What a way to start out our second year of TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION with a show that may go down as our most critically acclaimed effort to date. I loved it, and it reflected what I hope will be new a new creative direction for the company. I’ve been saying it since we started… it is time to be exactly what we say we are… it is time to be Total Nonstop Action. Period. We have the talent to do it, and the need to be a true alternative. That is, without question, something we can pull off much better than our competition, as proven by Wednesday night’s show.
Congratulations to AMW/Triple X, as we have a new #1 topping off my list of all time favorite NWA TNA matches. I felt like I was back at the St. Paul Civic Center as a kid, as no match has generated that kind of emotion in me since. Please ask yourself this – can you think of two better tag teams in the industry right now? I can’t. Seriously… name one… I dare ya. And don’t say Tushisaka Yumiyagi and Iponema Sukiyaki from Japan, because nobody knows who they are, and furthermore they don’t actually exist. I would love to hear if there is a better tag team out there. Seriously, I’m curious…firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few quick tidbits about these teams. First, I’ll tackle Triple X. With Low Ki on the sidelines, it has been up to Elix Skipper and Chris Daniels to carry the load. I’ve always had the strongest belief in Chris Daniels as a talent, and an even stronger belief that like TNA itself, the only thing keeping him down was exposure. Like TNA once again, Daniels started to get the attention of the masses and is determined to not pass up this opportunity. He is off to Japan for a short while, but will still have a presence on our show in his absence.
Elix Skipper? Easily this industry’s most improved wrestler in the last six months. His amazing balance and incredible athleticism have really come out since teaming with the Fallen Angel. What a story he has. With Daniels off to Japan, look for Prime Time to make a big impact on his own.
A year ago, 99% of the wrestling community had never heard of America’s Most Wanted. Now, I’d say they are widely regarded as the best tag team in the industry. The whole time AMW has carried themselves as professionals with a great attitude. The younger generation of talent has a different mindset than some of the veterans, and quite frankly, it is both refreshing and contagious to those of us who share in their desire for success. We are seeing more and more up and coming talent like Kazarian, London, and Sabin earn their spots through hard work and a great attitude. Hats off to Harris and Storm. The best part is, their best days are still ahead of them as well.
I guess it is time to take our hats off as well to Bob Ryder, who has certainly fought some political battles on their behalf since TNA started, and when many people had doubts in the beginning, completely proved everyone wrong. A very satisfying feeling I’d bet. On the flipside, my political efforts on pushing Cheeks as a main eventer have still fallen on deaf ears.
The Sting interview will be the first shoot-style interview he’s ever done. “Sting: Behind the Paint” is a very compelling piece of video that was a complete monitor sellout in the production truck. The interview will air this Wednesday night. Mike Tenay did an absolutely fantastic job talking with Sting. Look for the Stinger to discuss things he’s never talked about in public before. It may sound like a cliché, but this truly is Sting like you’ve never seen him before.
Some have given TNA lots of credit for “listening to our fans” on the internet. While that is certainly true, the interesting thing is that for the most part, when we read criticisms, we aren’t surprised by what we often see as it is usually no secret to us what needs fixing. TNA is a company that learns from both its mistakes and successes.
Raven and Glenn Gilberti both suffered injuries during the tag team match last night and needed to be taken to the hospital. I talked to Gilberti this afternoon and he will be laid up for three days, as he is suffering from back muscle spasms. He described it to me as a “10” on the meter-o-pain. Strangely enough, the only things that have ever registered as an “11” are the new Hulk movie and any wrestling match involving Tiny Lister.
The big announcement I was talking about in last week’s From the Inside was Tuesday’s announcement that Frank Romano has been brought on as C.O.O. of TNA. Romano comes to us as a former VP from iN-Demand, and will open up the New York office of TNA. TNA has a solid product that with the right exposure will be very lucrative. The product is there… now it is time for the business side of TNA to kick into overdrive to make sure that happens. Romano is a huge acquisition for TNA, and I’m very excited about what he will bring to the table.
Go read the most recent guest columns post on 1wrestling.com. A gentleman named Charles Beckman from Salt Lake City gave his account of his visit to Nashville’s TNA Asylum last week for the anniversary show. Very interesting read.
Is there any doubt that Tenay and West are the best announcing duo in wrestling today? The amount of respect shown by the talent to them alone is quite remarkable. They seem to be universally respected backstage both personally and professionally.
The trio of Konnan, BG James, and the Truth have been very entertaining the past two weeks. A little time away from the business has certainly done BG James well, as he has come back very inspired and definitely focused. He has always been one of the most entertaining people in the business, good to see that he’s back.
BJ James did an impression of Don West that even outshined the job Will Farrell did on Saturday Night Live a few years back. If you’ve never seen the SNL skits (they parodied West three separate times on SNL), Farrell’s impression of West is priceless. I will say this much… I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished in life… but if you can go around making the claim that you were parodied on SNL, you are in a class of your own.
This Wednesday night we will see the in ring debut of the monster that has been helping Kid Kash destroy Eric Watts. There still has not been a name given on the air to this monster. That will change this Wednesday.
There was certainly no shortage of blood on the show. Definatley more than planned, but the physicality of the action can result in that sometimes.
TNA girl Tyson was late to the show Wednesday night. Her excuse was that she was participating in the Playboy Scramble Golf Tournament. My good friend Chelsea was plucked from the crowd to fill in with about five minutes notice, and she did great.
The Jerry Lynn/Justin Credible matches have been doing a great job of building to this week’s chain match. This week’s contest will likely be the match you’ve been wanting out of the two.
Those of you wondering if it is a conscious effort to beef up the size of the security can rest easy. Yes. Stay tuned.
Another story from my WCW days you ask? Well, its Friday… ok. I guess it is finally time to come clean on the day I conspired to do physical harm to someone. I’m not exactly proud of this, but after four years, the story needs to be told.
I believe the town was Buffalo, NY. WCW had a PPV there and my day was actually pretty light. In WCW, PPVs were either completely hectic for me, or practically a day off. On the big events, I would host a live six hour pre-show on the preview channel without taking a break. Those were exhausting. Other shows, I would just host the WCW Live! post show, which was a walk in the park. However, no PPV experience compared to the one in Buffalo, NY, as I was about to endure pain like never before.
Since this day was rather light for me, I was asked to look after Gary Coleman, who was being brought in to appear on the PPV. Bob Ryder had arranged the appearance for WCW, so I got Coleman’s number from Bob and called him to finalize his airline info, hotel, ect. We flew him first class and I was to pick him up in my rental car at the airport at 4pm that night, take him directly to the arena, and make sure he had a ride back to the hotel after the show. We had a pleasant telephone conversation and everything was set.
I pick up Gary Coleman up at the airport, and immediately he starts in on me. His first statement to me is “Where is the nearest train or hobby store?” I told him I had no idea, but I would be happy to call information and find out for him. I said he would have time to do a little shopping before his flight in the morning, and I would arrange for someone to take him around and then get him to the airport. I had to be at our Nitro production meeting right away in the morning in Rochester, so I wouldn’t have been able to go with the little fella.
Well, things went south fast, as Coleman turned heel by insisting that he was promised to be taken to a train store before he went to the arena. A train store? What the..? Ok… whatever you say little Arnold. I kindly explained to him that we needed to get him to the arena immediately for a pre-tape. He started to fuss and actually refused to get into the car until I called and got directions to a hobby store. I thought he was ribbing me at first, but it became apparent to me very early that he was serious. Could the kid I watched as a child on Diff’rent Strokes really be this big of an a-hole?
I lucked out and found a huge train and hobby store that was just minutes from the arena, called and told the owner of the situation, and the owner agreed to keep the store open just for us. We were already running late, so I told him he had just a few minutes. Coleman walked into this model train store like he owned the joint. I’ve never seen anything like it. Of course, the owner of the store flips out when he sees him, which only fueled his fire. He started to bark out statements like, “if this was a real train store, you’d have the 1954 Wellington Caboose with the gold plated chasse…” Not only did he never thank the guy for keeping the place open for us, but he acted like the store’s selection wasn’t up to par. To this day, I’ve never seen anything like it.
30 minutes later and five phone calls from WCW office later, I finally was able to drag him out of the store and made a mad dash to the arena. I was ready to throw him out of the moving car.
On the way to the arena, and I will never forget this… he informed me that under no uncertain circumstances would he udder the phrase, “whatchu talkin’ bout Mike Awesome,” as was scripted. Stating that his popular “whatchu talking bout…” phrase was in his past, and he has moved on. He doesn’t say that anymore. By this time, I was considering driving off a bridge and putting us both out of our misery. I really do have a lot of patience with people, and acted professional the whole time, but in my head I was already planning revenge. One way or another, little Arnold was going to pay.
We arrived at the arena, and I immediately pulled Jimmy Hart aside, and told him that I had to hand off Coleman to him, as I was about to lose it, and Jimmy has the most patience of anyone I know. Jimmy laughed it off and pitched a solid relief outing.
It came time to go over the segment with Jeff Jarrett and Russo, and sure enough, he wanted more money to take the guitar shot. What a worker. He had agreed to everything well ahead of time, but was trying to do everything he could to make this difficult. Everything was worked out and he finally agreed to take the guitar shot.
After going over this surreal situation, I pulled Jeff Jarrett aside and did something I still have not come to terms with. I actually offered Jeff Jarrett cash to nail that little bastard as hard as he possibly could with the guitar. Now, Jarrett always swings for the fences with ol’ Slapnuts, but this time I wanted him to swing the guitar like he has never done it before, in an attempt to actually injure little Arnold. Now, once again, I’m not proud of my actions, and in retrospect I’m glad Jarrett took the high road and declined my financial offer, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Now, an interesting Oliver Stone twist to this story… I think there may have been a leak. Not that there were any shortage of stooges already in WCW, but I have strong reason to believe that someone tipped Gary Coleman off to my plan ahead of time. If you go back and watch the tape, Coleman takes the guitar shot, his baseball cap falls off, only to reveal a large amount of toilet paper coiled into his hat to try and cushion the blow. The tape doesn’t lie.
It actually feels good to get that all off my chest, and after completing my anger management classes and court ordered community service work, I feel much better. I will say this much though… little Gary… if you are reading this… Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. I still want to beat your ass.
I’m off to Daytona Beach for a weekend of sun and pina coladas on the beach. It has been an exhausting couple of weeks. I need it. God bless.