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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Save_Us.TNA

Solve the following analogy. If Raw is Jericho, then Impact is ______.

Multiple adjectives can describe TNA right now. The one that came to my mind personally is terrible. Oh, here come the smarks. “How can a 411 writer say TNA is bad?”

I am not the type of fan to forgive an entire wrestling company just because they throw out a decent match now and then. Especially when every decent match ends in some type of screwjob bullcrap ending.

I talked two weeks ago about the possibility of TNA getting an outlet on CBS in leiu of the Hollywood writers strike. I am hearing rumblings of that being more and more plausible. My concern is that the company is nowhere near ready for that type of audience. There are a number of reasons I find TNA hard to watch. Here they are, in no particular order.Teaser

Abyss: Abyss should be a major part of TNA. He has flirted with that role many times since the inception of TNA, and has proven himself as one of the best working big men in the business. So when will his feud with Jim Mitchell’s never-ending parade of wrestling misfits finally be over?

Kurt Angle: Without doubt, Kurt Angle is a great in-ring competitor. However, without the WWE handcuffs on him, he has somehow gotten worse. The storylines run continuously teasing tension between him, his wife, and Kevin Nash were ridiculous to follow. The break up to make up to break up to make up storyline was far from interesting. Angle is interesting in that he is the only WWE reject in TNA that actually would have benefitted from getting a chance to be put under on the way out. There is something about Angle that seperates him from guys like Booker T, Christian Cage, and Jeff Jarrett. Angle might actually be a bit too big of a star for TNA, as the list of truly believable contenders is very short.

Black Reign: Black Reign has been more than dissapointing to me. Each and everytime Goldust is released from the WWE, I get upset. I never understand why. He is typically over and works had to put on a good midcard match. Obviously he is more valuable than Hardcore Holly, and to be honest, he would make a much more interesting component in that Cody Rhodes respect storyline as well. Everytime Runnels gets out from the WWE umbrella, he ends up doing something lame. I would much rather have seen the rumored Platinum character than Black Reign. Black Reign is lame.

The Dudley Boyz: You ever notice that no matter how long Billy Gunn and the Dudleys are in TNA, people still refer to them as Billy Gunn and the Dudley Boys. The proposed Deadly Brothers of Brother Ray and D-Von Deadly was much more interesting to me. Brother Ray tried to do comedy wanting ding dongs last week on Impact, but like every other promo on Impact, it came off terrible. Why can’t these guys talk anymore? The whole X Division angle is retread, and there is really no interesting payoff for it.

Christian Cage: Cage is stuck in the same rut he was in the WWE. After a few successful title reigns, new additions to the TNA roster have him stuck in limbo. Everyone recognizes that the guy is talented, but he somehow manages to position himself right in the middle. Cage and Booker really both have a responsibility to one another to steal the show and make each other if either want to be viewed as a legitimate contender to Angle.

Christopher Daniels: Well, that stupid eye paint didn’t do a whole lot for his career, now did it? Daniels is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He will never break through the TNA glass ceiling. For those that argue the X division title is enough to elevate stars to the next level, look no further than Daniels as proof that you are an idiot. He could hold the belt for 20 years, and it won’t do shit for him in the 21st. Daniels is too good to be in Triple X, but not even considered to compete with the real TNA main eventers. A shame really.

Chris Harris: How did TNA miss the ball with this guy? Oh, the same way they did with Monty Brown? Take note Samoa Joe, because this is the road you are most likely headed down. Wrestling fans are fickle, and they can forget you quick. There was a time when the TNA faithful really wanted to see this guy break out. Now he is stuck in the worthless TNA midcard after being responsible for many of the companies best matches and feuds. His gimmick is that he’s a whiny bitch? What will that do for him? Like so many others, TNA missed the boat on making this guy into a star that people would want to see.

Havok: Who gives a crap about Havok?

Sonjay Dutt: Who gives a crap about Sonjay Dutt?

Lance Hoyt: Who gives a crap about Lance Hoyt?

Jimmy Rave: Who gives a crap about Jimmy Rave?

Shark Boy: Who gives a crap about Shark Boy?

Elix Skipper: Who gives a crap about Elix Skipper?

LAX: At one time the hottest tag team in all of wrestling, what are they now? Glorified job squad. Why are these guys getting beat by Lance Hoyt and Jimmy Rave? They should have the belts until there is a better team. Quite frankly, there isn’t. However, an LAX/Motorcity Machine Guns feud would be fun to watch. Can’t have that though can we?

VKM: These two frankly shouldn’t have jobs. I wanted a New Age Outlaws reunion as much as anyone, and these guys couldn’t have done more to make it any lamer. First The Outlaw changes his name so he can be some kind of butt buddy brother of ol’ BG, then they obsess over their past glory for year, and are made to look like total assholes. Are they heels or faces? I don’t know and I don’t care. They have no upside without the whole New Age Outlaws schtick. I’d rather here Road Dogg sing “With my baby tonight”

Kazarian: I’m all for elevating new guys, but Kaz? Seriously? Kaz? Kaz? I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe this. The dude leaves TNA for WWE, then leaves WWE cause he doesn’t want to cut his hair or some dumb shit like that. He’s in a weak-ass Raven stable, but then his character is so “strong” that he breaks out. Then he wins that pointless fight for your right tournament, and loses to Angle in the Impact Main Event. Did any of the fans pop for him? Did anyone really care when he lost? Would anyone honestly want Kaz as their World Champion? The guy has no personality, his character isn’t developed at all, and somehow he leapfrogs Christopher Daniels to this role. Frankly, TNA didn’t make a new star when they did all this for Kazarian. It was too much, too soon, for the wrong guy. Fans will continue to be underwhelmed by Kaz’s lame-o character, regardless of the fact that he can put out a decent match. Being “this close” to beating Kurt Angle on Impact for Kazarian is as good as being “this close” in horseshoes. It didn’t do half of what Shelton Benjamin’s wins over Triple H did for him years ago, and look where Shelton is now. This time next year, Kazarian will either be gone from TNA or in a shitty X Division tag team. You read it here first. People wanted to see Daniels, Joe, and Monty Brown break the glass ceiling. People didn’t want to see Kazarian do it.

Ron Killings: Every time this dude gets a rebirth, someone pulls the rug out from under him. He’s relatively worthless now that Booker T has arrived back in the Booker T character. I worry about Booker T, because frankly something smells racist down in TNA. Monty Brown should have held a World Title there, and Ron Killings should have kept his momentum as a main eventer. Makes me think Booker T will be wrestling Shark Boy on Xplosion in a year.

Kevin Nash and Scott Hall: No one likes to mark out for these guys more than me, but it’s a bit hard when Nash looks older than my grandpa, and Scott Hall is looking all bloated in his lame ICP t-shirt. Nash never seems to give a damn about TNA, and the same goes for many of the people that TNA brings in. Did Junior Fatu care? Enough to compare the company to WWE, and then call Robert Roode “Ravishing Rick Rude” and a Jabroni. Nash treats the most serious aspects of the show as though they were a joke. Die your hair and give a damn, or give up your spot. You were fine as backstage comic relief, but you are back as a main event wrestler now. Stomp making faces at the camera and act like it.

Raven: What left is there for Raven in TNA honestly? More contrived gimmick matches with Abyss and Rhino? He most certainly shouldn’t be a World Champion again. I think it’s time that Raven either resigns himself to being strictly a manager or just calls it a day. The same tired rehash of the dark characters storyline is really testing my patience. Rather than have a flock that follows Raven, Raven needs to serve as a true guide to someone with a half decent dark gimmick, and Raven has to teach him the ways of the dark.

Rellik: Cool mask, cool tights, cool that he jobbed on his first night. Oh wait, that last part is not cool. I am not trying to say that Johnny the Bull was going to make a ton of money in this role, but he sure had his legs cut out from under him. Teaming with Black Reign he can’t even beat Abyss. That sure gives you something to be excited about for the future. This is a huge problem in TNA. Right at the most critical points to give new talent wins, they job them out. It’s like they have the right idea right up until the finish. Hell, it’s amazing that Rellik had a chance to job on TNA without 50 dudes running in.

Rhino: Ah, that midcard slot is beginning to feel more comfortable isn’t it? There are many more familiar faces in it. TNA Rhino is a lame version of WWE Rhino is a lame version of ECW Rhino. This dude is just a shell of any former self and anything interesting. They keep magically finding stuff for him to do, but I actually kind of wish they’d stop.

Robert Roode: Here’s a guy they can’t find anything for. Roode has no title that he actually can contend for, so he is stuck in feud limbo. There are other guys with him. Chris Harris and James Storm for instance. Roode is not even considered for a spot in TNA main events, although fucking Kaz is. Roode is above the X title, so what can he do? Feud with his valet. Pathetic waste of talent. I’d love to see this dude show up on Raw and take the IC title right out of Jeff Hardy’s rainbow-stained hands.

Petey Williams: This one trick pony is tricked out. Every since turning babyface, it’s been all downhill for Mr. Williams. Too bad Team Canada isn’t still together to give you some purpose, eh Petey?

Eric Young: Pudgy Eric Young somehow made himself the most over babyface in the company, but TNA did a good job of teaming him with Shark Boy and putting a stop to all that. Way to go bookers.

Knockouts: Frankly there are two women in TNA that anyone cares about Traci Brooks because she is hot, and Awesome Kong because she is, well, awesome.Gail Kim may be a fantastic women’s wrestler, but she is boring. The rest of the Knockouts aren’t even really worth mentioning, unless I want to mention how beautiful Talia Madison (Velvet Sky) is. The problem with the division is that despite the fact that they are outwrestling the WWE divas by leaps and bounds, no one cares about the participants, because they all came in at once with no character development. There are fans who hate Melina and Beth Phoenix and love Maria and Mickie James. Maria can’t wrestle worth a lick, but she is probably a more valuable asset right now, unfortunately. TNA, if you are trying to push the division, push the components of it, not the division in its entirety.

Jeremy Borash, Don West, Mike Tenay: All three of you are terrible in your respective roles. Period.

TNA is supposed to serve as an alternative to the WWE, but it’s greatest miscue is that it’s the same damn show. You might as well call it fourth brand.So what is a wrestling company to do?

First off, trim the fat. A wrestling company with a 2 hour show once a week has no reason to have that large of a roster. Point blank Black Reign, Sonjay Dutt, Havok, Lance Hoyt, B.G. James, Kip James, Jimmy Rave, Raven, Rellik, Rhino, Shark Boy, Elix Skipper, Petey Williams, and Eric Young add nothing to your company at the moment. Most of them show little to no upside value either. Set them free.

A few weeks back I talked about wrestling’s current crop of free agents. TNA should be looking currently to get their hands on the following guys:

Mistico: Mexico’s biggest star could do good to get away from his home country. The overexposure of Mistico was brought to my attention by my colleauge Nikita Allenov. The guy is like a bigger Rey Mysterio, and he has some moves that are more impressive than old Rey Rey.

Rob Van Dam: The only legit main eventer that TNA can probably afford, because I know Big Show is gonna expect a giant paycheck. RVD chose to leave the WWE. If he is in the market for a lighter schedule when he decides to return, it would be a huge feather in TNA’s cap.

Giant Bernard: Say what you will, I was a huge mark for Doc and Gordy, and Tomko and Bernard are the closest we have to it now. I wouldn’t mind seeing Tomko turn on AJ, AJ become a babyface again, and team with Christopher Daniels against the monster IWGP tag team champions. It books itself, and I bet the matches would be awesome.
Vampiro: If they want to insist on running the same damn storyline with Sting, Abyss, Raven, and whoever else, bring this guy in to do it. Make Vampiro so dark that he kills off the lesser characters involved, until only he, Sting, and Abyss remain.

Bring back the Bashams. For the love of God, you think Hoyt and Rave are better than Doug Basham? I will apparantely have to go to my grave insisting that these two guys were better than anything they ever got from any promotion other than OVW. Release Hoyt, Rave, and Hemme, and let these two tear up in tag matches with LAX. It’s a simple formula.

The Sandman: Novelty character? Sure. But Sandman was over when he was released from WWE, and TNA should milk everything they can get out of that. Keep the same cuffs on the Sandman that the WWE had on him, but give him a cover of Enter Sandman as his music, and you have an insanely over midcarder.

Cryme Tyme: Here we go. The hate mail cometh. How dare I say bad things about Kaz and put over these two? Well, easy. These two got over. The Cryme Tyme name was retarded, so these are two guys that TNA can actually look good by signing, because instead of a crappy rehash, they can do better. TNA is the only place where tag team wrestling lives, so let it live. TNA wants to be an alternative? How about Shad and JTG cut shoot-style promos about how they were forced by racists to portray a negative stereotype.

As long as we are talking tag teams, what if La Resistance returned as a three-man stable. Dupree and Grenier as the tag team, Conway as the singles wrestler. What if they feuded with a revamped LAX, with Homicide and Senshi as the tag team, and Hernandez as the break out singles star? Hmmm…

While we are on the subject of revamping TNA, get rid of the X division. This is controversial, I know. Months ago, I was arguing for them to keep it. Why? It is what gave them an identity as being separate from the WWE. Now, it is just the same as the WWE cruiserweight division. You still have Daniels, Lethal, Homicide, Senshi, AJ, and others who can work the X style; you just don’t need a specific belt for them. All the dudes we cared about have moved past it: Daniels, Styles, Sabin, Shelley… Who is left? Dutt, Shark Boy…

Keep Black Machismo under contract, but make him compete at a higher level. Why? Because you have Robert Roode, Chris Harris, James Storm, Rhino, Ron Killings, Kazarian, Christian, and others with nothing to do while guys like Angle and Sting keep the World Title warm.

Roode, Daniels, Harris, and others have not been able to be properly elevated because of the lack of a secondary title. Remember how Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, and Shawn Michaels were elevated through the Intercontinental title. Frankly, this would be more valuable to TNA right now than an X division title belt. Former champions can then move into the main event and be accepted properly. Guys like Roode need some type of purpose, other than getting into pointless feud after pointless feud forever and ever.

Another thing: Stop booking change for the sake of change. Heel LAX, AMW, and Team Canada were the best things you ever did to make new stars. Now the Team Canada guys are all floundering. Notice how WWE split the Spirit Squad and kept the one stand out? You needed to break Roode off from the group, and leave the rest in tact. You also shouldn’t have cut the legs out of LAX and jobbed them out each week, as they were the hottest stars in your company that weren’t from the old WCW or WWE. AMW might have run its course, but there is no point breaking them up if you are not going to push either member. They put on a fantastic feud with one another, and get rewarded by having nothing left to do afterwards. Since you decided to break them up, at least one of them should be better off now than they were then.

Just because TNA sneaks in one good match in between hours and hours of total bullcrap, don’t let yourself be convinced that it’s this awesome alternative product. The storylines are nonsensical, the promos are self-serving, and most of the characters are floating in purgatory with nothing to do.

Here’s some mail on Last Week’s Article:

Jadd Naamani offered the following on a Legends of Wrestling game:
Just wanted to commend you on your legends list for a hypothetical Smackdown Vs Raw 2008 roster. I actually posted a message on one of the SvR 08 message boards talking about how they should make a game full of legends (better than Legends of Wrestling that came out before – that franchise sucked), and we named a lot of the same legends to appear. Here’s the post I had:

I've been pretty happy with the Legends in the last 2 SvR games, but I was thinking...it'd be SICK if someone created a game with old school wrestlers (and yes I know they had Legends of Wrestling 1&2, but they both sucked and you know it).

But put in other wrestlers than the usual Hogan/Rock/Austin/Foley deal.

How bout Arn Anderson, the surfer Sting, Vader, Ron Simmons, Magnum TA, Ted DiBiase, IRS, OWEN HART, British Bulldog, Yokozuna, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Psycho Sid, Diesel, Razor, The Rockers, LOD, Tracey Smothers and that dude he teamed with, The Fabulous Freebirds, Tully Blanchard, Warrior, Rock n Roll Express, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes (before Golddust/Reign), BRIAN PILLMAN (or the Hollywood Blondes)

I'm talking wrestlers from back in the hay-day of wrestling. The old school people we loved to watch and loved to hate -- now THAT'S a game I would TOTALLY buy.
Just found it remotely cool that I thought of a list that was similar to a 411 writer.


Jeremy Addison clarified the Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 Roster

Yo dude,

A good column as always. Just wanted to give you a few facts on SVR 2008. I picked it up last night.

Your dream roster?
1. Shelton Benjamin-NO
2. Lance Cade-NO
3. Carlito-YES
4. Charlie Haas-NO
5. Jeff Hardy-YES
6. Brian Kendrick-NO
7. Mr. Kennedy-YES
8. Santino Marella-NO
9. Paul London-NO
10. Shawn Michael-YES
11. Trevor Murdoch-NO
12. Randy Orton-YES
13. Cody Rhodes-NO
14. Snitsky-YES
15. Triple H-YES
16. Umaga-YES
17. Chris Jericho (Unlockable)-NO
18. John Cena-YES
19. Bobby Lashley-YES
20. DH Smith-NO
21. Val Venis -NO
22. Batista-YES
23. Deuce-NO
24. Domino-NO
25. Kenny Dykstra-YES
26. Finlay-YES
27. The Great Khali-YES
28. Matt Hardy-YES
29. Mark Henry -YES
30. Kane-YES
31. Rey Mysterio-YES
32. Jamie Noble-NO
33. Chuck Palumbo-NO
34. MVP-YES
35. The Undertaker-YES
36. Jimmy Wang Yang-NO
37. Edge-YES
38. Ric Flair-YES
39. Chavo Guerrero-YES
40. Gregory Helms -YES
41. Big Daddy V-NO
42. Elijah Burke-YES
43. CM Punk-YES
44. Tommy Dreamer-YES
45. John Morrison-YES but he is still Johnny Nitro
46. The Miz-NO
47. The Boogeyman-SORRY CAN’T REMEMBER
48. Stevie Richards-NO
49. Matt Striker-NO
50. Kevin Thorn -NO

Notable New Legends:
Terry Funk
Sabu

Hope this doesn’t dissuade you from buying the game. The graphics are top notch and there are several new interesting features. My only initial disappointment was that during the career mode there are only 19 selectable wrestlers you can use.
Peace


It doesn’t dissuade me at all Jeremy. I didn’t expect what I wrote to be on the game. I just thought it would be a sweet roster.

Watch the Bashams on Velocity:



2 comments:

JMASCORPIO said...

Solve the following analogy. If Raw is Jericho, then Impact is an overcrowded steaming pile of camel dung. Which is quite frankly a crying shame to me. The organization has a load of talented young homegrown guys (Roode,Joe,Storm,Harris,Daniels, Styles hell the list goes on and on) but quite frankly their booking commitee has the overall common sense of your average 5 year old. Whether it be their usual monthly WWE castoff getting a major push (Black Reign, Rikishi,the Dudleys,VKM,etc) or the over the hill gang (Hall,Nash,etc) they have zero ability to book a one hour show much less the 2 hour slot they have now. Here's a hint to TNA wrestling fans around the world can instantly recognize Kurt Angle,Sting,Jeff Jarrett and others. The guys that should be getting the bulk of the tv pushes are the very same people that have been TNA through and through. Guys like Roode,Styles,Daniels,James Storm and the rest are faces that aren't instantly recognized by your everyday wrestling fans. I blame this on TNA for not giving them the proper push to the forefront to make them household names. They need to take a hint from times gone by and pay close attention to very recent wrestling history. It is nearly identical to the way WCW handled alot of their homegrown younger talent in the late 90s. Several of whom went on to even greater fame and world title reigns in the WWE.Guys like Jericho,Guerrerro,Benoit and so many more found greater success on an even grander stage.Take a hint TNA before its too late and you become just another memory.

Tim Haught said...

It really is like WCW version 2.