Subscribe

TNA Wrestling, WWE Royal Rumble and Other Wrestling Thoughts

January 19, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There are two things that TNA and Impact Wrestling do better than the WWE and it isn’t even close – they promote both their tag team division and the Knockouts better than their rival company and use both divisions as main event programming to keep its fan base interested.

The niche promotion that has more lives than a cat on steroids found a home on Destination America and gave an uneven performance for its first venture in the new year. The fact there are two heel stables and no real “face” faction other than Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Kurt Angle to fight the good fight is concerning. But the match between the Hardy’s and The Wolves proved that extreme tag team wrestling is still alive and well. Here’s hoping TNA develops more tag team talent to challenge The Revolution and can bring in more X-Division style talent to build tag teams as a way to continue the high-paced style this company is known for.

The spot that may have been the best of the opening show Friday night was the confrontation between Havoc and Awesome Kong. If this is what TNA gives us on a weekly basis, then there will be no shortage of enthusiasm from its fan base. When is the last time two behemoth women got in a ring and beat the hell out of each other? This isn’t Lita and Trish Stratus – this is more hell, fire and brimstone than anything else. Can both deliver and more importantly, can both keep the Knockout’s Division running at such a high level? TNA has grown plenty of talent with Madison Rayne, Velvet ISky, OBD, Taryn Terrell and Angelina Love. A match between Havoc and Awesome Kong could be the main event attraction of the Year, should it live up to the hype the company will throw at the rivalry.

DO NOT GIVE THE RUMBLE TO DANIEL BRYAN

The “Yes” movement is back, alive and well as of last week when Daniel Bryan made his triumphant return to the ring in a match against Kane and then in a six man tag team match (I hate the impromptu matches like that, by the way). What worries me is the WWE will try to capitalize on the momentum of Bryan again and give him the Royal Rumble victory.

 realize the momentum the WWE hoped Roman Reigns would get from the WWE Universe on his way to the Royal Rumble is not the response they had hoped for. As Eric Gargiulo pointed out last week, the injury Reigns suffered last year may have something to do with that. The other reason may be that the fans do not want Reigns shoved down their throat. The “Yes” movement and Bryan came naturally, as it evolved – fans identify with the underdog, which was a huge win for the company. I am not saying a Royal Rumble win for Bryan is a bad thing, but not giving someone else a chance to shine at WrestleMania may not be what is best for business.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAT PATTERSON

We celebrate the birthday on Monday of one of the greatest champions of all time in the WWE.

The 74-year-old creative consultant for the company was the first Intercontinental Champion in the company.

In 1979, Patterson debuted in the then World Wide Wrestling Federation, working as a heel, under the tutelage of manager The Grand Wizard. As a villain, Patterson’s primary feuds were with WWF North American Champion Ted DiBiase and WWF World Champion Bob Backlund.

During a television taping on June 19 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Patterson defeated DiBiase for the WWF North American Championship by using a pair of brass knuckles to knock out DiBiase. Patterson was unsuccessful, however, in winning the WWF World Championship from Backlund.

In September 1979, the WWF North American Championship and the (fictional) South American Championships were unified to create the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Patterson was crowned the company’s first Intercontinental champion after an alleged tournament held in Rio de Janeiro. While Patterson’s tournament “victory” is widely listed in wrestling title and match histories, the tournament itself never actually took place.

Patterson held the Intercontinental Championship until April 21, 1980 when he was defeated by Ken Patera in New York City, New York. The match ended in controversial fashion after Patterson placed his right leg on the ropes just before the three count was made.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Impact Wrestling’s Destination America Debut: The Good and the Bad

January 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s on a third-tier American cable channel that half of the country doesn’t get. They’re coming off a six-week fresh program layoff, and hadn’t recorded new material in nearly four months (not counting Bound For Glory, which is still three months old). By the estimates of anyone who knows Impact Wrestling inside and out (read: anyone with a Twitter account, not to mention fingers), the company should be dead by now.
Yet TNA managed to secure a new cable home, Discovery offshoot Destination America, just before Thanksgiving, and has re-signed pretty much every performer of relevance save for Bully Ray. Tapings continued this week, beginning with a live broadcast Wednesday night from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
If you like omens, the literal ECW held its final pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged, on January 7, 2001, precisely fourteen years earlier in the same building. It’s worth noting that the ECW influence that TNA appropriated over the summer was completely absent. For once, the default number two promotion in North America stood mostly on its own two feet.
There was plenty of good to be had from the Destination America premiere of Impact, and a share of bad as well. Here’s a primer on where the company sits after one show on its new home.
GOOD: Things were happening in the opening, and they were good things!
For once, TNA felt like a happening place to be! A stylized intro saw the entire roster making their way toward the venue, mentally preparing themselves for the night ahead. That’s a nice touch, given how often TNA has devalued its own product to kneel at the altar of someone like Hulk Hogan or Kurt Angle or Sting or whatever aging former World Champion shows up this month. Bobby Roode, the reigning champion, drew the most focus along with the Hardy Boyz, Gail Kim, and MVP’s crew. Not a bad start, especially from a production standpoint. The video was on par with anything WWE or UFC would do for hype, and probably emptied Dixie’s pocket a bit. Worth the coins, I think.
To conclude the video, both sides of the roster erupted in a brawl just outside the Ballroom and then, in real time, the fight spilled into the actual arena! Samoa Joe pounded DJ Zema in the front row while a host of other wrestlers battled in the Ballroom’s balcony. Even the Knockouts were involved in the skirmish. Why were they fighting? Who cares? I’d rather a horde of endorphin-spiking wrestlers brawl at the drop of a hat than see a handful of top babyfaces get fired by the evil boss and just stand there like a sad mannequin. If the criticism against Raw is the lack of action, then Impact at least delivered in that regard. A tremendous ten minutes to open the night.
BAD: Richard Dreyfus should help the censor find the beat
Someone should clue in the censors at Destination America, who are apparently more hyper-sensitive than an eyeball to a chisel lodged in it, that sometimes wrestling crowds will chant naughty, naughty things. In the opening bit, a chant of “SHUT THE F–K UP” directed at MVP was partially censored by some lifeless drone timing the mutes with the F-bombs. The mutes were excessive to the point that MVP’s promo sounded like an airing of Pulp Fiction on ABC Family. Tell em to relax their asses a tad.
GOOD: New life in the booth
I figured even Michael Cole with a mouthful of Good-n-Plentys would be an upgrade over Mike Tenay, who for twelve years ranged from “trying to parlay the wrestling historian shtick unsuccessfully into a lead role” to “poor man’s Jim Ross” to “disinterested to the point where Taz could probably draw on him with a Sharpie during most broadcasts.” Tenay needed to be removed from the booth, I opined, and I figured Taz as well.
Replacing Tenay is Josh Mathews, a man 26 years younger, with over a decade experience in WWE on headset (mostly B-shows). Mathews appeared earnest in his first TNA outing, and never grated on the ears. Sometimes his enthusiasm didn’t exactly sell the magnitude of what was happening (a criticism of most announcers, really), but at least he was focused on the action at hand. That’s another criticism against WWE that TNA, at least for one night, avoided falling into.
While I didn’t get my wish of Matt Striker to upgrade the color commentator’s chair, Taz was a pleasant surprise. It seems like it’s been forever since I heard the “Human Suplex Machine” so lively, on-point, and knowledgeable in his call. Either the time off sharpened his focus, or Mathews is his ideal partner, or both. Whatever the case is, I found the call to be enjoyable.
BAD: Quick, onto something else!
While the change in announcing will go a little ways in extinguishing the mustiness of TNA’s worst days, the TV production needs to break some old habits. Austin Aries had barely celebrated with the X Division Title before the cameras cut to the next bit TNA wanted to get across. One thing WWE has infinitely done better is let moments sink in before going to commercial or fading to black. Tenay’s scream of “TO THE BACK” was like a twist and a turn on a roller coaster you don’t remember getting on. I realize TNA has some limitations on time (we’ll get to that later), but if they feel what they’re presenting is important, they need to let the dust settle before moving on.
BAD: Everything you remember, minus disembodied Jason Hervey
The great production piece to open the show, as I said, probably was a hit to TNA’s wallet. To off-set that a smidge, the low-quality backstage vignettes still exist. Here’s MVP and Kenny King conspiring with the graininess of a 1992 America’s Funniest Videos entry. Whatever happened to a good-old-fashioned one-question interview in front of a set-piece?
GOOD: Inquiring professor
Mike Tenay, as I mentioned, was ill-equipped to try and be TNA’s Jim Ross, given the highness of his voice and lack of authorative gravitas. In spite of the qualities the he, not to mention you and I and billions of others, lack, he’s still a well-schooled historian in the art and history of wrestling.
Tenay vacated the commentary chair to take a new role, a bit of an invesigative journalist for a secondary program called Impact Wrestling: Unlocked that will air on Saturdays on Destination America. In a preview, we got Tenay interviewing James “Bray? Who’s Bray?” Storm in a character-building piece. I’m okay with all this; as I mentioned, a big TNA knock from two points ago is that nothing sinks in. Needing a weekend show to explain everything that should be sinking in during prime time might be excessive, but it’s a leap forward, and a suitable role for Tenay.
As a side note, I think Tenay would be fine as the one-question interviewer from the last point, since Tenay’s skeptical grimace is hard to duplicate. Wouldn’t you wanna see Tenay scrunch his face up while Robbie E claims he’s the one that dumped Brooke? I know, me too.
BAD: Watermarking out
The Destination America logo bug on the right hand of the screen could double as a to-scale replica of Comiskey Park. If it were any more distracting to the viewer, the viewer would be oblivious to any and all outside interference behind him. Get a trimmer and shave that thing down.
GOOD: Keep the screwjobs simple, stupid
If you don’t count Jessie Godderz jumping on the apron in the Knockouts battle royal, then three of the five matches Wednesday night went without interference. That’s a 60 percent clean rate! Are we sure this is TNA?
Of the two matches that *did* feature screwy outcomes, one was pretty excessive (more on this later), while the other was in the Tag Team Title match. James “Why yes, I guess I am a little Husky” Storm and Abyss defended against The Wolves in a decent little match that ended with a Storm pin on Eddie Edwards, following a miscue from Jeff Hardy. Hardy was at ringside with brother Matt, and headed off interference from Storm’s other lackeys Sanada and Manik.
At least it wasn’t convoluted, right? The Wolves and Hardys (Hardyz? Is the extreme-Z still a thing?) face off on next week’s Impact, so the plan is either just a simple feud with the two teams, or a three-way rivalry for the belts. The ending didn’t make anyone look pitifully stupid and given TNA’s track record, this counts as progress.
BAD: An unfortunate lull
Ethan Carter III has come a long way from being secondary-show chum in WWE as Derrick Bateman. The character is wonderfully self-absorbed and smarmy, and is one of the better examples of TNA taking a WWE write-off and actually getting good mileage out of him. Paired with bodyguard Tyrus (a non-dancing Brodus Clay) and the act is a sustainable heel bit.
EC3’s use on Wednesday was to beat down diminutive former toady Rockstar Spud, and then go after Jeremy Borash (conducting the in-ring bit) for intervening. Carter shaved off part of Borash’s hair to punctuate the angle. A feud between Carter and Borash has no desirable payoff, unless the idea is to have Carter continuously bully ‘little’ people until someone puts him in his place. Then alright.
Beyond that, Carter struggled a bit with his live promo, and it ended up one of the lower points of the night. He’s done far better, but judging the angle as a standalone, it didn’t click.
GOOD: This IS Awesome
The January 4, 2010 Impact was derided for the debut/return of a million has-beens. Five years later, there was only one notable return on the Impact reboot: Awesome Kong, well removed from her blink-and-you-missed-it WWE stay as Kharma. The New York fans freaked out as the monstrous former Knockouts Champion stared down Havok, with the lure of Monster Female vs. Monster Female looking rather enticing.
BAD: Commercial break, or infomercial break?
One major gripe against Destination America, aside from the aforementioned lot: commercials feel like they’re WAY too long. If the breaks are shorter than four minutes, I’d be surprised. I’ve seen enough “Kate Plus Eight” and “Treehouse Masters” commercials in two hours hate everyone involved. Now I know how John Gosselin feels.
GOOD: Austin Aries as X-Division Champion
Aries regained the X Division Title over Low Ki in a fairly brisk (seven or eight minute) match that hit all of the important notes, and gives us a fresh champion for the reboot. To my way of thinking, Aries is one of the closest things in wrestling to CM Punk: a credible performer capable of working various styles and match-types, with an authentic swagger, and he carries himself like a main eventer.
If any TNA performer could be air-lifted and dropped into WWE’s upper card scene today, without being unwelcome or looking out of place, it’s Aries. He was the right man three years ago to halt Bobby Roode’s endless run as TNA World Champion (in a near five-star match to boot), and he’s a great keystone for rebuilding the company. He’s not a WWE reject, he’s not an aging has-been, and his body of work speaks for itself. Aries is the best they have.
BAD: Same old ending
The World Title match, hyped throughout the night as Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley, Part III, ends with runs ins from a heel brigade of MVP, Kenny King, Samoa Joe (who initially interfered in disguise), Low Ki (ditto), and a heel-turning Eric Young. It’s a lot to digest in the 60-second span that this all happened in.
Heel stables and sudden turns have been played out by the company, one that’s had difficulty establishing who their faces and heels actually are. I suppose with a reboot, it’s a bit more permissible to re-establish everyone, but just don’t overdo the specialness of turns and groups as you’ve done in the past. The phrase, “the match was great until the ending” is a staple of TNA’s troubled history, and it emphatically ended the first show in the new home. It’s also ammo for the fans that want to ignore anything good that TNA does, with one glaringly bad/annoying instance to rip apart.
GOOD: The energy was there
While most Raws these days feel like vacant-stared death marches into oblivion, Impact actually brough feistiness and and excitement to the table, with as noted a lot of good and a lot of bad. At this point, given a choice, I’ll check out the show that actually tries.
They may be pulling out of the same old worn bag of tricks, but eh, at least they’re fumbling for the gimmicks with actual vigor.

WWE: ECW Unreleased Volume Three

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Dixie Carter Talks TNA Criticism, Vince McMahon, and Impact

January 05, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling president Dixie Carter is aghast at recent comments made by Vince McMahon. Dixie couldn’t comprehend the idea that Vince feels that his roster has no ambition. According to Carter, that isn’t a problem in TNA Wrestling.

Dixie continues to give plenty of fodder to bloggers and critics with her media appearances. A seasoned public relations veteran, Dixie continues to paint herself as a disillusioned pro wrestling promoter that is either completely out of touch or afraid to come to terms with the reality of her company. A recent interview with the Mirror was no exception.

Carter gave the Mirror an incredibly lengthy interview. I’d recommend checking out the entire article because it is certainly more of a glimpse into her mentality than anything else you’ll get from her or a podcast. One of the highlights was when asked about recent comments Vince made about his roster lacking ambition on the Stone Cold podcast.

“I can’t even comprehend that statement. It doesn’t sit with our group.

“My own roster’s completely different than that. I don’t have a complaint about anybody on my roster.

“The young guys are just as hungry … the young guys from 10 years ago are now the Bobby Roodes, Samoa Joes, James Storms. My main eventers, who were brand new young talent from 10 to 12 years ago, I’m proud of how far they’ve come.

“This young group of talent we have right now, they’re the hardest working, most positive team players around.”

I will say this about Carter. I would probably prefer to work for an owner who comes out and publicly supports her roster as opposed to an owner who shows no faith publicly or privately in his own. I am sure the TNA roster was happy to read their fearless leader talk so proudly about her group.

Unfortunately Dixie had her usual disillusions during the interview. Carter was asked about the criticism by some that TNA continue to promote WWE cast-offs. Her answer is well, probably not that well thought out.

“For so many years, I’ve caught so much negative flack, people saying that all we do is hire WWE people. The truth of the matter is, if you look at the WWE roster of late, they’re full of TNA talent even if that means a Sting, Hulk Hogan or a Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair. That’s a passé complaint.
“When you only have two leagues there’s only so many talent that you can find that are on a worldwide level. I think the tide has turned and WWE is taking our talent of late, not the reverse of that. It’s just the way it’s been.”

What a dumb comment. For starters, none of those people mentioned are even wrestling in the WWE. Number two, none of these guys walked into the WWE and were immediately given main-event spots. As a matter of a fact, all of those names are simply bit players at this point. It’s a ridiculous comparison, especially considering that none of these talents originated in TNA.

Carter continues to insist that the move to Destination America is not only positive, but it was their call. That conflicts with numerous reports that indicated Spike TV felt that TNA had peaked and passed on the product. However, in the world of Dixie it was TNA who thought it was a better move to go to Friday nights on Destination America as opposed to staying on Spike TV.

“Any time there’s change, you get outside your comfort zone and I think that’s where TNA needs to be – outside its comfort zone,” she says confidently. “We needed to make changes and that’s what Kevin Kay at Spike and I talked about at the beginning of the year; I did not want status quo, I wanted change.

“When you see where we’re going today [with Destination America], we’ve already announced repeats and different versions of our show, that’s what we needed and that’s what I would not settle for less than in these negotiations.”

The idea that she drove this train is simply ridiculous. Reports indicate that the budget has been cut, plus TNA will be seen in less homes on a worse night. Dixie continues to insist that they will be a flagship program, yet no network has their flagship program on Friday nights. It is pure madness to believe anything else.

I’d recommend reading the whole interview to get more perspective from Dixie on her new television home as well as some interesting thoughts on the Knockouts division. Regardless of whether the B.S. meter is running high in the red.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Wrestling Make A Big Run At Former WWE Champion

December 18, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are making moves. A couple of days after announcing a new day and time for their TV show, the company is aggressively pursuing the hottest free agent in pro wrestling and he could be coming to Impact in 2015.

Dave Meltzer in the newest Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that TNA are making a hard run at the former Alberto Del Rio, now known as El Patron. According to Meltzer, the company reportedly offered Patron $400,000 a year to come to TNA. Former WWE producer and now head writer over at TNA, John Gaburik is pushing hard to get him in. The deal on the table is for one-year.

Meltzer also reports that Patron has not signed the deal. According to Meltzer, the hold ups are money and exclusivity. TNA would either have to pony up more money or drop their exclusivity clause in order to sign Patron. The negotiations could move in either direction before the end of the year, although that is yet to be determined.

Patron just recently announced a series of dates with Ring of Honor wrestling. Patron also has a big guaranteed money deal on the table from El Rey according to Meltzer. There is a strong demand in pro wrestling for a Latin superstar. That is why the WWE paid so highly to bring Patron over several years ago and give him the big Alberto Del Rio push.

One interesting aspect of this story is that Patron has been getting offers from MMA groups. Bellator reportedly has made Patron a big offer to come fight for their organization. This is much different than CM Punk in that Patron has a strong amateur wrestling pedigree and has fought in MMA before. Patron has reportedly received offers from other companies and is weighing his options.

What is most interesting to me about this story is that TNA has $400,000 to play with. We have heard countless stories about reduced budgets and impending cuts with the Destination America deal. While that may be true, this is certainly an indication of something much different. I am curious as to whether their television partner would be helping with these negotiations because it seems odd that a company rumored to be in financial distress could afford such a high-ticket free agent.

Patron is probably worth the investment. If TNA can use Patron to break through the Latino market and bring more eyes from that fan base to the product, well then he is worth every penny. I am real curious as to whether the WWE tries to make a big play to bring him back. We all know how his last run went down, but money talks. With CM Punk in the headlines signing with the UFC and rumors of Brock Lesnar leaving, the WWE may have to suck it up here and cut off its competition by bringing Patron back. Patron doesn’t sound like a guy with any interest in going back yet again, money talks and it is pro wrestling.

It’s a good time to be Elllllllllllllllllllllllll Patron!

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Pro Wrestling’s Five Most Memorable Events of 2014

December 10, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s hard to believe that another year has been and gone already. 2014 came and went in blur, bringing it with more than its fair share of memorable moments.

It was the year of the WWE Network and the year of Batista’s brief return. It was the year The Shield broke up and Bray Wyatt was, for what feels like a fleeting moment now, the coolest thing in pro wrestling.

Though as memorable as these stories were, they didn’t get us talking quite as much as these five memorable events from 2014.

5) The end of TNA?
With the announcement that Spike TV would not be renewing the company’s flagship show once their current deal ended, it seemed the writing was firmly on the wall for TNA, and there was a while back there when we were all drafting eulogies and contemplating the future of mainstays like Bobby Roode and James Storm.

Yes, it seemed that for a while, the predictions of pessimistic (you may say realistic) wrestling fans everywhere was about to come true: The end was nigh for Dixie Carter’s little wrestling company.

As we all know now, TNA lived to fight another day, but it was looking pretty close back there.

4) Daniel Bryan shines at Wrestlemania
Daniel Bryan’s rise from the doldrums of WWE to the headline act at Wrestlemania was big news this year. As fans, we gave ourselves a pat on the back for making our voices heard both online and at the arenas, demanding our man Bryan be given a starring role at the biggest show of the year.

Then, we gave WWE bigwigs a bigger pat on the back when, for once, they actually came through for us.

Though subsequent injuries meant this one finished on less than the perfect ending, for a while, this was the sure fire feel-good story of 2014.

3) Sting arrives in WWE
In this writer’s mind, you’d be perfectly justified switching this one with our number two entry, and to be honest, this one only misses out on the number two spot because, well, we all saw it coming.

Still, even if it wasn’t the most surprising event of the year, the sight of the WCW icon between the ropes of a WWE is one many long-term fans never actually thought we’d see.

Whether the Stinger’s run as a WWE performer turns out as well as we’re all hoping it does remains to be seen, though it’s fair to say him being there in the first place was by far one of the biggest things that happened in 2014.

2) 21-1
The silence said it all. There wasn’t a single person watching Wrestlemania 30 who really believed, in their heart of hearts, that Brock Lesnar would emerge victorious against The Undertaker.

Even this writer, who penned an article for another website outlining why Lesnar was the perfect choice to end The Streak- didn’t really believe he would.

Then it happened. The Dead Man went down. Brock made the cover. A three count later, and The Undertaker was 21-1 at Wrestlemania.

1) CM Punk quits
Though talk about most of the stories on this list eventually simmered, ready to be replaced by the next big shocking turn of events, the news of CM Punk walking out of the WWE never really went away.

Punk left after his appearance at the 2014 Royal Rumble, and we all spent pretty much the rest of that year talking about it. For some, it was ripping into Punk for ‘taking his ball and going home,’ for others, it was plotting his huge, apparently inevitable, return in any number of fantasy booking scenarios.

Either way, Punk remained hot news for months after his last appearance inside a wrestling ring.

The Straight Edge Superstar’s recent appearances on Colt Cabana’s podcasts have only fanned the flames of this one, making it by far the most memorable events of 2014.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Randy Macho Man Savage Collector’s Edition Box Set

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Wrestling Stars Celebrate New TV Deal On Twitter

November 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wresting have found Impact Wrestling a new home. The new television deal will land Impact on Destination America. The available audience may be cut but that isn’t stopping the TNA superstars from celebrating!

News broke on Wednesday that Impact Wrestling will start airing on Destination America in January. TNA will move from Spike which has an 85.50% clearance of homes to Destination America which reaches only 52.20%. It should also be mentioned that of that 52%, some viewers require a tiered package to watch D.A. unlike Spike which was available to all. So let’s celebrate say the TNA superstars!

“Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States.  Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015.”

I was scrolling through Twitter and a plethora of tweets from excited TNA superstars took over my Twitter feed. The budget is cut, there are no house shows on the schedule, TNA will be in less homes, but these cats are all excited about their new endeavor while others offered congratulations on their new deal.

Jesse Godderz - “SO EXCITED that @IMPACTWRESTLING has a NEW Destination Bro… @DestAmerica #BOOM @CBSBigBrother @CBS #BB16 @ESPN @ESPN2 @ESPNU @TMZ @MTV” – https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular

Tommy Dreamer -“Congrats @IMPACTWRESTLING on new TV deal w/ @DestAmerica America F*CK YEAH #DestinationIMPACT http://bit.ly/1qsJhpC ” – https://twitter.com/THETOMMYDREAMER

Abyss -” Here we go!!! The @IMPACTWRESTLING family joins @DestAmerica” – https://twitter.com/TherealAbyss

Matt Hardy - “The future looks pretty damn good from where I’m standing. http://fb.me/3CkTFxSvg” – https://twitter.com/MATTHARDYBRAND (Does it really Matt?)

Gunner - “Looks like @DestAmerica just added a Modern Day Viking to their network. Good move. @IMPACTWRESTLING has a new home in January – https://twitter.com/TNA_GUNNER

Taryn Terrell - “So excited about @IMPACTWRESTLING moving to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheTarynTerrell

Sam Shaw - “Excited that @IMPACTWRESTLING moves to @DestAmerica in January. Lots of #Creepy shows like #GhostAsylum & #AHaunting #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheSamuelShaw/status/535137848622854144

Kurt Angle - “Good for the Wrestling Biz! Starting January 2015, @IMPACTWrestling moves to its new home: @DestAmerica! #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/RealKurtAngle/

Dixie Carter - “Proud to join the @Discovery family! @IMPACTWRESTLING comes to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TNADixie

Hey listen, at the end of the day it is a good thing that TNA got a new television deal and found a home for Impact. Unfortunately the new move will come less viewers and a reduced budget. It’s great that got a deal but celebrating this as if it is some kind of a better move is just ridiculous.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Randy Macho Man Savage Collector’s Edition Box Set

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

CM Punk, TNA and Other Pro Wrestling Thoughts

October 24, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Go to a WWE event and the chants are heard throughout the arena.

“CM Punk. CM Punk.”

It has been the same battle cry of the WWE Universe (if there still is a universe) since Punk walked out on the job after the Royal Rumble. Punk has not been part of a match, program or even a tease about returning to the ring.

Punk’s hiatus from the WWE is not a new thing, having left on two other occasions – the first after his infamous shoot interview that led to a “WWE Title vs. WWE Title” with John Cena. The other time he took “time off” was after his loss at WrestleMania to The Rock.

Since then, Punk has not been part of a world championship program.

The WWE is in a fairly peculiar situation because while it appears Punk is serious about his retirement from professional wrestling altogether, his wife, AJ Lee, is still a major part of WWE programming and the biggest draw on the women’s side of the ledger.

  • Right now, even in the fall of retirement, Punk is in the driver’s seat.
  • He is easily one of the top three biggest draws in the company still to this day.
  • The mere fact he generates such an outburst from the fans is a concern for the company.

Whether they admit it or not, the company is taking on water to some degree because of poor matches, poor feuds and injuries.
The company still needs him, along with Daniel Bryan and John Cena, to lead the “face” faction because there has not been a steady influx of younger talent to be brought in from NXT.

As long as the “Second City Saint” is walking the streets and not in a wrestling ring, his legend becomes more popular and in the process, he sticks it to the company that made him a star.

BETTER BUSINESS AT TNA WRESTLING

While the WWE is trying to figure out how to handle a champion that only wants to wrestle on his terms, the product in TNA is better lately.

There is something to be said for being under pressure, which is exactly what Impact Wrestling has been under as of late. But a string of solid wrestling packages have put TNA in better stead.

Over the course of the last month, wrestling between faces like Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Eric Young and Austin Aries have boosted ratings as well give the fans quality matches that make wrestling matter.

So much has been made of how TNA is the second rate promotion. But judging WWE and TNA is not a fair representation of how the business is today.

TNA is about wrestling and shoot interviews and some of the iconic feel of the former NWA. WWE is about the gut shot, the light everyone’s hair on fire and see who screams moment.

I am a fan of the more traditional style of TNA and also understand how it can be abused in the wrestling community as the red-headed step child.

SCOTT HALL

On Monday, the wrestling world celebrated the birth day of Scott Hall, or Razor Ramon, as many of us knew him in his WWE days. Hall and Kevin Nash helped to define professional wrestling as The Outsiders, the party crashing duo who helped to create the NOW.

Hall may not get the notoriety that he deserves because of his out of ring issues with substance abuse, but when he was in his prime, there were only a handful of wrestlers who could match his in-ring ability.

The 56-year-old was a star in many promotions before making his mark in the WWE.

Beginning with his time in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Hall maintained a perennially high profile as a wrestler, as he became a four time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a two time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a one-time WCW World Television Champion and a nine time world tag team champion (seven times in WCW, once in TNA, and once in the AWA). In addition, Hall is a two time world champion, having won the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship. He is also notable for being a founding member of the New World Order. On April 5, 2014, Hall (as Razor Ramon) was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Hall was what Randy Orton is (minus the titles) today.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Randy Macho Man Savage Collector’s Edition Box Set

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Reportedly Make A Play For CM Punk

October 14, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are not ready to roll over and play dead yet. With no TV deal in place past 2014, the company recently made a bold move. A move was made that could have majorly shaken up the pro wrestling landscape.

According to a new report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, TNA made a play to bring back CM Punk. Dave Meltzer reports that TNA were hoping to bring Punk in and use him as a chip in closing a television deal.

For whatever this is worth, TNA, through an intermediary who is friends with C.M. Punk, made a play for him just like they did for Alberto Del Rio several weeks back. The idea pitched was a huge deal to be the top star of the company and money similar to Hogan, with the idea he could be their flagship guy and if he signed now, could help them broker a stronger television deal.

Meltzer reports that Punk declined the offer and has no interest in returning to pro wrestling whatsoever. The timing of the move comes a few months before TNA’s extension with Spike TV is scheduled to run out. You have to give TNA some credit for going for it, yet I can’t seriously believe that they thought they had a real shot.

This isn’t the first move that TNA has made recently at an ex-WWE superstar. TNA reportedly reached out to Alberto Del Rio immediately after his contract was terminated with the WWE. Del Rio reportedly turned down their offer as well. I don’t know if these are desperation moves, moves simply for public relation purposes, or some kind of delusional strategy on the part of Dixie and company.

What is interesting to me is that they let Sting and Hulk Hogan walk due to money issues, yet were willing to spend even more money on Punk. Meltzer reports that Punk’s deal was for more money than Hulk which would have likely made him the highest-paid star in TNA history. I’d also assume that Del Rio’s figure was somewhere in Hulk’s range. TNA could have kept Hulk and used him in these television negotiations, yet expenses were cut. Hogan could have quite possibly got a better deal to return to WWE anyway, but they didn’t even make a serious play according to reports.

I speculated months ago that TNA could make a run at Punk. I thought that TNA or even ROH could make a deal with Punk which gave him ownership in the company as part of the deal. It would have been a one-of-a-kind deal in 2014, although points in a territory were common place back in the territory deals in regards to wrestler deals. I envisioned a scenario where Punk would be a player-owner, similar to what Paul Heyman wanted (booker-owner) but that isn’t happening.

I am not sure what TNA felt they could offer Punk that he couldn’t have gotten if he stayed in the WWE. A better schedule for sure, but the pay couldn’t have been comparable. Plus, Punk is astute and well aware of TNA’s television troubles. Imagine the egg on Punk’s face if he did agree to a deal with TNA and they couldn’t reach a television deal for 2015.

It’s hard to rationalize what TNA’s real motive was here. Why would a company make a high-dollar offer to someone like Punk with no deal in place? I would think that their time would be better suited trying to get a deal done as opposed to chasing an elusive prize they had virtually zero shot of signing.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Randy Macho Man Savage Collector’s Edition Box Set

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Wrestling Has Some Life Left

September 12, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I applaud TNA for trying to add new life into its niche wrestling program by bringing back former ECW stars to its roster. The added excitement of hardcore rules, the chance to see great tag team action and another opportunity to save TNA from falling off the cliff just may work – for a short amount of time.

Since the WWE has moved away from the old Attitude Era and won’t even consider Bully Ray or AJ Styles, but will bring in a veteran like Sting, the thought of Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno and the Dudley’s makes my temperature rise ever so slightly. Anything that brings back the past in a positive way in professional wrestling works for me.

This – this new lease on life, so to speak – works for me. I happen to like TNA for its NWA style, its ECW antics and more realistic – if that is such a word – wrestling angles. In this case, wrestling does matter, even moving to New York gives this outfit a better chance of sticking around.

But for the most part, the tag team wrestling of late, the hardcore rules matches and the better than average angles is what is keeping me glued to the screen.

In a way, maybe TNA has Paul Heyman to thank for his conception of ECW and the hardcore style we see today.

ECW was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon. ECW closed when then owner Paul Heyman declared bankruptcy in April 2001. After purchasing the assets of ECW, World Wrestling Entertainment relaunched the Extreme Championship Wrestling franchise as a WWE brand from June 2006 until February 2010 to complement their existing Raw and SmackDown brands. The promotion showcased various international styles of professional wrestling, ranging from lucha libre to puroresu and hardcore wrestling.

ECW had its origins in 1989 under the banner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance owned by Joel Goodhart. In 1992, Goodhart sold his share of the company to his partner, Tod Gordon, who in return renamed the promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling. When Eastern Championship Wrestling was founded, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). At the time, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert was the lead booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gilbert, after a falling out with Tod Gordon, was replaced in September 1993 by Paul Heyman. Heyman, known on television as Paul E. Dangerously, had just left World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and was looking for a new challenge.

It is a program that has its place in wrestling today and fits the TNA profile for more conventional “sport”. Fans up north are familiar with the programming of ECW and TNA’s bring has brought back the brand and changed venues to make it more accessible and popular to the fan base.

I love it.

If TNA is going to continue to show improvements it must continue down this path. The tag team division is red hot with Team 3-D, The Hardys and The American Wolves leading the way. The X-Division is solid (welcome to the club, Tajiri). Bobby Roode is again on the side of good instead of evil. The Knockouts are top notch (better than the WWE) and of course, there is actual wrestling on the card when we watch every Wednesday (which was also a good move by the Board of Directors to have more of a following in the middle of the week.

Everything adds up. But now comes the hard part of sustaining the success. Like it was said before earlier this week, this is the start of something big or the first nail in the coffin. I tend to think the latter not the former. If that is the case, then TNA just took old school and made it new again.

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

OMG Volume 2: The Top 50 Incidents in WCW History DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Is IMPACT Wrestling’s move a new start or the nail in the coffin?

August 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Total Non-Stop Action recently announced with only a one week notice its viewers that its flagship show Impact Wrestling is moving from its long running Thursday  to Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM citing that basically the move to Wednesday’s won’t allow for viewers to choose between the NFL and Wrestling.

I remember during the dying days of World Championship Wrestling when the company’s Thursday night show Thunder moved to Wednesdays due to SmackDown during that time becoming the new number one wrestling show on Thursday nights.

TNA is touting that Impact Wrestling has seen ratings increases over the summer.  However, the show still has a week or two where the ratings see a decline, then an increase.  Either Spike TV is experimenting to see if the ratings will increase now that Impact Wrestling won’t be going head-to-head with the NFL, or they are looking for a night where the show’s ratings will tank completely and give Dixie and Company a viable reason that they (Spike) have a solid justifiable case not to renew the show, or is this move due to the rumors that Vince McMahon is moving SmackDown back to Thursday nights and Spike and TNA recall how bad they (TNA) was beat during its very short Monday night run against Monday Night Raw.

I have watched some of Impact Wrestling and have noticed some difference increased in ring action, but TNA still struggles with standing out as different.  I recently listened to an interview with Bully Ray on the Ross Report.  Ray suggested that TNA should be a cross between the 1980’s Georgia Championship Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance and the current New Japan for in ring action with very little other storylines – let the story be told in the ring.  Jim Ross went on to say that TNA tends be a WWE lite at times.

TNA should spend less time trying to look like World Wrestling Entertainment from attitude era and focus on doing something different and innovative that will turn heads and get viewers talking.  Yes, there have been some that say TNA is heading in the right direction with a reboot or refocus on more in ring action.  Bringing back the six-sided ring isn’t really the answer.  You can have a six-sided ring, and eight sided ring, but if your product stinks, it won’t matter what your ring looks like or how many former pay-per view shows you give away for free.

So there is still one big mystery that neither Dixie Carter or Spike TV are talking in depth about which is Impact Wrestling remaining on Spike TV.  The other question is Dixie secretly shopping around Impact Wrestling to other networks.  When Dixie commented on the “ongoing negotiations…” she did state that there are other networks that have expressed interest in Impact Wrestling.  I have never been in the television industry, but did spend some time in the radio industry and know that in some cases when there specific negotiations, depending on what is being discussed in can be proprietary until the final deal is ready to be made public.

If Dixie is smart, which I know she is, is talking with other networks in the event all rumors are indeed true that Spike is not renewing Impact Wrestling.  Several wrestling websites are reporting that TNA is taping shows through the end of the current Spike TV deal.  In addition, TNA has cancelled house shows for September and into October.  Bound for Glory in Japan is the only television they have on the books.

I want to see TNA succeed.  It is good for the business.  Without a television deal, TNA won’t succeed.  TNA needs cable TV, but the question remains, does Spike TV need TNA.  Spike will answer that question very soon I’m sure of it.

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

OMG Volume 2: The Top 50 Incidents in WCW History DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com