TNA Reality Show Promos: And Not One Word About Jwoww
Joe Burgett wrote an awesome article about TNA's "Blueprint," Matt Morgan, and his recent Impact speech about concussions, found here:
This is my first TNA specific article, and despite many of my readers knowing that I'm pretty brand loyal to WWE, this is not merely an attempt to slam Total Nonstop Action. There is some definite positive to where TNA is headed, regardless of the negative that even many TNA fans admit to seeing in both Impact and ReACTION.
I've been watching since somewhere around January or March of this year (because my fiancee isn't recording anything on Thursdays and our DVR can accommodate it), and even though I've missed out on much of what interested me about TNA in years gone by, I've been keeping up with what TNA is up to mainly out of curiosity. Some has been pretty bad, some has been pretty impressive, but one major difference that I've noticed between watching WWE and TNA programming is the promos that get shot.
WWE is sticking to a reliable formula when shooting backstage promos. Typically, we'll see a competitor either in a locker room, walking down a hall, on their way to a match, or on their way out of a match, with their front aimed slightly toward the camera. Eventually, someone will come up to them and start a conversation or exchange, that usually brings out some little tidbit of info or plot that may or may not develop into something more meaningful down the road.
TNA, on the other hand, is going in a completely different route during the past year or so.
Whereas they used to have regular interviews by the likes of Christy Hemme and Jeremy Borash backstage, nowadays their promos are shot almost exclusively in a reality show format. There's probably a catchy term for this, but I prefer describing it this way as it's the easiest format to relate their newer style to.
The likes of Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, EV2, Fortune, etc., will be dealing their dealings backstage, while the camera angle shooting them is slightly obstructed by a door jamb, pillar, pipe, or other such structural shape, to give the illusion that the cameraman is lucky enough to have caught something secret that is going on backstage.
In essence, I believe it's supposed to make the action look more organic. Like it's really happening, the camera operator just happened to be in the right place at the right time, in the same way a tabloid photographer catches candid snapshots of celebrities making fools of themselves.
This isn't the only way TNA is changing its format, however. Many of TNA's superstars, in fact, the majority of their top talent especially with the ReACTION program helping this factor along, seem to blur the line between reality and their TV characters.
In WWE's past, most fans could decipher the obvious differences between The Rock and Dwayne Johnson, Stone Cold and Steve Williams...hell, even Hulk Hogan and Terry Bollea. In WWE, this isn't quite as prominent, but with it prominent in TNA, I decided to look below the surface at the possible negative and positive underneath.
After all, sometimes this format works great for TNA, other times, it really hurts...
Good: The Blueprint, Matt Morgan
Joe primarily discussed Matt Morgan in his article, and The Blueprint is definitely a good instance, :-)
I remember his short run in WWE and it was pretty crummy. The most significant part of it was as a member of the physically massive Team Lesnar along with Brock, Nathan Jones, I think Big Show might've been in it, and a fifth guy, I can't remember who...A-Train maybe. But he had a really silly stutter, a la "Buh Buh Ray Dudley" when he first came to WWE.
Then, Matt went to TNA, though I'm not sure how his start there went. All I know is that, at one point, he was schizophrenic for a while (likely kayfabe). His being snapped up into Fortune, after a brief few scuffles with The Pope and Mr. Anderson, began his shedding of the BS, and on the October 28, 2010 edition of Impact, Morgan further shed yet another layer of BS by speaking from the heart about the dangers of concussions, in an attempt to persuade key members of Immortal, Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett, into calling off the scheduled Chain match between Jarrett and the previously concussed Mr. Anderson.
During his speech, he mentioned his real-life membership in the Sports Legacy Institute where, upon his death, he wants to donate his brain to their science to help with research, treatments, etc. for concussions (incidentally, I credit Joe's article as I did not know the depth and breadth of Morgan's investment before reading his article). In this case, I feel his character has made a great move, completely on par with TNA's format of blurring the lines of fantasy and reality.
For one thing, he's taking a stand against a large, intimidating group in Immortal, something that not only individuals on the roster likely want to avoid, but perhaps many members of Immortal themselves also want to avoid by joining up.
Additionally, it's not just a feeling of being overlooked/underused/misused in the company that's causing Matt Morgan's character to make this change. His character is genuinely concerned and invested in this cause, and if it means taking on Jarrett, Bischoff, or the whole new regime, so be it.
He's fighting for something significant that he believes in, a cause he is legitimately involved in, whether in or out of the ring.
Furthermore, Matt really sold the big twist mid-show by grinning on camera as he passed by the guy standing outside Anderson's room, making it look like a ploy on the part of Morgan to attack Anderson while he's weakened on behalf of Immortal. Instead, the grin actually meant that his plan was to work against who everyone thought he supported.
Exceptionally done on Matt Morgan's part, I must say.
Not to stray too far from the topic, but it's moves like these that's kept a character like John Cena down. By supporting such vague and general ideals like "never giving up," playing by the rules, being a good guy, etc., and having the same old, usual, John Cena smile and mannerisms, what uniqueness he once had is completely lost.
Matt Morgan, however, is standing up for something not a lot of people know about, doing a pretty considerable face turn in the process, and doing it in a surprising and unique way.
The Blueprint has a fan in me from now on. However, this could go bad for him. With Matt Morgan embracing much of the reality of his situation, if The Blueprint's character should do a completely kayfabe heel turn down the road to keep his character fresh for entertainment purposes, it could make him look bad in reality as well.
I feel like Vince McMahon is well-known enough to hop back and forth over the Heel-Face fence, but only time will tell Morgan is big enough to freely do the same.
Good: Jesse Neal, Member Of Ink Inc.
While I considered it a bit gratuitous for ReACTION to parade him out for three episodes so he could cry on TV about his harrowing experience on the USS Cole, for a guy who is likely looked at by strangers as just another tattooed, mohawked punk to share a stronger, emotional, and deeper part of his real, honest-to-goodness self, does absolute wonders for his character and personality.
Some might say that it waters his character down a bit, but most rocker types with big hair, body art, and the like, are either 1) strong, charismatic individuals that have a personality that eclipses the moon or 2) folks that only dream of having a personality that eclipses the moon.
Not everyone with tattoos and mohawks are deep, in fact, many are shallow and only get ink and hair gel because it makes them stand out. Not Jesse Neal.
In my opinion, unless TNA is seriously getting their money's worth out of their art department's pirated copies of Photoshop (don't quote me on that), ReACTION showed actual photos of Jesse and his comrades from the USS Cole. He went through serious tragedy and trauma in his life, experiencing a terror attack first-hand and losing friends he fought alongside.
Jesse Neal deserves the chance to wear his heart on his sleeve and be respected for it.
Granted, I do still think the name "Ink Inc." is pretty hacky and tacky, and (as some astute writers here helped me realize) his in-ring skills leave a lot to be desired, but I like Jesse Neal, and Shannon by association, just a bit more because of Jesse's outpouring of emotion over his ordeal.
Furthermore, should Ink Inc. not last as a tag team, or they get broken up over some kayfabe tiff, I feel like Jesse Neal could be an even greater "all-american" type character than Lex Luger, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kurt Angle, Jack Swagger, and Macho Man Randy Savage.
Unlike those five (at least to my knowledge), Jesse is a former member of the US Navy, and if you ask anyone who's ever served, that level of training and discipline sticks with you for life, whether you suffer tragedy or not.
Bad: Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle
When he was in WWE, Kurt Angle had a specific image.
He lived by his three I's: Integrity, Intensity, Intelligence. Not surprisingly, many disliked his Scott Summers/Cyclops/Superman/Boy-scout goody-two-shoes ways, and as a result, Kurt ended up being a heel pretty much during his entire WWE career, with one of the few exceptions being his confrontation with the WCW/ECW Alliance during the InVasion period.
The point is, during Kurt's time in WWE, even just simple mottos like "It's true, it's true!" and the three I's gave Kurt a great jump-off point to work from to make some great promos happen. Some were serious and genuine and got great heat from fans. Others saw Kurt trying to garner respect and adoration, wearing a childish cowboy hat and playing a mini guitar, and it got him tons of laughs as comic relief.
Fact is, when he wasn't wrestling, Kurt was eons more entertaining in WWE.
Since arriving in TNA, with the exception of his membership in the Main Event Mafia being a somewhat reasonable next step to his previous popularity and success, most of his time solo has been spent being the action-oriented, straightforward, go get 'em kind of pure wrestler.
In the ring? When he's had his vitamins and enough sleep? Kurt can still wrestle better than most guys these days, no doubt about it.
However, when he gets on ReACTION and talks off the cuff, not only does he use improper words, but he babbles on way too long about absolutely nothing profound.
You'd think an experienced guy like Kurt Angle could call up a specific moment during his Olympic training and relate it to something happening currently, but no.
You'd think that since TNA doesn't censor their wrestler's promos and doesn't tell them they can't make mention of WWE or ECW or the like, that Kurt would call up the time he beat so and so in WWE and explain it in deeper detail under the TNA banner, but no.
Listening to Kurt talk and talk and talk is simply useless. One of his three I's used to be Intelligence. Now it seems, he doesn't know the difference between "regain" and "retain."
He says the same level of nothing that professional basketball or football players spew when they get asked the same stupid questions over and over. Watch any of his ReACTION promos, and you'll see what I mean. It comes off as a post-game press conference, and part of this could be because of the questions he's asked, but likely, it's him.
He may be "the best wrestler in the world," and an Olympic Gold Medalist, but by making TNA's promos so realistic, it really shows through how much of a dumb, musclehead jock Kurt Angle really is.
Bad: Kevin Nash
Ask me who some of my favorite names are from years gone by and one of them that pops up is Big Daddy Cool, Diesel.
The once silent bodyguard of The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, paved the way for seriously intimidating bodyguards of his style, even defining what an "insurance policy" really meant! Matt Morgan is great...but an insurance policy for Fortune? There were six of them in the group, why did they need an insurance policy? Anyway...
When Diesel finally began speaking up for himself, breaking away from HBK and taking some of the spotlight, we saw a real star emerge. The guy was so toned down most of the time, but when he got in the ring for a match, he could stride from corner to corner in two steps, and really pound the crap out of opponent after opponent.
Later on, he and Scott Hall would find themselves in a bit of an employment quandary and end up in WCW where, with Hulk Hogan, they would form the New World Order and Kevin Nash would become an even bigger star.
So, it seems, on his own, Kevin Nash has only seen moderate success, but with groups of like-minded individuals? He really found his stride.
I've always loved Big Kev, mainly because of his nonchalant demeanor, his casual way of strutting around the ring during a promo, his easy going way of holding a microphone, all of it is pure Nash. I'll be honest, I didn't see any of his time in the Main Event Mafia and can't really comment on how good that went.
But near the end of his run in TNA, as their backstage promo style was changing, allowing him to be off the cuff probably got him to say things that were over the heads of most fans.
At least when he was playing a specific role, like Diesel, or the bigger half of the Outsiders in WCW, he knew where he was and knew what was needed of his character. In TNA, he had so little direction and was so all over the place, TNA's reality promos muddied his character even further.
It only made sense to team him with Sting near the end, that way the two of them could talk in veiled messages and vague, backhanded remarks.
With talk of Kevin "tossing his hat in the ring" when it comes to facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27, and possible rumors that Kevin might end up being the elusive Raw General Manager, perhaps Vince might consider taking Kevin back to work at WWE again, in some capacity or another.
After all, he achieved the most success as part of the Outsiders and NWO, and his work wife, Scott Hall, was easily the weak link in later years who brought him down.
Kevin wasn't the drunk stumbling to the ring at unscheduled times, it was Scott.
Kevin wasn't the one getting arrested and suspended for substance abuse, it was Scott.
Kevin wasn't the one contracting Hepatitis...wait...that was Sean Waltman. Point is, it wasn't Kevin.
Then again, Scott was the one calling for the ever-popular surveys, back in the day. So, I guess, time will tell what happens next for him...
Mixed: Mr. Anderson
In case you can't tell, this is an old picture from his Kennedy days, the background being the old WWE Velocity set. Old, but still poignant in illustrating my point.
Ken Kennedy probably got a decent size shaft from WWE, even though many of us probably don't know the real truth behind his parting ways with the company.
Many suggest that it's Randy Orton that got him fired for botching a move, some suggest that his time had just come, some blame it on dancing like a Laker girl with other members of the Raw roster. Suffice to say, Ken Kennedy parted ways with WWE some time ago, and arrived in Total Nonstop Action within this past year and a half.
Like many transplants, his name and style changed only ever-so slightly, going from the given moniker of Kennedy to his real last name of Anderson (both if you notice, three syllables), but keeping his well-known style of announcing himself on an old-school boxing mic dropped to him from the rafters.
His popularity shot through the roof (proportionally speaking), despite apparently stabbing many of his partners in the back, and as a result, the now infamous series of promos he shot in the ring provided him, at the time, with the appropriate nickname of "asshole," as he was accused of betraying others purely for being a jerk and nothing more.
He later got into a series of confrontations with Jeff Hardy, and at the time Jeff didn't trust Anderson as far as he could throw him.
Now, with Jeff in Immortal, it really leaves little room for them to be friends, but Anderson's backstage promos when confronting people like Angle, and speaking candidly in front of the camera, really did nothing for his role as an "asshole." Like many of the others, ReACTION has made him look normal, down-to-earth...cocky, maybe, but far from being the asshole he appeared to be in the ring.
Anderson is injured and going to be out of action for some time, but hopefully this will give him a chance to relinquish the "asshole" gimmick moniker and just be the brash loudmouth that he is.
Because let's face it, even if he were to give in fully to the asshole gimmick, betray TNA and join Immortal, I really don't feel like it would do anything for his character. By just being the man, Ken Anderson, it would give him more of a reason to speak on ReACTION, as well as more to talk about.
Very Bad: Mickie James, Hardcore Country
Anyone NOT remember this classic WWE moment? Of course you do, ;-) One of the few things Mickie James is actually remembered for...
Which is a shame, because what I've seen of Mickie's wrestling talent is pretty decent! She gave plenty of WWE Divas runs for their money, including the very Stratus she's liplocking with here. The fact that her signature moves were take offs of Trish's own signature moves really brought forth the stalker/Single White Female-esque obsession she had with WWE's biggest Diva of all time.
Like I've said in previous places, however, with Stratus gone, Mickie's appeal dwindled and she really struggled to hold major fan support. She still offered a lot, and shortly before she was Future Endeavored, she seemed to be picking up some steam again, fighting against Laycool and their schoolyard bullying.
Had she stayed, or been allowed to stay, I believe she'd be the Divas Champion right now.
However, Mickie and/or WWE decided to go in different ways. At this point, Laycool has likely overstayed their welcome as Divas Champion(s) and Mickie has turned, like many, to the wiles of Total Nonstop Action.
Quite frankly, TNA's reality format of backstage promos is not helping her at all. Despite my distaste for them, The Beautiful People and Madison Rayne actually speak very naturally for their characters. Mickie tends to babble like Kurt. She tries to stay on topic, ends up getting distracted by other issues, wanders a bit, makes wild claims she can't meet. Check this out...
Sure, she's a tough cookie, and her southern style definitely makes her stand out in a sea of models and generic "hotness," however she's not much to listen to. She appears in TNA after getting ditched by WWE and the first thing she says is that she's going to make history? Doubtful.
How many wrestlers make history at all, and somehow Mickie James is going to in a company only garnering a third of the ratings WWE is?
By the way, did I spell her name wrong, Mickie, or did the video spell her name wrong, Mickey?
Truth is, I'm really not impressed with her anymore, as one thing that tends to occur with WWE rejects going to TNA is that we really get to see their true value as performers.
Some get a chance to shine, like Christian (Cage). Others falter and fall back on old rivalries, like hers with Lisa Marie Varon (aka Victoria, aka Tara). Mickie is probably one of the more talented female wrestlers in popular professional wrestling today, however in order to be successful, you have to be able to at least maintain your character when furthering a feud.
In WWE, Bryan is sometimes awkward on the mic, but it works for him. He puts it to good use. Mickie? I get the feeling that she thinks her britches fit right, when in reality, she's getting a little too big for them...
Both: The Phenomenal AJ Styles
I will be extremely honest in saying that I know very little about this guy.
Like I've said, I've only been watching TNA Wrestling for a reasonably short time, so I don't know every in and out of his career, every title he's ever won, every accolade he's ever achieved, and yet I still acknowledge that he's an exceptionally talented grappler and a blast to listen to.
That's how good he is. That he could prove himself to someone brand loyal to their competitor after seeing him so little!
When I started watching recently, he was in the camp of Ric Flair just as The Nature Boy had announced that he was rebuilding the Four Horsemen, only under a different name. He was calling it Fortune, terrific, almost sounds like the old group somehow, and he was going through a bit of a tryout period where the wrestlers he'd been mentoring would have to earn their spot.
Desmond Wolfe did not make the cut, and I think I've seen him wrestle perhaps two matches, then appear twice alongside Magnus and Chelsea in promos, and I haven't seen any of them since.
Kazarian made the cut, along with Beer Money. AJ took a while to get in, but I think he made it eventually, but then Douglas Williams and The Blueprint were added because 1) if you recall, the Four Horsemen didn't just have four people in it at one time, the Four Horsemen actually had seven people in it, oh you didn't know that? Yup, and 2) AJ is probably the best of the entire group, he busted his ass to earn his spot, and then additional members were just added just like that. Really fair to Styles...
Nonetheless, Fortune trudged along, getting into a heated rivalry with EV2 which, oddly enough, probably wouldn't have been a fair man-to-man match had Williams and Morgan not been added, but in the process of AJ being part of such a strong stable as Fortune, the lot of which got basically engulfed by the even bigger umbrella of Immortal, AJ has had very little time for his mouth to shoot off.
There have been moments when he's spoken, and for what it's worth, he's still fun to listen to. His promos really stick to the character he's trying to convey as a loyal member of Ric Flair's Fortune, and even as a proud part of Immortal. His southern accent is strong, his volume is loud, and he's a naturally talented speaker.
So, when he's interviewed and asked questions, he can really run well with it.
The only unfortunate part is that he's so overshadowed by Ric Flair, his stardom barely has a chance to twinkle in TNA's night sky...
Both: Jeff Hardy
Here's a guy who's been all over the place, and even though his new position as the worshipped rising star of Immortal is kinda rehashed just with slightly different extra people involved, some things about him have been okay. Other things, not so okay.
If we peek back in time real quick, his big start came with his brother, Matt, as a jobber tag team in WWE, known then and now as The Hardy Boys.
I honestly do not know if WWE had any intention on giving them a significant push on purpose, but regardless, they garnered support from the fans and their collective look became darker and more gothy. They had a brief joining with vampire group The Brood, headed up by Gangrel, but after adding former valet for Essa Rios, Lita, the two boys/one girl combo became Team Xtreme.
After that, they'd part ways and rejoin.
Lita got considerably burned out and retired pretty unceremoniously given where her character was at the time.
Matt would get fired, rehired, and fired again.
And Jeff would jump back and forth between companies, quickly becoming an exceptionally sought after commodity. But one thing about Jeff that made him special was his attitude, and for as long as I've seen him in any company's Heavyweight Title picture, he's always been that beloved young underdog, hungry for the spotlight, fame, and glory that one more win could get him.
For TNA to transition over to a reality show format for its promos worked perfectly for this kid. Sure, he wore torn stockings on his forearms, was dubbed the "rainbow-haired warrior," began painting his face, and dressed like the heavy metal kids in high school, but in 98% of his matches, he was seen as the underdog who was talented enough to be there on that sliver of a chance we could watch him win.
Everyone loved pulling for him, including myself, even if you didn't approve of his little dances, his graceful movements or his mode of dress.
Watching him take on Undertaker in a ladder match was phenomenal. He didn't win, but he earned his stripes, no one can deny him that.
So again, for TNA to feature him in very candid promos, shot entirely off the cuff, and for him to speak naturally on events going on backstage, looking back it really worked for him.
However, Bound For Glory came and TNA pulled the trigger on the big twist they'd been teasing us with for months. THEY were actually the group Immortal, and the keystone that all the bigwigs were putting their support behind was none other than the beloved underdog, Jeff Hardy.
A guy who once benefitted by speaking entirely as Jeff, and no one else but Jeff, now looks to be putting on a completely phony character...but only when he's backstage.
Make no mistake, when he's in the ring with Hogan, Bischoff, and company? His face is mean, his demeanor is cocky, and his gestures support that. When we're treated to the brief Jeff Hardy vignettes on the big screen, where he's sitting in front of those green fences and we see these kinda Scientology type cult pictures of clouds and planets and things flying across, he speaks in poetic verse about emotions and such, it's great. I have to admit, aside from being annoyed by calling himself the Antichrist of Professional Wrestling, the rest of what he says is pretty cool and is a great evolution for his ideals and attitude.
However, watching a recent episode of ReACTION where he's holding his new pink Heavyweight Belt, and listening to him speak candidly, he sounded exactly the same as when he was speaking as a beloved fan-favorite underdog, only adding in typical heel things to say.
To me, it came off really weak and deflates much of what I could like about the new Jeff Hardy. While his scripted bits are much more eloquent, his backstage promos are too real and give away the illusion of Jeff Hardy really being all that his other promos make him out to be.
Neither Good Nor Bad: Samoa Joe
Again, admittedly, I don't know much about every in and out this guy has been through in TNA, though I know enough to realize that he's made his career with Total Nonstop Action and has had plenty of ups and downs, whether backstage or in the ring.
What little I've seen of him since January and March is obviously phenomenal in matches. He's extremely athletic for a husky guy, he has great moves, and I'd even go so far as to say that his dower, quiet demeanor still interests me a bit more than Randy Orton's.
The Viper is a cool moniker for Orton, his inner voices theme goes great with his music, though since getting emrboiled in the rivalry with Wade Barrett over the WWE Championship, his loose cannon, RKO-anything-that-moves attitude has been slowly dwindling.
Meanwhile, on the few occasions Joe actually gets on TV, he still pretty much destroys anything put in his path. Pure Joe!
Then again, that's kind of the problem when a silent type has a camera shoved in their face and is encouraged to speak. He speaks to us on ReACTION, and he hops back and forth between being dark and moody one minute, and a street fighter from the block the next minute.
Not to say he needs to play up his Samoan background so he turns into an incoherent monster like Umaga was. Joe definitely plays the urban Samoan character pretty well.
I guess where I get flummoxed on Samoa Joe is that he's not entirely urban, yet he's not as tribal a Samoan as others have been. He's in that middle ground that a lot of characters in TNA are in, where it's hard to relate his character to others that are more well-known. He still has throngs of fans chanting "Joe's gonna kill you," yet I can't remember the last time he really bloodied someone up to the point of them being out of action for a while.
It's possible the fault is with the bookers...you know, the ones RVD gets to know when he arrives. I can't believe he actually said that. Creative will give Joe a bit of time on TV backstage to shoot off-the-cuff, so he can say things like, "i'm still walkin, i'm still talkin, i'm still punchin, i'm still kickin," etc...and yet, he hasn't really made any considerable impact on Impact since Immortal came to be.
He fended off Gunner and Murphy in an impressive 2-on-1 match, but that's really about it. He's still alive and breathing and on his feet, but where is he when any of the big guns need him? I know he's basically a solo/GDI, but even Stone Cold believed in the motto "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," even if he gave the enemy of his enemy a stunner afterward.
He's decent at promos, but rarely shows up. Whereas Joe used to be kind of a big deal, his absence is now kind of a big problem...
Abysmal: Robbie E and Cookie, AKA The Shore
Okay, even though I've pointed out that certain major TNA stars were on the losing end of TNA's promo formatting, I still appreciate the talent they have in the ring and what they offer to TNA's entertainment value.
Or, at the very least, I'm secretly being optimistic without letting my fingers type it out.
Rob Eckos and Becky Bayless, otherwise known as the Jersey Shore take offs, Robbie E and Cookie, have got to be the worst examples among them all. At least many of the previous slides here have a good idea of what TNA has tried to accomplish since Jeff Jarrett founded it.
Robbie and Cookie shoot an off-the-cuff promos backstage and they sound like old people trying to appear hip by spouting kids' lingo that they saw on TV.
Real simple, one of the most basic trademark aspects about the characters on Jersey Shore that make them unique is their immensely heavy accents! Robbie and Cookie have absolutely no accents to speak of, making the delivery of the terminology sound ridiculous, put on, midwestern, and overall phony.
This is made additionally apparent by the promos shot backstage during Impact and ReACTION, as well as the moments when they appear in the ring with microphones, when they pour on the lingo way too heavily, injecting it where it really isn't necessary.
Granted, not every single gimmick wrestler pulls off their gimmick perfectly, and that's understandable. However, as much hate as Orlando Jordan has gotten from the IWC, every time I see Robbie and Cookie yack on about grenades and "my dude" and "my bro?" I miss Orlando that much more.
Orlando is actually a talented wrestler, who's been wrestling for a long time. He has the experience and the talent to go far, no one can really deny him that much.
From what I've read about him, and what little I've seen of him on TV, much of his failure in TNA has obviously been a result of the awful and overblown presentation of his bisexual gimmick. As we've seen with characters like Goldust and Rico, and a tag team like Billy & Chuck, ambiguously homosexual characters who play mind games with opponents can work if done right.
If Orlando just toned things down a little, wasn't so over-the-top, and saved the awkwardness for someone he genuinely rivals, rather than creating a rivalry based SOLELY around the awkwardness, it would go much better.
Instead, we have Robbie E and Cookie attempting to steal brainwashed fans of MTV away from the former music channel to watch wrestling, a sport they probably consider silly. Their promos are awful and I'm sorry, but they're not that talented in the ring either.
Conclusion? Situation Unstable
Professional Wrestling, Sports Entertainment, whatever you feel like calling it. The medium employs actors and stuntmen to depict physical moves to create the illusion of people fighting. I'm sorry if that sounds insulting or diminishing, but it's a basic fact.
Certainly, both WWE and TNA do it, so I was not referring to just one side or the other, and of course, not every single move is protected 100%. Many moves still hurt, many tricks get botched and lead to injuries, and the performers are incredible for making them look as real as they do and standing up to such punishment.
For all intents and purposes, these guys are really fighting, one just usually takes a fall at the end so the company can control where certain rivalries will go next. Same with much of what wrestlers say on TV.
TNA's reality show format for their promos, in my opinion, blurs the line between fantasy and reality way too much, and in the same way the Jerry Springer show once blurred that same line before everyone found out overly produced it was. You look in the right place, you'll find volumes about how scripted and planned out wrestling is.
Jerry was supposed to be putting on a talk show involving real people. Instead, he was basically a wrestling booker.
Some TNA stars, like Matt Morgan and Jesse Neal, benefit greatly from this format because their characters, before and after, are fairly simple, and there's nothing wrong with that if they're presented to us properly.
The problem is that in the wrestling industry, much like many other aspects of entertainment, portraying a fictional character that's too close to reality is not often a cocktail for success.
Other examples outside wrestling besides Springer? Too many to mention:
Alice Cooper...heavy metal musician that got too far into his decadent character and ended up a drug-addict. Thank goodness he got himself out so he could keep doing what brought him to the dance, making good music.
Rappers...they say all the time that they play characters, their style is about the music, and that they aren't necessarily portraying or encouraging gang activity. Yet, they look like most real life gang members, they're often arrested on drug and firearm possession, and are accused of committing murder practically every week. There are lots of rappers out there who write songs about political and societal issues and have no intention whatsoever of getting into trouble with the law over any kind of illegal possession, but there are just as many who walk, talk, and act the part, and end up living it soon after success strikes.
Tom Cruise...this guy's real life personality has gotten so watered down by all the freaky parts he plays in movies, and all the times he's slept with leading ladies because he had no on-screen chemistry without bedding them for real, he's been brainwashed into thinking Scientology is a proper religion to follow.
Brangelina...I'd like to know what these two think reality is. Angie is still making movies that are largely unimpressive, Brad's most recent job is a Dreamworks animated film, and I think if I ever went to Walmart or Shop-Rite and did NOT see them on at least one gossip rag cover, I'd run and grab a lottery ticket because it was my lucky day. Their relationship started on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and they've been successfully assassinating good taste and class ever since.
The Kardashians...useless eye candy that are made to think they're important because they have cameras shoved in their faces all the time. Girls who think the garbage they have to say is important because they're constantly getting interviewed.
Just look at most politicians. They create the best characters for themselves: war heroes, family men, baby kissers, disease huggers, tax slashers, and overall saviors of the common man. Then, we find out that they were caught with a transexual hooker, they cheated on their spouse, they lied to the general public, and in reality they turn out to be a complete and utter hypocrit.
But their creative department was able to spin things into a convenient story, and suddenly, they're popular again!
Sounds like professional wrestling booking to me.