Reality From Ringside #69
June 14, 2010
By: Doug Lackey of

TNA Slammiversary 2010: The Hangover

It’s amazing what you can find online, nowadays. In the past, I used to think it was only useful for finding cheat codes for video games and porn. As I’ve grown older, sure my tastes haven’t changed much, but the internet’s utilization has certainly branched out.

Take the question that was running in my mind throughout TNA’s supposed birthday, ‘Slammiversary’: “Is this really the anniversary of TNA’s founding?” Just go to Wikipedia, read the posted facts, research the resources, verify them as credible, and you have your answer.

Amazing to think that it was all right there within “The History of TNA: Year One” DVD distributed by TNA itself.

“The concept of TNA originated shortly after the end of World Championship Wrestling in 2001. Bob Ryder, Jeff Jarrett, and Jerry Jarrett went on a fishing trip and contemplated their futures in the business of wrestling. The World Wrestling Federation remained the only wrestling product on U.S. national television — WWF had purchased WCW in March 2001, and Extreme Championship Wrestling had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2001.

“Ryder felt that this situation led many television stations to regard wrestling as bad for business and suggested a company that does not need television, but rather just goes straight to pay-per-view. Of the three, only Jeff Jarrett took the discussion seriously (the other two thought of it as “just fishing talk”).

“The Jarretts found the help they needed, and the company put on its first show on June 19, 2002.”

What follows can almost be seen a literal and metaphorical foreshadowing to their future…

“This night, however, in a dark match just before they went on the air, a 450lb wrestler named Cheex hit the ropes with so much force that one of them broke. The estimated repair time was 30–60 minutes, which they did not have because the schedule called for them to go live in a few minutes, whether the ring was ready or not.

“Backstage, the producers shuffled the schedule so that some non-wrestling segments went first to give the ring crew some more time, but they did not have many of them. The ring crew fixed the rope with the help of Ron and Don Harris, and everyone went live hoping for the best.”

For the past 18 months, the amount of time I have spent watching TNA on a weekly basis for Wrestleview and the sake of maintaining journalistic integrity of sorts, this is the analogy I had been looking for. TNA is a company with such high hopes and larger than life dreams for itself never realizing that they do not have the resources, capital, or talent to achieve them in a realistic sense.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming; but there is also nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself that are actually feasible. I have a day job as a commissioned home appliance and electronics salesman. Everyday I’m asked what my sales goals are for the day. If it is a beautiful Sunday morning, and with a gorgeous lake not but a handful of miles away from our location, I’m not going to say I will be selling over $10,000 in merchandise; $2,500 sounds logical. Sure enough, that day I would hit my goal selling $3,400.

However, with TNA approaching eight years of age (with the storyline mentality at times of a child of the same age), it is now time to look back at the cute little school pageant it put together last night. While Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett may be sitting in the front row, looking as proud as any parent would be of their child performing in front of them… they are also oblivious and ignorant of the performance seen from the audience behind them.

Let the questions begin…

With Kurt Angle trying to ascend the “Top 10” the hard way, will every match be just like last night’s against Kazarian?

Last week on “Wrestleview Radio”, I posed the question: ‘Kurt Angle v. Kazarian, 12 minutes, over or under?’

If you have been listening to my radio show that accompanies this column (Reality from Ringside Radio: 3R, every Tuesday), then you know that I love compiling statistics and devising a concrete opinion or fact based on them.

Of all of the opinions I give about individual performers, I have never been more confident on mine about Kurt Angle: He left WWE because they were not letting him be what he always wanted to be, a wrestler who loves to wrestle. Regardless of storyline, card placement, priority within TNA Creative, Angle wants to wrestle epic match after epic match and he doesn’t give a damn about who he is against or who we are watching.

Last night’s contest against Kazarian was no different. His match opened the pay-per-view. OPENED! I really think this is the first time in history that Angle opened a TNA PPV. I would think that, knowing this, Angle might realize his place on the card and know that you are not supposed to put on an epic match since the ‘real’ epic match is supposed to be the main event.

No dice. What was the match time for Kurt Angle vs. Kazarian? 14:15.

If you took the over, you won. What did you win? The acknowledgement of whoever was listening to you at the time.

If this is the kind of match that Angle had with the #10 ranked performer on TNA’s imaginary ‘Top Ten’ list… imagine the match he will have with the soon-to-be-revealed #9! 14 minutes to knock off #10?! What will it take it win against #9, over 20 minutes?!

More to the point, what is going to happen to Kazarian now not just on this imaginary list but in his programming future?

Will they continue the ‘adopted son looking for Dad’s love’ angle involving Dad (Ric Flair) and biological son (AJ Styles)? Wait… Dad’s upset at his son’s loss to Jay Lethal, but what about is adopted son’s loss to Kurt Angle? Why does this feel like a really bad 1980’s sit-com all of a sudden?

While I’m sure many were praising TNA for coming up with a somewhat legitimate angle (SHOCK!), they failed to realize who it was involving. Kurt Angle finding himself by rampaging through an imaginary list involving the supposed best of the best TNA has to offer via 14-20 minute “epic matches” does not make for compelling television…

Especially when we’ve seen the same match for the past 3 years+.

Can TNA come up with a better teaser phrase for upcoming surprises than ‘this will change TNA forever’?

How many times has TNA coined this phrase within its 8-year lifetime?

Look, I can understand them wanting to say something monumental when it came to them switching from weekly PPV broadcasts to televised programs. Announcing you would be bringing in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff definitely warrants that tagline as well.

Did it really need to be said for the debuts of every single WWE and WCW standout TNA signed though? I’m not going to waste our time rattling off every one of them… but I don’t think announcing that “TNA Impact” would be moving from Thursday nights to Monday nights holds the same amount of surprise as the debut of Booker T to TNA.

I’m sure this attack on TNA’s marketing and rhetoric is not without counter-attack. It’s not like WWE does the same thing with every single broadcast they have, televised or pay-per-view. How many times are we told that a piece of WWE programming is the biggest of the year, decade, century, history, or all the times there have ever been times?

The big difference between the two is that WWE’s tagline annihilation is done literally minutes before the program airs. You don’t hear about WWE promoting a “Monday Night Raw” 3 weeks down the road as ‘the greatest of all of the times we’ve ever thought about saying Monday Night Raw” unless it is something done annually like their Draft special.

With TNA, surprises are happening every month and they are leaving a mark on the company that is right now about as noticeable as one snowflake falling within a blizzard.

It is the same argument that is made about their stipulation-heavy matches or contests involving two ‘legendary’ talents: If it happens too often, the buying public becomes numb to it, and the reaction is little to none.

I have a few suggestions that come to mind for new taglines when it involves something colossal that would change TNA in some way, shape, or form…

“______________ could alter TNA for at least 3 months!”

“______________ will differentiate TNA from that other company for as long as you are willing to remember that it happened!”

“______________ has the potential of either raising eyebrows or emitting sighs!”

“Believe me when I say that through _____________, we’re only prolonging our inevitable demise!”

“______________… #$%&! I don’t know… you tell me!”

Until next time, mouth-breathers!

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

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