TNA's Attack of the Armchair Quarterbacks: The Debacle at Victory Road, Part 1
I realize that I just recently got finished with my writing about TNA.
I also realize that at the end of that article, I said that although I had no more desire to write about them—and I still don't—I would make no promises.
And speak of the devil, here we are about two weeks later, and I'm writing about TNA again!
Fear not, I'm not going back to that. There's just nothing more to get there. That ship has sailed. I've made all the hay I could while the sun was shining. (Thank you Jim Ross for those wonderfully timeless figures of speech.)
Unfortunately for TNA, this one is an exception. See, there was this certain event that took place on Sunday night—just two days ago. It was called Victory Road and I had absolutely no intentions of writing about it, no matter how bad it was.
The WWE has stepped up their game, no matter who doesn't want to admit to it. Are they perfect? Hell no. They still haven't come up with any long-term solutions for their current product flaws, but even if this upturn is just seasonal for WrestleMania, they've still managed to put together a decent few weeks of programming, at least on the RAW side.
I mention that because after seeing what TNA called a main event for their Victory Road pay-per-view, the differences between the two companies are more glaring than they have ever been.
I'm sure that the moment the story broke, anyone who regularly reads and comments on my TNA stuff was expecting some kind of comment from me on it, just because I'm typically the first guy there to call them out on it. But guys, in all seriousness, what can I say that hasn't already been said?
Everyone has had something to say about this. From my closest colleague, Mr. Ashley Morris, to former WCW commentator and a man I have a lot of respect for, Mark Madden.
I can't say much that hasn't already been said. TNA sent an inebriated, intoxicated, whatever-the-hell-he-was, Jeff Hardy, to the ring to face Sting for the World Heavyweight Championship.
The man barely made it down the ramp. He tripped going up the freakin' ring stairs. The match was about a minute of Jeff fake-throwing his t-shirt out to the fans, a few punches and a Scorpion Deathdrop to total a stunning one minute and 28 seconds.
That's the main event of your PPV? That's what the fans at home paid $40 to see? That's what the fans in the arena paid $100 to see?
Sting was visibly pissed off. I mean, visibly. You could see it written all over that painted face. From the shaking of the head, to the way he rushed Jeff, almost as though he considered going into business for himself.
Thankfully, anyone who knows Sting or has at least followed his career, knows that he's far too professional to ever do something like that. He showed up to work and didn't politic or shout or scream. He wasn't the one who chose to ax the match and turn it into a minute-long squash.
He is the one who stood on the ramp, audibly voicing his agreement with the fans as they chanted "This is bullsh*t" to end the PPV. And who can blame him?
This puts the Fingerpoke of Doom to shame. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this may actually eclipse David Arquette's WCW title run as the most shameful thing in professional wrestling. It definitely overtakes Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca as the fan-considered "worst wrestling match in history," another doozy of a debatable record set by TNA.
My writing partner, Mr. Ashley Morris, being the more optimistic of our team, is putting together something far more structured and eloquent than this, so I encourage you to check out his piece. As usual, my positively charged brother from another mother attempted to see a silver lining of sorts in the midst of this huge mess.
I will spoil nothing of his piece as it is technically the companion article to this one, but in a conversation I had with him prior to our collective writings, he shared with me a few bits of silver lining.
I, unfortunately, will leave the silver lining argument entirely to him. This is not because I wish to be completely negative, as I have rightfully been so in the past. Instead, it is because I fail to see anything even remotely positive that could come from this.
The most noteworthy positive thing that could potentially come from this is a one-week spike in ratings, probably no more than a few points as TNA usually does, attributed to every single TNA fan that wants an explanation for the debacle at Victory Road.
TNA will probably issue some kind of lame statement or just subtly badmouth Hardy in segments, which will fail to make it up to every single TNA fan that was cheated brutally out of their time and money on Sunday.
This will be followed by next week's edition of iMPACT which will fall back down in ratings as a result.
Jeff Hardy's immediate termination from the company would be the most positive thing, but it's highly unlikely he'll receive anything more than a slap on the wrist, despite the truckloads of heat he's garnered onto himself from management and the locker room.
Seeing as how my partner in crime will likely be looking at the lighter side of this atrocity, I'll highlight what I feel TNA needs to take away from this situation.
Lesson No. 1. It is never, ever acceptable to send an intoxicated, inebriated or otherwise not-of-sound-mind wrestler to the ring to compete. Ever.
I don't run a wrestling company, nor do I know how to, and even I could tell you this one. There's way too much at stake here. What if Jeff had struck a fan? What if he had badly injured Sting or the referee with his actions? Even though there was no major physicality issue stemming from this, thanks to TNA's decision to ax the match down to one minute, just the fact that it happened in the first place is loads of bad publicity upon them.
Any publicity is good publicity? The man is already been in court for the past year battling drug charges and you send him out to the ring high as a kite for the main event? Unacceptable conduct. Every single person that had a say in this decision happening should either be fired or should resign with whatever dignity their conscience will allow them to retain.
Lesson No. 2. Should you ever find your main event competitor in an unacceptable condition, there are plenty of solutions available to avoid the aforementioned debacle.
Again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that cutting your losses and changing the scheduled match is infinitely wiser than sending an inept competitor to the ring. There's a good reason why every professional wrestling match card contains the fine print that reads "Card subject to change."
You replace Hardy. Make an announcement that he couldn't make it to the show or shoot some quick footage of Jeff being taken out in the back so you can change the match. But under no circumstances it is ever acceptable to send him out to the ring in that condition.
Lessons No. 1 and No. 2 go hand-in-hand, and the fact that the show ended with a one-minute title match and the fans chanting "This is bullsh*t" speaks volumes about TNA's already questionable decision making.
Lesson No. 3. Issuing a statement about the debacle is not the same as apologizing for it and offering fans, 300 hours worth of free content is not a sufficient way to make it up for ripping them off.
You've realized how badly you screwed up and at the same time, your collective egos won't allow you to apologize for putting on what you know was an unacceptable main event.
Now, you have managed to not only rip off your fans but refuse them any sort of real compensation for said rip-off. It's better than doing and saying nothing, but perhaps if you hadn't sent your title challenger to the ring in the first place, there would be no reason to give away 300 hours worth of content as a consolation prize.
It just blows my mind. I can't even comprehend what kind of a mindset it takes to make a decision like the one TNA management made Sunday night by allowing Hardy to compete. And the one who is usually all over Twitter talking about her endeavors has now fallen silent.
We're still waiting Dixie...
Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below and make sure to head to Mr. Ashley Morris's Bleacher Report Profile for Part Two of the Armchair Quarterbacks musing.
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