When you’re down on your luck, that’s when you fantasize most about what it would be like to be rich. To be famous. To be powerful. But it always starts when you’re at the bottom, or close to it. That’s when you want it the most. And as a wrestling fan, I always find myself thinking “If I ran a wrestling company, here is what I would do!” More specifically, I think “If I ran TNA…” Surely if I ran TNA, it would be out of business faster than Chris Sabin‘s last title reign, as I ain’t got the schoolin’ to run a company. But why do I fantasize about running TNA so much? Because it’s the underdog and has something major for everyone to lose if it is run into the ground like so many promotions before it. The WWE is the WWE. It will only fail if society as a whole decided to stop watching. It will probably never have to worry about money issues, which is coincidentally the number one thing TNA is facing right now. Supposedly. Depends on who you read. Personally I think Dixie is due a raise in her allowance from Papa Carter just for TNA hanging in there for as long as it has.
After a decade of watching TNA, I’m convinced that bringing in people like MMA stars, reality TV stars, and even big name wrestlers from the WWE does next to jack for ratings and ticket sales. By all means, having someone like Kurt Angle on your roster is a boost. But in this day and age where media is literally at our fingertips and seconds away from when we want it, it’s your product and presentation in the here and now that needs to be stellar, because if someone wants to watch a kick ass RVD match or a classic Kurt Angle bout, they can YouTube it. Now say Kurt Angle is in a red hot feud with a worthy competitor or doing something new and fresh for his character, people will want to see it because, well, it’s new and fresh. Hulk Hogan turning heel in 1996 was so shocking, and what the nWo did was so fresh for American wrestling audiences that it was ratings gold for WCW. The WWE starting their “Attitude Era” was so shocking and new that you HAD to watch it. But when you think about it, they used opposite techniques. WCW used already established stars like Hogan, Savage, Hall and Nash to get the angle over, viewers to tune in and to help make their own stars like DDP, Goldberg…and that’s about it, sadly. The WWE used the reverse tactic, using the new “nothing is off the table” mindset to make stars like The Rock, Steve Austin, Triple H and more. But the thing they had in common that kept people glued was that things were so crazy, anything could happen.
One of my favorite shows is about to come back for it’s 4th season. October is my favorite month not only because of the cooler weather, Halloween, and Bound for Glory, but it’s “Walking Dead” new season time. Zombies, gore, and the lovely Lauren Cohan aside, I love the show because it’s so unpredictable. Only 5 characters from the first season are still around out of about 15 or so. That is the element that TNA needs. I love being shocked. I loved when Bobby Roode turned against James Storm. I loved it when Austin Aries won the TNA Title, and I even loved it when Chris Sabin won it because it was fresh. Sadly though these days the only thing that shocks me is how terribly bad, butchered and dated Hogan’s promos are. I really don’t want the company to fail, and like with every wrestling company, it’s like a roller coaster with highs and lows. A fan is someone who rides it out and sticks around, even if they have to fantasize about running the company to make it a bit better.
I’m going to slightly alter my ending feature that debuted in the last column, specifically the name of it, because this time the recipient isn’t exactly a wrestler. But she definitely deserved this “honor”.
WORST PERSON IN WRESTLING…..THIS WEEK: Dixie Carter.
Personally I think Dixie Carter is a wonderful person who sometimes is in over her head in a business she might not know enough about to run a company based on it. But that’s just my assessment. However recently she said something I have to call her out on. In an interview with the Ministry of Slam (You’re not alone, I’ve never heard of it either) she was asked about the criticism from the recent talent releases and had this to say:
“Well, I think the fact that you let talent go is not any indication whatsoever of any problems. I think part of our problem is that we didn’t turn the roster often enough. We only have one show so if we don’t have people on the show all the time. we are not in the position to have them sitting at home and being paid and not working. I think we have to get some more programming.”
I think it most definitely is a problem. While I understand her rational of not wanting to pay people who aren’t used, exactly who hired all of those people in the first place, knowing that you only have one TV show and limited touring dates? That is the person who should be fired. Plus, can you really complain about having people on the roster who arent used enough when Hogan didnt show for about a month and these MMA guys are pretty much getting paid to stand in the background and look tough? But going back to the “releasing people isn’t a sign of problems” statement, it damn sure is when 99% of them are all the ones you hired from the Gut Check segments, most of which never even made it to TV aside from their initial Gut Check match.
Mrs. Carter, we’re wrestling fans…some of us may look stupid because we come to TNA shows with replica WWE belts or chant “What?” even though that should have died out years ago, but not all of us are as dumb as John Cena’s finisher looks. WWE fans are the general and casual public where as TNA fans are the die-hards who tend to be more “dirt sheet” savvy. You want to engage with us so badly via social media and meet & greets, and that’s very cool. But you can’t positively spin what is so widely and negatively acknowledged by your fan base.