My Two Centsss - Why Am I Watching TMMA?
By Super Chrisss
Aug 2, 2013 - 10:17:29 AM
(Credit: Tom Jenner @ImageBlownOut)
Writer's Note: Due to real-life complications (a.k.a. my ex-girlfriend being a total bitch and refusing to replace me at work) I was absent from my scheduled appearance on "The Doc Says..." last Wednesday on LoPRadio. Fortunately, I will 100% be returning to the LOP airwaves this coming Monday to co-host "Trippin' Out" with my bro Triple R at 6:30 pm EST. Tune in to hear us preview RAW and hear him disect the ROH world title tournament. It'll be fun!
Over on Twitter, my good buddy and former Main Page columnist Shane/LOP Mystic was asking his followers to tweet him their thoughts on TNA's #August1Warning. He wanted to know (a) who we wanted it to be; (b) who we don't want it to be; and (c) who it probably will be. My answer was as follows:
"@LOPMystic a) Anyone who has wrestling experience b) Anyone who doesn't have wrestling experience c) Someone who doesn't have any experience."
Lo and behold, the man behind #August1Warning was (*SPOILER for UK readers*) none other than MMA star, Tito Ortiz. And just my luck, he's someone who doesn't have any wrestling experience whatsoever. But boy oh boy, people are - for lack of a better term - PISSED about this decision.
Why are people so upset? A number of reasons, actually. For starters, the company had been heavily promoting these #August1Warning YouTube videos for the past week or so. By heavily, I mean you would have thought Bound For Glory was last night or something. But hey, it worked. In a short amount of time, the videos received an impressive number of views (at least for TNA standards) and it created an online buzz, with many people tuning into Impact - some for the first time in months - just to see the reveal. And when Tito Ortiz was the man behind the campaign, "disappointment" would probably be an understatement for how most people felt about all the hype.
Some people were predicting a former WWE star like Batista or Bobby Lashley to make his TNA debut last night. Others were hoping it would be a recently released TNA wrestler like D.O.C. or Joey Ryan. Some thought it would be the debut of an indy wrestler like Low-Ki or Adam Pearce. But the one thing everyone had in common was that they wanted it to be a wrestler, not a UFC or MMA fighter. TNA already has King Mo and Rampage Jackson under contract, and Lord knows they didn't need another. Yet, that's exactly what they did - brought in a guy who made his name in the MMA market years ago with zero wrestling experience. Way to go, Dixie Carter and friends.
But in my opinion, the real reason people are so upset is because TNA pulled a dick move by recently firing a lot of young wrestlers and veterans - Taeler Hendrix, Joey Ryan, Tara, D-Lo Brown, etc. - in what was supposed to be a "cost-saving move". While that's understandable, it's now obvious those cuts were made to offer Ortiz a contract. And if you think Ortiz will be paid on par with someone like Robbie E or Kenny King, you got another thing coming. TNA basically fired a bunch of stars who can add to the product to make room for someone who adds nothing to the product (at least not yet).
Look, I understand the concept of cross-marketing. In a business such as pro wrestling, which has seen it's peak years come and go, there is a need to incorporate the outside world into your programming to get extra sets of eyeballs on your products. WWE has done it successfully in the past (with Donald Trump at Wrestlemania 23 and Floyd Mayweather at Wrestlemania 24) and still do it today (Total Divas has been a surprise hit on E!). I may not be an MMA or Bellator fan, but signing King Mo and Rampage made sense because it gave TNA the opportunity for TNA to attract more viewers. But the MMA signings should have ended there. King Mo has been under contract for nearly a year now and is yet to wrestle an actual match (he recently said in an interview that he was "surprised how hard it's been"). Rampage serves as the enforcer for Main Event Mafia and I have no idea how they'll mask his non-wrestling ability in the 5-on-5 tag match two weeks from now. With Ortiz under contract, we now have three fighters who can't wrestle, and they're all being paid who knows how much.
You've got to imagine it's a slap in the face for not only the recent TNA releases, but also the boys and girls in the locker-room who have trained for years to become a wrestler and suddenly their TV time is going to outsiders, also known as MMA stars. If I was in that position, I would be pissed, especially if they're making more money than I am. Furthermore, as a wrestling fan, why the fuck should I care about these MMA guys? I don't know anything about them - I tune into Impact to see wrestlers and storylines, not random guys standing around, cutting mean faces and looking tough. As a wrestling fan, I could care less about what Rampage and Ortiz have accomplished in MMA. As King Mo himself said, wrestling is an entirely different world.
Way to go, TNA. You were on a roll lately with your BFG series heating up, the return of the MEM, as well as the Bully Ray/Chris Sabin storyline, and you had the perfect opportunity to expand your audience last night with all the hype you put into #August1Warning. Instead, you flopped, and you flopped badly. To the point where people actually gave your product a second chance but are now "done" after that terrible reveal. Flopped to the point where half the crowd reportedly left once the tapings for next week's show began. I doubt the backlash will be so severe that next week's show will pull a crappy rating and you'll be down to a 0.5 by September, but you certainly missed the boat on increasing your rating to a stable 1.1 or 1.2. I don't know whether Dixie Carter is to blame, or Viacom and Spike TV for trying to promote Bellator, but someone with power has to realize this was a very bad idea.
I'll be happily tuning into next week's Impact, but please, cool it with all this MMA crossover nonsense. You want to promote MMA? Bring back Jeff Jarrett and his JJ-MMA gimmick. It will be much more entertaining cost-effecient. Just saying.
How do you feel about Tito Ortiz joining TNA? Are you one of the few who thinks this is actually a good move? Or are you so upset you're done with the company, at least for the time being? Let me know!
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