|Mark Madden wrote:|
YOU NEVER DISAPPOINT ME…
...because you ALWAYS disappoint me.
The TNA Challenge is going about like I expected: Lots and lots of incoherency. Lots and lots of name-calling. Facts and points well-made? Not so much.
Truth is, I've received several dozen e-mails regarding the TNA Challenge, and not one has articulately verbalized anything TNA doesright. And the bottom line is, to define something as "being done right,"it hasto be getting results. Many of those responding bleated endlessly about "potential."
But "potential" is just another way of saying you might get your ass kicked. TNA has been around for eight years. A.J. Styles has wrestled for 12 years. At some point, you go from having potential to hitting your sell-by date. To being a flop. That's no knock on A.J. specifically. I like him as a worker. But some guys just don't draw. Or, sometimes, good performers are never put in a position to draw. Sometimes good performers are dragged down by a permanently damaged brand name.
Sometimes good performers need the machine. Jeff Hardy: Star in WWE. Jeff Hardy: Bum in TNA.
Some guys are good within context. His unfortunate and unnecessary use of profanity aside, Mr. Anderson has had a nice run in TNA. But it hasn't led to anything. Ratings and buyratesstay low. Kurt Angle and Ric Flair have always been foolproof. But it hasn't led to anything. You've got to draw.
TNA is a permanently damaged brand name. The Second Coming could show up at the Impact Zone with a signed affidavit from God swearing that He was the real deal, and it wouldn't matter. Casual fans don't take TNA seriously. WCW fans haven't flocked. WWE fans see TNA as second-rate.
I've saidmore than oncethat the best thing for TNA to do would be fold. I wasn't kidding. There is NO WAY to make TNA work. It's been too bad for too long. WCW was dangerously close to that point before Hulk Hogan upped its visibility. Eric Bischoff having the guts to go toe-to-toe on Monday night made WCW viable. The nWo invasion put WCW over the top. It's pretty clear you can't go home again.
The best TNA can ever hope for is a well-booked product that piques the interest of its hardcore loyalists. And with its current ownership and administration, TNA can't even hope for that.
I tried to write a positive TNA column. Even a parody-style column that would praise TNA. Can't do it. There's no angle to take.
TNA's lot in the wrestling business seems to be to give stars limited by age and/or physical shortcomings a limited work schedule and a decent paycheck. To allow performers to audition for WWE, to prove they're worthy of going to (or returning to) the big show. To make sure guys who have not earned the right to spend a lifetime working in wrestling (but sure think they have) can avoid ever having to get a real job. To let the divas/knockouts rotate between WWE and TNA, thus screwing ALL the guys, not just those from one company. To make sure Bischoff has access to a network's ear (which must surely have been his purpose all along). And to give Vince Russo a place to martyr himself.
Ideally, TNA would act, at the very least, as WWE's conscience. In theory, WWE would feel obligated to properly use its performers by way of keeping them from going to TNA to do damage to WWE.
But TNA isn't popular enough for that to even remotely worry WWE. TNA is the tree that falls in the forest.
Which brings us to Daniel Bryan.
TNA should at least do the Internet wrestling community and dirt-sheet junkies a favor by inquiring after Bryans services. If he turns down TNA, then his dismissal from WWE is a work. If Bryan oins TNA, he wouldn't be a bad get. He'dcome to Spike TV with a small degree of steam.
I don't buy that "best wrestler in the world" nonsense, but maybe it was always meant to be hype, not proposed fact. Bryan probably has some sort of no-compete regarding TNA, but that doesn't mean he couldn't commit to start when it runs out. Bryan could come to TNA, and they could ruin him.
It's what TNA does. Guys like Desmond Wolfe, the Pope, Styles, Beer Money, Matt Morgan, Hernandez, all the guys who allegedly have "potential"…if they have so much "potential," how come the ratings suck? The booking is awful, but you can only blame that so much. Fans can see through bad booking and anoint stars. Consider Rocky Maivia as a grinning nitwit. Doesn't happen often, but it can. In TNA, it won't.
I'm so happy that Jim Ross didn't take over TNA. Happy for J.R., that is. It was a no-win situation, and it would have driven him crazy.
Jim Ross in TNA would have been the wrestling equivalent of the '60s TV sitcom, "Green Acres." Until then, most TV sitcoms dropped somebody weird in the middle of sanity. "Green Acres" was the first TV sitcom to drop somebody normal in the middle of insanity. Ross could have been TNA's Oliver Wendell Douglas. The guy who knows what he's doing surrounded by those who don't. Those who don't, win. There's more of them. Dixie Carter could be Lisa. Bischoff could be Mr. Haney, the flim-flam man.
So, another anti-TNA column comes to a close. You don't like being criticized? Don't suck.