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That's A Wrap #38 - Wrestleview.com

That's A Wrap #38

That's a Wrap
By: David Stephens of WrestleView.com

Ousta! Welcome back to the only WrestleView column covering topics both nowhere yet everywhere at once. If you are new to the column you are probably going to hate me for the first couple weeks, but then you are going to hit a point where you say ?oh wait a minute, I think he gets it?. Don?t worry, that's exactly how it is designed to be. This column is all about gut reactions and traveling thoughts. As the great Andy Kaufman once said: ?I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut, or get angry from the gut?.

TNA is the Best?

Breathe

Take a second to soak it in, this is going to be a difficult column for most of you to read.

Exhale

Relaxed yet?

Inhale

I stand by what I?m about to say 100%

Exhale

TNA is the most entertaining and fun professional wrestling show to watch each week

Have a seat

This is NOT a joke

A couple more deep breaths

For the first time in years I look forward to watching wrestling at 9pm on Thursday nights

I think we?re ready?

This is a bold, and dangerous stance to take in the internet wrestling community. I can?t tell you how many of my friends and fans write me, or post Facebook statuses which in a nutshell say ?TNA Sucks?. I?m friends with fellow WrestleView Recapper Josh Boutwell, who takes care of the TNA Recaps, and I know the show is often a migraine inducing challenge for both him and his keyboard. I certainly have empathy for Josh, but man I love watching iMPACT.

I was one of the very few people who stood up and said that I was optimistic about Hulk Hogan joining TNA. I was attacked and bashed quite adamantly for my thoughts, but I stand by them. I wanted to actually look at the situation from the perspective of Dixie Carter's intentions. Everybody has seemingly accepted that TNA can never compete with WWE, so they could not understand why I was willing to view the situation from that particular window.

I need to clear something up, which is a bit of a technicality, before I get too far into this? shall I say ?interesting?, topic. I am NOT saying that TNA iMPACT is the best show to watch for the actual ?wrestling content?. That honor goes both to WWE Smackdown and ROH on HDNet. iMPACT is not the best place to see young talent developing and making a name for themselves, that honor goes to ECW on SyFy. And, iMPACT is not the best place to get lost in the grand spectacle of sports entertainment, that honor definitely goes to Monday Night RAW.

So, what exactly am I claiming when I say that TNA iMPACT is the ?best?? I am saying that in the subjective world of likes and dislikes I ?like? iMPACT the most. I mean come on, what's not to like? Oh sure you could spend hours and hours tearing the show down and exasperatingly making a case for why Hulk Hogan is destroying the business he built. But, where is the fun in that?

Two statements, both true: TNA is crazy. I love the craziness. It's just such a hilariously awesome match. Forget ?Crash TV?, they are pulling out Demolition TV! At any moment everything could literally fall apart, and not just by design. Man, they took on the Montreal Screwjob for crying out loud, while the WWE is doing a storyline with Bret ?The Hitman? Heart! Who in their right mind would even think that is a good idea?

TNA has nothing to lose. At the end of the day, really, what does TNA have to lose? Dixie had a choice to make. They could stay the moderately successful wrestling company which is seen by the same number of people as Supertars. They could continue touring the country and bringing in smaller gates than local Indy's. They could keep a playpen in the middle of the ring, and occasionally put a giant domed cage on top of it which their talent can?t even escape from? OR they could make the leap into a new direction.

TNA is not afraid to make mistakes. Take the case I just mentioned of the instantly infamous Homicide failed cage escape on the DEBUT show of the ?new era?. It was a failure, an out and out failure. 72 of the longest seconds in live wrestling TV went down in front of a national audience. They made a mistake? so what?

Keep pushing forward! A scraped chin is NOT a broken neck. TNA has unabashedly gone forward with their product, making it ?better? each and every week. And by ?better? I mean better for me to pull up a bowl of popcorn and laugh my butt off.

TNA despite all this is still jaw-dropping at times. No, I?m not talking about when the Beautiful People decide to play strip poker in a dark room, I mean actual jaw-dropping based on talent. Some of the best matches in TNA history have happened over the past several months. I don?t care what some self-proclaimed wrestling ?critics? may claim. Joe v. AJ v. Daniels & Wolfe v. Angle were absolute classic matches. I watched the replay from the PPV on New Years with my family, and they were literally on the edge of their seats.

So what does this all mean? I believe that this means TNA is a fun boat to sail on, because the waters may be choppy, I have no idea where the captain is taking me, and I am suffering from seasickness more often then I like, but every now and then we stop off on an undiscovered island. Sometimes it is paradise, other times it is full of cannibalistic natives, but it is ALWAYS a hell of an experience.

RAW is Psych

Last week in this column I boldly proclaimed that James Roday & Dule Hill would be the best RAW guest hosts to date. Was I right? Well, yes and no but it has to do with a technicality. James Roday was unable to attend the show because of an emergency appendectomy from which he was recovering. This was really a shame. Just from the brief moment he called in the on the phone, his comedic gold was evident. I can only imagine how awesome he would have been in person.

Roday missing RAW is honestly on par with you or I having to miss. James is a HUGE wrestling fan, and it truly would have been a dream come true. Lots of compassion go out to the guy, and I?ll only have my fantasies of what could have been upon which to marinade.

On that note, I don?t want to take anything away from Hill. Considering that he works best in the duo role with Roday, I thought that he handled himself very well as guest host. I?m incredibly looking forward to watching Psych tonight (Wednesday, cause who knows when you?ll read this) as I truly believe it is one of the funniest and flat out fun shows on TV.

What's in the News?
All news is gathered from WrestleView.com unless otherwise noted

To follow up on an earlier report, Ken Anderson is said to be working on a per-night deal with TNA. The advantage for him is that he can still get acting roles (something he has been telling people he still wants to do) and won't have a contract where TNA has first dibs on his services and would have to work around a taping schedule like Kurt Angle has to do.
He is a smart guy, taking full advantage of every possible career move. If you are in a company like TNA that is willing to not lock you down, you should absolutely molest the hell out of the situation and do as much as possible

The Wrestling Observer reports that Awesome Kong gave notice to TNA on Tuesday night. This comes on the heels of her altercation with Bubba The Love Sponge over the ill-advised comments about Haiti.
I think this is a bigger loss for TNA than they might think. The Women's division was built around her and Gail Kim, now both are gone

BG James, Kip James and Brutus Beefcake were all at the TNA Impact tapings this week in Orlando, FL. Prowrestling.net is reporting that James was filling in for Scott D'Amore as an agent at the tapings.
See! Beefcake did end up attending a taping. This fulfills the predictions that Hall, Waltman, The Nasty Boys, Jimmy Hart & Brutus would at least be in the building under the Hogan umbrella

Randy Orton, who will be facing a court hearing on charges that he assaulted a 15-year-old male at the Kowloon restaurant near Boston last week, recently spoke out about the alleged incident on his website.

"I walked out of Kowloon's Friday night around 12:30-1 a.m. with Santino and a police officer escort. As I was being rudely hounded for pictures and autos (I had a 6:40 a.m. flight through Minni to Lincoln, then a drive to Omaha, a match, a drive back to Omaha, then a charter to Minni, and a driver to Rochester for the next show the next day, btw), I was confronted by an older women who said: ?Hey Randy, you spit on my handicapped son a few years ago at a show, what do you have to say about that?? My replay...`So Sue me.?

Then I proceeded to my car, with Santino and the cop and drove back to our hotel by the Boston airport. I know I have been a bit of a hothead in the past, but I DID NOT spit gum and call names to any child. The women is claiming I called her son a `retard? 3 times, and spit gum in his face. Come on people, even at my worst temperament, I would never call a handicapped child something awful like that. I?ll actually sign anything for any child with any disability. I heard just today from WWE attorneys that this women filed assault charges against me 4 days later?

Hmmm, oh, and what about the dozens of cops at the restaurant that were there for crowd control since there were over 100 wrestling fans there? Not to mention the cop that escorted me to my freaking car. I?ll be happy when this is over. I guess if I?ve learned anything from this, it is not to ever challenge anyone to sue me."
This is why yours truly abstained from commenting on this story when it broke over the past couple of weeks. I?ve learned from mistakes in the past of jumping the gun without the full story. Looks like case closed on this ?controversy?.

Former WWE Diva Ashley Massaro is telling people she's been talking to Dixie Carter about coming in to TNA.
This is awesome! Nah, I don?t really care that much

The latest on Booker T is that he claims he's going to Los Angeles to try to become an actor and he won't be going back to WWE or TNA.
On the plus side, he has a brilliant resume which includes a classic guest starring role on ?Charmed? with Scott Steiner. No but really, that episode was great

There are still contradictory stories regarding Jeff Hardy's status with TNA. TNA sources indicate that Hardy did indeed sign with TNA, while friends of the former World Heavyweight champion claim he hasn't signed a TNA deal.
?TNA Sources? and ?Friends? are fantastic sources, I won?t believe anything regarding contracts unless it comes from Hardy or TNA officially

Tommy Dreamer on his future via Twitter: "Ok to summarize the majority of questions: I never said I was retired, I am enjoying my time at home, I left ECW, Yes orignal ECW was better." Dreamer has already a number of independent bookings and personal appearances.
I had the opportunity to meet and briefly speak with Tommy Dreamer a couple of weeks ago. One of the things that was readily evident was that his reasoning for leaving the WWE was mainly because he just could not keep up with the schedule anymore as he wanted to be able to be home and spend time with his family.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts has a new blog entry up on his official MySpace page stating that he plans to retire from pro wrestling at the end of this year and begin a retirement tour.

"Bottom line, it's time. There comes a moment and I regret that it has happened, but I simply am unable physically to perform at the level that I find acceptable. I cannot do what I did 30 years ago, and my God, am I glad that I can't. But my love for what I've done in the last 35 years deserves more than I am capable of doing. I cherish every moment that I've had, good or bad, bottom line is I never had a bad moment in the ring. Any moment was something to treasure, and I can only do so by stepping away. Although the cheers and support are still there from you, the fans, I would be a liar to say that it is not only painful physically, mentally, but worst of all, deep in my heart."
I had no idea that he was not already retired

Mick Foley posted an excerpt from his latest book "Countdown to Lockdown", about UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar.

"I truly thought he was on the verge of becoming one of the biggest stars in the business when he seemed to tire of the travel and the entertainment aspect of what we do in pro-wrestling. Guys from amateur wrestling backgrounds tend to be ultra-competitive (although I'm not sure whether it's the wrestling that makes them that way, or whether the sport itself draws athletes of an ultra-competitive nature) and I think Brock probably saw pro-wrestling itself as an incredible challenge, up until he got really good at it. Then, it was time to pursue other dreams; pro football, then MMA."
A lot of wrestlers come under scrutiny for what they write in their books, but I think this is a fair depiction of Lesnar. Of course, this is just a one paragraph excerpt, so if the next one says ?Lesnar sucks?, I take back my comment about it being fair.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that The Undertaker was hurting badly at WWE house show events last weekend. The hip surgery Undertaker had last year was considered the last hope before getting a full hip replacement. The belief at this point is that his appearances will become more and more limited after WrestleMania 26 this year. Keep in mind that this kind of belief or discussion has been taking place in WWE for the last 10 years meaning he has been working that long in pain.
They say the same thing every single year

Jim Ross has a new entry on his website, this time talking about TNA creative team member Vince Russo and more.

"Emailers asked about my thoughts about all that's apparently going on with former WWE writer Vince Russo and him defending himself, etc to the media that covers wrestling. I have not been following it too closely to be honest with you. I do think that creative types in today's wrestling world are under tremendous pressure and scrutiny. I have great compassion for what they do particularly in today's society. Fans of all broadcast genres are harder to please these days because of all the info flow available but people can only do their best and follow their instincts. I still think the keys to the process is listening to the objective critiques of the consumers and to follow rating trends. But it all will come back to one's natural instincts on how they see the genre presented. I know what I personally like in a wrestling TV show but that certainly doesn't mean that others might like the direction that I might take. Hell, I might not like it after I saw it air."
I <3 Russo

According to AOLTV.ca, WWE is working on a sitcom that will star Santino Marella. It seems that Beth Phoenix and Vladimir Kozlov will also take part in the sitcom. Phoenix will protray his girlfriend while Kozlov will play his best friend. When asked about the sitcom, Marella had this to say:

"In two weeks, we're filming the first three episodes," he added. "It will air at first on the dot com, then after that we will get it to a network television."
A tear of joy is now glistening from my eye

Samoa Joe dislocated a rib last night in Paris but said he won't be missing any time.
That's possible? Wow, I imagine that is quite painful

Honky Tonk Man is very close to signing a deal with TNA. The former Intercontinental champion has been in contact with TNA since early December.
Oh, Oh! I found a signing I care less about than Ashley Massaro!

Ratings
RAW 1/18 ? 3.55
ECW 1/19 ? 0.9
iMpact 1/21 ? 1.26
Superstars 1/21 ? 1.1

Quick Results

RAW January 25th
-Unified Tag Team Champions DX def. The Legacy
-Big Show def. MVP
-Maryse def. Eve
-Kofi Kingston def. United States Champion The Miz in a Non-Title Match
-Carlito vs. Kelly Kelly ended in a No Contest
-Gail Kim def. Alicia Fox
-WWE Champion Sheamus def. John Cena by Disqualification

ECW January 26th
-Ezekiel Jackson & William Regal def. ECW Champion Christian & Kane
-Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust & The Hurricane def. Trent Barreta, Caylen Croft & Zack Ryder

Superstars January 21st
-Kelly Kelly def. Jillian
-Shelton Benjamin def. Vance Archer
-Kane def. Chris Jericho by Count-out

TNA Impact January 21st
-TNA World Tag Team Championships : ?Super Mex? Hernandez & ?The Blueprint? Matt Morgan (c) def. British Invasion
-Orlando Jordan vs. ?The Pope? D?Angelo Dinero
-Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne
-The Nasty Boys vs. ?Big Sexy? Kevin Nash & ?Showtime? Eric Young
-Main Event TNA World Heavyweight Championship: ?The Phenomenal? AJ Styles (c) def. ?Olympic Hero? Kurt Angle

Smackdown January 22nd
-Finlay def. Batista (Disqualification)
-John Morrison & R-Truth def. Drew McIntyre & Chris Jericho
-Cryme Tyme vs. Charlie Haas & Mike Knox (No Contest)
-The Great Khali & Matt Hardy def. The Hart Dynasty

- David Stephens


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The last time I freaked out, I just kept looking down
I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I'm thinking bout
Like I couldn't breathe you asked what's wrong with me
My best friend Leslie said, ?Oh she's just being Miley?
The next time we hang out, I will redeem myself
My heart, it can't rest till then oh, woah woah
I can't wait to see you again


Why did I just close out my column with Miley Cyrus lyrics? Because I can

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