Enter Sandman's Return: Can Nothing Save TNA Hardcore Justice?
Last night I was watching TNA and something truly unexpected happened. Sandman appeared in the ring with his signature kendo stick and beat the holy hell out of Raven and Abyss.
TNA's promotional strategy for Hard Justice has been to slowly release the names of ECW veterans the last couple of weeks via Internet or television. The Sandman was just the latest in the names to be released.
Currently the talent signed for TNA is as follows: Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley, Steven Richards, Team 3D, Rhyno, Raven, Al Snow, Axel Rotten, Balls Mahoney, Johnny Swinger, 2 Cold Scorpio, Simon Diamond, Jerry Lynn, RVD, Sandman, FBI, and Sabu.
The decision to slowly release names is a double-edged sword. While it may stir up hype to have a long list of names trinkled out, it also brings up the question of over-booking. How many of these talents can be featured in a two-and-a-half to three hour long pay per view? What are the matches fans should be looking forward to? The only matches released are Tommy Dreamer vs Raven (which is going to be a train wreck) and Jerry Lynn vs RVD (which only had five seconds of promotion).
How many TNA fans know who these wrestlers are or care about ECW at all? The biggest element of ECW is not going to be present at Hard Justice, so why go to all these lengths for EV2.0 (I swear, if the Impact Zone chants that instead of ECdub...).
The biggest element of ECW was not Paul Heyman (though Tommy Dreamer has contacted him about appearing), it was the fans.
You remember those guys right? Those beer drinking, crazy, idiotic, drunk, vomiting, Sandman singing, Cena hating, crazy S.O.B. fan boys that made every moment in ECW apart of pro wrestling history.
In the Impact Zone, alcohol is restricted and there is minimal fan interaction. Kids from Disney World and families who would have the s#%* scared out of them by true blooded ECW fans. Do you ever think TNA is going to ask the audience for chairs or invite all the fans in the ring for an OMG moment?
Speaking of the voice of ECW, do you know what Joey Styles is doing nowadays? He is the head of the WWE's website, so there's no chance in hell that he's showing up to the party.
All in all, TNA Hardcore Justice (besides like sounding like a dirty movie) is just a quick cash cow in order to recover their losses from their previous PPV's abysmal buy-rates. Hardcore Justice is just a bunch of old wrestlers past their prime chanting ECW while the true heart and soul of ECW can be found in the drunken 30-some year old fan boy's memories.
Note to TNA: If you ever want to be successful, stop living in the past and embrace the future head-on. You have the tools and you have the talent, now use them. Stop looking for the answers in creative members and wrestlers from a bygone era, they're not there.
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