While having a few weeks off, I’ve had the chance to sit back and watch more of TNA and WWE than in the recent past. I’ve noticed that a few superstars that have struggled in the mid-card and lower, such as R-Truth, have stepped their game up (both in-ring and on the mic). There are a few, however, that have gone/are going in the opposite direction and fast. These are stars with big-time name recognition and hype but have done little in the past year or so. Who are they and what can be done to get them higher up the ladder?

1) Ted DiBiase. Think back to the days of Legacy… of the 3, who did you think would be the one who would do very little after the breakup of the group. Raise your hands if you thought it would be Cody Rhodes (*hand is raised*). Instead, it’s been DiBiase. He had a little thing going with Maryse and the Million Dollar Title but has done crap since. The son of the “Million Dollar Man” should be AT LEAST in serious contention for the U.S. Title, if not on the outside of the WWE/World Title pictures, not having the very rare backstage appearance before a commercial break.

2) Drew McIntyre. For nearly a year, he ruled the mid/upper-mid card as the IC Champion, with some VERY good matches against Kofi Kingston and John Morrison, among others. After losing the title, he basically became an afterthought (I still can’t believe he lost CLEANLY to Chris Masters on Superstars a few weeks ago). There is simply TOO MUCH TALENT in McIntyre to not have him causing havoc in the Title pictures.

3) Samoa Joe. He had a nearly 2 year unbeaten streak in ROH. He had another 18-month unbeaten streak in TNA. He (along with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels) was not only the best thing going in the X-Division at the time, but perhaps all of TNA. So what’s happened in the last 6-8 months? Losing to Crimson in under 3 minutes? Walking away from potential fights? Not being mentioned in the TNA World Title picture? Or the X-Division Title picture? Even the TV Title chase??

What can these 3 do to get out of their slides? Well, in Joe’s case, I think one of 2 things can help:

a) He can go completely bad-a$$ heel. I talking about loose-cannon, destroy anything that moves, heel. His target(s) should start with Fourtune and Styles and/or Daniels (re-capturing the “magic”, unless TNA screws it up). If/when that ends, he should turn his rage on the X-Division until he gets the title. Have him hold the belt until someone can finally step up and end his reign of terror. It gets him a belt, gets his “name” back, and he can actually DO something other than lose.

b) He could become the “franchise” of TNA by going after Immortal and taking them out, one by one. Again, this depends on TNA’s writers not screwing things up.

In DiBiase and McIntyre’s case, it may involve Arn Anderson, a few months, and a stable.

Arn could be sitting ringside, watching matches and “taking notes”. Whenever he see DiBiase and McIntyre lose, he gets increasingly frustrated. After a few weeks (say, 3-5), he gets fed up and rips them a new one publically. He decides to take them under his wing to get them to reach “their potential”. As they wrestle with Arn in their corner, the wins start coming… as does a newly found cunning (DiBiase) and ruthlessness (McIntyre). Arn also adds a 3rd star to this stable, based on his notes, to help them along (Daniel Bryan? Justin Gabriel?). Arn, after a while, decides that they “are ready”… and reveals the leader and 4th member (see where this is going now…?). Yes, reviving the 4 Horsemen through McIntyre and DiBiase, while not likely, is not a bad way to jumpstart their careers.

Whatever solution is out there, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, and Ted DiBiase really need to get going.


Chyna coming to TNA?

I was perusing Slam! Sports’ ‘News and Rumors’ section for wrestling (far less gossip and pop-ups than your run-of-the-mill dirt sheet site) when suddenly I came upon it.  Just sitting there with all the other news, as if they were unaware of how awful it could potentially be.

Joanie Laurer, the former Chyna in the WWE, will debuting with TNA in the next few weeks.

Chyna is a spectacular example of the rise and fall of a wrestler fast forwarded.  Her mainstream career in the WWE lasted just four years, going from 1997 to 2001.  Beginning as the bodyguard of Triple H and gaining fame with D-Generation X, Chyna broke off on her own as Triple H began his rise to stardom.  Chyna’s biggest attraction at the time was her ability to wrestle the men of the company and she became the first (and only) woman to win a men’s title in the WWE when she captured the Intercontinental title.  But eventually she would be phased out of that role and pushed into the women’s division before ultimately vanishing in mid-2001 before the WCW invasion began.

Since that point, Chyna has been a mess.  She appeared on the reality series where she drank heavily had the world learned of her train wreck relationship with Sean Waltman (the former X-Pac), complete with a commercially released sex tape.  Anything public from Chyna since that point has involved domestic abuse, drugs or alcohol.  She appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which probably isn’t too good of a sign.  Last year, she was hospitalized after ODing on sleeping meds.  This year, she debuts for TNA.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that there simply is no benefit to TNA for bringing in Chyna.  Her name recognition by this point holds about as much excitement as other notable gimmicks of the late ’90s (Gangrel, the Godfather, Val Venis, “Hole in One” Barry Darsow) and she won’t add any kind of anything to whatever storyline she goes into.  She hasn’t wrestled in nearly a decade, has lost most of the muscletone that made her stand out to begin with, and honestly wasn’t that good to begin with.  But she’s someone who was popular at one point, and by TNA logic, that’s all someone needs to secure at least some employment.

I wonder what Jay Lethal’s doing right now.

EDIT: Upon some research, I learned that Jacqueline captured the WWE Cruiserweight Title at one point, so Chyna wasn’t the ONLY one to do it.  Of course, with a title history also featuring Hornswoggle, Oklahoma and Chavo Classic, you could see why I’d have forgotten.  Jacqueline also won the Television title in WCW and Madusa won the Cruiserweight as well, just not in WWE.

The errs of Sting, the fighting champion

TNA is really making it hard for themselves with this one.  My self-imposed exile from TNA programming ended last week and, as I had predicted, I returned to a far different place than I had left from.  But one thing had stayed well in place during my absence and it was the thing that had initially turned me from TNA to begin with – Sting as the TNA champion.

As I put together the state of TNA, I learned that Sting had become something of a fighting champion, willingly putting his title on the line against all comers anywhere, anytime.  So last week on Impact, he had defeated Matt Hardy (who apparently is still carrying around the Jeff Hardy belt) and this week it was a triple threat between him, Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray (who apparently is now in Immortal).

But this plot for Sting is not only over-utilizing the star (and will likely lead to him getting injured) but is also a rare example of giving too much to the fans.  The role for Sting that would not only make him a bigger attraction but also even heap some much-needed prestige on the nearly ridiculous TNA Championship is far simpler than anyone might consider.

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A word on Jeff Hardy and Victory Road

The general thought amongst the 1/8th Nelson is that we, the very non-Catholic writers, have decided to give up TNA for Lent, with the hopes that come Easter, the company will have either gotten better or I will have gotten my hate-filled spite out of my system enough to resume my weekly heckling.  I have not watched last week’s Impact or, for the most part, Sunday’s Victory Road.  Hell, I wasn’t even aware that the PPV was on Sunday.  It’s been a good week for me.

But upon hearing about what happened in the main event title match between newly crowned champion Sting and his predecessor Jeff Hardy, I feel like even religious fasting can’t really justify not touching upon this one.  Four Hail Marys for me, I suppose.

For those of you who haven’t heard it yet, the title match between Sting and Hardy wasn’t exactly one for the ages.  In fact, it’s actually really hard to classify it as a match.  The match barely went a minute and a half before Sting landed the match’s only wrestling move, the Scorpion Death Drop, and pinned Hardy in front of a shocked crowd.  Actually, shocked wasn’t really the word I’d use here.  Pissed off is more like it.  But at least since it was at the Impact Zone they didn’t get charged admission to get in.  Not like those saps that shilled out $35 to see the thing on PPV.

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WWE Out-Shores TNA

I cannot say that I have ever caught an episode of The Jersey Shore, but through other sources (most frequently E!’s The Soup) I know of the show and how big of a hit it is.

TNA thought to cash in on the “phenomenon” but bringing in cast member “JWoww” for a one-off appearance to hype their rip-off duo of Robbie E and Cookie, but being that she was only there for one appearance, the story went nowhere and TNA got nothing for it.  A week ago, they apparently decided to try again by bringing in Angelina Pivarnick who apparently is the only cast member to have been booted from the show.  She apparently will be wrestling on this week’s Impact, which due to my boycott on the company, I will not be watching.

I bring this up because until TNA told me that they were Jersey Shore cast members, I had no idea who JWoww or Angelina were.  The only two Jersey Shore names I know are Snooki (who is basically everywhere in entertainment news) and “The Situation” (no idea what his real name is) because he gets made fun of on a weekly basis on The Soup.

So TNA while is trying again with the low-end Jersey Shore cast bit, what does WWE do?  Well, they announce that they will be having Snooki on next week’s edition of Raw.  Look at the tabloids next time you’re cruising through the U-Scan aisle and see what names you find there.  Chances are, between People, Ok!, The Sun, National Enquirer and the Weekly World News, you’re going to see something about Snooki in there.  What about Angelina or even JWoww?  Highly unlikely.

Unlike TNA, WWE will never directly call out the other brand on TV and will never mention what goes on there.  There will be no mention on Raw or Smackdown that Sting is back in TNA nor that their signing of Kevin Nash and Booker T pretty much tanked the Main Event Mafia return storyline.  But occasionally WWE does something like this which fans like me can’t help but think is a thumbed nose at the lesser company.

And I’m sure TNA will have Angelina call out Snooki as soon as the next edition of Impact is taped.  Fortunately for me, I won’t be watching it.

I have had enough: TNA Impact 3/3/11

I have taken as much as I can take from TNA.  There are only so many times one can watch TNA hint at getting better, only for them to slam on the brakes and turn it right around the other direction.

For example, last night on Impact, we found out that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan’s blatant use of fraud to get control of the company from Dixie Carter was perfectly fine, and the courts upheld it.  So we get Immortal once more in control of the company – for good this time.  But that really doesn’t matter, as “The Network” now has booking authority over even the owners of the company and get to decide who is in the main event.  And even better – “The Network” doesn’t even have to tell the people in charge of the company who it is.  But we’ll get back to that.

We had a former Jersey Shore castmate not only show up but get booked in a match for next week.  We had an NFL player fight the best talent in the company (Kurt Angle).  We had not one, but TWO weddings between Jeff Jarrett and Karen Angle (both of which sucked).  We had Gunner and Murphy challenge for the tag team titles.  We had a match between Scott Steiner and Rob Terry.

Oh yeah – and we had this:

As speculated after the universally panned “3/3/11” promo video, Sting was the mystery challenger for Jeff Hardy’s title, as apparently “The Network” can order even people who walked out of the company back to work.  Sting showed back up in a truly hideous red and yellow bedazzled jacket complete with tassles and sparkly red patches on his tights.  And shortly thereafter, THAT became THIS:

Not only did TNA bring Sting in, but they immediately put the TNA Championship on him, ending the running storylines dealing with Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam in the process.  TNA seems to have taken the excitement of Sting in the WWE as simply excitement to see Sting, so they brought him in and made him the champion.  Ongoing storylines be damned.

Well, that’s it.  I’ve had enough.  Until further notice, I am ending my coverage of Impact.  I might toss out bullet points, but I simply cannot stand it right now.  I’m burned out.

It’s been fun – perhaps in a month or two, I might check it out again.

Directionless: TNA Impact 2/24/11

The “rematch clause” – the ‘contractual stipulation’ that a former champion gets a rematch against the opponent he lost his title to – has become an accepted part of wrestling to the point that we don’t even question it anymore.  So it came as no surprise to see Mr. Anderson kick off Impact demanding a rematch against Jeff Hardy for the title he lost at Against All Odds.  But Eric Bischoff’s not a fan of contracts (obviously), so he let Anderson know that he would have to earn his shot.  Oh, and Anderson brawled with Rob Van Dam because all of the babyfaces in TNA are really stupid.  Long story short, it would be Anderson vs. RVD on Impact wrestling for no reason at all.  Oh, wait, toss Kurt Angle in there too.

The match itself was not bad until wedding music began playing and Jeff and Karen Jarrett walked out onto the stage in wedding attire.  This distracted Angle, who had the match basically won, causing him to get nailed by Anderson’s Mic Check and get pinned.  But TNA wasn’t done – oh no, they had their BIG SURPRISE that they had been touting for Impact.  The show ended with a video of black boots standing in pouring rain ending with “3 3 11” appearing in burning letters on the screen.  You know – just like WWE did to promote the return of the Undertaker.

Seriously.  They did that.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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