AS I SEE IT 4/23: Forbidden outerware and other thoughts

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

OK, readers. Let me give you a quiz question.

Austin Aries (aka "Austin Starr") was suspended this past week by TNA for 90 days. What was one reported reason for his suspension?

1) He failed a drug test after being found to have two illicit substances in his body, niacin and bioflavonoids.
2) He propositioned Dixie Carter
3) He propositioned Bob Carter
4) He wore a Ring of Honor t-shirt to a TNA Fanfest event.


1) Aries might well fail such a test. Since bioflavonoids are the natural pigments in vegetables, and niacin is another word for vitamin B3, it would mean he tested positive for eating a carrot. Carrots are not, however, a banned substance, not even at the Tour De France. Wrong answer.
2) Although Dixie Carter is probably more attractive than your average person owning a wrestling company, not as far as we know. Wrong answer.
3) Also not as far as we know. Wrong answer.

That leaves answer number 4. Austin Aries was reported to have been suspended for wearing a Ring of Honor t-shirt to a TNA Fanfest event. Now, in all fairness, I've seen denials by a couple of sources. In the other version of the story, Aries was suspended over a disagreement with creative. A 90 day suspension seems a bit much for a simple argument with bookers, though.

Given the story I heard this weekend from a WWE employee about WWE freaking out about having to remove pictures of one of their workers from an article...only because someone noticed (AFTER after the article was already posted on that the WWE wrestler was wearing a t-shirt of an old friend ...who happened to be a TNA worker... somehow the suspension theory is so bizarre that I'm inclined to believe the first story more.

One way or the I've said in past columns, PWBTS and yours truly have become aware of more than a few workers who are at least as pissed off as Aries is, either about their booking or t-shirts, or both. We won't give up the names of the several (wo)men who are saying these things either...just like we haven't the last two times we've printed items in this column about pissed off TNA talent.

I'm just praying for the day when TNA pulls this crap with a main event talent (and yes, TNA, they are among those who we've heard from); including threatneing workers with loss of PPV payoffs if they do any media interviews without approval. Anyone want to take bets Jerry McDevitt could find a breach of contract with one of these suspensions, and have these workers on RAW the next night?

From the UK's Floyd Hartlett:

" I want to congratulate you on your success in weeding out morons. In all honesty, the last few columns up until this one have been too short to really get into, but they're worth looking at for the ludicrousness of some of the mail you get sent.

I can't really contribute anything else to the debate, as I just think they're going through a bit of a bad creative spell and will probably see it through. They won't ever be huge competition for WWE, but they may take a few viewers, become a very strong second, and give WWE something to think about and keep them on their toes in order to keep such a strong hold on the top. But really, I just wanted to tell you that I've been on a lot of forums and stuff, and especially Youtube. I've
seen some pathetic #@$% written by absolute illiterate retards who downright refuse to back their
opinions up in any way other than saying "I'm right die" or "I win again, f*k u dude" (Yeah, one star). But I wouldn't even expect from a 14 year old member of said sites to write SUCH a torrent of sub-autistic bullshit as Andrew W Proctor (I love how formal his name sounds all things considered). So yes, good luck changing those guys minds', maybe use your spam filter once in a while for these bellends, and continue speaking from your mind. Never water it down or the
inmates will win.

No worries there, Floyd.

From Elizabeth Schneider:

"First of all, I would like to apologize on behalf of college students everywhere for the depressing, offensive, ridiculous twelve emails you received from a guy who somehow made it into an institute of higher learning with what would appear to be about a 3rd grade reading, spell and/or grammatical level.

Secondly, I want to address the issue(s)n between TNA and ROH w/ Samoa Joe and other major names. While I do agree 100% that, due mostly to TNA's schedule, booking, etc. the talent should be allowed to work as independent contractors, I do have to agree with the people who say contacting the advertisers is not the answer. TNA has gone into a slump over the last several months. Take a look at feuds such as AJ vs. Daniels vs. Joe compared to what we are seeing today. Between Russo.... Russo, and Russo things have gone downhill.

However, we cannot deny that TNA still has the talent, the style and even the fan base (no matter how ignorant some of them may be) to go toe to toe with the WWE. They do not have the money and they do not have the history, but they have the ability. If the advertisers were to stop backing the company, they would never get this chance to get back to the level we expect out of them and/or go beyond that."

Actually, yes we can deny that. Their TV ratings are still at 25-30% of WWE's, their buyrates are perhaps 10-15% of WWE's. Even the prime-time slot on SPIKE and the addition of Kurt Angle haven't budged that very much.

"Furthermore, compare the product put out by WWE now to the product put out by WWE while TNA was still on FSN. Vince and company have been forced to step up their game or be upstaged by the new promotion in town. Wrestlers who were continually getting held back are getting their deserved pushes (with some exceptions), groups, people, etc. the fans do not care about are getting less TV time (again, with some exceptions) and all in all the product, while still not on the level it once was, has improved by leaps and bounds because their competition has been able to stay afloat. Removing said competition is going to send WWE spiralling back down to the level they were sitting at before. I do not think anyone wants that and, if TNA loses their financial backing and WWE does not really have to compete with anyone anymore, that is exactly what is going to happen.

Finally, I would like to comment on TNA creative, Dixie, etc. I do not care how many times they tell us "Vince Russo is only responsible for X amount of the creative...." We know his crap when we see it.

The Electrified Cage JOKE... Russo.

Blindfold matches on PPV... Russo.

The television appearance of Abyss's mommy.... Russo, Russo, Russo.

The last rites or as I like to call it the "quick lets find a name other than casket" match, drunken brother Runt, etc. etc.

These are Vince Russo angles. To try to tell the fans otherwise is ridiculous. Even if He is only in charge of 10, 20 or 30 percent of creative, that seems to be enough to get his grimy hands on everything and ruin the shows, not to mention the morale of the wrestlers. Look at the reports of the Fallen Angel's attitude change at Indy shows. I think we all know why that is:

Russo: Hey Chris, we decided that to turn you heel, we are going to have you mimic Sting.
Fallen Angel: But... I'm not... Sting... I'm Christopher Daniels.
Russo: I know... but remember when Sting went all black and white and didn't talk... we want you to do that... because its cool.
Fallen Angel: But... I'm cool.
Russo: Sure you are kid... now put on this Sting mask and go rough someone up.

Not a direct quote, I'm sure but I hope it gets the point across. The actions of TNA creative and Vince Russo (who is creative but is NOT TNA if you get my drift) are tearing apart the fan base, the morale etc. They are starting to do the same things that made people like Kurt, Christian, etc. jump ship. They need to stop with the ridiculous matches and stop holding back their talent, plain and simple. Also, I do not know who Dixie thinks she is but its one thing to act in the interest of the company, it is quite another to come out and blatantly lie to your fan base. We all know Joe is no longer allowed to do ROH, we all know Russo has usurped all things good and entertaining and turned them into WCW 2007 and we all know that if it is allowed to continue, TNA is going to end up off the market; whether its because they just die out or they get bought by WWE, no one can say for sure.

In closing, I will revisit the advertisers. Let TNA have their money. We do not boycott WWE for producing a crappy product (you may have in the past, I have only been reading the column for a few months so if this is the case, I apologize). TNA is still young and upcoming and Dixie is still relatively new to the business as a whole. Give her/them time to sort out this issue on their own. Maybe then, somewhere down the line we can see things like the Unbreakable triple threat again. Until then, those people that want to stop watching, stop watching; that is boycott enough."

The thing is, people like Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantel are NOT young to the business. They know better.

From Lonnie Walker from San Antonio, TX:

"I'd hate to read all of those love letters you have been getting for voicing your basic opinion on TNA. I really tend to see things your way Bob. I've been paying attention to all of your columns and here is what I understood from them.

- TNA doesn't employ Samoa Joe full time. Why shouldn't he be allowed to participate in ROH.

- TNA is a bigger threat to itself than Bob Magee is.

- They have more talent than they can promote which is costing them more money in salaries and
lowing morale for the wrestlers who don't get tv time or storylines.

- They had to stop paying lodging expenses to survive again lowering morale.

- The storylines are getting crappier as we speak another morale breaker.

- TNA constantly ignores fans and writes them off as WWE employees confirming that they are
just as arrogant as Vince McMahon saying he knows what fans want before fans know.

How have I done so far Bob? Have I got it right?

If TNA fans are honest with themselves the only reason you like TNA is because you hate Vince McMahon and that's fine. Just don't try to lie to yourself that there are no flaws within the organization. There are plenty. Ya'll act like criticism is an act of war. If you check your history out, there has never been a war fought over criticism.

Bob is a fan and loves watching wrestling. I've read his articles enough to know that. He offers his
criticism because he'd like to see things change for the better. I'm going to give you one last thought so that people can fully understand what's gone on here.

When you run a business, the success of that business is based on your customers. If your customers have a complaint, a successful business looks into the complaint and fixes the problem. Now what's happened is that TNA isn't listening to it's customers. TNA has truly forgotten who made who. The fans make the promotion a success they can also make it a failure.

Sounds pretty much spot on to me.

From Charles Burnsisisisis:

"TNA started out as an up and coming company delivering what WWE was missing the past couple years, real, in-your-face, WRESTLING. They brought some of the best indy wrestlers around and exposed their talents to the world. They proved that wreslting was more than heavyweight body builders and over the top storylines. They showed us that wrestlers were capable of expanding their talents and improving them. Then they started bringing in released WWE talent (Rhino, Jeff Hardy, Steiner, Team 3D, Christian, Angle, etc.) and old school wrestlers (Sting, Jerry Lynn, Sabu, Raven) which brought a whole new experience to the company, then things went wrong.

Around the same time WWE started to pick up TNA slowed down. We get all WWE main events, less and less of the X-Division and ridiculous story angles. Then they announce the addition of Vince Russo and we think maybe things might start to pick up, instead we get Sting trying to save Abyss' soul, Samoa Joe's streak ending to a debuting Kurt Angle and Rhino vs Styles for some long forgoten reason. And then along comes Lockdown and by looking at the card I had to say I was impressed, I thought "hey maybe TNA is finally listening" and then I see those 4 magic words "ELECTRIFIED steel cage match" and my reaction, (to quote Ron Simmons) "......damn". They took what could have been a stellar match and turned it into a mockery. All I'm trying to say is that TNA should go back to its roots and deliver wrestling once again rather than trying to out WWE the WWE."

That's part of the problem. Even Paul Heyman made the comment that TNA needed to focus on the X division...which was always its strength until they made the X division nothing more than comic foils for Kevin Nash.

From Lasse Vangstein of Oslo, Norway:

"I just wanted to point out a couple of things here. To put it mildly, I'm shocked when I read the crap you receive. Are we talking students in college here? Ok, I'm from Norway, and English is not my native tongue, and I probably mis-spell more than often, but even I see that this is crazy. How can people that can't even spell be students in college? How sad is that?

I haven't watched TNA that much, but the shows I've seen makes me somewhat agree with you. The booking isn't the best it could be, and I think TNA lacks a whole lot before I will take too much notice of it. It's hard to point out one single thing, but it's just the whole feeling when I'm watching TNA. It's a shame, because they have a lot of good talent. Keep up the good work, and don't let the smart college-students stop you from saying what you mean.

For those of you who disagree, how about being somewhat constructive? How about using the spell-check on your computer before you send your e-mail? How about actually showing that you are intelligent enough to earn your spot in college?"

If Mr. Proctor HAD been a smart college student, he'd have had better spelling.

From Jared Lauber:

"While I agree with your observation on the WWE use of talent, why dont we look at WWE's use of talent?

WWE really WASTES a ton of money on several wrestlers, look at Eugene, Cryme Tyme, The Great Khali, Val Venis and Vicera as examples on RAW, and Boogeyman, Deuce and Domino, Funaki, Scotty 2 Hotty, Shannon Moore, The Miz, and all the Divas that are not wrestlers, sure they are fun to look at, but not fun to watch wrestle. And why does Chloe have her own superstar page?

But how can WWE do this to themselves. More people need to have entertaining fueds, and they need to fire all of these wrestlers listed above and hire some better suited to the creative team then say Stephanie McMahon. Put some of that money into a better product, and NOT into high priced stages for religiously pointless PPVs. There is no longer the competition that pushed WWE into 12 or more PPVs per year, they need to settle back into the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, and a TRUE Survivor Series with 10 teams of four squaring off, and a WWE/World Heavyweight Title match. In order to push other PPV quality matches is to make them a regular part of what should also be quarterly Saturday Night Main events. I know the SNME is based on ratings, but I am convinced if the SNME matches helped the PPVs in pushing fueds, and titles changing hands then you would have ratings right at or just below the RAW average ratings.

I am really not done, but I am going to cut it short, and hope to here your thoughts.


This reminds me of times years ago when many of my fellow anti-nuclear types and I would point out what the United States was doing with spending obscene amounts of money for nuclear weapons. No matter how absurd the weapon was, and no matter how expensive it was...the comeback of some people was ...."What about the Russians?". The same thing holds true for criticism of TNA among some people. Anytime something is pointed out about TNA, they respond "What aboiut WWE?".

I'll say to those people for the 24,765th time...GO BACK AND LOOK AT MY PAST COLUMNS. I've had more than enough to say about WWE.

Since TNA hasn't given in and given fans what they want 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.

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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