I enjoyed myself at the Big-Time Wrestling show at Belle Vernon, Pa., this past Sunday. Ric Flair and Terry Funk were there: My two favorite wrestlers ever and two good friends, men who shaped how I look at wrestling. Blame them.
Funk + ringside enforcer = STIFF PUNCHES for those doing a run-in. AWESOME.
It was nice to catch up with Matt Hardy. I mentioned a brief Twitter outburst I had with his fiancée, Reby Sky, and Matt laughed and said, “That’s what Twitter’s for, right?” Matt’s a great guy. Reby was there, too; she’s also very nice.
Reby and Mickie James had a solid match. Mickie never, ever disappoints. She builds and executes her character as well as anyone in wrestling.
Also on the show: Carlito and Chris Masters. They looked great, worked well.
It made me think: What if TNA cut some dead weight and hired Matt Hardy, Carlito and Chris Masters? What if TNA ditched the Hogans and their considerable salaries and brought in a few prominent names that can actually work? Ex-WWE, yes, but hardly has-beens. Performers that can deliver a payoff, unlike Hulk Hogan. John Morrison is still out there, too, but I bet he wants too much money.
“Oh, there he goes, picking on Hogan again.”
OK. I put the ball in your court. Hogan hasn’t worked. Rampage and Ortiz won’t work. What, exactly, is going to elevate TNA even a little bit?
Doesn’t the promotion’s lack of progress dictate a legitimate reset? TNA has so many employees that do nothing to help the company.
Taking TV on the road has been a financial disaster. The MMA guys won’t help. Stuff like that is like trying to slap a butterfly stitch on a shotgun wound. TNA needs a reset. It needs to become a WRESTLING PROMOTION, different from WWE, purer, and not Hogan’s plaything.
What’s going on now is just bad, uninteresting and, most significant, failing. TNA = Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing again and again but expecting a different result. Yet Impact remains on the road and Hogan keeps getting tons of money and the bulk of the TV time. It isn’t working, and won’t.
ADMIT IT. MAN UP. OWN IT.
Judging by a recent tweet, it seems B.J. Whitmer is facing long-term problems as a result of the botched piledriver on the ring apron attempted by him and Mike Bennett during a recent ROH show. Is Whitmer’s career in jeopardy?
A better question: Does anyone still think trying that move was a good idea?
Maria Kanellis, in tweets carefully hidden from me, compared ROH to college, where wrestlers get an education. That’s how she justified that piledriver.
I’ve never heard anything stupider in my life. What’s Whitmer’s major? Paralysis?
I wish, just once, when wrestlers do something moronic that has negative consequences, they could ADMIT IT. It might actually do the profession some good if all the geniuses involved in this debacle could man up and own it. Maybe future generations could benefit, not be stupid, and not get paralyzed.
The aforementioned Matt Hardy gets it.
Hardy’s work is daring, but safe. He's learned. His gimmick in ROH is terrific. “I’m the real star, and I’m here to take TV time away from your favorites.”
It’s awesome because it’s true.
Too many of the dopes in ROH get defensive when criticized. OK, fine. I’m the beloved former co-host of America’s second most-watched cable TV program, but forget about me. I haven’t been through the pro wrestling wringer like Brutal Bob Evans. I get it. I haven’t paid my dues like Truth Martini. Guilty as charged.
So watch Matt Hardy. Do what Matt Hardy does. Prosper by it. At the very least, you’ll retain feeling in your extremities.
SPEAKING OF PILEDRIVERS…
At the WrestleWar '89 PPV, Flair regained the NWA world title from Ricky Steamboat in a 5-star match. Funk, who had been acting as a "ringside judge" in case the time limit was reached, attacked Flair afterward, turning Flair babyface. Funk gave Flair a piledriver on a ringside table.
Funk: "Ric, I'm going to piledrive you on the table. No one's ever done that before."
Flair: "What the **** are you talking about? Are you crazy?"
The table didn't break. Promoter Jim Crockett forgot to gimmick it. Flair was unhurt, but sold a neck injury 'til his comeback. (Actually, that spot had been done before: In 1984, Randy Savage used a piledriver to put Ricky Morton through the announcers' table in Memphis.)
I loved that Flair-Funk table spot. But since then, I've learned.
At any rate, that was two of the greatest workers ever, and it was on a PPV. Big difference. But still ill-advised.
Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX
bj whitmercarlitochris mastersHulk Hoganjohn morrisonmaria kanellismark maddenMatt Hardymickie jamesmike bennettQuinton Jacksonreby skyRic FlairRing of Honorterry funktito-colonTNAHave a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?