Friday, March 4, 2011

Pat, I'd Like to Buy a Clue

Outside the Impact! Zone in Orlando
By Chad Smart

Disclaimer: I typed this up on Thursday afternoon. I was planning on watching Impact to make sure things happened on TV the way they were laid out in the spoiler reports online. Instead, I ended up going to see a friend do stand up comedy and didn’t get home until 12:30am. I didn’t get to see Impact so I’m hoping nothing I have written is too far off the mark. If I wrote something that is completely inaccurate, I will change or delete it if someone points it out.

I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to write anymore about TNA. Well, I wasn’t planning on writing anything dealing with TNA, but the more I thought about their "most shocking moment of the year" video last year and after some tweets by Dixie Carter this week, my head started to hurt and I had to get the thoughts out to avoid doing my Frank Oz at the beginning of "Scanners" impression.

As I mentioned in the posting last week after the 3-3-11 video aired, had TNA played the video with tongue firmly in cheek the video probably wouldn’t have gotten such a negative reaction. But this is TNA and the only humor they excel at is unintentional humor. It’s understandable why TNA made the 3-3-11 video but they seem to not understand why wrestling fans were excited about the 2-21-11 video.

When WWE aired the 2-21-11 and speculation of the mystery man’s identity focused on it being Sting, wrestling fans got excited about the prospect of a Wrestlemania match between Sting and Undertaker. Fans were not excited about Sting showing up. Fans were excited about Sting showing up in WWE. I don’t feel TNA understands the difference. While I’m sure there are some fans that were glad to see Sting return to TNA, the majority probably doesn’t care about Sting being back in a TNA ring. Sting has never wrestled for WWE. That’s why there was excitement behind the initial 2-21-11 video. Seeing a 50-year-old guy return to the same promotion he’s been wrestling for over the last six years is not news worthy, much less "shocking."

Moving on to the 3-3-11 episode of Impact, not only did Sting make his shocking return, he won the World Title from Jeff Hardy. I shouldn’t have to point out why this wasn’t a good idea. But since we’re talking about TNA, I guess I do have to lay it out in simplest form.

Jeff Hardy just won the title on February 13. Before that, Mr. Anderson won the title from Jeff on January 9. In a span of six weeks the title changed hands three times. How many times do I have to mention short title reigns do nothing to help the company? Why should fans care about the title if it has no stability?
Even though Sting was teased as returning on 3-3-11, it wasn’t ever mentioned in promotion for the show. Since Sting wasn’t promoted for the show, the title match between Sting and Jeff Hardy wasn’t promoted either.

Now, I’m a big proponent of unannounced surprises. Surprises help give shows a must see vibe and make you want to turn in because you don’t want to be the only one of your friends to not have seen something major happen. I also feel though that title matches should be built up and have a reason for happening. Sting hasn’t been seen in five months. Why is he getting a title match on his first night back? Are there any criteria for getting a title match in TNA? What happened to the ranking system Eric Bischoff hyped for weeks on end? I did read "the network" ordered the match take place. "The network" is becoming a lazy excuse for hotshotting matches on TV.

The big storyline in TNA at the moment is THEY vs. THEY … or Fortune vs. Immortal. Sting has no attachment to either group. So again I ask, why is he getting a title shot and why did he win the title? The logical (I know we’re talking Vince Russo writing here so logic isn’t in the dictionary) story advancement would have been to build up a match between Jeff and either AJ Styles, Kaz, James Storm or Robert Roode. You know, a member of Fortune vs. a member of Immortal. By the way, have we ever found out why Scott Steiner, Crimson or Kurt Angle were promoting the turn of Fortune?
Besides the simple fact TNA’s "most shocking moment" turning out to be a firecracker instead of an explosion, another major issue was this being another example of TNA copying WWE instead of forging an original path. Why TNA can’t seem to grasp the concept of fans not wanting to see a product that is WWE-lite or a rehashed version of WCW is baffling. If everyone in TNA had only worked for TNA, I could maybe understand the penis envy they have with WWE. However TNA is comprised of people who have been around the business for almost 20 years, with the exception of Dixie Carter, the boss of TNA. I don’t know what Dixie does in the day to day running of the business. I really want to know what input she gives to the writing team. Based on recent tweets, my opinion of her only caring about the fame and popularity TNA allows her was strengthened.

TNADixie MTV coverage of JAKKS new TNA action figures from Toy Fair. Yes, I will have a figure out late 2011. 

TNA Dixie I'm looking forward to being back on iMPACT this Thurs. Check out the TV ad airing on multiple networks to promote it. 28 Feb
These tweets were made after the Impact taping for the March 3rd show.  After the taping results hit the Internet, several people tweeted their displeasure at the direction TNA was heading.  Did Dixie respond to any of the criticism in an attempt to put out fires or address fans' annoyance with TNA repeating the same mistakes they've been amking over and over for years?  Nope.  Dixie tweeted she's coming back to TV and will have an action figure out later this year. 

Dixie, you are not a wrestler.  Let the guys and women who sacrifice their bodies be the focus of your company.  Spend your time working with your staff in ways to improve attendance and pay per view buy rates.  Focus on making your company an original instead of a tribute wrestling company of other shows.  Examine the weekly program and see if it makes sense and if the show is going to entice new viewers to watch.

I don't know what else to write.  My complaints with TNA are the same today as they were last month and last year.  It frustrates me to see a company that has all the tools in place to succeed can't make it out of the starting gate without someone holding their hand.  I want to enjoy TNA, I really do.  I don't criticize because I enjoy it.  I simply can't understand the line of reasoning behind the decisions being made.  I am to the point of begging now.  If anyone reading this has any connections to anyone involved with TNA, please get in touch with my.  I have 5 questions I would like answered. I may not like the answers I get, but knowing the method behind the madness would help me sleep better at night.  My main quandary is wanting to know if TNA has a captain or if the ship is being run by nothing but deckhands.

Now, unless something actually shocking happens, I am putting at a least a 30 day moratorium on any articles dealing with TNA.  It's an early trial for Lent.  I'm giving up TNA.  Will it last?  Good thing I have Wrestlemania to milk for 20 to 30 articles.

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