Last weekend TNA had their Slammiversary PPV in which they celebrated their 8th year in business. 8 years is a very long time and despite the ups and downs the company has gone through or the fact that it’s not at the level most fans would’ve expected it’s still an accomplishment worth celebrating. Dixie Carter has promised a change “that would change TNA forever”. Many fans initially thought this was something involving a creative change and most of those same fans were hoping for the arrival of Paul Heyman. Instead we were treated to a debuting Tommy Dreamer and the beginnings of the latest ECW invasion angle. I don’t know what the big change is that Dixie promised but getting back to Heyman, could he survive in TNA? You’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
Before I even go into the topic of this column I have to address some errors last column. First thing that should be addressed is I had referenced Sheamus being the only Irish born WWE superstar and totally forgot Dave “Fit” Finlay as being born in Belfast, Ireland which of course would mean I was wrong in stating that. Of course I didn’t realize that on my own and loyal reader Rick Jackson pointed it out to me. Way to pay attention Rick. The other thing I want to point out is I referenced in the last column about women not starring solo in top grossing movies and sort of paint brushed the issue and made it seem like it has never occurred. Of course WSU promoter and good friend Sean “The Mic” McCaffrey pointed out to me in his own unique way that there are top grossing movies that have had women as the solo star. While I was incorrect in that statement I still stand by the opinion I gave in the last column, just because I believe something to be true does not excuse me from making mistakes and obviously last week I made a couple. Big thanks to Rick and Sean for putting me in my place. Maybe Sean will free up one of his talented WSU females in the future for a “Wrestling Rumblings” exclusive that I am sure all of you would enjoy but that is neither here nor now so let’s get on with the rest of the column.
I’ve made no secret in the past of saying how much I am a fan of the creative process of pro wrestling. While most kids grew up wanting to be Hulk Hogan, I grew up wanting to be Vince McMahon simply because I realized it was his vision that put all the pieces on the chess table and moved them so masterfully. It’s a great thing to see something you thought of come to life and executed perfectly. It’s like a pitcher throwing a perfect pitch, a quarterback a perfect pass, or a playwright coming up with that perfect script and seeing it win a bunch of awards. However like all of those things it’s not as easy as it looks and it takes plenty of hard work. While we all think we can book and do better than most things we see most of us cant. Sure we may think up an angle or two but all we really have is a concept we have no idea of how to really progress it from week to week and even those of us who may think that far cannot book a show involving 20 other wrestlers and have it make sense throughout the course of a year. Think about it, if you book TNA you are booking 52 weeks of TV plus 12 PPV’s a year that is 114 hours of wrestling a year (I’m deducting commercial time and figure the average Impact is about 90 minutes of content) that’s a lot of time to fill. It’s why even the best of the best are prone to burnout from time to time since there is no break from this you just keep trudging forward. That alone right there is a big issue that eliminates many candidates from even attempting to book professional wrestling and leaves a very few guys that can do it at all and even fewer who can do it well. Rest assured Paul Heyman has done it very well in his career but could he deal with all the other pitfalls of booking?
If it was just about having ideas than I have no doubt that Paul Heyman could be successful anywhere he chose to be but it’s about so much more than having ideas. It’s about being able to politically maneuver yourself so that your ideas are heard and your instructions heeded to. It’s one of the reasons why Paul Heyman as successful as he was in WWE couldn’t last there. It’s a shark tank when you don’t actually own the company as Paul did in the original ECW and when you are in the position of being a powerbroker and you are not the owner there is always someone who is looking to stick a knife in your back.
Many wrestling fans have been very hard on Vince Russo the man who currently serves as the head writer for TNA (notice I didn’t say head of creative) and while I am not saying he has been great (he hasn’t) he has one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Can you imagine trying to write a TV show and get the guys you want to get over in addition to maybe getting the guys Hulk Hogan wants to get over, Jeff Jarrett wants to get over, Dixie Carter wants to get over and Eric Bischoff wants to get over? It’s downright impossible its why you always hear people talk about how booking committees never work because well not everyone sees things the exact same way and feels the exact same way about the talent and what you wind up with is a smorgasbord of likes and dislikes and a crummy TV show. Now I know many fans will say how WWE has a bunch of writers and puts out a better product than TNA but bear in mind while there are guys who hold power in WWE the power really begins and ends with Vince McMahon. I don’t care how much HHH, Micheal Hayes or Brian Gerwitz like or dislike someone at the end of the day if Vince sees something it’s going to be his vision. Whose vision is it in TNA? Dixie may have thoughts but let’s face it, she is not a wrestling person and to be quite honest is just too soft of a person to be holding the position she holds right now in TNA. Hulk Hogan may very well be the greatest draw ever in the history of wrestling but I don’t think he really knows how to book anyone other than himself and at this point he doesn’t even understand that or he would stop trying to position guys on the roster to work with him and realize that he doesn’t help TNA by wrestling. All Eric Bischoff is good at is improving production and spending money but it takes more than that to be a successful booker or WCW would still be in business and TNA would never be. Jeff Jarrett has some creativity to him I believe but at the same time he has ideas that would probably work in the era of the territories but just fall flat on a national stage and well Vince Russo has shown you that when left unchecked without a filter he will give you one good idea but so many bad ones that the one idea that worked is forgotten.
It’s really easy to work with a bunch of wrestlers who haven’t been successful. No disrespect to the original ECW but many of those guys would have never been household names on their own and because of that realization were willing to allow themselves to be molded in Paul Heymans image. Were there guys in power in the original ECW? Sure there were but nothing to the level of what Paul would deal with in TNA. What is Paul going to do when Hulk Hogan comes up to him one day and wants him to rewrite a show when Heyman is already 6 months ahead in his thinking? How is he going to respond when Hulk Hogan doesn’t want Heyman’s projects going over his own? What if Paul Heyman comes up with an angle that takes Hulk Hogan off of TV for awhile? How is Hulk Hogan going to respond to that? Here is a better question how will Spike TV respond to Paul Heyman?
It’s no secret that in the past Paul Heymans relationships with the executives at Spike TV has not been the best of relationships. We have all heard many times how Spike TV (Then TNN) used and abused the original ECW as a guinea pig to see how wrestling would do on their network, now while Paul worked for WWE he was on TNN but at that point in time TNN had less of a say than Spike TV now has with TNA and Paul has shown that he doesn’t exactly work well with others. What is going to happen the first time Paul gets an edict from the powers that be in Spike TV that doesn’t coincide with his method of thinking?
Of course we all know the history between Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff. The two guys have on more than one occasion stated how much they hate each other. If Paul Heyman came into TNA who would be the boss of who? Would Eric be able to work with Paul and take instruction from him? Would Paul be able to take instruction from Eric? Same thing for Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo. In order for Paul to be successful in helping TNA he needs to be given complete control and that quite honestly just won’t happen because well Hulk, Eric and others need to have their hands in things to justify why they are getting a paycheck.
Does Paul really need the stress? He seems to be doing OK with the Heyman Hustle and other projects he is working on and every time he does an interview these days he seems in great spirits. Maybe he would look at working in TNA as a challenge. I mean if he could increase interest in that promotion while dealing with all the powerbrokers in TNA than everyone would have to lie down and recognize him as the greatest booker ever but I am guessing that Paul knows that the risks far outweigh the rewards. In order for Paul Heyman to book TNA successfully a lot of heads need to roll and that just isn’t going to happen right now in TNA. Maybe if Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff pull out, and Vince Russo is let go Paul would be in a position to make things right but as it is right now I wouldn’t waste my time if I was him.
On that note I am going to wrap up this week’s edition but of course I have to give the people something to do for the weekend. This weekend there is a few things going on of course we have the Fatal 4 Way PPV on Sunday but before that we have the WWE Supershow taking place this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. As of this writing I am attending the Supershow but undecided towards attending the Fatal 4 Way show. Of course you should hear my thoughts on whatever show/s I attend either this weekend, next column or perhaps a future installment of “Outside Interference”. When that time comes of course I will try to do better than this week and until then I am out.