This column is for the much appreciated question concerning WWE's usage of the Claire storyline. So, you want to know what I think? I don't really care. Let me qualify that, because there were all kinds of things that were working back when it was used in TNA, leading to the scrapping of the storyline altogether. When Claire first came on the scene and made accusations concerning AJ Styles, I was rolling my eyes and chuckling under my breath that the story would never stick. As it turns out, there were enough vocal fans and people who just wanted to expose the story by exposing the actress playing Claire as a fraud that it polluted any chance TNA might have had in turning the story into something palatable- something that could have been interesting. Believe it or not, there were fans irate enough to send threats, causing the actress to pull out of ANYTHING TNA-related after just a couple of appearances. This, folks, is a case of stupid people not differentiating between reality and fantasy, which pro wrestling falls under. These, we all know, are STORIES, told by actors and actresses- not to be taken with anything more than a grain of salt.
SO, in a panic, TNA brought in a lawyer character to torpedo the entire thing and it prompted TNA to write the whole dark AJ storyline, which came at the end of his TNA tenure. I firmly believe that if the fans that put this whole thing on ice had just let the story run its course and not raised so much fuss over it all, their hero would have been brought back to center stage and in proper time, justice would have been served and we could have all moved on and been better for it. So when WWE decided to copy the whole thing, I couldn't have cared less because I know NO ONE is going to raise enough stink for any of it to matter in the long run. Fact is, it'll no doubt even garner even more support for the brand because they're creating controversy for the brand to platform their shows off of. Yet another case of the WWE Universe's double standard.
I really didn't mean to turn this into a little mini-rant, but something HAS to be said for maintaining a level playing field for EVERY promotion who wants to compete with the Monday Night hometown hero.
Now before I say anything too terribly controversial, which may already be too late, I just read that several varying network executives attended one of the most recent tapings of Impact and in a backstage meeting with the crew, there was reassurance that things were going to be okay. Now keep in mind that everything holding Jeff Jarrett from buying the company out from the Carter family a few months back is now off the table by either design or by their hand being forced due to a lack of options, but either way, there are some things about this entire situation that seem entirely too coincidental. I don't like coincidences as I believe they mislead and can cause some unfortunate and premature conclusions to be jumped to, which is why I like to do some research before bringing anything here.
There is an exodus happening right now and one that can't be ignored. Bully Ray has given his notice to TNA. Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio have been released and will become free agents soon respectively, both heading to AAA in Mexico to seek their fortunes there. Let the record show that AAA has a standing agreement with GFW (Global Force Wrestling) along with New Japan, the homes of Alex Shelley and AJ Styles as well.
As far back as 2006, there was talk about renaming the brand in order to be taken more seriously by the casual wrestling fan. Now, with a constant fanbase supporting the brand, why would they even consider changing the name? If they determined they didn't like the direction the brand was taking, they may even abandon the product altogether, putting TNA in the exact position they wanted to avoid, so they stayed the course....in fact, they even invited some star power to try and garner some support, but when the financial streams started bleeding money, the Carter family HAD to come up with something, so they made the best of a bad situation and lived with the terms as long as the status quo remained unchanged.
Once Flair, Hogan, and Bischoff were off the payroll, steps were even taken to try and put the fans back in the driver's seat. How? By turning the clock back and giving them the choice of whether or not they wanted to bring back the 6 Sided Ring; bringing back fan favorite TNA performers and the throwback matches fans have been dying to see. Given the run TNA has been on, it seems strange that an outside company has been placed in charge of finding a new permanent home for the TNA brand...doesn't it? Why not Dixie and company themselves? Truth be told, this feels a bit like reality is waiting for the bait and switch.....
I've been called a conspiracy theorist by a few people and the truth is...they're right. I still am holding out hope that TNA's assets are only holding GFW's seat and keeping it warm while Jeff Jarrett launches the next chapter and puts things back on track.