Thursday, September 18, 2008
TNA's Biggest Enemy Is Themselves
I've watched TNA for some time now. Alot of what it does is great, no doubt about it. The six-sided ring was a novelty when I first saw it. Now I really like it. It's quite conducive for fast high flying matches and The X-Division has been a revelation.
The womens section is actually good when compared to WWE. I'm not sold on Taylor Wilde but Awesome Kong and Gail Kim while she was there were brilliant. I reckon Kim is the best in-ring female performer operating in the US at the moment and WWE's gain is TNA's loss. The Beautiful People are the hottest female act in wrestling today and TNA deserve huge credit for pushing the women's division and not turning it into a beauty pageant like WWE.
Which is strange when you consider the name...TNA. One of the many paradoxes in Vince Russo world.
The main event wrestlers are good too. Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Christian Cage, Booker T, and Samoa Joe are all brilliant wrestlers. Perfectly sized for matches against each other they could move from one program to another seamlessly but they don't do they?
One thing to note about all the main eventers is that none of them originated in TNA. To the casual fan AJ and Joe both did, but they're from ROH. Even accepting that it was TNA that really put them on the map you still have four or five ex-WWE wrestlers at the main event stage. And practically none at mid-card stage.
The first signal this sends out is that TNA is inferior to WWE.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for TNA going after wrestlers like Christian and Ron Killings. Both of these guys are top class performers and were under utilised by WWE and these are the kind of wrestlers TNA should be chasing from Vince.
I'm a huge mark for Kurt Angle, I genuinely think he'll go down as one of the all time greats. And he is a massive asset to TNA. They've used him really well in elevating Samoa Joe and AJ to main event level.
My problem with TNA stems from the fact that they don't seem to create or push any of their own. When Ron Killings recently moved to WWE it was a big loss to TNA. And with his background he looks odds on for a confrontation with John Cena at some stage. Did he go straight in at main event level? No.
Vince respects his locker room and he never elevates a newbie to main event level, no matter how good they are. They're made to work for the spot, and in that way Vince guarantees both their loyalty and his own wrestlers' loyalty.
Now I know that TNA is not WWE and that they couldn't afford to have wrestlers like Angle outside the main event roster but that's a problem that could be overcome if they created and promoted from within.
Another problem I have with TNA is with characters like Jay Lethal. Now he's a supreme wrestler and could be a superstar some day but what the story with Black Machismo? It shows that TNA can't come up with an original idea for a character.
And Jay is not the only one, Consequences Creed (Apollo Creed) is also a fantastic in ring performer and it just de-means both his and my intelligence by having him prancing around like he's an unemployed stunt double from Rocky.
Go with the boxer angle, that's fine. But in robbing a character from a film and blatantly making the wrestler ape the character. Well that's just downright lazy on TNA's behalf. Credit to Austin Watson for making it a likeable character.
The same can't be said of The Prince Justice Brotherhood. What in the wild world of sports was Russo thinking of when he created this abomination is beyond me. Individually the guys are all good pros. They can work the mic and their in-ring ability is fine. But again the characters leave me baffled.
Shark Boy pretending to be Stone Cold was funny...once. And with a performer as good as Dean Roll and a gimmick as good as Shark Boy it shouldn't need the Austin mimicry to push it. Don't even get me started on Curry man or Super Eric. These characters are just crap. Plain and simple. Crap. Chris Daniels is a phenomenal athlete, what he's doing prancing around as Curry-Man is beyond me.
Which brings me back to Petey Williams. The Canadian Destroyer is the most hyped move on the net. Williams is "over" with the fans. TNA making his act and dress like a mini me version of Scott Steiner is disrespectful and insulting.
TNA's character creation needs a swift kick in the ass. Why they mimic long gone wrestlers is unknown, but it is pure laziness that they keep doing it. Poor management with poor ideas.
My final problem with TNA is the name. TNA. Total Nonstop Action. Wrestling is not mentioned once. TNA. Tits and Ass. It was Vince Russo who insisted on calling he company TNA. He thought it would get the name over with casual fans. It didn't. What it did succeed in doing was to drive away the casual fans and the wrestling fans. Hardcore fans now align themselves with ROH or WWE very few are with TNA.
Fix the name Vince. Do me a favour please fix the name. Create some original characters. Chase guys like Carlito and MVP not guys like Kane. And finally don't do all your gimmick matches on tv. Save them for the PPV.
Except a UFC type fight. Never do that again...please never do that again.