The Ultimate Hangover: TNA in 2010
I will admit, I have been a little irresponsible these past couple of months. I have played hooky for a couple of weeks, depriving you of the rich, thick sarcasm and cynicism you have come to expect from these columns and my pay-per-view ‘hangovers’. For that, I apologize.
But can you blame me?
I have taken three weeks off this year from writing ‘Reality’. One of them for a much needed respite in August, but the other two have been due to the atrocity known as TNA. What were supposed to be ‘hangover’ columns have now turned into battles with actual hangovers. TNA has been so bad that it has driven me to drink… heavily… in order to tolerate their product; especially when I pay money out of my own pocket.
I pay for all of my pay-per-views, granting me the logical right to criticize said programs.
Despite my hatred towards the programs I’m forced to pay for and write about, I tread forward. While I slowly plod down the unpaved road TNA claimed would be paved by Hogan and Bischoff, I figured now would be a good time as any to look back at the past ‘hangovers’ I’ve had involving this organization of dishevelment.
What questions have been answered? Will they ever be answered? Why am I wasting my time? Here we go…
Will the card structure for Genesis become the new norm for TNA PPVs? (‘Genesis’ – 1/12/10)
“Eric Young and LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) defeated Jimmy Rave, Kiyoshi, and Sonjay Dutt.
“Alex Shelley defeated Chris Sabin in finals of 8-man tournament to determine the new X-Division champion.
“Referee Shane Sewell defeated Sheik Abdul Bashir.
“Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm) defeated Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed and Matt Morgan and Abyss in a 3-way dance capturing the TNA World Tag Team Titles.
“ODB (scored the pinfall), Taylor Wilde and Roxxi defeated The Kongtourage (Rhaka Khan, Raisha Saeed, Sojourner Bolt) in a 6-woman tag team match for a future TNA Knockout championship match; the woman who scored the pinfall received the title match.
“Kurt Angle defeated Jeff Jarrett in a no disqualification match.
“Sting defeated Rhino retaining the TNA World Heavyweight Title.
“Mick Foley and the TNA Frontline (AJ Styles and Brother Devon) defeated Cute Kip (substituted for Kevin Nash) and the Main Event Mafia (Booker T and Scott Steiner) in a 6-man hardcore tag team match.
“This was the card that I saw at last year’s Genesis PPV in Charlotte. Half of the matches involved more talent than a typical tag team match. Five of the eight matches consisted of stipulations or special results according to the outcomes.
“When a crowd needs to be prepped for a match with rules, stipulations, and figuring who is involved… it falls flat on its face every time.
“Last night’s Genesis was a complete overhaul of TNA booking. No multi-man matches. No stipulations. No ramifications to remember when a winner is determined. Could this possibly be the new protocol for TNA booking? I certainly hope so.
“While I was watching the show, I would be thinking about my father and how he would be reacting watching this. He went with me to last year’s Genesis and would riddle me with questions throughout… “Who is that?” “Why are they doing this?” “Can you keep up with this?” I feel that if my father and I were watching last night’s pay-per-view, he would have enjoyed it and had been able to follow it.
“I can hear you on the other side of the monitor going, “But I’m not over 55, Doug! I can follow what happened last year.”
“TNA is trying to capture a new audience, not maintain what they have right now. The majority of professional wrestling enthusiasts have been pre-conditioned to WWE-style production quality and in-ring performances, not the fast-paced break-neck speed of a TNA match with limited to no selling of maneuvers or reactions to the crowd surrounding them.
“TNA wants to grow. In order to grow as a company in an industry, assimilation to what the market is accustomed to is essential. As this new conformation continues, you may see TNA slowly drift back to what they were known for… that is all dependant on if they are satisfied with their newfound protocol or not.”
…those were carefree, naïve days. Now we know through hindsight that TNA has never been interested in growing or assimilating. It is only to exist and perpetuate the most destructive of professional wrestling stereotypes that TNA’s intentions lay.
Why do pundits and columnists among the wrestling media still consider ‘crowd reactions’ as a means of approval for TNA? (‘Sacrifice’ – 5/17/10)
“I have no idea how long TNA has resided in the same studio space in Orlando, Florida. I have no clue of the percentage of a calendar year they broadcast from a location other than their humble Universal Studios cave.
“More to the point, I don’t really want to know how long the same ‘Row 3’ Cheetoh-munchers and X-Division spotfest-droolers have been showing up to these broadcasts. I can only guess that they have been regular participants for the past 3 years.
“Imagine how incredibly stale and oblivious WWE Creative would be right now if they saw the same audience in the stands for 3 years straight. Do you think we would even see characters like Jack Swagger or Sheamus? I only envision a WWE Universe full of DX posters and nothing else. Disturbing, huh?
“This is the landscape that TNA Creative sees every day. Now sure, I’m imagining that TNA Creative actually knows how to write a storyline and is being clouded by their constant surroundings… but allow me to dream this once.
“Would a change of scenery help the TNA product as a whole? Maybe not immediately but it would definitely help the company to see a true focus group and test audience every week.
“I have always been fascinated with the wrestling media, full of its pundits and personalities, referring to crowd reactions when it comes to the overall validation of TNA’s product. Of course the crowd is cheering for what they are seeing… they’ve been seeing the same damn thing for 3 years now!
“Sure the crowds are silent at times, but imagine the reception from a crowd comprised of people FAR different from the same test-tube experiments standing for 4 hours straight on any given day.
“If you ever read or hear someone in the wrestling media and they begin to use crowd reactions in TNA’s Impact Zone as a means to verify their own opinion (positive or negative), immediately dispense it in the rhetorical compost pile.
“Besides, I would never use ‘Row 3’ as a means of proof to what I think is good or bad. The only time I would need their confirmation on anything is the nightmarish vision of what I would become if I never lost my virginity.”
…what seems to be more peculiar now is that ‘Row 3’ is almost non-existent at TNA tapings in the Impact Zone. In fact, it’s very difficult to say what kinds of fans inhabit the free-for-all fun-cave at all. We do seem to see the same individuals, though: The feathered boa-laden, telephone pole-like kid; the red-headed fire-breather equipped with leather brassier that grants her +5 defense; the screaming banshee tied up below the bleachers of the Impact Zone.
Some has changed, but not by much.
Is there anything remotely positive that can come from ‘Hardcore Justice’? (‘Hardcore Justice’ – 8/9/10)
“Ironically, yes. Tragically, it has nothing to do with TNA, ECW, or any other organization trying their absolute damnedest to get your full attention and acknowledgement.
“For too long, many columnists and critics on this fine website (yours absolutely included) have been labeled as know-nothings or WWE-biased. While many in interwebs world consider us the CNN of professional wrestling, there is a small pocket of humanity that believes we fall along the lines of Fox News in that analogy.
“So you don’t think that ‘Hardcore Justice’ was THAT bad, huh?
Jason Powell (Prowrestling.net): “…it was the worst pay-per-view of the year so far, and the worst of the ECW reunion pay-per-views. Most of the wrestlers just couldn’t go like they used to. The breaking character crap in the tag match was insufferable. Everyone tried hard, but it just didn’t click with this viewer.”
* Link: http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/TNAPPVreports/article10013420.shtml
James Caldwell (PWTorch.com): “The PPV seemed to end with a thud happening in the middle of a TNA promotion trying to find an identity. Their cause wasn’t helped being in the Impact Zone, trying to create an artificial “ECW feel,” a limited pool of wrestlers available, guys exposed in the ring without Paul Heyman there to hide their weaknesses, plenty of shortcuts, and chair shots to the head. Okay, can TNA finally move on to the year 2010 now that they have this lingering ECW issue out of their system? Oh wait, there’s still the lingering WCW issue.”
* Link: http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/tnappvs/article_42979.shtml
Dave Meltzer (The Wrestling Observer): “Well, the nostalgia made it different but the sad part is the wrestling was really bad. I think for people who were inclined to buy it, they appreciated seeing it but there was a lot of sadness at the same time.”
* Link: http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/14389/
“Welcome to our world, gentlemen. The world of Reality.”
…all of the former ECW performers who were re-introduced on the TNA Impact programs leading to Hardcore Justice (Stevie Richards, Raven, Sabu, Rhino, and The Sandman) have left TNA except for Tommy Dreamer. Five months were wasted on a forgettable storyline (Fortune-EV2.0), acknowledging those who have contributed about as much to professional wrestling as ‘Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?’ has to the television industry.
Here’s to you, TNA. May you continue to be illogical, reprehensible, and the worst professional wrestling organization to ever be conceived. *Chugs Mountain Dew*
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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