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Posted in: Chair Shots
Chair Shots: Would the End of Competition End Wrestling As We Know It?
By TripleR
Sep 2, 2013 - 3:54:32 PM

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Welcome back readers to the column that just got cast to star in “50 Shades of Grey”, Chair Shots! Now it’s been a little while since I’ve been with you all, but I’m in the process of buying a house and man is that a stressful thing to do. But I’ve been watching, and reading, and keeping abreast of everything wrestling related. What really struck me this week were some comments that Ric Flair made when he was a guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast show just recently.

Ric basically came out and said that he believes that TNA can’t survive much longer in the current state they are in. We’ve all seen the massive cutbacks that TNA has had recently, with talent releases, scaling back of their PPV’s, and just overall cost-cutting measures. Many have expressed the same opinion over the years that Ric has, but somehow, someway, TNA continues to exist. But is there any truth to what Flair is saying? Everybody’s contracts are under review in TNA. Their own TNA Original, AJ Styles, was asked to take a pretty substantial pay cut to stay in TNA. It appears he has signed a short-term deal while negotiations continue. So if TNA is willing to let AJ go if the money isn’t right, who ARE they willing to keep?

Over the course of the last year, Sting, Kurt Angle, and even Hulk Hogan have made some very thinly veiled comments about their relationships with the WWE, and whether or not they would return there, or in Sting’s case, finally make the move that everybody wanted him to make ten years ago. From where I sit, a lot of the talent may be seeing the writing on the wall. TNA may be a sinking ship, which unfortunately in my opinion is a bad thing for the wrestling business.

The #3 organization in the United States, Ring of Honor, doesn’t even really seem to be trying to make any gains to improve, having problem after problem over the past year. Their iPPV issues are well documented, and they are no UNABLE to stream their PPV offerings live to their fans. They’ve lost so many stars over the past few years, such as Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, and more, that the roster is a group of men who are all carbon copies of one another. Even their top stars, The Briscoes, and The American Wolves, seem to be headed out of the organization. Yes, the status of Mark and Jay Briscoe is very much up in the air, but the Wolves are attending a WWE tryout camp in hopes of impressing WWE talent scouts.

What’s disheartening is that both organizations have big money backers behind them that don’t seem to really want to take that extra step to make them viable contenders. Ring of Honor’s backer, Sinclair Broadcasting, is the largest operator of local television stations in the United States. They not only have the money, but the resources to get their product to a large number of people. And while Ring of Honor is available in a large number of markets, Sinclair doesn’t seem to really care about the quality of the product that is being aired. The shows are poorly produced, lack any real focus, and are taped so far in advance that many storylines are irrelevant before they even get to air.

Panda Energy, which owns the controlling interest in TNA, is a multi-billion dollar power plant company, but again, seems content to sit back and let the chips fall where they may. Dixie Carter’s father, Robert Carter, has the money and resources to become the next Ted Turner, if he were interested. Prior to being purchased by Ted Turner, the NWA was a fly on the wall to Vince McMahon’s WWF. But with not only the financial backing, but also the intent to make something happen, Ted Turner turned the NWA into WCW and became a real player in the business, and he made Vince finally take notice.

But if you were to listen to what Ric Flair says, Robert Carter may finally being nearing the end of bankrolling an organization that hasn’t been able to make any ground in 11 years. The problem lies though in the fact that it takes more than a bankroll to be a competitor. TNA doesn’t have the right business mind to take TNA to the next level. And while a lot of people scoff and Hulk Hogan’s notion that Eric Bischoff should be in charge of TNA, he does have the kind of business mind TNA needs to succeed. Yes, Bischoff and his cronies ultimately drove WCW into the ground, but you can’t ignore what happened before that. He BEAT the WWE. He beat them at their own game, and for quite some time, Vince McMahon was scrambling. One can only hope that Bischoff has learned the lesson that WCW taught him and wouldn’t make those same mistakes again.

The wrestling landscape is as shaky as it’s ever been. Ring of Honor could cease to exist at any moment. TNA could cease to exist at any moment. There’s a real possibility in the next couple of years, that the only nationally, and in some cases, globally available wrestling entertainment will be the WWE. That could be the absolute worst thing to happen to the world of professional wrestling. The WWE has always been at its best when there is some form of competition. When Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim tore it up in a Last Knockouts Standing match in TNA, the WWE answered back with an AJ Lee/Kaitlyn match that was better than any Divas match in years. Vince doesn’t like to hear that anybody else does wrestling better than he does.

So if there’s nobody to DO IT BETTER, what happens to the quality of the WWE? We’ve all seen how complacent things can be in the WWE, and that’s with TNA still existing. With zero competition left, I fear that the WWE will fall into a state of mind that they can do whatever they want, because where else are fans going to go. Would you see more people discovering independent wrestling federations like PWG or FWE? Will fans be drawn overseas and become fans of Japanese wrestling? Some will, but I doubt that the large majority of wrestling fans will either take the time, or have the resources to do so.

And what happens to the talent? Some will undoubtedly end up in the WWE, but even they have said in the past that TNA doesn’t have anything they need. That’s most certainly a pompous statement, and nobody believes in a million years that they wouldn’t take people like Sting, Jeff Hardy, or even Bully Ray. But that still leaves many wrestlers out of work, either going to other indy organizations, possibly Ring of Honor if they were even still around. Again though, there are only so many places for these guys to go. And what happens to an already bloated WWE roster? You’d most certainly have to let people go, more than likely guys we haven’t seen in a long time.

When all is said and done, the wrestling world needs TNA and Ring of Honor to exist. In a perfect world, they get somebody behind them that makes the wrestling world competitive again. But I’ll settle for just having them as a viable option. Last week, LOPMystic Shane tweeted to me that Impact Wrestling was coming to my hometown in November at the Baltimore Arena. My first response to him was YES! and I was excited I’d get to go see them live. My second response, which I kept to myself, was “if they’re still around by then.” Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Until next time,
Trip Out!

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