Thoughts on Hard Justice. Was the Gangstaz and Team 3D hugging a stupid idea? What TNA needs to do in order to be successful. Is fans hoping for Paul Heyman hypocritical? And a random match review!
I’ve been really bored lately writing about wrestling, so I came up with this idea. I want to do, or at least attempt to do a weekly column based on any topics I want to discuss. I hope this goes as planed, because I think I could have a lot of fun with this. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem like a good plan and flop harder than the ECW reunion show. BURN!
I was multi-tasking between watching this and the Sox, sadly, getting their ass beat, so this will not be a full review. But let’s not waste anymore time and start talking about the PPV.
The wrestling that I did see wasn’t all that bad. The opener had some decent action in it. Nothing you couldn’t see at any show these days, but solid considering the talents’ average age.
CW Anderson showed off as well he could still go, and 2 Cold showed he could too. I already knew he could still go because of his DGUSA match, but in my opinion, 2 Cold has always been a great underrated wrestler, and it was good to see him back.
Sabu looked terrific considering his age and the bumps he has taken over his prominent career. TNA doesn’t need any more guys on their roster (especially older talent), but if they were to pick up one more guy that’s ‘old’, I think Sabu should be that person.
The bumps he was taking last night were incredible and to be honest, his work actually looked tighter and less sloppy from some of his most of his WWECW work as well as some ECW work. Maybe he was on last night, but nonetheless, it was the best RVD title defense thus far.
That said, I now want to talk about the booking on the show. In case you didn't know, Tommy Dreamer booked this show. Dreamer’s resume consist of being on the ECW committee and in its late days he was head of creative.
He also booked OVW as well, and just being around Heyman would make you think he’d be a good booker—like Gabe Saposkly was—but that wasn’t the case.
I think Vince Russo could’ve booked a better show than this. That’s how poorly booked it was. I realize that ECW had times where it was overbooked, but this overbooking was unnecessarily and affected the matches flow in a negative manner (not a positive like old ECW did at times).
It also seemed like he was actually trying to make the show seem like a joke. Dance offs and light saber fights don’t scream ECW. They scream hokey, silly, and pointless. Although nothing was more stupid then The Gangstaz doing a vicious beat-down on 3D and seconds later hugging.
For those who think breaking kayfabe was ECW’s specialty and this was perfectly acceptable, let me explain ECW’s method compared to this. When ECW broke kayfabe, unless you were smart to the business, you didn’t understand really what they were saying. ECW also did many “is this real or fake?” tactics.
Like everyone and their mother, if she watched ECW, thought Sandman really burnt his eye. That’s working the smarks. This was almost like slapping every diehard ECW fan and wrestling fan in the face.
It’s like saying, “Ha-ha, wrestling is fake” like nobody knows already. When you intertwine real and fake, what becomes real or fake?
I mean we all know movies are fake, but does an actor ever say, “Hey, I’m an actor. This jump I am about to take isn’t real. It’s just pretend, but I hope you’re still attached to the movie.”
That’s how I felt when I saw that. Its one thing to work the crowd and pretend something is real, or have two men who respect each other shake hands after a competitive match, but this wasn’t either.It was a direct break of kayfabe for no reason at all.
Why not simply have the Gangstaz come out and hug 3D after the match?
This just made things feel more perplexed than anything else. It be one thing if it was TNA's last show, but we all know it's not, so it was pointless and didn't help the company out in anyway.
This wasn’t a good PPV or even a good reunion show. Nothing on the show felt like a good nostalgic moment (minus Sabu-RVD).
If anything, this show showed why ECW went out of business with all the overbooking and spots that were clichéd and overkill a decade ago. Even the fired table spot did nothing for me, not only because I’ve seen it before, but also because they did it for the sake of doing it, whereas it’s a stunt show, not a wrestling show.
If they played up the fire spot and it was serviceable to the story, then it would’ve been different and more astonishing to see, i.e. Foley vs. Edge at WM 22.
Also, what is an ECW reunion show without Paul Heyman? That’s like an 85 Bears reunion without their defense.
I mean, I don’t blame Heyman for not showing up to the show and finding this a stupid idea. Heyman is smart enough to realize that ECW was great back then because it was a different product from the average material a typical WWF or WCW show would produce, and not to mention ECW already had a reunion show, but it was a letdown he didn't show up at all.
What TNA should/not do:
TNA needs to stop having reunion shows and/or living in the past. Seriously, they can’t jump from one decade to another to try to pop a rating, or in this case a buyrate. With the Internet the way it is, it is very easy to live in the past and watch Flair, Hogan, ECW, etc.
I think fans would much rather see them wrestle in their prime to get a "good ole days" feeling, rather than seeing washed up, has-beens try and wrestle, which comes off pathetic more than a good feeling.
I’m not saying get rid of the old wrestlers, old wrestlers can help in various ways: they can manage a wrestler, they can wrestle once and a while and help put over a wrestler, they can help backstage by teaching the wrestlers the psychology of wrestling, they can help with the creative aspects of wrestling in order to mix old-school with newschool. They can do a lot of thing rather than wrestling on a weekly basis or overexposing themselves and making the product and themselves look bad.
In regards of TNA's creative team, what good is it to have three people agreeing on mostly everything? If that is happening—and your buyrates are low and your ratings haven’t changed much—don’t you think you’re wasting your own money?
In my opinion, if you have a booking team, you need three people who see wrestling completely different, merging their ideas into one.
TNA also needs to stop hyping up these twitter tweets, pretending Jesus is coming to TNA, yet again, it's counterproductive because it's like the boy who cried wolf too many times and in the end, nobody bought what he was saying.
Simply, they need a cold-cut direction with no strings attached, they need to be straight-forward with the direction and not render it, they also need to be able to market and promote their direction in a proper manner, using it as a selling tool via telling people WHY they should be watching this over any other product. Giving every type of wrestling fan what they want, and also trying to bring new fans in is the key( not trying to bring oldschool fans out of their shells).
Ever since fans found out Paul Heyman was coming to TNA, they were excited and hopeful, but I was one of those small portion fans that wasn’t too happy about Heyman coming in.
Personally, I knew Heyman, at this stage of his life, most likely wasn’t going to come in TNA for several reasons. One being because he doesn’t want to tarnish his legacy if he happens not to help TNA, and other being, him not wanting to work with a lot of people who dislike him, for what he did to them or what they did to him, and last being, obviously, his age.
That said, Heyman was an innovator, and I am not disputing in anyway that he wouldn’t make TNA a better product. I honestly think anyone with a slim smart mind for the business could design a better product, from a booking standpoint, than TNA.
But, I think bookers (I hate the word writers when talking about wrestling) should be like talent—out with the old, in with the new. Wrestling needs to evolve into something different, somebody out there needs to come up with a coherent, innovative, compelling, and innovative proposal.
Now I am not saying Heyman couldn’t do it (nor am I saying old bookers cannot be on a team either helping out), I am saying someone new needs to come up with a total different scheme that is different and can be either epic or a failure (Because, in order to have a great company, you need to take risk. Risks can be, well, risky, but they can also pay off in the end. Every company that has done well took a big risk somewhere, i.e. Vince McMahon with Wrestlemania 1.)
In retrospect of what I am saying is Paul Heyman did a lot in the wrestling business, but let's try to not depend on the booker's who already helped the business out. Let's try and let someone else try and fill their shoes, because no matter how far from ECW Heyman goes, his booking methods will never change 100-percent; therefore, they will still have a taste of ECW in them, i.e. Smackdown 2002 and/or OVW 2003, if you get the drift of what I am saying.
Random Match Review:
Sadly, I cannot post a youtube video on here, so I will give you the link to the match.
Match Thoughts: In their long run in Memphis, Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler had countless of great matches. This was no expectation.
If you enjoy the kayfabe side to wrestling—making it look real as possible—then I am convinced you will love this match. Jerry Lawler plays a terrific face-in-peril babyface to the point where it doesn’t matter if you prefer heels over faces or not; you will get behind Lawler to overcome the stacked odds against him due to his amazing convincing selling.
You will also begin to loathe Bill Dundee for stooping to the level of sadistically assaulting a blinded man. The only spot I didn’t like because it looked a bit contrived and cheesy was the spot where Lawler fell off the bleachers.
Its one thing to be a sympathetic babyface that can run of sheer force of will power and determination than it is to be an invincible babyface. Remember folks, if the face is invincible, the heel is irrelevant.
Nonetheless, it was still serviceable to the context of the plot, and it didn’t go too over-the-top where it was on Hulk Hogan status or anything close. It was just a rushed spot.
Despite that tiny flaw though, this is a nearly perfect, formulaic protagonist vs. antagonist match, with real-looking moves and believable selling. A match that every wrestling fan should watch at least once. **** ½
Well, that concludes the first edition of “The Big Tuna”. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week, I will discuss the special edition of Impact and Summerslam, and WWE’s buyrates and what might be a good idea to increase them. I will also list my top pet peeves in a wrestling match as well as another random match review.
I'm Kyle Fitta, and that's my opinion.