I?ve said it before but it bears repeating, I have the best readers anywhere. The questions and comments I get every week are brilliant and I want everyone to keep it coming. This week in my opinion was a slow week in wrestling and since I don?t want to be like everyone else, I won?t. This week I take some of the questions I am frequently asked in emails?you?re reading ?Wrestling Rumblings?.
Is Vince Russo the man to run TNA creatively?
This is a really hard question for me to answer. You see, I like Vince Russo personally and I respect his creative ability. I also think he gets a lot of undeserved flack from time to time from people who really don?t understand what it is to write a TV show or deal in the shark tank atmosphere that is professional wrestling. In spite of all that I tend to think of him at times of being in the very same ?wrestling bubble? that he accused Jim Cornette, Pat Patterson and others of being during his time in WWE. I do think that in light of everything going on with Jeff Jarrett right now that Vince will still maintain his position as I think his last dismissal in TNA has taught him something as far as where his loyalty needs to lie to be successful in wrestling, but I do think he still needs an outsiders perspective to help TNA climb in the ratings. Many fans would suggest Jim Cornette but I think those same fans forget that Cornette’s last booking stint was not all that successful as he was one of the architects of the mid 90’s WWF that people were rapidly becoming disenchanted with. Fact of the matter is Jim Cornette is very resistant to change and while there are elements of wrestling that never change, there are still others th at must continue to evolve. Not to say that Jim does not have a place on the TNA creative team as you can always learn a thing or two from experience and he has a wealth of it, but I do feel there needs to be a new, fresh voice on this team. Not a Hollywood writer but someone who like Vince Russo during the attitude era has his pulse on what is current. As far as what is currently going on, you have to somewhat be optimistic about certain changes in direction. A staple of Vince Russo that no one ever thinks to mention is that he tries to involve every wrestler on the roster in some sort of angle and I think with World Elite and the MEM joining forces there is a chance for a rub, and for newer stars to be created. While I don?t necessarily agree with the choice of stars, I am going to wait and see what happens.
After talking about world championships the past few weeks, what championship would I say is currently the most prestigious championship?
Its funny how many readers took me to task for not even giving the NWA championship an honorable mention in last week’s column, b ut the simple fact is that title is not what it used to be, and I don?t consider it a world championship as of this time. Still I have to give credit where it’s due, the NWA title is in a sense the cradle of wrestling civilization. The WWE championship spawned off of the NWA title back in the 60’s as did the AWA title before it. Eastern Championship Wrestling was a NWA promotion and because of that was able to launch itself to new heights as it became Extreme Championship Wrestling after Shane Douglas threw down the NWA championship. TNA accelerated there road to being considered the legitimate number 2 company in the U.S by first becoming a member of the NWA, and even ROH in its infancy was wise to make sure they had the NWA title on their first few cards, and again later on when they went to PPV. There is no more prestigious name than the NWA when you consider all of that, however in my opinion the true legacy of the NWA died with WCW. I always considered the WCW championship to be an offshoot of the NWA championship, and I never really thought much of the promoters that would band together since then in the same context as I did the pre 1990’s version of the NWA, and unfortunately that same disregard holds true for the NWA championship. When I look at history, recognition and prestige for a title today I automatically have to say the WWE heavyweight championship that is defended on the Raw brand is the top title in the business. After all that20title has a lineage that goes back close to 50 years, and was the last title to be considered widely in the industry the undisputed championship. It can be argued that in many ways the current World Heavyweight and ECW championships that exist have both spawned off of the WWE title much in the same way that the previous titles spawned off of the NWA title. I would say as of the present time, in my opinion the WWE title is the holy grail of wrestling.
What are my thoughts on Dragongate USA?
I have to say I have yet to see a DGUSA show as of yet, but I have been privileged enough to see a few Dragongate shows the past few years. My thoughts are simply it is an independent group that will have a lot of buzz for the next few months. I think with Gabe Sapolsky in charge you will have many excellent matches that generate match of the year buzz, but in the end all it will be is a niche group. I can?t see a whole wave of American wrestling fans jumping on the bandwagon of a Japanese promotion where majority of those on the roster cannot speak English. I also see it as a money lo ser as majority of the stars are flown in from Japan which is one mighty expense to have to foot the bill for. Take into consideration that rather than take baby steps they are immediately going to run PPV’s and well my red flag is up and waving. I think with the current economy the whole business plan of DGUSA is not a well thought out one. Between WWE and TNA we already have 26 PPV events a year. That’s close to $1000 worth of PPV events that come out a year if you want to follow them all. If there wasn?t enough interest in a somewhat known group such as ROH when they went to PPV what makes DGUSA think that they will be any different. I truly see them as trying to compete with ROH and well instead of trying to be better than ROH; they need to concentrate on being financially viable first. Don?t get me wrong; I intend to order there PPV’s after all I am a wrestling fan. If there is one thing I am learning though, is that wrestling fans are a dying breed as of late.
Outside of myself who do I enjoy as a wrestling columnist?
I have to be honest, I don?t really check websites like I used to a few years ago. I tend to get my information the same regardless and oftentimes even quicker. However every so often I will click on a few and while I am not personally interested in most columnists; I have to confess that I will read Anthony Valvo’s column here on Wrestleview. It’s definitely the longest column ever, but at the same time it’s also unique, creative and there is a lot of involvement that I think is really great. Plus it doesn?t hurt that I think Anthony is a great guy either who knows his place as a wrestling fan and does not try to convince himself or his readers that he is anything more.
Do I think WWE will ever recreate its tag team division?
The short answer to this question is ?yes? but this is a column and requires a bit more of an explanation. I think tag teams are necessary for any promotion to be successful as it is a way to help showcase stars that just are lacking as singles stars, as well as a way to help develop stars to become great singles stars. I also think Vince McMaho n realizes that also. I think one of the reasons for the tag team titles in WWE becoming unified was to try to eventually restore some of the shine to that division. It may take time but I think it will happen, and when it does the titles will go back to being separated and we should have at least one brand if not both with very healthy divisions.
When am I going to write about independent wrestling again?
That’s hard for me to say right now. I have not been to an independent show since December and felt a bit burned out on the independents at that time. I have begun recently getting the itch again as I believe the northeast independents are starting to show life again and have made a early New Year’s resolution to resume attending shows in 2010 if not during the winter of 2009. However given the current state of the economy and the price of wrestling tickets, dvd’s, ppv’s, etc. that may turn out to be harder than I would like. However if there are any promoters out there that want to comp me a ticket to review there shows, I would be more than happy to attend. S ince I doubt that a show in my area that I could reach is going to comp me ( I have been offered to attend others that are a bit too far for my liking) I make no promises other than that if I do go back you will be the first to hear about it.
You guys give me so many great questions I could keep going for days, but am going to wrap it up here. Keep those emails coming in as you never know when I might do one of these again. Of course that email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I do my best to try to answer each and every email when I can, but bear in mind I do have a life and get a lot of email. So for those of you that get offended when you have to wait a few days relax, you will be answered. Next week I will try to do better, and until then I?m out.