AS I SEE IT 4/19: More on the online firestorm between Ring of Honor & TNA...

by: Bob Magee

It sounds as though the NWA-TNA/ROH situation has created a major online firestorm.

Joey Styles, co-owner of 1wrestling.com with NWA-TNA's Bob Ryder went on a tirade about Ring of Honor this past week, in part replying to criticism that 1wrestling.com hadn't covered Ring of Honor (with exceptions of the Feinstein situation and the recent ROH-TNA conflict) since early March, claiming that he wouldn't "allow them to be covered" on his website, for the reason that it offended his morality, owing to his children.

While anyone can respect someone caring about his children, there are some other points to consider:

This well-known commentator also worked for XPW, well-known to have been backed by the Extreme Associates adult entertainment company. Styles made claims after he left the company that he had been told that EA and XPW were "run separately", and after he found out that they were not...that he "never cashed any of the checks". One wonders if he feels wrestling fans have the right to ask him for the same level of proof about his claims that he is asking of Ring of Honor.

As for his targets of moral indignation, perhaps Styles needs to look a little closer to home.

One place for him to start would be his own website's associated merchandise site, 1wrestlingshop.com, where Ring of Honor tapes are listed as the number one and number two items sold, despite his supposed moral outrage about the company, a fact which can be seen at this link. Apparently Styles's moral indignation is tempered as long as 1wrestling.com makes money out of the situation.

Before anyone asks, while Highspots has afiliate/merchandising relationships with 1wrestling.com and many other sites, Highspots mas made clear that each site has the right to decide what gets sold and what does not. Thus, one might reasonably question why it's considered appropriate for TNA staffer Bob Ryder to be permitted to make money from Ring of Honor, yet not TNA wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, Traci Brooks, and The Amazing Red.

In another matter related to 1wrestling and the ROH-TNA dispute, 1Wrestling.com pulled (without notice) several stories on the ROH-TNA situation that they published April 10th weekend, including their publishing of a document that ROH investor Cary Silken refused to sign concerning personal liability in the event that Rob Feinstein were to return to Ring of Honor. The only story of the group remaining is the Styles column cited above.

The 1wrestling.com website apparently found it appropriate to post the Silkin document publicly, yet TNA officials refused to allow Gabe Sapolsky to remove the same document from the Nashville Fairgrounds to have Ring of Honor's lawyer look at it, when TNA officials asked him to sign this document (despite not being an officer of the company) weeks ago.

But Ryder and Styles aren't the only ones who ought to be questioned here.

Dave Meltzer also makes clear that TNA higher management hasn't been honest with its own employees in the past about business matters, either...citing the company's avoidance of the truth when Vince Russo was brought into the company while a Time-Warner/WCW discrimination lawsuit involving Russo was continuing, despite repeated and vehement denials to talent that he was with the company. Meltzer also suggests that Bob Ryder's own employment with TNA had been denied to TNA workers and staff, with claims by management of the time stating Ryder was "only making phone calls for them".

Moving on... I appreciate those who've been e-mailing me, feeling that e-mailing those relevant parties to the ROH-TNA dispute is somehow going to hurt those working within TNA. Some of those people have their own agendas, and others are sincere in their concern.

I can only put it this way: Ring of Honor's head Doug Gentry signed the statement that TNA requested. Thus, if Rob Feinstein ever appeared again in Ring of Honor, TNA could as of this day...today sue Ring of Honor for damages. There is no need to ask the same commitment on investor Cary Silkin.

Thus, the only entity that is hurting TNA workers is TNA itself. Fans like you and I aren't taking away paydays from TNA workers. TNA is.

PWinsider.com's Buck Woodward reported this past weekend that there are also noises being made that TNA wants to take over the independent bookings of all its talent. Such reports makes some people wonder what the real motivation in the Ring of Honor situation really was all along. It also should make those of you that are independent wrestling fans feel nervous for what may be coming in the future.

For those of you who feel that this situation is entirely wrong, let TNA and those associated with the proposed TV deal that reportedly started all this by contacting them via the addresses provided below. Let those you write know POLITELY that you are upset with what's been done by TNA, WITHOUT childish, profane, or inappropriate language. But let them know firmly that as a wrestling fan you will not accept NWA-TNA taking bookings away from workers, and food out of the mouths of their families and that you will not support the TNA product until this misguided company stance is taken back.

Here are potential contacts you can make:

NWA-TNA

If you buy NWA-TNA PPVs, tell the company that you plan to do stop doing so as immediately as their company pulled talent from Ring of Honor. Let your own local cable company know this as well, and tell them why.

Point out to them as one online columnist said this weekend: that NWA-TNA needs Ring Of Honorís fan base to survive, those online and smart mark fanms that have kept them alive until they were supported by their current backers. Without that fan base, they may well not survive.

Several options are available to contact TNA to express your thoughts on this matter at this link. Make clear to them that you will also be contacting Fox Sports, Universal Studios, and Panda Energy.

You can also contact NWA-TNA via snail mail at TNA Entertainment, LLC, 209 Tenth Avenue South, Suite 302, Nashville TN 37203, or call Trifecta Entertainment at (615) 254-3333.

If you use the snail mail method, send TNA copies of your recent cable bills that show you are now ordering their PPVs. Remind them that they will be losing a customer...and let them know you'll be contacting various individuals within Fox Sports as well to express your displeasure, as well as Panda Energy, and Universal Studios Florida.

Additionally, readers may wish to directly contact Jeff Jarrett directly at this address, an address which was made public by Jarrett during a online chat.

Readers in the eastern and central Pennsylvania area will also be able to talk with Jeff Jarrett personally, as he will be appearing at Darren Wyse's NCW show in Red Lion, PA on April 24th. For information on this show, go to the NCW website here.

NWA

While NWA-TNA is technically not a NWA affiliate member, it's clear that they are the most known entity carrying the NWA name in the United States. Let their president, Bill Behrens, know about your feelings regarding this matter at this address.

I will note this: PLEASE be polite in what you write to Bill Behrens. Behrens has been exceedingly polite in his replies thus far to those having written to him. He deserves the same treatment from those writing to him.

Panda Energy:

You can contact the backers of NWA-TNA by snail mail at Panda Energy International, Inc., 4100 Spring Valley/Suite 1001, Dallas, Texas 75244

They may also be contacted by:
Phone: (972) 980-7159
Fax: (972) 980-6815
E-mail: shareholders@pandaenergy.com
panda@pandaenergy.com

Fox Sports

Let Fox Sports know that you don't appreciate their role in this situation by going to their Feedback page at this link, by calling (310) 369-1000 or (310) 369-7761, or by writing Fox Sports Net at their Corporate offices at Fox Sports Net, 1440 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Bldg. 101, Los Angeles, CA 90035.

Additionally, a specific media relations contact out of Fox Sports in New York has been made available to me. It's been indicated that he is fairly smart to wrestling and to what's going on in this situation. His contact information, and that of his boss are:

Tom Chiappetta, Director/Media Relations, Fox Sports
Phone: (212) 556-2477
Fax: (212) 354-6902
E-Mail: tchiappetta@foxsports.net

Additionally, his boss is:
Lou D'Ermilio, Senior Vice President/Media Relations, Fox Sports
Phone: (212) 556-2573
Fax: (212) 354-6902
E-Mail: loud@fox.com

Some of you stated that you were ready to provide names of Fox Sports advertisers. Please feel free to e-mail me with such information, and such contact information will be made public.

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida is the proposed location for the NWA-TNA television show. Let them know the nature of the company they are proposing to host.

Universal Studios Online Feedback
10 Universal City Plaza, Suite 3200
Universal City, CA 91608

Webmail feedback: here.

This time, until NWA-TNA permanently backs off...contact these people, and others you feel to be appropriate, and do not back off until the situation is resolved. Unfortunately, it appears the only answer will be to hit TNA in their pocketbooks and make them understand the dissatisfaction of wrestling fans.

Let me end this column with a reminder of more pleasant things...

It was 7 years ago last Tuesday that the moment ECW fans had waited for since the last year's worth of rumors finally took place. On April 13, 1997, ECW went live for its first PPV, "Barely Legal".

It began as Eastern Championship Wrestling...actually beginning operations in February 1992, picking up the ashes of Joel Goodhart's Tri-State Wrestling Alliance. The promotion ran shows at the Philadelphia Original Sports Bar, the Chestnut Cabaret and other local venues. It ran its first TV taping at Cabrini College in suburban Philadelphia...then moved on May 15, 1993 to what became known so well as the "world's most famous Bingo Hall..." the ECW Arena.

For four years, ECW provided fans with an alternative to the cartoon show of Stamford, CT and the bizarro world of Atlanta with a variety of high-flying wrestling, technical wrestling and hardcore wrestling.

Then, April 13, 1997 came.

Even with the usual pre-show atmosphere at the ECW Arena... that whole day and night were something special. Fans waited outside the ECW Arena tailgating from early on that morning. The Arena was filled as full as physical space would allow, well beyond anything permitted by city or state fire laws. The atmosphere was electric.

At 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, in the most improbable of locations: the converted Bingo Hall that staff had painted and fixed up on their own, down the street from a bargain basement store and vacant buildings... the home of a wrestling promotion founded by a downtown storefront pawnbroker, started with little more than hopes and dreams... the impossible dream came true, as "Barely Legal" went hot and started the era of ECW on PPV to the United States.

Just to remind everyone, the show itself included such moments as:

  • The Eliminators defeating ECW Tag champs D-Von and Buh Buh Ray Dudley for the ECW Tag team Titles,

  • Rob Van Dam defeated Lance Storm

  • Taz over Sabu

  • Great Sasuke/Gran Hamada/Masato Yakushiji defeated TAKA Michinoku/Dick Togo/Terry Boy (aka Mens Teioh)

  • Shane Douglas defeated Pitbull 2

  • Terry Funk defeating first Sandman and Stevie Richards in a qualifying match, then defeated Raven for the ECW Heavyweight Title.

    Wrestling and all of our lives have changed a great deal since then, but it's nice to remember the impossible dream that came true.

    Until next time...

    _________________________________________________________

    If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at bobmagee1@hotmail.com)