Grappling with 2013...
I was sitting at my desk, acting in my role as co-host of Inside the Squared Circle, Free Rein Media's long-running pro wrestling news & analysis show when I started typing this up. Myself, analyst Dusty Cheeva, and host Darrell Mays were discussing how the year in mainstream professional wrestling looks for 2013 to kick off the seventh season, and I gotta say, I'm not overly hopeful.
As I mentioned on the show, I want to see wrestling get back from the point where a push does not mean simply feuding with Chris Jericho on Twitter. The bottom line is, the business has gotten lazy as fuck, and it shows in the product, the ratings, and in the stock price. There doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence in favor of WWE or TNA making any changes in the upcoming calendar year, and that's infuriating as both a fan and a businessman.
For WWE, if it hasn't become painfully obvious the boat's still afloat, but has taken on far too much water, then the executives, real and storyline, need a serious re-education. You should be destroying TNA Impact!, yet you are playing down to their level. An expanded three-hour format should have been a gamechanger, yet the ratings have only lost ground, and dissatisfaction with the PG era is growing by the minute. Yes, Vince, we have all figured out Linda is not going to win a seat in the U.S. Senate anytime soon, so put that expensive hobby and the PG boondoggle to rest. You made money hand over fist with the Attitude era, and there was nothing even then that could be considered that far out of bounds, not with the current crop of reality television we get.
Maybe WWE Network could have a show where Hornswoggle tries to raise pit bulls. I wouldn't tune in, except maybe for the episode where he gets fatally mauled. Ah, to daydream...
TNA? TNA Impact has been so bad lately I haven't even bothered watching it, but suffice to say, if Brooke Hogan's career is now resting on TNA, then TNA is a straw away from having its back broken. Everyone expected miracles from Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, but the more time drags on (and when last I saw TNA, time was sure as fuck dragging), two things become obvious:
1. Hulk Hogan may have been a great draw, even a great performer at one time, but the bottom line, plain and simple, is he stinks on ice having sway in creative. It's like Bart Starr- legendary quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, legendarily awful in eight seasons as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Glory doesn't regenerate itself like growing a tail back, it has to be maintained.
2. Eric Bischoff. Yeah, I read his book. Hell, I watched him do those cheesy old-school ringside interviews on AWA Wrestling when they were on ESPN when I got home from school in the 1980s, so I know the guy paid his dues, and then he earned a rep as a genius, and rightfully so, when he put WCW on the map. Same kind of story here, people. Just because your name meant something once upon a time, it doesn't exactly mean the same results every time. There is an expression in wrestling about going to the well one time too many. Bischoff brought the well with him when TNA came calling. Whatever water's left has grown stagnant and unpalatable, yet Bischoff expects you to drink it with a smile, and at the end of the day, he can't figure out why everyone is still thirsty.
Lord knows I'm still thirsty, in spite of everything that was dished up to me last year. I actually had to sit down and make watching RAW, SmackDown, and Impact in 2013 a New Year's resolution. Lord knows I'll probably see another year's worth of John Cena main eventing every thing shy of a Divas pillow fight battle royal, or more whatever the fuck those storylines from TNA are supposed to be.
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(Best Overall Writing), 2011 Blogger's Choice Awards