Monday, July 21, 2014

Damage.....

I've spent more than a little bit of time airing grievances with WWE over their choices in who they go about pushing, especially in the past 5-6 years, but TNA isn't above their share in the creation of the top tier in their own company. That said, I'd like to give my list of the names TNA AND WWE allowed to slip through their fingers into obscurity......

1. Matt Morgan- This one is a no brainer and I've brought up "The Blueprint" up a number of times in the past couple of years. WWE dropped the ball with him not once, but twice. TNA had their own bout they could have invested in him, and they almost pulled the trigger....but they didn't. When Matt Morgan held BOTH Tag Team Titles and was poised to tackle the world title scene, for whatever reason, TNA determined it wasn't his time yet. Then, a couple of years later, they had the chance to give him a monster push for the number one contendership, but instead they went with Sting. I shook my head and blasted TNA for that decision, which was not in their best interest, but by then, the decision was in the books.

2. Monty Brown- The "Alpha Male" could have been HUGE. He could have been a household name, and I truly have no reason from any sources that tell me he was anything but easy to work with. When TNA wasted their chances with him, WWE picked him up in the free agency in their efforts to bolster the youthful presence in their fledgling ECW brand. When ECW's ratings didn't peak like they wanted, however, Marcus Cor Von, as he was called at the time, was dismissed, having never done ANYTHING of value for the brand. I was appalled, to be blunt. Yet another former TNA talent buried at the hands of Vince.

3. Kid Kash- Okay, before I go into this little diddy, I will concede that Kash DID win a title or two under each promotion, but I think he could have gone on to more. If anyone looked at his work especially during the rise of Austin Aries and the build towards Jesse Sorensen's ascent. Had Jesse not been involved, I have some strong confidences that Mr. Kash could have invented "Option C" himself.

4. Shelley Martinez- In WWE, she was Ariel, a diva who was never allowed to actually WORK a match. In TNA, she was Salinas, a Knockout before the term was useful. Had TNA kept her contract warm just another few months, she could have competed for the Knockouts Division, but when LAX and the Motor City Machine Guns and America's Most Wanted were red hot, the women of TNA were left to their own devices. TNA even had the chance to pick up her number down the road, but passed for reasons unknown. Truth be told, Miss Martinez is a talented cookie, when she's allowed to perform without being held back....

I'm sure there are more flubs that both sides missed, but this is my own personal opinion of the worst of the worst decisions WWE and TNA cooperatively made involving talents. Have others? Shoot me a comment......

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sting to WWE....Hello WWE?

The rumors are swirling right now as they have been since Sting left TNA's roster just a few short months ago. "Sting signs with WWE" was one headline I read just this week, but other sources say he's not signed anything other than a deal to use his likeness for merchandising (i.e. video games, t shirts, etc.). That said, the chances of a debut could be good provided that there was one really compelling story to bring his career to a satisfying close.

Story, opponent, and time are the demons WWE is going to have to fight in order to make Sting's short tenure mean something. How many feuds can you cram into a year's worth of programming using teases, taped promos, and the like in order to fill this years' worth if time? I'd plan for three GOOD feuds, one leading into the next. My choices? I've covered this once already, but since circumstances within the WWE framework have changed a bit, I figured it wouldn't be a bad time to re-evaluate. SO without any further ado, let's jump right into it, shall we?

1. Triple H- This one should be no surprise as his last interview featured a statement that if Sting ever debuted, he'd Pedigree him in the middle of the ring. I say we test that theory by putting the Icon over 'ol Trips. But that statement isn't the only one that matters to me, people. Fact is, Triple H is the glory hound who could do some good in establishing faith, so to speak, in the brand by fostering a sense of trust that Sting won't be abused or buried during his tenure. After all, this IS the twilight of his career and WWE called HIM, right?

2. The Rock- I would LOVE to see a Rock vs. Sting bout. Why? Because I would relish the reaction of the crowd seeing the kind of mind games Sting would have at his fingertips and once the match has happened, we could put that match on the list of "Dream Face-offs WWE vs. WCW" to rest.

3. Shawn Michaels- Ric Flair's in ring career with WWE ended with HBK and Michaels is the ONLY man, to my mind, that would make Sting's final match worth watching over and over again. WWE's list of veterans is PAINFULLY short and those who can make Sting shine are in limited supply, and I'm not only referring to WWE's roster either. TNA had their moments, but in the end, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, and even Bobby Roode to an extent, were the best candidates to make 55 year old Sting look close to his prime. On WWE's roster, I see NO ONE worth the time and effort it would take to have that same effect. Not one candidate strikes me. Not ONE. Yes, I'm talking to you too, Taker. Especially you.

Of course, that leaves the classic WWE vs. WCW Undertaker vs. Sting bout unfulfilled, but when the liabilities of just getting Taker INTO the ring minus the performance value, which would suffer due to his age, condition, and mentality.....when we take all of the factors into account, the match, though historic, would be virtually unwatchable, at least from my perspective. Maybe I'm wrong and I'd be the first to admit it, but in this day and age, I doubt The Undertaker has anything left to offer.

SO as for the order of the bouts? I'd start with The Rock right away. Why? To set up the next feud in line and to establish the tone or mood for what happens later. Trips would have to go next, but after the loss, his phone call would have to go out and the retired HBK would have a choice to make, retire another legend or sit on the sidelines. My money says this is the best order and the biggest bang for a WWE fanboy's buck. NO CENA! Seriously. Keep John Cena away from Sting in the name of all that is good and just in the world! As much as Cena moves merchandise, losses to Cena embarrass any forward movement to characters WWE tries to build. I'll leave that thought right where it sits because I could make THAT an entire column all its own.

Some would say Randy Orton, but frankly, he just doesn't make ANY match very memorable and so a match against Sting would be a waste, in my mind. Why not upset the Wyatts? Because a loss to Sting on the way out would be a blow to the up and comers. What about Chris Jericho? Now THAT'S a decent question. Jericho's history with Sting is pretty shallow aside from their obvious ties to WCW, but when Jericho left and made himself a name in WWE, Sting rode the ship down. Could it work? Sure, but would there be TIME for a decent feud with Jericho's erratic schedule? That is a subject left to history. Jericho, these days, only comes along for 2-3 month spans and it's usually to elevate a current hopeful WWE has their sights on building. This time it's Bray Wyatt. It was Fandango last time.

IF....and I do say IF WWE wants to bring in Y2J to feud with Sting for his last hurrah, It HAS to be in addition to those I've already mentioned. Not only so, but his name would go to the top of my list. In any case, with Sting's exclusive pre-order presence on the newest WWE video game, we're potentially one step closer to the reason every wrestler says "Never say never".

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Problem With The Future.....

I've read my daily news and have discussed all the potential things I COULD talk about and I've come up with two subjects that really boil into the title of this column. As the statement goes, the problem with the future is that it's always changing. That said, it doesn't limit itself to episodes of Star Trek or the Twilight Zone, it's a wrestling subject too. How so?

Apparently, there had been plans up until some weeks ago to make Daniel Bryan champion once more and now, those plans are not only off the table, his name doesn't appear on WWE's list moving forward. That said, news broke not long ago that his injuries he'd been working with were far more severe than initially thought. It's even come to question whether or not we're looking at a situation much like Edge, where retirement may become mandatory lest his livelihood is threatened. What a difference a couple of days makes, huh? It forces WWE to make some changes in the way they bring up new main event stars....specifically in the timing. While TNA has had some good history building up a character into the main event quickly (Bobby Roode, James Storm, Austin Aries, etc.), WWE in recent years has had an ABYSMAL track record. Need evidence? Look no further than Jack Swagger or Alberto Del Rio. Even Sheamus could be lumped into the category when his status is considered as of this post.

On TNA's side of things....more specifically, their tactic in taping events so far ahead....this poses the problem of spoilers on the forefront, but on the other side of the coin, you also run the risk of planning too far ahead and either planning a debut or two that don't end up materializing and writing yourself into a corner (see the last episode with Pac Man Jones). In the aforementioned Jones episode, TNA management had other plans in mind, but by the time Carter made her tweet that a former champion would be appearing, Jones was all that was left.....thus creating the disappointment they were trying to avoid. You see the dilemma? If you announce something big without confirming and paying the help ahead of time, you run the risk of the deal falling through and a scramble to find something different on the fly......not good terms to work under.

So what does this all mean for the future of each? Well, WWE will "continue to make money in spite of themselves"- CM Punk circa 2011. WWE has a juggernaut following with loads of fans taking advantage of their archives everyday with their WWE Network, which they're losing funds on I might add. As for TNA, taping ahead isn't where they want to be, but since negotiations WWE has had with Universal Studios, displacing TNA from any kind of home base, so to speak, the conditions merited the move to be made. Simply put, these are the cards TNA has been dealt of late and to that end, they must play with those cards.

So in the end, WWE is left with one less prime time player on the field and they potentially gain a world class veteran for a season or two. It may be worth it, but then again, TNA may come out of the ordeal with fresher players than they left the break with. That's the problem with the future.....it's always changing.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Clock isn't Lying.....it IS Counting Down

TNA's most valuable investment since their inception is recognizing his mortality, folks, and I believe it's time do acknowledge the same. Just this week, when asked about why he hasn't signed a new contract as of yet, Kurt Angle replied with the answer no one wanted to hear.....his next contract may be his last before he retires. From 1997, Kurt Angle has been one of the most decorated ring generals of all time. The combined sum of his championship reigns between WWE and TNA is 16. While that may seem like a small number, during the times of those reigns, each promotion was prone to giving extended reigns to their champions.

To put it all simply, Kurt Angle, like John Cena, and every other promotional workhorse out there- has an expiration date. Once the point has been reached, the body will begin to break down more frequently just by the sheer nature of the craft. Why do I compare John Cena with Kurt Angle? I'm not a fan of Cena and haven't been for YEARS, but there simply is no denying the volume of time John Cena spends granting wishes for the Make a Wish Foundation and all of the MAJOR public relations appearances he makes on behalf of the WWE brand. For WWE, there is no better spokesman....period.

Kurt Angle is that figure for TNA and has been since his arrival. His matches haven't lost their integrity and his poise is better than its been in quite a while. Sure, he's made some mistakes, but he's made strides to put himself in a better place and has worked very hard to maintain a squeaky clean image on TNA's behalf.....but right now Kurt is weighing his options. TNA would love the chance to say they retired a legend with the accolades of Angle, make no mistake.

Can anyone blame him for taking his time to weigh out how his final days as a wrestler will play out are gonna look? Some believe he'll dress out once more for Vince. Others think Dixie and company will retain their "Olympic Hero". And for the last camp, there has been speculation that his contract will take its last turn under a brand new banner, GFW. While there may have been bad blood between he and Jeff Jarrett once, those days are over and sources are saying talks have been underway between the two parties, but that nothing is set of yet.

One way or another, there is one final curtain call for one of the greatest technical wrestlers to ever set foot in the squared circle......the question that comes this September is which banner will his final chapter end under?


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Green Light.....

I've gotten my retail tingle out of my limbs and can now get back to something far more important....wrestling news, rants, raves, and the world of the miscellaneous. For me, right now on the entirety of the wrestling landscape, only a couple of things strike me as legitimately interesting.

1. Chris Jericho is back, as mentioned in an earlier column, and is giving an upper tier climb to Bray Wyatt. As a character, I think the Wyatt concept is one that has yet to reach its potential, but as of now, it's interesting. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that Bray Wyatt is one of the precious few entertaining things in all of WWE right now. Combining the faction leadership with a gimmick as edgy as that is a fresh nod to some of the characters that made WWE into the juggernaut it is. While I'm all for bringing back Chris Jericho in ANY capacity as he can still make ANYONE look like a million bucks and doesn't have to ever win a match to maintain his ability to put a HUGE check on a young bucks' resume, I have to question this feud. Jericho vs. The Miz I can understand. Jericho vs. Cesaro I can understand. Jericho vs. any former member of The Shield....I get that. Wyatt, and broadening the scope to include the rest of the entourage has me scratching my head. Unless someone else gets a rub from the feud, I just don't see how this actually benefits Bray, in particular. A three on one beatdown and interference doesn't scream "victory" to me. It paints a weak picture of a man who COULD become a decent main event guy down the line. Not so good for business. Jericho brings out the best in a one on one battle, but three on one is too much for ANY one man and it has much more in common with a heel Triple H than an original persona, regardless how creative the origins may be.

2. TNA has been looking for a way to write off Dixie Carter as an onscreen persona for a few weeks now and, with the table spot I've been raving about for days, they've finally found a way to do just that. The irony in ALL of that is in one event less than 6 months ago. Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett met with TNA officials to BUY the company. The condition? Dixie MUST remain an onscreen persona IF such a purchase would go through. Since Jarrett and company didn't want to have a sale with conditions, he passed and GFW moves into full force in the coming months. What many tried to avoid in all of this irony is to cause any physical harm to Dixie in her pursuit of the television character, but with the table spot, in spite of all the careful preparations and the efforts Ray went into the spot with, the unthinkable occurred and Dixie was injured. So ends the character for TV and cements the irony.

So the question I'd like to know the answer to is whether or not GFW could expect a partnership with TNA or if down the road, a merger could conceivably take place, putting every partnership involved (New Japan, AAA, Wrestle-1, etc.) into a very MASSIVE scale undertaking? On the surface of the question, I'm doubtful with the kind of bad blood amongst members of GFW (most of whom USED to be on the TNA payroll) and current TNA officials, BUT in light of TNA's decision to relegate Mrs. Carter to a less visible role in the company, I have no sure-fire way to answer the question one way or the other.

I WOULD like to explore the potential, but for now, I leave you with the question to ponder......

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clearance and Bundles.....

I've done all the math. I've crunched every number and I've discovered something absolutely landmark that every wrestling fan needs to understand. If there was ever a reason to check out TNA at this point in time, I declare clearance and bundles the BEST. Don't misunderstand me. The wrestling is great and the bulk of the storylines right now are noteworthy, but if you're not checking out prices on their merchandise, shame on you.

To illustrate, let's have a look at TNA's hottest ticket item....the Brown Bag Special.

A random t-shirt.....just give them a size.
4 random DVDs....all different
An action figure
A banner

Price? 25 bucks. That's it....let's do some comparison shopping right now....over in WWE-land we have.....

No bundles at all. Oh we can put a few things together; some rubber band bracelets and a t-shirt or two, but anything that compares? Please.....don't ask.

To be fair, WWE has some things on their list that make me salivate.....title belts for under 200 bucks? Yes, please. I'll take the RAW or Smackdown Tag Team Title belt or maybe the Intercontinental Title from the era pre-dating the PG era. Even a Smoking Skull Belt wouldn't be too shabby. The point is, I'd like a belt that looks NOTHING like the belts represented today on WWE's menu.

A replica Rey Mysterio mask? That's pretty cool, by my taste.

TNA, I have a question and it may involve a bit of a longer answer than you're prepared for....WHAT the HECK is up with you people and BLACK t-shirts? Mr. Andersons' shirts I get; I can even get behind some of the others, but when there are virtually no other colors represented on the entire site, my intelligence is becoming offended. I'd LOVE an old school white AJ Styles shirt, or even a gray, but now, all that remains on TNA's website, on a sizeable clearance section, I might add.....is black. I will say this, however, TNA put on sales ALL. THE. TIME. It makes it easy to get yourself clad in the apparel, watching the DVDs, or gawking at the calendars.

I've bought TNA's hot ticket....and it's very good.....why?
Because the price is right.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Motive....

Some people might have been asking more than a million questions the day TNA revealed that they were giving the fans the choice of which ring they were going to use moving forward. I was in the number, but my questions all boiled down to just one....."Why?" Why would they bring back a ring they forsook only three years ago? Why would they give the fans the choice? why Why WHY!?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the return and the way it changes the entire dynamic of the way a match is put together. I love the dramatic climate it brings to the party. I was the first to jump on TNA for their decision to leave the ring behind in the first place, but I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I, on the other hand, was also the first to point out that the 6 sided ring was the first place to return to to begin turning back the clock.

So now the truth has begun to leak out.....

Apparently, Jeff Jarrett and his Global Force Wrestling promotion as of yet under the radar was going to put themselves on display with a 6 Sided Ring. Under THAT set of circumstances TNA made some calculated decisions, but when it came to shove, they determined that THEY needed to have themselves set apart by setting the clock back. Enter the fan vote.

Do I blame them for pulling the trigger once the decision had been made? Not at all. In fact, I wish they had done something to explain the loss in the first place, but if they're gonna give me the chance to set the clock back, who am I to argue? When it comes to bringing back elements of the show I loved to begin with, I simply won't question motives....this is no exception.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why Two Jay?

Believe it or not, this column is NOT exclusively about the Highlight Reel's host. I watched his return because I heard rumblings of his return and I got curious. Let me get this straight, he makes his big comeback interrupting The Miz and is IMMEDIATELY greeted to a beatdown? Um...why? This coming from sources inside the situation have informed the outlets on the net that Mr. Jericho will be around for a few months. That said, WWE have brought him back in a babyface capacity. However, his status really never matters because the people will give him a heroes welcome regardless of what persona he assumes.

How does this relate to TNA? The returns of Jericho, in particular, says to me that TNA is on the right track with their bringing back Team 3D and Matt Hardy. This, on the other hand, is not the end of the returns, if my sources are accurate. I've already brought up Big 'Zeke and "It wasn't my fault". I could rant for an entire column about my dislike of Snitzky, - you know what? To heck with it....

In the transitionary MESS WWE had on tap that was Lita, by no fault of her own, she was the object of one most criminal mismanagements of talent I have EVER borne witness to. There was the Kane blackmail wedding and shortly thereafter, we had the announcement that she was 'pregnant'. With Matt Hardy out of the picture at some time during this nightmare, Snitzky was brought in. In the spirit of horrible taste and shock value, he knocked her down one time too many, causing her to miscarry. In the wake of that, the intro to his entrance music declared that 'it wasn't my fault'. There comes a time in the course of things that a wrestler will weight out just how devoted they are to the craft by telling the writers that "NO, I won't be any part of this story."

A story with the ugliness of the one in reference travels with a performer for a long time. In certain circles, Kane and Triple H STILL haven't been forgiven for the story of Katie Vick. In truth, though, this mess was the beginning of the end of my watching WWE as a whole. Once the miscarriage happened, we had her turning to Edge and leaving Kane behind, only to find that she had to cheat on Matt to do that. You all know the story, why am I recounting the history? Because Snitzky lost every kind of respect I might have come to hold for him when he signed on for his role. This is the kind of character who we all read about last year who captured, raped, and beat young girls and is NOT the kind of monster I want associated with my wrestling vice. Now, I KNOW that Gene Snitzky is not that kind of person away from the craft. I DO know that this is script and acting and all of that, but by my own personal opinion, NOT the kind of thing to be put on screen in this medium.

If it had come out that Lita faked her pregnancy or something like that, I might feel differently....maybe, but even still.

Rant OVER.

Where was I? Oh yeah...TNA has more returns planned for the coming months leading into and including Bound for Glory in Tokyo. That'll never get old. From me, I wish all of you well who would be watching BFG from Tokyo, I envy you, but I am overjoyed that TNA has seen fit to bless you guys with a visit and a PPV.