AS I SEE IT 3/5: TNA...the musical...

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

For those of you who think I only pick on TNA, sorry to disappoint. Just read down a few lines.

First, in one of the worst examples of bastardizing wrestling history I've ever seen, Dave Meltzer has reported, not once but twice that Kevin Dunn has talked Jerry Lawler out of asking for legendary wrestling broadcaster Lance Russell as the person to introduce him for the WWE Hall of Fame. Dunn has been reported to have claimed that "No one knows who Lance Russell is".

A WWE source last week claimed "I shouldn't believe everything I read", an e-mail I forwarded to Dave Meltzer. Yet in this week's Observer the Lance Russell report is repeated and added upon.

On the flip side, there was a report on where Lawler allegedly claimed to Bill Apter that the discussion never took place...although I have to wonder how much of that comes from heat that WWE probably received after the initial report and Lawler being told to deny it.

I seriously doubt Dave Meltzer got this wrong...not once, but twice, in consecutive weeks.

In any event, since the most appropriate person to induct Lawler won't be doing it for whatever reason (depending on whose story you choose to believe); guess who WWE has in mind instead to induct Lawler?

Dave Brown, Russell's sidekick in boradcasting Memphis wrestling? Nope.

How about a Memphis wrestler? Austin Idol? Nope. Bill Dundee? Also nope.

Even Terry Funk who wrestlerd a famous empty Arena match at the Mid-South Coliseum with Lawler? One more nope.

Want to know who WWE wants to induct Jerry Lawler?

No really, take a guess.

William Shatner.

William f%$#ing Shatner.

All this based on one lame-ass forgettable angle that Lawler did with Shatner years ago wghere he had to put over Shatner. Way to go, WWE....great way to respect wrestling history during an event designed allegedly to remember professional wrestling.

Now, from that a far more serious PR nightmare developing for TNA.

Just in case TNA wasn't dealing with enough problems, one of TNA's top talents was featured in the cover story of the latest Sports Illustrated...and it wasn't for his Olympic medals:

"...On Feb. 27, SI accompanied investigators from multiple law-enforcement agencies (box right) on a raid of PBRC. Simultaneously, agents in Orlando were raiding Signature Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy that last year did more than $40 million in sales, much of it with PBRC. On Monday, PBRC co-owner Glen Stefano and 10 others pleaded not guilty to multiple charges during arraignment proceedings in Albany. Stefano was charged with illegally selling steroids and hormones. Earlier, Signature owners Robert Loomis and his wife, Naomi, were charged with criminal diversion of prescription medications, criminal sale of a controlled substance and insurance fraud....

Just consider the fruits of a similar Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raid last year, code-named Operation Netroids. On Aug. 29, agents converged on Applied Pharmacy Services, a compounding pharmacy in Mobile. (A compounding pharmacy makes its own drugs generically.) Seized client records revealed the names of more than 20 athletes in a variety of sports who received drugs from Applied Pharmacy. A 37-page classified intelligence report reviewed by SI alleges that, among athletes:

Kurt Angle, a 1996 Olympic gold-medal-winning freestyle wrestler and now a star professional wrestler, received two prescriptions for trenbolone and one for nandrolone between October 2004 and February '05. (Angle did not return messages left with his spokesman.)...

Three days later, on a website called, Angle finally responded with a denial:

"I did not improperly receive prescriptions. It is well documented that in my career I have broken vertebrae in my neck on five occasions and each time the course of treatment was under the care and supervision of my Doctors. Any attempt to link me to the athletes in the current news accounts who may have improperly sought performance-enhancing drugs is without foundation."

Angle, however, did not deny that his name was on the list of the doctors in question as receiving two prescriptions for trenbolone and one prescription for nandrolone between October 2004 and February 2005. Some explanation may be helpful here. Nandralone is better known as Decadurabolin, a long-time popular steroid used by bodybuilders and wrestlers.

Then.... there's trenbolone. It's a veterinary steroid not cleared by the FDA for use by humans. So much for the drugs in questions being legally prescribed by a doctor for recover from his neck injury.

This kind of PR isn't the kind of PR that TNA needs as TNA's ratings struggle to stay above 1.0 and PPV buys still haven't approached the major league level that the promotion portrays itself as operating at.

Now, your letters...

From Billy Rouse:

You must be insane. Hows this for a decision: you decide to continue to bash a company instead of maybe talking about important stuff in the business, and I wont read your column anymore.

To continue to drag this 'issue' out is repulsive and unethical. Are you secretly a member of the PTC? That issue got resolved a long time ago. TNA is the number two company right behind WWE, and to their TRUE fans, they are still loved after your treatment of TNA. I personally will not contact TNAs advertisers to tell them anything. I will continue to support them.

Insane? Repulsive? Unethical?

Touchy, aren't we?

" You Mr Magoo, on the other hand, can go to hell!"

"Mr. Magoo" cute. I haven't heard that one since I was...oh, 10 years old.

Then there's Joe Bachman, who apparently wanted to continue with his insults:

"Dear Magee,

You really expect the heads of Taco Bell and Subway to even look at the e-mails of what will amount to be maybe 7-10 fans threatening these conglomerates that they will not view their ads because they don't like how their wrestling show is going?

You are a sad, pathetic man. How old are you? Aren't you like, 50 years old? Wasting your time trying to start a boycott that if you're lucky 10 people will adhere to? I'm beginning to question if you're columns are actually a work of comedy. Once again, if you'd ever like to try to honestly critique TNA, instead of blatantly and over objectively insult it like a teenager, then I would love for you to do so, but seriously Bob, as a former wrestling columnist myself, you should be ashamed. Grow up."

No one ever reads the letters of wrestling fans? Ask the Parents Television Council about how many wrestling fans wrote those advertisers in SUPPORT of their commercials on WWE programming. Ask the advertisers. Don't believe me? Look for yourself. I'll be waiting.

Then there's THIS classic from Peter Duggan:

"....What exactly is your hate-on for TNA about? Its comical how you bring up any
questionable angle or business decision they've made to absolutely bury the company. Would it make you feel like a big man if they went out of business?

Sadly, they make it so easy to do...and I haven't even touched the surface.

"...The last thing pro wrestling needs is less competition for Vince McMahon, and you're obviously on a one-man crusade to see that happen. What happened, did Val Wyndham turn you down for a date? Dixie Carter ignore your job application for a writing position? Didn't get a free Best of the X Division DVD? Whatever your motivations,you're a joke."

I'm not a writer, and So Cal Val's young enough to be my daughter. I'm not a cradle robber, unlike some personailities in wrestling I won't give the courtesy to mention.

"...Maybe I should contact PWBTS and and get a grassroots campaign going to remove your columns.

Since I OWN PWBTS...ain't happening anytime soon. Nice try, moron.

Now for someone who can disagree with me intelligently....Mike Lefebvre:

"With the comparing of TNA to an indy fed, I have to firmly disagree with you. I understand that they don't have near the amount of money the WWE pulls in and that they are backed by another non-wrestling related company, but their are things TNA has that I feel seperate a company from a promotion. Monthly ppvs, and a nationally syndicated weekly primetime TV slot on a very popular channel. Whether their ratings are huge or not, it still makes them alot easier to find than your average indy fed.

The other thing I disagree with is your proposal of boycotting TNA for taking talent away from ROH. Let me just say that I am a ROH fan. I sat front row for every ROH show for almost two years (can't anymore due to hectic work schedules. what's a wrestling fan to do). I remember at first being very mad at the fact that TNA wanted AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels to only work their shows. I got over it without boycotting TNA. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but the removal of big names in TNA leads way for the younger talent there to come up and be noticed.

TNA is attempting to build Joe as their next world champion. Lets face it, ROH (god bless 'em for it) is the closest american fans can get to Japanese strong style of wrestling, but that style takes a severe toll on the body. I'm not necessarily agreeing with TNAs decision to pull Joe off all ROH shows, but I understand the fear of them building him to a champion only to have something happen in a different fed. I know Joe still wrestles other shows, but find one indy fed that has the same style of ROH."

From Lee C:

"I read your column every time you put one up. Coudlnt agree with you more over the Joe issue. I never watched TNA until I saw ROH, with Joe and Homicide)competing. I thought those guys are cool, Joe is perhaps the best Indie wrestler out there.

I class TNA as an indie, just for the fact its not even on the same level as the WCW was back when it started. TNA is an indie TRYING to be the WWE, hence with Russorific storylines and Billy Gunn, I mean whatever he is calling himself now. TNA have shot itself in the foot by doing these. People watch their favourite wrestlers. Hell, look what happened with WCW in the rise of 1996/97, they got the wrestlers people wanted to see Benoit, Guerrero, Hogan, Sting) and became huge. The fact they then went on to abuse some of the talent is another story.

I couldnt care less about TNA storylines, they are boring and dull. I want to see Angle and Joe kicking the hell out of each other as these guys are fantastic in the ring. Benoit and Joe would be a dream match, I just hope Joe sees the light and jumps to the WWE, if only for a short while to stick 2 fingers up at TNA. Can you see how big the ECW would become to Joe joined them and began fueding with Punk and Lashley? It would leave TNA in the dust. But that is sadly wishful thinking. As from today, TNA can go to hell. It means I wont be seeing Joe, but I have the clips and dvds online to watch/order. And the repeats that are occasionally on TV.

Keep up the good work, dont let the bullshit get you down :)"

From Kristian Thompson from Australia:

"I thought your column on tna (3/5) was spot on. The comments from Joe Bachman were rubbish! hypocritical statements like TNA are still respecting the ROH fans by pulling Joe then not knowing that he still works all those other indy feds is stupid. I especially enjoyed yout comments about the growing base of TNA scoring a .6 rating! haha.

Anyways I just wanted to say that I enjoy your column always and you should keep writing and ignore uninformed assuming idiots like that guy because there are a lot more people who respect your writing even way over here in Australia!"

Since TNA hasn't responded to fans 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.

It sounds like at least SOME people already gave up watching theirmuch-ballyhooed two hour Spike TV special given the 1.18 rating/1.5 million viewers. If that's not enough, The Wrestling Observer reported that last Thursday edition of TNA iMPACT! drew 0.6 cable rating. This ties TNA's lowest ratings for iMPACT! dating back to November 2005 and April 2006. Many regular TNA viewers were obviously watching RAW

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

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.

Finally, since the last few weeks hasn't gotten anyone to back off, here's a list of the advertisers that ran ads on last week's IMPACT and their contact information:

  • Taco Bell
    Taco Bell feedback

  • Campbell Soup Company (Swanson) -

  • Burger King, 5505 Blue Lagoon Drive,Miami, FL 33157
    (305) 378-3000

  • Quizno's

  • Subway's

  • Snapple

  • Proctor and Gamble (Old Spice), The Procter & Gamble Company, One Procter & Gamble Plaza, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202


  • SEGA of America

  • Electronic Arts Inc., 209 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94065
    Phone: 650-628-1500/Fax: 650-628-1422

  • Sony/Columbia



    If you're moved to respond, tell the advertisers you're acting in support of a company you say you support. Tell the advertiser you won't be seeing their ads, since you won't be viewing the show they appear on. Tell them you're going to put your money where your mouth is, and tell a company like TNA 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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