Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Critical Rocket's wrestling thoughts - 13th August 2014

It's been another month odd gap since my last post to do with either the World Wrestling Entertainment Corporation or Total Nonstop Action Impact.  Full names aside things haven't really improved for either company. 


The biggest issue with McMahon's juggernaut is the network.  It launched earlier in the year and although it was heavily hyped and advertised regularly it didn't make the splash the company had hoped.  It only launched in North America and shareholders were told it would be profitable within two months or so of it launching with at least one million customers.  As of June/July the network struggled to stay close to 700,000 which put the company into damage control mode in an effort to remain profitable for this year.  This meant slashing $20 million from their expenses, which as you can imagine meant sacking people.  A lot of them both on and off camera.

This strategy was ill advised really and it only worked to alienate the many cable providers that once carried their product in the United States.  The main problem the network has is basically a lack of original programming.  For many fans there is only so much wrestling you can watch in any week while keeping up with the shows current offering.  It's not that the network is bad or doesn't offer a shit tonne of content but not launching it worldwide I feel has hurt them financially big time and has resulted in many people losing their jobs for McMahon's little vanity project.  Let's face it, McMahon has wanted to be in complete control of his show for decades and now with the power of the Internet he can but it really has bit him in the ass.

The product itself also isn't all that electrifying either.  They have plenty of great young wrestlers who could become the top stars of the company overnight if they would let them do it.  Reigns, Rollins, Ambrose, Cesaro, Kingston, Wyatt, Woods, Big E, Rusev, Ziggler, Miz, Bryan, Slater and more who could easily replace the now stale and injured Cena, Orton, Kane, Triple H, Big Show, Jericho, RVD and even Lesnar.  They are big names and did their job admirably whether you like them or not but really we need a revival of 1996' New Generation era and push the new boys to the top.

The sad truth is that wrestlers like Ziggler, Ambrose, Kingston, Rollins and Cesaro all occupy a upper midcard role that seems permanent and whatever heat they get is quickly doused to keep the top guys up there.  I think the company is afraid of pushing new people for fear of losing their merchandise sales.  Those new people who have gotten over such as Wyatt and Reigns seem to have top spots on the pay per views but never seem to get the results they need to truly become big stars.  Wyatt virtually lost all his heat when he lost to Cena repeatedly for zero gain and his current feud with Jericho is a plaster to try and stop the bleeding.  Roman Reigns is a fucking monster who could easily be cheered as a vicious heel or superhero babyface but his current situation with Orton and being relegated to a midcard role for Summerslam only exemplifies the creative teams sloth like speed in getting him over.

The diva's still seem to be going through the motions with the only real interesting action there being the feud between AJ Lee and Paige who are both great wrestlers.  Brie Bella is currently in a woefully underwhelming feud with Stephanie McMahon.  I know Steph can do a great job as the cunt boss character and her matches back in the day where passable, but Brie Bella is a fucking disaster.  If she wasn't married to Daniel Bryan I would have sacked her a long time ago and I hope she is aware that she isn't there for her ability or lack thereof in wrestling.  Their feud has been long, boring and completely uninteresting.  For proof of this the two weeks where they had the closing quarter of Raw for their feud development, it garnered the one of the lowest ratings of the year, meaning people were tuning out when they came out to awkwardly act to each other.

Every other Diva is just window dressing really and any attempt to put them over is abandoned quickly.  Layla and Summer Rae now both hate Fandango and now take part in regular squash matches involving the dancing pro wrestler.  Alicia Fox briefly had a "stroppy teen" angle where she would throw a hissy fit after losing before leaving.  This went nowhere.  The funkadactyls broke up and simply faded away.

The main issue the company has is it's pacing.  All too often they have been rushing their top heels into feuds with Cena with the inevitable defeat of said heel and then going into obscurity afterwards.  Heel's aren't allowed to breathe in the company any more.  Why couldn't the Wyatt family win the tag titles?  Why couldn't Bray have the US or Intercontinental belt for a while before he dropped it willingly to challenge Cena?  Instead Wyatt gets ridiculous heat and immediately attacks Cena only to be defeated several times clean and losing his heat just as quickly as he gained it.  Buried may be a harsh term but I can't help but feel Wyatt has suffered badly from his Cena feud, like all heel's do.

It's not different with Orton who regularly goes over up and comers for zero benefit to his character or popularity being he is already over with fans.  I wouldn't be shocked to see him win over Reigns this Sunday because he got a bottom lip about losing to a younger wrestler.  In regards to the Lesnar match this Sunday, he will lose without a doubt simply because......Cena.


TNA have been suffering big time.  Television is their biggest issue right now as they have no deal in place with Spike to continue broadcasting on their network.  The rumour mill did say they will be able to continue broadcasting while they look for a new provider but it won't end well for them I imagine and it pretty much confirms Spike will not be renewing their deal with the company.  It's one thing to say "Well they get a million viewers each week, so it's not all bad" but then you have to point out that over the last four years they haven't broken that magic million since.  A product like wrestling needs to gain more viewers to be profitable over the long term and when you consider that in a country of 1 billion, only a million people watch your product is bad and it shows in their live event attendance. 

The worst part of it is the poor bastards who work for the company.  Despite being talented wrestlers (for the most part) they have to work for a company that is run incompetently and creatively bereft of ideas that will create interesting shows.  When you give wrestlers gimmicks such as the Menagerie you know it's fucked and there is no saving it from being taken round the back of a shed and put out of it's misery.  They still rely on former WWE wrestlers to be the front and centre of their stories.  MVP, Lashley and King are all former WWE stars.  Bully ray, Devon and Dreamer are ECW/WWE wrestlers.  Hardy is their biggest merchandise seller.  Ethan Carter is a former NXT character backed up currently by another ECW/WWE guy and temporarily Ezekiel Jackson and Snitsky.  Mr.Anderson is simply going through the motions in the midcard.

Any original talent they have are generally used as filler for their other half baked plans.  The Bromans are a great comedy heel team who could easily flourish if the company had a more developed tag division.  The Wolves are as vanilla as it gets with no personality to speak of, athletically capable but boring to listen to.  Roode, Aries and Young are in the top spot but get used sparingly and although they are popular they don't get the limelight quite like Bully does for instance.  James Storm has become some kind of weird dominatrix, abusing Sanada into being his wrestling bitch.  Honestly I don't get why he is doing what he is doing at the moment and it just confuses me.  What beef does he have with Muta?  Why does he slap Sanada so much and treat him that way?  Is that how Japanese wrestlers socialise?  No fucking idea but it's weird.

Probably the dumbest idea on the company's part was their "boss toss" campaign which revolved around spoiling their show.  For months we have had Bully Ray trying to get his hands on Dixie Carter and plant her through a table as a throwback to his early days in the fed.  Now they did a good job of making you wait, where each time it looks like he will finally do it, they get distracted or betrayed or attacked by a new opponent and Bully has certainly taken his fair share of defeats during this feud.  This worked great until a fortnight back where they basically show you it happening as a preview for the following weeks episode.  Spoilers used to not only ruin a blow off for a feud but also in a sad attempt to gain more viewers for that week.  The end result was Dixie went through a table and it made no impact (excuse the pun) on the ratings one bit.  That alone speaks volumes about the situation TNA sits in.  Their upcoming excursion to Japan for Bound for glory will probably be another colossal failure for them and may quite possibly be the event that sinks them financially.

I have said that a lot previously but it's such a slow agonising death for this company I hope someone will come along and buy them so they can get a cash injection actually become a better company.  America deserves to have some direct competition between it's professional wrestling groups to keep it fresh for fans and stimulate the different companies to produce shows.


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