Reality From Ringside #57
March 22, 2010
By: Doug Lackey of WrestleView.com TNA Destination-X 2010: The Hangover
It's Wrestlemania week! Time to grab a scalpel and thoroughly dissect the card. Time to dish out my incredibly obligatory and obnoxious predictions. Time to? wait? huh? TNA had a pay-per-view last night? #$%@...
Here I was hoping to be like every other columnist this week and become another statistic.
TNA's ?Destination-X PPV? now marks 76 days since the establishment of the Hogan/Bischoff regime. 76 days since ?change? was told to be coming our way into the TNA studio. How much change has actually occurred?
Roster additions that would resemble an employment program. The biggest draw within the company (Knockouts division) being treated less like an accentuating centerpiece on a banquet table and more like a bland tablecloth? it's there, you didn?t really notice it but it's there. Storylines and backstage segments that have absolutely no intentions of resolving themselves within the confines of a wrestling ring.
While this change in divisional roles within TNA could have been placed on the X-Division, we have a pay-per-view event that is claimed to showcase them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this novel concept of program devotion; it becomes a problem however when this commitment and promotion is overshadowed by events that have nothing to do with it.
So what was ?Destination-X's true destination? Here comes your favorite part of the Monday following a professional wrestling pay-per-view event? the questions we are left with and the hangover we must endure.Will the TNA Roster learn from Ric Flair?
Since his debut in TNA alongside the World Champion AJ Styles, many will argue that Ric Flair's influence has done more bad than good. Turning ?The Phenomenal One? into ?The Nature Boy Zero?? the same look and taste as ?The Nature Boy? but with zero charisma so as not to make you fat with intrigue. We are seeing the same appalling and outrageous transformation with Abyss channeling his inner Hulk Hogan circa 1988.
Throughout the years, we can see the influence of many professional wrestling veterans taking their effect on the younger talent. True, it's not supposed to be as painful and dreadful as the ones we are seeing with Styles and Abyss, but it is supposed to help the youth of a roster and inspire them.
The sights and sounds from Ric Flair, wheelchair-bound perched from the top of the entrance ramp, were meant to serve two purposes. The first, of course, being to entertain us (and if you were not laughing during his wondrous segment, then I certainly do not regard you as a professional wrestling fan). The second was to inspire and motivate those behind the curtain.
THIS is how you are supposed to deliver a heel-depicting, heat-garnering promo to the wrestling consumer. No talk of honor or respect or prestige. Try your hardest not to soul-search in the camera's lens. Scream into the air, incensed beyond comprehension. Display mannerisms and facial expressions so overdramatic that the live audience has no choice but to react to it. More important, you must react to the crowd's reactions and reinforce their sentiments.
It's difficult to say for sure if Flair's influence has taken flight throughout the rest of the TNA roster. Here is to wishful thinking though? his performance should serve as a catalyst for everyone behind the curtain to try and show some character of some form.When should TNA have their next Ultimate-X match?
Since TNA's January PPV, ?Genesis?, their ?Before the Bell? promotional programs hyping their pay-per-views has been very effective. Sadly at times, it explains what is at stake within the program better than what their weekly television productions ever could.
Last night's pre-show was no different; highlighting the X-Division, its importance within TNA, and the danger apparent in the Ultimate-X match.
However, there was one glaring statistic that should never have been mentioned during this pre-show. If you are an organization, attempting to shine a beacon of hope and prosperity on a particular match structure that is so unique and memorable? the last thing you want to mention is how many of them you have had.
Since its debut in 1997, WWE has had 19 Hell in a Cell matches. That is a frequency of one or two Hell in a Cell matches a year (will be even more thanks to the PPV named for the match).
After last night, TNA has now had the same number of Ultimate-X matches. The first Ultimate-X match took place in 2003. That is a frequency of two or three every year.
If this match structure is so special to TNA, why do they hold it so often? Why do they have these kinds of matches during their normal television tapings?
If TNA plans on flourishing and growing a fan base, it's about time they start treating the fans as the consumers they are. Instead of fattening them up with heavily-stipulated matches every other television taping, dial back. Keep the Ultimate-X in your back pocket. In TNA's case, lock it in a fireproof safe and don?t even attempt to open it until you are surrounded by the flames of monotony and despair.
My guess? Ultimate-X will return in two months.Will next month's ?Lockdown? audience be any different from ?The Impact Zone?, ?Row 3?, or ?The Bubba Army??
Ever since ?Genesis?, I have been labeling many factions within TNA's free-to-attend audience.
?Row 3? ? While they like to call themselves ?The Crucial Crew?, these are attendees who are not there to watch professional wrestling. They are chanting constantly, trying to come up with interesting ways of voicing their pleasure and discontent.
Row 3 tosses rose petals at the feet of the X-Division and has wet dreams about set spots that take over 10 seconds to attempt. Storylines, character development, and reactions of pain and agony mean nothing to them. If you show them anything that involves transitions in tempo or lulls in action, they will attempt to reach for an Xbox controller in order to furiously press the A-button hoping to speed up the action.
?The Bubba Army? ? Bubba the Love Sponge is a radio personality based out of Florida, a local shock jock starving for attention. His fans, however, don?t see him as such.
So it was painfully obvious that the reason TNA brought Bubba into their fold was not for character development or suspenseful in-ring action? it was for the fan base. However, inviting a fan base into your organization when they know nothing about it hinders your cause. They only know Bubba and Hulk Hogan (a frequent guest on his program) are there, they don?t know or care about anyone or anything else.
Next month's TNA pay-per-view ?Lockdown? will be in front of a completely different live audience in St. Louis. No Row 3, unless they plead with their parents and get the money for a ticket to the show and airfare. No Bubba Army, unless there is a small enough pocket of humanity within the city that knows who Bubba the Love Sponge actually is and are influenced so easily.
This will be TNA's first Hogan/Bischoff-organized PPV outside of The Impact Zone's borders. It will be very interesting to see how the product is received, how many will actually attend, and how the acoustics will be affected. With how accustomed I have become to unimaginative chants and one side of a studio crowd cheering, I honestly have no idea what to expect.
Do you have any idea? Humor me.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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