Interestingly enough, I had most of this column drafted prior to this past Sunday’s debacle of a main event at Victory Road. However, it seems that the intent of this column will probably change in the eyes of many readers given the fact that TNA Wrestling essentially robbed the pay-per-view buying fans of a main event match on Sunday. In any event, I’m going to carry on with the column with my original intent in mind and, hopefully, in these words.
Lately I’ve been wondering what it’s going to take. More precisely, I’ve been wondering what it’s going to take in order for me to buy a TNA Wrestling pay-per-view. I’ve never purchased a wrestling pay-per-view outright, though I have gone to my friends’ and family members’ houses to watch certain events over the years. And, of course, I’ve purchased a DVD or two of various wrestling events that I’ve attended (SummerSlam 2002 and Hard Justice 2008, for example).
However, I’ve never sat down and watched a wrestling show and thought to myself, “Man – I have to buy the pay-per-view this month!” Never had that thought – ever.
And yet, leading up to this month’s Victory Road pay-per-view I found myself thinking, “You know, this card isn’t half bad. I could order this pay-per-view – maybe get it online or something.” Honest to God, that’s what I thought and it was the first time in my life that – as a wrestling fan – I strongly considered purchasing a pay-per-view.
I mean look at this card:
Jeff Hardy vs. Sting
TNA World Tag Team Championship
Ink, Inc. vs. Beer Money
TNA X-Division Championship
Ultimate X Match
Jeremy Buck vs. Max Buck vs. Robbie E. vs. Kazarian
#1 Contender’s Match
Mr. Anderson vs. Rob Van Dam
First Blood Match
Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez
Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer
Come on! That’s a phenomenal card! You have 8 major matches signed (half of which are for championships) and you have some great, pure wrestling matches on the card with AJ Styles, Matt Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and Rob Van Dam. If any group of guys can put on a phenomenal match, it’s those four guys. In my mind, the only throwaway match in the bunch was the Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer match and yet most reviews of the match that I read online suggested that it was actually pretty good.
And as for the Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez match – well I think I’ve made it pretty well known that I’m a fan of Morgan and that I support him so I was looking forward to that match just as much as I was looking forward to watching my man from down the street – Robbie E. – compete in the #1 Contender’s Match for the X-Division. To me, this was about as strong a card as I’ve seen in a long while from TNA Wrestling.
But I still didn’t buy the pay-per-view. Which got me thinking about why I wouldn’t by the show. Here are some of the issues that came to mind when I gave this topic some thought:
The Setting. Major pay-per-view or not, regular iMPACT! or not, I’m just about “over” watching wrestling in the iMPACT! Zone. Look, the fans that go there think that they are part of the show (they’re not – they’re a bunch of smark tools), the appearance on TV looks like a soundstage and not a wrestling arena (hey TNA Wrestling – we know that you only show one side of the arena and it doesn’t fool anyone), and the intensity and excitement on that soundstage is nonexistent. Again, I hate watching iMPACT! each week when it’s taking place in that shit hole and the last way that I want to invest $30 or $40 of my bucks is in purchasing a pay-per-view that is going to occur in the iMPACT! Zone.
The Impact. No pun intended, but what impact do pay-per-views really have these days anyway? Is there ever a major payoff at an annual pay-per-view that isn’t either fully rehashed on the next episode of the promotion’s weekly show or actually makes a difference in the long run? Probably not. I’m a really conservative guy when it comes to money management and expenses (if you’ve ever read my blog over at JerseySmarts.com, then you know that), so part of me can’t fathom buying a wrestling event that I can only watch once and that doesn’t really impact the larger wrestling landscape to any great degree.
The Cost. At the end of the day, my mind can’t reconcile paying $30 or $40 (or more) for a pay-per-view when I’m going to know the results of the show as they happen (thank you internet) and when I can buy the DVD of the event a few months afterwards for half the cost (or less) of the live pay-per-view.
The Consistency. Recently, Eric Bischoff commented on his Facebook page that someone needs to have the balls to reduce the amount of wrestling pay-per-views because the market is saturated. He’s 100% correct in this wrestling fan’s eyes. Other than Bound for Glory, which pay-per-view should I consider buying that TNA Wrestling puts out there? What makes Victory Road any better (or worse) than Against All Odds or Final Resolution or Genesis? What’s the difference between these shows? It’s high time that TNA Wrestling reduce the amount of pay-per-views to give the fans more of a thirst for each show and to give each show a greater opportunity to create an impact.
And though I’m not reserving a specialized bullet point for this final point (which I wrote up after Victory Road), the content of the shows needs to be addressed. Frankly, if I purchased Victory Road under the auspices of watching Sting vs. Jeff Hardy in a main event match, I’d be in an uproar right now over the outcome of that match. In fact, I’d have been on the phone with the cable company every day to get a refund on my money. Wrestling isn’t like MMA or boxing where you order a pay-per-view knowing that the main event could literally last a minute or two if someone strikes a knockout blow. People order wrestling pay-per-views because they know they’re getting a show and the folks who ordered Victory Road on Sunday night didn’t get the full show. It was akin to someone turning off the projector in a movie theater during the last 15 minutes of the movie. Unacceptable.
Honestly, I’m surprised the internet dirt sheets haven’t concocted a fake story yet about some type of class action lawsuit on behalf of the folks who ordered the pay-per-view. But give it time and we might hear about that type of malarkey sooner or later…
All of this brings me back to my original question – what is it going to take? What is it going to take to get me and the many hordes of TNA Wrestling fans who do not currently order these pay-per-views to actually spend our money on one of these shows?
At this point, I’m honestly not sure.
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com