It's often been said that the higher ups at TNA, most notably Eric Bischoff, don't respond well to criticism of the TNA product. This sensitivity may also extend all the way to the wrestlers, including Gunner, a TNA wrestling star (and I use the term "star" loosely) who has recently lashed out at critics in a series of sensational messages on his Twitter account. Right after TNA's little-promoted PPV No Surrender, Gunner, seeking brownie points no doubt, posted this:
"Amazing job from all Impact talent tonite! No Surrender was a success! SUCK IT, DIRT SHEETS AND FAT COMPUTER MARKS AT HOME!"
Look out, everyone! Gunner is shooting! What a misfire! OK, enough of the bad puns.
No one is exactly sure what set Gunner off. Certainly, nobody had high hopes for this PPV. Most gloomy predictions are it will do an embarrassingly low buy rate, due the date and the fact that the show was barely promoted.
The booking of the show was also heavily criticized (the show featured no less than three matches ending with someone getting something sprayed into their eyes, thus leading to a screwball finish).
The much talked-about Bound For Glory tournament has turned into a calamity; the complicated points system makes little sense to most fans. Several wrestlers have gotten injured and been pulled, and the rules have only scantily been enforced.
Worse still, despite it being a fairly decent match, the crowd was also also scarily quiet for the main event and barely made a sound (it was just like a David Otunga match).
Certainly, those in the company had to know of the criticism, and it ruffled a few feathers. Maybe Gunner was responding to all of this. Maybe he felt he had to defend Vince Russo's honor. Or possibly he just realized he had all the charisma and personality of a brick and would never go anywhere in wrestling, completely snapping in the process and lashing out at anyone he came across.
Whatever the motives, let's get to the heart of the issue: TNA is, at the end of the day, a professionally run company with an image to protect. Surely insulting fans and referring to them as "FAT COMPUTER MARKS" and telling journalists to "SUCK IT" is a PR no-no for any corporate organization?
Can anyone imagine John Cena ranting against fans on his Twitter and calling them names? Or Triple H ranting and raging against the press on a blog after they trashed one of his terrible movies? Of course not. And if any WWE wrestlers do commit an infraction on Twitter or Facebook, it is invariably followed by a speedy apology (Michael Cole, CM Punk, etc.).
Besides the obvious PR issues, does Gunner not see the problem with criticizing Internet fans...using the Internet? And should grumpy Gunner really be whining about computer marks and journalists, when they're the only ones actually buying the PPVs?
So what happened after this? Did the achingly dull Gunner feeling the heat from management, apologize for his obnoxious remarks? Er, no, Earlier today he remained unrepentant and continued his crusade against critics (you know, the people who have the audacity to point out TNA's terrible product is, well, terrible):
"So apparently the message boards are calling me an "egomaniac!" Ahhhh u guys are silly!! FAT COMPUTER MARKS...oooppss I did it again."
"Good thing the so called message boards don't really mean crap to me! My true fans are the ones who know we all bust our tails to entertain u all."
"Alright folks, let get it trending! For those dirt sheets calling me an Egomaniac! #FATINTERNETMARKS."
Gunner (who, up till a few months ago, I simply referred to as "The one who's not Murphy") is hardly alone in this behaviour. In June of this year, TNA wrestler Crimson lashed out at journalists Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez on his Twitter after the two commented on his poor worked punches on Wrestling Observer Radio after his (disastrous) match with Samoa Joe at Slammiversay:
"I dare one of those two Internet geeks to take one of my punches."
Yes, Crimson (who, similar to Gunner, is not someone we are about to confuse with a MENSA member anytime soon) responded to people saying that his worked punches were terrible by, er, threatening to punch the critics for real? What sense does that make? How does that answer the criticism aimed at him?
Nor can we forget TNA knockout Tara slamming recent reports that TNA Knockouts were low paid and insisting they were made up to causing trouble in the locker room...apparently forgetting that just last year, she too was complaining about the low pay towards women in the company.
For the record, we certainly cannot blame Gunner, Crimson or anyone one else on the roster for the problems backstage at TNA. And I imagine, privately, the wrestlers are as frustrated as the fans with the nonsensical storylines, falling numbers and jaw-droppingly dumb decisions of management.
However, certain wrestlers taking to social media, insulting fans and journalists and acting like there are no problems whatsoever in TNA, all in some attempt to be "company men" and help raise their profile with management is as disingenuous and it is nauseating. No one expects anyone under contract to come out and trash the company, but to so vociferously and viciously attack fans and critics for simply telling the truth (the product is bad, they aren't making any money) is utterly pathetic.
What happened to keeping a dignified silence? Certainly the wrestlers in the later stages of WCW managed to handle being in a joke of a company better than the current crop of TNA stars are. Although, in fairness, if Twitter had been around back then, it may have been a different story.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go. I've got a fat computer to go sit at.