Why TNA is Dead to MeBy Drowgoddess · · 8 Comments
This is it.
Many of you already know that TNA has been my wrestling promotion of choice since 2004, and that I’ve done all that a human being can do to support it. I’ve written about it on multiple sites. I’ve focused on the positive, when I can find it, and made every effort to talk the company up to fellow fans. I’ve enjoyed their house shows, and the one pay-per-view event that I attended (Victory Road 2008). I’ve at least taken solace in the fact that every now and again, my favorite wrestlers actually get screen time on national television. My comrade Gee has taken up the mantle of reviewing “Impact” here at boredwrestlingfan.com after I asked to change shows, and while his irreverent and heavily GIF-laden style meshes perfectly with the subject at hand, the truth is that I simply couldn’t take any more.
I tapped out.
In previous columns and reviews, I’ve likened TNA to the manipulative, abusive significant other (male or female) who constantly lets you down in one way or another, cheats on you, plays with your mind, and then convinces you to take him/her back with protestations of undying devotion and assurances that better times are ahead. He/she won’t do those things again, and if you’ll just give him/her another chance, imagine how great everything will be! Well, your friendly neighborhood Drowgoddess is finally over it. TNA has been formally kicked to the curb, and the locks on my doors and windows changed. I’ve devoted my entire heart and soul to you, TNA, and now I’m done with you. I’m moving on.
Oh, I’m so very glad that you asked!
#1: Identity Theft:
TNA hasn’t just lost everything that gave it its own identity in the world of televised professional wrestling, it cheerfully handed over the purse to the mugger. At one time, it really was “Total Nonstop Action,” and that actually set it apart from WWE. The six-sided ring didn’t just look different, it caused matches (particularly tag team matches) to be wrestled differently. The X-Division really wasn’t about weight limits, it was about no limits. The Knockouts division had legitimate female grapplers with a tremendous range of appearance types, as opposed to a box of Barbie dolls. None of this is true anymore.
Almost everything that might have prevented TNA’s looking like a cheap knock-off of WWE is gone. Much of it was simply erased because the Hogan/Bischoff regime didn’t like it. If TNA as a company had decided to change to a four-sided ring, focus less on the X-Division and the Knockouts, or add more non-wrestling content to the program, then that would have stung a bit less. That’s not what happened. Don’t even get me started on the ramp that was set up for the nearly-crippled elderly to walk to and from the ring, thereby completely ruining the wrestling styles of most of the roster.
#2: Scene Stealing:
To say that TNA has gone completely overboard with segments and skits would be akin to referring to the Hindenburg disaster as a minor inconvenience. TNA is supposed to be a wrestling program, meaning that the focus of the overall program should be on the actual wrestling matches or events that deal directly with said matches. By many accounts that I have read, Eric Bischoff and the other powers that be in TNA live and die by fractions of percents of ratings, and the numbers tell them that skits and segments do better ratings than wrestling does. Hence the constant Jeff and Karen “home movies,” backstage Immortal politicking, and mindlessly unending Eric Bischoff promos from the ring.
Here’s the thing about ratings.
Ratings numbers must be interpreted. They don’t explain “why.” If a segment has a certain rating, and the wrestling match that immediately follows it has as lower rating, perhaps people were so turned off by the stupid skit that they stopped watching by the time that the match came on. That Bischoff insists on writing the show to match the ratings of the previous week instead of formulating a long-term plan with storylines and following it through infuriates me, and you can tell that this happens by watching the show. But then you’d have to watch the show. Most people don’t.
Even if the above points were debatable, the “Speed Racer” pacing and cramming of too many things into a too-short amount of time make any good segments get lost. When no time is allowed for an effect to sink in, that moment has been wasted. You think that you’re writing television at the expense of wrestling, and you can’t even do that properly.
#3: Reality Bites:
What is this obsession that Dixie Carter and Vince Russo have with reality television??? First there was Jonny Fairplay, who didn’t last long. Then in 2009, they hire a pointless skank who won “Survivor: Amazon” in 2003 by getting naked for peanut butter, pay her an obscene sum of money that dwarfs anything the Knockouts roster makes, and give her a ppv match that turns out to be the greatest abomination unto gods and men in wrestling history. Then another guy from a different flavor of “Survivor” turns up for several weeks. A guy whom no one at all remembers. Then they bring in characters based on “Jersey Shore.” This was at least timely, and could have gone somewhere, but TNA had to ruin that as well. They bring in J-Woww from the real “Jersey Shore” to feud briefly with Cookie, after constantly trashing the actual “Jersey Shore” program. WHY? Why point out that you’re an imitation of something else? People from the “Jersey Shore” program should be the last people invited to participate in the show. It gets even better. Now some chick named Angelina (because TNA didn’t already have someone using that name) who USED TO BE on “Jersey Shore,” but was kicked off of it several seasons ago, has been signed to a short-term contract to appear and wrestle. Merciful Jeebus, why??? At least J-Woww was a current cast member. This is someone who was removed from the show some time ago. Perhaps we should just be grateful that it wasn’t six years ago. In any case, the Miz succeeded in moving from “The Real World” to WWE Champion because he dedicated himself utterly to the business, and possessed some talent. No one brought in by TNA from the reality show world can say the same.
On a similar note, get over this ridiculous idea that events in real life have to be used on tv simply because they are real. The concussion angle with Anderson could have been done by anyone at any time if the idea were a good one. Why bring up the private dating lives of Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky on tv when it has nothing whatsoever to do with what we see on tv? The Jeff/Karen/Kurt story has reached new depths of absurdity. What’s next? Jeff Hardy gets set up on federal drug charges by an unknown “source?” The fact that something is “real” does not make it necessary or better for tv.
#4: Out with the Old, In with the…Old?:
Established star power has its place. Used properly, it can do some good for a new promotion. However, no nostalgia act or big signing from WWE has done ANYTHING to improve things for TNA in the long term. Not Sting. Not Kurt Angle. Not Ric Flair. Not Scott Steiner. Not Kevin Nash. Not Hulk Hogan. Not Eric Bischoff. Not Booker T. Not Christian. Not Mickie James. Not Tara. Not Jeff Hardy. Not Matt Hardy. Not Mr. Anderson. Not Rob Van Dam. That’s quite a lot of “nots.”
There’s no excuse for TNA not being carried by AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Matt Morgan, Beer Money, Kazarian, the Guns, and Desmond Wolfe in 2011. Every one of those guys should have been made into a household name by now. Look at the guys who got away. Austin Aries. Low Ki. Homicide. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. Petey Williams. Sonjay Dutt. TNA has always had the talent to be great. They just refuse to utilize said talent at all, or use them so poorly that the talent is horribly devalued.
#5: Diary of a Mad White Woman:
These thoughts are in no particular order.
Velvet Sky’s career on the line? Why? Nobody cares! The Beautiful People don’t work well as babyfaces anyway. Those characters are heels all the way. Sky, in particular, has been the same self-absorbed, hateful, haughty, screechy, “look at me, you want this, you’re not good enough to get a piece of this,” overly aggressive, in-your-face bitch that people enjoyed booing after they were finished ogling her backside. Sky has done nothing whatsoever to get herself over as a babyface. She’s not a good wrestler, and never has been, so her “career” isn’t much to lose. Frankly, the only reason that this could even work would be if Winter interfered in the match, causing Sky to lose her career, and getting Angelina Love all to herself. Even that won’t play out well because Love doesn’t act torn between Sky and Winter. She takes Sky’s side too often. I’m getting the distinct impression that the writers have never actually had friends before, and don’t understand how real people behave.
Why has there been no mention at all of the Motor City Machine Guns? Alex Shelley goes out with a broken collarbone, and not one word is said about it? Why not? At least acknowledge it and blame someone for causing it. Mike Tenay and Taz actually said that they didn’t know why Chris Sabin came to the ring without Alex Shelley, maybe the Guns wanted to prove that they could wrestle in the X-Division on their own. As ridiculous and asinine as that was, neither announcer followed up on it. With Beer Money as babyfaces now, will the Guns be turned heel yet again for no reason, despite the fact that no one wants to boo them? Probably.
TNA has officially signed Gunner and Murphy to contracts. Whatever. I thought the roster was full.
Traci Brooks and ODB have been brought back briefly because TNA has no one to feed to Madison Rayne. Maybe if they hadn’t fired or released or allowed to get away Taylor Wilde, Hamada, Alissa Flash, Roxxi, Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, and Daffney, then we wouldn’t have this problem? Speaking of, WHERE IS DAFFNEY??? My Gothic Goddess should be on tv every week, you soulless vermin!!!
TNA. Haven for unrepentant junkies everywhere. I’m not exactly a strident moralist, but the reputation on this count is thoroughly deserved. Yes, this includes whatever Kurt Angle is on as well as the more “recreational” activities of Jeff Hardy, RVD, and Brian Kendrick. Angle looks a mess, and I don’t want to see him die in the ring.
Stop the Samoa Joe/Pope feud. Stop it right now. It helps no one. Pope was a super-hot babyface. TNA ruined that. Joe was starting to get the badass monster reaction again. If Joe wants Okada to be his personal Kato, I’m not at all opposed to that. Some are, but I think that it could have been cool. This is where we needed some backstage skits to establish what Joe and Okada were doing, and why. Pope and Joe are better than this mess.
Every “biggest announcement ever” from TNA turns out to be a huge disappointment or gets ignored. This latest will prove no different. You’re a joke, Dixie. Just stop.
At least Vince McMahon knows when to NOT be on tv.
[Drowgoddess welcomes opinions of all sorts. Comment below, even if you disagree.]
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