Wasting Kurt Angle, Comedy In Wrestling, Tenay/West Criticism


A wrestling sage recently pointed out the difference between Kurt Angle and his superstar peers over the last few decades: â<80><9c>Most top guys know how they should be used. Kurt has no idea.â<80>

Amen to that. TNA â<80>” and to a lesser degree, WWE before that â<80>” has wasted the monstrous talent that is/was Angle, turning him into a comedy figure. Kurt IS hilarious, make no mistake â<80>” but strap the funny onto someone who isnâ<80><99>t an Olympic gold medalist. Angle should be (and should have always been) â<80><9c>the real guy.â<80> The guy who suspends your disbelief. The champ who would beat their champ because their champâ<80><99>s a fake. Thatâ<80><99>s what Angle should be, and he never seems to realize it.

Top guys shouldnâ<80><99>t be comedians. Funny doesnâ<80><99>t draw money. Name one significant money-drawing program based on humor. TNA is making zero progress with Angle the comedian as their #1 guy.

(Aha, you say, what about all the Steve Austin/Vince McMahon skits? Werenâ<80><99>t they funny? And I reply: Yes, they were, but Austin was always an uncompromising badass within the context of the skits. When Austin later turned heel/buffoon, WWE experienced a significant drop in business. Look at the Jericho-Michaels feud in WWE. Not many are funnier than Y2J, but Jericho has purged the laugh track from this particular program, and thatâ<80><99>s one big reason it works.)

TNA gave suspending disbelief a try when they had the Angle vs. Samoa Joe â<80><9c>seriousâ<80> match. It was a great bout, and provided the avenue for a change in direction for both performers and/or the promotion. Instead, all it did was highlight that everything before or since isnâ<80><99>t, well, â<80><9c>serious.â<80> Give these guys personality, sure — just make sure it’s the proper personality.

Speaking of costly misuse, has anyone been misused more than Joe? Heâ<80><99>s just a whiny fat guy now. How about when he said, during a recent promo, that he wasnâ<80><99>t sure he could beat Booker T? Who scripted that line? Who had the â<80><9c>Samoan Submission Machineâ<80> fret on camera that he couldnâ<80><99>t beat a WWE mid-card guy? (Booker was in the â<80><9c>big leagues,â<80> though, and gets the respect TNA inexplicably â<80>” and always â<80>” gives ex-WWE wrestlers, even at the expense of home-grown talent.)

TNA should just hire performers based on comedic ability. Itâ<80><99>s all that seems to matter.

How will they try to make things better? By having the announcers yell more, of course.

Iâ<80><99>m not a big TNA fan â<80>” could you tell? â<80>” because the promotion just comes off as so second-class, so low-rent. Look at the Divas/Knockouts. Besides Gail Kim and Shelly Martinez, how many TNA Knockouts wouldnâ<80><99>t look totally out of place on WWE TV? The WWE freak show chick, Beth Phoenix, Is still kinda hot. The TNA freak show girl is called â<80><9c>Kong.â<80> Good thing wrestling is too sleazy for Al Sharpton. Can you imagine Roxxi â<80>” under any circumstances, even as a one-time plant in the crowd â<80>” getting on Raw?

I know what TNAâ<80><99>s response to my critique would be. â<80><9c>He just doesnâ<80><99>t get it.â<80>

Youâ<80><99>re right. I donâ<80><99>t. CLICK.

Hereâ<80><99>s a philosophical question: How long does a wrestling booker have to fail before heâ<80><99>s purged from the business? Somebody set a date, please.

TNA ANNOUNCING â<80>” I got an e-mail from some mark accusing me of criticizing Count Chocula and Mr. Ginsu Knives because I want one of their jobs. Not true, though it would be nice to have a job.

I actually think Mike Tenay is quite good, but Don West is a horrible match. Theyâ<80><99>re both screamers, and theyâ<80><99>re both homers.

For example, when Kurt Angle abuses Karen, both announcers gang up on him. Wouldnâ<80><99>t it be better TV if the color guy said, â<80><9c>Well, wait a minute. Kurt Angle has given his wife the opportunity to live the life that only the spouse of an Olympic gold medalist can live. That only the spouse of a multi-time world champion can live. Where would she be without Kurt? Wrapped around a stripper pole somewhere, I bet. So if Kurt Angle wants to rule his marriage via tough love, thatâ<80><99>s his prerogative. If Karen Angle wants to seek her own fortune, I wish her luck, because sheâ<80><99>ll have to do it a dollar at a time.â<80>

Instead we get:



The constant babyface hammering of the heels by both announcers can make the heels into sympathetic figures. Thatâ<80><99>s certainly the case in the Angle-Angle byplay, where Karenâ<80><99>s redeeming qualities are few beyond her obvious physical attributes.

That said, I feel sorry for Tenay and West. That show needs tour guides, not announcers.

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