the rumors floating around that officials either HAVE BEEN or WILL BE making an offer to Ms. Perez in the coming month to join in on the launch.

3. ODB....With everything being equal, ODB is just as much of a fan favorite now as she has ever been, but right now, she's not a part of the roster. In efforts to cut costs, her contract was allowed to run out, but my understanding is that she's still on good terms with the powers that be pulling strings right now, so I don't see why they wouldn't bring her back as well.

4. Kurt Angle....With only a single year, according to him, left in his career, he's most assuredly not going back up north, with the expectation WWE has for him working a full time schedule, not when TNA has given him the option of remaining a part time wrestler position AND a full time on screen personality for the brand. I don't see this changing in the next year and further, if things go well, he may even change his mind and put another year on it for good measure and for the amount of leeway the organization has done to keep him in good health.

5. Matt Morgan....Surprised? No one was more surprised than I that the Blueprint had even an inkling of interest in returning to the ring after his last departure a couple of years back. What I didn't know was that the two parties have been keeping in contact ever since that last day. From my sources, he's been keeping in shape and has been planning a return to the ring for about 6 months. Could that return include a final run towards the World Title in the new year? Who knows?

This is just scratching the surface, people. There are more parties in negotiations than there are seasons in the year, figuratively speaking. For that reason, if for no other, I am HUGELY excited for the coming year. You should be too.

Maple Leafs.....

Okay, before I go ANY further, I've been seeing this little trend. Certain of my neighbors in the Great White North are stating, with a great deal of dismay that once this new deal takes effect in January, they won't be able to watch TNA anymore. As I've said before, there are PLENTY of ways to watch TNA and even as we speak, TNA is working on cable carriers in Canada and has spoken to Canadian viewers to that end on Twitter.

IN THE MEANTIME.....I've got some options....both of which I share with you right about now. For these links to work, simply copy and paste the link into your browser and away you go. The directions will work, you can trust me.

When this page loads, click the TV Shows tab in the upper middle of the page. It will display a long list of shows. Simply type in TNA or Impact Wrestling in the search bar. CAUTION: If you have ad blocker, put it on for this one OR be prepared to close out of a dozen ad windows before your episode starts. On the plus side, it IS free and the quality IS good.

This one is simple as well. Just scroll down the page and select from the most recent episodes list. Once the linked page opens, scroll down and select the stream you wish and away you go. Granted, you may have to watch in parts, but it IS free and it IS good quality and you won't have to turn on ad blocker for it.

My point? You all have options, if you're dedicated and have the ability to do some leg work. Here, however, I've done that for you. This is my thanks to you all for sticking with me through the wilderness leading up to the announcement.

Don't forget to subscribe to the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING YouTube channel for match highlights, the exclusive "Farewell" to Spike Thanksgiving Throwdown Special.

I certainly hope this helps everyone who won't get access to Destination America once the turnaround comes about.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bridging the Gap....

We've got a home, more programming, and TNA's scouts are on the lookout for more talent to restore the ranks, what more can the powers that be want? How about some momentum moving forward? I have read that TNA officials have put together a YouTube exclusive final farewell for Thanksgiving day. What follows? I have a few guesses, but a couple of things are certain.

1. Talents can breathe a bit easier. Now that TNA has a place to call home, contracts can now be offered more aggressively and those in power can pretty much have their pick of the litter of whom they  wish to pull from abroad AND so they can retain those already under TNA's employ.

2. TNA is expected to be a cornerstone on Destination America, slated to have more programming than simply their two hour block on the night they arrive on. What does that mean? I'd venture their One Night Only events, at least another couple of hours of brand new footage, and even some behind the scenes documentary stuff not unlike WWE Confidential from years past.

With all of this good news, there is still one thing to consider: What does TNA offer their fans to satiate their wrestling fill until the first part of January? "Best of" specials? I certainly hope not. One other piece of note to mention....a new logo, new format, and basically a complete rework of the platform might be coming, literally creating a TNA version 2.0 in the purest sense of the words.

Does this mean a more updated camera format or a new stage layout or is this really nothing worthy of note? I truly have no idea. A new logo COULD be cool, provided they allow the FANS to decide where the final lot is cast. They allowed fans to make the decision on the 6 Sided Ring, which was COMPLETELY monumental for any promotion, independent or otherwise. Could the same be said about a new logo? Personally, I'd love a say in this new world we're being asked to share in. I very much doubt WWE consulted their fans when they decided to put something new out there. Just saying.

I think it wouldn't be too great a stretch to see Josh Matthews, who was once in WWE's talent stable on the broadcasting side of things, eventually showing up at the announce table, but for now, he is quietly working behind the scenes. Additionally, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Good 'ol J.R. showed up for an event or two in the coming year. His decision to make a return for the Wrestle Kingdom PPV in Japan to call play by play comes before his blog in support of TNA's new network announcement and a shout-out to that end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TNA....Welcome Home

Instead of trying to break this down, here's the announcement straight from the office....

As predicted, TNA FINALLY makes their move and announces a new home. Canadians, before anyone tries to jump on the "They're gonna alienate me" bandwagon, there is PLENTY of opportunity for you and yours to get your TNA on. A simple Google search will bring up a ton of sites to stream via the internet. That not quite your style? YouTube fans are streaming all over the place.

My initial analysis says that this is an amazing announcement. Why? A few simple reasons explain it all:

1. Destination America will promote new TNA programming outside of their initial Impact Wrestling broadcast. This one is HUGE because we all know they need the airtime to give each of their divisions room to grow and cultivate. A second show and various specials are included in the contract. It doesn't have to happen right away, but with the sheer volume of performers on the roster now PLUS those involved in cameo appearances AND those on loan from other promotions, you're going to need that added time flex.

2. Destination America is growing. For those concerned that this channel isn't on the grid right now, take heart; the hard copy of the announcement isn't hard to find on the interwebs. Within it, they state that the network is in the top five fastest growing networks since their launch in 2012. With a foothold on one of the Discovery family of networks, there is little chance that TNA will see anything but growth as they are in popular cluster.

3. Most people disregard Destination America when they see it on paper, but with series like BBQ Pitmasters, Buying Alaska, and Buying the Bayou all transitioning from their place on their normal channel to one other form of net entertainment, the shows are getting a whole new audience....the ones from Netflix. If TNA is able to foster a relationship with Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, they could immediately make their mark on ground WWE is fast losing. With the WWE Network being all but a complete bust, TNA's place on Destination America could garner some support by scoring HUGE on Netflix, provided their programming becomes a part of the deal. With WWE having virtually no presence on Netflix, they could gain HUGE ground by putting old PPVs, specials, and even old weekly footage from years gone by.

On the surface, I see this as a major win for TNA, despite the initial loss of Canada as a member of the viewing community on the small screen, but mark my words, this isn't the end of the journey for TNA as they will be trying to circumvent this setback in short order.

AHHH! I almost forgot....I mentioned an acquisition potentially coming in as soon as their premiere episode on Destination America....why don't I just show you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Loading.....TNA version 2.0

With everything moving into overdrive as TNA's final new episode on Spike happens in just two days, TNA is in the process of securing some star power going into the New Year and leading into those days. It's conceivable that they could take some down time from Thanksgiving until their launch a couple of weeks later. Who knows? If I were putting this thing, I have a couple of ideas concerning HOW to go about this new move.....

1. You have in the neighborhood of 3-4 days to promote the heck out of this move. Why only this amount? If anyone reading this is at all like me, you plan out your viewing schedule based on channel, show, and time. I would buy 4 or 5 commercial spots on about 5 of the biggest networks in prime time and advertise the move to their new home. Combine this with a HUGE ad for the move on their website, YouTube, and Facebook. People need to know about this because some big things are coming in the new year.

2. Throw a BASH. I don't mean something overblown like the debut of Hulk Hogan, which was so diluted with returns and cameos that it was downright distracting,  but something understated, but HUGE. Pull out the stops on matches and put together some special matches. Heck, make it a 3 hour event, with a big announcement to end the night.

3. Sign a heavy hitter or two. Don't disappoint people with this one. Seriously. Don't bring in any more MMA fighters. EVER. Spike needs no more advertisement for Bellator. They already are doing their own job with that. That said, TNA has to do something big to put this thing over the top. I've brought up the idea of a full blown Faction War with FOUR factions, but it doesn't have to be like that. If TNA signs some big main event names like one who has already stated he wants TNA on his resume in the coming year.

4. Genesis needs to SING. The PPV to start the year has to set the tone for the year and truly deliver in order for them to hit the ground running and bolster the viewing on this new network home. This will mean overtime for the writers to do their thing and make the storylines speak to the viewers and strike interest in the brand right from the start.

This is for a rapid fire transition. Panda will have to fork over some capital for this just to not lose a chunk of the viewership they already have on Spike. This is also assuming that their new home has a decently sized audience already. People need to know there's a new face in town, so to speak. Extra programming is only as effective as the size of the audience who is seeing it in the first place.

Monday, November 17, 2014

More? Seriously?! Yes, Please.....

GFW announced Jim Ross, and that was big news. TNA, not to be outdone, looks to try for one better....

The deal, mandated to come before their November 19th broadcast, looks to provide more than just their own single show on Wednesday nights. No, this deal is rumored to have flex for even more programming. How about that second show I've been asking for? If rumors are true, we'll have that.

AND, with the roster of performers who have been appearing at Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore shows, you can reasonably expect regular cameos from performers with ties there. That includes, but is not limited to, Alberto Del Rio, Eddie Kingston, The Young Bucks, and the return of Bully Ray. Can anyone tell me better news?

The wait on this is almost over, folks....and not a moment too soon. The timing is critical here as TNA's last performance on Spike happens Thursday. This news conflicts with other reports that have stated that TNA will still be on the schedule even as far as mid December. But my sources are telling me that there is NO more new footage and ideas Spike has had for running "Best of" specials until the first of the year have been scrapped. THIS means that the announcement HAS to come in short order. I'll be holding a vigil for this and I'll post just as soon as I find out and give my thoughts, advice, and other miscellaneous commentary on the big exodus from Spike.

AAA, NJPW, Wrestle-1, GFW.....imagine a wrestling conglomerate with TNA in the lead seat, being the only company thusfar with a television contract in the States. Could this combat WWE's juggernaut status? Oh, that I could answer that question with a simple answer, but the fact is, so many factors would HAVE to play out before there could be any kind of competition to even take place. A great many conspiracy theorists have made sport of TNA's move for Hulk Hogan, saying that it was a ploy from Vince McMahon to send in a spy to destroy TNA from the inside out, but when the tactic didn't work the way they planned, I dismissed it outright. The three newest indy charms WWE has gathered could be the same way. Finn Balor, Kevin Steen, and Hideo Itami all come from well traveled and well chronicled independent promotions with running histories of alliance. NJPW, ROH; these promotions have made them internet darlings with the IWC and in a spirit of anti-establishment, maybe it's time to bring things down from the inside. If GFW and NJPW and others join TNA, you could realistically see Bullet Club show up on TNA television, combating their former members with ratings as their currency. Would it work? For some, maybe, but WWE loyalists are a tough nut to crack and I would venture much more would have to happen before a switch would happen, and especially on the long term.

Make no bones about it, right now there isn't even a battle, let alone another war.....but maybe one day....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Good 'ol boy...

In the most recent revelation from the camp of Jeff Jarrett, GFW's very first PPV event, Wrestle Kingdom, broadcasting from NJPW's arena in Japan will feature a very interesting returning legend in the industry. Jim Ross will be doing the play-by-play announcing on the inaugural show. That means that AJ Styles will almost definitely be on the lips of the former voice of RAW. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture? I mean other than Mr. Ross and AJ Styles are playing for the wrong team?

I'll be honest, folks, I'm very sick of waiting on the announcement of a new TV deal on the horizon for TNA. All things considered, it does no favors for the top brass to be keeping such a big secret from the locker room, let alone the fans. In the waiting period, Bully Ray, whose contract expired as recently as the past month, let the brass have it in a Twitter post, stating that the soldiers may as well be dead for as much communication they've received from the generals. It's a very sad day, indeed, for some within the confines of their contract.

Before I get ahead of myself, provided there IS some good news to come from the front lines, I am still holding out a glimmer of hope somewhere that the Carter family is able to put together some funds and pull off the biggest swerve in recent wrestling history by bringing all hands back into the fold and can bolster enough fans to keep attentions reeling for the long haul.

In other semi-related news, Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore is pulling together their very first iPPV and has some notable personalities from New Japan AND TNA's ranks. Among them, Ethan Carter, Austin Aries, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and Velvet Sky. The fact that TNA has allowed each of the performers from their roster to appear on an iPPV when previously they could not per their contract speaks volumes to me about where the climate of the product is and their potential ties to the HOH product as well. Among the names, also, is Drew Galloway, a current member of Bullet Club, of which both AJ Styles AND Jeff Jarrett are members.

So where is this all headed? As I've stated before on a number of occasions, I am of the belief that Jarrett and Bullet Club will be invading TNA soon and will be putting some cooperative juices together to bring in the new year. Once TNA announces their final home for the duration of the year and into the next, I'll say more on where the cooperative might be headed, but for now, prospects are as still as a mannequin.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blind Man's Bluff....

With all the talk of TNA and the new network jump and even the notion of them staying put, I haven't given up hope that the announcement will come with a hefty big name to garner some much needed goodwill and bring shock the masses. HOWEVER, I am not so blind in my fanaticism that I would not acknowledge the possibility that Dixie Carter and the rest of the clan are playing a dangerous game of Blind Man's Bluff, attempting to plant false hope in the fans. But I will offer that IF this is an attempt at business slight of hand, they are doing a very poor job of concealing their cards.

1. TNA made the announcement that Impact would have a Spike TV home until the first week of January and yet they've not taped anything new as of this post, making their new material end in two weeks' time. The week after, Spike TV will be airing a movie in TNA's timeslot. When asked, Spike officials stated that the holiday would be slow anyway, so they didn't want to take the chance of low ratings over the course of the broadcast.

2. My sources are telling me that the shock announcement has to do with Kurt Angle resigning for his farewell year in the sport we all know and love. Will he turn up in WWE for one last hurrah? They'd be fools to not let that happen. As for THAT announcement? I'd just keep watching.

3. The time clock reads three more days and the sources aforementioned have informed me that some time within those days, we'll know for sure where TNA stands, but if "End of Watch" is airing in two weeks and then we have "Best of" specials all the way until the New Year, doesn't it stand to reason that GFW is becoming the one with all the momentum going into that timeframe? Forget the specials, I'm not buying into the notion that TNA won't have original programming leading into the new year SOMEWHERE. That line of thinking makes zero sense in the long run, even from the perspective of one leaving one network to go to another.

But enough about the network or lack thereof....let's talk about something Rey Mysterio, who has been leaving his checks from WWE, which are substantial, I might add, uncashed. This prods the question from me....why doesn't he just send the checks MY way? Right? But the point I'm making is simple. Just how miserable must you be working for the man to leave your checks uncashed and show up without being put on screen? He's been teasing a return to AAA in the coming months, who have ties to TNA and GFW respectively. In the meantime, however, he's still under contract and is likely to remain as such until he either looks at old CM Punk footage and follows suit, leaving it all behind and waiting out the ink on his contract OR he lobbies for his release like other former talents have done in the past. What's your pick?

For me, if the craft has lost its luster and I've just had enough of the schedule and giving it up for king and country day in and day out, I'd follow Punk's lead. On the other hand, if there are a few buddies left in the biz in the company, I might stick it out for as long as my contract lasts and then bolt once the timeframe has lapsed and work elsewhere IMMEDIATELY.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Long?

So TNA announced last week that the first week of November wouldn't come to an end before the announcement of a new network has been broken. In the meantime, GFW has made an announcement of their own. Apparently, their inaugural event will emanate from the same arena Bound for Glory did this year in Japan. On tap, the clan will feature a who's who of the most recognizable legends and personalities in the form. Among the number will be Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Vader, the Steiner Brothers, and the Great Muta. Considering such a crop of legends, it remains to be seen if such an assembly of legends, some of whom are, as of yet, still under contract with WWE, will cause any legal disputes or if they are on hand to simply provide backstage support for the performers who are still finding their way onto the card to fill out the event.

With this development on the horizon, one might think GFW is poised to take their place on the wrestling scene by force, so to speak, but unless they can round out their resume with television contract in tow, there is little chance anything of consequence will come of it all. Further, without the ability to showcase said legends on screen, if the event is put onto Pay Per View, it'll be a tough sell to anyone who matters (see also TV execs.) to convince them that their promotion is worth sinking air time into. Compoundly, IF this event IS televised in ANY capacity and this legends are shown, WWE will show no mercy in throwing every book in the proverbial library at GFW and the legends in question for their breach in contract.

What this DOES mean for TNA is that they need to put their name on the dotted line and quickly in order to secure any chance of a home base of operations. On that note, taped episodes of Impact Wrestling only run until November 19th, meaning that the announcement and exodus HAVE to happen  within the next few days. So to answer the question at the beginning....within the next couple of days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Between Each Breath.....

I feel like every time I'm writing these days, I'm waiting for the big news to drop....some kind of big news that officials claim is coming, some announcement that will change the way we look at the promotion I've spent nearly 1000 columns defending. Mark my words, the day the 1000th column drops, it'll be something special. As for the topic? I'm still about a month's worth of titles before the big number, but I think I'll leave that to a couple of places to determine. First, I'll leave it here, for those of you who come in here on occasion to check out what's new. I thank you for coming and chilling for a time. And I'll toss up a poll on the Sting (TNA) fansite over on Facebook.

What should this whole thing be about in the coming year? Will everything change with the network switch? What kinds of borders can TNA cross and still remain the company we cheer for and pull for in the long run? It seems like there are a few more borders than COULD be crossed, provided those in the rumor mill keep the rumors running for me to speculate over. Which brings me to a WWE main eventer who has yet to sign a renewal contract.

For the record, this man is NOT John Cena, not that he wouldn't be welcome to see in TNA IF he is completely changed in terms of his persona. I do NOT want to see Cena as a good guy for a long time...seriously. But why am I even bringing HIM isn't he who hasn't resigned with the machine, but rather a surprising name, if the rumors are accurate.

Apparently, Randy Orton has turned down two separate offers from WWE Corporate for contract renewals for 3-5 years in length. Why? I have no idea, but what intrigues me about the story is just how much control he has over the way his character's persona carries over the airwaves. Stories about WWE creative coming to him with ideas he doesn't like and using his relationship with HHH to dismiss them outright put me in mind of the way Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash did the same thing in WCW. I wonder if he's as bored with his current usage as those of us who've jumped ship are.

Truthfully, I didn't intend to put Randy Orton into a new persona, but if I could put him ANYWHERE on TNA's roster, where do I start him? In my mind, there are only two or three choices.....and all but one put the history on display with the kind of backstage reveal to help bring down the mystique WWE wants to bring to their show.

1. Jeff Hardy....Orton and Hardy have a storied history battling over the Intercontinental Title in his early years, but in his final years with WWE, Hardy feuded with Orton over the big gold belt; the World Heavyweight Championship. To me, history could begin here.

2. Kurt Angle.....In the world of professional wrestling, there are few who could put  Orton through his paces in the opening months of his TNA tenure than Angle. With a compelling story beginning with Orton calling him out and laying him out with an RKO, only to be attacked by a couple of Angle's hired guns just to show Orton that he's not in Kansas anymore.

3. AJ Styles.....If TNA really wants to embarrass one of WWE's golden boys, AJ Styles HAS to be the one to do it. Why? Because it would be among the best representations of WWE vs. TNA booking, with TNA coming out looking like a million bucks. Like it or not, Orton loses here and has to earn his keep even if only to hold the attention of the masses of WWE fans who believe he can do no wrong. I firmly believe he HAS to don the unpredictable persona, carrying it far further than he did up north.

But I don't want to see the man himself destroyed. No sir, not by a long shot. This is only temporary and I would want to ally him with one of TNA's best and brightest to bring him back up the ladder and into the main event. But see here's the thing: Randy Orton makes a TERRIBLE babyface. If we're talking about an anti-hero or a true heel, I can get behind the guy, even root for him, but as a babyface, I really can't......ever. So who would I ally him with? My choices are three in number...

1. Austin Aries....If Orton allied with Aries, you could do so much with them as a tag team, but this is only a vehicle to take both up the ladder before turning one against the other.

2. Bobby Roode....The "It" Factor and the "Legend Killer" as a tag team? Sign me up please. Both pull off the all business persona well, with both having been in stables with Ric Flair and both have accolades worth comparing. As far as a money feud goes, this one is in my top three for TNA on my wish list.

3. Magnus....My reasoning for Magnus is because he took out one legend the "Legend Killer" never had the chance to, Sting.  With Sting on the horizon for Wrestlemania next year, this feud putting Sting's name in two places at once would be something I'd find interesting. From a business perspective, it lessens the loss of the Icon by putting together an alliance of those who've beaten the legends and seen them leave.

I realize that this post is about one of WWE's golden boys, but in the end, we're always talking about options and TNA is the option that WCW wasn't in the end. TNA still has enough focus to put together something coherent and cohesive and something that gels well. With TNA in an era that they fit well with and WWE more focused in on their reality shows and pandering to the lower aged, affluent audience, I see nothing but potential for Orton making a jump AND with injuries plaguing him of recent, it would give him more time to heal if he DID make the jump and signed with TNA with the proviso that he would get whatever medical help he needed and recovery before making his debut. I'm open to new possibilities....heck, I was even open to Hogan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Would SHOCK Me?

In TNA's run, there have been quite a few things that actually shocked me. Debuts like Christian, Jeff Hardy, and Kurt Angle come to mind, along with the Dudleys and a couple of others, but I ask myself if there are any OUTSIDE the ring who've shocked me. In fact, there have been a few.

Eric Bischoff....Because of his time as the single greatest General Manager of RAW, in my humble opinion, as well as the inventor of the Elimination Chamber, I thought he'd be true blue WWE for life, even though they put his baby out to pasture following the events of the Monday Night War. Still, when it was announced that Hulk Hogan would be coming to TNA, his face was the furthest thing I expected to see standing nearby.

Bruce Pritchard....As Vince McMahon's right hand man for over a decade, HE WAS WWE or as high up the chain without being named McMahon or Levesque. He held more power than virtually anyone else in the back, but when his number was called for the Future Endeavors Club, him showing up in TNA was something I didn't see coming.

Tazz.....No one was more excited to see a new face at commentary when Don West was on his way out than me, but few could have been a better fit for the announce table than Tazz. I'm a purist in the taste I have for decent color commentators at the announce table and Tazz is that, to me. Bobby Heenan, Jerry Lawler, even Jonathan Coachman, on occasion, fit the bill for WWE, but Tazz was one guy I thought who would outstay a solid chunk of the youngbloods vying for their own place at the table.

But right now, in 2014-15, is there any one man who would shock me from a backstage standpoint or even in a wrestling debut? Yep, there are a few....

Shane McMahon.....Talk about bombshell and one to talk about for the ages. History repeating itself and all the while moving on a COMPLETELY different course would shock me. If Shane legitimately took the reins and ran with them on a competition course with his father's company, I doubt very much you'd see so many haters. Shane has been to the top before and was a major player in WWF/E and when he determined he wanted out, I have no doubt he meant it, but if he suddenly decided he wanted to try things from the other side of the coin, I think that would shock EVERYONE.

Jim Ross.....Aside from Shane, his name strikes me as one I would welcome the most. But would it shock me? Absolutely. From his blog and a perspective that exists outside the business and yet all the while connected, he has the perfect vantage point to give fresh perspective, but him SIDING with TNA? That's something I just wouldn't see coming. In spite of the on screen shenanigans Vince and company has put him through, he remained a Monday Night and PPV staple for decades and that is a testament to his long suffering. Him making the move to TNA would be amazing as I would be cheering the loudest for the Sooner to call matches for AJ Styles' return and the current roster as a whole.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Hinge Pin....

In virtually every door in a house, there are hinges that allow said door to swing freely and allow things in and out. And in nearly every hinge on nearly every door, you have what is called a hinge pin; a central point at which a peg sits and holds the door in place. Without these hinge pins, the door can only function for so long before coming off track. So why the general lesson in carpentry in a wrestling column? I've made it known that Sting was this hinge pin on so many occasions for TNA in the run he had with them. That was storyline and that was in the ring.

But this column isn't about Sting, for once. This is about the return of TNA's golden boy and the hinge pin in their current plan moving forward. This is about the return of AJ Styles......

In December of last year, AJ Styles left TNA after months of negotiations ended with neither party able to come to an agreeable number to put on his contract. With that in mind, his tenure in the independent circuit has come with some developments that lead me to believe, as I find myself thinking a lot, that there is more than meets the eye to everything that has come around this past year....and not just with Styles either, but with the entire climate of GFW and the partnerships that promotion has around the world.

So what makes AJ so darned important? I've speculated that he may be bringing the founder, Jeff Jarrett right? Well, you all remember that pesky little 35% of the company Jarrett still owns? Well apparently, those shares may not be worth a nickel to GFW, the time on a new network does and THAT is where TNA holds their advantage over GFW, as I've also mentioned before. Right now, GFW holds partnership deals with AAA, NJPW, and a host of other promotions worldwide and TNA is still in good favor with NJPW and Wrestle-1 along with them holding the network cards in terms of their visibility in nations outside of the US. I smell a honest to goodness wrestling cooperative in the works.

With AAA, in particular, you COULD see Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio in TNA, meaning a Rey vs. AJ Styles match COULD realistically happen. Imagine Bullet Club in TNA. We're talking about everyone winning and GFW potentially branching off once TNA has helped establish them and their personas on the small screen....even if it's just on the short term.

So really, what I'm saying is that for once, AJ Styles gets to be the man who saves TNA AND helps create something ELSE that's brand new and that's something even Sting couldn't do.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And now, the news..... reports that TNA officials are telling their business partners that a TV deal is imminent and will be announced within 10 days.

TNA is rumored to have been in talks with a "shocking" acquisition. But who is it?

I have been looking at the potentials and I have a few ideas to share with you.....who could it be.....

CM Punk- In interviews and all other forms of communication, he has made it abundantly clear that he has little to no desire to return to wrestling and with more than enough money to survive without it, why would he?

Edge- Now I hear in your heads, you're telling me it's impossible, but people said the same thing when Shawn Michaels was "forced" into early retirement in 1998, but 4 years later, he made his return and had an arguably even better run than his first. Could it be? His "brother" made a TNA debut IMMEDIATELY after a WWE PPV. On the other hand, his acting career is in full bloom and I highly doubt he'd put that in jeopardy for one more run.

Beth Phoenix- How is THIS shocking? She was let go for wanting to be by her man's side during his surgery that forced his might remember him from above. Edge? Her venting that frustration and revealing him as the new general manager would be a shock. Would it not?

Randy Orton- APPARENTLY, his contract comes up sometime in early 2015 and he has flat out REJECTED both offers WWE has made to have him re-sign for even a short term deal. Could he make the jump and if so, would that shock the masses?

Alberto Del Rio- He was unceremoniously released after an altercation backstage with a member of the WWE staff. Granted, he made tracks back to Mexico, but wouldn't it be in the character of TNA to sign another former main eventer....

Rey Mysterio- Even in the twilight of his career, his name value carries a TON of weight . Would it be the caliber of a Kurt Angle? That all depends on how long he can stay healthy as well as how long his contract would last. But shocking?

Well, I suppose it all depends upon a couple of things.....

1. Don't overstock the debut. TNA made a mistake of EPIC proportions by FILLING the debut episode of Hulk Hogan with cameos and only keeping a few in stock afterwards for longer than a couple of weeks. Don't do it. You'll run the risk of burning everyone out before the first commercial.

2. You'd better have a darn good reason for signing on board. If there isn't a good reason for coming, you may as well stay home. When Christian came on board, he did so for the change in pace, the variety in his peers, and the money. How many times can you use that as your reasoning? If it isn't DIFFERENT, it isn't worth my time.

3. You want a shock? Tell us you've signed someone like CM Punk, bring out AJ Lee, and swerve everyone into the middle of next week and then have Punk cross by the ramp without walking down it....just walking, leaving everyone with a look of bewilderment. Give us a debut without it actually being a debut, if that makes any sense. The point is, the reveal HAS to be better than the announcement.

Okay, peeps...I've been keeping my ear to the ground and I believe I may have something that would shock me and this stems from a rumor I just caught wind of that may turn out to be legit: Word going around is that AJ Styles may be coming back, but that news wouldn't be the shocking part....the shocking part is that I get the feeling he might follow through on a former prediction of mine and bring GFW with him with TNA founder Jeff Jarrett. If there is something, ANYTHING TNA could do to spark a fire, this would be it.....just think about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I don't know why, but I've always been a sucker for underdogs. When Coke overran the nation, taking their prominent place in most of the restaurants in the city I live, I stuck by Mountain Dew. When Marvel Comics sold the bulk of their distribution rights to Disney, I leapt to DC Comics, who remained mostly independent even as a giant in the industry. I favor Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Dean Malenko over guys like Triple H, The Undertaker, or Hulk Hogan. When WWE ran PG, I lobbed every last bit of my support behind you see what I mean?

If I could put a finger on why, I'd call it defiance. I have this generalized distrust of the majority in the forms of entertainment I subscribe to. Why? I'm a purist at heart and to that end, I make no apologies for my taste as the times continue to change. Now I realize my inner nerd is about to show, but since this is the kind of audience I have determined to write for, you get what you get.

I'm a product of an era where mystique made fans draw conclusions when the story wasn't clear and it's that kind of storytelling that drives a good product in virtually every medium. In a good television series, the action forces the viewer to think and respond to the events moving the story forward and at the end of each week's show, you have AT LEAST one more question than you had when you started, even if one question was answered over the course of the episode. The trick is balancing which questions are answered with ones to be revealed later. There was a time when WWE played this card PERFECTLY.....but those days have long since passed. TNA has had some luck with that kind of writing and still is doing a fair job. What TNA has done well for many years and continues to do well is repackage and push talents WWE didn't give a chance.

Another news story just broke just yesterday: In Nashville, Dixie Carter has been telling people that a major announcement is coming very fact, more than one are coming soon. Could it be the TV deal that we've all been waiting so patiently for? I'd put my money on it, but even more than that, it's been rumored for quite some time now that officials have been talking with a couple of talents who could help shake things up and more than just on the surface. Any guesses?

I happen to believe that a new TV deal is imminent and all that's left is to wait for the announcement to come over the wire, but as for the notion of TNA signing new talents? My question is WHO could TNA sign that would shock people? If Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff couldn't shock people and Ric Flair and Mick Foley and the molten lot of other talents TNA signed who just came because they were pissed off at Vince, who could TNA POSSIBLY sign who genuinely wants to be there and under a reasonable contract?

I think that HAS to be the subject for the next column, because this one is simply too full to fit the kinds of thoughts I have on the matter. But as for the subject at hand, everyone knows TNA is the far smaller company that has no serious chance of overtaking WWE anytime in the near future, but that kind of thinking simply draws me into the fold. I have no intention of reverting back to my WWE ways now that the phase they're on has yet to pass and the politics are now worse than ever. No, I'll take my chances with the underdog.....after all, every now and then, the underdog wins one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

TNA is Punk'd....

So the news just broke about TNA having made an overture towards CM Punk about joining up with the establishment. Rumor has it that the deal would have been something similar to what Sting might have been paid and some where near the same number of dates, matches, etc. Now, when the proposal was made, the source reporting states that Punk has little to no desire to make a professional wrestling return of any kind. In line with TNA's proposal plan, I'd like to ask a question or two and attempt to answer them......

Would Punk fit in with the current crop of stars on TNA's roster?
Is TNA in a good position to dish out the kind of money Sting was getting paid?
Would CM Punk be an asset or a liability to the brand?
How would Punk be used, provided TNA DID fork out the funds?

To begin, I'd like to outline what the rumor actually covers. In the mind of some in the white tower, since the loss of AJ Styles, TNA no longer has a "face of the company". Do I agree? Yes and no, but my reasoning can wait until a later column to tackle that question. In any case, TNA is wanting to build their future on a name, a major name who can bring in viewers just on his name alone. Is CM Punk a draw? In my view, he is....HOWEVER, CM Punk is unpredictable. Most would consider that dynamic something that can make a performer fun to work with, but the notorious pipe bomb of 2011 was only partially bulleted with talking points and when he went overboard, he was cut off. TNA, again in my view, can't afford that kind of candor.

TNA is loaded with talent ripe for a fresh run with a big name that Punk could provide, most of which, as it turns out, have worked with him in Ring of Honor. Joe, Aries, the Wolves, and the list goes on from there, but there is also a void he could very easily fill. He's still a moderately young buck, all things considered and with a very much lighter schedule than WWE employs, there lies a much less chance of him getting burned out. Does that help the argument? Who knows?

Some would contend that TNA is in no position to make bargains with Punk with the kind of price tag he could potentially carry. Unverified claims say that TNA was paying Sting in the neighborhood of 500,000 dollars per year and those kinds of funds would offend guys like me, who believe AJ Styles was being given the short end of the deal when he finally decided to leave the promotion. In my view, Punk isn't on the same level as Styles and has no business fetching that kind of payout for less dates and lighter work. For my money, I would seek my stars elsewhere or build them myself.

In spite of all the speculation and such concerning his pay, attitude, and the like, the question of how he would be used comes into play and I briefly touched on this early on here. TNA is wanting a vocal, loyal, colorful, big league name with years to give to help rebuild the roster around. Could Punk fit the bill? I give a loud and resounding maybe.....and that's all I can say.

Just a While Longer....

It won't be long now, people, until the powers that be in the white tower of Nashville reveal what they've wrought in terms of the new home for TNA. The announcement is coming, or so we're being promised. I love the notion of WGN and CMT being in the running. What bothers me, however, is the amount of time CMT might have AND the weekly timeslot. While WGN has never hosted a wrestling show, at least to my memory, I have zero reservations that they could garner the kind of numbers we're all in the market to see.

Yes, I'm partial to WGN, but if CMT is able to promote better via their big events (i.e. the CMA's or even their highly rated nightly shows), we may be looking at a decent change-up. The point is, whoever TNA finally decides to go with is going to have their hands full just getting the word out that the promotion is there to be seen. Who will have the easier time making that happen? Well, we would really need to have a closer look at what we've got to work with.....

WGN: This is a network that could use some work as MOST of their schedule consists of reruns....seriously. A LIVE or even a decent taped show with a current running schedule would be the first step towards making this a much more valuable piece of network real estate to lure some really good prime time shows.

CMT: Again, with a host of what I would call place marker shows that are sitting where a well placed, action-packed show with a currently running schedule would fit well.

On the surface, either channel would fetch a decent audience, but I get the sense that whichever network has the bigger pocketbook has the better chance of securing the kind of program TNA could offer.

As I have already stated elsewhere, GFW is also trying to secure a deal and if they can pull that down by the time their inaugural PPV hits in January....I believe 4th....TNA will have some serious competition, but if TNA is able to tie their deal down before that time, not so much. I can only see enough room on the landscape for one 2nd place promotion at the moment. That said, I believe that whichever network signs the deal first will dictate terms for the other organization, leaving them to pine over a deal the next time it comes around. Just my opinion.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Something on My Chest....

Today I opened my inbox and discovered some news I found interesting. Apparently, GFW and TNA are talking to the same networks. Big shocker? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Why? THAT, my friends, is quite possibly the easiest question to answer. Most networks don't want pro wrestling, even though there is a HUGE demographic the product every WWE alternative offers. Seriously, we're talking about millions of people watching this from their armchairs and sofas, taking in the spectacle of something Vince doesn't own. Not thousands, folks.....millions. The networks have included WGN America, Velocity, and now CMT in the mix, but with two potential promotions, networks are having to just pick one. So who has the best chance?

Do you guys remember that little thing I've been nagging you guys about for as long as this blog has been around? You know.....ratings? Yeah, those things. Well, apparently, networks like to see programs that have consistency. Who knew? GFW has no track record whatsoever. TNA, on the other hand, has a history of consistently decent ratings. In fact, TNA led the ratings on Spike for the bulk of their time on the network. This isn't something to be taken lightly.

If TNA secures the deal with WGN, it might seem likely that CMT would back GFW, right? I mean, after all, he's being partially backed by a HUGE country music icon and a former NASCAR they'll be set, right? Not so fast. Even though Toby Keith has investment involved in the upstart company, CMT is just like any other network out there.....they want to see a track record before they'll front the airtime. That said, we may see GFW go the route TNA did in their inception and run a weekly PPV to see what the buyrates are before thinking about putting off any of their current programming to allow for GFW to join their programming family, so to speak.

So this is good news? Absolutely. At least as far as TNA is concerned. Once a deal is inked, talents can breathe a little easier knowing that their future is secure, at least on the short term. Provided TNA is able to help their network home turn viewers their way, some good paydays are also on the horizon.,,,but that is something that we'll see in the coming months.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Greatest....Part 3. Knockouts

The toughest thing about narrowing down this particular category is that there have been more than just one title at stake for a time, allowing for more performers to be under TNA's employ at one time. That said, I have to narrow it down, so I shall do my best to include the best in no order.....

10. Taylor Wilde.....
This one was a no brainer as she was one of the most talented on the list ever. She was also the one who broke the streak of Awesome Kong, which is no small feat for no small opponent.

9. Velvet Sky.....
Another no brainer. Who disputes that she is the single most popular Knockout on the entire roster from every possible perspective?

8. Madison Rayne.....
She was 2011's breakout star of the division, bar none, having been ejected from the Beautiful People to strike out on her own was the best possible move to freshen her character and give her a persona of her own.

7. Gail Kim....
She was the Knockout pioneer, putting up the biggest battle with authorities to formulate the Knockouts Division in the first place. No one put more on the line to see its inception than it's first title holder.

6. Angelina Love.....
The final piece of the Beautiful People and one of the most decorated and celebrated champions on the entire roster, past or present.

5. ODB.....
Her contribution to the roster is that of contrast and depth of character.....some of the best comedic work in the history of the promotion as a whole involved her and Eric Young.

4. Sarita.....
As one half of arguably the best tag tandem to ever hold the belts, Taylor Wilde's tag partner cannot go without mention on this list, adding a special something to the division during her tenure.

3. Daffney.....
TNA's hardcore Knockout and personal tragedy story is hard to deny and her character during the era of Dr. Stevie was the stuff of legend.

2. Traci Brooks.....
She was there before the division was formed and skirted the division during its entire run. TNA's original valet was undeniably the best thing going for Michael Shane.

1. I have to hold a tie on the final spot for one reason....their contributions made the division better and the brand better as a whole respectively. I realize that there could be a dispute, but to deny Tara OR Christy Hemme a spot on the list would be a travesty, not to mention So Cal Val for her contributions behind the scenes as well as on camera.

There have been more and I don't want to devalue the contributions of those who have given so much to the division, but with only a few spots and literally dozens to choose from, cuts have to be made. That said, I would like to give shout outs to Kong, Rosita, Salinas, Nikki Roxx, Mickie James, Taryn Tarrell, and Jackie Moore.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rants from Ringside: MMA Edition NSAC Gets Serious.

The past couple weeks have been exciting for the world of MMA. First of all you had the scuffle between Daniel Cormier and John "Bones" Jones at the press conference for their upcoming fight on January 3, 2015. Then you had their subsequent hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (we'll get into that later). Next you had Wanderlei Silva retiring stating numerous wrongdoings by the UFC. That was followed just days later by the NSAC's ruling from his refusal to take a drug test incident.

First of all, lets start with the August 4th pushing match between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion John "Bones" Jones and Daniel "DC" Cormier. The fact that this turned into such a big deal sort of shocks me. I mean pushing and shoving matches at press conferences have always been a part of Combat Sports in general. I think what sets this fight apart from the rest is that nobody was able to stop the two from spilling off of the stage and causing a bigger scene than maybe a couple of pushes and some words being said. Whatever the reason this became the big deal that it did the (NSAC) felt they could not let this slide as just another incident at a press confernce. At the September 23 hearing between the two men and the commission, the men were both fined 10% of their purse (for Cormier that means roughly $9,000 and for Jones about $50,000) and community service (Cormier 20 hours, Jones 40 hours which he has to serve in Vegas, not his home or his training grounds). Both men took the punishment in stride and say they respect the commission's decision. Jones did show some concern that he has to do 40 hours of community service in Vegas and it has to be done before the fight on January 3rd.

That was not the only strong judgement the NSAC passed down this week. They also imposed an indefinite suspension/lifetime ban plus a $70,000 fine on Wanderlei Silva for his ducking a NSAC official while he was trying to get a random drug test from him. Wanderlei's lawer is talking about appealing that ruling based on the fact that Silva was not licensed with the NSAC at the time. He does not feel that simply knowing the date of the next fight constitutes the right to randomly drug test a fighter. Having said all that, the fact that they have banned Wanderlei Silva from fighting in Nevada does not keep him from fighting in other states. This is a single ruling by one state's commission. It does not necessarily have to set the tone for every other state out there. Also, was it really necessary to ban a man who just days before posted an almost 15 minute long video retiring from the UFC and effectively the sport? So, I ask you, do you think the NSAC is being too harsh on these fighters. Do you think that Daniel Cormier and John Jones' fine and community service sentence was fair? Do you think the commission is using all three of these men to set an example? Will their strict actions bring change to the sport in a good way or revolt among the fighters? As always I want your input and thoughts. Thanks as always this has been TFC.




Bloody Elbow's article about the rulings:

Wanderlei Silva's Retirement Video: