It's Still Real to Me, Dammit!

Ramblings of a Wrestling Fan – TNA Is Better Than WWE

Hello, hello. Greetings fellow wrestling lovers. It’s been a while since my last post, but that’s mainly because I grew tired of complaining about things that will never change and decided to have a more open mind about the state of Sport’s Entertainment today. I mean, come on. Does Vincent Kennedy McMahon really give a damn what we think? He’s probably sleeping on a bed made out of all the money he makes each day which is, in all likelihood, more than any of us will ever make in this lifetime. So why should he care what we think? However, that does not mean I can’t resort to my trusty laptop and my fellow L.E.W.D chaps when I feel like whining about something or another.

I don’t know if any of you noticed it lately, but there seems to have been some dramatic shift in wrestling within the big two. I don’t mean some mass exchange of talent either. I’m talking about the quality of their programming. I never thought I’d say this, but I cannot stress enough how much better TNA Impact Wrestling programming is over WWE’s current programming of Raw and Smackdown. I cannot speak for Smackdown much because I rarely watch it. I might catch it once a month if that because I have a small life outside of wrestling. Either way, TNA “seems” to be on the right track in its own weird way while WWE is making me feel like I’m wasting hours of my life each week.

I’ll start with Monday Night Raw, the flagship of WWE programming. Honestly, who actually–as of right now–think three hours of Raw is a very good idea? If you’re looking forward to three hours of a snoozefest then either you’re being completely optimistic or you’re insane. Most L.E.W.D readers, with the exception of the few TNApologists we get, are often optimistic so we’ll go with that. And I hear your optimism. I have heard many arguments as to why three hours of Raw is a good idea.

For instance, some people are hoping the first hour of Raw is dedicated to FCW/NXT hopefuls that want to main event someday. That’s actually a good idea, but I don’t exactly see that happening. I feel like it will be the same “business as usual” attitude with Cena closing the show each week. No Way Out gave us jumbled up tag team match and the end result was a future title match featuring Young and O’Neil versus Kingston and Truth. I guess I could get behind the idea of this fresh new tag team, but WWE’s track record with tag teams as of late hasn’t led me to believe they are ready to get behind the tag team division full force. If that were the case, the Hart Dynasty would have never been “screwed”, The Usos may have had a strong push for the belts and Epico and Primo never would have lost the belts to begin with to two main event level superstars who were thrown together as a tag team. Why not use the tag teams you already have and let main event stars main event?

In the case of Jerishow, they had a purpose which was, and I am assuming here, to revamp the tag team division and it worked for a while, but like most everything in WWE these days, it fizzled out somewhere down the line. I will say though, that the hope–possibly false, but hope nontheless–lies in the fact that WWE currently has more tag teams these days. At No Way Out we saw the Usos, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, Epico/Primo and Young, O’Neil. There’s also Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks which I think they don’t often get the credit they deserve, but as you can see, there’s clearly some kind of tag team division forming. Does this mean we’ll get to see the tag titles defended on a regular basis rather than just as a random filler for pay per views? Well, during three hours of Raw there’s certainly plenty of time for decent tag team action.

Image

Cyndi: Better smile kiddo. By 2012, all of your accomplishments will be buried by no talent eye candy they call Divas. Just enjoy the moment…

From tag team action, we move right along to women’s wrestling which is actually what finally pushed me into sorting my thoughts. On last night’s Raw, we saw an appearance by none other than WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter along with Roddy Piper and Cyndi Lauper, her former manager. The crowd was absolutely dead for this segment. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen such a dead crowd since Nascar drivers attempted to guest host Raw. It was that bad. Some feel like Heath Slater saved that segment, but to be honest, I don’t think anything except Sweet Chin Music could have saved it. Shawn should have been teleported from his couch and sent in to superkick everyone in the ring, including the writers who thought this segment was a great idea.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of all those legends (including Lauper) who were in the ring, but the segment was just cringe worthy. Not only that, but it made me feel sorry for the ladies due to the fact that nobody seemed to care. The crowd popped BIG time for Vader, another person whom we haven’t seen on WWE programming in years and yet when Wendi Richter, another legend, makes her way to the ring there’s no pop. There’s nothing and it makes me think about how WWE has ruined everyone’s perception of women’s wrestling. In a nutshell–the Divas get no love, not even the ones who paved the way.

Layla and Beth Phoenix did a fantastic job during their match at No Way Out. I say fantastic by WWE’s standards because any smart “wrestling” fan knows that those women weren’t exactly tearing it up like Marti Belle or LuFisto. (Yeah I know who they are. I might not watch them often, but I do know them.) But for a WWE women’s wrestling match, it ranked up there with Michelle McCool and Layla’s match before McCool retired. I was entertained, people discovered Layla actually has moves, and they (Layla/Beth) got a great deal of time to tell a story which is what helps wrestling fans get into the match. When there’s no kind of story going on, it makes it hard–at least for me–to invest in that person. When I started watching wrestling, women were actually allowed storylines. They worked the mic–quite often–and even had decent length matches. Of course, they weren’t always five and ten minutes, but if there’s a good story going on, there is no need for a ten minute match each week. Segments are used to keep people interested and invested in that character so it all works out.

These days though, it is very hard. AJ Lee, who is currently the only interesting Diva in WWE programming right now, doesn’t get the mic very often. However, she IS involved in a major storyline and people are beginning to like her. Rose Mendez is a “manager” for Epico and Primo, but no one cares because she never speaks for them often. She doesn’t do the things women like Sherri Martel used to do. Only Vikki Guerrero is playing the part of the classic female manager. She doesn’t wrestle often, but you can bet her Dolph Ziggler is gaining a following. Not only that, but she gets a reaction. I just think it’s sad that the women are only seen as a bathroom break and that a legend like Wendi Richter got absolutely no love from the crowd. I would say, “Shame on you WWE fans”, but if WWE cared more about their women, so would the people who watch their programming.

From WWE’s hatred of women, we now turn to the main event scene. Punk and Bryan have been tearing up as of late. I’m sure it may not compare to their old Ring of Honor stuff, but by WWE standards it’s been great stuff. Even Sheamus has been kicking a whole lot of ass lately and yet that isn’t enough to make two hours of Raw and a three hour WWE pay per view exciting. In the case of No Way Out, I do not think it was a bad show. The match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler was very entertaining and had many wanting more. It was a great way to set the tone for the show and yet, as usual, WWE finds a way to ruin such momentum.

Cody and Christian’s match was sorta just there. It only got good near the end. It’s not Christian’s fault, but I don’t feel like Cody’s there yet. The crowd did not seem so hot for that match. The Santino match absolutely killed the pay per view. The crowd obviously, did not appreciate it for they shouted “boring” very loudly. I’m sure that gets edited out for the DVD copy, but that match had no business on the pay per view. Some folks complained about Ryback, but honestly, he didn’t kill the momentum–the Suits match did. The triple threat match was great and should have closed a sour show, but the Cena match closed it. While some people hated that, the crowd certainly popped for Cena so your opinions of Cena closing a show are irrelevant.

But despite No Way Out being watchable, TNA’s Slammiversary kicked No Way Out’s ass six ways from Sunday. Hear that TNA fans? I am openly admitting the fact that I enjoyed a TNA pay per view more than a WWE one and I’ll do you one better. TNA programming, as of late, is BETTER than WWE’s. Yes folks. We’re finally reaching the point of my ramblings. WWE programming seems to drag on and on from one show to the next in the span of two hours. By the time 11pm hits, I’m already half way asleep only having forced myself to stay awake long enough to see John Cena. If WWE is putting me to sleep in two hours, I have no doubt by 10pm, I will not be able to stand much more of it.

I am not, by any means, saying WWE sucks. That isn’t true. It doesn’t suck completely, but it’s mundane, mediocre and predictable. It’s the same old routine. You get your opening 10 to 20 minute promo, followed by a match that will have at least one commercial break, pointless backstage segments with random Zack Ryder, another match, a Diva sighting, a Punk or Bryan match to save the show and then Cena to close it out. Even the damn matches are routine. Its like each match is paced slow and methodically that I often find myself zoning in and out–even during the good ones–because there’s no quick action. No, I’m not saying each match needs that Rey Mysterio pace, but at least in TNA, we get a variety. The matches are not all the same. Not all of them are fast paced, but they don’t seem to drag either. You might get an Aries/Xion match to start things off followed by something a little less quick such as Abyss and someone else. Then you might get a Knockouts match which isn’t at all like a Divas match.

To be fair, I was concerned at one point, but after last week, it looks like things are shaping up again for the ladies of TNA. My point is that TNA has learned (or so it appears) that in a two hour live show, one must keep the audience’s attention and you can only do so much in two hours. Last week there was way more ring action than segments. WWE–that’s another problem. They tend to talk entirely too much during a broadcast and that’s going to keep me from watching, especially when its the same old people holding a mic each week.

I urge all of you to give TNA a chance. They’ve put on two great shows and a great pay per view, but don’t get the ratings to show for it. I actually QUIT watching TNA for months. I think I quit right around November of last year and only just recently got back into it. Even if you’ve never watched TNA, I guarantee you’ll recognize old WWE superstars. That is how I got into the show to begin with. I saw people that I recognized and decided to give it a shot. No, TNA isn’t perfect and God I despise Hogan.

However, I won’t quit watching while they’re trying. If everyone who’s always tooted their nose up at TNA gave it a shot, I think you all would be pleasantly surprised. In fact, you can watch full episodes of TNA on YouTube and looky here. I did you the favor of looking up last week’s show so you can enjoy it. Watch with an open mind and prepared to see wrestling and not that methodical, slow, boring, predictable stuff you see every Monday Night. When TNA actually does something right, they deserve to be watched. With WWE’s epic permanent move to three hours, it’s hard to see a bright future when they’re only advertising returning legends rather than the new generation while current shows are boring everyone to death. Dixie Carter, keep up the good work and with that, I’m finally shutting the heck up,

–T

7 responses

  1. Nice to see another post from you :)

    I agreed with most of your assessment of WWE. It has been slipping. The Divas division is almost past the point of salvation in my opinion. WWE fans haven’t cared about women’s wrestling in so long that I almost feel they’d have to take the division away and bring it back at a later date.

    AJ and Vickie are the two most interesting Divas on the roster and they aren’t really wrestling.

    I intermittently watch TNA…and even though a lot of us like to be hard on them, I agree with you. They have been stepping it up. I still prefer WWE but that could be because it is what I am used to, my comfort blanket so to speak :)

    Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Like

    June 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    • passion4wrestling

      Thanks for the comment. I understand that. WWE is what a lot of us are used to. I started watching WWE in the early 90s when MNR debuted and it wasn’t raunchy or anything at all. It was a lot more entertaining than what we get today and the matches were faster paced, the segments served a purpose other than filler, and there was more variety. TNA gives me that variety.

      I didn’t start watching TNA until roughly 2006 maybe? Christian was still there and it helped that a lot of former WWE stars were on the show. It gave me a reason to watch without feeling completely at a lost for everyone. TNA has its ups and downs. By no means is it perfect. They still have Hogan, who annoys the hell out of me. Stinger main events every time they need a “hero” and a lot of times their stories are inconsistent. However, the wrestling is does not put me in a coma like most WWE matches, including some of their main events due to how everything looks so robotic.

      But thanks again! Maybe WWE will do better once they reach three hours–I highly doubt it though.

      Like

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 PM

  2. Wait, Nef is writing again? Sweet.

    Shout outs for Marti and LuFisto. Double sweet!

    There is so much apprehension from me going into these 3 hour Raws it’s scary.

    Like

    June 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    • passion4wrestling

      Only when I’m annoyed.

      Ha! Been checking out some of Marti’s stuff in my free time and some of the other ladies I stumble across too.

      Three hours… I have Chef Ramsey to save me from the first two hours but that will only last a few more weeks. I just… I don’t know. I’m tired of the WWE robotics. Every match is the same old, predictable thing. And it’s not just John Cena matches. There’s never any doubt as to who will win or lose a match. There’s this same “formula” they seem to use for every match and it annoys me. They completely lost me after Dolph and Swagger last night.

      Like

      June 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM

  3. Very excited to see you writing again, T!!! So amped! Sorry about being late to the party.

    Your piece is timely and interesting because most fans — or at least the vocal minority of fans — all agree that TNA’s programming has been light years better than the WWE’s as of late. Call it what you will, I just don’t see that.

    Now this isn’t saying that I’m absolutely THRILLED about what the WWE puts on weekly, but I can’t for the life of me say that TNA’s product is “better.” And maybe there’s just something wrong with me, I dunno; I feel like TNA’s product is not much different from what they’ve been doing for quite some time now save being less nonsensical at times. Or to say it in another way, Russo’s absence from TNA means only a handful of Hail Marys are being thrown per show instead of a minimum of 89 (see: Mick Foley interview after he left TNA).

    IMHO, if TNA is better than the WWE right now, it’s because the WWE sucks and not of its own merit; it’s like saying “I’d rather be constipated than have diarrhea,” but both are still pretty crappy situations. All a matter of personal taste, I’m sure.

    I also like the point you brought up regarding the Divas and the reception received by Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter. I feel that the WWE catches a lot of hell for their treatment of the Divas and women’s wrestling, but the fans by and large don’t take responsibility for their role in the undermining of women’s wrestling.

    I too was appalled by Lauper and Richter’s reception, but when the average fan can only recall with fond revelry Trish Stratus and Lita, how can the WWE be blamed for it? The most vocal fans scream bloody murder for one thing and then grow apathetic when they’re presented with it; that’s when the blame game starts and all of a sudden folks are burning Kelly Kelly effigies when she hasn’t been featured on television regularly in months.

    Ex: fans will complain that the WWE over saturates the market with their product by having 50 kajillion shows on a week. Then fans will complain that the WWE doesn’t allow the women to wrestle. BUT until very recently (as in the last few weeks) the WWE regularly featured lengthy women’s matches on NXT and FCW, and no one watched. From Nikki Bella’s last run as Divas champ up until now, the matches have actually showcased the women wrestling, and fans still don’t care. So to me, it just seems strange that the WWE gets blamed for giving the fans what they say they want to see; it bugged me to see a fan say that a match between Tamina and Natalya on NXT went “too long.” ARE YOU SERIOUS BRO???

    Same applies to the tag team division; 7 actual tag teams in the WWE with more to come, and folks are still complaining about the company’s division. An actual story line with tag teams that have tagged together for months, and folks are still complaining. The WWE could have the Midnight Express, the Rock ‘N Roll Express, Demolition, the Legion of Doom and the Varsity Club take up 3/4 of TV time a week and people would STILL complain.

    Apologetics aside, the product does seem uninspired and has been lacking as of late. But to be perfectly honest, I could miss Impact Wrestling and resume my week just as easily as I could an episode of RAW/Smackdown. To me it’s all just one big mediocre clusterbomb, and I’m finding myself more interested in DGUSA/EVOLVE and indy feds developments than I am the major companies.

    That’s just me tho…

    Thanks T!!! And welcome back to the game!

    Like

    June 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    • Hey Ash! Thanks man and hey, you don’t agree and that’s fine. I can actually see your point. I think in my case, I went for so long without paying much attention to TNA that it seems fresh to me–if that makes sense. You know how I would never pay much attention but then I watched and ENJOYED Slammiversary. I got my hopes up. The following Impact was pretty good to me only to have them follow up a week later with that bomb of a storyline featuring Dixie and AJ. We won’t discuss that because I felt intense RAGE about it after I’ve tried to get people to watch and tell me what they like or don’t like.

      WWE, overall, is likely still better. I’ve noticed all the tag teams popping up and the longer Diva’s match at No Way Out. No one cares and that really bothers me. Its the fans fault too, like you said, for not even getting into the match–at all. Wendi Richter, the legend that she is, got NO pop. Hell I’m surprised people even know who Piper is these days. It just worked my nerves that someone like Vader can get a pop but not Wendi. I’m interested in seeing if they bring back someone like Molly Holly and not Lita or Trish.

      Raw… I just don’t see how I can stand to watch three hours of the same old routine matches. I think I like TNA’s pacing of matches. There’s enough variety that I can’t always predict the predictable ya know?

      Thanks again Ash. I’m sure I’ll write again in the coming week or so. I must silence the rage somehow.

      Like

      June 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      • I forgot to add one thing, T: I wasn’t a fan of the three hour RAW move either. :D

        Like

        June 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,961 other followers