Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Overhaulin'.....

Here's the premise for the column for today: Pick a man to serve as the next big World Heavyweight Champion AND a woman to be the next big Knockouts Champion. The two catches to the caper are that each must be:

a. Currently on the roster

AND

b. A first time winner of each title.

MEANING, that this is strictly for the creation of a new champion and one who will carry their respective titles for AT LEAST 3 months moving forward. All that being said, I'll give two choices for each. Why? With the flurry of new talents coming and going, I'll be delivering a current talent and a wild card who could swoop in at any time. SO....as for the candidates?

Men....

Ethan Carter III- I like the guy. Seriously. He's what Randy Orton SHOULD have been from the beginning. The difference? The guy can really go AND has an awesome finisher to boot. Combine that with the fact that he has a politically charged character who has guaranteed heel heat just by using his name. It's priceless; not to mention that he plays it flawlessly.

Jesse Sorensen- If it's possible to see this guy make the return that I've been teasing for the past couple of weeks, he's my first choice as my wild card. Can he talk? What do I care? The guy has the story to solidify people into their seat AND the talent to make them stand to their feet as well.

Women.....

Taryn Tarrell- She was TNA's ONLY choice as Knockouts Champion last year after her AMAZING outing with Gail Kim at Slammiversary and I completely agree. No one worked harder to get themselves into that spot than her. No one wanted to prove themselves more than her. Fact is, no one deserved it more than her. That's just my view.....

Rebel- You may not know her now, but you will. Her name is Justine Silver. What TNA has in store for her character is an unknown, but what I DO know is that she's got the goods in ring to throw down with the best of them. Rookie or not, Silver (Rebel) will put on a show to match Angelina, Gail, and whoever else has the notion of making a comeback.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Is This For Real?

In an interview this week, Jeff Jarrett revealed that Global Force wouldn't officially launch until 2015; that includes programming (assuming they have that kind of deal in place), although live shows are rumored to begin in November or October of this year. I'm a fan of Jarrett, but this is something I just don't understand. What possible reason could there be in waiting so long to launch? With a massive team of investors, a vested interest in TNA, and a talent exchange partnership with promotions worldwide, what purpose could there be in delaying? All this does, in my mind, is create a false buildup for the promotion. Sure, some will tune in to the reality show they are calling "The Journey" to lead into the launch, but truthfully, I have no interest in seeing yet another reality show.

In news related to TNA directly, they have hired a talent agency to deal with negotiations for television time. Fact is, there are only a few months left on TNA's current deal with Spike. As happy as Spike has been with a consistent fanbase and viewership in the time span they've called TNA a partner, a broadcasting network has to be weighing their options when a show has this kind of problem breaking though the 1.0-1.2 ceiling. I happen to know that WWE has been sending out feelers to officials with Spike TV for one of their flagship shows. How does this affect TNA? I wish I knew.

Everyone seems to have their own spin on what needs to happen in order to break though, but it all comes down to fans. That's all there is to it. Marketing is nice, but it only works if fans respond. Money is nice, but it only matters if the changes made bring more fans to the party. See? It's all about the fans and we all know it. The invitation has always been out there to the Attitude Era fans and those who stopped watching when the power top tier of the late 90's-early 2000's began to wane.

TNA is too valuable a commodity to not have a television home somewhere. That said, even if Spike determines not to renew, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if an ambitious up and rising network snaps them up and tries to put some traction to their message. Would it compare with USA? Anything is possible. Back in the day, TNT was only a fledgling network, but once WCW joined the ranks, it was turned into a mega network in no time. In fact, once WCW went under, TNT was never the same. If WWE decides to make a switch to Spike once again, I have no doubt USA will want a professional will want to have another look at what TNA brings to the table.

On the other hand, if Global Force already has a spot filled on CMT or another comparable network, we could be looking at yet another special time in wrestling history, only this time with more legitimate players on the field vying for a spot on the docket. We may be even luckier than those who had the other big three back in the Monday Night War Era.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

At Odds....

There was a time when the new face on the landscape looked like the best possible thing to happen to TNA, but a couple of recent developments lead me to believe that the new face on the block may not be the reboot I've been calling for.

On one front, TNA officials have now warned their talents NOT to take photographs with Jeff OR Karen Jarrett. Whether this could lead to a storyline that brings everything full circle remains to be seen, but this was a curveball on my radar screen when I read it because of Jarrett's current status with TNA as a shareholder in the company. Fact is, as a shareholder, even a MAJOR shareholder being treated like an outcast is something normally reserved for major offenses dealing with monumental issues of trust, respect, or conduct that reflects both.

Is this something worth placing in the danger zone? I can't really say for sure, but signs are mounting that tell me this won't be pretty, regardless of how well the partnerships gel in the long run. What's worse, even though TNA has been doing a decent job of buttoning down their key players of late, some of their most iconic players have been allowed to escape or are in process of leaving as this post is  being drafted. Kazarian and Daniels as well as Chris Sabin have already been making plans for life outside of TNA's contracts. Apparently, the song played by TNA officials is the same as was played in the loss of AJ Styles.

I don't like this about TNA, folks. Why? Because it's the darkest part of the story right now. Yes, the return of Angelina Love was great and news of the possible returns of Jesse Sorensen and even Taylor Wilde are every bit as amazing, but some of TNA's homegrown greats are gone, people. It's a hard thing to see good performers believing that greener pastures are elsewhere, but actually finding them and signing there....that's a harder pill to swallow. I don't want to see the hometown heroes leave. I want to see guys have a good reason to remain loyal to the brand because it's a good place to be and because there's room at the table for them.

You can do a great many things in this life. A great many things. Eventually, however, you'll run into some inescapable truths....

1. The best way to keep people from leaving is by giving them a reason to stay.
2. The best way to start mending broken bridges is by admitting to having a part in their brokenness.
3. The best way to defuse anger is gentleness

The list goes on and on, but the point is that some of the most loyal members of TNA's roster would well have stayed loyal had TNA not tried to play a game of financial "chicken" with contracts that deal with the livelihood of those under negotiations like AJ Styles or Sonjay Dutt or Petey Williams or this person or that person. Maintaining those ties with those who have given a great deal to the company is critical for fostering good public relations as well as relations internally.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Triple Threat....

Only a fool would make assumptions that a merger between TNA and Global Force Wrestling is an absolute guarantee. Even though my impression of the situation is that the wrestling landscape will remain a two promotion constant, a third promotion is NOT completely out of the question. I say we have a look at how this whole thing could look.

During the brand extension era when ECW was put into motion, WWE treated each show as three distinct entities. Granted, each show was under one banner during PPVs and in their best selling video game series, but each roster was distinct with its own champion. On top of all three separate rosters, TNA and Ring of Honor were also featured in PWI whenever a 5 Way yearly report was put out. You could look at it as a kind of marketplace where each roster was placed on equal footing in the court of public opinion.

Now that WWE has reverted back to its Attitude Era roots, combining the roster into one and dissolving ECW, the landscape is down to THREE. If PWI were to do another comparison editorial, it could be done in a Fatal Four Way format adding Global Force into the mix. How does the product stack up? If TNA and Global Force were to remain separate entities and keep partnerships with outside feds open and kicking, the cooperative value would be immense for BOTH shows and if each were televised on different networks, assuming TNA's home is as steadfast as it has been for the past 10 years, we'd be looking at some of the finest wrestling out there.

If Global Force is as big a deal as Jeff Jarrett is claiming, I believe there's more than enough room around the table for one more promotion as well as this site.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Going Global and an Homage....

Jeff Jarrett announced today that Global Force Wrestling is coming. Global Force Wrestling. I'd love to comment more concerning the details of this shadow promotion, but fact is, there are none. Seriously; no details of any kind aside from a name. Being my conspiracy theorist self, I still hold that we're looking at the reboot that raises the bar, but I STILL haven't the kind of evidence that most people would believe to sway. A few things would HAVE to happen for me to be completely sold on the entire enterprise. A few things that would be on the forefront IF Global Force were to replace the current TNA name:

1. Expect a MAJOR sale. If TNA is doing a reboot, they are going to HAVE to move all of their former merchandise out of the house. We're talking about 80 to 90 percent sales, folks. I'm not necessarily referring to star t-shirts per se, but ANY TNA Wrestling apparel with IMPACT WRESTLING or TNA WRESTLING as the marquee.

2. Expect a sharp turn in the storyline that suggests that MVP was a shadow investor filling in for the real mccoy. I would think that in order to bring a more cohesive sense to the table, Jarrett's Global Force would either take over and simply overrun the product at a new landmark PPV like Final Resolution.

3. Expect TNA to return to the 6 Sided Ring by Slammiversary. TNA is going to try to recover some of the lost fans from the golden days by bringing back former stars from that era, but they'll also be bringing back the ring that separated them from the pack in the first place.

4. Expect TNA to induct either AJ Styles or Jeff Jarrett as the Hall of Fame headliner for this year's Slammiversary. If EITHER of these guys is selected, I'll feel MORE than justified in believing my case to be argued for me.

5. Expect Dixie to regain control at some point for the face-off against Jarrett's incoming Global Force. I just don't see a story like this working unless a great deal is at stake and if Dixie is finally moved to the side to allow for Jarrett to work his magic, so to speak, I believe we'll see one of the best reality show type moves in professional wrestling history.

Now that my predictions for the IF's and HOW's is out of the way, there's another matter at hand that demands the attention of this site to add to the thousands of others on the net. TNAEnforcer extends condolences to the family of one of the most iconic performers of what I would consider the silver age; The Ultimate Warrior.

After the embarrassment Triple H suffered at the hands of the Warrior at Wrestlemania 12, I was surprised when he was announced as an inductee into this years' Hall of Fame....nevermind the fact that the Hall of Fame has been mired in controversy and political upheaval since its inception. However, in this case, I was overjoyed that this selection was made and that his name fell in line with an equally deserving set of inductees in Lita, Mr. T, Jake Roberts, and Razor Ramon in the number.

With all of that said, his loss this week was a great one in spite of so many years as a vehemently vocal critic of the wrestling business as a whole and a great many performers and talents in specific. In the short time he stood in ring on the big stage, he was an icon, a legend, and a role model for those who would dare to follow in his footsteps. So from this site to the members of the family he fostered....may he rest in peace.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

....as for the Streak....

So 'ol Taker's streak is broken. *sigh* That does it for an era. It's really hard to get angry at a gimmick that ran its course at 20. If WWE had left well enough alone, critics the webs around would have nothing to complain about. Each year, WWE takes a big risk in bringing Mark Calloway back for his once-a-year commitment. This isn't just for Taker. It's also for those he would inevitably face off against at the spectacle of the year.

Let's face a hard fact: The Undertaker isn't 25 years old, nor can he move like it. His last couple of outings have been abysmal to watch for me, even as a fan of slower paced bouts AND quicker X Division style spotfests. Before I get hate mail that refuses to end, I'm not criticizing the man, I'm only pointing out that his body is giving out. It takes longer and longer to recover from each streak building match and the return on those matches isn't getting any better.

Since Sting is pretty much a lock on the docket for next year's 'Mania, I can only guess the breaking of the Streak is WWE's way to slowly ramp down the career of the Deadman and close the book on that chapter in WWE history. Since I've given my take on the two legends' face off at great length elsewhere, I'll let my opinion there speak for itself. but suffice it to say that the end is nigh.

I think the part of the last few Wrestlemania events that has bothered me the most has been just how long the intros, promos, spots, and other glitterized nonsense related to the match at hand takes and equally how lackluster the end result is once the bell has been rung for the victor. This glint is especially pronounced in every Undertaker match and just cuts down my ability to suspend disbelief. When my finger is always reaching for the fast forward to just get into the match, it's too much.

Mark Calloway is a legend, not because of his match quality, though it was decent for his prime. He's a legend because of his staying power. As the years went, he was able to take the adjustments the higher-ups passed along and work with it to reinvent his persona time and time again. I may not care much for his most recent work, including his performance this year, but at this point, his future spot in the Hall of Fame is now only a formality.

Wrestlemania and the Day After....

Some might call me obsessed, others would say I'm resolute, but whatever the case, I've been nothing but vigilant in trying to hijack facts concerning the "major" announcement tomorrow. The worst part in all of it is that there could be more players on board with this thing than ANYONE knows right now.

With the returns of Madison Rayne and Angelina Love along with the rumored returns of Jesse Sorensen, Taylor Wilde, and a mystery former champion, the facts seem to be mounting that TNA is more secure than ever in their dealings with TV. Think about this, folks:

- The person responsible the partnership with Wrestle-1, AAA, CMLL, and all the other wrestling promotions who have aided in the storylines concerning the departure of AJ Styles was Jeff Jarrett and AT LEAST one of those partnerships was threatened if Jarrett wasn't attached to the fulfillment of said agreements.

- In addition to the agreements and partnership with each of the aforementioned promotions leaves out, quite possibly the most critical standby of them all....New Japan Pro Wrestling. Why them? Sources ALL OVER the webs have been reporting that AJ Styles has signed a deal with them AND one former X Division and Tag Team Champion has been getting feelers from the top brass in TNA AND the Founder....coincidence? One of the conditions Styles had to the renewal in his contract was the resigning of the missing half of the Motor City Machine Guns....Alex Shelley.

- On the storylines, timing for this current program between MVP and Dixie is slated to run until sometime near the end of the year. Jarrett's announcements leading up to now have been that his new project is slated to launch right in that neighborhood of that time. Coincidence? Maybe, but I've also been bringing up the pesky little matter of Jarrett's 30-something percent of TNA's assets. I've been bringing this up over and over again. Why would Jarrett negotiate network rights, talent exchanges, funding cooperatives, and even produce logos and marketing solutions if it meant driving a death stake into his prized machine?

- In the most recent Q & A with Executive Vice President "Big" John Gaburick, among the many things he mentioned was a return of the 6 Sided Ring; a staple from 2003 until the end of 2009. In interviews dating back to 2010 with Jeff Jarrett, he mentioned the same thing, but his tone was far more cryptic, stating that a war was coming.

I'm not saying I'm right just yet, but if Jarrett's announcement is anything less than clear about his intentions concerning TNA as it relates to this new project, it seems a safe bet, to ME that we're looking at a reboot and a facelift.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Best POSSIBLE Match EVER....Part 3. Final Battle...

I have no intention of breaking any rules here by putting two men into battle who have shared the same ring in previous battle, but there ARE a couple who have been in the same company before. That said I would LOVE to put the Hustle Loyalty Respect crew on notice as WWE's poster boy will go into battle, but we're not talking about a wrestling match as much as a full on brawl.

7. MMA Gauntlet Match....."Rampage" Jackson, Bobby Lashley, and King Mo vs. Brock Lesnar, Batista, and John Cena

Cena "never backs down"....we'll see about that. Batista has a 1 win record in the cage. Brock's health has made him a liability in the past, making the WWE side of the card look a lot less lop-sided than at first glance. Lashley is 10-2 in the cage with HALF of those wins coming via submission. Mo's record of 12-3 comes with a 9 Knockout win ratio. As for "Rampage"? 34-11. Let's just say this match-up is pegged to give a snapshot as to what a real fight would look like.....

8. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries vs.  Chris Jericho and Randy Orton

I see no better match left to put on the books than this. Sure, there will be a few that some will say deserve to be on the docket, but fact is, this would be the finest payoff for TNA in a full on war on a PPV card and, if I do say so, it puts the monster on its back foot with nowhere to turn, but the floor. I like that perspective, at the moment.

WWE fanboys and loyalists will always be there to carry the banner and I used to be in their ranks, touting Angle, Michaels, Jericho, and the rest of the veterans, most of whom have moved on to better things. WWE won't fall at the hands of a little Nashville-based promotion founded by a member of their  own ranks. I understand that and I would not be so diluted in believing things to be otherwise, but I DO still think that TNA has a long way to go in order to restore their good name and put themselves into a position where they can make a lasting difference. But they can make WWE take off their gloves and stop playing games with their fans and rewriting the past.