TNA's Attack of the Armchair Quarterbacks: The Debacle at Victory Road, Part 2
TNA has released an official statement regarding their Victory Road pay per view that took place on Sunday, March 13.
This announcement, which some view as an “apology,” essentially acknowledges that the event that took place Sunday was not up to par with what the company attempts to deliver to its fans.
As a result of this, the company will offer fans that purchased the event six months of free access to 300 hours of footage from the TNAOnDemand library.
Please excuse the sarcasm, but that’s one hell of a way to repay your loyal fans. If watching one minute and 28 seconds of sports entertainment crap wasn’t bad enough, now you get an offer to watch 300 hours of it for free! Where exactly are the redeeming qualities in that?
To further exacerbate the problem, the announcement shows no sign of remorse on behalf of the company for willfully showcasing what it did during Victory Road’s main event, nor did the announcement contain anything resembling an apology.
That’s right; TNA isn’t even sorry or apologetic for what they did to the fans and what could’ve potentially happened to their performers.
Here’s the actual statement, which is found on the company’s website:
“TNA Wrestling strives to give fans who purchase our pay-per-views as close to a full three-hour event as possible. This past Sunday’s "TNA Victory Road" fell short of that standard. Your support of TNA is never taken for granted. To show you how we value that support, we would like to offer six months of free access to the TNAondemand.com library.”
Pause. We REALLY have to look at what was said here before continuing:
“TNA Wrestling strives to give fans who purchase our pay-per-views as close to a full three-hour event as possible. This past Sunday’s "TNA Victory Road" fell short of that standard…”
According to this official statement, the only “standard” Victory Road fell short of was lasting a full three hours. That’s it.
My dear brother, Quinn Gammon, opined in his piece the obvious faults that made the pay-per-view stink to high heaven. Fans were pissed because the main event, a championship match between two of the hottest stars in pro wrestling, lasted less than a minute and a half because wrestling’s “hottest free agent” was sh*tfaced.
No one gave two owl hoots and a wet fart in the wind that the pay-per-view didn’t last three hours! The main event was crap! The last minute “save” of the main event was crap!
Allowing a wrestler in an obvious state of inebriation to meander to the ring for a match was crap! Expecting fans to not get their hard-earned $40 back was/is unconscionable, cold-hearted and unforgivable.
At least some fans will get 300 hours of free TNA archived footage for six months!
By using fuzzy math, a fan could theoretically watch all 300 hours in fifty days if they devoted six hours a day to watching the programming.
There are 183 days between April 1 and Sept. 30. You could finish the archived footage in a month and a half. I digress.
So again, Quinn Gammon alluded to the fact that I would speak on the sunny side of what transpired Sunday. To that extent, he was correct.
However, I would be just as guilty as TNA if I did not at least spend some time waxing poetically about this farce of a pro wrestling event that made the WWE’s December to Dismember look like WrestleMania X-7.
The general consensus among TNA’s supporters, detractors and apathetic well-wishers is that the company should address Hardy’s issues with him behind closed doors, the end result being his termination and a drastic change in the company’s creative direction and booking procedures.
By now we all know that Hardy was in no condition to compete Sunday night. By allowing him to compete, TNA has been placed in a situation where they have much more to worry about than turning a blind eye to the star’s ongoing legal troubles, impending trial, and rampant substance abuse problems.
What scares me the most is that Hardy was allowed to “compete” in the match given his state, putting his own health and Sting’s at risk, not to mention that the match carried a No DQ stipulation intended to cover up his limitations, even though practically exacerbating the already severely fractured situation.
Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to the dark cloud now hovering over the TNA offices. Even as the company chose to respond half-heartedly to the situation, they stand to make an impact (pun intended) which could prove to be somewhat beneficial to the company.
1. Fans WILL watch Impact This Thursday
While fans are obviously pissed off about the conclusion of Victory Road, it was debatable for about 17 minutes whether the entire thing was a “clever ruse” of a swerve manufactured by Vince Russo’s limitless pro wrestling genius.
Think about it; TNA has garnered so much attention from the incident that fans on either side of the situation will tune in Thursday just to see what happens next.
Even though we already know Hardy was sent home and excluded from this week’s tapings, fans will still gather in front of their television sets to see how the company recuperates from their egregious error.
What is the definition of insanity again?
2. The “Road to Lockdown” Just Got More Interesting
Unlike the WWE, who spends goo-gobs of money on building up their annual Wrestlemania pay per view two to three months in advance, TNA’s started a slow and meticulous build for their April 17th Lockdown pay per view one month prior with last night’s Victory Road. That was sarcasm for those of you in the back who missed it.
While we’re all intrigued by the finish to the Sting and Jeff Hardy match, there was another main event match that took place prior to it.
Mr. Anderson faced Rob Van Dam in a bout to determine the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Believe it or not, that is actually the good news coming from this Jeff Hardy situation.
The other bad news is that Anderson and RVD’s match ended in a double count-out, which technically means that at this point there is no No. 1 contender for the champ to face. This does, however, allow for limitless options for next month’s main event.
With Hardy seemingly out of the equation, either a spot has been opened for another deserving wrestler to reach for the brass ring OR a triple threat match between Sting, RVD, and Anderson for the title.
Of course there is the off chance that Hardy can get his act together before Lockdown, returning with a renewed spirit and resolve to not squander or piss away his opportunities anymore.
If being placed on probation twice by Vince McMahon didn’t solve that issue, then not much else will. A brand new wife and baby didn’t keep Jeff from wobbling down to the ring last night, either.
Having said all of this, I do not believe the situation as it stands for Jeff Hardy and TNA is as dire as some make it out to be. The company will not fold soon and Vince McMahon isn’t thinking about purchasing TNA’s controlling stock from Panda Energy.
Objectively speaking, however, Dixie Carter is now neck-deep in a pool of feces filled by the empty promises of those whom she entrusted to do the work that she herself should have done years ago when convincing her father, Bob “Daddy Warbucks” Carter, to purchase the company.
The silver linings of these dark clouds by no means dissipate the seriousness of the storm that’s a’brewing ahead.
1. Does TNA Really “Care” About Its Stars?
If this were the case, there would have been no way (a) Jeff Hardy would’ve competed Sunday night and (b) the match would’ve changed to a more physically demanding style to hide his limitations.
Hardy’s state also calls into question the numerous other situations where it was speculated that he showed up to a taping or pay per view in no condition to compete.
Can supporters that once stood firmly behind the company and their favorite star by saying “he was tired” or “he was injured” still continue to insist the same after watching 88 seconds of double u-tee-eff?
Pundits from all over the IWC and fanboy pro wrestling kingdom have universally agreed that TNA could have easily changed things around on the fly if Hardy wasn’t in a clear state to wrestle. They did not.
Not to mention that some sort of drug policy in place would have solved the issue as soon as Jeffrey walked into the Impact Zone.
We can even one step further and argue that it was a slap in the face to the other wrestlers on the card that night.
It’s atrocious that wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Robert Roode and James Storm, Kazarian, Generation Me, Robbie E, Shannon Moore and Jesse Neal, and even Matt Hardy put on very good matches on the undercard, just to play second banana to Jeff Hardy strolling down the ramp like Weekend At Bernie’s.
If this is the modus operandi of a company that “cares about its stars,” it’s no wonder some wrestlers would gladly give their firstborn son to Vince McMahon for a chance to let Mae Young dry hump their leg at Summerslam.
2. Does TNA Really “Care” About Its Fans?
The answer to this question is debatable.
They care about our money; they even care about our viewing habits in regards to the ratings; they care tremendously about our buying into the product. Other than that, they show fans consistently that they care very little for us.
Then again, TNA’s wrestlers often take countless hours out of their schedules to talk to fans, sign autographs, conduct interviews, etc. In this sense, they serve as ambassadors that represent the company, allowing us to that the company cares because the people they employ care.
But if the company truly cared about its fans, would it spend three days of planning damage control by issuing a vague statement regarding the injustice they pandered to us on Sunday's pay-per-view?
Given Jeff Hardy’s popularity with the fans, would they have allowed him to saunter out on TV in a questionable condition if they really cared about us?
Given Sting’s popularity, would they have allowed the match to continue—knowing that Hardy wrestling in a compromised state could lead to something dangerous happening to either man in the ring—if they really cared about the fans?
If TNA really cared about the fans, they’d encourage Jeff Hardy to take advantage of WWE’s rehab offer. They would suspend him indefinitely or fire him to send a message that they take drug issues seriously.
They would make a real, intentional and sincere effort to restore credibility with their fans by offering something more than free archived footage and a half-assed acknowledgement of their abomination of a pay per view.
The bottom line is that the company is a business and will do whatever it needs to succeed as a business. What we think doesn’t matter; the only thing worth salvaging is the financial support of the people buying into the product.
While the wrestlers in TNA will give their all to the fans, the company is an institution that is fueled off of our money, not our desires.
As fans, if we truly love Jeff Hardy, we won’t allow TNA to keep him on television when it has become painfully apparent all of his demons are not exorcised.
To expect fans to continue their support of the product after Sunday’s main event fiasco is ludicrous. But to still consider yourself a major force in pro wrestling in the United States after that is even more hilarious.
Then again, let’s look on the bright side; the ratings for tomorrow’s Impact will probably be through the glass ceiling TNA has created for itself. It’s just so sad because that hypothesis is not far from the truth at all.
Just in case you missed the first half of this series, please support my brother Quinn Gammon's efforts in cleansing our pro wrestling palates from pro wrestling foolishness. Check out Part 1 of this Hail Mary!
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