The Armchair Quarterback: The Self-Destruction of TNA Wrestling

Quinn GammonCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2010

I seriously considered not writing this piece and leaving well enough alone. But then I made the mistake of reading a comparison of WWE and TNA on the forums of

Boy, was that a mistake.

I'll begin with the picture above. The face associated with this article is but one example of the madness that was once called Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The Sandman in the late 1990's was one of the top draws of an upstart company known as ECW. Let's not forget that even though ECW had a big impact on the professional wrestling industry as a whole, the promotion also went bankrupt and closed its doors, ultimately playing the role of sacrificial "third wheel" in the Monday Night ratings war between WWF and WCW.

Fast forward to 2010. The Sandman and the non-draws that he main evented ECW with are all in their late thirties to early forties. They also happen to be the "main" storyline in TNA Wrestling at the present time. The other "main" storylines belong to Sting, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Jeff Jarrett.

Now, re-read the above paragraph and tell me what's wrong with that picture.

AJ Styles. You remember him? The guy who busted his ass for eight months making the TNA Heavyweight Title worth something, only to drop it to Mr. "I had a cup of coffee and three blunts before winning the strap on" Monday Night, Rob Van Dam?

He also happens to be ranked Number 1 on this year's PWI 500, which happens to be the most respected professional wrestling publication in the world.

I guess that doesn't mean much to Dixie Carter and the folks at TNA. I'm going to paste, verbatim, the comments left by a poster on the forums. These comments also single-handedly provided me with the necessary motivation to write this piece.

In regards to TNA Wrestling following WWE's trend of building stars and the current status of TNA's top storylines, user FitFinlay4Life stated:

"Sting, Hogan, Nash and Jarrett - a storyline that makes sense; two aging stars who (apparently) want to hold their spots while the founder and the new boss want the new guys to shine. This hasn't been stretched across the two hours of Impact but compacted into one segment - hardly hogging the spotlight and it gives the nostalgia fiends amongst us happy."

The absurdity of this statement does nothing more than validate the venomous diatribes that are usually associated with the Internet Wrestling Community.

With all due respect to the four veterans listed above, I ask only this: Why do they need to be involved in their own storyline? What did our smark poster friend say in his paragraph above? The founder and the new boss want the new guys to shine?

Funny considering how the camera time being given to them takes away from the already limited camera time being given to the new guys. Congratulations, everyone; we've now successfully deduced that this storyline is a complete contradiction of itself.

Did I mention that Vince Russo owns a t-shirt with the tag-line "It's just wrestling, it's not supposed to make sense" printed on it? 

Setting aside the fact that TNA is showcasing three guys who were draws in the '80's and '90's having a storyline with a guy who was never a draw in the first place, we come to the "main" angle of the entire company.

Let's have a look at our smark friend's comments on the forum regarding this particular topic:

On the topic of TNA's EV2.0 vs Fortune storyline, user FitFinlay4Life stated:

EV2.0 Vs Fortune - this also makes sense and can operate as an ECW rub on the organisation; young guys not appreciating old washed up garbage wrestlers hogging their PPVs and TV time, so they take things into their own hands.

Excuse me? Did he just say that the storyline made sense? Let me rearrange this angle so that it makes sense for all of you.

Old, washed up, garbage wrestlers invade company. Stable of young guys led by an old veteran stands up to this group of washed up, garbage wrestlers, and defends the honor of their company. Old, washed up garbage wrestlers taste defeat in the end as TNA stands victorious.

That would be the path of least resistance that makes the most sense.

Did I mention that Vince Russo owns a t-shirt with the tag-line "Why do a job well when you can do it poorly?" printed on it?

Instead, a group of old, washed up, garbage wrestlers that look like they stumbled into a wrestling ring from the back alleys of Disneyworld, invades TNA and are booked as the babyfaces.

The young guys, led by the aging veteran that's been in TNA just long enough to use the Men's bathroom, are being booked as the heels.

Meanwhile, Rob Van Dam is hanging out with Mary-Jane and taking credit for all of this, and once again, the backseat is being handed to the TNA homegrowns. That seems to be a recurring theme down in Florida, and highly ironic for a company based on "family" and "loyalty".

Seriously, you could be keeping the spotlight on guys that deserve it, like Beer Money and the Machine Guns. It's a shame that they didn't have a "Best of 54" series, because their program was literally the only watchable thing about TNA up to its conclusion.

We have a World Championship tournament that would be a perfect fit for a four-week period leading up to Bound for Glory, and instead, that tournament plays out in one week. In that one week, the creative geniuses writing this nightmare of a script have eliminated every single heel from the tournament, creating a final four consisting entirely of babyfaces.

But wait, there's more. The psychology of a face vs face main event can be tricky to work, so why not double the fun? On top of that, let's put the stipulation in there that TNA's best in-ring wrestler, Kurt Angle, will retire if he loses any of his matches.

Now, let's see how many fans can predict who's going to win the Championship at the pay-per-view.

Did I mention that Vince Russo owns a t-shirt...

Questions, comments and feed back are welcome. Below is the direct link to the forum in question where you can find the aforementioned poster and his views on all of this.