We know now.

“They” were finally revealed at TNA’s “Bound for Glory” pay-per-view as Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and the new World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy. For those of you who didn’t read my results (and shame on you if you didn’t!), Jarrett walked out on Samoa Joe during their tag team handicapped match against Kevin Nash, Sting, and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero. Hogan and Bischoff pretended to get into it with each other, but both helped Jeff Hardy to win the World Heavyweight Championship by handing him a crutch and a chair to use on Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson. Quite clearly, the papers that Dixie Carter signed were not termination papers for Abyss. While most of us can guess that she has unknowingly signed over control of the company to “Them,” nothing has been made clear regarding that so far. This, then, is where we, the wrestling fans, internet or otherwise, find ourselves.

Much has been posted in comment sections of wrestling websites, or on the sites themselves as featured articles, on what a terrible idea this was. Some defend it, claiming, as BWF’s latest acquisition, Jamie Kennedy (cheap plug!) addressed in his recent article, that the “IWC” hates everything, nothing is ever good enough for them, and that waiting to see how the idea plays out is only fair. Your friendly neighborhood Drowgoddess does not fall into that camp. Having read much of what others had to say on the subject, however, made me think. I will try to articulate just why the “They” reveal struck me as one of the worst things that could possibly have been done. You may disagree, and are free to post your thoughts at the end.

For starters, Eric Bischoff claimed that TNA creative had been working on this idea since March. That’s 6 1/2 months. Does he honestly expect that fans will believe that this was the plan all along? There’s no way that could possibly be so. Look back over everything that has happened in TNA since March. How much of it makes sense as part of a grand plan? This is not a case of being able to look back over a period of months and realize, “Oh! THAT’S how the pieces fit together! I can see how they set it all up now, I just didn’t notice before.” If it were, then things would be peachy groovy in Logic Land. They aren’t.

Secondly, the entire reveal felt like it was being done purely because it was a swerve. “They’ll never expect a Hardy turn, so let’s do that.” A well-written book on the subject compares this style of writing and booking pro wrestling to ordering a pepperoni pizza, and getting a fish sandwich delivered to your door. Unexpected, wasn’t it? Yes, but you wanted your darned pizza, and you are now less than happy. I can’t put it in words, but there was a very smug vibe about the reveal segment, as though everyone involved was collectively “Ha-ha!”ing at all of us stupid marks who never saw it coming. Yes, you fooled us. When you finish patting yourselves on the back for that, riddle me this, Batman. Now what?

That’s my final point. The big reveal of “Them” was intended as the climax of a major angle. Those in charge seem to have focused so much on swerving everyone that they’ve given precious little thought as to how to follow it up. Yes, Jeff Hardy can have matches with Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Mr. Anderson, Samoa Joe, and The Pope. Guess what, Sherlock? He could have had those matches anyway. You know, because of the whole “wrestlers wanting to be the World Heavyweight Champion” thing? Will fans accept Jeff Hardy as a heel? Doubtfully. WWE tried it, and were forced to make Matt Hardy the bad guy because Jeff was so completely beloved. Speaking of Matt Hardy, he thinks that he can save TNA, and means to join Jeff as soon as WWE kicks him out. Grilled cheesus, please don’t. Just don’t. An out-of-shape perpetual mid-carder with so little charisma and ability to get himself over on his own merits that he has made a career out of being cheered because he was Jeff’s brother or Lita’s boyfriend? No. TNA has too many problems that will not be solved by hiring a guy whose obsession with “working the internet fans” is second only to the people running TNA. The Hardys were good sports entertainers, but neither was ever a good wrestler.

Going beyond the new World Heavyweight Champion, how will this play out? Kevin Nash claims to be done with TNA over money. Good. Aside from the occasional witty commentary (and even that wasn’t as often as some people think), Nash had nothing to offer on-camera. Sting may be done for good too, as he’s taking time off for a shoulder injury, hasn’t signed a new contract, and may be done for good. That leaves The Pope by himself, which would be fine if he hadn’t been set up as a disciple of the Nash/Sting group. Fortune are supposed to be heels, the top heel faction in the company. Will they cozy up with Hogan and Bischoff and Abyss and Jeff Jarrett and Jeff Hardy? That makes no sense. If Jarrett hates Dixie for taking his company away, why did he let her? Apparently, all of “Them” will be blaming Dixie for causing them to do what they did. Considering that both Hogan and Bischoff have constantly trumped her decisions on tv since they showed up, that defies logic. Will it be WWE cast-offs against TNA’s homegrown talent? That storyline was already ruined by screwing up the Main Event Mafia angle. There really doesn’t seem to be any way to salvage this and make it compelling and workable unless some major revamping in the face/heel alignment is done. I don’t know. Perhaps you have faith that this will go somewhere positive. I don’t.

And don’t even get me started on the slap in the face of paying a useless skank from “The Jersey Shore” $15,000 for one appearance (and the promise of potentially doing more) when so many of the legitimately talented female wrestlers like Awesome Kong and Gail Kim were essentially forced out of the company by ridiculously low pay. I read $200-$500 per show for some of them. I’d be baying for blood as well.

What are your thoughts on “Them?” Feel free to share with the rest of the class.

1 Comment

  1. 1. FIRSTIES!!!! (I've been wating to do that for months!)
    2. Agreed in regards to the gaps in logic, 100%, however logic hasn't ever been the priority in wrestling.
    3. I'm guessing this swerve is all they had to work with so they went with it. It would've made more sense to just bring Hogan in as a heel in the first place.

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