Reports are coming in today that TNA Wrestling has reached out to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and his head coach Marvin Lewis, offering to let them settle their publicized rivalry inside the steel cage at Lethal Lockdown on Sunday, April 17th.
Before I begin tearing apart the hopes and dreams of every single TNA apologist that has already flocked to this as being "an amazing publicity opportunity for TNA," let's look at some facts first.
Jersey Shore star J-Woww appeared on iMPACT for what, one episode?
The segment scored the lowest quarter hour ratings of the entire show at just 1.23 and the episode averaged a 1.4. Despite the spike in ratings, the publicity appearance clearly had little to do with it.
So for everyone who said "$15,000 well spent" for some TMZ coverage and the like, it sure didn't deliver when push came to shove and TNA quickly resumed their mediocre existence in the low 1's of the ratings world.
That was TNA's most recent attempt at garnering publicity, not counting this attempted reach-out to Ochocinco and Lewis.
In 2007, when TNA was still trying to be TNA and not a blatant carbon copy of WCW, they brought in controversial NFL star Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Pacman's debut appearance on iMPACT couldn't stop the show from drawing a spectacular 1.0 in the ratings.
What do we learn from this information, ladies and gentlemen?
We learn that TNA's two best attempts at drawing attention and publicity through celebrities have failed miserably.
Let's keep in mind that both J-Woww and Pacman Jones were working with TNA stars during their appearances with the company and that TNA even went the WCW route and put a title on Pacman, a non-wrestler.
So, now that we've established that bringing in celebrity non-wrestlers to work with TNA stars has done nothing to improve the show ratings, TNA decides that it would be even better if two celebrity non-wrestlers worked a match themselves! And in a steel cage no less!
And what happens all over the dirt sheet forums?
TNA apologists flock from whatever rocks they've been hiding under to spout off about the "success" of the appearances of J-Woww and Pacman Jones.
This is nothing more than blind ignorance and a glaring example of a large portion of TNA fans that are too stubborn and ignorant to see the failures of their chosen wrestling show.
TNA claims that, should Ochocinco and Coach Lewis agree to the cage match, significant training would be issued to both men in the coming weeks before Lethal Lockdown.
Well, can anyone tell me off-hand how much training a football player and a head coach would need to put on a cage match worth watching?
There are men who train for years in this profession—actual wrestlers who can't totally grasp the concept of what makes a cage match work.
And yet we're going to do this with a pair of non-wrestlers?
This idea has Vince Russo slathered all over it and marinated in excess amounts of failure gravy.
Professional wrestling has used celebrity crossovers for years:
Mr. T and Hulk Hogan. Lawrence Taylor and Bam Bam Bigelow. Floyd "Money" Mayweather and The Big Show. Chris Jericho and Mickey Rourke. And yeah, even though he's hardly a celebrity, Kevin Federline and John Cena.
Do you see the correlation here?
The above mentioned appearances, barring a few I missed due to my selective memory, are the celebrity crossovers that I remember most vividly.
All took place in WWE ,and in each instance the celebrity worked with a wrestler who could carry that star through the segments and add at least a touch of credibility to an otherwise cringe-worthy segment.
What has WWE not done?
WWE, to my knowledge, has never invited two non-wrestling personalities and put them inside a steel cage and turned them loose. Why? Because no one wants to see that.
WCW thought it would be smart to put the WCW title on David Arquette. They also thought it smart to team wrestlers with basketball players and to have Jay Leno apply a wristlock on Hulk Hogan.
There's a wide difference in thought between the two company mindsets, as illustrated above and that's just part of the reason that one company is now a global media giant and the other company has been dead for a decade.
Would TNA get television publicity off of Chad Ochocinco vs. Coach Marvin Lewis in a cage?
Sure they would. They'd be covered on a multitude of media networks. Is any publicity good publicity?
It sure is but it means absolutely nothing when the company trying to get that said publicity fails spectacularly at keeping the attention of new fans they attract with the crossover.
As history has shown, people didn't care enough about Pacman to continue tuning in. People didn't care enough about J-Woww to continue tuning in. And anyone who buys Lethal Lockdown just for that match will only be tuning in to watch a couple of wrestling novices make morons out of themselves in a steel cage.
And will TNA do anything impressive enough to keep most of those new viewers watching and coming back?
History has answered this with an emphatic "NO!"
For the same reasons they couldn't keep people watching after Pacman and J-Woww. Because in the end, no amount of publicity or celebrity crossover will fix the problems that TNA continues to ignore and has ignored for years on end.
We didn't want to see a referee turned wrestler. We didn't want to see a football player turned Tag Team Champion. We didn't want to see a quasi-celebrity from the Jersey Shore punk out two people in a Jersey Shore wannabe stable.
And something tells me that most people won't care too much about seeing a football player fight his coach inside a steel cage.
If TNA likes this mindset however, Nickelodeon once asked its young viewers if they wanted to see a cow wrestle a giant block of cheese...
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