If you watch a wrestling program close enough, you can see who’s really in charge. Beyond the owner. Beyond the booker. There’s usually someone who has his fingerprints all over the show. The power behind the power.
In TNA, that person is Bully Ray.
The shenanigans involving the angle between TNA and Tommy Dreamer’s indie show illustrate that. (Call it “House of Hardcore” if you like, but it’s just another indie show.) Dreamer knew Bully Ray wouldn’t be there weeks before. And Bully Ray didn’t get dragged off Dreamer's show kicking and screaming. Bully Ray wanted to schmooze with the Spike TV people. It’s what’s best for business.
So, Bully Ray’s absence at Dreamer’s show only provoked outrage within the context of the angle Dreamer decided to run.
Then, somehow, Dreamer got the angle from his indie wrestling show on Impact. Think about that. Very few people knew about the Bully Ray/House of Hardcore angle. Even fewer cared. But somehow an angle from an indie show got air time on Spike TV. An indie promotion got free TV exposure on national cable.
What sense did that make? How did that do TNA any good? There is zero value in cross-promoting with an indie show.
It helped Dreamer, though. It got his indie shows publicity. It got him on national TV. It cast him once again as the perpetual underdog, a Dreamer staple.
Bully Ray did his friend a favor. Bully Ray runs TNA.
But, wait! There’s more.
Bully Ray was on radio, and his hubris was incredible.
Bully Ray bragged about dating Velvet Sky, a girl who clearly knows how to stay employed. He bragged about his alleged real-life relationship with Brooke Hogan. He said he was going to put Dixie Carter through a table. He gave away a major angle to put himself over on a radio show.
Bully Ray’s fingerprints are everywhere. Team 3-D went into the TNA Hall of Fame. Bully Ray turned babyface. TNA has two heel authority figures, so Bully Ray has lots to battle against. Brooke Adams, inexplicably off TV for months, returned – to put Bully Ray over. The babyface world champ was a jabroni. Jeff Hardy, perhaps TNA’s only legit star, wears a costume that conceals his identity.
It’s a level of influence Hulk Hogan would be envious of. Hogan’s got to love this. Except for the part about his daughter.
Actually, Hogan probably doesn’t watch TNA. Nobody does.
Bully Ray is the king of the schoolyard. It’s a very small school in a bad neighborhood, and it has low SAT scores. But Bully Ray is king.
I’m not anti-Bully Ray. When he was a heel, he was wrestling’s best heel. He made TNA watchable. Now, it’s not. I’m a big Dreamer fan. TNA would do well to make him a regular part of the promotion. But no pimping his indie shows.
But Bully Ray’s power grab is just so typical of wrestling. And it’s so typical of Carter, who aligns herself with whoever tells her what she wants to hear.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX