AS I SEE IT 3/26: Trolls, TNA, and the "Wellness Policy"
AS I SEE IT
Before I get 8,000 e-mails whining about how I'm not talking about Wrestlemania 23 in this column...I will be in a column later in the week, OK? By the way, you can come right now to PWBTS.com where we're covering Wrestlemania 23 to death.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Now, remember what we said months ago about Kurt Angle, TNA, and drug testing, after his meltdown in WWE?
Then, two Tuesdays ago in the Pro Wrestling Torch:
"Wrestlers in the locker room continue to question Kurt Angleís health.... When he does appear in front of others he is known for mumbling to the point that he seem incoherent..... One wrestler is quoted to saying, 'Something is going to happen to Kurt Angle and this company is going to feel terrible that they didnít do anything.'"
So Kurt Angle is doing exactly what many people feared he'd do again. Not to mention being in total denial about his own use of veterinary steroids as something needed to recover from his broken neck.
I received an e-mail from Merlon Mayrand, who knows something about the subject:
"I'd just like to say that I had a C3-4 cervical fusion performed on me in December of 1972.
I was in the hospital for a week and home for a week and back at work full-time (I did not have a desk job) after that. There was no steroids given just low dose pain pills for a short time and then I dealt with it. This BS by Angle and Copeland that they needed steroids for their cervical surgeries is just that...BS.
And, Kenny Dykstra's response to the steroid situation in the WWE was pathetic. I believe that going after the suppliers of the steroids is a good start. However, I think if those 'heroes of the mat' got busted by the feds that would be true justice. And perhaps, a lesson to be learned by
others who want to go down the same route."
So much for that theory.
It seems the natives are still restless in Orlando. From last week's Pro Wrestling Torch:
"Chris Harris has upset TNAís management by complaining. Management is sending him a message by keeping him from competing in the ring as well as selling his damaged eye storyline. Several wrestlers believe that Harris and Storm are both still working under guaranteed contracts, which means that Harris is getting paid the same amount whether he wrestles or not."
Another TNA wrestler spoke to one of the PWBTS staff recently and said "God, the stuff in TNA sucks...more and more of the same". I'll leave out some identifying details for obvious reasons.
Still another TNA wrestler was told that if he worked at a particular promotion (not ROH) he worked at MCW any more he'd "have to quit the other place he works". His response was "God, I wish".
But remember, folks, it's just us smart marks that are causing the problems.
Some readers thoughts...
Apologies for the language in this first bit of troll bait...but this one deserves to be reprinted unedited (with the exception of one site who makes special requests due to their personal/religious beliefs that I keep language to a minimum):
"YOU FUCKHEAD, YOU OLD FUCKHEAD...YOU ARE THE BIGGEST FUCKIN WWE MARK/ ROHbot ON THE FUCKIN PLANET. YOU'RE ABOUT 50 YEARS OLD AND ARE STILL WRITING ARTICLES TO BASH TNA. YOU'RE NO JOURNALIST. HELL YOU'RE NOT EVEN AN EDITOR, YOU'RE AN ANGRY SMART MARK WHO WRITES ARTICLES THAT DO NOTHING BUT BASH ONE PARTICULAR PRODUCT. Here I am thinking you'll write something about WWE putting all the hype about Wrestlemania into the 'hair vs hair' match all the while downplaying the main events. Or the possiblility that they'll give the honor of the man to snap the Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak to an undeserving Batista. Or something else in wrestling....YET YOU CONTINUE TO BASH TNA!!!
NOW YOU'VE CROSSED THE LINE. From everything involving Samoa Joe, to constantly airing out TNA's dirty laundry (like no other company has any dirty laundry). But now you've taken it upon yourself to encourage fans to let TNA's advertisors know that they won't be watching TNA and won't be seeing their ads therefore they should pull the ads from TNA programming. Now how do you expect the company to improve without the backing of advertisors.
I don't buy into you at all, maybe before i did, but now i don't. You don't wanna make TNA better at all. You want TNA to die. You simply want TNA to not exist anymore. That's what the fuck you want, you old fuckin fart? I hope you die. I hope YOU die!
No, i take that back. i don't want you to die. i want u to continue your miserable, old, no-sex-havin life, while TNA continues to grow and prosper despite your BULLSHIT artlicles. And you don't have to post this anywhere. Keep this one to yourself. You can call me immature, or you can call me names or whatever. You're a snake, a damn snake. With no credibility. All of your sources are 'reliable sources.' Yea fuckin right.
i know what i'll do....i'll know what i'll do"
Sorry, moron, but I have no intention of keeping your sub-literate ramblings to myself. Where I come from, they call that a threatening letter. I know what I'll do with your letter. AOL's abuse e-mail address will be forwarded your e-mail. Enjoy explaining to them why threatening someone and saying that you "hope I'll die" isn't a TOS violation.
At least the moron got the 50 year old part right.
From Travis :
"Is a smark really qualified to have written this article? (referring to my column)
I think not. You do not speak for the wrestling community. There are many who do enjoy the TNA product and if Vince Russo is responsible for TNA's quality rise in the past year then we owe him a huge kudos. Report that."
Nice to see that you've elected yourself to speak for them instead. Judging by the ratings...and by the fact that they won't even publish therir buyrates, unlike WWE...there AREN'T many who do enjoy it, which is part of the problem.
So...if these two don't like me, bet they'll really hate this My Space site: here. Interestingly enough, there are those claiming to be TNA talent that are linked as friends to this site. Maybe someone who knows about MySpace can tell me if they're legit or not.
From Mike Lefebvre:
"First off, thanks for listing me as one of the people who can 'disagree intelligently' with you. That was pretty cool. I have to admit, as a TNA fan, I'm running out of ways to back them up. I watched Destination X, and on the whole, I was entertained.
But I did have some other 'issues' as well. First, Elevation X was a cool concept, just executed poorly. I was under the assumption that it would run like an Ultimate X match where the winner has to climb to the top and grab a whatever. It's basically a scaffold match, and those are boring. And I guess I'm a 'smart mark' as well who's trying to run their business because I was in full agreement with the 'fire russo' chants. Call it a Last Rites match or whatever they want, but let's call a square a square here, I'm a wrestling fan, have been for many years, and I know a damn casket match when I see one. I first started watching TNA because it was fresh talent, innovative matches and good wrestling. Since Russo came in, it's been more screwjob endings, less focus on the X Division and more cheesy routines (although I do love Jay Lethals impression of the Macho Man). The X Division is what brought TNA to the table along with their new concept matches (ultimate x, king of the mountain, things like that). But with Russo, all he wants to do is mimic the kind of crap that WWE puts on, and it just doesn't work for the TNA fanbase.
It's getting bad when the people who disagree with me one week agree with me a week later.
From Shawn Miles :
"I agree with your opinions on the state of TNA. Awhile back I thought that WWE was having problems connecting with their fans, but TNA is on another level. Can ANYONE tell me how taking time from your WEEKLY ONE HOUR SHOW to offer FREE PUBLICITY to your COMPETITOR who has over 5 HOURS OF AIRTIME a week considered good booking? I mean come on TNA..When
has Vince returned the favor(s)? I started watching Impact to get away from WWE but after hearing reference afterreference after reference to Vince McMahon and Co. I found myself actually tuning in to find Raw getting better! Oh and now everyone who disagrees with the choices
of TNA is on the WWE payroll? I just hope my check is in the mail too because the rent is
due on the 1st."
Still haven't gotten my check from Vince yet. Post Office Security is really slipping on finding those checks I haven't been receiving.
From Burt Hollobaugh:
"I read your recent column, and I find it hilarious that TNA is in denial about how bad their shows are. If what you say is true, they blame their bad PPV reviews on them being given by people on 'WWE's Payroll' and the 'Fire Russo' chants are just a product of 'smart marks' trying to run theshow.
I am a wrestling fan that has always been loyal to WWE for the most part, so I may be a bit biased, but I do watch TNA almost every week and find their weekly show to be almost unwatchable. It used to actually be good BR (before Russo), but ever since it has been total crap. In fact I was
somewhat pissed at what WWE was putting out there for awhile, and TNA was peaking my interest more and more. However, Russo has infested TNA with his crap. TNA will be LUCKY to survive another year.
I can only imagine how much money this promotion is losing right now, paying Angle, Christian, and Sting more PER APPEARANCE than WWE ever would. Probably Steiner also. They HAVE to be losing it hand over fist. I guess Dixie Carter enjoys losing money.
Without those few 'smart marks' that will still watch just to criticize it or actually do like the product, they wouldn't even HAVE a show. The majority of TNA's 'fans' (use that term loosely), are 'smart marks'! For them to totally ignore their fan base is not good for TNA. It is a oorly run, second rate outfit, it's that simple.
If TNA doesn't listen to its fan base, then as you say, it is doomed to fail. Most of TNA's fans are also fans of some other independent federation (probably ROH), so why not embrace the ROH alliance. Hell, maybe have ROH 'invade' TNA, have the 'ROH guys' join back up with ROH, and go with an invasion angle. That may not work, but it simply CAN'T be any orse than what they are already doing!"
Unfortunately, they're falling into a trap that many promotions fall into when they're having problems; namely attacking those who critcize them rather than examinining the criticisms to see of they might just be correct.
From Daniel from Orlando:
"As I read this column I keep hearing about a certain 'Fire Russo' chant, I'll gladly let TNA know I am the 'smart mark' who started it, as well as the 'boring' chant shortly after. I wasn't too happy that it had to be in the Sting match since I've been a lifelong fan, but it easily was one of the stupidest gimmick matches of the night, which as stated in the column was overloaded with them. I personally did not think it to be one of the worst PPV's ever, but I will say that it is sad when the BIGGEST POP of the night comes from an arrest being made because of a near fight in the crowd. TNA is becoming sad and it goes without saying that the X division is waiting to die right now.
And it turns out that a person claiming to be the fan that was removed is claiming that he was unduly roughed up by TNA security after getting in the face of someone who was using profanity at a female accompanying him. Better hope they didn't do more than they were supposed. Lawsuits would be the last thing TNA would need.
"It is a great honor to write to you regarding TNA wrestling. I feel that you are a man of great honesty and integrity despite what a small segment of the population might think. When TNA first came on the air, I watched it in order to give it a fair shake. However, I have found the product to be very confusing and unwatchable.
It is a shame too, because I think that the WWE has benefited the past few months from the TNA competition. Without the threat of competition, WWE will go back to giving the fans the same old stale product. As the old saying in business goes......competition helps all parties. Once again, it has been a pleasure communicating with an intelligent non cynical wrestling fan.
And for those of you who insist I'm only picking on TNA:
From Josh Howard:
"I just read another fine article of yours on Wrestleview.com, but I just had a question/comment. Didn't Lashley, Khali, and Masters all get taken out for 30 days due to, basically, liver problems? I don't believe they were suspended, but basically isn't liver problems a nice way of saying 'suspended for steroids'? I think it's clear that Lashley and Khali couldn't have afforded the negative press with fans due to their pushes as of late, and Masters, well, Masters might get a push with the Masterlock behind us. Wouldn't it make too much sense for the WWE to fib a little to us about this? I think so."
It's certainly not impossible. I'm waiting for the results of those "Wellness tests" that were done last week, and see who disappears from ECW or Smackdown after Wrestlemania.
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 their much-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 a special 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 that week.
To contact parties concerned:
Contact TNA to express your thoughts on this matter at http://www.tnawrestling.com/contact/index.html. Make clear to them that you will also be contacting Spike TV and Universal Studios.
Contact Spike TV at their feedback site at http://www.spiketv.com/interact/feedback/feedback.jhtml
* Debra Fazio/Spike TV - 212-767-8649 firstname.lastname@example.org
* Salil Gulati/Spike TV - 212-767-8705 email@example.com
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 feedback
Campbell Soup Company (Swanson) - CampbellSoupCompany.com
Burger King, 5505 Blue Lagoon Drive,Miami, FL 33157
Proctor and Gamble (Old Spice), The Procter & Gamble Company, One Procter & Gamble Plaza, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
SEGA of America SEGA.com
Electronic Arts Inc., 209 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94065
Phone: 650-628-1500/Fax: 650-628-1422
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...
If you'd like to add advertising on PWBTS.com (the flagship website of this column), banner ads are available for $400 for one year/$200 for six mon