TNA Wrestling are at a crossroads and president Dixie Carter thinks she has found an answer with MMA fighters. The good news is that Dixie acknowledges that the company needs to develop new talent. The bad news is that she is looking outside of her company to do it. I guess it’s too late to get the money back from the Wrestling Matters campaign.
I’ll give Dixie Carter a lot of credit. Even in the face of criticism she is sticking to her guns. Dixie and TNA are looking for answers after major budget cuts and weeks of inconsistent ratings. Most suggested a change in creative direction yet the president disagreed. Dixie went searching for new talent and what she found were aged, injury-ridden former UFC stars.
Dixie has had a fascination with blending MMA stars into her company for awhile now. Unfortunately it has yet to work. She had the right idea with King Mo but it never seemed like she was on the same page with her creative team. She’s at it again with Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz and the jury is out on how that will all pan out.
Dixie is looking for answers. Dixie is looking for the next hot talent to build up and it is not the independent wrestling circuits she is scouting but the UFC loss columns as she told the Ministry of Slam podcast.
“I’ve gotten criticism for bringing these guys in but when you’re looking for talent and there’s only two teams, where do you go to get your star players from? You’re going to mostly look to each other and then every once in a while, you’ve got to build your own talent which takes a lot of time.
So here are two guys that are major superstars. Both come from wrestling backgrounds, and both are training their butts off right now to be in the ring. I think it’s a great way of trying to find some superstar talent and not having to take so many years to try to grow somebody’s stardom. Both of these guys are so well-known and they love professional wrestling. They’re committed and they’re training, and I’m excited for people to see their potential. I think it’s a great way of looking for new talent, and talent that have never been seen before in our world.”
The irony in those statements is just amazing considering who they are coming from. Dixie has had a roster of her own talent for over ten years. In that time TNA never spent more than a few months building up any of their own talent sans AJ Styles every once in awhile. The idea that she is so concerned with building up her own talent on a show I just watched headlined by Bully Ray vs. Sting in an angle involving Ken Anderson is just ironic in so many ways.
I do agree with her on one point. She does need to get unconventional in her recruiting. I don’t think there is a problem at all with that philosophy. I don’t think there is a problem going out there and recruiting MMA fighters. The difference between TNA and the WWE is that if WWE signs you, you are a WWE talent. If TNA signs you, you are doing TNA part-time. If TNA were out there scouting amateur wrestlers and MMA fighters, signing them, and prohibiting them from competing in MMA that would be a great idea but that isn’t what they are doing.
TNA instead are signing aged MMA fighters who are broken down and have no interest in retiring from fighting at present. How can you invest money into these guys when there is a good chance they are going to be exposed as slow, hurt, and old in their fights? You can but it is just wasting money.
Either Dixie is flat out lying or she is being lied to if she thinks that Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson are that committed to their pro wrestling training. Rampage isn’t even planning on training until he is done fighting.
“Well I’ve always wanted to be a pro wrestler since I was a kid, but now that I’m older and have had a lot of injuries, people don’t understand the toll that wrestling takes on your body. I just don’t think I can do that now while I’m fighting, but when I retire from fighting and go full time into pro wrestling, then I think I can go and get more extensive with my style and my moves.”
Obviously these parties are not on the same page with company speak. As I said I think it’s a smart move to think outside of the box when it comes to scouting talent. Dixie just happened to stumble into the wrong box. What Rampage is even doing on television at this point other than promoting Bellator is another question. Tito hasn’t said it but how committed to training can he be after coming off of major back surgery?
Do you know what is really surprising to me about Dixie Carter? This is a woman that came from public relations. She may not know wrestling but she is supposed to know public relations. For a woman that says one dumb thing after another on Twitter or interviews you’d certainly never know it. Telling your critics that the answer to building new talent are Tito Ortiz and Rampage is just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard say…and that says a lot.
WWE RAW and SmackDown could have new homes in 2014. Vince McMahon is looking for big buyers and one of those prospects could be Viacom and Spike TV. Is it time for TNA Wrestling to start worrying?
Vince McMahon told investors last week that he was looking for big money in 2014 for his babies. Vince would like to see deals similar to recent sports network deals which saw ridiculous amounts of money thrown towards professional sports organizations from television networks. USA Network is unlikely to match those but Spike TV certainly could.
The interesting part about this story is that RAW and SmackDown could wind up on different networks. Today the WWE cannot put their programs on non-NBC networks but a new deal would open that up. What better pro wrestling show to piggyback Bellator on than SmackDown?
A dual punch of SmackDown and Bellator on Friday nights could be exactly what Spike needs for their inconsistent MMA promotion. SmackDown may not be the ratings grabber it once was but it is still a fairly consistent show which blows away TNA Wrestling numbers. Unfortunately for TNA that scenario would be the end of their run on Spike.
It’s funny because people make jokes all of the time comparing TNA to ECW and this is the exact scenario ECW faced which helped end the company. Spike signed WWE and cut ECW. There is zero chance that Spike would keep TNA if they signed one of the WWE programs. It is time for Dixie Carter to panic and stay scared until SmackDown winds up somewhere else in 2014.
What would happen to TNA if Spike dropped them? They have their international deals here and there but with only four pay per view events as it is they would be on serious life support. Unless TNA could pull a television deal elsewhere which seems unlikely the company would be in trouble.
Would the WWE cut a sweeter deal with Spike to get rid of TNA? Maybe but I don’t think the WWE sees TNA as any competition. At the same time I wouldn’t put it past the McMahon family to take a little less from Spike knowing that they are putting a nail in the coffin of Total Non-Stop Wrestling. Maybe Dixie should tweet her new friend Stephanie McMahon and ask her about it?
I would be real curious to see what kind of cross promotion the WWE would offer Bellator if SmackDown moved to Spike. Remember, the UFC and the WWE were on Spike at the same time and the WWE never had any UFC guys on their show or vice versa. I have to think that the WWE would not be nearly as accommodating as TNA is in helping promote Bellator. Would that be a deal breaker? It certainly could be.
This may also explain why Spike or Viacom haven’t offered any kind of a bailout to TNA or at least that we know of. Many are waiting for the day where Viacom buys into TNA the way they did with Bellator. It would make sense if not for the fact that it would close up any chance of negotiating with the WWE.
Keep in mind that these are a lot of wild scenarios and none of this is to be reported as news. These are just my observations (and others) looking at the landscape of things over the next year. I would tell you this. Dixie Carter and Hulk Hogan should be worried more than ever about the future of TNA in 2014.
It probably isn’t a good idea to hold a public Q & A session on Twitter when you are already perceived as a joke. Fortunately TNA Wrestling president Dixie Carter didn’t get that memo and wrestling fans have been hammering Carter with a slew of hilarious and entertaining tweets.
In the face of one of the worst periods of publicity in TNA Wrestling company Dixie decided she wanted to get in front of that criticism on her favorite place, her Twitter page. Dixie asked fans to send her questions under the hashtag #AskDixie. Instead of the civilized Q &A she hoped for she wound up as the guest of honor in one of the funniest Twitter roasts you’ll ever read.
Here are just a few of the gems she received courtesy of #AskDixie.
#AskDixie Is it true a lot of mid-card wrestlers in TNA are considering living in North Korea, because they have a better human rights? – @TableofJapan
How awesome is it that you took TNA from # 2 to # 4 Company behind @ringofhonor & DGUSA? Congrats to you & @HulkHogan #askdixie – @stevesalomonsen
#AskDixie how much do you regret making this a thing? – @bdbdbdbd
With the territory system obviously dead, has Vince made Hogan/Bischoff/Yourself moles to kill any competition? #askdixie – @WrestlingDream
#AskDixie I can’t wait for your announcement announcing an upcoming announcement that will change the face of pro wrestling! – @itsallgoodacre
How much more money do you have to pay Hogan before his pockets truly becomes too heavy and sinks the TNA ship #askdixie – @JessMcDonald3
#AskDixie when will you reunite the greatest tag team in TNA history, New Jack and Shark Boy? – @Holtarna
#AskDixie @TNADixie Isn’t it pathetic and sad that @HulkHogan had to take a second job hocking his wares at a Beach Shop to pay his bills? – @jackieblue1981
@TNADixie if Sid Vicious broke his leg while main eventing a PPV would you fire him in the ring or wait until he was in the hosp? #askDixie – @mrh610
@TNADixie you know what’s really over in prowrestling @IMPACTWRESTLING literally it’s so OVER #AskDixie – @GRANTyouatweet
#AskDixie Do you think it’s legit that half of TNA budget goes into your makeup? – @ShowOff76
#AskDixie Have you watched Hogans sex tape – @R_Pas
#AskDixie IS TNA’s booking guide The Death of WCW? – @Mr_C_Hart
#AskDixie Is it true that most Iranians tried to write you in for President because they wanted another detached despot? – @SeventhGoldRain
How was it that you had a wrestler on the roster named Murphy for an entire year? #AskDixie – @GrappleFanPudge
#askDixie you made three stars last year with Aries, Roode and Storm. How did you mess that up so badly? – @SolidGoldCEO
#AskDixie How did Aces and Eights go from over two dozen guys to less than 10 with no explanation given? – @XDustinEFLX
This is probably the most obvious headline you’ll ever read on the Camel Clutch Blog but it’s true. I am certainly not the first blogger to break this news but it is more critical now than ever to turn this ship around before it is too late and that requires Dixie Carter to step down immediately.
Is it fair to pile on the bash TNA bandwagon that is more crowded than ever this week? Maybe it’s not but it isn’t as if everyone woke up one day and decided to start some kind of witch hunt. Financial issues and an embarrassing situation over the weekend have put TNA’s problems back in the spotlight. If this were any other company the stakeholders would be demanding the resignation of their CEO. TNA is no different and it’s time to for the president Dixie Carter to step down for the good of the company.
Dixie’s story is a familiar one to failed entrepreneurs. Dixie was in the right place at the right time with the right rich parent. Having no experience whatsoever running a pro wrestling company, Dixie’s wealthy father Bob purchased TNA (which was on the brink of bankruptcy) for his daughter at her request and put her in charge of the company. Like most business owners who acquire their businesses under those conditions, TNA continues to struggle with an owner who is in completely over her head.
Dixie’s biggest mistake in her 11 years running the company has been her ignorance. Sure she has put others in charge but at the end of the day she has always remained the president of the company. Even when questioned in a recent interview about whether she or Hulk Hogan was in charge she boldly told the reporter that she is running the show (WrestleTalk) which quite frankly is nothing I’d be so proud of these days if I were her.
Dixie is the classic pro wrestling money mark. We have all seen them come and go in pro wrestling. They are used and manipulated by the blood suckers around her who are more interested in keeping their jobs and hiring their friends than actually doing what is right for the company. In TNA that appears to be easier than most places as the benchmarks for success are at a minimum.
We all have some kind of measurement of success at our jobs yet in TNA there appears to be no benchmarks set for the office or those in charge. As a web analyst or marketer I need to create goals to give to my employer or client and if I don’t meet them enough times there will be consequence and with good reason. How else do you run a business? In TNA those consequences only exist for the performers, specifically the lower card talent who will likely do anything told to keep their jobs.
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff have now had over two and a half years to turn the company around. Whether you like Hogan and Bischoff or not, the only thing even the most objective observer could conclude is that they have been failures and inept at their jobs. The numbers don’t lie and they are actually worse today than they were before they took over.
Let’s take a quick look at their two and a half year run in TNA. The ratings for Impact are lower today than they were two and a half years ago. The company has gone from 12 pay per view events a year to four. They have failed to create one superstar in that 2 1/2 year run if you measure the success or failure of that star on drawing money…but who would want to do that? Sure they have pushed guys like Bully Ray, AJ Styles, Abyss, Matt Morgan, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, created Aces & 8s, sign MMA fighters (although I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and put that wonderful idea on Dixie) and had the brilliant idea of running head to head with RAW and how has all of this turned out? Less people are watching TNA in the United States and buying their pay per view events today than 3 years ago and yet these two guys appear to have no fear for their jobs.
The idea that in 2013 Hulk Hogan is the number one babyface in your company is ridiculous. The man (and I have great respect for him) can barely walk to the ring without looking like he is in excruciating pain yet he is the “sheriff in town.” Hulk hasn’t drawn money on a regular basis since 1998 and his partner Eric hasn’t booked a successful wrestling angle since 1998 yet these guys were given the keys to the kingdom with no accountability by a CEO who only knows what she thinks she knows which is very little.
It’s easy to blame Hulk and Eric but quite honestly it’s not their fault. Dixie sees the ratings, the buyrates, the house show attendance, and the bottom line. A smart owner would remove herself from the top, hire someone else to take an objective look at the product, and put someone else in charge who has a plan with…benchmarks! Instead Dixie wants you to know she is charge of a company that is so mismanaged they couldn’t even get their wrestlers licensed in time to work a house show over the weekend. That is just absolutely pathetic.
There are millions of people who watch WWE wrestling every week on television and over 100,000 people a month that pay to watch their pay per views, 1 million plus for WrestleMania. In other words there is an audience out there and not only has TNA been unable to create anything that appeals to this audience, they have done more to drive their fans away in two and a half years than give them something to root for. The numbers don’t lie.
Nothing will change and for the talent who bust their butts every week it is a damned shame because they deserve better. The loyal fans who support TNA deserve better. Dixie Carter on the other hand does not and it doesn’t matter whether it is Hulk Hogan, Vince Russo, Dutch Mantell, Paul Heyman, or Bill Watts booking TNA, as long as Dixie is in charge this company will never succeed, and there is 12 years of history to back that up.
TNA Wrestling president Dixie Carter made headlines last week when she announced that TNA signed a big free agent. Just exactly who this new signee is has the social media world buzzing with investigative work and anticipation.
I try to take these kinds of statement made by Dixie with a grain of salt considering her past track record of teases on Twitter. For starters she tweeted that last week’s Impact would have news on the signee only to reveal that the news was that next week’s Impact Wrestling would break the news. Those are kinds of the silly games you have to put up with if you care even a little about Dixie and her Twitter account.
Regardless of Dixie’s history the social media world started tweeting immediately with all kinds of names and ideas of who this free agent is. Quite frankly a quick look at the landscape reveals no real big names available to TNA. TNA’s finances are always subject to debate but with a payroll that already includes Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, and Sting it is not likely that the company has the budget to pull off something massive. Even if they did, I don’t know who out there would deliver that massive impact Dixie is teasing anyway.
I had a little fun on Twitter and threw out some names, more as a joke of who I thought could be the unlikely loser of a new TNA Wrestling contract. All fun aside, I thought I’d take a real hard look at the landscape and come up with five names that fit the billing.
Rob Van Dam – From the second I read her tweet RVD’s name popped into mind. I truly believe that Rob will be the signee and there will be a lot of people laughing at Dixie for trying to blow this up like it is something special. The fact is that Rob is a free agent and while I am sure he’d love to go back to the WWE, I don’t see it in the cards. I would have to assume that Rob and TNA are in the ballpark when it comes to negotiations since he was already there for a couple of years. Rob (and I’m a fan) would be a huge letdown and open up Dixie and TNA to ridicule that they will probably get no matter who it is.
John Morrison – Next to RVD I think Morrison is probably the second and only other real logical answer to Dixie’s riddle. Morrison has been out of the game for a little while now and I would imagine that his contract would be a deal that could be met by TNA without much financial pain. Morrison would probably be the best choice here. Unfortunately you have had a long time since wrestling fans have seen John in the WWE so I really don’t know how much of an impact he can truly make. However, Morrison is the kind of guy you want to sign and put over to your fans how huge the signing is. Sure, some people may find it silly to make such a big deal out of a WWE low-mid carder but there could be something there if he was booked right. That of course is a whole other story when it comes to TNA.
Ric Flair – Woo! Yes I know that Flair was caught up in a lawsuit between TNA and the WWE and I know that Flair has been on WWE television but I also know what Flair doesn’t have and that is a WWE deal. I have heard that the WWE are reluctant to sign Flair to a contract for a variety of reasons, none unfortunately which I am at liberty to reveal. Regardless, Flair has no personal heat or animosity with Dixie, Hulk, or even Eric Bischoff for that matter. Flair could use a contract and if he has gotten sick and tired of waiting around for one from his buddies in the WWE, maybe the Teflon Man winds up coming back to TNA.
Kevin Nash – Nash is an interesting one because he is Hunter’s buddy yet at the same time he appears no closer to ever stepping into a WWE ring than he was a year ago. Nash has said from time to time in interviews that he wanted to wrestle again and it doesn’t appear to be in the cards in the WWE. I know that Nash and TNA left on bad terms but Nash is a heck of a worker, one of the best when it comes to business. I could easily see him working TNA into another contract that proves to be just as much a waste of money as the last contract that they signed him to.
Goldberg – Golberg is a real wild card but he is a free agent and out of all of the available free agents, he’d certainly be the biggest. Goldberg has mentioned a desire to get back in the ring for a few more matches over the last few years on Twitter. If the WWE had interest it would have been back at WrestleMania 27 when it was in Atlanta. They aren’t interested and maybe a Goldberg deal with 2-3 dates a year like Brock Lesnar has in WWE wouldn’t be such a financial strain. I’ll give Dixie this. If Goldberg is her signee, there will be no reason to ridicule her or TNA about this announcement.
If you thought Hulk Hogan had his hooks in Dixie Carter before, wait until you hear how the TNA president truly sees her knight in shining armor. According to Dixie, her number one babyface is bigger than any company, brand, and a few global celebrities.
There has always been this theory that Hulk and Eric Bischoff are taking Dixie Carter and TNA Wrestling for a ride. To be fair, a lot of people close to the situation say otherwise, but there have been indications along the way that they may not have the best interests of TNA at heart and that they had a money mark on their hands. Little did any of us know how deep in their hands they truly have the TNA boss.
I am sure Dixie Carter is a nice woman but my gosh does she say some of the dumbest things. I don’t have time to list all of her greatest hits but all you have to do is take a look at some of the brilliant musings she has tweeted on Twitter to get an idea that this woman is just not all there. That said, her latest comments may be her best…or worst yet.
Dixie was asked about Hulk Hogan’s power and on-screen role and according to her, he is bigger than the company itself. This what she told ContactMusic.com.
“He (Hulk) is bigger than any brand, company, name – he is synonymous with wrestling and is probably one of the most recognisable faces or figures on the entire planet. Name me someone who is alive today who’d be more recognizable in any corner of the world? In places like Africa and Asia, or if you were walking in Thailand? Princess Diana or Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley maybe? But they aren’t even with us anymore. The Rock? Well, if you are walking in a village in Africa would people know who The Rock was? I think his film work has been outstanding. I’m a huge fan of The Rock, I think he is phenomenal, but would that happen?”
Wow! Okay let’s put it this way. If Hulk Hogan really is bigger than all of those names she mentioned, than he ought to be fired because he should be drawing more than 10,000 people once in a lifetime to a TNA event. If he truly is as global as she thinks he is, he is the worst businessman in the history of the business and maybe he is.
It’s funny because Vince McMahon has made plenty of outrageous claims over the years but I was trying to think back and I don’t even think he compared any of his wrestlers to Michael Jackson or Princess Di. Now as far as the comparison to Dwayne Johnson, maybe he is more known globally than him. If that’s the case than you’d think he’d be able to compete with him for the over two million buys Johnson has drawn the last two WrestleMania events right?
This statement comes mind you at a time when ratings are declining and TNA just did one of their worst ratings yet. Maybe Dixie is just trying her hand at standup comedy?
Ric Flair certainly isn’t afraid to speak what is on his mind. The dirtiest player in the game is the subject of a new RF Video Shoot Interview and just like he has for over 30 years in the ring, he delivers.
I should note in the object of fairness that I did write the questions for this shoot interview. At the same time this is not any kind of a paid review. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the interview for review, good or bad. I can tell you quite honestly, it is great.
I watched the entire shoot during an early morning commute on Amtrak and it made the trip fly by. This isn’t Flair’s first shoot interview. Flair did a series of shoots a few years ago, but this is the first one he has done regarding his TNA Wrestling run. Flair talks plenty of TNA and much more in this fast-paced two hour interview.
Unlike some previous shoot interviews, Flair looks like he wants to be there. Nothing asked offends Flair and believe me when I tell you, there are a couple of questions I wrote up that I thought would ruffle the Nature Boy. Flair addresses all of the TNA controversies and finally has his say after sitting quiet for almost a year.
I don’t want to give away too much of the interview but they immediately jump right into his reunion with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. If you are expecting Flair to bury these guys forget about it. He loves them, especially Hulk. Flair does address their past heat and even throws a slight dig in at Hulk. It is interesting to hear Flair talk about how their fond friendship came to fruition.
Flair then jumps right into TNA. Flair talks about a conversation he had with Vince McMahon before joining TNA. Flair reveals what Vince said and whether his old boss was supportive or not with the move. Flair also talks a lot about Dixie Carter and is asked flat out whether he thinks Hulk and Bischoff are working here. Flair is a Dixie fan but he does have a problem with one TNA executive which he gets into on the DVD.
Flair is asked about all of the controversies during his TNA run. Flair addresses everything from holding up the bus in Europe to refusing to sign autographs. I will say this. After hearing Flair tell his sides to these stories I do have a bit of a different outlook on it. I won’t say I’m sympathetic to Flair but I can certainly understand why things happened.
Flair also digs into the past a little bit and offers up two very interesting stories about Haku and the Bruiser Brody murder. Flair reveals some facts about the murder that I had never known. Flair also recalls a story about a fight Haku and Road Warrior Hawk got into in Japan against fans that got Haku banned for life. Flair tells RF Video that he has plenty of more stories where that came from.
What impressed me more than anything was Flair’s memory. He was off on some things but other stories and memories he recounted I wouldn’t have expected to hear from someone his age. I do know that RF Video are doing a series on Flair so hopefully he can be as insightful when they cover his early career as he was in this interview.
Flair is pretty complimentary when asked about most of his opponents and ex-bosses in TNA. There is one wrestler who gets the brunt of Flair’s anger. It’s obvious that those promos Shane Douglas cut on Ric Flair in ECW hit hard because here we are about 20 years later and Flair is burying Shane. You have seen the preview so I am not giving away a big reveal here.
Overall I’d highly recommend the DVD if you are a Flair fan or just enjoy hearing someone who has been through as much controversy as Flair address all of the hot button topics. This DVD is like one big high spot as there isn’t anything asked of Flair that isn’t interesting. I can’t wait for the next one!
Check out more information on the interview at RFVideo.com.
Congratulations TNA Wrestling fans, your world champion isn’t going anywhere. Jeff Hardy has re-signed with TNA and will be sticking around for a couple of more years thus squashing all rumors about a WWE return.
TNA president Dixie Carter made the official announcement on Thursday night live on Bellator MMA. Since her announcement, TNA has released the length of the deal on their website subsequently thereafter, noting that Hardy’s deal will keep him around for another two years.
I must admit that I was dead wrong on this one. I predicted that Hardy would indeed return to the World Wrestling Entertainment where he would reclaim the world heavyweight title and possibly wrestle Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania 29. I expected him to go as did many others who have been talking about a possible WWE return for months.
TNA deserves a lot of credit here. They took a major risk and put their world championship on a guy who could have been a free agent. TNA gambled here that the championship and push would work as a sign of good faith in negotiating a new deal with Hardy. It seems that was the case and Hardy opted to stay a big fish in a smaller pond than possibly being swallowed up in the WWE Universe.
I still wouldn’t completely rule out a Jeff Hardy return to the WWE. Hardy’s next contract comes up in two years. Hardy will only be 37-years old and will have worked a TNA schedule which some consider part-time to the WWE. Even a new two-year deal then would still have him eligible to cash out on a big money deal with the WWE before he turns 40. Regardless it looks like Hardy is happy in TNA and isn’t going anywhere.
This is a big signing for TNA. Losing Hardy right now would have been devastating. Would they have survived? Sure, but it would have been a big blow. Hardy is one of the few regulars that have name recognition and superstar appeal. He is not easily replaced. It also would have looked silly to see their world champion signing a deal with the WWE in a Wrestling with Shadows kind of way.
At some point TNA is going to have to make a full commitment to building its younger stars. TNA did a great job in recent years of building up Bobby Roode and Austin Aries but they need to make a consistent effort to keep them on top. The two year window they have with Hardy gives them time to do that in case Hardy does decide to bolt in two years.
Looks like that Hardy Boyz reunion in the WWE will have to wait.
In a press release on Thursday January 10, 2013, Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling announced a major pay-per-view shake-up in its business model for live paid television events going forward in 2013. The company will cut back from 12 live pay-per view events and go with the old school four Sunday Night live pay-per view events – Genesis on January 13, LockDown on March 10, Slammiversary on June 9 and its own version of WrestleMania, Bound for Glory on October 13. TNA also stated they will still keep offering their one hour ‘Unfinished Business’ shows through Video on Demand.
In addition, TNA will offer seven taped three hour pay-per view special events during the course of 2013 branded as TNA Wrestling that will air the first Friday of the month during the months there is no live pay-per view event.
I applaud TNA for making the first move in what should have been done a few years ago not only by the company, but World Wrestling Entertainment as well. The industry has been saturated with monthly pay-per view events for a long time which mainly have consisted of throw-away shows that are a waste of time and money.
TNA’s pay-per view buys have never been a high number, (I’ve seen various websites report between 7,800 and 10,000). But with the down turn in the economy that had started at the end of 2008, the poor numbers have told the story. In past columns, both my own and many other writers, the subject of over saturation of pay-per view events was a hot subject, especially after WWE would release their buyrate information that event most recently indicated most of their pay- per view event numbers still reflect a downward buying trend.
In the old school or traditional days of pro wrestling, I remember each company (WWE and NWA/WCW) holding four major events a year. Feuds were meaningful and exciting with intense build up. I actually ordered pay-per views back then. Then came the 12 event pay-per view structure which began back in the mid 1990’s during the WWE and World Championship Wrestling Monday Night War.
Each time WCW would increase their pay-per view events, WWE would do the same, until WCW finally hit 12, WWE followed suit as well, in what would be not only a weekly competition for ratings, but a monthly fight for pay-per view revenue.
I can’t remember when I last ordered a pay-per view event, not only because I’m frugal with my money, but nothing has interested me, not even any of the big four events from WWE. I won’t pay big money for one or two matches that may interest me that may end up with some lame finish so the feud can be continued at the next pay-per view event.
Now with TNA going back to the traditional days, they have a huge opportunity to focus more time on building meaningful feuds without feeling rushed or trying something desperate to get buys for an event a month later that not many fans care about.
There are various sites reporting that TNA’s pricing for the live events will roughly stay the same with Genesis and LockDown at $34.95, Slammiversary at $39.95, Bound for Glory selling for $44.95 and the non-live events called TNA priced at a mere $14.95.
However, if TNA doesn’t change their weekly Impact Wrestling television structure and overhaul their current product, which was on an upswing during the summer and now had reached a down fall during the end of 2012, the new pay-per view structure could end up being a big failure.
Will WWE follow? Probably not, but time will tell.
This week’s TNA Impact Wrestling starts with a message to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, which is a nice touch.
We see footage from earlier today of Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy entering the building. They face off in the main event tonight, with the World title on the line. This is “Championship Thursday”, which means we’ll see several pointless deliberations over who should get a title match. The title in question tonight is the KO title, and the potential challengers are Velvet Sky, ODB, Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher. I’ve decided that I’m not recapping the deliberation segments on these episodes anymore. They are beyond pointless, as is the entire idea behind the segments, especially when you consider that a title has never changed hands as a result.
The show is going to kick off with a TV title match.
MATCH 1-World Television Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Devon (Champion)
Angle’s left knee is taped up and he is limping his way down to the ring. Before Devon can be introduced, Angle says he’s looking for a title match, and the only title he wants is the one held by those sonsofbitches who attacked him, the Aces and Eights. Devon, get your ass out here. Devon makes his way out with DOC, Black Scorpion, Thing 1 & Thing 2. Angle says Devon had to bring his pack with him. If Devon wants to play that way, he’s got a pack of his own. Samoa Joe and the Wonder Twins make their way out to even things up. Angle backs Devon into the corner with a lock-up, so Devon boots him and applies a side headlock. Devon shoulders him off the ropes and misses an elbow drop. Angle gets him in a waistlock, and Devon elbows out, so Angle clotheslines him. Rights by Angle. Devon charges at Angle, but Angle moves, sending Devon through the ropes and to the floor. The two groups get in each other’s faces and a brawl breaks out. The referee gets between them and sends both groups to the back. Meanwhile, Devon gets back in the ring and clips Angle’s bad knee. Commercials.
Back from the break, Devon is dropping elbows on the bad knee before applying a legbar. He drops down on the knee from the ropes and goes for the pin, getting 2. Spinning toe hold is applied, but Angle kicks him off. Devon manages to clip the knee again after Angle gets back up. Angle manages to get up again and fire off some rights, so Devon thumbs him in the eye and sends him to the corner. Angle blocks a charge with his elbow, and follows up with a second rope dropkick. Angle hits a clothesline and an overhead belly-to-belly for 2. Devon escapes the Angle Slam and hits the standing spinebuster for 2. Angle ducks a clothesline and hits the Murder-Suicide. Ankle lock is applied, but before Devon can tap, DOC, Black Scorpion and Thing 1 come out and distract the referee. Joe and the Wonder Twins also return to chase them off, and as the referee gets between them once more, Thing 2 comes into the ring and hits Angle across the back with a metal pipe. Devon crawls into the cover and gets the 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Devon.
We get the first deliberation segment, and since it’s the KO division, Brooke Hogan is in charge of who gets the shot tonight. She eliminates ODB, since ODB should be focused on her injured husband.
AI is asking Kenny King what happened last week. King says he won, that’s what happened. King beat RVD, and that’s all. He’s got no beef with Rob. This is where dreams come true. It was a dream to wrestle RVD, and it’ll be a dream to tag with him tonight.
MATCH 2: Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan vs. Kenny King and World X-Division Champion Rob Van Dam
RVD and Ryan start the match, and Ryan immediately kicks RVD in the knee. RVD comes back with a clothesline and a jumping roundhouse. Standing moonsault gets 2. King tags in, and he applies a side headlock. Ryan reverses into a hammerlock. King breaks it and hits a Japanese armdrag. Ryan makes a blind tag before ducking a roundhouse, and Morgan comes in to nail a clothesline. Morgan hits a kneelift, then applies a surfboard stretch through the ropes. Morgan drops King with a headbutt before tagging in Ryan, who chokes King in the corner with his foot. King fires off some punches before Ryan pretends like he got thumbed in the eye. The ref checks on him, which allows Morgan to hit an inverted chokeslam into the turnbuckles. Morgan tags in, and does a foot choke in the corner. Corner whip and a sidewalk slam by Morgan. Ryan in, and he sends King into the corner. King counters out of the corner with a sunset flip, getting 2. King ducks a clothesline and makes the hot tag to RVD. Kicks by RVD, and the faces hit a double dropkick on Morgan. King hits an atomic drop on Ryan, followed by a spin kick to the back of his head. Morgan comes in, and before he can attack King, King bails on the match. Morgan hits the Carbon Footprint on RVD, and Ryan picks up the easy 3.
WINNERS: Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan. Morgan might have the worst bicycle kick in wrestling.
Another vignette. This time, it says, “The time for forgiveness is over…There is no appeasement. They will be judged. The answer is close. 1.3.13”
AI asks Kaz about AJ Styles walking away. He doesn’t feel anything about it. We’re five days from Christmas, and it’s his favorite time of the year. Tonight, he has a surprise for his fans, and they’re going to see how gracious he is, and how he treats his very best friend in the world. Before he can finish, someone named Nick calls him on his phone.
Hulk Hogan makes his way out into the Impact Zone. He says the fans make him feel like he’s 18 again, brother. 2012 has been a great year for TNA, and he’s seen this teeny tiny company start to grow into a full-fledged monster. What is so cool about it is there is so much talent in the back room. It’s hard to decide who’s the greatest of the great back there. That’s why he’s giving the fans the chance to vote for the Impact Wrestler of the Year. And, on a special episode of Impact on January 3rd, he’ll announce the winner. Before he can continue, A and E make their way to ringside. Devon starts to talk, but Hogan says no. If he’s so tough, come out here by himself, brother. Devon says Hogan has been telling so many lies, he must honestly believe them. 2012 was his year? No. 2012 was the year A and E was born. 2012 was the year A and E beat the hell out of every single one of the TNA so-called wrestlers back there. It goes like this: this club represents the truth, not the garbage Hogan’s been telling everyone. 2013 will be the year for A and E, and it will also be the year A and E are revealed and gold is accomplished, and Hogan won’t be here to see any of it unfold. The six of them surround the ring, but before anything can happen, Bully Ray runs down, causing the group to scatter. Hogan and Ray have a face-off before Hogan blows him off and leaves the ring.
AI is talking to Jeff Hardy in his locker room. He tells Austin Aries he proved himself to Hardy in their feud, but now he sees Aries’ true colors. He paid some people off to hurt Hardy. He’s not a hard man to find. Hardy beat him twice, and will beat him again.
Deliberation segment #2. Tessmacher is eliminated, because she apparently has experience. I’m not kidding. This is what was discussed.
We see Kaz carrying some presents in the back. He’s headed to the ring next.
Kaz makes his way out to the Impact Zone, presents still in hand. In the ring, there is a tree with more gifts underneath, as well as a throne. He calls the fans “a$#goblins”, and they can’t ruin his mood this evening. We’re days away from Christmas, and he’s in the holiday spirit. He points out the tree has two stars on top (pictures of both members of Bad Influence), then brings out Christopher Daniels. Kind of pointless for them to come out separately when they have the same entrance theme. Their “video” is nothing but Daniels’ logo, spinning. Kaz doesn’t even rank high enough to be a part of the graphic. Not that I’m complaining. Kaz sucks. Daniels sits on the throne. Since he’s been such a dear friend to Kaz and is such a trustworthy, honest saint of a man, he’s arranged for a special visitor to come see him. That guest is the man with the biggest sack Kaz has ever seen, that being Santa Claus. Oh, I see what he did there. Testicle jokes. Hilarious. Well, he did train with John Cena and The Miz, so I guess I shouldn’t expect any less. TNA’s version of Santa was too lazy to make himself look fat. God. Even the company’s Santa is low-rent. Kaz says that, since Santa is always giving presents to everyone, being so generous, Bad Influence got him a gift. Santa opens it, and it’s a pair of Zubaz. Kaz says Santa has a question for Daniels, so Daniels sits on his lap as Kaz takes a picture. Santa then asks Daniels if he’s been a good boy this year. Daniels says he has, by getting rid of AJ Styles, the biggest loser in TNA history. Santa says that, since Bad Influence has given the fans what they want all year long, he’s going to grant Daniels a wish. Daniels says it’s about the gifts you give, so he wants to give his wish to someone who really needs it. He asks Santa to give anything to AJ Styles’ kids. He’s such a loser, he won’t be able to give them anything at all.
James Storm’s music hits, and he says he was listening to Bad Influence make a mockery of Christmas. They can talk about AJ all they want, but when they run down Christmas, it’s not going to happen on his watch. Daniels tells Santa that Storm is the exact reason AJ can’t wrestle for the World title for a year, so make sure to put Storm on the naughty list. Storm says he’s going to the ring to give Santa a reason to put him on the naughty list. Storm starts to tear the decorations apart, but Santa tells him, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” For some reason, Storm thinks this is suspicious, and wants to know who Santa really is. Santa says he’s Santa, so Storm says that, when he was six, he didn’t get the Red Rider BB gun he asked for, before he begins quoting the film “A Christmas Story”. End this G.D. segment already. He lists off some other crap he wanted when he was younger. He understands Santa is busy this time of year, so he’s going to make this easy. If this guy is the real Santa, then answer a question: last year, what did Storm ask for on Christmas? Santa says a Travis Tritt CD. Storm says that was close, but it was really a case of beer. He lays Santa out with the Last Call. What a huge waste of time.
Austin Aries is in the back, and he makes a joke about not hearing his inner thoughts. He’s got a title match tonight, and it was easy, because Hardy challenged him. That was the biggest mistake of Hardy’s career. This is a wrestling match, Aries’ specialty. He’ll win the title tonight and prove he’s the greatest wrestler in the universe.
Another vignette. This time it’s, one of the ones we’ve seen in previous weeks. We then see video of Sting, solving the mystery. Same crap they pulled last time. This company has no originality.
We’re now in the A and E clubhouse. Black Scorpion wants to know what the hell happened out there with Hogan. They had him where they wanted him until Bully Ray ran down. They need numbers and bodies. Thing 1 (Mike Knox, I believe) asks him if he’s going to hand out patches to every guy that comes along, wanting to be in the group. He bleeds for this club. Devon interjects, saying he’s got someone who might be able to do this. Scorpion wants muscle, not new prospects. Devon says this guy is pissed off enough to do this. They take a vote, and everyone votes “Yea”.
Deliberation #3. Brooke Hogan gives the match to Mickie James.
MATCH 3-Knockouts Championship: Mickie James vs. Tara (Champion, w/Jesse)
These two immediately botch a lock-up (HOWTHEF*CKDOESTHATHAPPEN?!) before James rolls Tara up in a schoolgirl for 2. Jackknife by James for another 2. Tara bridges out and goes for a backslide, but James flips off of it and hits some forearms. She blocks a hip toss and turns it into a victory roll for 2. Tara nails some forearms, but James ducks a clothesline, hits a snapmare and goes for a dropkick. Jesse trips her behind Taryn Terrell’s back, and Tara goes for the pin, getting 2. Tara hits a hairmare for another 2, then goes for the pin again, getting another 2. Another pin, another 2. Tara hangs James by the hair, then grinds her face into the mat. She slams James’ face into the mat a couple times, then covers her for 2. Tara picks her up and hits some shoulder thrusts in the corner, then sends her hard into the opposite corner. Tara goes for another pin, getting 2. This match is sh*t. Tara applies a modified surfboard. James fights out, and Tara grabs her in the Spider’s Web. James counters into a spinning headscissors, then ties her up with a crucifix for 2. Tara pops up and hits a powerslam for 2. James blocks the standing moonsault, and the two trade slaps. James hits some more forearms hits a mule kick and a crane kick, a couple clotheslines, a forearm, and a neckbreaker for 2. Tara punches her and goes for the Widow’s Peak. James slides out and hits the standing tornado DDT, but Jesse pulls Tara to the floor on the pin. They decide to head to the back and take a count-out, but James hits a Thesz Press to the floor on Jesse before that happens. Tara crawls back in the ring, and as James comes back in, Jesse grabs her foot. Tara uses the distraction to botch an inverted atomic drop, and James lands with her leg bent backwards. Tara gets the 3.
WINNER: Tara. An inverted atomic drop? Are you jerking me? Honestly, this is one of the worst women’s matches I’ve seen in a long time, and that says a hell of a lot.
We get a video of Joe Abyss training in OVW from earlier this week. Hey, remember when he was looking for his “brother”, and he returned one week, then someone else came out dressed up in his gear a week later, and then nothing else happened after that? Man, that was a great storyline. The best part of this video is Danny Davis showing him how to fake a forearm shot. Way to break the fourth wall, guys. One of the other trainees accidentally nails Joe in the face and splits him open, so Joe goes nuts and hits the Black Hole Slam.
MATCH 4-World Championship: Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy (Champion)
Thankfully, this should be the last bit of the night. Recapping this episode has been a major chore. They start with a lock-up, and Aries gives him a clean break in the corner. Another lock-up, and Hardy tries to give the clean break, but Aries knees him. Hardy fights back and sends him into the corner. Bodyslam gets 1. Aries hits a bodyslam of his own and goes for a tope con hilo, but Hardy blocks it with his knees. Snapmare by Hardy, and a dropkick to the back gets 2. Hardy hits some mounted punches in the corner, then punches him through the ropes, sending him to the floor. Aries eventually gets back in on his own, hits a knee lift and a clothesline for 2. Aries goes for the brainbuster, but Hardy fights out and clotheslines him to the floor. Hardy goes for a dive off the apron, but Aries moves, causing Hardy to crash into the guardrail. Aries is back in the ring as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Aries hits the tope con hilo on the second attempt, getting 2. Aries with a double stomp to the face, then hits a slingshot elbow for another near-fall. Aries applies a rear chinlock, then whips Hardy down by the neck as he tries to fight out. Fist drop by Aries for another 2. He hits some shots to the back, then reapplies the chinlock. Hardy gets to the ropes, and Aries continues the attack on the back. Aries sets Hardy against the buckles, where he punches him down. Hardy counters a corner whip with a headscissors, sending Aries into the buckles. Hardy is back up first and goes for the middle rope splash, but Aries gets the knees up and gets 2. Aries goes for the brainbuster, but Hardy counters with the sit-out gourdbuster. Hardy hits a flying forearm off the ropes and a front powerslam near the corner. Splash connects this time, getting 2. Aries shoves off a Twist of Fate attempt, sending Hardy into the corner. Hardy goes for the headscissors spot again, but Aries shoves him off, causing him to crotch himself on the top rope and bounce back to the mat. Aries hits a rolling elbow in the corner and follows up with a running dropkick for 2. Aries goes for the brainbuster yet again, but Hardy slides out, kicks Aries in the back and shoves him to the ropes for a roll-up. Aries holds onto the ropes, but turns around into the Alley-Oop by Hardy for 2. The two trade blows in the corner, and Aries sends Hardy to the opposite corner. Hardy blocks the charge and goes for Botch in the Wind, but Aries moves out of the way, sending Hardy crashing to the mat. Aries looks for the brainbuster once more, and Hardy counters with a knee to the head. He fights out with punches before slamming Aries’ face into the top buckle. Hardy hits the sit-out Twist of Fate, and Aries falls backwards into the corner. He goes for it again, and Aries pushes him off. He hits a back elbow out of the corner and goes for a dive from the middle rope, and Hardy counters with an inverted atomic drop. He follows up with the double legdrop, but Aries kicks him off before he can hit the move, causing Hardy to crash into the referee in the process. Hardy checks on the ref, so Aries low blows him. Brainbuster connects, and then Aries begins calling for another referee. Aries rolls Hardy up, thinking a referee is on his way, but instead, it’s Bobby Roode. Aries doesn’t see him, and Roode attempts the count. He counts 2, then stops. Aries turns around to see what the hell is going on, and when he faces Roode, Roode flips him off and hits him with a spinebuster. Roode leaves as the ref is getting up, and Hardy hits the Twist of Fate. He calls for the swanton bomb, which connects for 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Jeff Hardy.
AI stops Hulk Hogan in the back as he’s leaving, asking about the world title picture. Hogan says it’s chaos, and it’s his first goal in 2013 to straighten it out. AI asks about Aces and Eights and his daughter, so Hogan tells him not to worry about it. Hogan turns around and sees Brooke and Bully Ray making out against a car a few feet away. As AI continues to ask questions, Hogan gets in his car and drives away.