AS I SEE IT 2/12: TNA, ROH, and Samoa Joe, your thoughts...

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

This column, your thoughts...

All of these thoughts were civil and a lot more were supportive, unless you count the one from a well-known person within TNA to me last Tuesday who described me in their e-mail as "weird...and generally creepy" and "an ass" and who "wants to tell me that to my face"; and the fan who called me a "dickhead"....then there was this one from I have reproduced it exactly as it was:

"You are a retarded moron and im trying to be nice!!!!!!! TNA is the best thing to happen to wrestling!!!!!!!!! You should be mad at WWE for making CM PUNK look like a fag and a bitch in ECW!!!!!!!!! Not to metion they mock and are killing what is left of the great ECW!!!!!!!!!! Your the type of wrestling fan that thinks the FU is a better move than the Canadien Destroyer!!! and think that John Cena is a great wrestler when he really is a piece of shit in the wrestling world!!!!"

He apparently hasn't read what I've said about WWECW, has he?

It's nice to see the level of discussion among certain people is still right up there with 6 year olds calling each other "doodyhead".

Now for the reasonable people...

From Jesse Lee:

" Very nice column. Good points with comparing TNA and WWE. Like I've said before, I don't consider you a bloodmark, ROHbot, or whatever people call fans who have preferences. You just have a strong spirit for a product you enjoy, much like how I enjoy WWE (coming this September 22 marks my 10-year anniversary of being a wrestling fan)...

...It does sound selfish of TNA to keep Joe (and possibly Homicide, Austin, and Daniels) to themselves, but Vince did this when he was trying to go national. But TNA is not in Vince's place. While Vince had the money to keep his performers happy, I recently read an article on how TNA wrestlers are upset at the current product, which is not a good sign. I agree with you and Storm and decided not to watch... of course, I haven't watched an entire TNA show since they started this whole 'secret thing' and I tuned back in to see a very lackluster show."

The problem is, as with WCW (which had the advantage of Ted Turner's deep pockets, and the fdact that they provided him programming), a competing promotion is trying to be WWE; rather than trying to produce a unique product. They compare themselves with WWE. They run angles against WWE.

If TNA hadn't turned their X Division wrestlers into straight men for Kevin Nash or shills for the movie "Jackass", they would have had the X Division to build on to create a unique image. Anyone who wants to complain that I'm just a mark and don't know any better, can look at the comments by Paul Heyman and Lance Storm (among others) who've said just that.

From Ronnie Miller:

"I just want to thank you for your article and for listing the appropriate people to contact. I feel the exact same way, but never had the format that you do to voice such opinions and get it out to a large number of people. I discovered Ring of Honor while searching the internet for information about a few wrestlers who I saw on TNA programming. Namely, AJ Styles, C.M Punk, and Amazing Red. All those names led to ROH and I decided to check it out.

I instantly became a fan of ROH and loved and thought very highly of NWA-TNA for allowing these wrestlers to compete for them on television pay-per-views and for the independent company on the weekends to be recorded onto DVD( before and after the Feinstein debacle of course). Once TNA got on regular TV and had to do things to get ratings the product started to dwindle for me. I kept supporting them because I liked seeing the wrestlers I knew from ROH on television and was glad these guys were making TV money.

Now TNA chooses to ruin that and take, arguably, Ring of Honor's biggest star from them, knowing that its not a real problem for that person to compete for both companies. That type of bullying is unacceptable. I applaud you for getting that message out and encourage you to go above and beyond to spread that word and get everyone writing letters and contacting the appropriate individuals to voice their opinion. I'd rather not have to TV-based wrestling organization trying to tell me what I want to see as far as my wrestling entertainment and then sabotaging the organization that actually gives me what I want to see."

The point is that they ARE trying to do so....despite statements that TNA sees Ring of Honor as a "valued business associate". If this is what they do to friends, I wonder what they do to enemies?

From Robert Miller...a former member of the TNA Orlando street team:

"I'm with you all the way Magee. I live in Orlando and i've been attending impact tapings since they were on Fox Sports and like many, I've noticed the very different booking of matches in recent months and am not enjoying what I'm seeing. I'm also a huge ROH fan and whenever I come home for vacation (New York City) I try to book my vacation in accordance with ROH shows in the tri-state area.... Once again, I will voice my opinion with you and thank you for standing up to what is quick becoming a shadow of another company that lost its way through shoddy scripting, signing deals, and booking, WCW.

A final note... I was a former member of TNA's street team and ever since they got on Spike they literally told us that we no longer have benefits for helping them.

Nice...even smaller indies like CZW have on occasion given t-shirts, and other gimmicks to those who help them out. I'd think Panda Energy could afford that.

By the way, there are stories floating around on a well-respected e-newsletter this week that the morale in TNA's locker room is "dropping like a stone". Many wrestlers on the roster are getting a grand total of one opportunity per month to have wrestling matches in TNA... on the PPVs. Others, including Kurt Angle, who made the statement in an online interview last week, have no idea whether they’re supposed to be a heel or face.

There's also the separation of name wrestlers in a separate locker room from the rest of the TNA talent that isn't helping morale much. Finally, the same report indicated that wrestlers were being questioned for being well...wrestlers...and doing such things as trying to employ psychology in matches, actually grabbing holds and working a body part. Guess the people questioning those actions in a wrestling match never saw an Arn Anderson match, did they?

Then, this weekend, the Wrestling Observer reported that TNA talent is being threatened with the loss of a pay-per-view payoff if they do an "unauthorized" interview (translated: negative or not approved by TNA). It's a safe bet that TNA didn't like the comment Samoa Joe made at a recent Ring of Honor show that he couldn't work that night because he hurt his knee "tripping over some bad booking" (note: Joe wasn't referring to Gabe Sapolsky).

Joe's comment; as well as other recent online interviews seem to have triggered this move. Amyone want to start a betting pool for how long it takes someone to get fined?

From Adrian Ramos:

"I have been a fan of your column for many years. God knows how long you've been writing but I know I've been reading. I have a pretty busy schedule and to tell you the truth probably have written to you once or twice in your entire column writing days...

You are correct on the TNA/ROH situation. I totally agree on why people see Samoa Joe as more of a ROH wrestler than a TNA attraction. Personally myself I've always seen Joe as a ROH 'legend' of sorts. Gabe certainly knows how to use Joe better than Russo or Jarrett have so far. Just look at the ROH product and the TNA...need I say more. TNA needs to keep Russo away from booking as much as I supported his move back into the Jarrett product, he has no idea of what a good wrestling show should be built around."

To me it's simple. Ring of Honor fans are being punished because Gabe Sapolsky is a better booker than Vince Russo and the multiple TNA booking committees that have preceded Russo.

Ring of Honor and his own talent created Samoa Joe. Not TNA.

From "Merle":

"We have exchanged emails from time to time, but I have consistently read PWBTS. While I have not always agreed with your 'As I See It' columns, I will say that they have typically well thought out and expressed (which is more than I can say for many Internet 'journalists' and/or fans). I appreciate your comments and thoughts about the TNA/ROH issue. I tend to agree with your assessment that TNA is an independent company (with hopes -- or perhaps delusions -- of grandeur). I have not watched much of any wrestling product recently (the Fed has soured my tastes), though I will watch bits and pieces of TNA.

I long for a wrestling product that would re-ignite my interest in being a fan. Perhaps, my next trip north will coincide with an ROH show. Again, I just wanted to voice my support for you and your views about the TNA/ROH issue."

From Jason Stives:

"First off I would like to praise you on your recent column regarding the Samoa Joe/ROH situation. It is very sad that people are too stupid to realize the difference between when you are giving your opinion about wrestling and if you are loyal to a different company or not. Your feelings regarding Joe's leaving Ring of Honor are very much felt here to as being the witness to some great Joe encounters, at least in my opinion, including the ROH vs. CZW six man war at the 100th show back in April of last year and Joe facing BJ Whitmer in a brutal bout last January, I feel the loss of Joe will not only damage ROH but also Joe's reputation as being one of the hardest working guys in wrestling."

Last I looked, this is an OPINION column. The major difference in their eyes is that the opinion I'm expressing disgarees with suddenly, I'm not being a "journalist" to express an opinion in an opinion column.

From Tony Neves :

"Hey Bob,

I have to say...your latest column was just plain awesome! You don't have to worry about me going up against your thoughts. In my opinion, you were completely dead-on with every single point you made! You could tell it was written with passion...and I had a great time reading it! Just awesome....

...Although I may not be a TNA fan, I can clearly see your point. I have tried numerous times to watch and understand TNA. I mean, what could be better than having competition for WWE?? I absolutely welcome it! Although I've tried and tried...I just can't grasp what they're doing there. It just doesn't appeal to me! Other than Kurt and Christian (WWE alumni), I could care less for their shows!

Also, it's just plain truth. TNA are ruining ROH by releasing Samoa Joe...and let's face it, they're not using it to their advantage either. I read all the TNA recaps...and I haven't seen TNA do anything interesting with his character. He was a guy they built up...just to have crushed by the "new guy" in Angle! (Reminds me of what WWE did with Umaga and Cena). It's pathetic when you won't let a talented individual perform for die-hard fans in a smaller promotion, and on top of that, do nothing to help his character on your own show! A wasted opportunity....

Anyways, thanks for your was fantastic."

If TNA had any sense they'd have capitalized on what Joe has done in other promotions, not to mention with Homicide, Christopher Daniels and Austin Aries. Imagine if Joe had shown clips of Joe working Kobashi from the October 1, 2005 Ring of Honor Manhattan show on their TV. Then again, TNA hasn't done that great a job even featuring Jeff Jarrett when he's worked AAA shows in Mexico, so why should we expect anyone else to get the attention from international shows outside the company?.

From Ahmad of Kuwait:

" Regarding, Joe, TNA and ROH... first of all, I seriously do not understand how come companies do not work with each other. TNA and ROH NEED each other's fan base... if someone is only a TNA fan but is curious he then will be a ROH fan and vice versa. Now Joe will be out from his beloved ROH. How does TNA think Joe will feel when he knows he was FORCED to leave a company he loves... how does TNA think Joe will perform when he knows that many fans are hating TNA cause of their move. Don't believe me? Check the comments from the Joe farewell speech video.

If a company like TNA thinks by taking talents out of their promotion will help them, they're mistaken... Even companies like TNA and ROH and CZW learned to work with each other... The fact that many talents are in both TNA and ROH brought the fan base to see and follow both companies, not only one... It is a fact that when a talent is not happy, problems come. RVD is angry now and CM Punk is angry not to mention Sabu. All that is affecting ECW... and even their matches. Will Joe be motivated? Will Daniels and Austin be motivated when they know sooner or later they will be limited to one company only?

No, they won't.

I'll say it over and over and over again...the CZW-ROH program of last year ought to be required viewing for every booker of an independent company who thinks that he should tell his workers that working with other companies will diminish their value, and that they can't do jobs to workers in other promotions. The CZW-ROH program saw both promotions putting over the competing promotion in their home building on their shows, which gave legs to the program and made money and created a great wrestling product for fans to watch.

From Gary Woodward:

"Bob, I've been following the Joe situation. You are absolutley correct that TNA is an independent promotion, that marks think they could compete with WWE is ridiculous. If they were paying the boys what everyone thought they wouldn't need to take independent bookings besides TNA. TNA has totaly pissed off many independent promoters with thier jacking of prices for "their" wrestlers under contract.

This is where part of the crapstorm exists. TNA does only 3 shows a month. Granted, Sting and Angle arent going to do Indy dates, they never really have, and financially don't need to. That leaves most of the rest of the roster.

So (to use an example), let's say that's 20 workers. And let's say those 20 workers have 8 dates available to take other bookings every month. So, you have 160 possible dates for these workers which TNA makes money on. If you are an independent promoter, and say a years ago, you booked a guy who still was on TNA, and you booked him for $350. That amount has certainly increased.

Of that amount, TNA takes their cut. Let's figure the worker gets 50% and TNA gets 50%. Take that amount multiplied by 160 possible dates for the 20 workers, and you have what goes to TNA'sr bottom line by answering a phone call, and if you compared that amount to what TNA pays these 20 workers in a month, guess what, TNA is still ahead.

And forget about the workers booking themselves, TNA wont let them anymore from what im told. Thanks for your honest opinions on the business, it is always very refreshing to read.

I will note that I'm not privy to the payoffs that wrestlers beihng required to use TNA for independent bookings receive and what TNA receives.

From Desmond Waters:

"Look man, I ain't gonna bash you. Leave that to the children who think that's 'grown up' to solve things with ugly words. I do not know you, and I'm sure you have a family who loves you. However I do fully think you are also acting childish in this situation. Regardless of you views of TNA's product or size, the fact of the matter is that TNA was making a buisness decision. Rather than making this situation worse, I think the more appropriate thing to do was to simply say that 'Joe diserves better'. If you come from a fans perspective you are going to look extremely selfish to demand so much from a wrestler who's already given ROH his blood, sweat, and tears.

Look bro, I love ROH. I'm a fan just like everybody else. I was there in Detroit for one of his last matches with Christopher Daniels. However, there comes a time when wrestlers say goodbye to the people and companies they love. Do you not think CM Punk would love to go back to ROH and enjoy the moment? I'm sure he would. At the same time, fans like you or I need to accept the fact that Joe is moving on. Rather than reading too much into Joe's message, or over-analysing the situation, that's not going to change a thing. You're words, while I'm sure heart-felt, are not going to change the world.

So before Joe leaves in a circus of controversy, Joe also deserves better from the ROH fans. I'm sure he knew they'd react like this. I'm not saying they should or shouldn't, but rather than telling Joe I'm boycotting your show that exposes you to the world, why not just drop it and enjoy Joe's matches while he's still here?

The controversy isn't with's with TNA and what they've done. I find it interesting that I have yet to get one e-mail from anyone associated with Ring of Honor suggesting I back off what I said, or even that I was making Joe look bad in what I've said. That ought to make a point that I've targeted the right people to criticize and that I'm not far off in why I'm criticizing them.

I also suggested (see below) that people make sure they attend Ring of Honor shows coming up (February 16 in Manhattan, February 17 in Philadelphia, February 23rd in Dayton, OH, February 24th in Chicago, IL and the Liverpool, UK shows on March 3 and 4) and make a point of giving ROH their money for these shows and as many DVDs as they can afford.

From Shane Honeysett:

"I'm sitting on the fence with this one, I see both reasons as reasonable.

But if I was TNA, I would have done the exact same thing. Joe is already working though injuries, he is TNA whether they want to admit it or not. If he goes down so do buy rates, why would they risk their biggest asset, especially when it does nothing in return for them. It just seems simple to me, I wouldn't want my top talent in another company possibly getting injuried and me not seeing any profit from it."

The point is, according to Meltzer, that they feel fans don't think of him as a TNA wrestler. Seems Sapolsky is a better booker than Russo...and has done a better job of branding him.

So TNA's logic seems to be to deprive the most loyal fanbase he has of matches with him...feeling that this will force fans to watch TNA shows to see him. Do they really think that a pissed off ROH fanbase will automatically flock to their product? They didn't before because TNA wasn't giving them a product they wanted to watch...and my guess is that they won't now, either.

They felt obligated to send around a press release that they had set a "record" viewership of 1.1 this past week. That "record" is 27% of the average WWE RAW rating for 2007.

And finally...Dave Talbert, someone with a sense of humor about things...

"Tell the truth.... you work for Ted Turner and he is paying you to destroy all wresting from the inside out so he can get back into the game! Come on we all know you are working for someone..."

Since they haven't responded as of yet...If you feel that TNA is acting in a manner contrary to what you want them to do...just like any other company...with any other product... let TNA know that you'll no longer be spending the money you used to spend on TNA products; and will now be spending that money on Ring of Honor DVDs, live shows, and other revenue sources for that company; and may well decide to even give up watching their free TV program on Spike TV...starting with tonight's much-ballyhooed two hour special against the Westminster Dog Show.

To contact parties concerned:

Contact TNA to express your thoughts on this matter at Make clear to them that you will also be contacting Spike TV and Universal Studios.

Contact Spike TV at their feedback site at

* Debra Fazio/Spike TV - 212-767-8649

* Salil Gulati/Spike TV - 212-767-8705

* Steven Godfrey/TNA Wrestling - 615-244-5557

Point out to them, as has been said before, that NWA-TNA needs Ring Of Honor's fan base to survive. and that those online and smart mark fans that have kept them alive until they were supported by their current backers. Without that fan base, they might well not survive.

You can also contact NWA-TNA via snail mail at TNA Wrestling, 209 10th Avenue South - Suite 302 Nashville, TN 37203.

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 starting with their February 11 PPV.

Samoa Joe will be at two further Ring of Honor shows in the United States, in Manhattan on February 16 and Philadelphia on February 17. Let him and others know what you think of what TNA is doing in whatever way you deem appropriate...and by buying tickets to these two Ring of Honor shows. Perhaps that would mean, if you have a limited budget, that you'd choose to go to the Ring of Honor shows instead of buying the February 11 TNA PPV. If you have to make that choice, let TNA know you are.

The fact that I've gotten contacted by 2 people within TNA over the last few days, suggests that I'm not just some loudmouthed mark who happens to have a website. Someone's contacting them, and evidently they don't like the heat. If you're moved to respond, act in support of a company you say you support, put your money where your mouth is, and tell a company that's made a business decision that you in turn have made a business decision of sorts; and you'll no longer support them as long as they continue with the "business decision" they've made.

Until next time...

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