Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post: Total Nonstop Negativity

I've had a lot of people ask me about the lack of Guest Post articles as of late, and my only response is "I can only post what I receive." Not many people have submitted articles lately, so if you want to see more guest columns, or write one yourself, I need some e-mails: razor@kickoutwrestling.com. Luckily, frequent commenter and overall awesome dude, GA, has decided to contribute. You can check out movie reviews from GA at Unmurdered.com, but this week he turns his attention to TNA:

It goes without saying that I love Razor’s concept for a better wrestling media. For too long, fans have been anything but fans – moaning about the smallest details as if they could write a better episode of Monday Night Raw, and complaining that Internet darling number 23 is stuck under the glass ceiling because of Triple H. Wrestling should be a positive experience. It’s just a soap opera where larger than life characters beat the s*** out of each other, after all

But the thought occurs that TNA rarely gets mentioned in this new media movement, apart from a reference here or a joke there. Why is that? After watching an entire month of TNA, from October’s Bound For Glory pay per view to last week’s Impact, I understand why. Rather than producing something innovative or entertaining, TNA dwells in dirt sheet style negativity and sensationalism.

In the fallout of the Monday Night Wars in 2001, those who still wanted to watch fighting fragmented into two sections. MMA was for those craving for ‘reality’ and ‘shooting’, while the WWE – realising wrestling can never be portrayed as a true sport – leaned heavily towards the entertainment aspect so it could be popular with kids and adults alike.

TNA has different ideas. Instead of being innovative or entertaining, it has taken a direction that can be best described as a limp and frankly embarrassing version of the WWF Attitude Era. Characters are egocentric shades of grey (ie: genuinely unlikeable) as proven by the recent AJ Styles/Daniels/Samoa Joe feud. Wrestlers are too busy brawling backstage over wives to be actual wrestlers. And, for those who love ‘reality’, Tara and Kim Couture have impromptu shoot fights, and Team 3D and Rhino talk about losing their spots, peppering it with insider lingo. Fire Russo? Fire the guy at the TNA offices for getting desk calendars ten years out of date.

The company certainly has an identity crisis. It wants to be the alternative in professional wrestling, going as far to script (then) ex-WWE wrestlers like Christian to say they came to TNA because they love wrestling itself. Yet, it not only relies on former WWE talent to give their home grown stars legitimacy - an unnecessary practice, wrestlers constantly revisit memories from the past to make their current storylines seem relevant. Team 3D was dangerous in a TLC rip-off at Bound For Glory because they’ve “wrestled in this type of match in front of 70,000 people,” and Raven attacked Mick Foley for “getting in-between me and my playmate Tommy Dreamer.”

TNA has been around for seven years now. Surely they should have a plethora of moments they can look back at, right? After all, the WWE puts out hours of great memories every year. But can you honestly name one defining moment in TNA history? One to rival Austin stunning Vince McMahon, or HBK’s spectacular entrance at Wrestlemania 12? They had the AJ/Daniels/Samoa Joe match for the X-Division title at Unbreakable 2005, and that’s it.

Recently, they had the chance to put this right with the signing of Hulk Hogan. The press was tremendous, with mentions on shows such as Larry King and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Now with Hogan’s fans coming to check out TNA – it was essential for the company to impress and do something unforgettable for the new viewers. And, as it just so happens, TNA did. For all the wrong reasons.

Dixie Carter delivered a speech to the TNA roster and fans at home with the intention of rallying up the troops. This was a bad idea anyway; the viewers want to see total non-stop action now, not a promise there will be total non-stop action in a few weeks or so. However, she took the ridiculousness up tenfold by holding a lecture, demanding everyone to get behind her (non-existent) direction, or go elsewhere. After seeing the wrestlers belittled by a small woman resembling a stern teacher, those extra Hulkamaniacs went elsewhere, as proven by how the ratings slumped back to the 1.1 level again.

I have no idea why they did this speech, clearly a work due to the several mentions of it later in the programme, but it showed that TNA is a company run by sneering, cynical smarks. The type that demands too much just because they believe it’s their right. TNA thinks it can toy with wannabe fans through stunts like that, and by teasing major ground breaking announcements that will ‘shake the core of TNA’, only to turn around and have Eric Young change the name of an insignificant title.

Until TNA and its programming become a positive experience to watch, their buyrates, merchandise, ratings and attendances will not progress. We don’t care about what you’re going to do in the future, or what your wrestlers have previously done in clearly superior wrestling outfits, or insider stuff. We want to be emotionally involved with TNA. We want to be inspired by breathtaking, memorable moments you produce. That's it! How hard is that to understand?

Maybe Dixie Carter would take notice if I tweeted this article to her…

Read more from GA here: Unmurdered.com

If you'd like to be a part of Guest Posts, please e-mail razor@kickoutwrestling.com with the topic you'd like to discuss and a link to a writing sample.


  1. That was a great article and sums TNA up in a nutshell lol great work

  2. Is it bad that I am far more compelled by say Chikara Pro than I am TNA (and by extension, my own local wrestling Association, Border City Wrestling)?

  3. I don't think it is. It's a shame BCW is closely associated with TNA, but why invest your time in something you don't enjoy because the product would rather have you 'shocked' or 'swerved' instead of entertained?