Can TNA Ride The Wave Of WWE Wackness?
I get reminded of 1994, Wrestlemania Nine which I believe was the beginning of the downward sprial (Yeah Edge! haha) of WWE programming. Hulk Hogan gone to WCW, Yokozuna (awesome performer, just wrong place, wrong time) reigned as champion, and we were introduced to Atom Bomb, Duke the Dumpster and The Goon.
Although the birth of the Bret Hart Era always holds a special place in hardcore wrestling fans' hearts, most viewers of that product don't have anything positive to say about the undercard of that time (pig pen matches, I mean, REALLY?!?!).
It showed in the ratings, ppv buyrates, and merchandise pay-offs that WWF was not doing the business it was in the mid '80s and '90s. The steriod scandel caused Wrestlers (or shall I say ENTERTAINERS—hahahaha!) to become smaller, and the product was geared toward the little kids (I was 9 years old at the time—and even I knew I did not like what was on Superstars or Wrestling Challenge compared to the Hogan Era).
1994-1996 were pretty wack—in another words, Weaker Worst Entertainment.
Fast Forward to the 1997. Attitude Era and The Monday Night Wars—Need I say more? Then the Buyout, then the Next Big Thing Brock Lesner, Rock Vs. Hogan, Evolution, DX reunites, and John Cena.
And now were here in the present day, Priceless Dibase Jr, Randy Orton, Batista, Miz and Morrison, and Jimmy Wang Yang. Sprinkle in the wildly veterans like Michaels, HHH, Jericho, and Rey Mysterio and you have the formula for Monday, Tuesday, and Friday Nights.
I read the Bleacher Report article about McMahon banning terms like "wrestler" and "fan." This made me start biting my nails. Its halloween scary the way history really does repeat itself. Another Scandal—Chris Beniot killing his family. Another "drug-free" WWE—The Wellness policy. Do I dare say "Another WACK period for WWE?" Let me get back to that in a second.
In the past couple of months, Since Samoa Joe/Kurt Angles MMA style wrestling match at TNAs Lockdown, I have been magnetized by the way TNA is producing its TV. The Beautiful People and "paper bagging" ugly girls like Roxxi is something I wish I could have done to some girls in my high school days. Homicide and Hernandez coming out to shooting guns and rap music. AJ Styles, Machismo, Motor City Machine Gunns, and of course my boy Shark Boy (love his Austin impersonation).
However—What really caught my eye was the Bound for Glory PPV. Abyss through a table on fire? Team 3-D and Mick Foley beefing in the locker room? (Remember Edge and Christian beef'ing with Commissioner Foley on RAW?) The X-division Cage match that opened up the PPV? WHAT? TNA definetly proved to me that they are NOW very capable of putting on a above average (not excellent) Pay per view.
When WWE is away, the competition will come out and play.
No matter how bad of a product Vincent K. McMahon produces, 95% of the time I will most likely watch. I am a wrestling nerd like that. BUT, I also know that when WWE is sucking, someone out there (ala Eric Bishoff) is to ride the Wave of Fans that WANT to watch wrestling and not just want to be entertained. Most of my friends (who really only watch wrestling when its good) are saying the same thing: "I haven't watched wrestling is maaddd long."
I'm 25 years old, so I still fall into that Male Demographic that makes wrestling "cool." Right now, WWE, not wrestling, is sucking. The proof is in the 2.9 ratings for RAW, WWE wrestlers not recognizable in Pop Culture/MTV world (I don't see Wycelf John making songs with Dave Batista), and how bad UFC PPVs are dominating WWE in the buyrates.
WCW did it in 1996. And we all know what I am talking about.
TNA has the youth and awe-inspiring moves of the X-Division. TNA has the star Power (Main event Mafia, although I am still Shady about that angle) to bring in the "causal" fan, and they have something different to present to "WWE Universe."
No doubt I understand that we cannot live in the past, and wish the attitude era was still going. No doubt that TNA has let us down with having good Hype, then letting it sizzle before they can make a DVD out of it (Pacman Jones, and the Chicago White Sox dude last year). No doubt that as of press time, TNA really cannot hold a candle to the money WWE makes.
But I am going to go out on Limb and say that maybe my finger is eager to switch between USA network and Spike TV. Maybe The 18-26 demo is ready to move away from WWE Universe. Maybe Vince needs to step down (like his Dad did before the '80s Golden Age). Maybe we will all be force-fed a show with evil Karnys, un-slutty looking divas, and hearing a wrestler cut a promo saying, "Im going to kick your butt!" (Major Corn Juice)
My message to TNA—Your time is here! Your time is now! Vince can't see you! THE TIME IS NOW!!
That is the only way Wrestling will be "cool" again...
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