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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier (Oct 13) In the News/Random Thoughts (or May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?)
By PEN15
Oct 13, 2012 - 7:28:01 PM




In the News/Random Thoughts (or May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?)


TNA

I am one of the several who have been impressed with the recent changes in TNA. They have a lot of things going right. I can’t explain why I can’t seem to fit them into my weekly wrestling viewing. Instead, I tend to catch up 3-4 weeks of Impacts/PPVs at a time. I still have 2 Impacts to watch to be up to date, so I doubt that I’ll be ready for Bound for Glory, but it doesn’t mean I can’t comment on the positive steps TNA has taken.

Honestly, there’re a lot of things WWE should take note of and copy from TNA. The major one is their main event scene. Currently, Austin Aries is riding a wave of success not expected 6 months ago. Thankfully, they took notice and switched gears anyways, and made his rise to World Champion a monumental one. He’s defined himself as a TNA main eventer. Now, while that is not so impressive, you must realize that absolutely no one was sacrificed to accomplish this. He didn’t squash someone out of the main event scene, and no one had to drop from the upper echelon to make room for him. Instead, he was added to the growing list of contenders. And he’s performing very well in the ring, usually competing for the best match of the night on a regular basis. There are a lot of similarities in how he was pushed to how WWE pushed CM Punk last year. After a successful heel run, he became too big for his britches. And instead of going with the long term plan, management rewrote the book and put the new rising face at the top of the cards. The difference though is how WWE dropped the ball with Punk, while Aries is doing just fine. He’s on par with everyone that’s been in the TNA main event position, and that’s saying something. WWE has levels, with John Cena at the top, Orton/Punk just below, and then the rest of the roster somewhere underneath. Aries is going against Jeff Hardy, and looks to be rather even with the former WWE Champion. Bobby Roode and James Storm have had an excellent story for the last year, and it’s kept them in the title picture even when they aren’t competing in title matches. Samoa Joe, Bully Ray, Kurt angle, AJ Styles, Sting, and Mr. Anderson are all among a large list of possible and credible contenders going forward. TNA might not have a face of the company with the star power like John Cena, but that’s to their benefit in that they don’t need to protect a single entity as much as WWE tends to do. And it makes for a wilder and unpredictable World title scene.

Besides the main event, they have the TV title, and I can’t think of a perfect person to hold a title like that in TNA than Samoa Joe. I’m not a huge fan of the guy, but there’s no denying that he’s a talented and brutal dude, who just doesn’t seem to ever have a bad match. I think where I lose interest is his talking, while he thankfully doesn’t need to do with weekly title defenses. All he needs to do is perform in the ring, and that’s all I want to see. I can honestly see myself excited to see his matches, which is something Devon couldn’t do as TV champ over the last few months.

I’m also a fan of the new structure of their programming, with the Gut Check, Open Fight Night, and Championship Thursdays. There’s something to be said to setting up your wrestling program like many other television staples, and having a schedule like this. TNA haven’t restricted themselves too much, and the door is open for lots of variety. The Open Fight Night and Championship Thursday between No Surrender and Bound for glory were some of the best TNA shows I’ve ever seen. I can’t put my finger on what they are lacking to stay in a weekly rotation in the PEN15 viewing schedule. Maybe it’s the lack of a single star. I don’t mean that they need a John Cena. But rather there’s not a single guy I’m rooting for in the way WWE has been able to get me to do with CM Punk last year, or Dolph Ziggler’s eventual rise. WWE has more guys that I want to see weekly than TNA. TNA has a better show in many ways, but without a single person or storyline to tune into, it doesn’t beat out the draw of my favorite WWE stars.


WWE Tag Division

I recently had a discussion with a LOPforums member “JohnnyPrefect” concerning the WWE Tag division. In regards to thrown together tag teams, he wrote:
Technically, in the short term, it hurts any tag team in the division that has been teaming together longer than 4-6 weeks. Only one team in the semi-finals had been a [I]regular[/I] team longer than that, The Prime Time Players, and they're the most green of all teams based on tenure on the main roster. The four teams who lost first round matches, Epico & Primo, The Usos, Gabriel & Kidd, and former champs Kofi & Truth, have all been pushed aside in favor of building a division around teams with little experience, to include the current champions, Kane & Daniel Bryan.

Sure, this sudden explosion of teams breathes new life into the division, but when you've essentially knocked every long-term team from contention, what you're really saying is every team that isn't made up of singles superstars is inferior. That's not technically rebuilding the tag team division; rather, it's putting a band-aid on the division.

Even if the belts get traded between Rhodes Scholars and Mysterio & Sin Cara between now and 'Mania, what regular tag team benefits from this long-term? The division was suffering prior to this temporary rebuilding and once these temporary teams disband and move on, what proof will we have that the division continues to stay elevated if not populated by singles superstars?


I vehemently disagree. Think of it as singles action. Right now, Antonio Cesaro is on a good streak, recently and impressively defeating Brodus Clay. Brodus has been on WWE TV for over a year (including the NXT stuff and sidekick to ADR). A loss doesn't completely wipe out experience. It is absolutely no different than when Rick Martel was finding success with Tom Zenk, highlighted by a tag victory at Wrestlemania III. Zenk left the WWF, and Martel found a new partner, and quickly won the tag titles from the Hart Foundation. The Hart Foundation were not only teaming in the WWF for over 2 years at this point, but were the WWF Tag Team Champions for over 8 months. Yet, this new team defeated them with almost no history at all.

I'm sorry, but having WWE choose a tag team that is more over, and therefore more of a draw, to win over teams that have never really garnered a solid reaction like the Colons and Usos, makes sense. I like both teams, both have their positions and jobs in the tag division, but there's no way you can defend the idea of putting them over the 4 teams in the semi finals. And you're grossly over exaggerating the experience of the other teams. Usos and Colons I might be able to give you, but Kidd/Gabriel have barely had a blip of experience. As for the former champs, Kofi and Truth, they were a thrown together team too! The only reason you can count them as an experienced team is because they were given the exact same push you're complaining about here.

You have to face the facts that all teams are thrown together in some aspect. Looking at any history of WWF Tag wrestling, you'll find them. And you can call it a band-aid all you wish, but it's still a step in the right direction. And yes, it is technically rebuilding the division. You just don't like it. But your opinion doesn't change the fact that it is working. I'm sorry, but the teams from 4 months ago that are losing now weren't interesting enough to earn the type of TV time the champions and tournament victors are getting. So WWE is switching gears. They are cutting their losses with the teams that couldn't really succeed.

Long term teams can rise to the top of this resurgence. I still see the Usos seeing success in the tag division, though I think the Colons will be understandably released soon.

You have to accept the fact that there aren't interesting teams right now in WWE, at least not enough to create a division. So new teams are needed. And not only is it easier to team up established stars into a team, but it's intelligent. They have more credibility than introducing some random team to TV. So, you have long term teams involved in the mix, new teams (PTP), and some thrown together guys as well. That's a healthy balance. You may not like the results of the matches, but you can tell the fans are caring more now. That's all you need to go by. Complaining against it is being hard headed for the sake of bitching.

I see it this way: the tag division is exciting again. How the **** can you complain about that, when you compared to what WWE has been doing with it for so long? The problem is if WWE will continue the momentum.

Ryback

Wow. I don’t know how they did it, but WWE duped me again. I really thought that they’d be taking the slow burn with Big Hungry. I thought it was early when they teased the angle with The Miz. Now, he’s potentially headlining the next PPV in a WWE Title match.

I can see why they did it. With Cena possibly out, they needed something jarring to get some attention. It’s not a bad move in the short term. Long term, well, history isn’t as forgiving. It doesn’t take a time machine to go back and see what happened to Goldberg and Ultimate Warrior once they showed anything but upward momentum. They were still stars, but never as big as they were during their rise to the top. Ryback will most likely be the same. So I still feel that it’s too early to jump his push into top gear. He doesn’t need to be undefeated like Godberg was. Cheap losses didn’t harm the Warrior, and I trust WWE enough to do the same with Ryback. Time will tell where it goes from here.

CM Punk Fan Attack

Honestly, I don’t have too many thoughts on this situation. I think we as a society are way too pussified in general, and this is no difference. Constantly, we hold celebrities to a different level and regard. They are human, and humans are violent. I don’t know why we deny that. I’m an atheist, but with the bible saying an eye for an eye, and most of North American culture dripping in religion, it’s odd to see so many people upset by this.

But, I can’t change the world. So, I hope he doesn’t get into any trouble. I also hope WWE is smart enough not to send hot heels into the crowd in the future. And if they do, protect them. WWE have spent so much time trying to convince fans to hate the man, and blurring the line of reality and show, and are shocked when fans get out of hand? We’ve known wrestling is fake for a long time, but there’s still a constant in the show where it’s showcased as legitimate in many ways. And understandably, fans may take it to legitimate levels. Was he wrong? Sure, but I don’t think a fine or stripping him of the title will really accomplish anything. It’s one of those scenarios where if Punk didn’t learn from the aftermath of Raw to not do it again, no punishment ever would teach him that.

NXT

NXT has proven itself to be a solid program. It’s not on in a weekly rotation the way it used to be, but it’s still a solid show that never disappoints. There’s something extremely enjoyable about watching the young stars evolve. You can’t help but be excited for Kassius Ohno and the Ascension to make it to WWE weekly TV. And I didn’t mention Seth Rollins, because I don’t think he’s WWE worthy in his current persona. I think he’d be good in a stable, or maybe a tag team. But there’s something uninteresting about him as a singles star in the image of CM Punk. And there’s no way WWE don’t see the common threads there. You can’t strike lightning twice. Punk is a once in a million athlete who can talk as well as he wrestles. Tyler Black lacks in both regards, so he’ll pale in comparison. Change him up a bit, and the story may change.

UFC

It’s been a while since I discussed UFC on the main page. Honeslty, MMA has been rather stagnant for a few months. And Hustle covered the Jon Jones saga before I could (and honestly better than I would have, he’s got a better knowledge of the sport). So there’s been little to discuss.

Tonight’s PPV is a bit different. I’m very excited to watch this one. UFC have booked their Brazil show very similarly to how WWE would have. There aren’t any big match ups, no title fights. It’s just a fun card with the right names involved. Anderson Silva will move up a weight class to fight popular Stephan Bonnar. There are honestly no real implications with this one. Bonnar will either win in the biggest upset in the sports history which won’t really change the direction of either man, or Silva wins, and the direction for either man won’t really change. But it won’t make tonight’s fight any less entertaining. Underdog stories are classic for a reason. I want Bonnar to win. Honestly, I just hope he looks a bit better than Forrest Griffin looked. And I doubt Bonnar will cry if he doesn’t even reach that goal.



And on that note, peace out.



Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
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