AS I SEE IT 11/15: More fables of one sort or another...
AS I SEE IT
Thanks to all of you who sent compliments on the re-print of the 1997 PWBTS newsletter version of "A Christmas Carol", written by Dan Moreland.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Unfortunately, as I said at the end of last week's column, Moreland's version "A Christmas Carol" is only a fable, as is the original. The odds are pretty good are that there aren't any happy endings for those releases as there were for the fictional "Bob Cratchett"; save independent dates, or TNA for a lucky few. Even worse is that the market for foreigners seems to be drying up in Japan, keeping all bit a lucky few from exploring that option.
Along those lines, despite the company telling WWE talent that there would be no further releases of WWE talent...last Friday, November 12th, Linda Miles was released by WWE. Most readers recall that Linda Miles performed as Shaniqua, in a role as dominatrix/valet to the Basham Brothers tag team on Smackdown. She recently returned to Ohio Valley Wrestling. She seemed to have overcome a reputation that she had developed in OVW as having an attitude, as well as one notable confrontation while in OVW.
This release occurred just after reports that only days before at the Smackdown tapings that WWE management had told workers that further roster cuts had been put off "for at least a few months". A even stranger sidelight to Miles's release are the reports that she had been told she was being brought back up to WWE as of the preceding week. Yet, this past Friday, Miles had her release announced on WWE.com.
Buck Woodward of PWinsider.com helpfully put together a list that tells readers how deep the cuts (as well as voluntary departures) have been within WWE during calendar year 2004: Kevin Nash, Spanky, Zach Gowen, Kanyon, Ernest Miller, Nikita Fink (OVW), Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Ron Simmons, Sean O'Haire, Terri Runnels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brian Christopher, Scott Steiner, Bobbi Billard (OVW), LaTasha Marzolla (OVW), Chavo Guerrero Sr., Jacqueline, Rue DeBona, Sakoda, Rikishi, Sable, Jamie Noble, Tom Prichard, Pat Patterson, A-Train, Billy Gunn, Test, Gail Kim, Nidia, Chuck Palumbo, Jazz, Johnny Stamboli, Rodney Mack, Rico, Demond Thompson (OVW), Linda Miles (OVW)
In other odd happenings this week...in an unintentionally hilarious moment, TNA sent out a press release "apologizing" for their encounter with WWE talent at Universal, while WWE was taping a promotional spot for Royal Rumble.
What they apologized for was funny in and of itself, and was a great PR coup to boot...yet the humor I'm speaking of comes from elsewhere. First, the reason for the mock "apology"...
On Wednesday, WWE was at Universal in Orlando, filming a "Royal Rumble" commercial. Universal in Orlando is, of course, the well-known home of TNA's television tapings and most recently, of TNA Victory Road PPV. Well... TNA decided to "welcome in the new neighbors" by sending Abyss with balloons and Traci Brooks with cookies to the Royal Rumble filming area. WWE staff proceeded to collectively explode, with a production assistant sent over to tell TNA staff that they would be sued if TNA aired any of the footage...despite the fact that WWE/F themselves aired a similar piece years ago on their OWN TV of DX in commando gear "attacking" WCW.
TNA then sent around an mock "apology" press release, 85% of which was hilarious... in a good way...taking advantage of some incredible stupidity by WWE in handing TNA a perfect PR opportunity. The problem is that the last 15% was based around a statement that TNA is being bullied by WWE...by referring themselves as the David to WWE's "Goliath", and saying in essence that "we all know how David and Goliath turned out".
The amusing part of this, in setting themselves up as underdogs, is the fact that TNA itself has set itself up as their own version of...well, we'll call them a 450 pound gorilla (since they don't yet qualify as a 900 pound one) by charging independent promotions booking fees for the use of "their talent" after the fact; long after these workers signed contracts that had no mention of any such booking fees; and claiming the right to further restrict the use of "TNA talent" based on TNA storylines within any of the independent promotions.
(A side note: Funny how contracts work in wrestling to control "a promotion's 'talent'", but when something happens to one of these workers, or they get into legal issues, the workers suddenly become "independent contractors").
If that's not enough, how about TNA's prohibition on CZW using Sonjay Dutt on their taped DirecTV-only PPVs? For those not aware, it should be noted that Dutt has been a regular for the promotion long before TNA had even existed.
Then, there is the not-so-small matter of TNA's prohibition of "their talent" working Ring of Honor for several months...a prohibition which continues as of this writing for any Ring of Honor use of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. The excuse used at the time was the Rob Feinstein incident in March, while most felt the real reason was jealousy by TNA over the attention that Ring of Honor was getting. While Jerry Jarrett made a statement that the "problem is solved", the fact remains that ROH cannot book these two talents around whom they built their shows in 2003 and early 2004.
Terry Taylor claimed to not be aware of the ban when questioned by a fan about the TNA ban on Ring of Honor use of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels at this Saturday's Wrestling Reunion II Q&A in Carteret, NJ. He also claimed not to be aware of the vocal fan reactions to TNA at independent shows in the New York-Philadelphia region. Jersey All Pro Wrestling promoter Frank Iadevia then agreed with the fan that had asked Taylor the question, pointing out the loud anti-TNA reaction at more than one of his own shows, as well as at Ring of Honor shows he'd attended.
Taylor then said that interestingly enough that fans have the right to vote with their dollars if they don't like what a promotion is doing vis-a-vis talent or product, but that he "didn't think that there was a problem anymore".
By the way, NWA-Florida's Ron Niemi sent out a reply of sorts to the "David and Goliath" part of the "Apology"...pointing some of the things I'd said above about TNA playing 450 pound gorilla. He also pointed out TNA's attempt to cut off $100 payoffs for independent workers who put over TNA talent on Explosion and Impact taping. This attempt was retracted after PWinsider.com and the Observer broke the story. TNA claimed the step was "never official", a statement that Niemi and most reporting on the story state to be inaccurate. Niemi also goes further to claim that some of these workers are owed a paycheck by TNA.
Until next time...
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