It appears that Jim Cornette and several members of the Internet wrestling community have struck a cord with some TNA employees.
Vince Russo has posted a Facebook response to Cornette's blasting of TNA's Monday Impact! from Jan. 4.
Joining Russo in his anti-Cornette campaign is radio personality and TNA backstage interviewer Bubba the Love Sponge, who recently went on air to give Jim Cornette a sound tongue-lashing for his negative comments.
In case you missed it, Jacob Burman wrote a brief piece that contained a hyperlink to Cornette's recent "Who's Slamming Who" podcast from Jan. 5.
In this podcast, Cornette essentially blasts TNA and Hulk Hogan for producing a crummy live show last Monday under the guise of "something different and new."
Russo's remarks seem to have taken somewhat of the high road. As reported here, Russo says the following about Cornette:
"Throughout my entire career I have never said one negative word about Jim Cornette, not one. If he wants to be a Vince Russo and TNA hater, let him knock his socks off, but I'm not really interested in listening to that."
We can admire the fact that Russo chose not to enter into a public fracas with Jim Cornette. It takes a certain level of discipline to keep a situation between two adults from turning into a school yard shoving match gone horribly wrong. After all, who in their right mind wants to hear Cornette and Russo play the dozens?
It's Russo's comments about the Internet commentators that seem a little pretentious:
"It's because they hate me and hate Hogan, and it's also because they want TNA to be a two hour wrestling show, with TWO HOURS of wrestling, that ain't gonna happen, so the haters will continue to hate."
This is one of the many areas where TNA fails miserably. It seems that a few people representing the company do not take well to negative criticism, and it is exactly this type of narcissistic complex that will ultimately lead to TNA's demise.
This is not the first time that someone from the company has completely written off cynical remarks, which leads one to think that the company is incapable of error.
As TNA prides itself on gaining 700,000 new viewers last Monday, how sound of a business decision is it to disregard even more possible fans that have voiced why they will not support the company?
These are not "haters" that "hate" for the sake of "hating," but are fans that are tacitly begging for the product to be the best that it can be.
Most of the "haters" Russo mentioned in his response are probably not individuals that hate him or Hulk Hogan. These are most likely fans that have commented at length on what they disliked about the show and not specifically Hogan or Russo.
To believe that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Monday's Impact is akin to referring to it as the second coming of Jesus Christ.
No one should have to say how blasphemous that logic is.
Also, is it really hard to believe that fans want to watch two hours of wrestling from a company named Total Nonstop Action Wrestling?
Most fans will readily admit that they do not expect any wrestling organization to offer 120 minutes entirely to wrestling matches (we have to allow for commercial breaks and such), but how can you expect those same fans to digest three hours of "wrestling" with only 48 actual minutes of in ring competition?
Mind you, fans praised the fact that Impact! had more actual wrestling than RAW that night. Not only did Russo silence TNA's cynics with his comments, but he subtly dismissed TNA's supporters by saying that they will not showcase two hours of wrestling.
In other words, fans should get used to the same old seven five-minute matches and 85 minutes of backstage skits, promos, and incessant commercials.
Vince Russo and others within TNA can continue to shrug off some wrestling fans as "haters," but they'll have a harder time expanding their audience and developing their product if they ignore opportunities to fine tune their programming, especially when fans are screaming, "We want wrestling," and they're given something completely different.
As far as Bubba the Love Sponge is concerned, his spiel against Jim Cornette is a little more than a man sticking up for his best friend. Click here to hear Bubba go to bat for the Hulkster and TNA Wrestling.
After listening to both segments, there were five things that should immediately catch one's attention.
The main thing is that Bubba fails to respond to any of the allegations Cornette made about the show. Instead, he spends most of his air time poking fun at him, defaming his character, and resorting to petty and insidious name calling.
In this sense, TNA once again fails to respond appropriately to negative criticism. Instead of acknowledging that they may have made mistakes during the live broadcast, admitting amongst themselves that they've got work to do on their product, or even highlight the positives of their show in response to Cornette's accusations, two of their personalities basically public and demean the fans and one of pro wrestling's brightest and creative geniuses.
Between Russo's disregard for "haters," and Bubba's dislike for Cornette, there have been very few people to respond accurately to the negative criticism of the show. Even fans on B/R have sidestepped the issue by asserting that the show was "better than RAW."
While that may be a valid opinion on one side of the fence, the show was also deemed painfully average by scores of fans. This is problematic for TNA, a company that proudly boasts of its ability to listen to the fans. At least they listen to the ones patting them on the back for failing in several areas.
Here are the five points of particular interest from Bubba's comments on Cornette:
- Bubba never talks about the quality of the show, but attacks the quality of Cornette's podcast. He does this as a way of undermining Cornette's significance to the pro wrestling community. It's almost as if Bubba was saying, "His broadcast is so crappy compared to ours, that clearly he can't be all that great."
- Bubba asserts that Cornette is a hypocrite for bashing TNA and not making the necessary changes in the company while he worked there. On the contrary, it was speculated that Cornette was fired from TNA for an unprofessional outburst during a creative team meeting where he questioned the creative direction of a particular superstar that isn't that over with the fans. If anything, Cornette was fired because he wanted to make changes.
- Bubba also claims that Cornette is taking wrestling too seriously. Seeing as Cornette has a passion for the business, and seeing as fans have a passion for the business, wouldn't you want someone working for your company that takes the business seriously? This is why people question Bubba's role in TNA. If it's "just sports entertainment" to him, then what makes him better than Cornette, whom he claims was in it just for the paycheck?
- Bubba also claims that Cornette has nothing but his podcast to fall back on since he is no longer involved with TNA. Wait, doesn't Jim Cornette work for ROH now?
- Bubba mentions the 700,000 increase in fans TNA gained with Monday's Impact, stating that the show could not have been as terrible as Cornette asserts. However, Bubba does not mention that the WWE gained 700,000 viewers too, which in the long run is bad for a company that has repeatedly bragged about waging war on the WWE. What type of war is being fought when both sides gain the same number of soldiers?
TNA stands at the cusp of a pivotal moment in pro wrestling history. However, their arrogance and shortsightedness will come back to haunt them.
While no company is capable of pleasing all of its customers all of the time, the least they can do is release a product or provide services that will please more customers than turn away.
By disregarding negative criticism from pro wrestling fans and critics, TNA is building an unnecessary protective bubble around itself which will gradually induce suffocation and kill it from the inside out.
Even Hulk Hogan admitted that there were several things wrong with the company internally when he inked his partnership with them. Why is it that Hulk Hogan can acknowledge these things, but TNA employees and some fans cannot?
If the company fails to show concern about the growth of their own product, then they certainly can't expect the fans to give a damn. Period.