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Posted in: The Crow's Nest
The Crow's Nest - No Surrender? More Like No Build-Up.
By TheCrow
Sep 7, 2011 - 8:19:39 PM

1) What It Means to Be a True Wrestling Fan

2) No Surrender? More Like No Build-Up

1) What It Means to Be a True Wrestling Fan

Welcome fellow wrestling fans to the first edition of the new and improved column by yours truly, The Crow's Nest. I will be your host through this journey of wrestling discussion, and I am known as TheCrow.

Some of you may be confused as to why I'm here on the main page instead of my usual home over in the Forums. Well in case you missed the news, yours truly has joined the Main Page. When I first received the offer I was sure that a mistake had been made. There's a lot of talent here on the MP folks, and I didn't know that I was ready to join the likes of SuperChrisss, Hustle, Tito and many other great writers from the past because it's guys like that that made me stay on this website over any other for my wrestling news fix. But once I accepted the offer, I knew that I would have to elevate my game to a new level. I am honoured to be here amongst some of the best writers that the IWC has to offer.

But none of you came here to see me kiss a bunch of ass, and if you did I suggest that you may be on the wrong website. You all came here to read a column about the industry that we all love, so let's get to that shall we? Not a super long entry today, but I'll be writing on a regular basis so I'm not too worried about that. Probably not a daily thing, but expect to see me around fairly frequently. Coming to you live from my new home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, I would once again like to welcome you all to The Crow's Nest.


If you are unfamiliar with my work in the Forums, allow me to briefly explain what it is I was doing over there. A while back there was a column on the Main Page entitled The TNA Tirade, and it was the only column around here that wrote strictly about the #2 wrestling company in North America. When the author of that column stopped posting, I knew that there was a gap that needed filling. While other writers certainly wrote about TNA on occasion, there was such a lack of regular coverage that I knew I had found my new gimmick. I had tried various columns in the Forums before to reasonable success, but nothing ever really felt right. Considering I was already a pretty big fan of the TNA product, there was only one solution in my mind.

Start a new column that focused purely on the TNA product.

In a tribute to the column that inspired me, I titled my column The TNA Tribute and after some tweaking I found a format that worked for me. I began watching iMPACT closer than ever before and reviewed the action (with my own commentary of course) each and every week. My goal with this column was not only to write about something other than WWE. My main goal above all others was to provide an impartial voice for a company that I feel is too often dumped upon, even when they do something right. While the product is far from perfect, I felt that TNA still deserved credit for any success they might have, and my new movement was born.

Very quickly I gained just as many haters as I had fans. A lot of people questioned my loyalty to a company that so often falls short of its potential and no matter how hard I tried, they would not be convinced. Throughout my time writing The TNA Tribute, I received more than one email filled with vulgar and offensive language that attacked me on both a personal and "professional" level, and for a while it did begin to get to me. I had never been on the receiving end of such unnecessary and unwarranted hatred before as a result of my writing, and while it did nothing to shake my fandom it did shake my confidence as a writer. I was used to receiving a couple of constructive criticisms, and I appreciated those above any other comments because they were instrumental in helping me to improve, but some of the things being said to me were in a whole other ball park of messed up.

The emails ranged from barely coherent abominations of the english language to well written (albeit still filled with vulgarity, but at least they could spell and construct sentences properly) bits that attacked anything from my writing, to my fandom, to my personal life, and in one case even to my family. I've chosen to share with you a couple of examples of the things I would see in my inbox from time to time. I've also chosen to not post the emails of the senders because as much as I would like to see them all castrated and thrown into the deepest pits of hell, I do not wish to start drama for or with these people. Even assholes deserve mercy sometimes.

An example of the less than proper use of the English language

Better grammar and spelling, but still just unnecessary

But just as I was considering "quitting", I realized something. I may have had my share of haters, but I also had some fans that were coming by my column every week and praising what I was doing. On more than one occasion I was told that reading my iMPACT review was more entertaining than iMPACT itself, and despite the shot at the TNA product within that compliment to me, I began to regain my confidence. I learned how to laugh it off when I would receive a hate-filled email and I just kept on doing what I was doing.

One reader in particular I speak to on a regular basis, and though he doesn't want me to mention his name in this column, what he said to me is very important. I shared with him all of my concerns and doubts about what I was doing, and he helped me to get through all of it. Recently however, he asked me a question that inspired this very column you are reading now. "Are you still just a TNA fan Crow? Or are you a full-fledged TNA mark."

This was not the first time I had been asked a question like that. It may have been the first time it was worded without a lot of profanity or attitude, but it was a question I had asked myself before. Am I a TNA mark that refuses to say a bad thing about the company? Or am I still an impartial fan that writes with a fair voice. My main defence has always been that I am a fan of professional wrestling, and that my fandom is too great to only be a fan of one company. I would say that it didn't matter if the wrestling show was performed in a sold out arena or a school gymnasium with 30 people in the crowd, because above all else, I am a professional wrestling fan.

But how do I better make the argument that those claims still reign true and that I'm not a mindless TNA mark that cheers for everything? The answer is simple. I wanted to write a column today that detailed my long and arduous journey to some epic and enlightening epiphany, but that would be a work of fiction. When I watch TNA, either live on TV or on one of the many DVDs that are in my collection, I do not hesitate to criticize things that I see that anger me as a wrestling fan. Whether it's Abyss doing…well, anything on TV… or just foolish booking decisions, TNA is just as vulnerable to my "wrath" as any other company. The problem I have with a lot of my detractors is that they are the kind of people that follow the WWE herd no matter what just because they're the top game in town, and far too often after trying to talk to these people it becomes very clear that they have rarely (if EVER) watched the TNA product and realized what they have to offer. If you've watched this season of Big Brother at all (I know, it's a guilty pleasure, don't judge me), this guy named Adam has basically been floating along the entire time and only ever seems to remain loyal to someone as long as they have some form of power in the house, and as soon as that power shifts he tries to get on board with the new leader. You haters out there that have dumped on me and my work just because I choose to remain a fan to a company that isn't the top game in town, which is harder than a lot of people think, are just like Adam. You're floaters. I on the other hand am more like Evel Dick in that I make my opinions known, and at the end of the day changing my opinion is not something that is easily done.

Can you guess which one the haters remind me of?

Ahem…well, that paragraph took a turn towards becoming a rant. Let's move on shall we?

This morning though, a new thought occurred to me. Nearing the end of my road trip to my new home here in Vancouver, one of the first things I put on my "To-Do" list was to find local wrestling shows and go to some. Not WWE or TNA live events, but local wrestling promotions where I can see performers who truly love what they do (because it clearly isn't for the money). While I haven't had a chance to cross that particular task off of my list just yet (unpacking is a bitch, just sayin'), the fact that the thought even crossed my mind at all should prove that I am far from a mindless TNA mark. Now more than ever I have reinforced my view that I am far from a mark, I am a fan of professional wrestling.

So what was my goal in explaining all of this? To be honest, I had multiple goals in mind when I decided on this material for my debut column on the Main Page. Of course my first goal was to introduce myself and my personal wrestling philosophy to some readers who may not have been exposed to my work in the past. During my time in the Forums (and of course the writing I've done outside of this site) I've developed my own voice and writing style that, while certainly inspired by the styles of my favourite writers and columnists, is distinctive and allows me to best get my opinions out there. My second goal, which I suppose also ties into my third goal, was to show any haters out there that my opinion of TNA will not change because of negative things that you say to me. I did not originally want to post screenshots of any of the emails that I was sent, but in the end I decided to do it so that you, the readers, could see more clearly what I was talking about. I am not complaining that I have haters, I am not whining about someone saying bad things to me, and I am not crying that someone dislikes something I wrote. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I appreciate constructive criticism over any kind of feedback because it is instrumental in me being able to improve as a writer. My third and main goal is best left to the end of this column as a conclusion of sorts, so to wrap things up I leave you with these words.

The mark of a true wrestling fan is the ability to recognize both greatness and potential in any company, promotion, or talent. In the same way that local bands often put on great concerts or sets in smaller venues, smaller wrestling promotions often put on great shows in smaller venues to a much smaller audience. Smaller does not necessarily mean less important or less good. In some cases it's just a matter of not yet being discovered by the wrestling (or music loving, to keep the analogy going) fan base at large. That being said I do recognize brand loyalty as an important part of being a wrestling fan because at the end of the day, professional wrestling is still a form of sport. For instance, I'm a big fan of the Chicago Blackhawks (that's a hockey team, if you weren't aware) but that does not in any way decrease the importance of other hockey teams in the league or sport. Without the minor leagues and national leagues in other countries the sport of hockey would quickly die out because the truly talented would never have a chance to be discovered. WWE would not be where they are without smaller promotions because how else are they supposed to find the next big star? In some ways WWE is a superior product to TNA, and that shows in their success for the past couple of decades. But on the flip side, TNA does some things better than WWE as well. Each company has their share of strengths and weaknesses, but the faults of TNA should not condemn it for good. I recognize the potential of TNA in the same way that I recognize the potential of an indy wrestler that performs in front of 40 people in a school gymnasium. It may take some time for that potential to turn into true success, but when that day comes, the reward of waiting will be worth it. It's all about faith folks, and more than anything that is what fuels my loyalty to the TNA product.

I mentioned earlier that I had a third goal in writing this column, and now is the time to state it. The goal of any good writer is to inspire thought and discussion in their readers, and my goal here is no different. To any of you who have read my work previously, do you agree that I am not a mindless TNA mark? Or do you feel that I have crossed over to the dark side. To anyone else, are you a true wrestling fan? Or are you a WWE fan. There's a very important distinction there. I am not in any way saying that I am a superior fan to someone who doesn't follow TNA by the way. As I mentioned earlier with my sports team analogy, brand loyalty is an important part of being a fan. So long as you can back up your reasons as to WHY you are such a loyal fan of a particular company or team, no one can accuse you of not being a true fan.


With that being said, that's all for me for today folks. As always I appreciate any and all feedback, and you can either leave it here on this page, as a PM to my LoP account, or to my email at lopcrowsnest@aol.com. It's been a pleasure folks, and I look forward to writing for you again. Adios amigos.


2) No Surrender? More Like No Build-Up

Before I start, a couple of "housekeeping" items to take care of. Normally I will do an iMPACT review on Thursday nights or Friday mornings (as I mentioned in my first column) and those of you that have followed my work before may have noticed an absence. I did not post a column this week for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my cable hasn't been hooked up yet so I didn't get to watch it live. My internet is also somewhat unreliable for now, so a live stream was out of the question. That being said, I did leave a download running over night so I could watch iMPACT this morning, which brings me to the final reason I didn't review it as I usually do. There was so much wrong with last night's episode of iMPACT that it was almost painful to watch. Between sub-par matches and a handful of production issues, TNA dropped the ball in a big way last night. I did not want my first review on the main page to be a rant of negativity, so I made the decision to delay the return of that particular column until next week.

To give you an idea of what was wrong with last night's episode, here's a couple of the production issues I noticed.

- At the beginning of the show, Sting announced he was wielding the "power of the network" that night and would be the special referee for the World Championship match later in the night. When that match eventually came on (more on that next), did I see Sting come out as a referee? No. Sting was all of a sudden just a "special enforcer" and did very little except get his ass kicked in the post-match beatdown by Immortal. No note was made of Sting only becoming an enforcer instead of a referee.

-The World Title match was not the main event, and while this would normally just be an annoyance, last night there was a major error. Jeremy Borash only ever performs ring announcing during the main events of iMPACTS (and on PPVs of course), and while doing the introduction he announced the title match as the "iMPACT main event of the evening". You know what the problem with that is? The show wasn't even half over. I know that TNA tapes iMPACT a couple weeks in advance from time to time, but you'd think if they were going to change the match order that they might want to cut the intro to the match that incorrectly states it as the main event. It wasn't even the last match of the night.

Add on top of those couple of production issues some sub-par in ring action and you have yourself a very poorly done episode of iMPACT. Even Jeff Hardy's return to the company was underwhelming. But that's more than I wanted to say about the show at all, so let's get on with what I wanted to talk about originally.

No Surrender is this Sunday, and the thing that seems to come to everyone's mind when the topic is brought up is how poor of a job TNA has done in promoting the show. Until last night there were less than a handful of matches officially announced, and even now the official TNA website is not updated to reflect the full card. How does TNA expect anyone to be hyped up for the show when they have done nothing to promote the show themselves? They've put so much effort into hyping Bound For Glory that everything else seems to have been pushed aside, and that is exactly the kind of thing that the TNA haters want to see happen because it will justify their negativity in their own minds. Now I would not be foolish enough to say that TNA has done nothing wrong. In fact, I've hopefully proven already that I am okay with making negative feelings towards the company known when I believe they've screwed up. This is no small blunder for TNA at a time when they can't afford it. This BFG Series tournament was the best chance TNA has had in a long time to finally show even casual fans that they are capable of making good booking decisions, and while the conclusion of the tournament does still have potential to pay off in a big way, it has still squandered a lot of the potential it had at the beginning.

But, being the kind of TNA fan that I am, I'm still going to take a look at the show's card. On paper it does actually look like it could end up being a decent show, but it's going to be up against some stiff competition, being the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and all. So what exactly does TNA have in store for us this Sunday? Well…

TNA Knockouts Championship: Winter vs. Mickie James {C}
I've made it no secret that I'm a big fan of Winter's. WWE missed the boat in a big way with the former Ms. Burchill, and I am beyond pleased that she is getting a chance to shine in TNA. Mickie James on the other hand is certainly not my favourite female wrestler in the industry. She's lost more than a step in the ring, and while she's far from being "fat", she is certainly out of the shape she should be in. TNA seems insistent on pushing her as the face of the Knockouts Division, so the fact that she holds the belt right now is not a big surprise. That being said, Winter has been one of the strongest and most consistent characters on the entire TNA roster (male and female) and deserves some recognition for that. She's good in the ring, good on the mic, and all around one of the most valuable assets the division has. That being said though, last night's iMPACT teased a feud between Velvet and Mickie over the title, and that's a lot more fresh than another Winter and Velvet Sky feud. Velvet Sky has been with the company for 4 years now and has yet to hold the Knockouts Championship, and now is as good a time as any to finally give her a shot. She went from a decent program with Winter and Angelina Love to another decent program with ODB and Jackie, so in terms of how the fans respond to her it's the perfect time for a title feud. So with that said, my prediction is…
Winner, and STILL TNA Knockouts Champion, Mickie James

TNA Tag Team Championships: The Pope & Devon vs. Mexican America {C}
I'm still unsure about the team of Pope and Devon, but at least this isn't just a random team thrown together to give the champs something to do. My biggest issue is that they have half the talent of a team like The British Invasion (who they beat last night to earn this title match) and both men just came out of the BFG Series as losers. Mexican America started off as a solid group that looked like they were ready to run all over the TNA roster, but lost a lot of momentum due to some poor booking. They finally won the tag belts and have looked decent since, but something is still lacking. The best thing that could have happened to these guys was a feud with a more established tag team (British Invasion once again comes to mind) so that their victories seem more prestigious. But to take a turn towards more positive thinking, I could see this match being decent. There's certainly a respectable amount of talent in this match, so as long as it doesn't drag on for TOO long it could be a good way to get the crowd going. At the end of the day though, it just doesn't make sense to have the titles change hands at this point in time. Sorry Pope, you're going to have to wait a bit longer to taste the gold.
Winner, and STILL TNA Tag Team Champions, Mexican America

TNA X-Division Championship: Austin Aries vs. Brian Kendrick {C}
This is the match I am looking forward to almost more than any other match on the card (more on that in a bit). Austin Aries has been absolute gold since joining the TNA roster, and Kendrick has always been decent enough. If these guys are given a good amount of time to work with, this will end up being the match of the night. Hell, it's probably going to be the match of the night anyways. It's unfortunate that TNA has let the X-Division once again seem unimportant after all the work they did towards building it back up again (or at least starting to) and I'm hoping that this match is where it all changes for the better. Aries' strongest asset right now is that he has a solid character established already, and as one of the only true heels in the X-Division right now there is a lot of potential for future matches. As much as I love that Kendrick brought the title back to the X-Division and away from the fatness that is Abyss, he just is not a strong enough character to lead a division. Maybe in the future, but right now the X-Division needs a leader, and that leader's name is Austin Aries.
Winner, and NEW X-Division Champion: Austin Aries

BFG Series Semi-Final: James Storm vs. Bully Ray
I could not be happier that both members of Beer Money made it to the final four of this tournament. Some of the work that Storm has done in the last couple of months is the best that he's done in a long time, both in the ring and on the mic, and while I don't see him winning the big one just yet, he's proven that he's more than capable. Bully Ray has a very similar feel to him heading into this one. Until recently I would have never bought him as a potential World Champ, but the past few months have seen Ray finally break through his "just a tag team guy" identity and he's shown that he can be just as deadly in the singles division. So it all comes down to one question, who's going to win the whole thing? As much as I would love to see both men from Beer Money make it to the finals, I just don't see it happening. Ray has been too strong as of late (although his W/L record may not reflect that) to not be in the finals. So…
Winner: Bully Ray

BFG Series Semi-Final: Gunner vs. Bobby Roode
For those of you that aren't familiar with my work, Roode is by far my favourite superstar on the TNA roster. Roode is more than ready for a shot at glory in TNA, and I think management finally sees that as well. I stand by my original prediction that Matt Morgan was supposed to be the one who won it all, and while I would never wish an injury on anybody, the silver lining in that unfortunate situation is that Roode was allowed to emerge as the new star of the tournament. Gunner is another guy on the TNA roster that I was not very big on until fairly recently, and I cannot believe how much the guy has improved. I don't think he's close to ready for a run with the World Championship, but he's proven to me that the potential is there. But as much improvement as he's shown, Gunner is not going to win on Sunday. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bully Ray get involved somehow and screw Gunner over leading to a face turn from Gunner and a program with Ray, but I would prefer a clean end. This tournament has received enough hate for its execution, so a clean finish is really the best option. That being said, my prediction is…
Winner: Bobby Roode

Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe
As of right now, this is the only match on the card with no sort of gimmick/stipulation attached to it. I'm still kind of sad that Morgan was forced to pull out of the tournament, but if he's really healthy again I can't think of a better opponent for him than Samoa Joe in his return match. Joe has proven that he can work with wrestlers of any size, and with a guy as talented as Morgan in the ring there is a lot of potential for MotN here. The story between the two isn't as developed as I would like it to be, but this match also doesn't necessarily signal the end of the feud. I would like to see them feud until Bound For Glory personally. Crimson and Devon could get in on the action as well since Joe was the reason they had to pull out of the tournament. Both of these man have proven they are capable of pulling out a great match, and that's exactly what they need to do on Sunday. Now as for who wins, that's where it gets a little trickier. I could argue that both men need a victory in a big way, so it comes down to who needs it more, and that's where it gets a little simpler. Joe has been on a losing streak as of late, but has also been made to look like an absolute beast with his beatdowns. Matt Morgan has been out of action since July 28 due to injury, and as such has not competed in a match for over a month. Morgan needs the win more, Joe can get one later. Done.
Winner: Matt Morgan

TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Sting vs. Ken Anderson vs. Kurt Angle {C}
I would love to say I was excited for this match, but truth be told I don't see it even making Top 3 matches of the night. The fact that there was a match for this same title just last night makes this match feel far less important, and with the result seeming just a little too obvious there is little to look forward to. Kurt Angle is the strongest choice to face the winner of the BFG Series because he can be counted on to pull off a good match with just about anybody. Sting is good and all, but he's just not as versatile as he used to be. And as big a fan of Anderson as I am, a victory over him for the BFG Series winner is just not a big enough deal. The winner of the tournament needs to beat a big name for their title win to mean anything. Some of you might be saying something along the lines of "But Crow! You're making the assumption that the tournament winner will win the title!" You're damn right I am. There would be absolutely no logic in having the tournament winner NOT win the belt, and it would just be such a waste of time to have had the tournament in the first place. It's the perfect time to elevate a new talent, and a victory over Kurt Angle is the best way to get that done.
Winner, and STILL TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Kurt Angle

DISCLAIMER: The next two matches I am assuming they will be on the card, but it has yet to be officially announced. I'm including them anyways just so I have all the bases covered, but if they don't take place on Sunday, don't tear my head off over it. Okay? Good.

#1 Contender Match for the TNA X-Division Championship: Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen
This match was listed on Wikipedia as part of the card, so I'm assuming it's either a mistake on Wiki's part, or it was somehow leaked and the card has yet to be officially updated. In any case, I'll make a prediction regardless. I'm a big fan of Kid Kash and I absolutely love that he's in TNA, but at 42 years old I see him as more of an enhancement talent than anything else. He can still bring it in the ring and could be a big part of the revival of the X-Division. His opponent, Jesse Sorensen, is potentially one of the brightest young prospects on the TNA roster right now. The kid's only 21 years old and he's already one of the more exciting guys to watch in the X-Division. But as good as I believe Sorensen is, he's just not ready for any kind of singles gold. Kash would be a great opponent for Austin Aries (who if you'll remember I predicted would win the belt) or Brian Kendrick (if he ends up retaining) and it is for that reason that I believe he will win on Sunday (if the match does take place).
Winner: Kid Kash

BFG Series Final: Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode
As sad as it sounds, I'm still not 100% sure how this final 4 thing is working. I've heard it explained that whoever has the most points at the end of the night wins and I've heard it explained that the winners of the first 2 matches will face off in a final match later in the night. I believe what TNA originally told us is that it would be a 4-Way match at No Surrender and the winner of THAT match would go on to BFG. But the semi-finals/finals thing seems to make the most sense to me, so I've chosen that for my predictions. I don't really have much to say for this one that I didn't already say in both of these men's previous matches on the card, so instead of rambling on I'll just show you my pick.
Winner of the BFG Series Tournament, and NEW #1 Contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Bobby Roode


So looking at that, and assuming that all of those matches are going to take place, that's a 9 match card. Furthermore, the matches on the card all look good on paper, with some of them perhaps even approaching "great". A lot of people are going to disagree with that, but I don't really care. The unfortunate reality is that cards that look good on paper don't always realize that kind of potential, and that applies to both TNA and WWE. Regardless of booking decisions, it is up to the wrestlers to deliver in their matches. TNA may have done a piss-poor job of promoting No Surrender, but they have done a good job of at least putting together what could be a fantastic show. There's a lot of potential for new feuds to start, and that could help to make up for the poor promotion of Sunday's show. There's not a lot more I can say about this for now, but be sure that you'll hear from me shortly after the show is done.

And that's all for me for now folks. As always feedback is always appreciated and can be left either in the Facebook thing on the bottom of the page here, a PM to me, or to my email at lopcrowsnest@aol.com. I may not respond right away, but I will get around to it. So until next time, beannacht do anois mo chairde.

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