Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Chosen One....Sit Back Down, Jarrett

Drew Galloway, AKA The Chosen One. One or two moments of indiscretion made Vince's chosen one into a second rate jobber.....or did it? This isn't about the little incident that bought Drew his mid-card spot in WWE, but rather where he sits right now....

On the surface, Drew Galloway is just the new guy on TNA's block at the mid-card level, but underneath that....THAT'S something interesting. As of this post, he's holding the World Title for Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) and EVOLVE and holds the Open the Freedom Gate Championship with Dragon Gate USA. That's three top titles for three separate indy promotions, one of which HAD television ties in the southern tip of the US.

So why the sudden profile drop? To give you all the message: watch this guy and his rise. Drew Galloway has the makings of this year's newest first time champion on a major promotion in the western world. In spite of what ANYONE has to say about Destination America, they ARE good partners for TNA and have gotten decent ratings for their tenure thusfar, for a network nearly half as large as Spike, but without the maddening marketing entanglements that Spike imposed at nearly every turn. But the partnership with Destination America isn't what this is about, not exactly. What I AM trying to say is that in spite of the hiccup that was Spike's lack of enthusiasm for the brand, TNA is STILL the number two promotion in North America and has a massive footprint outside the United States to actually rival Vince.

This fact makes Drew Galloway very valuable as a pickup for TNA. We get to see TNA do what they do best; make something special out of what Vince had neither the patience nor the foresight to recognize. TNA made Christian a World Champion. TNA made a legitimate threat out of Matt Morgan, if not a world title holder. TNA made Bully Ray into a legitimate singles star. TNA created good, solid characters from what Vince determined to leave behind. And they're about to do it again with Galloway.

Despite WWE's success, and I will give them that word....SUCCESS with this Wrestlemania season, TNA is still gaining ground, having finally secured some more ground outside the US. I use the word FINALLY as it took some time to bring Canadian viewers back into the fold, but FIGHT Network picked up the ball and is running with it, bringing the three currently running shows from TNA to their programming audience beginning April 3rd.

The American market is still working on the incline, but with increases in viewers each year and TNA as Destination America's highest rated show at the moment, I see the trend of growth continuing as well it should with more characters debuting and Drew Galloway being just one in that number, but one who has his time coming.

Monday, March 30, 2015

WWE Hate? Close.

So I went to my old friends and demanded to see what I only read about yesterday: Triple H vs. Sting's match from last night. I stand by my statement that bringing in DX and the nWo was a colossal waste of time and did nothing to further the reign of The Authority. Sting was beaten, leaving Triple H as the ONLY party looking strong in the outing. I stand by my opinion and make no apologies for it.

But does this make me a WWE hater for my opinion on the Sting issue? Nope. True, I do hold a great deal of contempt for WWE for their candor on a number of controversial decisions they've made over the past decade, especially, but does that mean hatred HAS to be the only answer? I don't think so. I like to call it "thinking without blinders".

What about Bray Wyatt? Has anyone given ANY thought to HIS future? Okay, he sustained a pre-match injury, I get it.....but there ARE other options, I mean besides forcing Wyatt into a loss. Take another look at the card and look at the results.....

Sting lost via crook. Cena won with yet another out of nowhere vic. Bryan won without putting anything on the line, just as predicted. Is any of this getting through? What's to be gained by shutting down Wyatt's run as a rising heel? Who has something to gain by helping Wyatt win his match? I say we trade the crook strategy from Sting's match and give it to Wyatt instead.

So what does that make the storyline look like once the smoke has cleared? The Authority STILL has an axe to grind, Cena, Bryan, Rollins and all the rest get their just desserts, Sting's send-off (if that's what it was) remains a true nod of respect, and Wyatt continues to give WWE a proper villain, whilst not making Taker look weak. How is this not a good plan?

DX vs. The nWo....

Did it HAVE to play out like this? Sting goes down in his innaugural and, quite possibly, last WWE event and in front of a massive crowd. Is that unacceptable to ANYONE else? Sure, we get a face off between two pieces of history, but in the end, WWE rewrites history yet again and the last piece of WCW is put to bed.

Okay, Wrestlemania, all things considered, wasn't a total loss, but Sting's loss proves something important to me.....Vince and company has no respect for history and the fans' appreciation of it, which is a problem for me. Not to play this too heavy handed, but this match wasn't EVER about the factions of the two rival organizations, it was about Sting vs. The Authority. THAT'S what they promised, but that ISN'T what we got. No matter what anyone else says, there is no business as usual after this....not to my mind. When you include the old school factions, something new has been integrated that demands closure and I can almost guarantee no closure will come of this.

Sure, Trips and Steph were punished for it later, but they had the chance to give a Legend his day in the sun and he never got it....not in the way he deserved. Trips needed to be embarrassed, humiliated in the storyline.....having been had by a 56 year old man who played the game better. The fans deserved to see The Authority get a black eye from this with The Rock adding insult to injury, but they didn't get THAT either. Instead, Trips and Steph ride the night fantastic and are allowed to exist in a place where WCW was never a threat and Sting's influence on history can be dismissed as nothing more than an entertaining story from long ago in a land far, far away.

Does anyone remember that little piece of footage I posted here a number of years back where Sting talked about the Rock "burying" Booker T that one time? Seems to me that The Rock buried Sting from three segments away by giving Trips the embarrassment he had coming from the actual storyline instead of trying to bring back history to get more mileage out of it. That's it, Vince, keep beating the horse.....it may be dead already, but go ahead and keeping beating it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is There More to This?

With all the hoopla and stardust, no pun intended, I'm guessing no one has given any thought to the shell game taking place on the books for Wrestlemania weekend. Let's take a look at who's on the line, shall we?

Sting has gone on record stating that this Wrestlemania will be his last performance. There is no guarantee of another Undertaker performance at the grandest stage on Earth. But this column is about something far more important....the youth on the roster and more specifically, Daniel Bryan. The question on most people's minds when they read this will be something like this: Bryan? How can you say that? He's in the Ladder Match this Sunday, for crying out loud!

My response to that is simple. Watch the match very closely. Count the number of spots where he takes a serious risk of the Jeff Hardy variety or even that of Kurt Angle, to whom he has been compared to in years past. Sources backstage are legitimately concerned about Bryan's future as the method of rehabilitation he used to make his comeback early is being viewed as a band-aid on a bullet wound, meaning that his injuries will only mount if he's not allowed to properly heal. That said, WWE has a running history of riding injured horses until they can't carry the weight any longer and collapse under the strain. CM Punk, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Edge, and the list goes on of those who can legitimize the story.

So what makes Bryan so special? The answer to that has a number of parts. The first is himself. The man is a bonafide fan favorite, but he's also a favorite of the top dog calling the shots, Vince. Unlike his predecessor, CM Punk, Bryan doesn't complain about working hard to come back early, no matter how much it may cost in the long run. The next sore spot is his link to other divisions, namely the Divas Division. His Bella fixation may force his twin to make the same decision Beth Phoenix did when she left wrestling to be with her beau in his final surgery before leaving WWE. Edge never returned in a performing capacity again.

Is the picture getting clearer? Bryan is WWE's meal ticket here, folks and they want him for the long haul, so they have two options: they either give him more time away to heal, or they milk his run until they have no choice but to let him get away like Angle did. Vince wants him back in the hunt for the big belt again....mark my words. In fact, they wanted him even moreso than Roman Reigns...let that sink in for a bit.

Reigns is green....too green to be an effective foil for Lesnar, who has more years as the performer under his belt, but also less of a resume than that of Bryan. Bryan's story in a match versus Lesnar really is more compelling and, for my money, a better investment on the long term if built in such a way as to keep the stakes high and make the possibility of Lesnar losing seem legit. Put Bryan in the match, the rest of the card buys itself.

Sting isn't the story, neither is the Undertaker, people....the future of the company is at stake and the only future worth watching rests in the youth of the roster, at least from where I sit, which should tell you just a little bit about where this is all headed if they don't give him time.....just keep watching.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

And Then....

For weeks now, I've been silent. Why? As is the case for every break in the comms, the break is simply waiting. Waiting for news to break that things are changing for the better or for the worse, as hopefully will be the case for the former and not the latter. In any case, it seems that Wrestlemania fever is in full swing, which explains my bouts with acid reflux. I'm kidding, but to be completely honest, I just don't feel it this year either. I've stated vocally that Sting's best entrance point would have been Wrestlemania 19, but with the history being now irrelevant and useless, I suppose the only thing to do is simply digress the point.

That said, however, Triple H as yet still is as profoundly bland as an authority figure as I remember and his cronies are equally so. In fact, I can see no signs of life in the Authority stable as a whole and I would go so far as to say that Immortal had a more commanding sense of respect or at least fear than does WWE's reflective stable. It's truly pathetic. Never in my life have I more wished for the Aces and Eights to make a return than now.....if only, right?

You've got Bray Wyatt, whom I believe to be a decent showman, in spite of WWE's inability to showcase him in a way that makes him seem menacing, at least as menacing as the man he's facing. I must apologize, laughing at lightning striking a rocking chair just isn't enough for me, Vince. Give me a reason to care about Wyatt.

Hold up, just a minute....I sould like I've been watching the show. Nope. And do you know why? For every 5-10 minute segment of decency, I KNOW there's over 2 hours of absolutely nonsense to make up for it. I just can't deal with that ratio.

The Diva's Division is simply unsalvageable and the Tag Team Division has been once again relegated to the back burners. With possible exceptions being Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, the aformentioned Bray Wyatt, and even Damien Sandow to a small degree, there is simply no life to be found on their roster in its entirety. Before you call me a bigoted TNA mark and vehemently dismiss every word, let me put this into perspective. 10 years ago, who was leading the pack in terms of the top tier in WWE? Angle, Michaels, Triple H, The Undertaker, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Batista, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Booker T, RVD, John Cena, Guerrero, JBL, and the list goes on from there. NOW, of the names listed above, only a couple still wrestle for the promotion even on a part time basis. Brock and Big Show.

What ever happened to the uphill rise of MVP, Mr. Kennedy, and Bobby Lashley? Does anyone remember when Santino Marella was a model of a hometown hero and NOT a sideshow? Anyone remember the likes of Marquis Cor Von or Kevin Thorn? What about the "Gold Standard"? Anyone remember when Shelton Benjamin beat Triple H three times cleanly IN A ROW on RAW? No offense meant to the current men on the roster, but any ONE of these men of yesteryear could have taken the fight to the current top tier. Give the microphone to Monty Brown, the man can talk. Let Kennedy have his day with the mic.....he'll drop The Miz like a bad habit. Let MVP loose against Rollins.

What's the point in all of this? Simple. WWE's pursuit of lightning in a bottle hasn't rewarded them richly because they continue to dismiss all that isn't their idea, ESPECIALLY in regard to their indy talent they've raided from other promotions. If Samoa Joe makes the jump in April as is expected and they DON'T put him into a position of dominance IMMEDIATELY, they have no one to blame but themselves if he isn't received well and my point will resound from there.

Friday, March 13, 2015

So Let's Just Say.....

Okay, guys. With loud voices, you guys say to hold 'em. Fine. Let's have a look at a few things to varify the worthiness of the choice. Each of these members of the roster have been signed or resigned as of this post:

Matt Hardy
Taryn Tarrell
Jeff Hardy
Kurt Angle
Bobby Roode
Eric Young
Angelina Love
Tigre Uno

You like so far? Good, then let's look at who is near a lock for the coming months. Two more signings look to be imminent and likely to debut within the May tapings block: Shane Helms and Pope D'Angelo Dinero. Can somebody toss me a glass of water? 'Cause I have a few things to say about this development.

First off, shame on TNA for letting Pope go in the first place. With one of the best microphone personas in the business today, Pope was on FIRE in his last tenure. That said, upon his re-emergence, I expect there to be some kind of run on the top tier. As for Shane Helms? Expect him to join up with the Hardys in their quest for the Tag Team belts....at least at first. Following that? I fully see him turning heel and running that way for a time.

With all of that said, there ARE reasons to be excited about the coming months, but I'm still holding out some strands of hope for Styles to make a comeback, even if just for a short 6 month long storyline.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

'Tis the Season.....

Okay, it's Wrestlemania season, I get it. Meh, I really don't care about this one. Make that 5 or 6 in a row, but I digress. What I really want to talk about is the question of hold or fold. This week, news broke in news circles that talents behind the scenes in TNA are getting nervous. Why? When officials had the chat with the cast and crew a number of weeks ago in the days before the reboot, they were given the best case scenario; meaning that the TV partnership would be even more lucrative than it's turning out to be. With locked audiences and no ready growth since the first couple of weeks, it seems that we're right back where we started....and what's worse, TNA has announced that no live events are on the horizon AND April tapings have been cancelled and May tapings have been put into place, which means an extra month of nothing. No paychecks issued, no work at all beyond the tapings schedule.

In spite of the fact that a few top talents have just signed new deals with the company, the vast majority won't be gaining anything from this month of void. So the question becomes whether or not officials are ready to break the news to the talents on the locker room or if they are going to try and put together some live events to try and fill the gap. Bob Ryder, one of TNA's highest ranked execs tweeted that a few live events are coming, but the issue is that those events may not come until June at the earliest. Will it be enough to bolster some local fan support or will this simply be a case of a day late and a dollar short?

News outlets the net over are asking whether or not it might be time to close the book on this chapter in wrestling history and let things run their course. Right now, the independent circuit is as healthy as it's ever been and with Joe, Styles, Kaz, and Daniels making decent money per indy show, they can potentially make a better payday than if they were in TNA right now, so is packing up and closing the doors the right thing to do? I honestly don't know about those on the TNA roster, but for the fans of wrestling, I don't think so. Wrestling needs some variety on TV. Television is key here and TNA is the only show in town with a decently sized following online OR on TV.

What do you guys think? Hold or fold?