To those of you who read me on a fairly normal basis: yes, I am a wrestling fan. No, I am not missing teeth, nor do I have any illegitimate children. I'm just a guy who was introduced to the cartoon world of wrestling at a young age and have followed it to this point.
I grew up watching the Ultimate Warriors, Honky Tonk Mans, Rockers and Hart Foundations. I hated Hulk Hogan with vengeance and couldn't stand to see him "overcome the odds" time after time.
I evolved into an nWo-ite when Hogan and the Outsiders were changing the wrestling universe.
I found myself loving the Stone Cold character, doing the DX crotch-chop, and secretly enjoying The Rock.
But before I knew it, all that was gone in the wake of Vince McMahon. And mediocrity has hung it's shadow over wrestling.
The WWE has become stale, recycling storylines, repackaging characters, and so on. The WWE Draft, coming soon, has been a way to give the fans fresh angles and feuds but often ends in disappointment.
So what do we have to look forward to in wrestling? Well that all depends on where you go.
There's the standard: the WWE. While still dominated by HHH and John Cena, things are looking brighter. The Undertaker-Edge feud has been tremendous so far, as has been the HBK-Batista-Jericho angle.
Randy Orton has emerged as dangerous heel champion while Kennedy, CM Punk, and Jeff Hardy are on the cusp of the main event.
The WWE also seems to be bringing in more talented, young wrestlers these days with Kofi Kingston, Matt Sydal, and Colt Cabana among the ranks.
But until true competition emerges, the WWE doesn't have a sense of urgency as far as storylines go. They know that as long as they trot out Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, Edge, Rey Mysterio, etc. that they will keep making money. This leads me to...
TNA is so frustrating because they have all the pieces in place to burst onto the North American wrestling scene like WCW did in 1995.
They have tremendous wrestling—led by the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, LAX, Motor City Machine Guns, and the X-Division. Combined with interesting characters like Angle, Kevin Nash, Christian Cage, Styles, LAX, Team 3D, Curry Man, Black Machismo, etc., it seems like this is a company on the up.
They also seem to have a strong women's division that is a popular staple of Thursday Night Impact.
Well the booking has been maddening. Guys are being jobbed when they should be pushed. Vets are holding titles when they should be elevating the young guys.
Ridiculous gimmick matches and angles come to fruition and make a joke out of a promising company.
TNA still has a chance. But they need to come up with a home-run of an angle—and run with it.
They need to find ways to push the mid-carders without resorting to stupid angles like the beer-drinking championship with James Storm and Eric Young (now SuperEric).
Most importantly—they have time.
They need to stop acting like they have to be threats to the WWE right now and just worry about themselves. That was one of the downfalls of WCW—they always worried about the WWF and not themselves. Hopefully TNA doesn't make that mistake.
Indy Wrestling Scene
The indy scene is as strong as ever and is the one I follow most. I love Ring of Honor and plan on picking up some DVD's in the near future to add to my collection.
In my opinion, ROH is the best company going right now. Top-flight, entertaining matches, interesting characters, and strong angles. Plus, Delirious adds to any card he's on (BAH!BAH!BAH!).
Even with TNA and the WWE thinning their ranks, they push young guys looking to make a name for themselves. Adding to vets Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, and Nigel McGuinness, they've helped build Davey Richards, Erick Stevens, Matt Cross, and a slew of others.
They are also giving the North American fans a treat by having international stars (think Takeshi Morishima, Naomichi Marifuji, KENTA, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Kenta Kobashi) wrestle on their cards.
Overall, the landscape seems fairly strong with tremendous promise. It's nowhere near the days of WWF/WCW/ECW, but with the right moves and a little luck, it could be.
If not, there's always ROH.
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