A main factor as to why WCW wasn’t able to compete with the WWF during the ‘Attitude Era’ was that WCW‘s product was aimed at families. Unlike how far the WWF pushed the boundaries, WCW wasn’t able to cross that line of exploiting the sexualisation of women, the use of foul language, the references to drugs and the onscreen use of alcohol due to being under the Time Warner umbrella. (Authors Note: Who also owned the likes of Cartoon Network) They were a family based product, much like how the WWE is now.
What changed the WWE into this much gentler product that we see today was the transition from being a privately held company to a publicly traded company. Long gone are the days of wrestlers flipping the boss the bird, telling their opponents to “Suck it” and wrestlers smearing one another in their own blood. As now the WWE have a responsibility to their corporate sponsors to not “offend” any of their viewing audience. As their viewing audience is made up of millions of people from all walks of life–from all across the globe–it’s easy to understand why the WWE have boxed themselves into this “Universe” that they are constantly referring too, because in the real world, the world we live in, being offended by something or someone is all the rage. Ellen DeGeneres can’t even make a joke, whilst simultaneously complimenting a man’s athletic ability without being accused of being a racist.
TNA Ventures IS a privately held wrestling organisation. It has all the potential in the world, yet the product stinks up my television set more than a Triple H & Scott Steiner match. (Authors Note: God, do you remember that crap!?).
I’m not suggesting that TNA debut a new faction called the ‘Ku Klux Klan’, but it wouldn’t half be nice to see some compelling television. Instead, we are subjected to a lacklustre Bobby Lashley promo every week, or a ‘shoot my self in the head’ segment between any single one of the “knockouts”.
The introduction of ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Sandow’ Aron Rex has already shown me that the ball here has been dropped. I’m not saying his debut was bad, it was OK, but that’s my problem, it was just that…OK. Here TNA had a fantastic opportunity for an incredible talent like Rex to come out and cut an unscripted promo about how he was a wasted talent “Up in New York”, and the “backstage politics and not kissing people’s ass” held him back. This would be followed up by an interruption by arguably the most talented mic man in TNA at the moment: Eli Drake. Drake comes out and says “My friend, they didn’t give you the opportunity in New York because of backstage politics, you didn’t get that opportunity simply because you suck.”
Eli Drake should have come out and played the role of corporate WWE, telling Rex all the things that were said to him during his time with the WWE–What this does is get the audience defending Rex’s honour and gets heat on Drake. Then maybe for the next couple weeks, a nice subtle program between the two to allow Rex to establish himself to those who aren’t familiar with Aaron Haddad’s previous ventures. I’m sure that’s unlikely, but you still have to treat every new character—just like that—as a new character. Not every ‘former WWE’ talent has to debut in TNA and be the focus of the show.
TNA‘s booking system reminds me of a child playing with their wrestling action figures, every time they get a new one they have to put the belt on them because until the next “toy” comes along, this one’s their favourite.
Who’s booking TNA? Andy from ‘Toy Story’ apparently. This week Dixie has the Damien Sandow bed covers, next week she’ll have the Ryback one.
(Authors Nit Pick: A personal bother of mine is the camera work during the backstage segments. The shots are poorly framed, they go in and out of focus at times and the camera operator is constantly changing the focal point so that you never know what to look at. I honestly believe that TNA is being shot by first year film students—I guess you get what you pay for, huh!?)
It’s time for TNA to step up. It’s time they started to take advantage of the opportunities that WWE cannot due to them being a publicly traded company. TNA needs more cinematic vignettes, more compelling promos with interesting verbiage, characters that we care about that have goals that far exceed “I’m getting that title”.
TNA need to do to the WWE what the WWE did to WCW. The truth is, in this world sex and violence SELLS. It puts butts in seats, it drives television ratings. A guy in the wrestling business once said “Controversy creates cash” and in this politically correct world that we live in, controversy has never been so easy to create. (Authors Note: Again, I’m not suggesting TNA does a transgender angle where Dixie Carter becomes Dick Carter).
Its time TNA dared to be different. Like Lucha Underground, it’s time for us to see female wrestlers take on male wrestlers in equal competition. WWE refuses to do this as they think it may advocate domestic abuse. We want foul language. What makes it hard to buy into a lot of promos is the lack of intensity and yes, foul language can sometimes add another layer to that intensity. When two people are arguing and wanting to beat the crap out of one another there tends to be some foul language involved. Obviously within certain boundaries, but sometimes, some of those minor swears DO make a difference.
No, I don’t want to see wrestlers swimming in a ring of blood as though Ric Flair’s just been blading. But a bit of colour in matches when its used right, for psychological reasons as opposed to shock factor reasons makes such an incredible difference (Authors Note: See Stone Cold/Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13) and it can compliment the struggle the wrestlers are trying to get over in their match and how badly and desperate they want to win. I hate when you see colour just for the sake of seeing it.
As usual, I thank you all for reading my musings. I’ve been Jake Jesus and TNA daring to be different is what’s best for business!
Follow Jake on Twitter @IAmJakeJesus