Attack of the Armchair Quarterback: TNA, Can We Stop Pretending Now?

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Attack of the Armchair Quarterback:  TNA, Can We Stop Pretending Now?
Only TNA can get themselves out of this unenviable but undeniable position

So it has officially been about a month since TNA's biggest Pay-Per-View of the year, Bound For Glory, showed up on TV screens and illegal internet feeds everywhere, horrifying many who watched and exciting many who refuse to acknowledge failure when they see it.

Though the show in and of itself was solid in the ring, the stories failed to deliver anything more than the typical TNA Vince Russo styled car crashes and twists for the sake of twists.

I've always prided myself on listening to my readers and one of the most frequent comments I heard on my last piece, Bound For Failure, was that I was attacking the angle too soon. That I was jumping the gun and dismissing the angle the night it came to a head and that I should take some time to let TNA play things out and clarify the plot.

About four weeks later and where are we again? The same friggin' place we were the last time I wrote. I literally stayed away from B/R for a month and allowed TNA to do whatever they wished to do with this stolen and plagiarized story ripped straight from WCW Bash at the Beach 1996. 

And though I hate being the one to say "I told you so," the numbers don't lie. The follow-up edition of TNA Impact drew in 1.90 million viewers, making it the most watched show since January 21st, where they drew 1.93 million viewers.

This equates to a 1.4 and would be considered a "high" number for a TNA program.

One week later and Impact returns to it's typical 1.15. So this intricate and well thought out storyline that TNA spent an entire year painstakingly crafting drew a big number for a week.

This is coming from TNA "pulling out all the stops" with a Jeff Hardy heel turn, something that many people applauded considering Hardy's immense popularity.

Since the storyline came to a head at BFG, TNA has spiked their ratings for one measly week. They have followed up with the same floating 1.1's-1.3's that they averaged all along.

Can we stop pretending like this is what's going to "save" TNA? Every single new thing TNA tries is supposedly what is going to "save" them.

While all of this is going on, we already have people joining the faction, being kicked out of the faction and the same logic assaulting booking that TNA has had all along.

This is a Russo creation, fueled by Hogan and Bischoff's input, and it's working about as well as everything else they've done since January 4th.

I gave this storyline a chance and it still sucks just as much as it did when I originally trashed it a month ago. Now that I've vented, let's look at the state of the rest of TNA:

1. Hogan declares that TNA is going to start "shooting".

There is nothing that could potentially make this decision a positive one. There is something to be said for worked shoots, but look back at wrestling history and see for yourself how many times a "straight shoot" environment was beneficial for a wrestling company.

Giving a roster of frustrated and misused wrestlers the freedom to go into business for themselves is a stupid move.

Like everything else they've done lately, this can also be traced back to WCW. The problem is, it didn't work in WCW either! The end result of a shoot style environment is a company full of wrestlers, producers and creative team writers that don't trust one another.

This also leads to a lack of communication—the booking will ultimately suffer as a result. The thing is, how much more could TNA's booking possibly suffer? At least WCW had a string of halfway decent booking before it all disintegrated.

Dixie Carter might as well hand McMahon the keys to the Impact Zone and tell him to turn off the lights when he's through.

2. Mick Foley declares he has brain damage and Jeff Hardy gyps an after-show autograph signing at the Impact Zone

Didn't take long for the "shoot" style to bite back now did it? Here's the problem:

If you're going to break kayfabe for the sake of realism and try to make things seem less scripted, that's one thing.

But why in the bluest of all hells would you tell everyone that you're going to do it?

What good does a shoot environment do when you tell everyone about it? When you tell the fans that you're going to break tradition and raise shock value, all that does is make your viewers distrust everything that you say. To blur the line between fantasy and reality is always a good thing, but not when you inform everyone that it's going to happen.

The moment Mick Foley came out and said he had brain damage from all the years of knocks to the head, I immediately watched as threads went up all over the dirt sheets questioning the legitimacy of his claims.

Not to mention, his announcement conveniently came on the heels of TNA banning unprotected chair shots to the head. Already, TNA fans aren't sure what to believe and what not to.

Anyone who attended the Impact taping for this upcoming Thursday or read the reports on the dirt sheets now knows that Jeff Hardy, playing his "heel" character, screwed a bunch of TNA fans in the Impact Zone out of an autograph session that each fan had to pay $25.00 for.

This is more than likely another example of the "shoot" style in effect. The problem here is, all it accomplished was giving TNA employees a bunch of pissed off fans and refunds to hand out. How does this get Jeff over as a heel? I'm just sayin'...

When your primary strategy is throwing money at used wrestlers and that money disappears, what do you do? The fact that Dixie never had that much money to begin with makes the Impact Zone's free tickets a serious problem.

3. Dixie Carter's mother Janice is now in control of the company's spending.

Dixie's momma is now at the helm of the company's financial books and she has quickly realized just what a mess her daughter has made of things. To cover TNA's excessive costs and insufficient profits, Janice Carter has clamped the lid down on the free flowing of money.

What this means is that in addition to making little money on Impact tapings because of the free ticketing in the Impact Zone, Dixie can no longer attempt to make up for this by buying a bunch of previously used wrestlers.

The signing of ex-WWE talent or veteran stars from years past as been TNA's MO for years now. As for this writing, I'm still waiting for someone to give me a reason why this isn't a sign of more bad things to come for the Florida based promotion.

While Dixie isn't completely out of money, do not forget that many of the talents that TNA signs are only willing to work for a set amount of money. If Dixie is no longer able to meet those demands, these signings are going to stop.

In all my years as a WWE fan, I've met plenty of other WWE fans and plenty of TNA fans. Nearly every WWE fan I've ever met, even the casual fans, are willing to admit that WWE isn't perfect. There are a lot of things that people would like to see changed. Even things that suck.

Yet I've never come across a true and devoted TNA fan that is willing to admit a single flaw in their product. They'll spam the message boards blasting WWE and calling WWE supporters "fanboys", yet I never see them mention their own faults. Those in glass houses should not throw stones...

I'll elaborate more on the above paragraph in my next article. Until then folks...

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