Reality From Ringside #63
May 3, 2010
By: Doug Lackey of

Rank and Fail

For nearly two years now, I have been a commissioned salesman of an upwardly-moving electronics and appliance franchise. From managers and supervisors to company vendors and paid spokesmen, I have been taught how to ‘sell’ with ruthless efficiency through aggressive tactics.

Selling products to the masses that either need or want them is by no means a challenge. Selling TNA’s newly-conceived “Heavyweight Ranking System”? That’s a completely different product, different buying market, and different methodology to merchandising all together.

There are so many questions I have regarding this concept… but I don’t think they are the kind of questions that Eric Bischoff would be willing to answer. If he or Dixie Carter were in fact willing to answer them, the responses would be overflowing with political backtalk and rhetorical ambiguity to the point that many in the U.S. Senate would throw streamers in their paths.

Let’s start with the overall layout given to us from TNA’s own website regarding this ‘revolutionary’ system (New TNA Ranking System)…

“Individual rankings are determined by a combination of weighted factors. These factors include individual wrestler career performance, won/loss record and online fan voting. So join in and help shape what you see on TNA and vote for your Top Contender often.”

I understand the inherent definitions of ‘won/loss record’ and ‘online fan voting’. Those all involve empirical data; numbers and statistics that cannot be argued over or contested.

You may question the validity of a loss due to disqualification via run-in by someone who is in no relation jeopardized by your motivation to climb the TNA ladder… but hey! S#!t happens, right?

Hundreds of thousands of people have voted on which TNA superstar should be given the number one contender’s position. You have defeated multi-time world champions as well as defeated almost every one of your competitive brethren in the online poll cleanly without dispute.

So why are you losing in the polls to someone who has never faced any one of the men in the poll, never had a world title match, and has the least amount of experience in the entire industry? How come, AJ?

Anyway, enough cynical and pessimistic talk. So TNA will be incorporating win/loss records and online fan voting into this grand scheme of ranking performers for their world heavyweight title, fair enough.

What needs defining though is the term “Individual wrestler career performance”. What exactly does this mean? This must mean something more than just wins and losses, that’s covered already. Does this cover more than just individual titles accumulated over the span of their career?

If not, then this whole ranking system is pointless and we should anticipate the announcing of Sting as the new #1 contender.

“Career performance”… hell, Jeff Jarrett was a janitor and a fry cook at the TNA commissary. Don’t forget referee on numerous occasions. There is your new #1 contender.

In all seriousness, I have no beef or ill will with this concept… I just have a very hard time trying to buy this for way too many different reasons. I guess the best ways to get my points across are buy asking the questions I had alluded to earlier…

What were the criteria for even being considered part of the poll?

Kurt Angle is taking a self-imposed (we think) vacation yet he is leading two performers, Jeff Jarrett and Abyss, who have been pushed beyond belief on TNA television.

Rob Terry has yet to set foot in the ring with anyone within any grabbing distance of the World Title yet he has accumulated more votes than the previous champion, AJ Styles.

How many matches has Sting been in since the Hogan/Bischoff era began in TNA? Only 3?! Amazing to think that there is a less than 100 vote differential between him and the man who just recently lost his world title match at Lockdown, D’Angelo Dinero.

What have any of these performers done to warrant any title match of any kind?

Is Eric Bischoff attempting to mainstream the notion of professional wrestling as ‘sport’?

This question did not rise from the thought of doing online polling in order for TNA to have the fans do the work for them. This question came from the context of TNA’s criteria for the ranking system…

“…Won/Loss records…”

Are you telling me that someone will FINALLY take this into account? You mean that the “TNA Championship Committee” will begin to achieve the dream that has only been cradled in the minds of those who see no points in storylines or character-acting in professional wrestling?

It’s all about honor now, right? The spirit of competition, right? No point in characters or stories or angles or even gimmicks for that matter, right?

So when will we hear that Steve Haworth has become the new #1 contender do to the ranking system and online voting for Robert Szatowski’s TNA World Title? The correct answer to that question should be the Monday following “Sacrifice”.

All humor and sarcasm aside, here are the ultimate and serious questions I have for Bischoff’s grand experiment…

What will happen if TNA does not take the online community’s vote into consideration?

Good Idea: Granting professional wrestling fans the ability to vote for the #1 contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Title.

Bad Idea: Granting professional wrestling fans the ability to see the voting of the #1 contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Title.

Is this “Ranking System” meant as a long-term solution or a short-term cover-up for TNA’s glaring ratings deficiency problem?

‘It will keep the fans on their toes.’

‘They will have to tune in to see how their favorite wrestlers perform on a weekly basis in order to make an educated vote of confidence.’

‘The fans can now assemble their own ranking system and vote according to it by what they see and react to on TNA Impact!’

That all sounds well and good… it’s just too bad that this was listed underneath the grand “Rankings System” promotion…

“Each monthly ranking will be announced LIVE on Monday Night iMPACT! the day immediately following each of our scheduled Pay-Per-View events.

“So be sure and tune-in Monday night, May 17, as we announce our first Top 10 Contender rankings after what is shaping up to be one of our most exciting pay-per-view events ever, Sacrifice.”

That’s right… there’s absolutely no point in watching TNA Impact for the next two weeks or their next pay-per-view ‘Sacrifice’.

Finally! I actually have an excuse now not to cover TNA! The “sport” will not begin until May 17. What will we do in the meantime? How will we survive without seeing Hulk Hogan save us from something every week?!

Choose whichever questions you would like to attempt and answer. If you answer all of them (serious, sarcastic, rhetorical, and metaphorical), I’ll probably tell Mr. V to give you an obnoxiously shiny gold star or something like that.

Until next time, mouth-breathers!

Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements:

Don’t forget to check out “Reality from Ringside Radio: 3R” this Tuesday on Wrestleview! It’s only available to Wrestleview VIPs though… so sacrifice a Big Mac value meal! Become a VIP! Click here to sign up!