It has been said that a picture is worth one thousand words. Seeing as I really can’t wrap my thinking around my frustration with the heavyweight title scene in either TNA or WWE at this moment, I figured it’d be better to at least set the stage using pictures instead of words.
Shout out to Mr. Christopher Lamb for inspiring the follow simple, easy-to-understand graphics. Disclaimer: HOWEVER you feel about either wrestling promotion—good, bad, or indifferent—please do not enter into ANY conversation regarding their storylines regarding their own heavyweight championships without EXPLICITLY highlighting the following points:
I’ve written here about being for a title unification/ending the brand extension because there aren’t enough top shelf stars to fill a year of main events. Then I changed my mind, and decided that there could be two title pictures, they just need to stop putting the belt around people like my man Alberto Del Rio that kind of dilute the championship. Then John Cena became WHC again, and it seemed like WWE cared about making the WHC legit again. Annnnnnd just a few minutes ago as I type this, HHH announced they will unify the belts at TLC. I finally understand the point of the brand extension and why two titles were necessary, and still may be.
The biggest problem WWE is facing is not that they don’t have enough stars or potential stars. The problem is overexposure plus horrible booking. WWE has a guy like Alberto Del Rio on EVERY episode of Raw and SmackDown and he has fought for a world championship at damn near ever pay per view going back two years. He debuted months before the 2011 Royal Rumble and before he could connect with the audience or develop his character, he was thrust into the spotlight. He doesn’t have any charisma at all, but I think he’d be a legit main eventer with years of winning midcard titles and building real crowd heat. I just wrote about The Miz, who WAS the main event of WrassleMania, and is the inverse of Del Rio, not a technically proficient wrestler, but has charisma and can cut a promo. He has been jobbed out like a motherfucker. I’m not sure he can ever be built back up to that main event level. I hope that he can.
Cynical fans, the so-called IWC, love to say stupid shit about how John Cena and the PG era are destroying wrestling. (Yes, I’m spelling it right, Quinn) What is watering it down is seeing guys like Kofi Kingston lose every week. Before WWE thought it would be a good idea to put all the top stars on Raw every week, you could focus on writing storylines for a guy only being on one show. Now, every week you have to figure out a way for John Cena and Randy Orton to not lose clean twice. I can understand why that is difficult. The entire reason they did the brand extension in the first place… was they put Stone Cold and HHH on Raw, The Rock and The Undertaker on SmackDown. Then, every year just to keep shit fresh, they’d do a draft to move guys from show to show. They broke THAT model circa 2009. SmackDown was arguably better than Raw 2007-2008. The title picture was Batista, Edge, HHH, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, CM Punk and The Undertaker. LOTS of memorable matches there. Then like all those guys went to Raw. SmackDown became an afterthought.
Raw has always been Vince’s baby. Vince seems to need Raw to be the only show that matters. Which is fucking retarded when you have no less than 5 shows on tv and online a week. So all the big stars are on Raw, all the big storylines happen on Raw. Raw is recapped 46533544 times on Main Event, SmackDown, Superstars and NXT. NXT is the developmental show. Superstars is ironically named because it’s for jobbers. Main Event features jobbers and midcard level guys. SmackDown has become where we have matches they’ll repeat on Raw because THEY ASSUME NO ONE FUCKING WATCHED SMACKDOWN! My point again: Raw and SmackDown should have a separate roster evenly balanced, with two world titles.
WWE doesn’t care what its fans want though, so we’re returning to the era where storylines carry from one show to the other, with less talent and worse writing/booking. All I want is for Randy Orton to be put over Cena, and since TLC is no dq it won’t be clean and doesn’t have to be. So this probably means that WrassleMania will be trash but Daniel Bryan and CM Punk might jerk the curtain… *sigh*
Supporters of Dixie and TNA’s product have produced tons of articles and message board posts that analyze and pick apart the criticisms levied against the promotion, often coming to the conclusion that most claims designed to demean and demoralize the product are unsubstantiated and asinine at best. More often than not the conclusion is that fans who “hate” TNA are just “marks” for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.; these fans “hate” the quality and consistently solid wrestling and drama produced by TNA and dismiss it for the “crap” mass produced by the “stale and awful” sports entertainment promotion owned by Vince McMahon.
Is there any validity to these criticisms, however? What is it about the promotion that makes it an easy target for punchlines, one-liners, rumors, speculation, and just all around bullying? On one hand it could be said that it’s proudly professed position in the pro wrestling hierarchy (the 2nd largest pro wrestling promotion in the world) subjects it to fans’ barbs more so than any other promotion. Then again the same could also be said of the number one promotion in the world…
Perhaps there is a distinct difference between “hatred” for the product and a genuinely logical argument questioning its practices and programming. More so now than ever before in the history of things in this country there is a concentrated effort to placate the feelings of one another by avoiding overly harsh criticism unless it’s directed towards someone or something one cares very little about. It’s like believing one’s child is a complete angel with few behavioral problems here and there, while everyone else remains lax with rearing their demon-spawned offspring.
The bottom line of it all, irregardless of which side of the TNA love/hate fence you sit on, is that people like what they like. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion based off of their experiences and perception of life; the vicious back and forth between TNA supporters and detractors will continue until the end of time. And while criticism launched against TNA may be unjustified and unnecessary more often than not, one would be hard-pressed to deny that the promotion has done some boneheaded s**t in the past eleven years with the same consistently solid locomotion that’s propelled them from obscurity to global recognition in such a short span of time…
Again, it’s all about experience and perspective. TNA and its president, Dixie Carter, are not all bad (though some would disagree; Hi Mr. Gammon!) and they do serve a particular purpose in the cosmos. Whether one consistently congratulates or reprimands the product depends on their perspective on TNA’s place in the cosmos and their experience in understanding the context of that perspective.
Unfortunately for us pro wrestling/sports entertainment fans, TNA’s position in the cosmos is—and may always be—resting quietly in the massive eclipse produced by Vince McMahon’s WWE Death Star hovering ever so confidently in the spotlight. In and of itself TNA succeeds at a particular thing: producing good to great pro wrestling (as professed in its mission statement in the corporate section of their website). That good to great pro wrestling, however, will always be compared to that of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Such is the way of individuals living in a culture where there are “options” for almost everything.
This long philosophical diatribe was necessary for this particular review of IMPACT Wrestling because it sets the foundation for my upcoming commentary, some views that are sure to spark a debate somewhere that could take any given conversation about the show or the promotion to a level much more sophisticated than the standard “This show sucks/this show was great/TNA does all things better than dot-dot-dot” debate that’s more regular than baby bowel movements.
Personally speaking I found the Sports Illustrated.com feature article on Dixie Carter and TNA Wrestling, LLC more entertaining and enlightening than I did last night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Congratulations are in order for Carter and her promotion being featured in Sports Illustrated. In all sincerity if you haven’t read the piece, I would strongly suggest you do so after reading the piece you’re currently looking at.
What is there to say, however, when an article in Sports Entertainment provides more entertainment than the actual product it speaks of? I wouldn’t go as far as others to say the show was “bad” (Hi Mr. Lamb!); what I will say that there was very little in the show that pulled me in and made me want to invest more attention and energy into what was happening. Even the fact that it was the Turning Point themed episode of IMPACT Wrestling and the company’s return to a home base in Orlando made very little difference in my reception of the overall entertainment value of the show.
The Dixie Carter feature on Sports Illustrated.com, on the other hand, did make me want to invest more attention and energy into the promotion. The feature article gave me new insight and information on Mrs. Carter-Salinas, and even explained in tons of ways why she has made some of the more seemingly ridiculous business decisions she’s made in her tenure as TNA President. The feature article put into perspective for me why she, and by proxy her company, is truly an underdog in a profession dominated by old men; it also put into perspective why she isn’t an underdog when you consider the fact that she’s also competing for recognition alongside the equally wealthy and powerful Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and Bonnie Hammer.
It’s incredibly bittersweet that an article about TNA makes me far more excited about investing in the company than the actual product itself. It’s akin to celebrating the fact that TNA, a North American promotion, does better business internationally than it does domestically; the logic is backwards and in some weird, sick and twisted way we fans are expected to understand it and accept it as well. C’est la vie.
Notwithstanding, there were a few things that piqued my interest when I watched the program:
- I’m Confused: Free-Per-Views, One Lackluster Homecoming, and an Unscheduled Shark Boy Appearance #IMPACT365
- What’s Great About the TNA World Heavyweight Title Tournament
- The Degradation of Joseph Park, Esq.
- The Demise of the Aces & Eights
Last night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling was broadcast under the Turning Point theme, the idea being that this particular episode of IMPACT Wrestling would showcase pay-per-view quality matches that one could only witness if one had to actually pay to see it. It’d be a glaring understatement to admit that this concept still confuses the hell out of me, and I’ll gladly accept being called a moron for not getting it as easily as my Ph.D. earning, TNA-loving friends.
What exactly makes these types of episodes different from a regular run-of-the-mill episode of IMPACT Wrestling? Fewer backstage segments? More backstage interviews with Jeremy Borash hyping an upcoming match? Longer matches and less filler in between? Aren’t those the same things accomplished regularly on TNA programming?
A part of all of this just feels like fans are supposed to get excited because we get to see a “pay-per-view” for “free.” But if said “pay-per-view” comes on “free” TV, particularly in the middle of the week during the same time as a regularly scheduled episode of IMPACT Wrestling with very little differentiating it from any other Thursday night episode of the same program,…why are we amped about this again?
Let’s not forget this was TNA’s triumphant return to Orlando, Florida, a homecoming of sorts for the promotion. A lot of fans remained torn over the decision to take IMPACT Wrestling off the road, but there was also a strong consensus that this was necessary for the promotion to maximize its revenue and continue business given the perceived/speculated failure of touring their prime time flagship programming. All things considered the return to Orlando and a newly designed Impact Zone should’ve been celebrated if it were truly that important and significant of a move for the company. Last night’s show was anything but that; the presentation of a company returning to its home base came off as business as usual. Nothing special, nothing ordinary; it is what it is. One would think the promotion would’ve wanted to capitalize off of this move especially since a it was presented as a magnificently great thing leading up to last night.
Just for one moment, think back to the WWE’s return to the USA Network in October 2005, which was arguably a big and dramatic deal for the promotion, the USA Network and fans alike. The publicity for the return was ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS; I believe they’re planning on putting the episode on the upcoming RAW 20th Anniversary DVD box set that’s coming out in a few weeks, but hell…they already gave it a DVD of its own:
The return to Orlando probably wasn’t seen as much of a big deal compared to pushing the Turning Point free-per-view last night, so to expect it to have been that plus more is probably reasonable but out of context of what the focus of the show was last night. Clearly it wasn’t being back in one’s safety zone.
Another thing: why did everyone pretend like they had no clue who EC3′s “legendary” opponent would be even though there existed an Impact 365 video where Shark Boy quit his job and made it known that he was coming to Turning Point? Maybe that was just some expertly crafted trolling similar to when Dixie Carter announced via Impact 365 videos that a former TNA Champion would be returning to the company and that it was actually Adam “Pacman” Jones. Everybody thought it was hilarious and guffawed vociferously because they knew it was a joke…up until Pacman actually showed up on IMPACT Wrestling…
The way the TNA World Heavyweight Title Tournament is unfolding is quite impressive. Although it could be argued that the gimmick stipulations added to the matches by the Wheel of Dixie are honestly unnecessary, they do not detract from the action and the story being told so much that the whole deal becomes easily convoluted. Fans can get the feeling that the men in the tournament are serious about becoming the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, each with their own reasons for doing so. The other thing I like about the story being told on the whole is that other smaller stories are interwoven with the main goal of being the top dog in Dixie’s company.
The on-screen Dixie Carter character is slowly making progress as well; sometimes she (the character and not Mrs. Carter-Salinas herself) comes off a little too sugary sweet and contrived, almost like the character is being forced. The best protagonists and antagonists in pro wrestling are merely over exaggerations of the women and men who portray them in the ring and on the microphone. For the character to work, Dixie has to “be herself,” but not to the point where she’s lampooning herself. A trip to the Vickie Guerrero School of Excuse Me would do wonders for the character.
Besides all of that it was a pleasure to see the violence between James Storm and Robert Roode return to the same levels that made their feud enjoyable some time ago. It was also refreshing to see Dixie confront Samoa Joe about comments he made last week regarding winning the tournament and having his first defense as champ to AJ Styles. This minor development gives me hope that my prediction may actually come to fruition, and I’m personally interested in seeing whether I’m right or wrong.
It’s those types of things that pull fans into a product; to return to some points made earlier in the piece, the feeling of euphoria when one is proven right or wrong about a speculated guess is what keeps this particular analyst invested in TNA’s product each week. It’s actually fun to be wrong on something, as the new direction is (at times) more intriguing than anything we could ever thing of. Conversely, it’s always great to be “right” so you can gloat about it. Nevertheless I still expect Magnus to walk away as the new champion, leading to an eventual confrontation with former TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles. How Magnus gets to that point is sure to be one hell of a ride.
A match between Joseph Park and his brother Abyss was scheduled to take place last night. From our lofty and spacious offices here at L.E.W.D. Headquarters, we saw a few fans here and there speculate on how the promotion planned on making this happen. We all honestly had no clue but waited with bated breath to see how they planned on making this feasible.
Abyss never made it to the ring last night. Instead of facing his brother, Joseph Park was confronted and verbally dissected by the duo of Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, collectively known as Bad Influence. Truthfully speaking it was a little unnerving to listen to Daniels and Kazarian bully the very likeable Joseph Park character (Be A Star, TNA). From calling him a fat tub of mayonnaise to referring to his great grandfather as “Jurassic Park,” I couldn’t help but feel really sorry for the guy…between laughs, that is (the Jurassic Park thing was funny though…).
Daniels and Kazarian then (correctly) professed their hypothesis that the sight of blood makes Joe Park turn into Abyss; afterwards they proceeded to dump a ton of “blood” on Park, to which the latter responded by meekly leaving the ring as Bad Influence continued to demean him. Holy s**t I felt reaaaaaaalllly bad for this guy…
Lord knows where they plan on going with the Joseph Park character and the accompanying Abyss storyline, but this whole segment tugged on my emotional baggage in a way that IMPACT hadn’t done in quite some time. There have been a slew of sympathetic characters ever since the humble carny beginnings of pro wrestling; from Eugene to Zack Gowan, Mickey Whipwreck to Tommy Dreamer, and Cody Deaner to NXT’s Bailey…this is something we should be use to. The lovable scamp of a character that gets tortured and manhandled by everyone else for no good reason…Hi Hornswoggle!
But the Carrie-esque mood involving Bad Influence and Joe Park took that whole sympathetic character to another level for me. I may be the only one that feels like that, but it was just something about the way that Daniels and Kazarian (Daniels in particular) addressed Park that hurt my feelings…and I was just a fan watching the show!
The Joe Park character is one that, despite his lumbering awkwardness and impressively rotund physique, is quite loveable and innocent in a non-Spongebob-man-child way. For all intents and purposes he’s a big dude that got an urge to wrestle after attempting to locate his “brother.” Joe Park ain’t never bothered nobody without reason, and these two friendless, Varsity-team rejects are projecting their frustrations onto him. Hey Bad Influence, blame your mediocrity on Los Stereotypicos and not Joe Park. Speaking of which, where the hell are Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez?
Finally, after eighteen months (according to Mike Tenay) of terrorizing TNA and IMPACT Wrestling, the ungodly reign of the Aces and Eights came to a whimpering end when Ken Anderson defeated Bully Ray in the show’s main event. The conclusion of this yearlong story was underwhelming, and I place the blame of that feeling on my own shoulders. I should’ve never expected the conclusion of this thing to be obnoxiously big and over the top in the first place.
The entire Aces and Eights bit lost steam long ago, and with the massive budget cuts made by the promotion essentially neutering any efficacy achieved by the group, its demise was a death rattle that most fans were well prepared for prior to the first day of the month of November. Leave it to me and only me to be the one to expect this domineering faction to at least exit stage left with more fanfare than it did.
It was somewhat poetic that the hammer used to catapult the group into prominence was also the same thing that drove the final nail in their coffin; it’s always been said that if one lives by the sword, one will die by the sword. I guess the same applies to rubber hammers.
One can only guess where things go from this point as far as the former members of Aces and Eights are concerned. Bully Ray, arguably one of the top breakout stars in the past few years, may or may not find prominence in the upper echelon of TNA stars now that the wind behind his bread-and-butter storyline (Bruce Pritchard) is no longer employed by TNA. Ken Anderson and the Ken Anderson character seems lost and coasting in neutral within TNA, and Garett Bischoff and Knux are just…there. At least Brooke Tessmacher can return to the Knockouts Division full force; these other guys…there’s a lot left to the imagination as far as their roles are concerned.
As a fan we have to ask ourselves what do we expect to happen to these characters from now on; the silver lining is that if we leave that question and any preconceived expectations at the door, we may be pleasantly surprised by what the writers and promotion comes up with. However if we were to view this situation in the same way we would for anyone in WWE, such as The Miz or Kofi Kingston (Hi Corbin!), we can’t really hold our breath for things to be “better” for these guys. TNA doesn’t necessarily have the best track record either with putting their all behind building “superstars” as much as they do in showcasing “wrestlers.” We’ll all just have to wait and see how this one turns out.
By the way, before we pull out the streamers and throw the ticker tape parade, Ken Anderson will “bury” the Aces & Eights next week on IMPACT Wrestling. It’s never OVER until it’s over, folks.
Alas, those are just my thoughts; what do YOU think?
Go back to WrassleMania XXVII. Michael Mizanin was the main event of WrassleMania. They played a wonderful video package set to “Hate Me Now” showing his meteoric rise from The Real World to WWE Champion. It’s so funny to think of that… then remember he’s facing Kofi “I do more jobs than real Jamaicans” Kingston on YouTube, where he’s BEEN on the card for most of this year. Everything SINCE WrassleMania XXXVII was the set up to his failure, and it’s OBVIOUS.
I remember the Mania match for three things. One: It was slow paced and boring. Two: The main event ended by double countout. Three: Miz won when Dwayne screwed John Cena, then suffered a similar fate when, in a foreshadowing of the next two years of booking, The Rock stood over the main event of WrassleMania. I am of the impression that WWE booking is essentially the management telling them who wins and loses and how, and they fill in everything between the entrances and the finish themselves. If that is the case, then John Cena helped paint a disasterpiece. No one was expecting Taker/HBK, Savage/Steamboat, Austin/Bret, Angle/Lesnar etc but when you THINK about THOSE Mania matches, that brutal brawl looks even MORE brutal.
It was inevitable that The Miz would lose the belt feuding with Cena. He is the picture of how not to book a guy you want to be taken seriously. He won the belt with the Money In The Bank after Orton had been beaten before a title match by the Nexus then after he finally beat Barrett. This is not a crime, winning is winning, my nigga. But then… he would feud with Orton and… Jerry Lawler? Jerry The King Lawler was literally on the last rung of climbing the WWE title ladder when Michael Cole would cost him the belt by grabbing his ankle. Orton had him beaten multiple times but was cost multiple title opportunities by CM Punk. In a nutshell… every last damn one of Miz’s successful title defenses was a screwy finish. Heel or no, this is NOT how you book a guy you want people to buy into as the real deal. And yes, I get that CM Punk and Orton feuded, as did… Lawler and Cole… Blah. Overall… The Miz came tertiary to two midcard feuds and was a stepping stone to Rock/Cena main eventing the next two years.
All of that is bad enough if that was all. No. The next year at Mania, Miz only made the card as part of a tag match. Year after that, he won the Intercontinental title on the preshow. Main event to midcard to preshow. Yikes. What did Miz do immediately after losing the belt to Cena? He jobbed to his lackey, who stopped mattering like three months later. Seriously: When was the last time you saw Alex Riley on Raw or SmackDown? Yeah.
This piece was inspired by me watching Aaron Rift’s No DQ&A video… when he was saying that Miz needed to turn heel because the face turn didn’t work. He said Miz was over in 2011 and fans were chanting “Aaaaaaaawwwwwwweeeeeeesooooooommmmmme” with him… that he could see Miz being a lesser version of The Rock, with the fans chanting his catchphrases and whatnot… Here’s where I get conspiratorial: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD “I’m The Miz… and I’m aaaaaaaaawwwwwwweeeeeeeesommmmmmmme”!?! Almost as if… WWE didn’t WANT him over as a babyface. The most they ever did for him was have Ric Flair pass him the Figure Four so he could botch it repeatedly. VERY easy to see how he is set up to fail. Look at how Daniel Bryan is never given promo time or opportunity outside of his entrance, during and after matches to lead “YES” chants. And now Big Show has successfully horned in on his crowd heat, because without “YES” by association, he’d get *crickets*. Remember when Zack Ryder got himself over with his internet show, signed over his gimmick to WWE, cancelled his show, and got jobbed into irrelevance? Seems mighty like WWE is not at all into people getting over organically, and penance is sliding down the card, doing jobs along the way. Miz is working the preshow, and The Best In The World and Goatface are going to job to The Wyatt Family. Survivor Series: Where Screwjobs Happen.
Hey… remember back a couple years when there was a little tag team called “Awesome Truth”? Remember they brought back The Rock, but they blamed The Miz for the low buyrates? Yeah. Kinda like how it’s not Orton or lack of Cena or terrible booking and cards explaining low buyrates during Bryan’s leprechaun time main eventing. Yeah.
Good luck creating stars when you refuse to push guys AND book them strong while they are hot, WWE.
I’m sitting here watching Raw Country. Big E Langston really needs a new name, new ring gear, and they shouldn’t have changed his theme. Well, at least he’s no Wade Barrett in that department. Yes, I wrote that as he was coming out to face Curtis Assho… I mean Axel. I’m gonna go ahead and say they finally end Axel’s pointless title reign and possibly his push. I, am the picture of a demanding wrasslin fan. Some people (Hi, Quinn!) might say I complain too much about wrasslin for someone who watches it faithfully. That’s when this came to me: I watch wrasslin because it’s predictable when nothing about life is, and unlike real like, 9/10 when it surprises me, I am pleasantly surprised.
Every real wrasslin fan has their fantasy booking direction for their favorite wrasslin promotion. It is, in my opinion, the duty of those companies, to lead fans to believe storylines are going in a direction they WANT them to go, and when they do NOT… don’t piss us off to the point where we won’t buy the product. Exhibit A: The Rise And Fall Of Daniel Bryan. First off: TOLD YOU! Second: Smart fans like me knew there was no way they would book a 5’8 funny looking person to be the ‘face of the company’. And we hoped they wouldn’t do dumb shit like ‘hold the title in abeyance’ for two months. We wouldn’t have been mad if HHH just gave the belt back to Orton and said Bryan’s win at Night of Champions NEVER. HAPPENED. (Marks totally saw what I did there.) Then you can still do that dumb ending at Battleground where Big Show knocks out champion and contender… but… your company still has a face, or champion. Why would people buy your PPVs when TWO IN A ROW essentially had NO ending?
(Btw, I was right and now Big E is IC Champion. I hope they don’t do dumb shit and have him lose every match on tv then drop the belt in like 3 months or less, or… kinda what they do to every champion)
Back to how HHH let us down the hard way with Daniel Bryan…
Daniel Bryan deserves so much better. In a world where ‘deserving’ and ‘merit’ and ‘fair’ are real actual things, he is world champion as I type this. But, one more time, I was smart enough to know he had a snowball’s chance in hell of being a long term champion. At BEST he’s going to lose to Cena for the WHC at Mania. Being in two world title matches at Mania in three years is nothing to sneeze at. Rumors abound that they’ll do a title vs title, Orton vs Cena with a possible unification… which I’m against, but mostly cuz “What’s the point of winning the Rumble again?”… so again… I could see the ultimate underdog breaking Rey Mysterio’s record and starting the Rumble and ending it, only to come up short. LOL. Short. Cuz he’s 5’8. Dammit I want Orton/Punk and Cena/Bryan and Lesnar/Taker and anything else will be irrelevant.
All my fantasy booking? It’s led by how I see storylines playing out, influenced by the knowledge that all wrasslin storylines are repeated. The Authority is just The Corporation 2013. Which leads me back to how WWE tends to do dumb shit no one wants to see like Big Show getting the biggest fucking push of the year and not say… Dan… nevermind. Remember when CM Punk was justifiable “Best In The World”? Now he’s “Best Midcarder In The World” and if he doesn’t challenge and defeat Orton and defy The Authority at Mania it will defy everything I think I know about sound logic.
A true mark… is the kind of person dumb enough to believe… saaaaayyyyyyyy… Daniel Bryan can make John Cena tap out. Then you are the very definition of a trick ass mark ass buster. LOL. I will self identify as a smart mark, or smark. Cuz I be knowing. I love this wrasslin shit because for every time they swerve us and do dumb shit no one saw coming cuz no one wanted it, we do get what we want from it, for the most part. Cuz otherwise… why still watch? That’s like having a girlfriend who refuses to… Oh look Ryback is about to lose again!
“First and foremost: we’re back. All of us. And in force. The past few weeks haven’t been kind to us in terms of the written word, but our minds and classically trained talents in critiquing are as fresh as one just out of a bathhouse.
That being said, we’ve come to a conclusion that our standard style, while informative, isn’t truly L.E.W.D. enough for our tastes. Though we don our battle armor when we take to the streets to combat Smiths or tackle kayfabe foolishness, when in standard counsel amongst ourselves we kick back with a brewsky and some nachos and palaver like the near-gods that we are.
These conversations are truly our most enlightening thoughts and feelings, and we’ve held them from you all for far too long. Frankly I’d keep it hidden but my allies (and Corbin) would say otherwise.
So prepare for some unpolished, unrefined, uncensored talk from us, your L.E.W.D. saviors, and indulge us in our casual conversations about life, love, pro wrestling, human-cyborg relations, companies you love, companies you think you love but you truly have a Stockholm Syndrome effect with, bare bones politics, sports entertainment, boxers or briefs, the role of Atlantis in humanity’s history and, of course, Christopher Walken. Thanks for your time, and thank you further for your comments.”
Ashley Morris: Here’s an even more asinine comment regarding all of this:
Ivor Biggen – “Is this checkmate in Dixie’s war with AJ? Wrestling fans are very interested to see what the response to this will be from the now ex champ. Stay tuned wrestling fans, interesting times ahead.”
Uhm…no. We know exactly what his response will be: “I’m the TNA Champ and no other champ is champ until he defeats me…”
But sir, you have no claim to that title. You’re the LAST TNA Champ, but you stripped yourself of that title when you left. Buh bye!
Quinn Gammon: ……………Da FAQ?!?!?!?!
Ashley Morris: My words for the upcoming piece:
“The title currently held by AJ Styles means very little inside of TNA and even less outside of the promotion. It is a symbol of his last reign as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, but that’s about it. Even more damning is the fact that AAA can’t recognize him as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, particularly after it was announced by TNA President Dixie Carter that he was stripped of said title.
As far as the storyline goes from this point, AJ Styles will tour the world defending a title and championship devoid of all but sentimental meaning. The title he possesses is no longer sanctioned by the promotion he no longer works for; AJ Styles will literally tour the globe to defend his own personal Global Championship.
Quinn Gammon: So, it’s the AJ Styles Championship? Could TNA possibly make this anymore of a brain rattling cluster-skull-f*ck?
Ashley Morris: It’s not unfixable; that’s what I’m talking about in the piece.
Quinn Gammon: That’s my thing though: The fact that it CAN be fixed is a moot point. You can snap every single appendage off of an action figure and superglue it back together and technically, it’s fixed. But should you have ever dismembered the damn thing in the first place?
Like, what’s the payoff?
Ashley Morris: Styles vs. Magnus, passing the torch to usher in a new “era” in the company’s history. At least that’s how I think it should happen.
Quinn Gammon: After that ASS of a match that Magnus had at Bound For Bankruptcy? And what amounted to a random semi-but-maybe-not-really heel turn?
I mean, yeah, at this point Magnus is probably the only viable choice but is he capable enough to carry a faux-gold plated backfiring Super Soaker like the AJ Styles Championship?
Ashley Morris: The fact this was a ripoff of Punk’s storyline, even if the fans are slow to openly and earnestly admit it, done because creatively the company is f***ed. But once they get the title off of AJ completely, they can reset everything and at least attempt to be more than what they are now. Can they do it…questionable. But it can happen.
My question to you, brother, is what would you have preferred them to do?
Nah nah nah nah nah. Styles’ faux title is meaningless; if Magnus is the new TNA champ, he won’t have to face Styles because he’s the TNA champ despite whatever Styles has to say about it.
He avoids facing Styles one-on-one for awhile (heel tactic) until someone pushes them to fight just to end the bee ess squabbling.
Magnus beats him, we all feel a little better b/c Styles puts him over as the new face of the company; they pander him like John Cena, they get some mainstream notoriety under their belts.
Quinn Gammon: If they’re really so desperate that they’re stealing the Summer of Punk storyline, why in the holy mother of ass are they doing it in reverse?
The Summer of Punk made sense because it was the up and comer absconding with the Title and the vet and de-facto face of the company voiding that by winning the “official” title, thus invalidating the up and comer’s victory.
Why is the vet/de-facto face of the company absconding with the title and the up and comer winning the “official” title? The whole thing doesn’t make any damn sense. And how the heck is Magnus supposed to be the guy that carries them into the mainstream?
If they couldn’t do that with any of their established Main Eventers, while having folks like Sting and Hogan on the roster for posterity, then how is a 26 year old jacked British kid supposed to do it?
Ashley Morris: Takes a paradigm change, a shift in their business model and how all of this comes about. It’s the only option (in my opinion) that they have if they don’t want to tread water. Mind you that EVERY other thing you and I said they should do they eventually did, albeit 2-3 years late.
It’s far past time for them to grow and groom their own stars. It didn’t work with their established Main Eventers because they didn’t utilize them as anything more than pro wrestlers who were really nice in person. But if you put this 26 year old British kid in situations where he’s kissing sick babies and granting wishes, then they’re marketing him far differently than before and INTENTIONALLY doing so.
Keep in mind John Cena debuted in 2002 at 25 and look where the hell he is now. If they’re gonna pull the trigger on a star and groom him to BE TNA, then Magnus is the guy to do it with and that time is now.
And when you look at it like that, is it really all that bad that the up and comer is winning the OFFICIAL title, when the vet/de facto face of the company is legitimizing himself as a world class athlete? The up and comer is literally handed the torch from a world class de facto face of the company…that’s not a good thing?
Quinn Gammon: When John Cena had the trigger pulled on him, he embodied (and still does) the American Dream. A kid coming from nothing and making himself huge. Hard work ethic, humble, successful and All American. That formula is still working.
What does Magnus have going for him? He’s young and is one of the only up and comers TNA hasn’t killed yet. They won’t pull the trigger on him because they see potential. They’ll do it out of necessity. They’re already treading water and while they did end up doing everything we said they need to do, they did it years late AND in the wrong order.
I don’t think it matters any longer what TNA does with whom. They’ve maintained their tens of fans and alienated others for such a long time that they’re damaged. Mark Madden labeled them an irreparably damaged brand and I agree.
Not that they can’t come back from the brink of apocalypse but it’d take something dramatic.
IF (speculation still abounds) the Carters are finally bailing on this failed after school special, TNA would need a buyer pretty quickly to stay afloat.
WWE (as far as we know) has almost no interest in acquiring the company. Who else is left that would? Eric Bischoff or Hogan (who could only financially do it with Bischoff’s help anyway) and that wouldn’t fix anything, seeing as how those two are at the root of a lot of the latest nails in the TNA coffin.
That leaves Spike TV, which needs programming on its lineup and something to pimp their Bellator stuff.
And what do you think Spike TV’s first move would be? Re-sign Hogan for the name value.
There are VERY few ways this ends on a silver lining for TNA. Am I predicting doom? No. But it’s gonna take something just shy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to keep them afloat if they don’t find a golden goose and FAST. Suddenly deciding to turn a 26 year old British stud into Rocky Balboa ain’t gonna do it for them.
Oh and the Jarrett family, but I’m not sure how Jeff could turn it around and Jerry has more or less done everything in his power to distance himself from it, seeing as how it bears virtually no resemblance to the product that he and his son created 11 years ago.
Ashley Morris: It seems as if this is a question of “when,” not “if.” I won’t sit here and blindly ignore the obvious as it stares at us straight in the face, but I will say the one thing that makes me different than some of the others who willfully bury their heads in the sand is that I recognize the speculative nature of the rumor but assume that it is possible they’re seeking out potential buyers.
With that being said, the company still has to operate and move forward; if we’ve actually already seen the worst of the programming, then they couldn’t do worse by putting their money behind Magnus. The ironic part of it is that, as much as we’ve criticized them for NOT doing things in a particular order or in a feasible way, they have a chance to do that with Magnus and we’re still like…naaaaaaah.
That same story for Cena applies, in a way, to Magnus as well. Immigrant who worked his ass off to make it in the business and did so in America. Why not put money on him? He looks good, he has that “wrestler” look? What’s the issue with that?
Quinn Gammon: I thought he needed more than the look to get by?
It’s not that I’m gonna damn them for everything they do, but you can’t sit there and tell me that Magnus is suddenly their golden ticket to a prosperous future. I know you’ll say that he “could” be, but I just don’t see it. What do Magnus and TNA have going for them right now that they didn’t before?
What variable has changed that they could suddenly dig themselves out of the ditch by getting behind Magnus? I would have thought if they could do that, they would have done it a long time ago. Not to say that they have good timing but anytime in the past that the company’s immediate future was on the line, that was typically the only time they were capable of timely decision making. What changed?
Apparently so, according to popular belief after fans worldwide witnessed the opening moments and match of Monday night’s episode of RAW. When returning superstar John Cena entered the area as the newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion, fans became ecstatic when Damien Sandow verbally and physically attacked him, using the opportunity to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. In an excellent match it wasn’t very long before the Champ rallied back with the momentum of Juggernaut and claimed victory over Sandow and his failed attempt to cash in his championship match contract.
Some would even venture to say that Sandow’s loss against Cena made him dead on arrival to the main event scene.
To no one’s surprise the word “burial” arose like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of Damien Sandow’s defeat. The creature is currently enjoying a leisurely flight around the IWC, releasing its magical yet harmful droppings on the faces of fans gazing skyward, imploring the wrestling gawds for an answer that will appease and satiate their blank, slack-jawed gazes of consternation and dismay.
There exists a school of thought among these fans that believes Sandow’s MITB opportunity, and the MITB concept itself, was killed off with his high profile loss to a 14-time Heavyweight Champion. This perspective, although a legitimate reaction to Sandow’s loss, seems a bit misguided and just as convoluted as the idea of the MITB contract opportunity.
The Money in the Bank contract is, at its core, a once-a-year opportunity that guarantees its holder one shot at the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. Several contestants are randomly chosen to (based on certain criteria depending on the time of year the event or match takes place) to participate in a match where the winner must climb a ladder and remove a briefcase from a hook dangling from the rafters.
The praxis of the contest is more involved than it seems, but the basis of the match—the very foundation it rests on—still remains the same; outsmart five to seven other wrestlers and grab a briefcase hanging from the ceiling. One doesn’t have to be championship material or have been a major title holder to win the match; all one has to do is be resilient, ingenious, crafty as hell and lucky.
Upon winning the MITB contract, Damien Sandow joined the pantheon of stars who have all in some way managed to exemplify the aforementioned traits that ultimately led them to snagging their golden ticket to a number one contender’s spot. From that point on, Sandow’s in-ring career reached lows not seen in WWE since The Brooklyn Brawler or Colin Delaney.
Sandow embarked upon an intricately prolonged losing streak and a feud that revealed the simplistic absurdity of the MITB concept. After having his briefcase stolen and tossed into the Gulf of Mexico by Cody Rhodes, the self-proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” complained and wept incessantly about his “briefcase.” It became quite ridiculous (and entertaining) to see Sandow resort to unnecessary lengths to protect his briefcase and reclaim the integrity of the MITB briefcase that was sullied by his former best friend.
Realistically speaking, the MITB briefcase was never important; it was what was in the briefcase that was significant. The MITB briefcase simply housed the contract that guaranteed its winner a major title championship match.
Without the briefcase, Sandow was still guaranteed that match by virtue of his capture of the briefcase and the contract. Regardless of whether he was in possession of the case or not, he had a binding claim to the championship match guaranteed by the contract within said briefcase. The only way that binding agreement could have been nullified would have been if Sandow placed the contract on the line during a match; other than that, the briefcase is only a symbol that serves as the outward acknowledgement of a man who could call out a main event champion at any time.
What has happened, however, that is within its eight year history the MITB briefcase became more important than the contract within it. The symbol became more important than the object it stood for. Having the damn briefcase became more of a top priority than having (or seeing) the actual contract.
In that same sense the MITB briefcase, in the eyes of the fans, has become more important than winning the championship itself.
Instead of symbolizing a quick and easy way to a championship match, the briefcase has become something that designates a particular wrestler’s ascent to the main event scene. Due to the fact that a majority of the MITB winners have successfully cashed in their contracts, the briefcase has become a “dead giveaway” of the next WWE or World Heavyweight Champion. WWE has effectively conditioned fans to do three things: anticipate the MITB matches/pay-per-view, revel in the high-risk antics of the matches, and immediately create an imaginary scenario where the winners become main event stars.
Lost in translation amid those three conditions is the story that drives the reality of the contract, the importance of this one-shot-only championship opportunity, and the clout of whoever holds the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship at the time. In effect, most fans believed Damien Sandow should have won the World Heavyweight Championship regardless of who held it, simply because he held the MITB briefcase.
That same logic dictates that the Royal Rumble winner should become a heavyweight champion by virtue of his ability to defeat twenty-nine to thirty-nine other men … not because he can defeat the one person holding the title come WrestleMania.
Damien Sandow’s inability to capture the title, then, looks poorly upon the booking team and all other executive level parties instead of screaming volumes about the Damien Sandow character. The prestige of the title and the holder of that title become less important than the challenger with a lucky break. The fact that Sandow had less than a handful of victories after gaining the contract is moot … him simply owning the briefcase is proof enough to solidify his rightful status as a main event star of championship caliber.
The story surrounding the MITB contract holder is vital to the success of the character and the future of the concept. While it is true that majority of the MITB winners subsequently won their championship matches, very few fans will delve into the intricacies of how they won those matches. Most winners capitalized off of a compromised champion following a grueling championship defense.
In the case of WWE Superstar Edge, also known as “The Ultimate Opportunist,” his second MITB contract came when he defeated Mr. Kennedy for the briefcase. He didn’t even win the MITB match to gain the MITB contract! How does that speak highly of a concept fans believe highlights the credibility of an up-and-coming main event champion? More importantly what does that say about Ken Anderson, good or bad?
Despite our insistence that the MITB briefcase is more than what it actually is the contract is for one championship match. If Hornswoggle captures the briefcase and gains the contract, he gains an opportunity to face a major main event champion.
Ownership of the briefcase does not turn him into a force to be reckoned with a la Batman or Aquaman; rather the contract gives him a chance to face and defeat a heavyweight champion. How Hornswoggle goes about that process will determine the strength and direction of his character, in victory or defeat.
For Damien Sandow, how he attacked John Cena and how he held his own in the match says far more about the character and its direction than a leather bound or metallic briefcase ever could. Sandow was vicious, calculated, determined and forceful in his match; how that translates into a burial of Sandow and the character is beyond comprehension.
If we truly believe that the briefcase made Sandow a threat to the championship, that the prop in his story is the end all, be all to his slow, steady and obviously working rise to main event status, then we’ve totally missed the point of enjoying sports entertainment specifically and pro wrestling in general.
The loss to Cena during the solid and strong opening to RAW isn’t the end for Damien Sandow and his career; it’s actually only the beginning.
And all of this is coming from the L.E.W.D. writer who hates Damien “Effing” Sandow.
Former TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles will defend his title in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday, November 3. His opponent will be El Mesias, also known as Judas Mesias from his days in TNA.
The word “former” is used to describe Styles because earlier today it was announced via TNA’s new 24/7 initiative that the promotion’s president, Dixie Carter, has stripped Styles of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. As early as last week, however, it was also leaked (via spoilers) that Carter would utilize tonight’s Halloween episode of Impact Wrestling to announce a tournament to decide a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
As much as this storyline reeks of something done before, most fans welcome this news as a sign of exciting things to come within the promotion. TNA has been beleaguered in recent weeks with more negative news than paternity tests on The Maury Show, so any bit of positivity for the company should be received with open arms and smiling faces … even at the expense of fuzzy logic.
AJ Styles defeated Bully Ray at TNA’s 2013 Bound for Glory pay per view to become the promotion’s new World Heavyweight Champion. Styles successfully defended his title against the former champion on the October 24 episode of Impact Wrestling where, despite constant please and bribes from Dixie Carter, walked out of the company while still in possession of the championship belt. It was during an in-ring interaction with Carter that Styles made it clearly known that he did not have a contract with TNA nor did he intend to sign a new one.
At that moment AJ Styles technically abdicated his position as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, thus vacating the title and giving Dixie Carter the go ahead to vacate said title … which she did today.
When Styles faces El Mesias this Sunday for Mexico’s AAA promotion, what exactly will he be defending?
The TNA World Heavyweight Championship is TNA’s most coveted title, an award given to the promotion’s top heavyweight wrestler. Being TNA’s World Heavyweight Champion implies that you’ve faced and defeated competitors from all around the world on behalf of Total Non-stop Action Wrestling, LLC. TNA recognizes you as their champion and allows you to defend their title in their name against competitors they deem worthy of having a shot at it.
If TNA no longer recognizes an individual as their world heavyweight champion, for whatever reason, that individual can no longer claim the right or authority to be the TNA World Heavyweight Champion; plain and simple.
The title currently held by AJ Styles means very little inside of TNA and even less outside of the promotion. It is a symbol of his last reign as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, but that’s about it. Even more damning is the fact that AAA can’t recognize him as TNA World Heavyweight Champion within the Mexican promotion especially after it was announced by TNA President Dixie Carter that he was stripped of said title.
As far as the storyline goes from this point, AJ Styles will tour the world defending a title and championship devoid of all but sentimental meaning. The title he possesses is no longer sanctioned by the promotion he no longer works for; AJ Styles will literally tour the globe to defend his own personal Global Championship.
Where could TNA possibly go with this storyline?
Dixie Carter will publicly announce the beginning of the tournament to crown a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion on tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling. This tournament could easily last a month, with Magnus eventually being crowned the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
AJ Styles returns after having several awesome matches and “title defenses” around the world, making a claim in TNA that he is still the TNA World Heavyweight Champ because he wasn’t defeated for the title. His claim would be (and should be) immediately dismissed by the real TNA World Heavyweight Champion, who would possess the promotion’s only sanctioned World Heavyweight Championship.
Styles would claim that after defending his “title” against legendary stars around the globe, Magnus could never rightfully claim to be “the man” in TNA because, as the saying goes, he’s yet to defeat “the man.” Styles would go on to insult Magnus by calling him a paper champion, a puppet of Dixie Carter that will get used and abused for years just as he did. Styles would claim that Magnus’ only way of legitimizing himself and his legacy in TNA would be to prove that he can best the company’s de-facto face and a true world champion.
Magnus would have nothing to gain by wrestling Styles, so he refuses to wrestle him for some time. To Magnus, bragging rights for defeating a former champ that left the company means nothing to a champ that climbed his way up the ranks and defeated TNA’s biggest names to gain recognition as their World Heavyweight Champion. Magnus would refuse to face Styles because facing Styles, at this point in his career, would be beneath him.
Styles and Magnus would go back and forth in a war of words for a period of time before a third party steps in and forces them to face each other for the rights and privileges to be called TNA’s World Heavyweight Champion. Magnus wins in a hard fought battle and becomes the “face” of TNA moving forward with renewed vigor.
That’s one way things could go; but alas, what do YOU think?
Let me start by saying: I do not think Sandow cashing in MITB and losing constitutes a burial (Hi, Quinn!) or hate Cena for not putting over the younger talent. However, I do believe they’ve wasted that briefcase going back to CM Punk, who was the last person I remember doing good things with it. In my not so humble opinion, the Money In The Bank is supposed to be JUST that… money… in the bank. You’re supposed to be able to write it down: THIS guy will be world champion and main eventing. But now, they waste that, for reasons I don’t understand.
Damien Sandow had his first match I will point to as: “OK… I see something there… he might could be somebody.” You can debate me that if his first coming out moment as a big time player came because of the case, then it wasn’t a waste… but then you’d be guilty of missing the forest for the trees. We uphold Stone Cold Steve Austin passing out in a puddle of himself as that moment when we knew he was that next guy. I think this is a lot like that. IF Sandow goes back into the midcard and wins those titles and rarely loses, then yes, he IS being built up. Otherwise, he will be in that midcard hell The Christopher wrote about.
I know a lot of people in the IWC hate John Cena. The Christopher just wrote about his “Cena getting beat half to death with a bat” fantasy. I honestly watched that match last night hoping that Cena would ONCE AGAIN overcome adversity and beat Sandow. Which is what was supposed to happen. People are not SUPPOSED to be cheering the heel beating up the babyface. I knew Cena would win. And I knew people would be mad about it. But, again, I saw it as an opportunity to get Sandow momentum to ultimately rise up on the card.
I hate how most of the more recent MITB holders have lost a lot while holding the case. Sandow MIGHT have won three matches holding that case. Daniel Bryan was doing more jobs than Nigerians. I miss the days when Edge truly used that case to elevate himself. He defended the case like a title, and successfully cashed it in twice. CM Punk never defended it, but I remember around that same time he reached the King of the Ring finals and was winning the IC and tag titles. You felt like you were watching the ascension of a new superstar. Until last night, I did not feel that way about Damien Sandow.
One more time for the road: The case was a waste if Sandow goes back to doing jobs. If he goes on to win big matches and multiple titles, then we did see the birth of a new star.
Now: I want to bitch some more about how stupid The Big Show storyline is. A man that was fired but inserts himself in every major segment over the WWE title is stupid to me. A man suing the company appeared on TV and assaulted the champion of that company while under a restraining order. STOOPIDT.
That is all.
Other than that, that was one of the best Raws of recent vintage. It was wall to wall action and excitement and there’s so much to talk about and look forward to… but DAMMIT they gotta stop firing people in storyline and they still getting on tv. I hate it.
As Cena was giving his “I’m back to active duty and flaunting my return” speech, I had a thought. It was literally the most vivid and entertaining wrestling thing I had mentally pictured since my mind wandered and I imagined me, Layla and Mickie James in a barn in the middle of July. Sweet, sweet memories. Anyway, the thought was Cena, in the middle of the ring, getting beat senseless by a man dressed in all black – all black shirt, all black pants, all black boots, all black gloves, all black mask, all black sunglasses – with an all black baseball bat. It was just glorious. Cena was smacked against the face and collapsed. After that he proceeded to beat Cena until the man’s arm was literally bent the wrong way. Cena writhed and convulsed on the mat but the assault didn’t cease: it kept going until Cena was breathing but otherwise unresponsive. The crowd went deathly silent, time seemed to stop, and as some kids finally began to cry and scream for Cena to get up, the man in all black reached into his pocket, tossed a small green crystal onto his prey, turned around and casually left. No explanation given. It was… it was just…
And after I shed some
manly tears of joy, here comes Damien Sandow. He was his usual “I’m better than you, and I know it” self and he came out to tease at cashing in the briefcase. No one in their right mind would believe that he would take on Cena in a fair one-on-one conflict, so when he looked like he was about to leave I said, “Expected.”
Then he beat Cena with that briefcase, a chair and those stairs. And my heart was glad. As sad as it is, few things bring me as much joy as seeing John Cena get demolished, and 30 seconds into Sandow’s violent attack I knew three things:
- Cena’s arm was going to be the focus of the coming match
- Sandow was going to cash in, and
- Sandow was NOT going to win
That unnerved me at first, I admit, but as the match officially began and went on we saw something: we saw one hell of a match. Not only was Sandow keeping up with Cena but he was fighting the man like a strategist, a Lex Luthor taking on Superman, if you will. Sure, Sandow lost, as was expected, but the back-and-forth was so compelling that even in his loss we were brought to doing something we had only done in a speculatory (<— not a real word) fashion in the past few months: actively talking about Damien Sandow.
People are going to say that he’s in midcard hell, and at some point I might have agreed with you, but that briefcase has been his floatation device. He was on a classic win-lose (or lose-lose-occasional win) streak over the past few, holding that hunk of chocolate like he had low blood sugar, and when he finally DID decide to cash-in it was where? The day after a PPV, as the first match, in a conflict that few of us honestly thought he was capable of.
Yes, Sandow lost. But he had a championship match with John Cena. Let’s look at a TRUE midcard hell inhabitant: Kofi Kingston. No, he still finds himself on TV and in the occasional storyline. Let’s look at a TRUER midcard hell inhabitant: Zack Ryder. He’s held a belt (after launching a campaign for a secondary title, for some reason for the other) but after losing it he descended into nothingness. Sure, he’s around. But who cares? Outside of Gamespot, that is. For some reason or the other. He’s more or less forgotten. Sandow is no longer in that kind of predicament.
So no, Sandow is NOT in the midcard hell, and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. Hell in a Cell opened a few doors and gave us a few thrills, and I can’t wait to speak on a good few of them, ESPECIALLY the dynamic between Bryan and the administration. I know a lot of people are confused and I hope tonight’s RAW has answered a few questions; alleviated some concerns. If not, sorry.
But keep this in mind, WWE faithful: NONE of this would have been a factor if you didn’t go the obvious route…
It’s Monday night, and I’m watching Monday night RAW. And by watching, I mean, it’s playing in the background and I’m occasionally listening/glancing up at it while doing a million other things.
I’m still a WWE wrestling fan, don’t get me wrong. I’m using the term “wrestling fan” loosely. I’m really a sports entertainment fan. In September, Pastah Showtime took me to Huntsville to see the Smackdown Superstars show. I finally got to see my WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio (and be one of the only people in the Vonn Braun Center cheering for him. A couple weeks ago, I watched whichever pay-per-view that was on, and I have kept up with Raw. The thing is that I’m not interested in a lot of the story lines that are going on right now.
Anything that once had potential to keep my interest is lost by the end of the show. With Raw being three hours long, a lot of the story lines can be developed in a single episode. There is a story line that continues through every show, and it’s not very good at keeping my interest because it there is very little at stake in the plot concerning HHH and his hand in who is the WWE champion. Basically, a plot should look like the following diagram:
From Image Grammar: Using Grammatical Structures to Teach Writing by Harry R. Noden
Monday Night raw is following a diagram that is not nearly as steep, concerning the setting, set up, and most definitely any rising action before getting to a climax. Has anyone noticed that they do not even do the regular Raw opening anymore? Raw has turned into a lot of replaying scenes from matches and incessantly advertising the WWE app, which nobody really needs because they show everything they put on the app on television.
There are no good set ups for any rivalry. As a sports entertainment fan, I have no reason to care about why Character A is fighting/requesting a match with Character B. So far, the only decent set up involved the WWE championship between Randy Orton and Goatface, but quite honestly, I’m tired of that and HHH’s power trip of interference. I see the potential for this story to make me interested, but it hasn’t happened, yet. Rising action, so far, this is where the WWE is succeeding, there are a lot of promos, back stage interaction, and interactions from the app that give some of the matches potential for being interesting, but as that rising action develops, it flattens out, rather than peaking for an interesting climax.
Once we reach any type of climax on Monday Night Raw, we do not continue that interest to the next show, because like I said earlier, they have three whole hours to work out whatever conflict they have created. There is a loss of connectivity that makes me say as a sports entertainment fan, “ I want to see what happens next week.”
A Disappointed Sports Entertainment Fan.
A particularly nasty rumor has recently surfaced regarding the future of Total Non-stop Action Wrestling, LLC.
Conveniently happening during Sunday night’s 2013 WWE Hell in a Cell pay per view, news leaked on renowned wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer report of the Carter family’s intent to sell TNA. The news literally spread like wildfire, and by the conclusion of Hell in a Cell, several pundits, analysts, defenders and detractors were viciously sparring over whether or not the news was a fact or rumor. Some individuals even went immediately to discredit Dave Meltzer and all sites reporting the rumor as “news.”
While a rumor of this ilk is not something new for TNA, it does seem odd for Dave Meltzer’s name to be unceremoniously attached to it. Even more concerning is that in the midst of the speculation there is no substantial proof either way regarding the validity of the rumor. There’s no concrete evidence that the Carter’s are looking to sell TNA, and there’s no concrete evidence stating that they aren’t interested in selling it either.
There is, however, evidence that would suggest that the company is far from being placed on the auction block.
Details were announced yesterday to nowhere near as much fanfare about TNA’s upcoming UK tour. For the first time in its eleven year history TNA will tape two pay per views (One Night Specials) from the UK. Also significant about this year’s tour is that the promotion will be filming for television during all four shows. The UK market has always been presented as something to be nurtured and heavily supported by TNA, so news of this magnitude is a big deal for the promotion and her fans “across the pond” and here in the states.
The UK fans always come across as being completely engaged in and enthralled by the action presented by TNA, far more so than any American audiences they’ve appeared before. One could easily look at this news and logically conclude that a company on the fringes of being sold would also not be in a place to push forward with such a momentous production in the UK tour.
But the UK tour alone is not enough to discredit the rumor of the Carter family’s intent to sell TNA. The UK tour, if anything, only proves that the company is moving forward with plans of touring the United Kingdom, something that probably was already set in motion after the conclusion of the last UK tour.
Just because a business is up for sale doesn’t imply that the business halts production until the actual sale has occurred.
For example: if a man was to sell his only means of transportation, would he stop using that vehicle until someone purchased it? How would he get to work or to the grocery store? Why would he let the vehicle sit unused for an indefinite amount of time before someone comes along to purchase it? Would he also neglect to maintain it until the perfect buyer comes along? If so, will he be handing over a lemon to an unsuspecting buyer?
Corporations and businesses purchase other corporations and businesses all the time, often times going unnoticed by consumers by and large. When structures and entities as such are purchased, the business continues until a re-branding or restructuring is complete. There is a huge difference between a company going “out-of-business” and a company being “sold.”
Wachovia Bank didn’t go out of business; it was purchased by Wells Fargo. Patrons continued to have their banking needs taken care of all while Wachovia branches across the nation were redesigned and re-branded as Wells Fargo locations.
Black Entertainment Television (also known as BET) didn’t go out of business when it was purchased by Viacom (the parent company of Spike TV, by the way) in 2001. The network remained on air and programming made noticeable changes during its transition from a Black owned station to African-American themed MTV.
The rumor surrounds the Carter family’s intent to sell the company. If they were going to shut down the promotion it would’ve already happened by now. End of story.
However, if the family has yet to see a substantial return on the money they’ve invested in the company over the past eleven years and seeks to regain something from their investment, a much more fiscally agreeable decision would be to sell the company to an interested buyer. This way the venture wouldn’t and couldn’t be seen as a complete failure, but rather as something that no longer fit in with the Carter family’s investment portfolio.
Take the sale of WCW to WWE in 2001 as another example. Fans have it in their minds that the odds and ends of the sale took place the night Vince McMahon simultaneously broadcast himself and RAW on TNT and the USA Network. The actual move to sell WCW began months earlier if not a year in advance when speculation surfaced that WCW was up for sale.
The promotion continued to produce shows while varies entities put in bids to buy the company, most of which ended up being rejected. It is noted that when Jamie Kellner became the CEO and chairman of Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., negotiations began with Vince McMahon and the WWE on the purchase of WCW; this was after a deal with Fusient Media Ventures and Eric Bischoff went south.
All this is to say that at least for one whole year negotiations between several entities happened before the actual sale of WCW was finalized. In that year, WCW did not cease to broadcast shows or produce a product; they merely went ahead with business as usual until the official announcement was made via Monday Night RAW and the last episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Within that year, contracts were disputed, assets were appraised, debt was discussed, libraries and publishing rights were purchased, and so forth and so on.
It is too absurd or difficult to believe a similar process is occurring between TNA and some interested entities?
Perhaps it is but for various reasons…
There are fans that genuinely prefer TNA’s brand of pro wrestling which, in and of itself, provides a particularly unique form of amusement in the sports entertainment industry. TNA is important to these fans because it is the type of quality pro wrestling desired in an industry flooded with what they deem to be crap. TNA is analogous to eating a daily well-balanced diet as opposed to another promotion’s unhealthy fast food dietary habits.
These fans may also view TNA as the proverbial underdog in an industry lorded over by an evil and soulless, money driven corporation (which, of course, is one highly subjective opinion). In one sense the fans live vicariously through the promotion’s successes and failures, willing TNA to continue to conquer hurdles in its quest to remain a fixture in the industry. If TNA can make it and continues to succeed, they can draw inspiration and strength from the small company standing up to the machine.
Other fans view TNA necessary for competition, stating that having “alternatives” in the business is good for the business as a whole. To these fans it isn’t all that necessary that TNA performs at a level comparable to the WWE, but rather that they exist and are supported to the point where it forces the WWE to get better due to the increased notoriety of TNA’s product.
It’s quite possible that the aforementioned fans view any news of TNA operating outside of its current form and structure as a failure, which isn’t true at all. If anything TNA operating within its current form and structure is more of a failure than the sale of the company could be at this point.
One’s head would have to be buried completely in the sand to miss all of the restructuring TNA has done in the past few months. No matter how we spin the news, the reality is that several decisions made within the promotion have left them with very few options to keep the product up and running.
They’ve had to scale back their touring schedule, take the show back off the road (something I believe wasn’t designed to be a long term plan from the very beginning), and release several wrestlers and company officials from their contracts. Those are all measures companies take to cut costs, and companies cut costs when they’re not bringing in enough revenue to handle operating the company.
Despite our misguided belief as fans that money isn’t a significant factor, it is significant enough for TNA’s parent company to at least consider the option of selling the promotion if the promotion is not performing at an optimal level.
Fans can bicker back and forth for an eternity over the quality of the product and the millions of fans worldwide, but the bottom line is that it is quite possible those numbers aren’t translating into steady revenue streams. The promotion wouldn’t have needed to fire anyone en masse or take their only flagship program off the road if they were truly bringing in more money than they were spending.
Selling the company ensures that a group or entity devoted to the product and pro wrestling can take the helm and revive this beleaguered promotion. Potential investors could be unearthed and take the promotion to even greater heights if allowed to invest in TNA in ways the Carter family and Panda Energy, Inc. no longer can. The sale of the company can be viewed as a great thing depending on how the situation is viewed.
Then again, this is still all speculation on behalf of one Dave Meltzer and tons of overzealously analytical fans.
No one outside of the company and its investors can say definitively whether or not Total Non-stop Action Wrestling, LLC is up for sale. In the event that it is, we can only hope that the promotion doesn’t falls into the hands of an individual or corporation that wants to kill it off.
In the event that TNA isn’t for sale, we can only wait to see if they truly can rise above their challenges and conquer the fans’ hearts and dollars in ways they’ve yet to do.
The main events of last night’s PPV were very indicative of how real that glass ceiling Phil Brooks ranted about is. Alberto Del Rio lost AGAIN to John Cena… because WWE wants SO badly for us to care about him. And Daniel Bryan lost to Randy Orton with help AGAIN. Because they want to send that message that size and looks don’t matter! Remember kids, Be a STAR! As far as heaven is above the earth, such is the difference between WWE Superstars…
Am I saying I want “Anything can happen in WWE” to mean that Santino can hit John Cena with the Cobra and be world champion? FUCK no. But I am saying that high midcard talents cannot be tomorrow’s main eventers if they can’t realistically compete with the main eventers today.
John Cena gave Kurt Angle a hell of a fight in his very first match. He had memorable feuds with the likes of Undertaker and Brock Lesnar on SmackDown. This was back in those days where guys didn’t lose every match and Michael Cole chirps: “What a rivalry!” Similarly, Randy Orton beat Hardcore Holly in his first match. Became youngest world champion ever by beating He Who Never Existed So His Name Shall Not Be Uttered. Feuded with legends like Mick Foley and Undertaker while still being in that midcard. Am I saying Cena and Orton didn’t take hella losses while being midcard heels? NO. But they were respectable. You could see the potential. And look at them now.
Do you see that same potential in Cody Rhodes or Fandango or The Shield or Big E Langston, to name a few? EYE do. But I wonder if WWE does. I think that if Cody is booked right he can be a contender in the next year. I think Fandango needs to change his gimmick to be taken seriously. The Shield needs to stop losing so much to not lose the wonderful build and momentum they had before they ran out of main eventers to beat on. Big E Langston needs a new name and ring gear and he’ll be somebody.
I think Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Kofi Kingston are guys who will always be exactly what they are, purely because they’ve lost so much in ways that can’t be unseen. If Cena and Orton died today, ANYBODY else can take their place on the card but them. And it’s sad because they are good hands who can sell well and work with seemingly anyone and make them look good.
And now… I want to touch on two things: One… this ‘Authority’ storyline is making no fucking sense. Two… the rumored direction makes even less sense.
We had no WWE champion after the last two PPVs because of a fast count, remember? So… how does it make sense that HBK superkicked the beard off Daniel Bryan and that’s ok? Hmm?
Also… for Vince and HHH to have publicly fought over who could or should be face of the company, before deciding it was Orton, tell me how it makes sense that Vince will come back as a babyface, backing Big Show, who’s ‘helping’ Daniel Bryan? Yep.
Furthest thing from logical.
Raise your hand if you’re enjoying how much WWE programming is about The Big Show these days. If you like this rumor that Vince McMahon is behind Big Show’s sudden rebellion in what they’re calling the “Authority” storyline, I should slap you. That push SHOULD go to almost ANYONE else, like say, Daniel Bryan. But… since I’ve BEEN telling you, he’s no Stone Cold, so… it really should go to CM Punk.
CM Punk’s current feud stopped being interesting to me the second he lost to Brock Lesnar and Brock disappeared back into the woods to eat a dangerous all protein diet some more. Curtis Axel bores me to death with everything he DOES. Ryback was ruined like two or three gimmicks ago, and so far, being a Paul Heyman guy has done him no favors.
When you get past the idiocy of saying a guy has an ironclad contract that lets him do what he wants and still get paid, then saying he’s broke, then firing the guy that can’t be fired, all of the things they’ve done with Big Show are wasted on him. I would have rather seen his push go to Dolph Ziggler or Kofi Kingston if not to CM Punk. Alas…
I think those two storylines become a whole hell of a lot better if you combine them. Align Heyman, Lesnar, Ryback, and Axel with HHH. Because if HHH can forgive Orton terrorizing his family, he can forget he doesn’t like Heyman cuz best for business, right? Then… you can have an alliance of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Cody Rhodes & Goldust and Dolph Ziggler versus Orton, The Shield, Ryback and Axel.
I’m not here for the rumored world title feud between Big Show and Orton, I’m just not. MAYBE you can do a one off match for Survivor Series and have all those other parts compete in the traditional Survivor Series match… but a feud between those two lasting until, say… the Rumble? ZzzzzZzzzz
I’m all for building to a WrassleMania 27 rematch between Orton (c) and Punk at 30. And maybe a SummerSlam rematch between Cena (c) and Bryan. Which brings me to…
I feel bad for Del Rio, as always. He does have the charisma of cardboard… but then so did the Excellence of Execution. Interesting they sometimes call him “Essence of Excellence”. And I pity him, because once again, they’re going to feed him to someone beyond him, which further de-legitimizes his five world championships. I believe in Ric Flair booking logic: To be the man you gotta beat the man… and at almost every turn, Del Rio loses to Cena, Punk, Orton, etc.
People are speculating that Del Rio may just defeat Cena with his armbar, seeing as how Cena is returning from an arm injury. Have you people WATCHED John Cena matches!?! Here’s the match/finish: Del Rio works the arm as the commentators put over how Del Rio is SO vicious and aggressive. They speculate Cena may have come back too soon. The armbar is applied. Cena will pick Del Rio up with his surgicaly repaired arm, and finish him with the Attitude Adjustment as the commentators exult: “He is not human” and the IWC will bitch and moan.
I will admit: As much as I love Del Rio as a worker, as a longtime fan of wrasslin, he just doesn’t have “it”.
To someone who does have “it”… that would be Daniel Bryan. I fear that he’s going to be somewhat wasted in the midcard before losing his rematch with Cena at Mania, then he will maybe win a midcard title until again challenging for a World Title, then dropping it AGAIN shortly after winning it. I honestly don’t see him getting a long title reign a la CM Punk JUST because he’s short, and no one really gives a damn that he’s so good at wrasslin. Because unfortunately, looks do matter in this industry.
An argument CAN be made… that in a world full of big 6’4ish, 300lb Greek Gods, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk never even get as high on the card as they are right now. Like how you can’t tell me, if Ultimate Warrior wasn’t a fuck nigga, Randy Savage doesn’t ‘retire’ and leave and Hogan, Hall and Nash never take Ted Turner’s money… HBK and Hitman get less world titles on their resumes. I’m not saying I agree with it or that it’s fair. Shit, I say all the time, wrasslin, like life… is no meritocracy.
Nigga… the whole reason Big Show is being shoved down our throats right now: He’s seven feet tall and around 500 lbs. *yawn and stretch*
Nothing exemplifies the confusing and directionless booking in WWE more than a heel consistently doing a babyface spot and getting cheered. Last night on the 10/07 edition of Raw, Cesaro got a mixed reaction for swinging a midget then a fan favorite got booed for stopping the midget abuse. There is much injustice in the WWE Universe these days. It seems WWE booking is as omnidirectional as Cesaro swinging grown and not so grown men 360º.
I’m tired of people getting fired and then not missing tv. Cody Rhodes just got fired last month and still appeared on Raw twice after that. John Cena got fired like three years ago and never missed a Raw. He got fired a year later and won the WWE title the next week. CM Punk left the company and missed a week. So, now I’m supposed to care that The Big Show is fired, when he got fired at the beginning of Raw and knocked HHH out at the end of Raw. Right. And his booking has been so stupid. Let’s run down the timeline.
- Big Show got fired. Then he got an ironclad contract he never shut up about.
- About a year later, they forgot they did that angle. So now, after getting this lucrative ironclad contract, he’s broke.
- Big Show watches people get beat up. Then gets used to knock people out. He cries. A lot.
- He starts resenting all these bad things he’s being forced to do like he doesn’t turn heel every other year.
- HHH says he now owns Big Show’s house.
- Naturally, with everything to lose and nothing to gain but appeasing his own pride, he defies authority. Gets fired.
- He hits the man who owns his house. Who, mark my words, will now hire him back just so he can fight him at the next PPV.
That made sense, didn’t it? Moving on…
I’m enjoying Randy Orton’s matches of late. His powerslam is becoming as unpredictable as the RKO is when he doesn’t do all those histrionics prior to it. There need to be more heels that like beating people up as opposed to the chickenshit variety. Which… brings me to how unbelievable it is that 6’4, 250 Orton needs to run from 5’8 200ish Daniel Bryan. Also… the whole Bryan attacking him from behind after the match thing is A) a chickenshit heel move and B) Stone Cold Steve Austinesque, and I’m getting tired of telling yall Daniel Bryan is no Stone Cold. One of my greatest complaints about the WWE product is, we’re given no real reason to buy into feuds these days. Daniel Bryan attacking Orton for no reason after his match seemed illogical, even for a guy with anger issues. I feel he has no real reason to want to hurt Orton as a person, much less as the current top babyface.
As for the current day Stone Cold, CM Punk, his current feud with Paul Heyman is dragging, not because I have no reason to believe CM Punk wants to hurt Heyman, it’s that with Brock Lesnar out of the picture, Heyman has no one credible fighting for him. This feud has done no favors for Curtis Axel, and they made Ryback a Paul Heyman guy, only to have him lose AGAIN due to a low blow and roll up. They did this same exact thing last year at Hell in a Cell. This is not that good irony I appreciate. If they wanted to drag out this feud, at least have the heel screw the babyface and then have the blowoff be Punk finally beating up Heyman. But no, another babyface pulls a chickenshit heel move. *sigh* Yeah… I just have no reason to care about this feud because… fuck it. Anyway… I also want to see Mr. Anti Authority buck the system and get into the McMahon/HHH storyline. Soon.
I’ve written here many times that I’d like to see the world titles be unified… I’ve changed my mind about that. Now that Cena is allegedly coming back to face Del Rio, I think that what WWE needs is to have two credible champions and two healthy main event pictures. What they’ve BEEN doing is reducing the WHC to the new midcard title and the midcard belts are irrelevant. Assuming Cena wins the World Heavyweight title, I think a WrassleMania card that goes: CM Punk vs Randy Orton (c), John Cena (c) vs Daniel Bryan, and Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker sounds pretty fucking good. And, because I can’t resist… if EVER there was a good time to turn Cena heel? Having him, Orton and The Shield as the Corporation vs CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and everyone else… sounds interesting.
As things are, my interest in these stories are swangin like Cesaro opponents and failing to connect…
Yes. I titled this blog after a Drake song. Judge me, nigga! Nothing Was The Same… when HHH came out at Night of Champions and went back on weeks of heel actions to play babyface again. WWE has this nasty habit of fucking up great programs these days and I just watch out of habit. VINCE MCMAHON AND PAUL LEVESQUE NEVER LOVED US!
This storyline reminds me of the time I talked a young lady into hopping a cab to my place and she made it most of the way over here and turned around and went the other way. What a waste. To play devil’s advocate for a split second, I totally get WHY HHH is being a tweener short term and long term. Matter fact, lemme devote an entire paragraph to this, before I get back to talking about why this is STILL stupid…
Short term, they needed to stop burying Daniel Bryan and all the other babyfaces every week. (Hi, Quinn!) It makes no logical sense for a fully heel HHH to allow open rebellion after WEEKS of threatening to fire anyone that bothered to help Daniel Bryan. Long term, everyone who’s been into wrasslin for years knows this storyline will carry into the main event of WrassleMania. This storyline BEGAN as HHH versus Vince, it will END with HHH versus Vince. Vince is going to play the heel if Daniel Bryan or John Cena are in that main event, as he has stated he doesn’t see either as “the face of the WWE”. So HHH is planting seeds NOW that he’s waffling on his choice to back Orton as the face of the company. Which makes no sense.
As always, WWE is booking itself into a corner in which it must do dumb shit. And they don’t have many options. Quick. Name the number two heel in the company.
Yeah. If they abruptly end this story with Bryan as champion, who is his next feud? The babyface side is looking damn thin as well. After CM Punk I don’t see anyone equipped to carry a compelling feud with Orton. We need that guy with the colorful tshirts back, FAST.
That’s the bleak outlook short term. Looking as long term as WrassleMania, I don’t see what fresh matches they can do for that main event. All the biggest ones I’ve written about we’ve seen repeatedly. Punk/Orton. Bryan/Orton. Cena/Orton. Punk/Cena. Bryan/Punk. Whatever combination of those three you can come up with, been there, seen that. Then I realize: There are three McMahons now. So maybe that main event will be a Triple Threat with McMahon backing Orton, HHH backing Cena, and Stephanie backing Punk. I can’t really logically see any of them wanting Bryan as champion. I say one more time. If this is what happens, and a McMahon backs Daniel Bryan, this ENTIRE storyline makes not a damned IOTA of sense. And the whole “they take his side to screw him in the end” thing has been done to death. We just saw a version of THAT at SummerSlam, and the carbon copy of this scenario was when Vince screwed The Rock at WM2000 to help HHH win.
So. Let’s walk through this timeline.
- Years ago, Orton beats up the whole McMahon family
- He wins MITB, HHH helps him cash in because it’s best for business.
- HHH decides to shoot Bryan the fair one, only to strip him of the belt because of a screwy finish
- Orton wins the title again because of a screwy finish
- This feud ends, picks back up at WrassleMania where now they’ve changed their minds about him and he’s good for business
Listen. I get that wrestling is fake. I get that very rarely do storylines make sense. Problem is, the best storylines are simple and not at all convoluted. I don’t see this ending well. But according to Quinn Gammon, I’ve been wrong before.
Mufuckas neva loved us, remember?
First things first, shoutout to WWE for blaming Jim Ross for not controlling Ric Flair, because, yanno… that one has been shown to be controllable. Only thing I’ve seen that was dumb on JR’s part is essentially saying Flair turned Wonder Boy Cena into an alcoholic. But, B A ★!
Anyway… Damien Sandow has the swaggiest MITB briefcase EVER. And that’s all he’s done. That, and give us that great remix of Randy Orton’s theme. Before losing. Which he does a LOT. QUICK… name one good Damien Sandow match. I’ll wait.
So… drawing a blank, eh? Yeah. Sandow hasn’t done anything. I don’t believe shit in life is actually based on merit or ability, more right place right time. And Sandow holding that briefcase is a waste of time.
If I beat you, and you haven’t beaten anyone, what do I gain? When John Cena ended JBL’s reign of terror, JBL took the belt from Eddie Guerrero. SmackDown’s roster was full of big names at that time. I won’t list them, but he didn’t exactly best a gang of jobbers. Who has Damien Sandow beaten? I’ll wait.
Oh. He hasn’t beaten anyone? Yeah. My favorite whipping boy in these blogs, Alberto Del Rio has beaten Randy Orton clean. Raise your hand if you consider them on the same level after seeing Orton abuse him in a feud. He’s beaten CM Punk and John Cena with help. And lost to them so decisively there’s no way you see them as equals. If John Cena came back RIGHT THIS SECOND to face Del Rio for his World Heavyweight Championship, with no dq, do YOU see Del Rio retaining? No? So… you mean… the way a person is booked actually impacts the way you view them and their chances? IMAGINE THAT!!!
When Sandow wins the title and loses it, that shit will be zero sum. Nothing lost, nothing gained.
Are we still pretending Dolph Ziggler isn’t being wasted? Like he didn’t lose damn near every match when he had MITB? Like even when he was champion he wasn’t losing on TV? Kinda like Del Rio does now? THAT TOO, is a zero sum transition. You put the belt on a guy that loses to EVERYONE, then had HIM lose to a guy that loses to everyone… then put him in a blowoff match at SummerSlam where he and Big E were the sideshows to the Divas. You know… the women whose matches are considered ‘piss breaks’. WWE is SO high on that Dolph Ziggler, and you can tell by the way his two title reigns were booked, they want us to think highly of him too!
Which brings me to Mankind… I mean Daniel Bryan. Who has also had two short, forgettable title reigns that ended in dubious fashion. His loss to Sheamus did nothing for Sheamus. Sheamus is boring. He needs acting classes and charisma injections. Only thing he’s good at is beating people up… but I digress. Randy Orton is doing everything this storyline will let him to get heel heat and the real story is he picked up the bones HHH gave him. Which I don’t really have a problem with. But, Daniel Bryan SHOULD be the face of WWE, as he gets the best reaction. Remember when I said this life ain’t based on merit? YEAH. The more I look at this storyline, the more I see Daniel maybe getting two or three more short title reigns where he loses the belt right back to Orton. And the real actual payoff will be Orton versus Cena. Because WWE won’t let Mankind or Stone Cold main event when they can do Rock/Hogan. CM Punk is Stone Cold. His character is PERFECT to be the anti-authority character that defies HHH, with whom he has history. There is a SLIGHT chance they redo WrassleMania XXVII and have Punk go over. But I got a feeling the “best for business” model would have Punk versus Bryan over the World Heavyweight title at best… or non-title at worst, with Cena losing to Orton with help, as HHH thinks Orton is the new face and whatnot.
But yeah… not a damn thing will be lost or gained from Sandow winning the title, except time that could have been given to someone credible. WATCH!
Listen. I LIKE Daniel Bryan. I liked him from the moment I saw him give the World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho all he could handle on NXT. And Daniel lost like every match. Something that stood out to me: I don’t think anyone else wrassled the pros more than him. It seemed like everyone else padded their records against each other. Bryan has come a LONG way since then. However, my man Daniel Bryan still has his limitations.
Daniel Bryan can never be the face of WWE. Neither can CM Punk, for that matter. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, Daniel is reprising the role of Mick Foley against the first Corporate Champion The Rock. WWE was never going to let Mankind be the face of the company and carry the company. One part because of how he looked, the other part because most of his appeal is to the hardcore WRASSLIN fan. See a parallel? Randy Orton is the new Corporate Champion. Because as slick as he is in the ring, the ladies mark out for him, kids love him. Only certain smarks hate him. And these are usually the same people that will tell you the Daniel Bryans and CM Punks of the world can’t be the top guy.
If you asked me, I’d tell you that Daniel Bryan is better than Randy Orton at pretty much everything. But he’s missing one key component. What the marks and so-called smarks tend to miss. The ‘it’ factor. The thing where you can just stand there doing nothing and people just know either you ARE a star or going to be a star. You could take away Randy’s tattoos and his burnt siena tan and Daniel Bryan still looks mad regular next to him. One looks like a WWE Superstar, a carving of Michelangelo, a Greek god. The other looks like he’s selling t-shirts in the parking lot. As much as people hate John Cena, same thing. Cena has the smile of a man that you’d build an entertainment empire around.
Last night, Alberto Del Rio and Christian, the ironically nicknamed Captain Charisma, wrestled ANOTHER good wrasslin match. And no fucks were given that day. Because as much as we marks hate it, no amount of work in the world matters if we don’t give a damn about you as a worker. CM Punk made himself matter to a wider audience by saying what we all thought about WWE at the time. Daniel Bryan has literally gotten over JUST by screaming “YES!”. When he wrestles, the live audience loves to scream “YES!” as he executes certain maneuvers. Here’s the harsh reality: Football is coming back. Raw ratings will nosedive because of it. GUESS who will be blamed for it?
CM Punk was the reigning, defending WWE Champion for 434 days. And he was reduced to being (sort of) a long term transitional champion to lose to The Rock, who was a short term transitional champion who lost to John Cena. Cuz why? Cuz that poster for WrassleMania don’t look quite the same with CM Punk in it. We never got Mankind in a main event WrassleMania one on one match for this reason. Daniel Bryan is the new Mankind, remember? So… how likely do YOU think it is that he leaves “The Show of Shows” as the standard bearer? They couldn’t even let him leave “The Biggest Party of The Summer” as champion. Yeah, we HOPE this builds to some sort of retribution story, but c’mon…
I personally see Bryan maybe winning the title at one of the themed PPVs before WrassleMania or AFTER WrassleMania. But never forget: WrassleMania XV was Rock/Stone Cold and Mankind was Rock’s TV/PPV feud leading up to it. WWE might piss us all off and give us “Orton vs Cena Part 364,654,525,325: This Time It’s Cena Against The Corporation, Cuz Yall Niggas Know Cena Always Gotta Be The Underdog.”
Sorry, The Christopher, you and I both know damn well if Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were the main event at Mania, the universe would collapse on itself right before the PPV starts…
Total Divas is quite the reality show dud, despite my original high expectations. The show follows the lives of WWE’s women as they travel across the country with the WWE. This turns out to be a typical reality show following menial daily routines of some pretty catty, dense females, leaving the Divas of the WWE to look like a joke; no wonder they hardly get any air time.
When I first saw the advertisements for Total Divas, I thought that it was going to be a really redeeming show for the women of the WWE, especially since they don’t get that much air time on RAW/Smackdown or really PPV. While I understand the WWE is mostly a men’s company, I thought that WWE would create the Divas show to be more about their wrestling, athletic skill, and training.
Total Divas follows the lives of a bunch of drama queens who happen to date WWE wrestlers. John Cena is finally able to regain his reputation on the women’s show as he lavishly gives his Bella Twin SUV s . Total Divas follows the women through their hair and make-up, to their food consumption, and for maybe 10 minutes of all the episodes combined, viewers see the Divas actually wrestling.
What I like:
Despite the typical reality show lure, that I do not enjoy, Total Divas allows for Divas who are not on the main card to become better known. The Funkadactyles play a pretty big part on Total Divas, but most of the show is dominated by The Bella Twins. This is pretty sad, because the only reason the Bella Twins are stars is because of their WWE boyfriends: Cena and Bryan. Realistically, average reality show/potentially sports entertainment fans care less about the Bella Twins’ talent on the WWE, and more about the fact their hunky men get a lot of air time.
What I’d Like to See:
I’d like to see more women’s wrestling on Total Divas. On the show, they often complain about the fact they aren’t getting much time on RAW/Smackdown. From the footage we see on Total Divas, women’s wrestling is struggling. Right now, I’d argue that AJ Lee, Natalya, and Kaitlin are the best athletes/ most entertaining during matches. I’d like to see them. It’s also funny that only Natalya is regularly featured in the show from this list.
Shoutout to The Ashley Morris, who never forgot HHH couldn’t beat Ch… I mean He Who Shall Not Be Named, The Crippler Crossface Never Happened Therefore Will Never Be Called. Funny thing is Daniel Bryan occasionally does the diving headbutt, too. Anyway… Randy Orton can’t exactly match John Cena either. He has a few clean wins, but yeah. No one wants to see that feud again. Daniel Bryan is now Randy Orton, but older.
Randy Orton was the youngest World Champion in history and wouldn’t win the belt again for a good three years. Daniel Bryan won’t wait that long. But, with the formation of what I gleefully call The Corporate Evolution of Justice, I wouldn’t put the belt on Daniel Bryan again until at least WrassleMania. I’d make Daniel win the Rumble as the first entrant. And I might screw him out of the belt, just because, since he’s the new Randy Orton, he can’t just capitalize on being hot at the moment. Randy Orton had a good half a year feud with The Undertaker that proved he should have been main eventing. But HHH used politics to ensure that didn’t happen. Irony.
I loved HHH’s promo about giving us what we deserved. Even tying together his ‘formation of Evolution’ promo with “the coal that is now a diamond”. Such acknowledgement of past storylines is rare in WWE and appreciated by smarks like me. Long form storytelling done this awesomely is why I watch this shit. Randy Orton has ironically always yearned to have the machine behind him and not John Cena. Now that it is, I pray they do not drop the ball and have them feud again soon as Cena comes back, around Rumble/Mania time. The real story is that Bryan is the new angry man, fuming that the company exalts another over him. We all expected to see a power struggle between McMahon and HHH, so GREAT swerve.
Daniel Bryan is amazingly over for a guy who had one of the shortest title matches and WWE title reigns in WWE history. The Rock or Stone Cold he is not. He IS a B at best. Like Randy Orton was. Only Bryan is in his 30s already, and can’t be a midcard act for years and maintain this level of crowd heat. My prediction, is unless The Shield breaks up by WrassleMania, Bryan won’t win the belt until Extreme Rules. Where Linda McMahon will shock us by coming back to help the guy her family is united against. Again. Watch. LOL.
That said… some random observations and I’m out.
- Remember when Damien Sandow was sposed to be an intellectual? So why does Cody Rhodes keep making a fool of him? Way to build a guy as a genius.
- While I’m on the subject of Sandow, way to build up a world champion by having him lose all the time. And you motherfuckers sicken me by saying “Well, they do this all the time.” Except Edge, RVD, CM Punk, John Cena and Randy Orton. Hmmm. What do all of THEM have in common? Idk…
- Cody Rhodes will return to jobbing soon. He is as much a failure so far as a face as Del Rio, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. He’s no longer sympathetic in his feud with Sandow… I feel bad for the heel. Horrible booking.
- If I was booking Sandow and Rhodes, Sandow would keep foiling Rhodes attempts to stop him from winning matches and screw Rhodes in every match they have. Then have Rhodes find a way to overcome the genius of his nemesis. Smh
- I know WWE doesn’t like a lot of factions. However, when Epico and Primo come back as Matadors they have to help Del Rio. All Del Rio needs is help, as the chickenshit heel he’s booked as. He needs a mouthpiece as well.
- Speaking of mouthpieces, raise your hand if you thought RVD needed a ring announcer.
I still feel like Antonio Cesaro is being wasted as Jack Swagger’s latest jobber tag partner. I wonder why “We The People” is now over with the marks… even though they lose every match. And how long exactly can you be a loser and keep great crowd heat? Let’s axe Zack Ryder and Kofi Kingston…
These all the thoughts I got for now. I’m loving a lot of the promising pieces in WWE right now, and most RAWs and SmackDowns have been good and entertaining lately!
As reported on Bleacher Report, Sheamus suffered a shoulder injury recently and is going to be out some time…
Well, we here at L.E.W.D. don’t often dig into the news/dirtsheet business, but I have conformation from HIS MOUTH that he will be out for at least 4 months. A (strategically placed) friend of mine was in Birmingham today and it just so happened to be the day of his surgery!
My friend spotted him at a restaurant and briefly asked him about his shoulder in which she informed him that the surgury was successful and that he would be out for 4 months rehabbing the injury which would set him to return around Royal Rumble time.
He doesn’t know if there will be any repackaging (as many of the IWC blindly beg for), but there will be a new fire lit for him to have success in the future.
Speaking of the IWC…
Let me set this straight….Fierceness and Heat does not a heel make. People get very caught up with the idea that everyone that is talented needs to be a heel…NO! NO! NO! (Like what I did there?)
“Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect” are also strong characteristics of both Gangbangers and Mobsters. It’s a motto that many of them live by.
My point: Much like Vince McMahon has said in the past, “Fans know what they like, but don’t know what they want, and it’s my job to show them!”
Do you really want Sheamus to be a heel, or do you just want him to be more entertaining in a way that satisfies your tastes?
Two years ago at SummerFest™ (Hi, Jeremy Piven!) John Cena was set to face a star in the IWC who had been deserving of getting an opportunity to run with the ball, but didn’t just because of his size, or lack thereof. HHH was the special guest referee. They botched that, and I fear they’re going to do the same dumb shit, two years later. Here’s my rundown of what happened, should have happened and what’s going to happen.
We all remember CM Punk’s pipebomb promo before MITB 2011. And we’re not the same if you didn’t hope CM Punk would stay off WWE programming for over a week and defend the WWE title in Japan, ROH and high school gyms like he threatened to do. Bleh. That’s the first place they fucked up. Punk and Cena were off TV for a week where in storyline one left the company and the other was fired. And this was the year after Cena was fired for not helping Wade Barrett win the title… and never missed a week of Raw while ‘fired’. Anyway… the other thing that bothered me: CM Punk never beat Cena clean. First, he hit the GTS after Cena was distracted by the shades of the Montreal Screwjob, then he won at SummerFest™ when HHH didn’t see Cena’s foot on the rope. This dark history tells me, that Daniel Bryan has… wait for it… wait for it… NO CHANCE IN HELL of making Cena tap, or beating him decisively, because in these exact same circumstances, they couldn’t let the newly minted top star beat the old, stale top star.
Everyone loved Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Vince McMahon. So much so, that people make excuses for Vince taking up TV time to overshadow the guys who actually wrassle. HHH is an ego maniac who legit convinced himself he was the best in the world in his day. That included HBK. Stone Cold. The Rock. The Undertaker. Kurt Angle. Y2J. He Who Shall Not Be Named, And The Crippler Crossface Shall Not Be Called Thus He Never Existed. So on and so forth. The story that overshadowed “The Summer of Punk” was HHH versus Vince’s crony, John Laryngitis. (Yeah I know it’s Laurinaitis, SO!?!) HHH assumed a role of power by coming out post-MITB and… firing Vince as Chairman and telling us he was COO. Which was interesting, since Punk’s pipebomb included “I hope the company will be better after Vince is dead, but then it’ll just be run into the ground by his idiot son in law” more or less. Because, HHH is essentially the same thing as Vince. At a time when CM Punk needed to be the most over guy, HHH was on TV saying he was overrated, inserting himself as guest referee, and ultimately beating Punk at Night of Champions. Because god forbid a guy you need to carry your weekly programming looks great, when you need to stroke your own ego. Same scenario this year. Vince doesn’t like Daniel Bryan. HHH makes himself guest referee to ensure nothing screwy happens… which… ensures something screwy will happen. Just like two years ago.
After the match was over, instead of the focus being on CM Punk being the undisputed WWE Champion, it was on Cena telling HHH he knew he would make a mistake. Cuz god forbid Punk beat him cleanly, clearly, decisively. Then there was that delightful storyline in which Kevin Nash powerbombed Punk’s soul out his body because HHH sent him a text message… no wait… he sent himself the text from HHHs phone. (Which led to the greatness of Punk saying he got a text from his sister that read “OMG WTF Kevin Nash! I thought he was dead LOL”) Alberto Del Rio cashed in MITB and reigned as champion til Night of Champions where he got his ass beat decisively, cuz, yanno Cena NEEDED to be champ again… instead of putting over a newer guy. *groan* Anyway, Punk would ultimately win the belt back from Del Rio at Survivor Series. Which could have been so much more when you consider the following factors.
- Survivor Series is SPOSED to be about the five on five tag match, right? Yet the main event was a two on two tag match where Rock and Cena beat Awesome Truth, and one wellness violation later and that was no longer a thing.
- They were TOTALLY teasing a new nWo/Evolution styled group, where Del Rio was Hollywood/HHH champion, Nash was Ric Flair, Awesome Truth were The Outsiders, and John Laryngitis is Eric Bischoff. EVERYTHING pointed to this being a thing, such as Nash helping Del Rio’s cash in, and Awesome Truth doing run-ins at HIAC and Vengeance.
- It would have been a dope five on five match if Team HHH fought Team Laryngitis for the title and control of the company. Kinda large scale for something not at WrassleMania, so I understand them not doing this, as it would have been greater than Team Teddy versus Team Johnny.
- It still shoulda happened for sheer awesomeness.
Two years later and the storyline overshadowing the guy WWE needs to make look as good as possible: HHH struggling for power against Vince. Building to a match at WrassleMania XXX. *sigh*
Lurking on the outside looking in, Randy Orton has no match at SummerS… Fest™ as far as I know. And for some dumb ass reason, in almost every segment involving Daniel Bryan and John Cena they want to remind us Orton can become champion right after their match. Just like Del Rio did 2 years ago. And it’s going to be a huge ass waste of time if Bryan wins, Orton cashes in, Bryan wins the belt right back at the next PPV. If I’m booking this, I let Bryan win and at the LEAST enjoy a three or four month reign as champion. Which should carry us into Survivor Series.
We’ll see… but odds are they’re gonna fuck this ALL the way up.
Nigga, who did Wade Barrett piss off? That Daniel Bryan makeover segment was TRASH. The only thing to come of it, is if you don’t live in the IWC like me, you weren’t aware Bryan is eating meat now. He begrudgingly took a symbolic bite of steak that signified his willingness to swallow his pride and do whatever he has to, to succeed… then they undid all of that. This is REALLY about the burial of Wade Barrett. (Hi, Quinn!)
I’ll give you the money I ain’t got if you can explain to me why, of ALL the people on the WWE roster, Wade Barrett needed to come out to shave Bryan’s beard. Unless, by the end of THIS episode of Raw (yes I’m writing this as Raw airs) he beats Bryan down and hinders his ability to sell “The Beard Is Here ↑” shirts… you see where I’m going with this. Wade Barrett is a jobber and a guy the creative team just throws into angles for no fucking reason now.
I write here ALL the time, I don’t know what WWE doesn’t see in Barrett. They botched his coronation on NXT IMO by having all the ‘trainers/coaches’ act as though it was a foregone conclusion that he won it… then he wasn’t seen again until that day Nexus appeared and beat down John Cena and CM Punk I believe.
Then they botched his character again by having Nexus lose their first big match… to John Cena at SummerSlam, instead of building him by having him pin Cena in any form or fashion.
They threw MORE dirt on his grave when they finally gave him his guaranteed title shot from winning NXT… and throwing half the roster in the match… and he did not win it.
They would follow this up by having a stupid storyline in which Barrett got Cena to join Nexus by FINALLY beating him, then he got Cena fired when Cena wouldn’t help him beat Randy Orton. Guess what happens next? Cena beats him again to get his job back. Their feud would finally end with Barrett buried under the chairs on the TLC set. (Hi again, Quinn!)
Barrett would get another crack at Orton. Nexus beat Orton’s ass RIGHT BEFORE THE MATCH… and Orton would famously win that match before The Miz cashed in MITB on him. *sigh*
We’re not even going to talk about that pointless group that had Ezekiel Jackson in it.
So… I’ll admit, Wade has never blown me away with his ring work or mic skills. But he’s not bad at either. On NXT I thought, as green as Otunga was, he DID have that ‘it’ and a good look, and he was good as a talker… and he’s only been seen on the WWE App and maybe those WWE internet shows I don’t watch, since. So, Barrett is STILL the winner there, but then, he’s had to watch the man who got fired the night of his debut for strangling Josh Roberts with his tie become the most over man in the company and a future WWE champion after opening a WrassleMania as WHC. Ryback is being misused, but being misused high on the card. And other than that, Nexus is dead. (We’re not counting Michael McGillicutty < Curtis Axel or Husky Harris < Bray Wyatt, as they weren’t original members) All jobbers.
But… if Wade Barrett pins Super Cena at SummerSlam… wins the title in his first title shot… loses it, wins it back… all in his first year, I don’t believe he’s polarizing as Alberto Del Rio. He might coulda been a big star. But, we can’t unsee all these losses.
RIP, Wade Barrett, main event Superstar (Hi one mo gain, Quinn!)
Perspective is 100 percent reality; simply put, the way one perceives the world or an isolated incident will determine what’s “real” and what’s not “real.” Take the tagline for our website as an example …
This notion is not only important to know, but it’s vital that one embrace it to understand the complete clusterfluke that occurred at the conclusion of Thursday night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. After a week of promotion and supposed viral videos titled #August1Reveal, TNA’s “big surprise” turned out to be renowned MMA fighter and UFC icon Tito Ortiz …
Tito Ortiz’s presence in TNA seems baffling without understanding the context of his arrival and the necessity of the over inflated pomp and circumstance leading to his TNA debut. Everyone under the sun knows that Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will face off at Bellator MMA’s pay per view debut on November 2. Having Ortiz and Jackson interact on TNA’s programming is a unique and different way to hype their battle over the next three months; this also gives hardcore MMA fans a new avenue to see the fighters engage each other as they build anticipation to their bout.
As Ortiz and Jackson banter and scuffle in the squared circle, MMA fans will (hopefully) enjoy their exposure to pro wrestling, seeing that this form of entertainment is more legit than previously believed. Wrestling fans will be able to enjoy a new storyline filled with drama and intrigue, one that provides for all sorts of interesting match-ups never seen before in TNA.
That particular perspective is “real” for some fans. For the most part, however, the collective hardcore fan and IWC audience sees things a little bit … differently …
Fans who find themselves pissed off at Ortiz’s presence in TNA have every right to be furious. Justified in their anger, these fans should be encouraged to inundate Dixie Carter’s Twitter account and TNA’s email server with letters and posts conveying their displeasure with their perceived direction of the product. Why is it that TNA—a professed wrestling company—has deemed it necessary to employ three MMA fighters who have yet to perform the first Japanese armdrag or collar-and-elbow tie up?
Perhaps the choice was never for Dixie Carter or TNA to make.
Most fans fail to openly acknowledge the circumstances under which TNA exists, which completely disregards any and all perspectives that can explain (and not justify; those are two different things entirely) why Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal are even in TNA in the first place.
Unlike WWE (in more ways than one), TNA is a privately owned company funded largely by its parent company Panda Energy, International. Given the nature of business in the United States and taking into consideration the mission of Panda Energy, TNA more than likely finds other ways to fund the company outside of the money they receive from their parent company. While it’s nice and convenient to believe that Panda Energy pays for everything TNA does, the reality is that if that were true there’d be no need whatsoever for the company to be sponsored by the likes of Direct Auto Insurance and 5-hour Energy Drink.
Therefore it should not be hard to believe that Spike TV—owned by Spike Cable Networks, operated by Viacom Media Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Incorporated—invests substantially in TNA Entertainment, LLC. If Spike TV pumps money into TNA regularly, it also has the ability to expect TNA to meet certain Spike TV needs if and when they may arrive.
For example: the USA Network (owned by NBCUniversal Cable, a division of NBCUniversal) pays WWE for the rights to broadcast Monday Night RAW. To recoup that large sum of money, USA can charge other companies out the wazoo to showcase their ads in commercials during the RAW broadcast. Because USA is paying WWE a particular amount of money for the right to broadcast RAW, they can call a favor at any given time and WWE will consider executing said favor. This could be anything, from limiting the types of things said or shown during RAW to extending the broadcast to an extra hour. The same principle applies to the relationship between Spike TV and TNA Entertainment, LLC.
After several network rebranding efforts, Spike TV emerged in 2003 right in the middle of a vexing relationship with WWE. It is worth noting that Spike TV, as the Nashville Network (TNN) had a similarly controversial relationship with Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) during the ECW on TNN show airing from August 1999 to October 2000. Once TNN (then The National Network and The NEW The National Network) acquired the rights to broadcast WWE programming, they canceled their relationship with ECW.
From September 2000 – 2005, RAW served as TNN/Spike TV’s pro wrestling program, ending only when WWE renewed its relationship with NBCUniversal and the USA Network (perhaps due to USA’s newfound ability to afford the rights to broadcast WWE programming; see above comments regarding this).
In January 2005 Spike TV began a relationship with Dana White’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts promotion, originally airing a reality-themed program entitled The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and later other UFC themed programming. At the same time, TNA enjoyed a relationship with Fox Sports that began in May 2004. This relationship came to an end one year later in May 2005, leaving the company without national television exposure. Spike TV picked up the rights to broadcast TNA programming in October 2005, one month after their five-year relationship with WWE ended.
Meanwhile Spike TV’s successful relationship with UFC officially ended in August 2011 when the latter began its seven-year deal with Fox Networks. Two months later in October 2011 it was announced that Viacom (parent company of Spike TV) purchased majority stake in Bellator MMA, the second largest mixed martial arts promotion in the United States. As a part of the deal, Spike TV would begin to broadcast Bellator programming two years later in 2013.
“Shockingly” enough, TNA began a partnership in 2010 with Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey’s Bischoff/Hervey Entertainment, which also helped in acquiring notable pro wrestling icon Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea. While the six-year UFC/TNA combination proved to be a ratings success for Spike TV, it was assuredly the added value of Hulk Hogan and Bischoff/Hervey Productions that would help TNA and Spike TV respectively maintain its relevance and spot in the industry until the beginning of the relationship with Bellator MMA in 2013.
What does any of this have to do with Tito Ortiz?
Viacom has invested heavily in Bellator MMA and actively seeks its success. Seeing as Spike TV is owned by Viacom and has been given the task of broadcasting Bellator programming, it too is invested heavily in its success. Seeing as Spike TV also is vested financially in TNA Entertainment, LLC, which has consistently given the network solid ratings in its own right (meaning the ratings are high for Spike TV, not necessarily compared to other networks), TNA is indebted to Spike TV, placed in a position to do things that (a) benefit the network first and (b) TNA afterwards.
Consider the relationship between Spike TV, TNA, and UFC compared to the formers’ relationship with Bellator MMA. While TNA constantly promoted TUF on their programming, rarely did we see a TUF fighter engaged in major storylines within the company. That’s because UFC paid their own production costs and only needed a network to showcase their programming. The same, however, cannot be said for Bellator MMA, the company that Viacom owns majority stake of.
That being said it must be reiterated that Viacom and Spike TV need this relationship with Bellator MMA to succeed at all costs. When Bellator lobbied to acquire the contracts of Lawal, Jackson, and Ortiz, Viacom more than likely paid a good portion of the money needed for those contracts. If Viacom paid the brunt of those contracts, Spike TV has to pander the stars anyway they can to create a buzz for Bellator. If Spike TV has to pander the stars, TNA has to play a role in that pandering.
If TNA has to play a role in that pandering, they have to create the means and opportunity to pander those stars to viewers in a way that (a) benefits the network first and (b) TNA afterwards. Therefore TNA “partners” with Spike TV to do something unprecedented in pro wrestling (perhaps for a reason) by having active MMA stars also (eventually) compete as wrestlers. This is how King Mo Lawal is able to compete in MMA bouts and train (when able) at OVW; this is how Rampage Jackson is able to appear on TNA programming as the enforcer of a stable involved in a major storyline.
This is also how Tito Ortiz, Rampage’s opponent at Bellator’s pay per view debut in three months, was able to appear on Thursday night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling.
From that perspective, hindsight reveals that TNA’s recent roster cuts and administrative layoffs were probably necessary given the needed investment in Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson. Their presence, confounded by the costs associated with taking IMPACT Wrestling on the road, has a residual effect on TNA’s product as it is primarily designed to bring attention to Bellator MMA.
The main problem with this, other than the obvious in that it does very little to nothing for TNA, is that the company is relying heavily on a business model that thrives off of bringing attention to the product while avoiding making the quality of the product a major priority.
To say it differently, it appears that TNA is more concerned with the number of people watching their product than the quality of the product itself. This only validates a perspective I’ve personally held about the company: as long as the “wrestling” is top notch, everything else is of little concern to the company and its hardcore fans.
From that thought-provoking perspective, TNA is no different or better than the WWE sports entertainment machine it’s battling. Even though TNA showcases great wrestling, the bottom line is always about attention and money; anything the company can and has to do to increase awareness of the product it will, even at the expense of placing its bread-and-butter on the back burner. More damning is the reality that TNA is forced to place its bread-and-butter on the back burner in order to put the MMA product at the front.
Considering everything previously mentioned, very few will make note that TNA’s top two champions (the World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin and the X-Division Champion Manik) appeared in the middle of the show and not at the end. The entire show was structured to reveal Tito Ortiz, a MMA star and fighter for Bellator MMA, as the mystery #August1 figure. Fans can easily see importance of having Tito Ortiz close the program next to the main stars of IMPACT Wrestling instead of having him rub shoulders with the company’s top champions, even if we don’t necessarily agree with the idea.
With Spike TV as an investor, TNA and Dixie Carter have no choice but to make any of Bellator MMA’s moves a priority in the company, even if the payoff for TNA is distant or seems non-existent. This leaves the second largest pro wrestling company in the United States to prop up the second largest MMA promotion in the United States for a network that cannot seemingly do better than showcase the second best in pro wrestling and MMA (both UFC and WWE left Spike for more lucrative relationships with higher profiled networks).
*Note: Much like ECW on TNN, TNA only enjoyed a yearlong relationship with Fox Sports; this similarity has little to do with the product, but more to do with the relationship between the network and the wrestling promotion. So what can be inferred about Spike TV’s business model that allows for a relationship with TNA to be more fruitful than their relationship with ECW? On that same notion, what can be inferred about the business model of Fox Sports and other networks that makes a relationship with TNA undesirable?
The question remains, what’s next for TNA? Optimists place their faith in the notion that these developments will lead to a major breakthrough for TNA, while pessimists will myopically focus their angst at the absurdity of the company’s latest acquisition. A more well-balanced conclusion can be found in both positions.
TNA cannot and will not survive without taking calculated risks, gambles that could break the company if logic and luck are not on their side. It is a huge risk for the company to employ two MMA stars (Lawal and Jackson) as wrestlers, but they both have wrestling backgrounds and could benefit the company as talent once they’re through with MMA.
The only problem is that TNA tried this same thing—this pro wrestling-MMA fighter hybrid—several times before only to come up with one massive goose egg in the end. It didn’t work with Bobby Lashley, it didn’t work with Kurt Angle, and it didn’t work with Kid Kash. The logic, as it stands now, is that instead of allowing contracted wrestlers to do MMA, it may work better to have contracted MMA fighters “wrestle,” and that hasn’t panned out well for the company thus far.
Whether we like it or not, Tito Ortiz has made an impact (pun intended) with his TNA debut. Time will only tell what he’ll bring to the IMPACT Wrestling table and we should at least allow him and the company the opportunity to disappoint us before making any solid conclusions. If history is any indication, however, this move by TNA officials, Spike TV and Viacom executives only stands to add one more bullet point to the laundry list of reasons for fans to argue against one another on where the company could be in an indefinite number of years as opposed to where it should be right here, right now.
- Jason Hervey – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Hervey#Producing
- ECW On TNN - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECW_on_TNN
- WWE RAW - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE_Raw
- WWE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE
- TNA Wrestling – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Nonstop_Action_Wrestling
- The Ultimate Fighter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ultimate_Fighter
- Ultimate Fighter Championship and Fox – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Fighting_Championship#Fox_partnership
- USA Network – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usa_network
- Spike TV – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_tv#The_National_Network.2C_The_New_TNN_and_the_WWE_era_.282000.E2.80.932003.29
- Bellator MMA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellator_MMA