The Crow's Nest - Genesis Predictions and Wishes (and What I Would Do If TNA Went Out of Business)
Jan 12, 2013 - 2:51:00 AM
1) Why TNA Only Airing 4 PPVs is a Great Idea (and Why It's Going to Fail Anyways) (01/10/13)
2) What I Would Do if TNA Went Out of Business (01/11/13)
3) Genesis Predictions and Wishes (01/11/13)
It's that time of month again folks, and sadly these columns may soon become fewer and far between with TNA's new PPV strategy. With these shows being pre-taped, it's unlikely I'll be able to get a predictions column out before the spoilers are released. But fear not, if I do have a chance to do a column beforehand (which hinges on TNA releasing show cards in advance) I will write it, and of course I'll continue writing prediction columns for the "normal" PPV events.
Genesis is one of TNA's annual PPVs, and for the past four years has been the show they choose to open the year with (between 2005-2007, the show was in November, and there was no Genesis in 2008). Aside from that, the show doesn't usually have any sort of special gimmick or theme. But, as I have for the past few years, I feel that Genesis is crucial in setting the tone for the whole year. January is a tough month to hold a PPV, since the Royal Rumble also airs not long after, so TNA is under pressure to put together a solid card.
Sunday's card, despite not being complete until last night's Impact, has actually managed to capture my interest. It didn't come together as I thought it would in a couple of cases, but overall I'm pleased. TNA usually manages to deliver with their PPVs, and I don't think Sunday will be any different. So as usual, I'll be giving both a prediction of what I think the match result will be, but also a wish for what I would like it to be. Standard fare, you should all know the drill by now. So let's take a look at the card, shall we?
This X-Division tournament storyline has kind of flown under the radar due to the other big feuds going on in TNA right now, which is a shame because the X-Division is still loaded with talent. Christian York made his return to the company not long ago, and Kenny King is finally receiving some more TV time after not being used for a while. Both of these men are getting great crowd reactions, and I could see either of them holding the X-Division Championship at this point.
Picking a winner here is tricky, because neither of these guys have really done much since debuting/returning. They're both pretty much in the same spot on the card. The one thing that does make the choice easier, though, is that RVD and King already have history together. Tension has been teased between the two wrestlers not that long ago, which makes King the logical choice in this match. As much as I like York, I don't think I would pick him to win here. He would be better off facing a heel champion, and it wouldn't take a lot of work to get King to a top heel position on the card.
Who I Think Will Win: Kenny King
Who I Hope Will Win: Kenny King
This feud is fairly fresh, but it's very nice to see Daniels moving on to something bigger than he's been doing lately. Even though it seems like Storm has been treading water for a while now, he's still one of the top names in the company, and is still insanely over with the crowd. On the other side of things, Daniels remains as one of the top heels in TNA, and also one of the most entertaining parts of their weekly programming.
This is a feud that could easily continue past Genesis, and the only way that happens is if Storm comes up short. He doesn't necessarily have to lose, but he has to make damn sure Daniels looks good in the match. Kazarian is always the x-factor when Daniels is involved in any match, so I'm sure he'll play a role of some kind in the outcome. Daniels has been on fire for some time now, and I think the best way to make sure that continues is to have him feud with a guy like Storm. Daniels has said publicly that he wants to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, and as busy as that title scene is right now, I don't think that's outside the realm of possibility. Maybe not within the next couple of months, but by the end of the year? It wouldn't surprise me.
I'm putting an asterisk beside my prediction here, because I don't think this match is going to end cleanly. I may be predicting Storm to win here, but I think it's going to happen as a result of a DQ. It wouldn't be my first choice, I'd much rather have Daniels get a clean (or at least pinfall) victory over Storm, and for this feud to continue.
Who I Think Will Win: James Storm
Who I Hope Will Win: Daniels
Oh joy, the Aces & 8s saga continues. This group seems to have the worst luck when it comes to big PPV matches, and the outcome of this one seems almost too obvious. I've basically narrowed it down to two possibilities.
Joseph Park has been "attending wrestling school" for the past little while, and he came back with a fire in his belly on Impact last night, demanding a match against one of the A&8 members at Genesis. He got his wish, and it was later announced that none other than Devon himself would be the opponent. Considering TNA made the effort to explain Park's absence, even filming video segments of him "training", one of the obvious possibilities is that he takes the win, and we get the "feel good moment" of seeing the underdog finally get his revenge.
The other possibility I see is that Park is revealed as a member of A&8, and the match ends via some kind of shenanigans. I'd actually be alright with this move, as the group really needs that "big moment" to move the storyline along. Park may not be the "big moment", but it would at least inject some freshness into the thing.
I don't know which way TNA is going to go with this whole thing, so my pick is hard to make. If Park turns, I'd give the win to Devon. If Park doesn't turn, I'd give the win to him. Gotta just go with my gut here.
Who I Think Will Win: Joseph Park
Who I Hope Will Win: Devon
I don't much care about this match, because the whole division's booking is nothing short of chaotic right now. As much talent as there is in the Knockouts division, the booking is extremely inconsistent. The match itself will probably be alright, but you never know with Gauntlet matches. The five women competing are all fairly talented, some more than others of course, but in terms of a storyline, I'm just not compelled to care.
Tara is riding a nice wave of momentum right now as the Knockouts Champion, and I don't see her reign ending any time soon. As far as I'm concerned, the most the winner of this match can hope for is a decent feud with the current champion that will not result in them taking the belt.
I really have no reasoning behind my prediction other than it's what my gut is telling me, so I don't know what else I can say on the matter.
Who I Think Will Win: Miss Tessmacher
Who I Hope Will Win: Gail Kim
This match is understandably hard to predict, because RVD's opponent isn't a sure thing. The winner of the King/York match earlier in the night is getting a shot at RVD's X-Division Championship, so obviously if I predicted that match wrong, this prediction is going to be pretty shot. But, running with the assumption that King does win his match against Christian York, I'll do my best here.
RVD doesn't appear all that often for TNA, and that's simply because his contract only allows for a limited number of appearances. Because of that, I'm generally against him holding any of TNA's championships, purely because he isn't around enough to make the reign effective. The X-Division Championship is the #2 belt in the company, and it needs to be used to build up new stars, not placate old ones.
King is ready to lead the mid-card, and I think someone at TNA has finally realized this. King's going to be worn out from his match earlier in the night, but that's going to make his victory even more special. Not only would he be beating a respected veteran, he'd be beating that veteran after already having competed that night. If TNA wants the belt to matter again, they need to put it on somebody who can connect with the fans on a weekly basis, and King is that guy. He's already over, he's talented, and he's ready to rule.
That being said, this is TNA we're talking about, and I usually find it unwise to bet against RVD on a PPV card. So...
Who I Think Will Win: RVD
Who I Hope Will Win: Kenny King
I think it's safe to say that the Chavo Guerrero experiment has failed. TNA brought him in with HUGE hype, pushed him solidly at first, and then… nothing. The best thing he's done since debuting is make Hernandez look semi-competent in the ring, which while it isn't easy, isn't exactly a huge deal.
Meanwhile, their opponents in this match are absolutely on fire. Morgan has been over with the TNA fans for a long time now, and Joey Ryan is carving a nice little spot for himself on the roster. He's over as a heel, but he's yet to have that big, defining moment that will make people take him seriously. A run with the tag belts may not seem like a big deal, but it's a step in the right direction. It's not the World Title run that a lot of people want Morgan to have, but at least it gets some gold around his waist.
The current champs aren't doing a whole lot right now, and it'd be nice to see Morgan and Ryan have something added to their characters. I think it's the smart play here, and I'm hoping the TNA booking team agrees with me.
Who I Think Will Win: Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan
Who I Hope Will Win: Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan
Like I said in the previous match involving A&8, that group just has awful luck when it comes to big matches. Sting is fresh off a return, and I just don't see him losing his first PPV match back. Easy pick here, as much as I wish it would be different.
Who I Think Will Win: Sting
Who I Hope Will Win: D.O.C.
Sadly, the outcome to this match isn't as difficult to predict as I'd like it to be. There's been no reports of Hardy re-signing with TNA yet, so you have to imagine that the company is going to do whatever they can to keep him happy until they have him locked down for another year, or however long the new contract will be for. That probably means that he'll be walking out of Genesis with the belt.
In case you couldn't tell, that is not at all what I want to see happen. As over as Hardy might be, he's just not an interesting World Champion, at least not right now. Those stupid "inner monologue" segments annoy the piss out of me, and I know I'm not the only one that hates the fact that he's still carrying TWO belts around. Naturally I'd like to see Roode as World Champion again, but at this point in time, I think Aries might be the better choice. TNA seems to be teasing a feud between Roode and Aries, and throwing the title into that mix could make for some very compelling TV.
But, as I said above, I don't think TNA is going to cut Hardy's reign short just yet. Not until they know for sure he's staying with the company.
Who I Think Will Win: Jeff Hardy
Who I Hope Will Win: Austin Aries
So there you have it folks, my predictions and wishes for Sunday's Genesis PPV. What do you guys think? Am I spot on? Way off? Somewhere in the middle? Let me know what you think is going to go down on Sunday. I'll be back again soon. See you next time.
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Since posting my last column less than 24 hours ago, the feedback has been awesome. Whether it's people messaging me on Twitter, leaving feedback on the column itself, or sending me an email, everyone seemed to have an opinion one way or the other on TNA's recent remodelling of their PPV structure. If you missed it all, scroll down a bit on this page to read all about it, I won't be re-hashing the entire column here.
While I was on Twitter, fellow Main Page columnist Hustle and I started talking about the situation, and I made a comment along the lines of "if they screw this up badly enough, it could be the move that sinks TNA for good." Hustle seemed to agree with that sentiment, and then he asked me a question that made me actually think for a moment, as I didn't have an answer prepared right away.
We discussed the matter further on Twitter, but I've since had a bit more time to think about my answer, and I decided to turn it into a full-fledged column. What WOULD I do if TNA were to close its doors for good in 2013?
First, to assuage the fears of many of you, no, I would not stop writing wrestling columns. I've been a "columnist" since long before I adopted my current "biggest TNA fan around" gimmick, and the death of TNA would not stop me from writing. I've written under a few different handles in the Columns Forum, TheCrow is just the one that happened to take me further than before.
Related to that point, I was asked if I would stop watching wrestling. The simple answer is, again, no. I was a wrestling fan before TNA was even a thought in Jeff Jarrett's brain, and I'll continue to be a fan if/when the company goes under. Yes, I do love TNA, and yes, I do think it is often a better on-screen product than what WWE has to offer, but that does not at all mean that I dislike WWE, or that I've stopped watching since I became a fan of TNA.
The big difference that would occur in my wrestling viewing habits would simply be that I'd start following WWE more closely than I already do. I'd probably even start checking out smaller promotions and see what they have to offer, just so I'd have an alternative source of wrestling entertainment. Even here in Vancouver, I've got the local promotion ECCW (Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling) that never fails to entertain, so it's not like I'd be hard pressed to find something worth watching.
Basically, to sum up those answers, not a whole lot would change in terms of how big of a wrestling fan I am. I wouldn't have TNA to watch anymore, that is true, but the death of that company would not result in the death of my fandom of the industry.
The big answer I ended up coming to, and the answer I initially gave to Hustle on Twitter, is simply this. If TNA closed its doors for good, I would hope that at least some of the wrestlers on the roster got jobs with WWE. There is SO much talent on the TNA roster right now, and it would be a massive shame to see them all suddenly without jobs in the "big leagues". Who would I want WWE to hire, you ask? Well, dear reader, I'm getting to that, so be patient.
I had initially planned to make two lists: one of TNA wrestlers that I would hope could get jobs with WWE if the company closed, and the second of WWE wrestlers I would release to make room for these new hires. But in the interest of time and space, and also to give you all something to discuss with me in feedback, I'm only going to make the first list, a list of names that I hope would still have jobs if TNA folded.
1) Austin Aries
I wouldn't feel right starting this list with anybody else. Aries is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the most talented guys on the TNA roster right now, if not in the entire wrestling industry. In a relatively short period of time, he's made a massive impact in TNA and wasted no time in becoming insanely over with the fans. I don't think I need to tell you how important a skill that is for a wrestler to have. Add into that the fact that he's brilliant both in the ring AND on the mic, and you have yourselves the total package. WWE has shown that they're now willing to push smaller guys that may have previously been known as "indy darlings", so it's not even out of the realm of possibility that Aries could be a main event player there as well. The thought of seeing him feud with guys like Punk, Bryan, Ziggler and even Cena on the big stage is just awesome; there's no shortage of top level rivalries Aries could have in WWE, and the company would be foolish to pass on picking him up.
2) Matt Morgan
This one seems pretty likely, since it's already fairly well known that WWE is interested in Morgan again. Were it not for the legal situation between the two companies, I'm sure he'd already be fighting under McMahon's banner again now. I've said before that Morgan is one of the best big men in the business right now, and I still believe that is 100% true. WWE is in desperate need of a new "beast" right now, or more specifically they need one that can do more than just look intimidating. Big Show is slowing down, Kane and Taker are closing in on retirement, Sheamus isn't as versatile (or convincing), Tensai is… Tensai, and so on and so forth. Morgan is surprisingly mobile in the ring considering his size, and he's improved significantly on the mic over the past couple of years. It's a damn shame TNA doesn't seem to want to push him all the way, because he is a World Champion calibre wrestler. Like I said for Aries, WWE would be foolish to pass up an opportunity to get Morgan back.
3) & 4) Bobby Roode & James Storm
I've grouped these guys together for a reason. Both of them are great talents, and I wouldn't be surprised if either of them won a World Title on Smackdown (should they ever be signed by WWE), but their talents would be best used as a tag team at first. The WWE Universe may not know who they are, so letting them show off their talents as a team at first would be very beneficial. Not only that, but they could be the answer to a failing Tag Team division in WWE. Let them dominate that scene for a while, and then have them feud with each other for a while after the team breaks up, before proceeding to push them to singles titles. Roode and Storm share a common strength in that both of them can establish strong characters to cover up any shortcomings in the ring, and that would help get them over right away. They'd be different than anything going on in WWE right now, and if they can achieve the same kind of success there that they have in TNA, everyone wins.
5) AJ Styles
Come on now, did you really expect me to exclude Styles from this list? My logic in picking TNA's resident "golden boy" is very similar to the logic I used in picking Aries, though to a lesser extent. Styles is very talented in the ring, and he's certainly over as hell with the fans, but his major shortcoming is his inability to cut effective promos. That's an easy enough fix though, since he could easily be paired with either a tag partner or a manager, and he could let his in-ring ability speak for itself. Like I said for Aries, there is no shortage of top level feuds that Styles could have in WWE against guys like Bryan, Punk and Ziggler. I don't know that Styles would ever become a World Champion in WWE, but he'd certainly flirt around that territory.
All of my other picks have been "older" guys that are already years into their career. Magnus is still young and hungry, and he's already more talented than a lot of guys with twice his experience in the industry. He's constantly improving in the ring, he's already solid on the mic, and he just has a natural presence that makes you want to punch him in the face. I could see him pairing up with Wade Barrett at first in a sort of re-imagining of The British Invasion (Magnus' team in TNA) before moving on to a singles career. Magnus is still largely untested, but I'm pretty confident he could be a World Championship calibre wrestler before too long, especially if he got to start working with top names in WWE.
7) Bully Ray
To this day, I still can't get over just how significantly Bully Ray stepped his game up. I never thought I'd see the day where he would be looked at as a World Title contender, but here we are. He's gone from being a great tag-team wrestler to a great all-around wrestler, both in the ring and on the mic. I don't know how his character would go over in WWE, but if the company pushed him right as soon as he debuted, I don't think it would take very long for the fans to realize that they were looking at a very different Bubba Ray Dudley than they had last seen. He may not ever win a World Title in WWE, but I do believe he could still be a main event player.
8) Robbie E.
This pick might seem surprising to a lot of you, but it seemed very obvious to me. I picked him as the most underrated wrestler back in my 30-Day Challenge series, and I still believe that is at least somewhat true. The only thing holding him back in TNA right now is the fact that he's still saddled with a fairly ridiculous gimmick, and I think that keeps a lot of people from seeing how talented he actually is. He can wrestle at a top level, and when he's allowed to he can actually cut a solid promo. I believe he'd be a fantastic addition to WWE's mid-card, and he could carve out a nice little career for himself there.
So there we have it, a list of the names I would want hired on at WWE if TNA were to ever close its doors for good. I'm sure you all have your own opinions or preferences, and I encourage you to share them with me here. Who would you want to see in WWE if TNA disappeared? What else would you do if that were to happen? You know how to get ahold of me, so really there's no excuse not to. My Genesis predictions column will be up shortly, so keep your eyes peeled. I'll see you all soon.
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In case you missed the big TNA news of the day, the company has announced it is going to be cutting the number of live PPVs it airs every year down to four. In addition to those four shows, they'll also be airing a pre-taped PPV event on the first Friday of every month that doesn't have a live show airing. I don't think I need to stress how big this is. I've had a lot of conversations with people in the past about why WWE should consider cutting a few shows from their annual schedule, but I don't think much thought had ever been given to TNA doing the same.
When I first heard the news that TNA was adjusting their PPV schedule like this, I really wasn't sure what to make of it all. My initial reaction was shock, which is probably to be expected when such a drastic move as this is made. That shock was quickly followed with positivity as I realized that this would make TNA PPVs more of a special event, and I looked forward to seeing what the other "In Your House" style shows could bring, since the rumour was that each one would have some kind of different gimmick to it. Then finally, there was the reaction I still have as of right now.
The decision to cut a few PPVs is a good one, but TNA will not be able to execute the move effectively.
TNA hasn't officially released the "One Night Only" PPV schedule, aside from naming the first two events, but that hasn't stopped the good old IWC from getting a hold of it anyways. Whether or not this is the one that they'll stick with remains to be seen, but for the purposes of this column I'm going to assume it is. TNA would be wise to officially announce the schedule ahead of time as it will help to build anticipation for the events, as it would for normal PPVs, and that's especially important with the kind of gimmick shows they will apparently be running. Just so we're all on the same page, these are the shows that have been "announced":
TNA X-Travaganza - A show that will feature the stars of TNA's X-Division
TNA Joker's Wild Tag Team Special - A show that will feature enemies teaming up in tag bouts, with a Battle Royal closing the card
TNA Hardcore Justice 2 - A show that will feature hardcore stipulation matches, and will involve some ECW stars
TNA "10 Reunion" - A show that will feature stars from the early days of TNA battling inside the classic six-sided ring
TNA Knockouts Knockdown - A show that will feature a one night Knockouts tournament. The first round will be all stipulation matches, and the final four will compete in a "test of their stamina" to crown a victor
TNA International Incident - A show that will feature a one night tournament, featuring talent from all over the world, and the prize will be a TNA title shot
TNA X-Division World Cup Tournament - A show that will see four teams of X-Division wrestlers battle in singles, tag, six and eight man tag bouts
TNA World Cup of Wrestling - A show that will see four teams, each captained by a TNA wrestler, compete in a series of singles, tag and stipulation bouts. The finale will be a "two ring, triple chance Battle Royal"
Not a bad list, in my opinion. Each show is unique from the others, aside from a fairly common "one night tournament" gimmick, and could very well result in some great moments. Why then do I think TNA's experiment is going to fail? Glad you asked.
The first two PPVs, "X-Travaganza" and "Joker's Wild Tag Team Special", are both being taped in 3 days, on the same night. That's 6 hours of programming being taped in one night (or 9, if you take into consideration that Genesis is that night), for two different shows that TNA hopes will sell better than their normal PPVs.
But wait, there's more!
Not only is TNA taping both PPVs on the same night, the first one won't air until APRIL 5TH. That's 3 months from now. The second will air on MAY 5TH, or 4 months from now. Hopefully you can all see the problem with that.
Spoilers for pre-taped shows tend to come out the same night the event was filmed, that's just an inevitability. The thing is, though, when shows like Smackdown are pre-taped, it's only a few days in advance. Not months, days. These first two TNA PPVs are going to be spoiled MONTHS in advance. That being said, I can definitely see the argument to that point. Sure, the first two shows are being taped super early, but does that guarantee that the others will be taped this far in advance as well? No, it doesn't, but it certainly makes it easy to believe that TNA will want the taping of these shows done as far in advance as possible. It may not be 3 months ahead next time, but it will still be too far.
The next problem I foresee with this experiment has to do with money. TNA's PPV events already draw terrible buyrates, that's just a sad fact. These "One Night Only" shows are apparently going to be cheaper than a normal PPV, but there's absolutely no guarantee that they're going to draw any better than TNA shows in the past. The 2012 PPVs drew between 7,000 and 20,000 PPV buys each, numbers that don't exactly inspire a lot of confidence. Chances are that these "One Night Only" shows are going to be purchased primarily by the same people that normally buy TNA PPVs, and even if they get a few extra buys because of the lower price, would it be enough to make up the difference? 10,000 buys at $50 a pop is better than 12,000 at $40 in terms of revenue brought in, and that's just me picking a random cost for the new shows.
Will these new shows bring in extra viewers? Maybe. Will it be enough to make a difference? I sincerely doubt it, and that's due to one big reason. Smackdown airs on Fridays, the same night these PPVs will air.
TNA tried going head-to-head with WWE a couple years ago when they moved Impact to Monday nights, and do you remember what happened? The experiment failed miserably, and TNA quickly moved Impact back to Thursdays. This new move to Fridays is going to be even worse, because not only is TNA competing with WWE, they're competing against free television with a paid show. History has already shown that TNA isn't ready to compete head-to-head with WWE yet, and this challenge is even more extreme. TNA will have to convince the fans not only to watch their show over WWE's, but to shell out whatever amount the PPV costs instead of paying $0 to watch Smackdown. Most people, when faced with this choice, are going to take the cheaper route, which certainly doesn't mean good things for TNA here.
Overall, I don't think the logic behind WHY TNA is doing this is faulty. I agree that the wrestling PPV industry needs to evolve, for a number of reasons really. Fewer live PPVS means the remaining ones instantly become more important, and "one night only" gimmick shows that aren't 100% driven by current storylines provide something different for the fans to watch, and a cheaper price tag makes the decision to buy one of those shows easier for some people to make. On paper, the idea seems to be a good one.
The problem, as I said at the very beginning of this column, is going to be in the execution of the plan. As of now, I have very little confidence that TNA will be able to pull this off as effectively as they want to, and it could actually end up doing more harm for the company than it will good.
Because I'm the kind of fan that I am, I'm setting aside at least some optimism that things won't be as bad as I've predicted here. I would love to see TNA succeed with this experiment and have these shows be what takes them to the next level of success, I really would. Competition drives this industry forward, and nothing would please me more than to see TNA take that next step towards competing with WWE. Time will tell I suppose, and I look forward to seeing what 2013 will hold in store for TNA.
What about you folks? What do you think about TNA's decision to revamp their entire PPV model? This is a topic that should drive some good discussion, and I want to hear any of your opinions on the matter. Twitter is the easiest place to get in touch with me, and because I'm such a nice guy, I always put that convenient little "follow" button in my columns. I'll be posting my Genesis predictions column either tomorrow night or Saturday at some point, so keep your eyes out for that. Until next time though, thanks for stopping by.
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