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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TNA Genesis: The Beginning of the End?

I hate to beat a dead horse or piggyback on Al's geometry lesson posted below. But as a wrestling journalist, it's usually my duty to cover the sport objectively, even if I don't like the product.

As such, I gave TNA a chance on January 4 (and going forward) because it was a "new era." While I didn't actively dislike TNA before then, I didn't follow it as fervently as others.

To me, it was the 1997 Florida Marlins of wrestling - sure, there were a handful of homegrown future stars, but the bulk of the product relied on past their prime former Superstars thrown together to make a run at the top.

Yet I had several TNA fanboys (who actually now seem more simply like WWE haters) telling me I needed to "cross the line" and that TNA was different, fresh, alternative, insert adjective here. They were wrestling, not sports entertainment - and no sirree, they don't just push WWE retreads simply because of their name value.

Then, I saw a 3-hour Impact where, not counting the outstanding Angle/AJ main, there was about 25 minutes of wrestling content in a 2 1/2 hours, every wrestler who has either ever been tight with Hulk Hogan or released from WWE in the past year show up and booking that made me feel like I was watching a "History of WCW Nitro" seminar.

Fine. First night, gotta establish new stuff, etc.

Then came Genesis.

Know what I saw on Sunday night?

I saw a PPV where the ring setup was changed to look exactly like a 1990 WCW PPV.

I saw 8 matches, all of which featured someone who made their name in WWE (half of which featurd people who have been in WWE within the last 18 months, no less).

I saw Daniels, a TNA stalwart who challenged for the TNA title just weeks ago, jobbed out in the second match to Sean Morley - who looked exactly like the Val Venis that hadn't been relevant since 2005, character and all, just with a different name.

I saw not one second of Jeff Hardy, Orlando Jordan, the Nasty Boys or 90 percent of the other "namedrops" that showed up on the Jan. 4 Impact.

I saw Hogan blatantly namedrop Vince McMahon in an attempt to bash his product - when McMahon's is, at least in terms of ratings, 3x the product Hogan's company puts out.

I saw two matches I had just seen (good or bad) on the 1/4 Impact.

And I saw two more matches where there was a last minute bait and switch replacement. Sure, I'd infinitely rather watch Kevin Nash and Ken Anderson than Scott Hall and Bobby Lashley, but the point remains.

Does any of this sound like a bad WCW flashback to you?

Because it does to me.

Yes, they pushed the homegrown guys a bit. Beer Money Inc. went over "The Band," Matt Morgan & Hernandez won the tag titles, and A.J. Styles is still the TNA champion.

Great. Booker T was WCW champion at the end too.

Unless Hulk Hogan has grand plans to get out of the Impact Zone, TNA has a very good chance of being dead by the turn of 2011.

Considering that people can get into the Impact Zone for free (seriously - it's $20 for a picture of you riding the Mummy inside the park, but Impact tapings are basically just another attraction) there will always be a crowd.

But he's already alienating the diehards within the Zone, and within a year, the nostalgia kick for those who started watching TNA again will have worn off.

What'll be left is a crowd full of attraction seekers that will make the old WCW Disney taping audiences look like the ECW Arena by comparison and a 1.0ish rating of apathetic TV viewers who are stuck in 1998.

The only reason I watched WCW in its dying years was because it was habitual. The product was god awful, but the cable loop in my college dorm didn't have TNN, so if I wanted to continue watching wrestling on Monday nights (like I had since 1986, when my parents used to let me stay up late one night a week to watch WWF Prime Time Wrestling), it was Nitro or nothing.

The way things are going for TNA, a lot of their diehards might find themselves in a similar position.

Changes, indeed.

-Louie Dee
PWI Contributing Writer


King Raj said...

As a devoted WWE fan, I finally decided to watch an episode of TNA Impact. Needless to say, it seems to be another carbon copy of WCW with a UFC octogon. Now I'm not hating on TNA, I really like the talent that they have groomed for years such as A.J. Styles. He is probably the only wrestler that seems to be on a higher platform in terms of performance than anyone else in pro wrestling. I'm getting tired of these cheesy storylines in WWE though I think they are in the right direction with promoting young stars like Sheamus, Yoshi Tatsu, Drew McIntyre, The Miz, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston. Having been born in the beginning of the 1980's, pro wrestilng had so much appeal and intrigue to even the casual fan. But watching former great stars like Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner and I could go on and on, it hurts me that these and many others are not what they used to be and though they are legendary names in this industry, they just are no longer relevant and the writers whether TNA or WWE, they just do not know what the true fan wants. I understand that pro wrestling is a demanding business, but so is pro sports. I miss the bloody matches where both competitors are giving their all to appease the fans. I miss the technical and creative offense that this wonderful sport made me believe. The passion is there, but the creativity isn't.
Recently, I was watching a DVD of the history of the Four Horsemen and the stories were timeless and historic. Watching the classic matches of that era and the wrestlers in that time brought smiles and pride that made wrestling what it is. So, please WWE, do something or real fans like myself will just fade away and will not care anymore.

Carlos Pimentel said...

Hulk Hogan is sadly stuck in the past. As much as he wants to stick it to McMahon, I feel that he wouldn't mind too much being in Bret Hart's position of having one more 'Mania moment.

As for TNA, it has its moments. And that's all you can ask for nowadays is moments. These corporate wrestling companies are burned out from trying to keep the product fresh, that it becomes stale and loses its creativity. And as fans we always like to bad mouth them because we can. But imagine being those writers.... Sure we'd write amazing storylines for a couple of months... But after a while, it would get stale.

What happened at the end of Genesis was a disgrace. Ric Flair making his presence felt by tarnishing the image of AJ Styles. TNA is suppose to be the house that Styles built; he's not suppose to become a carbon copy of Ric Flair.

Carlos Pimentel said...
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