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Posts tagged “TNA Impact

Popcorn Wrestling and their Addicts…NO!

Once you clean your desk and computer of VOMIT then please read this post!

Once you clean your desk and computer of VOMIT then please read this post!

When most people choose to eat popcorn, they eat it as a snack.  I’m not sure many people sit down at the dinner table and prepare a steaming plate of popcorn as their choice meal for the evening.  Also, many people don’t sit down at a restaurant and ask, “I didn’t see the price for the Popcorn Meal on the menu. I was hoping you could locate that for me!” If you meet a person that does either of these things, back away slowly, and run in the opposite direction as swiftly as possible.

This is the same mentality I take with TNA Addicts because they devour Popcorn Wrestling every week on TNA iMPACT.  Total Non-Stop Anticipation is responsible for more ADHD outburst than a fireworks and laser/lights show in a room with tear away walls…wait…that IS the iMPACT Zone…

The Popcorn Wrestling that I’m referring to is the idea that a company can have a product that has a number of pop-up moments that are exhaled by the ADHD (IWC) wrestling fan base. Ultimately these Popcorn moments do not lead to anything.

After last night’s (1-17-13) episode of TNA iMPACT, I realized something very important.  I am not conditioned to watch TNA due to my heightened level of analysis! TNA Addicts watch iMPACT in an episodic manner.  They can celebrate every episode because that’s all they are looking for, a weekly fix.

I, along with many other members of the L.E.W.D. Crew, analyse the product for the value that it brings and the value that it provides for both the past and future product.  Unfortunately, TNA does not present a product that is promising for either the past, present, or future.

SO…Last night, the wedding of Bully/Buh-Buh/Mark (he was referred to as all three last night) Ray and Brooke Hogan was to take place. The wedding went as a wedding is supposed to until it was time for the presiding official to declare them husband and wife. Tazz then proceeded to interrupt them with two points: 1. Nonsensical babbling about whether or not Bully Ray wanted to do this. 2. “Is it just me, or is it hot in here?” Then he removes his tux jacket to reveal that he was wearing an Aces & Eights vest…

This is where the separation between me and the TNA Addicts comes in.  Beyond the fact that it provided a “Moment” that will be talked about in the collective basements of the 40 Addicts convulsing from their overdose of Anticipation, what good came from last night? (I’ll wait……………………………………………………….)

Let’s look at this in the three categories of time.

The Past:

The biggest issue I have with this is that TNA and their Addicts have boasted about how their product is “Cutting Edge,” “Not the WWE” and “Pro Wrestling”…Now maybe I am just…NO!! For almost a month now, the show has been closed out with the “Worst GM in Wrestling” “The Infamous” Hulk Hogan, his ravaged daughter/”Knockout’s GM” Brooke, a suspended talent/”Best heel in the business” Bully/Buh-Buh/Mark Ray (Whom is now a face…), and a band of biker men that don’t have contracts or personalities but can cause chaos for the sake of chaos given that we still don’t know their motives.  Pro Wrestling right?

The most recent episodes have featured the TNA Champion Jeff Hardy (carrying 2 belts) in the opening segments and maybe having a match preceding the dramatic close not involving said championship,  thus making the main event the aforementioned debauchery!

Maybe I’m wrong…NO!!! That is Sports Entertainment be definition!

The Present:

A moment…That’s all it was. (Thanks Da Infamous DiZ)

Tazz took off a jacket, became a public member of Aces & Eights, and this provided a brief moment of WTF.  But as my good friend Mr. Quinn Gammon stated, there are 2 types of WTF’s. One is the expression of Shock and Awe, and the other is the expression of confusion and distaste.  The problem with this “Moment” is that the percentages for the WTF had to be 40%/60%. This would mean that more than half of your live studio audience was confused as to what was going on, and why is the announcer guy joining the other team.

Mr. Ashley Morris brought up a great point as well in a conversation that Tazz is the “Human Suplex Machine” only to those who knew of him in his ECW days. He had a very short (unmemorable) stint as a wrestler in the WWE, so to the vast majority/casual fan, Tazz is no more than the announcer guy, and given that you can’t hear the announcers during a live recording, most of the Addicts in the arena, whom are regulars, will not be familiar to Tazz’s contribution to the product, therefore causing confusion as to why it is important for him to go to the “other side”.

The Future:

Not much of one with this story…

What happens now? What value does the A’s & 8’s get with the addition of Tazz? They already have sponsored segments on the show anyways.  They already have infinite access to the arena. If they can just learn how to wrestle in matches, they may actually make an impa…NO!!! They simply do not matter! We still do not know why they exist. Every other Hostile Takeover that has happened has had an immediately stated motive as to why they do what they do…except this one! That is not innovative or groundbreaking, that’s just STUPID!!!

Popcorn Wrestling is just something that I can not get into simply because I look at wrestling to be thorough entertainment.  There is a big difference between whimsical and nonsensical. I will watch (and sometimes enjoy) the whimsical over the nonsensical any day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love some good old-fashioned wrasslin’, but I like to deal with organization that don’t have an ongoing identity crisis!

What do you think?

Rt. Rev. Showtime

L.E.W.D. Booking 101 – Is This The “End” of Claire Lynch??? (Pt. 2)

For those of you just now joining our conversation, here’s Pt. 1 of our discussion on Claire Lynch.

I’ll admit that the title of this two-part post is a bit misleading, particularly because I’ve attempted to show how the story line doesn’t have anything to do with Claire Lynch really.

The real issue is that fans have associated the story line with Claire Lynch, thus believing that her hasty exit from IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! and TNA meant the end of the story.  From that perspective, yes Claire Lynch is good and gone from our television screens.

What remains is a bitter rivalry between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, one that reaches way back into the early days of TNA Wrestling.  Kazarian simply adds a new face to a symbolically ancient feud between two off-screen buddies.

Why is any of this significant?  Without going into deep detail of the personal relationship between the two men, Daniels and Styles work well together in the ring because of their relationship outside of the ring.  It’s no different than the bromance between BFFs Triple H and Shawn Michaels.

Collectively speaking Styles and Daniels are one of TNA’s greatest assets when it comes their product and talent roster.  Both men are capable of having excellent matches, but they’re even more capable of having five-star matches with one another.  This isn’t saying that all of their matches have been MOTY candidates, but 9 times out of 10 you can count on them to put on one hell of a show at any given moment.

This also happens to be one of TNA’s greatest weaknesses.  The company relies heavily on these two, and when creative seemingly can’t come up with anything to do with either one of them individually, they just slap them together and let nature take its course.  This creates a major problem: what exactly do you do with Daniels and Styles when the honeymoon is over?  This problem is complicated further when you’ve slapped the tag team titles on Daniels and “The Other Guy.”

In three days Kazaniels, also known as the World Tag Team Champions of the World, will be celebrating the two month anniversary of their second reign as tag team champions.  From June 28th (when they won the titles) up until today, they’ve only defended the titles once: on the August 9th episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! against the team of Garett Bischoff and Devon.

It’s ludicrous to believe that Kazaniels should be defending the titles every week, but consider the fact that TNA proudly promotes the “wrestling” side of its product more so than the “sports entertainment” aspects and fans can begin to make some important connections between points A and B of this story line.

The World Tag Team Champions of the World are/were wrapped up in the Claire Lynch portion of the AJ Styles “golden boy” story.  To place them in a significant feud with another tag team would complicate their involvement with Styles.  Therefore any title matches not involving AJ Styles would only be necessary for the sake of saying that the belts have been defended.

Here’s a real rib-tickler: who would Kazaniels defend the titles against?  There are very few, if any, established tag teams left in TNA right now.  So even if the WTTCOTW’s were not involved with Styles, who would they defend the titles against?  Hernandez y Guerrero?  Kid Kash and Gunner?  Magnus and Joe?

Idealistically Claire Lynch’s departure would free up the tag team champs, enabling them to get involved in a feud that value to the titles and prestige back to the division.  Hell, even the Aces and 8s could provide invigoration and new blood for the failing division.

That’s not going to happen though.  The tag champs are still involved in a story line with AJ Styles and adding two more individuals to the story line would unnecessarily complicate the already convoluted story line.  But the story line has ended, right?  That frees up AJ, Daniels and Kazarian for new story lines.  Wrong again; it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win the BFG Series now that the Aces and 8s story line has taken center stage.

Here are some facts we know: the top four men in the BFG Series are (from the top down) James Storm, Samoa Joe, Rob Van Dam, and AJ Styles.  The next four competitors with an immediate chance to rise above the red line of death are (from the top down) Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and Jeff Hardy.

The round robin portion of the BFG Series will end in two weeks on September 6th, and the four competitors above the red line of death will compete in a single elimination tournament at the No Surrender Pay Per View on September 9th.  The winner of that tournament will move on to become the number one contender to face the TNA World Heavyweight Champion at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View, which takes place on October 14th.

Austin Aries, the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, was attacked by the Aces and 8s gang on last Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE!  Former champion Robert Roode has lost the right to challenge Austin Aries for that title after losing to him at the Hardcore Justice Pay Per View on August 12.

Here is a bit of speculation: Austin Aries may have suffered an injury that will keep him from competing, forcing him to vacate the title.  If he’s forced to vacate the title a series of matches may take place to crown a “new” champion in a main event match at No Surrender in two weeks.  Robert Roode could easily end up in the tournament and regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, moving on to the Bound for Glory Pay Per View to face James Storm, the winner of the BFG Series and the superstar who has a major grudge to settle with Roode anyway.

Or…Robert Roode returns and demands that as the former champion and previous number one contender, he deserves the right to be crowned the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.  Interim General Manager Sting, or General Manager Hogan, places him in matches to determine the new number one contender culminating in a championship match at No Surrender.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Austin Aries, still hell bent on regaining his title, will return more focused on seeking revenge against the Aces and 8s, taking him out of the title hunt for awhile.  Everyone else rallies once again against the scourge that is the Aces and 8s, including AJ Styles.  But AJ has been thoroughly humiliated by Kazaniels two times, when they accused him of having an affair with Dixie Carter and when they accused him of siring Claire Lynch’s unborn and fictional child.

Logically speaking Styles cannot simply walk away from this situation.  One week ago the man wrestled Daniels just to gain the right to have a paternity test to prove he wasn’t the father of the baby because he couldn’t remember whether or not he actually slept with Claire Lynch.  He avoided talking to Claire, was accused of running away from his responsibilities when he went to Australia to do a promotional tour for TNA.  The message from Claire’s attorney was cute and sweet, but it doesn’t explain AJ’s silence or confusion on the matter.  It also doesn’t solve the initial problem: Kazaniels dislike of Styles’ golden boy image.

And there’s the question: what do you do now with Styles and Kazaniels?

I got a great idea! Seeing as Kharma was released by the WWE, and her 90 no-compete clause could be coming up soon…you see where I’m going with this…

The answer is simple; you keep the story going between the three of them and conclude the drama at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View OR with another Wild Card Tournament beginning in December for the World Tag Team Championships.  Whatever the case may be, the feud between Kazaniels and Styles is not over and done with.  With no competition, Kazaniels can still work to prove that AJ Styles isn’t as clean cut as he makes himself to be.

Styles, on the other hand, needs at least one more episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! or a Pay Per View match to put Kazaniels out of their misery to move on to bigger something else.  A really good way to stick it to the team would be to take the tag titles away from them again…much like he and Kurt Angle did at Slammiversary 2012; but that’s just wishful thinking.  Or is it?

My last thought is this: TNA can drag out a story line for at least one year, and the true beginning of the drama between Styles, Daniels and Kazarian had nothing to do with Claire Lynch.  With Lynch gone, the absurdity of the drama can be replaced with a more compelling and intriguing finish to the 500th iteration of Styles versus Daniels.  At this point we can only hope that things won’t get as worse as they already have.

L.E.W.D. Booking 101 – Is This The “End” of Claire Lynch??? (Pt. 1)

Thank. You. Wrestling. gods.

Thursday night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling Live! had very few redeeming qualities, but the one silver lining bordering that dark cloud was the presumed end to the disastrous story line involving the Claire Lynch character.

For those who didn’t see the show, the story line ended like this: AJ Styles gets a paternity test, Daniels and Kazarian come out and slander his name, Claire Lynch’s legal representation shows up and reads a notarized statement from Lynch that reveals that she was blackmailed by Daniels and Kazarian and forced to drug AJ and take compromising pictures with him and that she was never actually present, AJ’s name is vindicated, he attacks both Daniels and Kazarian, and the story ends.

For the few sick sadists who want a more thorough explanation, the following video is for you:

We shouldn’t pop bottles and revel in newspaper riddled ticker tape parades of mediocrity so soon, however; unfortunately for you and I, this story line is faaaaar from over.  Note the heavy emphasis on the word far back there.

“Oh I’m not done with you b****es yet … not by a long shot … .”

The problem with celebrating the “abortion” of this story line (shout out to Da Infamous DiZ for that zinger of ironic proportions) prematurely is that we can get wrapped up in the euphoria that comes with the random abrupt ending.  However, just because AJ Styles’ name has been cleared doesn’t mean we’ll hear the last of this epic and unnecessary waste of precious wrasslin’ time.

Consider these few thoughts before we jump into the topic:

  • The Claire Lynch story line officially started on July 10, 2011
  • Since the story line is at least 1 year old, does the disappearance of Claire Lynch mean that it’s over?
  • Daniels and Kazarian have literally not defended the Tag Team Titles since winning them for the second time.
  • Uhm…what the hell is up with AJ Styles’ character now?

Go back and watch the video starting at 00:37.  At that point Kazarian addresses AJ Styles from the ramp:

“Whoa whoa whoa, AJ shut up for Godsakes! [dramatic pause] After all this time … you expect us to believe that? [dramatic pause]  Even now, in the final hours, you’re still more concerned with protecting the AJ Styles brand than you are your own flesh and blood; AJ, you still care more about yourself than that damn demon seed you put in Claire’s womb.”

That line of dialogue from Kazarian wasn’t included in the segment for s**ts and giggles; Kazarian was reminding fans of the moment the feud started, which inevitably explains why the Claire Lynch blackmailing scandal happened in the first place.

The beef between “Kazaniels” (shout out to Mr. Gammon for that moniker) goes back to July 10, 2011, the date of TNA’s 2011 Destination X pay per view.  Styles defeated on-again-off-again friend/foe Christopher Daniels in a match, prompting the latter to badger the former for a rematch.

The two faced each other again on the September 1 episode of Impact Wrestling and Daniels, after picking up the victory, refused to shake hands with Styles.  For the next few weeks Daniels refused to give Styles a rematch, gloating over the victory and turning heel in the process.  The two finally faced off one more time at the October 16 Bound for Glory in an “I Quit” Match that Styles won.

Styles then went on to wrestle in a tournament for the TNA World Tag Team Championships with Frankie Kazarian, who also turned heel on Styles and abandoned the Phenomenal One during the final match of the series.  Kazarian then begrudgingly aligned himself with Daniels, who continued to taunt Styles.  Here’s the most important question: why did Daniels hate AJ so much?

Wait…I think it was because AJ was the golden boy of the company and got the spotlight when stars like Daniels and Kazarian played the background.  This is what we would refer to as foreshadowing.  Literally everything that Kazaniels did after this point was designed to besmirch and sully Styles’ reputation, ultimately proving that he wasn’t the “golden boy” he appeared to be.

More matches between the three and some others take place until it is revealed that the only reason Kazarian joined Daniels was to keep him from spilling the beans about a “secret” that would ruin Styles’ career.  That secret involved photos, video footage, and a taped phone message implying that Styles was having an affair with TNA President Dixie Carter.  Kazaniels vehemently believed that Styles’ prominence in the company was only because he was sleeping around with the president.  Carter’s husband, Serg Salinas, even makes a guest appearance on the show and levels AJ with one mighty right cross to the chin.

Raise your hand if you remember that part of the story line.

AJ – “What we gone do now, Dixie?” Dixie – “Shut up and pretend it’s a dream…”

From that point Claire Lynch is eventually brought into the story line and it is revealed that the supposed intimate moments between Dixie and AJ were actually instances where AJ and Dixie were attempting to help Claire battle through her substance abuse problems.  It’s also at this moment when a few fans noticed that Claire was pregnant; this too was a bit of foreshadowing.

Fast forward some more and Kazaniels begin insisting that AJ Styles is the father of Claire’s baby.  There’s some back and forth, blah blah blah, Dixie disappears from the picture and we finally get the resolution to it all this past Thursday night.  Or so we think…

TNA is known for its provocative, year-long storytelling; the original Immortal story line actually began way back in January 2010 when Hogan joined TNA and didn’t get revealed until one full year later.  The Claire Lynch drama evolved from the Dixie Carter drama, which evolved from…you guessed it…Kazaniels being upset at AJ’s high status and regard in the company.  The story line was never about Claire or Dixie, but rather about bringing AJ down a peg or two.

This is one reason why the story could continue without Claire, as she and her situation were only pawns in the grand scheme of things much like Dixie was.  Don’t think so?  Check out this interview with AJ Styles and pay attention to what he says about the story line, particularly how it would have “unexpected things we never would’ve thought AJ had done.”  As it turns out, AJ never did any of the things Kazaniels accused him of, so…how is it this story line interesting for fans again?

“Hmm…since you put it THAT way…”

It’s interesting because there’s more to it than we believe.  If the story line was never really about Claire then it can surely continue without her…

Click here for Pt. 2 of this series.

The Return of Quinn Pt. 11 (TNA)

OK…Brace Yourself.  Innocent ears be warned…Mr. Quinn Gammon is allowed to verbally express his thoughts and feelings on TNA current events.

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 11 (TNA)

Disclaimer…if you are a TNA fan, this might hurt a little…

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 11 (TNA Atmosphere)

This is the final installment of this series.  Be on the lookout for more from both Mr. Quinn Gammon and I.

We hope you have enjoyed this journey, and we hope it will bring you back for more.  Just like WWE 3-hour RAW, we are just getting started, so it will take time to improve so be patient.

The Return of Quinn Pt. 9

The TNA X-Division is the new topic of discussion.  What’s right, and what’s wrong with it all?

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 9

The Return of Quinn Pt. 8

The challenge of keeping opinions to ourselves becomes more difficult as we move on to Hard(core) Justice and Austin Aries as TNA Champion.

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 8

The Return of Quinn Pt. 7

OK….We take a turn for the worst to TNA.  The Bound For Glory Series is the topic, and Mr. Quinn Gammon is ready to crunch some numbers.

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 7

Talking Point: Alex Shelley to WWE: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

How devilishly appropriate is it to craft such a piece on this day?

First and foremost, happy birthday to this week’s most conversation-starting pro wrestler Alex Shelley, who (according to Wikipedia) turns 29 today in the midst of rampant speculation and damage control.

Rumor has it that the TNA star’s contract is set to expire soon, and word on the IWC Street is that the soon-to-be former TNA X-Division stalwart is headed straight for the dark towers in Stamford, Connecticut.

As typical with rumors and speculation, all sorts of fluff is being tossed around casually with reckless abandon.  Leave it to us here at L.E.W.D. to at least attempt to put the speculation through some analytical filter for the sake of clarity on a murky situation.

Here’s today’s question: is it a good idea or a bad idea for Alex Shelley to make a jump to the WWE?

We’ve got to fill this pool with water before we dive headfirst into it lest we desire a real life similar to Eric Young’s current gimmick.

We’re viewing Shelley’s eventual departure from TNA through one myopic lens encapsulated in an equally small bubble.  Because the WWE and TNA are the two largest pro wrestling companies in the United States, we’ve already automatically assumed that a star leaving from one company will naturally find work in the other ninety days later.

This of course does not take into consideration two things: that star may not want to work for the other company and the other company may not have any interest in that particular star.  Sometimes it’s just bad business to hire another company’s refuse; not every terminated Coke employee finds a new home at Pepsi.

For example: everyone assumed Shelton Benjamin was bolting to TNA after being future endeavored.  He and Charlie Haas ended up in ROH…something that I personally called, by the way.

Having stated that, we can now place our opinions in proper perspective; for the sake of our arguments, we will assume that if Alex Shelley is truly done with TNA, he’ll either a) head for the WWE in three months or b) disappear completely off the face of the earth *cough Petey Williams cough*.

Dear WWE, if you give me a shot, I can expand your profit margin by THIS much!

TNA fans have already begun crying a river for Shelley’s departure, wisely noting that this is a particularly huge and crushing blow to the company.  Shelley is an excellent wrestler and performer, and paired with Chris Sabin, has led the charge in the re-invigoration of tag team wrestling in TNA and the business on the whole.

A jump to the WWE would surely lead to Shelley wasting his time in a company that “clearly” doesn’t value smaller stars or tag team wrestling.  Chances are if he makes the jump, Shelley will be featured a handful of times in the silliest gimmick since the Funkasaurus and will eventually be released because he isn’t big, jacked up on ‘roids, or John Cena.

Believe it or not that’s it for the “bad idea” of this whole situation.  Not much to hang our hats on there, is it?

Let’s summarize that in a few nifty sentences that you’ve probably already seen somewhere else on the net regarding Shelley’s TNA departure:

zOMG!!! Alex Shelly leavn TNA, the BEST WRESTLING COPMANY IN D WORLD!!! This ish trule sad day for Dixee and Hulkamania! Hope he doesn’t go to WWE bcuz WWE SUKZ! They’ll just misuse him neway! COME BACK ALEX WE LUV MCMGs!!! 4LIFE

Now let’s dig into the “good idea”…

For starters the term “misuse” is very subjective and, in this case, ambiguous.  How do we, the fans, truly determine whether or not a non-WWE star entering the company will be “misused?”  Do we quantify that “misuse” through numbers of matches or gimmicks that aren’t “silly or pointless?”

Or will Shelley be “misused” because he’ll be forced by the WWE to become a sports entertainer instead of a wrestler?

I’m Vince McMahon, dammit!!! If he’s not big and sweaty, he can GO TO HELL!!!

We can safely call a spade a spade, however, and admit that the WWE has taken numerous excretions on stars in its long, storied history, particularly stars that weren’t born and bred in the company from day one.

Why are we so eager to dismiss what the company can do with a star well before we even see the star debut in the company?  Here’s an even more important question: how much more could the WWE “misuse” Shelley than TNA already has?

Shelley has been with TNA on and off for eight years and is more known for teaming with Chris Sabin to form the Motor City Machine Guns than anything else he’s done in the company (1-time X-Division Champion, 1-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Chris Sabin).  That reduces Shelley’s stint with TNA from 8 years to 5 years, as the MCMGs formed during the summer of 2007.

In those 5 years, Sabin and Shelley had stellar matches with several tag team parings but only held the TNA Tag Team Championship belts once, from July 2010 to January 2011.

Even after their reign the duo had great matches and was hailed as the preeminent tag team in TNA until Beer Money came along and snatched that mantle from them.  They’d always come close to tag team gold but would never touch it again.

For those of you that care, Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert/Bobby Roode) have had four reigns as tag team champions in that same amount of time.

On April 28, 2011, Chris Sabin was sidelined with a knee injury that put him on the shelf for over one year.  Shelley flopped around here and there in the X-Division for a while, disappeared from television for four months and reemerged on television at the beginning of 2012 and was placed haphazardly back into the X-Division title hunt.  He lost.

Chris Sabin returned to TNA in April and since then the MCMGs were used no more than four times on television and Pay Per View. This leads us to today’s question: how is it anywhere remotely logical that a WWE move for Shelley would be any worse than the aforementioned?

TNA’s current tag team division consists of the following teams: Eric Young and ODB, Kazarian and Daniels (the tag team champs), Samoa Joe and Magnus (only because they haven’t officially split up yet) and probably Kurt Angle and AJ Styles.

Meanwhile, much to most fans’ chagrin, the number of tag teams in the WWE is growing by the day: Primo and Epico, Truth and Kingston (the tag team champs), The Impact Players Titus O’ Neil and Darren Young, The Usos, Hawkins and Reks, Khali and Ezekiel Jackson, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler…

It’s not so bad that the MCMG’s have broken up; it gives the West Virginia Duck Rifles a chance to “git ‘er done” in TNA!

So the WWE would “misuse” Shelley’s awesome tag team abilities by slapping him next to Justin Gabriel or Tyson Kidd and adding their ad hoc tag team to the seven teams already mentioned?

We can even play devil’s advocate; suppose the WWE slathered yellow paint all over his body, put a red baseball cap on him and called him Chicken Leg Leroy.  Couldn’t he stand to make more money in the WWE as a tool than he did in TNA as one of the company’s “prized” talents?

Even Gail Kim, the world’s best female wrestler (hashtag: sarcasm), left TNA because she needed to make some financial moves the company wasn’t willing to foot the bill for.  For all her screaming about how the WWE “misused” her, she sure didn’t complain about receiving two years of checks from the WWE for “misusing” her, and I’m certain she didn’t turn those checks back in either.

I think most fans will stand only the corner of high and mighty and proudly proclaim that they would never sell their souls for money, which is what apparently most people do just to make it to the WWE.  Even if Shelley was saddled with a terrible gimmick or forced to sit at home, at least the WWE would pay him handsomely to do so.  TNA probably only paid Shelley when they used him, which wasn’t all that often for a while.

Also consider this before pulling out your soapbox: a wrestler once commented that it’s every wrestler’s goal to make it to/in the WWE.  According to this wrestler, any athlete that says otherwise is either lying or stupid.  While it’s debatable on whether or not that ideology is true, it presents a very sound and wise argument.

Who in their right mind aspires to be second best?  Everyone, no matter what they choose to do in life, wants to be the best at it.  As other wrestlers have said if you’re not in the business to become a world champion one day, you’re in the wrong business.

With the WWE at the top of the pro wrestling/sports entertainment food chain, we can only name a handful of stars who’ve outright stated they don’t want to have anything to do with Vince McMahon’s machine.  The two I can think of off the top of my head are AJ Styles and Davey Richards.  This is assuming that the WWE has actually shown interest in both of these men recently, and that’s one tidbit of speculation I’ve yet to hear about, but I digress.

Would it be so damning to his career for Shelley to at least attempt a shot at making it into the WWE at this point in his young career?  The man is turning 29 today and if picked up by the ‘E would be in the company of a ton of new stars of similar stature and build…

Shelley is 29 years old, 5’10 and 215 lbs.; Daniel Bryan (former WHC) is 31 years old (his birthday was yesterday; happy belated!), 5’10 and 210 lbs.  The soon-to-return Sin Cara is 29 years old, 5’7 and 180 lbs.; Hunico is 34, 5’10 and 205 lbs.  Hell, Xavier Woods (TNA’s Consequences Creed) is 25, 5’9 and 207 lbs. and even he was finally brought up to an NXT taping and had good match with Dean Ambrose.

Seriously…all these little bitty dudes running around the WWE and fans actually believe Shelley won’t get some sort of quality run even if it’s just on NXT?  I won’t even add to the fire the speculation of an all cruiserweight show for the WWE Network.

All things considered, do YOU think a WWE Alex Shelley would be a good idea or a bad one?

God speed, Mr. Shelley. God speed.


Hindsight is 20/20: A Look Back at January 4, 2010

Believe it or not this is the most we’ve published about TNA since our humble beginnings back in December.

I came across this video while searching something for my previous piece.  I enjoyed this trip down memory lane, thinking back to how momentous this even was for TNA and for wrestling fans.  I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that almost everything that happens in TNA is momentous, but whatev…

But I only watched 5:19 of this video before the analytical and cynical jackass in me started to ask some very probing questions (no pun intended).  In light of TNA celebrating 10 years of business in two weeks, I thought it to be very apropos to post the video here for nostalgia’s sake,  lest we forget that TNA was poised to do unprecedented things two years ago.  Look what happened with all of that…

So here are a few things to consider as you watch the video:

  • The PG “kiddy”stuff has been profitable for the WWE to date.  Although not near as popular as the smut peddled during the Attitude Era, it still gained real, hard earned dollars for the company.  In comparison, the adult-themed product offered by TNA has gained them enough profit to…well…you fill in the blank.
  • The first guy used the following names to define “real wrestling, and not that kid sh*t”: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and the Ultimate Warrior.  Seriously…?
  • Pro-wrestling was supposed to get a change with the return of Hulk Hogan.  Seriously…?
  • The hot 21-year old chick likes it when the wrestlers get bloody and also when they take chair shots to the head.  I don’t have any problems with that, other than whole concussion angle the company did some years later pleased fans like Chris Nowinski.  Guess that leaves out hot 21-year old chicks watching the product.
  • Bubba the Love Sponge worked for the company.  They let go of Awesome Kong for this guy, and look at the benefits reaped from such an awesome talent.  Make sure to take time to read the comments after to see how the fans felt about BTLS in the first place.
  • At the 5:22 mark, our good friend Shane Howard makes an appearance… :O

But enough from me; watch the video for yourself and bask in the epicness of it all.

TNA: 3 Years Later, and My Requests STILL Haven’t Been Met

I originally wrote this letter to TNA on August, 20th, 2009, and after a STELLAR (sarcasm) Sacrifice (aptly performed on Mother’s Day), I realized that things haven’t really changed that much…  The stables have dissolved, but the problems still are lurking.

Here it is in it’s entirety.  The letter was titled: A Proud TNA Fan!

Dear Dixie Carter and the TNA Staff,

My name is Zachary Banks, and I have been a fan of professional wrestling for over 20 years.  I am only 25, so 20 years is what I can remember. I want to ask that you give me the chance to express myself about my thoughts on the product.

First, I want to apologize for lying about my pleasure in the product.  I did that in hopes that you would actually read my letter.  Please hear me out.

I remember the days of the big three companies that were running the pro-wrestling circuit.  WWE, WCW, & ECW molded the industry to a point that TNA could even have the chance to be an organization.  TNA has shown a lot of respect to that idea…maybe even too much respect.  Having former WWE talent (whether they were mid-card or main event in the WWE) can aid the promotion of TNA, but to group them together and make them stronger than the original TNA talent is very nearsighted.  You have a WWE shadow over the company that has swallowed all attention away from the talent that you once were known for harvesting. Even recently, regardless of if he wanted to move or not, taking Don West off of iMPACT to move him to merchandising only to be replaced by Taz further proves the fact that TNA is becoming a WWE retirement home.

Today the three are WWE, TNA, and ROH.  DragonGate U.S.A. is growing in popularity, but it is hard to view them as one of the main stream organizations (not to mention, that ROH is still trying to get off of YouTube, so that gives you a scale of what is going).

Another of the problems is that TNA championships are not worth much these days and MEM is to thank for that as well.  With MEM holding all the titles at once, it sets the precedent that the only way to be championship caliber in TNA is to have been a remote success in WWE, still setting WWE at the top of your show.  One of the things that killed WCW was using the WWE name to ‘boost’ their ratings, and in turn, their usage boosted WWE ratings (ex. Oklahoma gimmick and premature announcement of Mick Foley winning the WWE Title before it happened just to name a couple).

TNA is slowly becoming an unofficial development brand for WWE.  Look at Christian for example.  He was in TNA and held the title in what I would like to consider the ladder days of TNA meaningful champions.  He rose to the top very quickly and proved that he was a competitor that deserved the respect of the fans.  But then TNA started making one of a series of mistakes.  TNA belittled one of their biggest stars, and one of their originals in AJ Styles by having him dumbed down to being a flunky with Tyson Tomko.  A move that obviously set back AJ’s career four to five years.  Now he is jobbing to a guy that is what TNA wanted Tomko to be in the ‘Blueprint’ Matt Morgan.  Using AJ Styles to put over Matt Morgan is like having a 5 year-old trying to teach a 3 year-old how to defeat a world-class chess player.  If you want to put over a new wrestler, use the older talent to put him over, not the talent that has yet to reach their potential.

Goldberg, Sting, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, John Cena, The Rock, Stone Cold, RVD, Sabu, Terry Funk, Low-Ki, etc. are a few names of guys that were put on the top of their respective companies.  Who has TNA used…I’ll wait…  The storylines are more important than not only the belts, but the talent as well.  It’s not about Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles or Matt Morgan, it’s about MEM vs. TNA.  This is a signature of Vince Russo.  The creation of random factions to raise conflict which in turn become more important than the wrestlers involved, and the titles that are at stake.  People have stopped watching to find out who will be the next TNA champ, they are now watching to see when is TNA going to defeat MEM.  In the attempts to bring back an nWo vs. WCW feel, TNA has erased any legacy that TNA could have built as its own company. The difference between the two scenarios is that WCW was well established and was on the heels of the WWE when nWo was produced.  Also, when WCW kept adding WWE talent to the nWo, they put up well known and established WCW talent to combat this. Not to mention that the nWo was listed as a plague of the company and they spent a lot of their time trying to distant themselves from WCW and the way they worked and nWo became more of a brand and not a faction thus the WCW/nWo PPV era began.

I don’t mean to insult your wrestling knowledge with the history lesson, but I do mean to awaken thoughts through history by using history for its purpose to learn from it.  I am not a person that is trying to bash your product, but I am a wrestling fan that hopes for an alternative to the WWE entertainment antics.  There are people like Paul Hayman & Gene Sapolsky that are just a ton of talent and have the drive to bring a company like TNA out of the shadows of the WWE and into the forefront of the pro-wrestling world.

With hopes,

Zachary Banks

Anyone else see the parallels?


TNA had a couple of things trending Worldwide on Twitter…yet at the same time, Zack Ryder was trending Worldwide, without being on Television… TNA needs to step it up.

TNA IMPACT: I Want My Thursday Night Back.

If you know me or know of me around Bleacher Report/Twitter, then you know I am not a TNA fan.

I have had many debates with TNA fans as to why I do not care for that promotion and after much frustration we agree to disagree… or I agree to turn the channel and they agree to continue to celebrate mediocrity.

Last night I found myself home and on Twitter.  As usual people were tweeting about TNA.  Not one to be left out of a discussion, I figured what the hell? How bad can it be?

Well, let me just state that the most interesting part of the night was learning via Twitter than Kurt Angle and I both follow Walgreens…

Before I get accused of blindly bashing TNA, I will run through the few positives I managed to pull out of the garbage can.

1.  Since the last time I decided to slum it, the overall look of TNA has slightly improved.  There seems to be a little more dazzle with the set up, lighting and wait, was that a laser I just saw?

2.  ODB.

3.  Hardy/Roode match.


 4.  Angle and Storm, decent match.

I was surprised to find parts of the programming enjoyable.  I will step out of my comfort zone and say that I think the product has improved slightly.  Enough for me to be a fan? No.  Enough for me to feel like I did not waste my night? No.  

I still found more negatives than positives overall with some of the negatives cancelling out the aforementioned positives.

1.  Not enough dazzle.  Now don’t get me wrong folks, I am all about moderation.  There are many stages of dazzle, not enough dazzle (TNA), too much dazzle (Jericho’s jacket) and then WWE which I feel has just the right amount.  Remember this is lighting and production value I am referring to, not actual wrestling. 

The quality of TNA is seedy at best.  Doesn’t matter how great the match is, I still feel like I am watching a bad soft core porn movie.  Everything is dim, soft focus and the acting is terrible.

This feeds into my ongoing dislike of the brand.  They film Impact at the same place more often than not.  They have a set.  So how hard is it to spend some money and make the place look better, better lighting etc? It’s not like Dixie Carter and Eric Bischoff have to haul around the equipment and set it up week after week.  Sure wrestling isn’t about lighting and set design, but when you mix that with some bad performances and storylines, and your audience feels like they are watching a bad movie on Showtime After Dark, it is a problem.  

2. Everyone who loves an alcohol guzzling, booby grabbing, gut jiggling, gal give me a hell yeah!  Hell yeah! ODB made me laugh and say “WTF” out loud. I was pleasantly surprised and I love her gimmick!  However Eric Young’s presence at the ring was a bit distracting though I found their goofiness refreshing.


I actually prefer her to some of the other Knockouts.  For example, Angelina Love and Winter.  Winter is about as relevant as she is tan these days and Angelina Love’s right arm looks like it has been doing Meth for the last 20 years.  She should get that checked out.  I enjoyed the match but did not see superiority beaming from the ring.  An argument that TNA fans love to make is that the Knockouts stomp the Divas in the ability department and I did not see it, at least in that match.

3.  While Hardy and Roode put on a decent match, I could not help but feel a little Déjà vu.   Where oh where had I seen this match before? Oh yeah, 4 days ago at Genesis.  Granted WWE is guilty of riding a feud until it is stomped out, ran over, backed over and buried, we are usually spared a repeat for at least a week.

From a business stand point it does not makes sense.  TNA wants you to fork over some major dough for a match that you can see 4 days later for free? No wonder their profits are down.  If little Jimmy had a lemonade stand and was selling each cup for 5.00 but at the end of business would give you a cup for a nickel, in order to keep left over lemonade from going to waste, what time would you buy your lemonade?

4.  Angle is looking old and kind of like a hillbilly… not sure if that qualifies as my negative or not? Honestly their match was probably the best of the night.  However I could have done without them bickering in the ring first and the waste of time that was the “I don’t have my wrestling gear” bit.

5.  Is it just me or has TNA gotten more vignette-y as of late? The lockerroom segment between Sting and Garrett reminded me of an afterschool special.  Bad lighting, old as hell lockers… I half expected Sting to offer Garrett some drugs or for Chris Hansen from “To Catch A Predator” to jump out and Sting to drop his condoms and beer and run.  “You’re not a referee, you’re a wrestler.” Points for making me laugh.  Also, honorable mention to Eric Bischoff for reminding me I don’t miss seeing him on a mic.

I may sound like a bitter, WWE praising, meanie but I promise you this stems more from frustration than dislike.  When TNA first started airing it was an edgy alternative for people that grew tired of the antics of WWE.  I felt like I could watch both.  Comparing the two promotions felt more like comparing apples to oranges.  However, now it seems instead of an apple and orange we have an apple and a rotting apple. 

In my opinion, TNA tries too hard to be the WWE.  Don’t get me wrong, WWE is not without their flaws but like a girl with a hickey on her neck and a purse full of make-up, they just hide them better.  Ideas, angles, and talent that do not cut it in WWE seem to get picked up by TNA and instead of pushing the company forward it turns viewers, like me, off. 

I feel TNA needs to spend less money recruiting WWE rejects, more money on developing their own brand, and possibly a business class or two.   Sure, as of late, more TNA stars have been getting pushed than the ones that meandered over from WWE but their roster is still padded with WWE has-beens.  Sure, they need work too but TNA needs to take notice that deep down there is a reason they were “Future Endeavored.” 

Final thoughts:  TNA isn’t a baby anymore.  They have had ample time to grow and flourish.  Some serious revamping is needed, in my opinion.  Maybe then I won’t feel as if I wasted a perfectly good Thursday night…somewhere there was paint drying I could have been watching. 


Matt Morgan and Crimson defeated Robbie T and Robbie E.

ODB defeated Winter

James Storm defeated Kurt Angle

Jeff Hardy defeated Bobby Roode (TNA Champion) via disqualification.

P.S. This went on way longer than anticipated! Ash, you’re rubbing off on Me!


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