Telling it like it is. by Jon-Michael Newton
In the early 90's a small wrestling promotion started out of a sports bar in
Philidelphia, PA. Shortly thereafter, it moved to small arenas and a ex-WCW
employee became it's creative lifeblood. This man's mantra was to create
exciting and innovative, over the top storylines and characters with new
blood and with wrestlers that had been in the WWE or WCW. They were
wrestlers with great potential, like Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and Shane
Douglas. A few legends, like Terry Funk were sprinkled in, but with no
overkill. The formula worked, and from 1994-1998, this promotion was the
best in all of wrestling hands down. You may have heard of the man. His
name was Paul Heyman, and his promotion, Extreme Championship Wrestling, was
a phenomenon that we will never see duplicated in this business again.
Fast forward to 2004. A small, yet deeply rooted promotion, NWA TNA, has
formed in Orlando, FL. With a small, but rabid fan base, and exciting young
stars, and fairly well drawn storylines on the miscard level, it has
potential. But the main weakness of TNA is at its top structure. TNA is
becoming more and more like WCW, The Ressurection, but instead of the things
that worked for them, TNA is using the concepts that brought WCW to its
Exhibit A: Vince Russo. It is common knowledge that Russo is not the
creative genius that he was hailed as during his WWE days. He seems
hell-bent on trying to steer the tradition marks, so he loads the roster
with wrestlers that are popular, but past their prime. It is a formula,
save for maybe Terry Funk, that simply does not work.
Exhibit B: Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett has experience and skills, and he is a
good solid heel, but he just is not a good world champion. He simply has
"Change the channel" heat similar to Triple H. Plus he has Russo by the
short and curlies, being his father owns the promotion. Pushing a young
star like AJ Styles as a champ will breather fresh air into the company, but
Jarrett is simply not the way to go.
Exhibit C: The WCW Diehard and WWE Leftover formula. I do not see the
Hall-Nash addition ending any way but badly. I want to give them the
benefit of the doubt, but given both their work habits and their reputation
to throw locker rooms into chaos, I hope TNA knows what they are getting.
It may spike PPV buyrates and house show attendance in the short term, but
thinking short term is not what works in this business. Jeff Hardy needs to
step it up a notch. He can wrestle a great match when he has to, but that
has been few and far between lately.
Let's get one thing straight, TNA is not going to pull any major coups soon.
Vince McMahon has locked all his top wrestlers into long-term, ironclad
contracts. He is not going to make the same mistake he made in the mid
90's. So TNA needs to play it smart and make good creative decisions, not
quick fixes. TNA is a good small promotion with a lot of potential. But it
needs to be smart in order to build on that potential. See you all next
week. I will be taking all rub-ins from all Red Sox fans as well.....Hats
off to them, they beat my Yanks fair and square. Feel free to send all
feedback and low-blows to firstname.lastname@example.org