Tag Archives: Eric Bischoff

Headlock’d: A Case of Mistaken Identity

This week, we play musical masks with Sin Cara, Davey Richards fails to understand what “context” means and find ourselves very pleased with a rather obvious Simpsons reference. (No, not that one… put the cigarettes and short length of hose away.)

Let’s Lock Up!

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Headlock’d: Dixie’s Yard Sale

This week we discuss who will buy TNA, The WWE Network and whether imitation is a form of flattery.

Let’s Lock Up!

Andy’s Angry: Dixie Sells, but Who’s Buying?

So TNA is heading back to Universal Studios.  That made me pretty angry last week.  There’s nothing TNA fans can do to stop it now, except, maybe, spend some money.  I won’t hold my breath.

When the non-paying masses return to Universal this month, they’re going to see something they probably didn’t count on.  No, not a six-sided ring.  Not Hulk Hogan.  And if I was heading to the show, I wouldn’t count on reasonable booking.

No, instead, fans will find the metaphorical “For Sale” sign on TNA’s front lawn.

What’s that, you say?  The folks that own a company that runs free TV tapings, produced pay-per-views that no one pays to view, and has a house show tour that draws less than local indies… want out?

Color me shocked.

You know what would be even more surprising?  If they found a buyer.

TNA is damaged goods.  Writing a seven or eight-figure check to acquire it is an incredibly risky gamble.  Spending millions on a venture that’s proven to be little more than a financial burden would certainly help the Carters.  But it would probably foreshadow your own personal bankruptcy filings.

So who’s got a lot of money burning a hole in their pockets, but lacks a voice of reason?

Eric Bischoff

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Everyone seems to expect Uncle Eric to find some financial backers and make a bid for TNA.  He won’t.  Eric had one good idea (that he stole from Japan) 15 years ago.  That stolen idea popped ratings and buyrates for a year.  He’s been riding that Black & White line on his résumé ever since, and will continue to do so, 4-Lyfe.  What he — and his fans/supporters — neglect to mention, is that his lack of business acumen and fresh ideas helped kill WCW, and more importantly, that he has offered TNA NOTHING over the last few years.  All he did was take a struggling-but-growing business and kick the legs out from beneath it.

He turned the little-engine-that-could into a freight train rolling downhill, without a conductor.

Jeff Jarrett

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Jeff Jarrett’s name is suddenly relevant again, and not just because of #JeffJarrettWeek. While he’s been assuming more responsibility in the post-Hogan/Bischoff era, I wouldn’t expect him to ever again run the show.  He and his father, Jerry, lost a ton of money on TNA.  It’s the reason why they sold the company to their marketing director’s daddy in the first place.  If this was 5 years ago, and the company was still on its way up, MAYBE.  With the right backers.  Now?  Jeff would be better off launching another no-name company, taping at Universal, and selling the footage to Spike the day after TNA dies.  Neither will happen.  But don’t be surprised if Doulbe-J resurfaces on wrestling’s favorite C-show.

Vince

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Vince McMahon and WWE have no interest in TNA.  NONE.   You don’t believe me?  When’s the last time WWE snatched up a TNA guy?  Xavier Woods?

Triple H has reportedly said TNA has nothing WWE wants.  I believe it.  They’re the company that signs the guys WWE doesn’t want anymore, and the indy guys WWE never wanted in the first place.  Sorry, Austin Aries fans.

The ONLY way WWE would ever buy TNA would be for a “best of” DVD for Sting.  I’m sure they’d find a match or two.  Kurt Angle?  Don’t kid yourself.   More people remember his feud with Steve Austin than have seen ANYTHING he’s done in TNA.

So really, who’s left?

SpikeTV

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The only real answer is SpikeTV.  The cable network has invested a ton of money into TNA over the years.  It helped supplement the paychecks of some of the biggest stars (Angle, Sting, Hogan) in an effort to boost viewership, and ad revenue.  After all, the point IS to make money, right?  If Spike bought TNA, it could realistically fire TNA’s entire production staff, and bring almost everything in-house.  Cut costs, make money.  That’s the point, right?

You know what I’d prefer, though?  A three-way deal between TNA, SpikeTV…and Japan.  Either New Japan, Dragon Gate, or Muta’s post-All Japan startup.  Buy TNA, and make sure the SpikeTV contract is part of the deal.  Use TNA as both a feeder-system for your Japanese branch, AND a way for younger Japanese stars to gain experience in the US.  Use the biggest stars from both branches on PPVs.  Sadly, I think TNA’s more likely to disappear with a whimper than a deal like this.

So what’s next for TNA?  Most likely, a much of random fix-gaps that will either elate or frustrate the marks, but ultimately, don’t matter.  The ring may grow some extra sides.  Some flavor-of-the-week indy star will probably get a Gut Check.  AJ Styles will return for a champion vs champion match.  TNA will pretend that all is fine in Dixieland.

But you?  You’ll know better.

Enjoy it while it lasts.  It may not be long.

Want to make a bid with me?  Tweet me your resume and financial info @AndyMillerJMS

Bound for “Who Cares”: The AJ Styles Story

TNA has the X Division Title, the Tag Team Titles, and until recently, they even had a TV Title. All of those titles are opportunities to get wrestlers over and gradually move them up the ladder rung-by-rung toward the ultimate goal: The World Heavyweight Title. In the case of every single belt, however, TNA has failed to brand, promote, and book in a way that supported their titles.

Which is why, after watching the September 5th edition of Impact Wrestling live, try as I might, I could not bring myself to write a plus/minus review of it. It was such an exposition of everything wrong with TNA that I felt like it would be overly-charitable to accentuate the positives.

The character development of recent (read: last week) World’s Champion Chris Sabin in this episode of Impact was perhaps the worst treatment of a recent champion I’ve ever seen. TNA has done this boneheaded stuff before (like never mentioning Jeff Hardy the night after he lost the title to Bully Ray), but this crossed the line (hey, remember that? No..?) from boneheaded to actively destructive. In last week’s +/- rating, I joked:

Velvet Sky and Chris Sabin are together? What? If a guy had a popular, good-looking girlfriend and was champion, wouldn’t you accentuate that when he was champion and not after his dreams had been crushed?

This week’s Impact made me wish I’d bitten my tongue, as TNA called my bluff and made things even worse. Suddenly, Chris Sabin (who, also suddenly, has a girlfriend that many of TNA’s fans find attractive) has snapped and is going to reinvent himself, go out on his own, and do what it takes to get to the top. The only problem? He just fell from the top. Any World Heavyweight Title is designed to be the ultimate culmination of a wrestler’s journey. The title is the top of the mountain. It’s not base camp. It’s not a message that you’re a serious contender. If you’re champion, you’re on the top, and it should take the fight of the next guy’s life to knock you off.

Sharing whatever is the opposite of the limelight with Sabin is A.J. Styles: both have numerous title reigns holding various TNA belts and are still amongst the most damaged characters in the promotion. How does TNA try to prop them up and reestablish them? By putting them in title contention. The TNA World Heavyweight Championship is supposed to be the torch, TNA treats it more like the microwave: a device that heats something up quickly and gives it a slimy, unpalatable texture.

The braintrust at TNA only has to look one direction to see why is a terrible idea: up! The WWE has spent the last year and a half repairing damage done to their top titles and the whole concept of main event status due to a decade of using belts as a way to get young talent over in lieu of actual character development . The idea that TNA does not learn from the very recent mistakes of the hegemon of the business it allegedly wants to succeed at is gut-shot, take-your-breath-away horrifying.

Of course, TNA still claims to present higher-quality wrestling than the WWE. To prove it, they put nearly every wrestler of any consequence in their promotion into a single match for twenty shiny points. In a vacuum where the nebulous concept of “points” seems appealing, this match sounds like an alright idea. However, the result of trying to book around at least four angles (Main Events Mafia vs. Aces & Eights, EGO vs. The BFG Series, Bradley trying to play “spoiler” and the return of A.J. Styles) was a match that could only be classified as a cluster mess (™ Jeff Jarrett).

The pain of it all is that A.J. Styles winning the BFG Series is actually a very intriguing option, as A.J. is someone longtime TNA fans would embrace as a long-term champion. Even in doing the right thing and putting the right person in position to knock off the man who has been the company’s top heel for the last year, TNA has done the sloppiest possible job of telling the tidiest, most archetypical story in existence. Because A.J.’s character has been handled so hamfistedly since the appearance of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and their assorted cronies, TNA has done the unthinkable: they’ve made it laborious to root for their all-time top babyface. There was a time when the quality of wrestling in TNA made it easier to ignore their terrible booking, but that time has clearly passed.

Cody Rhodes’ Very Bad Things: Raw Regurgitated, 9/2

Wow, did Randy Orton wake up feeling extra coherent today? This promo is articulate, to the point that it doesn’t sound like, well, a Randy Orton promo.

JBL as Jesse Ventura/Eric Bischoff during this reign of terror by The Better for Business Bureau has developed into a Don West character. Good heel Don West, not literally every other part of his entire career.

For anyone to watch this opening segment and worry about whether or not Daniel Bryan will eventually get over on Orton/H is either depressingly naive or even more depressingly cynical. It’s obvious that they’ll let him win the title. How else is Triple H going to go over him for the WWE Championship and have it make sense?

***

If Cody Rhodes gets Syxx’d by H, fans should start to worry, but good for him getting this shot. He’s already on his way to being crazy over, so being thrust in a main event, even if it’s only as a step above canon fodder right now, is the best thing that could possibly happen to him. One only hopes that Damien Sandow doesn’t get left behind with all this losing he’s been doing.

***

The Miz has turned into an interesting wrestler. Not a good one, but an interesting one. While this match was no great shakes, the crowd was definitely into it and it told a good if predictable story. Solid, if not great, feuds like this — your D’Lo vs. Val Venis level mid-card noise — is the difference between a good era and a GREAT era, which it looks like this is shaping up to be.

Hopefully, this weird conspiracy theorist Booker T character turns into survivalist Booker T, and he starts looking like post-retirement Shawn Michaels.

Who is going to cash in on this Ambrose-Ziggler hit?

Oh, hello Ryback. Good to see you not let the pile of dirt on top of you keep you down.

***

Everyone is aware that this Big Show/Better for Business Bureau is just a rehash of the HBK-JBL storyline. Which is true, but this is taking place in the context of a much larger story. Of course someone was going to be put up to something they didn’t want to do because they were broke, and if it happens to be the guy with ham-sized fists, then so be it. And congratulations on Stephanie for finally taking that masterclass in heeldom. This is the meanest hug in the history of wrestling:

Also, serious question from Andy: When are the WWE, ROH and TNA going to start a class action lawsuit against Big Lots? How many of these cheap ass catering tables have to break before someone does something.

Wow. Uh. Bray Wyatt is The Truth.

***

Cody Rhodes playing Steamboat to Orton’s Flair is never going to get old (for me). Staring up at those lights so much is probably not the best for Cody, but everybody has to make sacrifices.

Is Orton trying to get the RKO not over? That will literally never happen. But if he’s trying to get wildly booed for it, and is prepping the crowd for when he tries to do the snake thing against Daniel Bryan, then yes keep doing that.

JBL playing the role of — and this is a line from Michael Cole — of press secretary for The Administration adds a weird political wrinkle, but (and I literally can’t believe I’m saying this) if anyone can keep up with JBL it’s Cole. Bradshaw repeatedly saying “we wish Cody well” with all future endeavors implied while Cole asks him “Seriously, dude, WTF?” is as good as we are going to get on commentary in 2013 (take that how you will). That Jerry Lawler is the voice of reason in this whole deal is really the only downside. Where’s (and I literally can’t believe I’m saying this) Alex Riley when you need him?

***

***YOU ARE NOW ENTERING WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION*** ***PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE*** CM Punk being able to exist in a world outside the main story arc will hopefully extend beyond this whole “Triple H really hates Paul Heyman” part. Having main eventers of Punk’s caliber standing outside of such an all-encompassing storyline are exactly how you avoid turning into late-period nWo. Like multiple revenue streams, having multiple ways to make guys (in this case, CM Punk making Curtis Axel) is as important as picking the right guys to give the push in the main storyline. Along with the almost official Intercontinental Championship-ification of the World Heavyweight Championship (as always, that’s meant in the best way possible), giving guys things to do where they don’t have to be shoehorned into one mega-storyline is really what’s “best for business”. *** YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION*** ***PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***

For a guy as intentionally erudite as CM Punk, he does a Dusty Rhodes-level common man promo.

***

What a terrible shit show that three-way Diva’s match was. It’s like they were struggling to agree on the rules of House, but in a wrestling ring.

Speaking of shitshows, it’s clear at this point that Ricardo Rodriguez needed those fat burners for medical reasons. Or, he’s been hanging out too much with RVD in his “super chill van”.

Alberto Del Rio dressing in grey is completing our dream of him being renamed Bruce and turning into the spanish version of Shark Boy. But in a good way.

***

Hopefully everyone appreciates how good that Cody Rhodes promo was. The term Reality Era gets thrown around a lot, but I’ve always preferred the Universe Era. Cody Rhodes isn’t telling the “Truth” as much as he’s telling the Universe’s version of “Truth”. They’ve created a comic book world, where Dustin Rhodes went insane after being made to do the Golddust gimmick and Dusty Rhodes isn’t a Hall of Famer whose been employed by the company for the last decade. These aren’t “facts”, but are the facts being presented as “facts” in the WWE Universe. That’s as kayfabe as you can get, just updated for the internet. Also, seriously, Cody Rhodes fiancee is STUNNING, so I’m sure he’d be fine going home to her, regardless. God bless him.

***

It’s hard to say how this match played out in the arena, but from a purely storytelling perspective, this told said a lot about how there is to love about Daniel Bryan and the credit they deserve for giving him the keys to the SuperFace Mobile. Even better, this is exactly the type of story that you can’t do with someone like John Cena, he’s too big and too strong for something like “Giant Dude Reluctantly Destroys You” to work. But with someone as talented in the ring (and on the mic) as Bryan, they can overcome the inherent “you look like a weakling”-ness of him getting destroyed by a giant through things like “heart” and “perseverance” and “hustle, loyalty and/or respect”.

This “new” Triple H entrance song is the most on-the-nose theme since “I’m an Assman” turned into the Billy and Chuck gimmick.

I had forgotten Paul’s name was Paul until Paul mentioned that Paul’s name was Paul.

Could Randy Orton put some pants on? He’s already wrestled. Did he not shower after?

Did anyone else get the feeling that Randy Orton got all the way down to the ring before he realized that he had forgotten his spray paint, then just improvised the “standing on Daniel Bryan with one foot” bit?