The Crow's Nest - Responding to My Readers
Jul 22, 2013 - 7:01:22 PM
1) Responding to My Readers (07/22/13)
Writer's Note: It's going to be a relatively quick one today, because I'm currently on vacation at my cottage and would like to get back to spending time with my friends and family that are here. I'll be home in a little under a week, and can get back to work on a couple of longer columns I currently have in the works. Thank you.
As any of my fellow columnists here at LordsOfPain will tell you, we often receive crazy amounts of feedback regarding our columns, and often get messages/emails completely out of the blue asking our opinions or thoughts on various wrestling (and sometimes non-wrestling) related issues or events. Not all of it is constructive or has any real point to it, but I've had more than a few really good exchanges with some of you that never would have happened had you not reached out and contacted me. I don't always get a chance to respond to every comment, message, tweet and email that I am sent, but I do read every one of them. But, as I'm sure all of you are aware of, life does get in the way of hobbies, and column writing is just that for me: a hobby. I do what I do because I enjoy it, and LordsOfPain has given me a platform to share ideas and opinions with other fans of professional wrestling.
The point of today's column is simple. I think it's about time I respond to some of the recent questions and comments I've been sent, especially considering this is something I've said I was going to do for some time now. So what will the mail bag of yours truly hold in store today? Let's find out.
What are your thoughts on Chris Sabin winning the belt?
I'm about 50/50 on this one. As a long time fan of Sabin's work in TNA, I'm thrilled that he finally won the big one, and considering the man is a 6-time X-Division Champion (tied in first for most reigns in championship history), who better to take advantage of the whole "cash in the X-Division Championship for a shot at the World Champion at Destination X" stipulation? As injury plagued as he's been over the past couple of years, it's amazing to see him come back and be this successful.
But, as a long time fan of the overall TNA product, I question whether it may have been too soon to strip Bully Ray of the belt. Bully Ray was absolutely on fire as World Champion, and it seemed as though a big Aces & Eights vs. Main Event Mafia feud was about to happen, naturally centred around the World Championship. Granted it still could, if Sabin ends up being revealed as the sixth member of the MEM, but as of right now I'm not sure what to think. The title needs to be free for a fresh feud in a few months when the BFG Series ends anyways, so either Sabin is going to hold it until then, or Bully Ray is going to win it back very soon. Either way, I believe the champion needs to have some kind of momentum going into Bound For Glory, and playing hot potato with the belt is not the right way to get that done.
Overall though, given Sabin's track record as a performer, I'm willing to give this run a shot. It's been a decade in the making, so at the very least I'm glad that he finally made it to the top of the company. He's going to have to hit the ground running though, because he's taking the place of a very well-received World Champion that had a very solid run, and if he fails in his first reign, he may never get another shot.
Do you think TNA needs to get serious with their mid-card title and start treating it like it actually means something?
Yes. 100% yes. And it needs to be a consistent thing too, no more of this "let's only treat the X-Division Championship like a big deal when Destination X is right around the corner" stuff. Also, because of the current 230 pound weight limit on the X-Division title, I would re-instate the Television Championship as a mid-card belt, open to any and all who wish to compete for it. There's no reason that TNA can't successfully book two mid-card titles at the same time, especially with the amount of talent currently on their roster.
I'm a firm believer that title reigns don't make the wrestler, but they certainly don't hurt either. Sure, SOME wrestlers can go on to win World Championships without ever holding a mid-card belt, but that is not always the case. The mid-card belt is simply a prop, but being able to say that the mid-card wrestler holding it is a CHAMPION can absolutely help them in the eyes of the fans. If that belt actually carries some prestige, anyways. If the belt is booked like the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships, it's just a useless prop that makes fans go "oh yeah, those titles exist…" There's talent on the TNA roster that is just waiting to break through, and a championship of some kind could help push that along.
What do you think about bandwagon fans?
I suppose my answer depends on how you define bandwagon fans. If you mean "fans who don't like a team/wrestler/band/whatever until they become popular/successful," then my answer is kind of half-and-half. If those people become loyal and real fans, more power to them. If you didn't like Dragonforce until you heard that one song on Guitar Hero because you simply hadn't heard of them before that, why does it matter that I've been listening to them for years already? Why does it matter that I've been a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks for as long as I can remember and someone else didn't become a fan until they won the Stanley Cup in 2010? I don't care HOW you became a fan of something, so long as you don't claim to be a fan unless it's actually true.
The bandwagon fans I dislike are the ones who change their loyalties more often than Taco Bell causes diarrhea. The best example I can think of has to do with some people who claim loyalty to TNA when the general consensus is that the company is doing well, but the second the shit hits the fan again, they're back on the "LOL TNA CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!" train. I have no problem with disagreeing with decisions TNA makes or speaking out against the company, but people that claim to be a fan of the product only to turn around and act like they never were annoy me. That's not to say that they have to be pro-TNA for the rest of their lives, but should the day ever come that they give up on the company, at least have a reason for it. Don't act like you never watched or enjoyed it.
Why aren't you hosting the TNA show on LoP Radio?
I get asked this question quite a bit, and I wish I had a better answer than I do, but I don't. The simple answer is that the internet I have at home right now is garbage, and as some of the LoPR crew can attest to, my ability to have any sort of conversation on Skype is very limited because of it. It's a temporary situation that I hope to have resolved ASAP, but that is honestly the only reason I have yet to make an appearance on LoP Radio.
What do you think about the current TNA show on LoP Radio?
Kind of a "part 2" to the question above, and not one I can provide a very fulfilling answer to. I think I have some very different views from the current host and have my share of criticisms of the product so far, but until I'm actually in a position to do anything about it, I'll hold my tongue. Sorry to those of you expecting some other, perhaps angrier response.
Mac or PC?
I'm not kidding you, this is actually a question I've been asked. I actually use both, and while I personally prefer the Mac OS to Windows, I'm not one of those Apple fanboys that refuses to buy Microsoft stuff. I have a laptop running Windows and a MacBook Pro (which also has a Windows 7 partition on it). I have an iPad and a Windows 8 tablet. I have an iPod Touch, but also a phone running Android (which I realize isn't really a Windows thing, but it goes towards my point). I've never been one to be too loyal to a single brand of clothing/technology/etc., and as long as it works and I enjoy using it, I'll keep using it. Choosing a side is stupid.
Do you think TNA should stop pre-taping shows?
I'd like to say yes, because I personally hate spoilers, but realistically I know that it's not going to happen any time soon for one simple reason: it's cheaper to do it this way. It's pretty common knowledge that TNA's financial situation is less than stellar, and taping two episodes of Impact per week is a good way to cut costs. Would it be nice to have all live shows? Definitely, but right now that just isn't totally possible. Perhaps down the line, but not right now.
Writer's Note: The following question was one that I've received in a few different forms over the past couple of weeks, so I've gone ahead and paraphrased it below to make things nice and simple.
How do you feel about people accusing you of being overly biased in your fantasy column and accusing your voting system of being flawed, basically becoming a popularity contest, and would you do things differently if you could do it again?
I'll address the questions in order.
How do I feel about people accusing me of bias? I can't say I'm all that surprised. Because I've long identified myself as a TNA fan, a lot of the time when I say something that is pro-TNA, I hear responses like "well of course YOU would think that." These accusations are tired, and I think I've proven on more than a few occasions that I have no qualms about calling TNA out when they do something I disagree with. Yes, there are some TNA fans that see the company through rose-colored glasses and believe that no one associated with TNA can do any wrong, but I am not one of them. Sure, a couple of the matches might have been a touch imbalanced, but the same can be said both ways. John Cena vs. Bully Ray, not exactly a fair and balanced match, but I heard ZERO outrage against that one. Same goes for Mark Henry vs. Abyss, The Shield vs. Aces & Eights and Undertaker vs. Sting. All of those outcomes were pretty clearly going to be a victory for WWE, but no complaints were heard. But take a look at the comments about Kofi vs. AJ Styles, and things are quite different. More so than any of the above matches, I argued my reasoning for putting these two against each other, and people acted as if I were repeatedly slapping AJ Styles across the face by DARING to put him in a match with some mid-card nobody.
Let's take a look at the facts here. AJ Styles, essentially, is a mid-card guy in TNA. He's very popular, he's very talented, but he hasn't held the big belt in over 3 years, and apart from a couple of random matches here and there, he's been a mid-card guy since that point. Even while Styles was in the Bound For Glory Series in 2012, his character's focus was almost entirely on the storyline with Claire Lynch and Bad Influence. Kofi Kingston is another guy who is very talented and very popular and, for a long period of time, was looked at by the fans as a future World Champion. But, despite that talent and popularity, Kofi has remained a mid-card wrestler. So when you look at the bare-bones facts, I've put together two very talented, very popular, mid-card wrestlers with similar in-ring styles to start the show and get the fans pumped up. Would I have liked to place AJ Styles up further on the card? Absolutely, because I am a big fan of his, but would that not show pretty extreme bias on my part? AJ Styles may be a former World Champion, but that does not mean he is a permanent member of the top of the card. I put him on the card where I thought he would best serve a purpose, plain and simple.
As for my voting system being flawed, I have to shake my head at that one as well. I chose to leave the voting up to you, the readers, for the express purpose of avoiding bias, or at least avoiding as much as I possibly could. Had I made the predictions myself and left it at that, that's making it 100% my opinion, and therefore 100% vulnerable to my personal bias. If I left the choices in the hands of only a few "experts" as some of you suggested (specifically that I should have brought on a couple of the other Main Page columnists and just voted between us) we run into almost the same issue, as the input is coming from a small number of people. By leaving it open to the readers, sure there remains the chance that some people are going to vote based on the popularity of a wrestler, but there exists a much higher chance of some actual opinions coming out. Just look at some of the results if you don't believe me. If this were a popularity contest, would Aces & Eights have received almost 1/4 of the total votes against The Shield? Would Bully Ray, who has become extremely popular over the last year or so, have received so few votes against a guy that many members of the IWC claim to despise? No voting system is perfect, but I chose to leave it up to a reader vote because I thought it would be the best way to gather different opinions, and also because I thought it would be nice to actually involve the readers in a column. That doesn't happen very often. So how do I feel about my voting system being accused of being a popularity contest? I shrug it off, because I believe it to be, for the most part, very wrong. I had a lot of fun reading the different opinions people had on the card, and while I'm sure I would have had people send opinions anyways, this system made people actually think a little more than they would otherwise.
And finally, would I do it differently if I could do it again? Honestly, yes, but not because of any of the criticisms I've received. Some of the matches would remain the same, some would be slightly tweaked, some would be overhauled, and a couple new ones might be added. It's all a matter of hindsight, and me putting together new ideas after the original was already posted. Perhaps down the line I'll put together another card and we'll see how different it is. Time will tell I suppose.
Well that's all I have time for today. If you have a question or something you'd like my thoughts on, feel free to send me a message/tweet/comment and I'll try to get back to you. Who knows, if it's interesting enough I might even include it in a future "reader response" column. I'll be back soon with another column, but until then, thanks for stopping by.
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