AS I SEE IT 7/26: Let the buyer beware?
by: Bob Magee
OK...let's explore the issue of this week's column by looking at an analogy to it from the real world.
One morning, you hear that your local car dealer has run an advertisement for a car you want at a price you can afford. Happily, you go to the dealer, only to find out out that the car advertised isn't there. However, the dealer conveniently has something else available, but for a higher price, and not the type of car you want.
Or try this example, which actually happened to me recently. You go to your local Sears (name used to not protect the guilty), which has VHS tapes on sale. When you get there, you're told that they're out of these tapes, even though this is the first day of the sale, and that they don't know when they'll get replacements in This continues for weeks, with the same excuses used over and over again.
If either of these examples were to happen, what would local consumer agencies do? They'd certainly enforce local false advertising laws and other relevant consumer regulations, to be sure.
Well...this doesn't happen in wrestling....not even with a nationally televised wrestling company.
Let's take a look at what happened this past week with TNA's weekly PPV...where false advertising took place...in spades.
Three advertised performers for this past Wednesday's TNA PPV didn't appear as advertised.
Glen Gilberti was known to be in Hawaii, after working an independent date for Hawaiian Championship Wrestling on a show featuring a Sting/Great Muta-Scott Hall/Satoshi Kojima main event, along with Rikishi, D-Lo Brown, Rosey, Bull Buchanan, and Taka Michinoku.
Obviously, TNA had to approve the booking ahead of time and to give him permission to miss the TNA PPV(as well as D Lo Brown), yet went ahead and advertised Gilberti as part of a six man tag match against Shark Boy, D-Ray 3000, and TNA referee Mike Posey. Last minute changes have been noted on the TNA pre-show that is shown on InDemand and other TNA PPV outlets, so such a change could have easily been noted.
TNA knew Raven wasn't actually going to work a match on the show, yet advertised him as wrestling.
TNA knew they were doing an injury angle with AJ Styles, for reasons that escape me...yet advertised him as wrestling a tag match. along with Jerry Lynn against Michael Shane and Frankie Kazarian. Given that a sizable portion of TNA's fanbase is online, many knew that AJ Styles worked a 35 minute match with Christopher Daniels at 3PW's show July 17th, and saw that he was obviously fine.
It's also not the only time recently where this has happened on TNA PPVs. We saw a situation only weeks ago where the NWA World Heavyweight Title was held up between Jeff Jarrett and Ron Killings after a post-match schmoz. Fans were told a (storyline) decision would be made on the free Impact show. Then on Impact, the decision (without even a storyline reason) was then announced for the next week's PPV. So fans were swerved about when the storyline would be resolved...twice.
OK....no one save Glen Gilberti's family and friends bought the PPV to see him. Probably not that many bought it to see "Raven's return".
AJ Styles is another matter, though. Styles is one of the reasons that MANY people buy these PPVs or watch Impact. So THAT false advertising...done solely to sell an injury angle from the previous week...IS a major issue for many who buy these PPVs regularly.
Before I get the usual e-mails telling me I'm complaining too much about TNA again...let me say this.
It's true that anyone being fair knows that injuries do happen...and that the "card subject to change" caveat is there as a result on many wrestling shows. A case in point is Eddie Guerrero being pulled from this weekend's house shows due to his hamstring injury (and being put in a non-wrestling capacity back at Smackdown this past week in Philadelphia). While people are disappointed not to see him, it can't be helped...owing to his need to recover.
We also know that transportation problems occur, with flights being cancelled or other issues taking place, especially in the post-9/11 era.
Even with all of those exceptions being made... none of the "substitutions" listed above were legitimate injuries, or legitimate transportation or personal problems.
What fans need to start doing in cases like this the next time it happens is to call their local cable companies and tell them they aren't going to pay for that night's PPV, because they didn't get what was advertised (if WWE does the same thing knowingly...fans should do the same thing as well).
Nearly all cable systems carry the TNA pre-show which advertises what is to air on that night's PPV (advertising which is also seen as part of the TNA Explosion show). Therefore, these cable systems are responsible in part for airing what they advertise to a customer, and for providing remedy to customers when a company doing business with them false advertises talent that they KNOW will not appear. Cable companies, presumably, will then deal with the companies whose PPVs they carry.
Given the fact that TNA isn't the 900 pound gorilla that WWE is with PPV...and given that they have a lot less buys per PPV, if enough people raised enough hell about this stuff, TNA might wise up.
Speaking of "let the buyer beware"...
H2wrestling has closed its doors before its first show ever happened...with everyone's favorite promoter Court Bauer closing the doors of the company that never got opened...due to problems with their "foreign investors". Claims were made that that the "investors" wanted Bauer to put on MLW shows, he refused, and they pulled their funding from H2.
This occurred only days after Teddy Hart went on a 25 minute incoherent rant on the online Trash Talking Radio show that included subjects from Rob Feinstein (implying that Rob Feinstein would show up at the H2 show) to Ring of Honor to CZW to USA Pro Wrestling promoter Frank Goodman all the way to Gabe Sapolsky with this classic line that "his [Hart's] goal in life is to bring the power in wrestling away from the evil Gabe to the good of h2, for the people on earth".
After this rant, particularly the Feinstein inference, Hart was "demoted" from being "co-producer" to only being talent. Shortly thereafter, the "investors" pulled out.
It's pretty safe to say that no one could CREATE a story as weird as the MLW/H2 soap opera over the last few months if they sat down and tried....that is, unless they were Teddy Hart.
But this was a case where the buyers (namely the fans) were well advised to beware. Hopefully all fans receive refunds for this show, as well as for the last cancelled show. I know that there are people who were running bus trips that may well not get their money back. Additionally, the workers will more than likely be out paydays for the two "dates" that were scheduled, unless they can get bookings to replace the two scheduled H2 shows.
Until next time....
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