Every Sunday, Wrestling photographer and journalist Blackjack Brown’s column appears in a tiny little box in the sports section of the Chicago Sun Times, a newspaper that often dedicates over a page to bass fishing.
The biggest issue I have is that Brown’s random thoughts, which often involve very little context or insight (given such little space), is that they rarely paint a complete picture, and oftentimes, are just flat out absurd.
The following is a breakdown of Brown’s March 14th column.
BROWN - “This past Monday night, TNA offered one as former WWE champion Rob Van Dam made his return to the wrestling scene and defeated Sting in his TNA debut. Van Dam has a lot to offer in the ring and backstage, and if his first night is any indication, he'll be a main-event player for a long time.”
In truth, RVD got a HUGE pop and was provided an awesome moment, but I would hardly call it a ‘match’ against Sting… Let’s hope they don’t blow with guys like RVD or Kennedy.
I worry that their first big feuds are going to burn everyone out. If there’s one thing the McMahon-WWE product can do well, it is to stay patient. WrestleMania typically involves a three month build up starting with the Rumble. Don’t give it away for free when people are willing to pay.
BROWN - “TNA's strength right now is its ability to put on great wrestling matches -- younger stars with enormous ability given a chance to shine. WWE just doesn't have that, as evidenced by the weak card for WrestleMania later this month.”
I take huge exception to these statements.
Yes, TNA can put on some awesome matches, but they kind of give it up on the first date. Rarely do the matches mean as much when I’m not made to wait in anticipation. I’m rarely compelled to purchase a Pay Per View when I know they are going out of their way with TV matches.
And while the matches can be exciting, it’s counterproductive to make so many televised bouts full of twenty near-falls. After a while, I just want someone to win and not kick out after three finishers. RAW is a better product for not having Shawn Michaels kick out after four RKOs every Monday night.
Secondly, “…a weak card for WrestleMania”—are you nuts?
This is one of the strongest WrestleManias in history, and from a pure booking standpoint, looks stronger than any of them since XIX.
Say what you want about Cena-Batista, but it’s a far better main event than Brown is giving it credit for, with tons of heat, and two guys who do not cross paths very often.
Hart-McMahon, while in no way shaping up to be a five-star classic, will provide the fans with a chance to give Hart the sendoff he never properly received, and the fans are embracing and supporting the Hitman, despite his physical limitations.
Edge-Jericho has endless possibilities. Orton-DiBiasse-Rhodes pits three great young wrestlers against one-another, with Orton beginning to build a rabid following. Michaels-Taker II- Do I need to say anything about this one?
While I’m not betting a steak dinner on it (because every time I talk up CM Punk going into a big show, he ends up having a five-minute garbage match ending in a DQ after numerous missed spots), Punk-Mysterio can steal the whole show…
Does Brown even watch the WWE?
Is he accidentally looking at last year’s card?
Is ANYONE not impressed with the line-up for WrestleMania 26?
BROWN - “So the obvious move for TNA needs to be made: Less Eric Bischoff, less Scott Hall, less Kevin Nash, less Sting. More RVD, more A.J. Styles, more Jeff Hardy, more Samoa Joe.”
I agreed one hundred percent, but that doesn’t mean more Styles or Hardy on the mic. That awkward “creatures of the night” thing on Monday was just silly... and weird—then again, not as big of a turn off as Flair’s little blood-letting.
BROWN - “ RVD vs. Styles is better than any match WWE can put together. So is RVD vs. Samoa Joe, Hardy vs. Styles, or Kurt Angle vs. any of them.”
1- See previous comments regarding Taker-Micaels II
2- We've seen RVD v. Angle and RVD v. Hardy. Both great are match-ups. Not necessarily better than ANYTHING WWE can put on.
3- They’ll probably blow RVD-Styles on a Monday Night and still only have a 1.0 to show for it.
Blackjack’s column has been appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times every Sunday for years. Hopefully nobody who only casually follows wrestling takes his words as wrestling gospel.
He has been around a long time and has legitimate access to the business. I hope he uses his resources (and unfortunately limited space) more productively next week when he breaks down TNA’s upcoming PPV.