Well, itâ<80><99>s a big week coming up for pro wrestling. For one, weâ<80><99>ve got WrestleMania weekend – which includes the 2008 Hall of Fame ceremony. Ring of Honor will continue their yearly, Hedwig and the Angry Inch-esque tradition of traveling to the same town as their famous counterparts on the same weekend. (Lucky Orlandoans!) And, on Saturday, Iâ<80><99>ll be posting the results in the voting for the Best Wrestling Moments of All Time. Details on how to vote at the bottom. You only have until Thursday!
But I feel like Iâ<80><99>m forgetting something. Hmm…what could that be?
Oh, itâ<80><99>s our friends in TNA! They might just be having the most important week of all.
On Thursday, March 27th, TNA will get the chance to show their stuff in a two hour live special. People have been talking for years about TNA competing with WWE – which I, for one, think is both unrealistic and unnecessary. TNA has plenty to offer thatâ<80><99>s unique, and Iâ<80><99>ve always felt that this is the best angle for them to try to take. Still, shouldnâ<80><99>t they be afforded some of the same opportunities as WWE?
Most of us know TNAâ<80><99>s broadcast history. It began as a weekly pay-per-view product, received a late night deal with Fox Sports Net, then a weekend, Velocity-like time slot with Spike TV, before finally settling into primetime and then, a two hour primetime slot. This week, TNA gets the opportunity to showcase an exciting, live product to its fans and potential new fans.
I, for one, am optimistic. Iâ<80><99>ll admit, TNAâ<80><99>s new business approach does seem a bit misguided to me. Yes, a different approach is good. But Iâ<80><99>m not sure the coveted â<80><9c>mainstream audienceâ<80> will stop surfing the channels because they see a guy in a shark costume drinking clam juice or because they see AJ Styles and Karen Angle in a restaurant. I donâ<80><99>t hate these angles like some people do…Iâ<80><99>m just unsure of their drawing power to the mainstream audience. Really, the rising TNA audience could be due to angles like Shark Boy or the presence of Booker T or anything else. The trick is keeping the audience.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this article is definitely not to bash TNA, but simply to look at what kind of show they might put on this coming Thursday. The company has always seemed to come up big on their â<80><9c>specials,â<80> such as the recent Global Impact special or, more aptly, their primetime special on November 16, 2006. That was the show that featured Rhino vs. Christian Cage in a barbed wire, six sides of steel match. The match was the centerpiece of an excellent show which did a great job of displaying TNAâ<80><99>s many assets. While I donâ<80><99>t think TNA needs to do anything quite as over-the-top as a barbed wire match, I do think theyâ<80><99>ve got some special things in store.
Lance Storm (whose short-lived catchphrase inspired the name of Offbeat Shenanigans) said that heâ<80><99>s unsure if TNA will be able to pull off the ridiculous amount of backstage segments on the live episode. Certainly, they can utilize pre-taped footage. Still, I, personally, expect a lot more action in the ring or, at least, in the ringside area. This would be a welcome change for some TNA fans, and weâ<80><99>ll find out soon enough if it happens.
With Lockdown coming up, TNA is advertising Alex Shelley vs. Johnny Devine for a spot in the Xscape match. You know, Iâ<80><99>ve been having thoughts concerning the X-division guys. We want to see these high spot thrillfests every week. Iâ<80><99>m as guilty of that as you are. But maybe itâ<80><99>s good to give them a break now and then…involve them in segments or, you know, traditional wrestling matches. Theyâ<80><99>re all very capable of wrestling different kinds of matches, and I surely donâ<80><99>t want to see Chris Sabin or AJ Styles in a wheelchair years down the line. Of course, Iâ<80><99>m not them and donâ<80><99>t know what their bodies can handle, but this was just a thought.
Well, it seems Iâ<80><99>ve gone and digressed again. I was talking about what we might expect on this weekâ<80><99>s episode of Impact. Weâ<80><99>ve already been told to expect the return of Sting. Kurt Angle will be taking on Styles and Tomko in the second in his series of MMA sparring contests. Also, according to TNAâ<80><99>s website, fans will be able to vote to determine Awesome Kongâ<80><99>s opponent for the evening. Can we start a big internet effort to get Roxxi Leveaux in there? Itâ<80><99>ll be an early birthday present for both me and her, seeing as we both were born on the last day of the Aries sign.
Then, weâ<80><99>ll have a â<80><9c>sitdown interviewâ<80> with Karen Angle. Iâ<80><99>ll be using the power and influence of my remote during that one. Maybe if enough other people change the channel, we wonâ<80><99>t have to see any more of the Karen-AJ wedding stuff.
Nah, wishful thinking.
Overall, Iâ<80><99>d say that TNA has a great opportunity to do something else here. In the world of sports entertainment, it can be truly hard to surprise your fans. This is exponentially more difficult when your shows are taped days and even weeks in advance. On Thursday, TNA will have to worry about nothing except a seven second delay!
Am I going to suggest a surprise they might try to pull? No. Thatâ<80><99>s TNAâ<80><99>s job. Given that we truly wonâ<80><99>t know what to expect this week, Iâ<80><99>d really like to see the company capitalize on this. Finally, this week, with a live show, TNA has the chance to deliver the product theyâ<80><99>ve wanted to. Theyâ<80><99>ve been given primetime, two hours, and now, a live show. Spike will be watching closely, and so will the wrestling world.
Gone, this week, will be the fans who read the spoilers to keep up on the storylines and feel no need to tune in. (Iâ<80><99>ve been guilty of this, too.) Glued will be the eyes of most of TNAâ<80><99>s audience. I, for one, am very eager to see what this weekâ<80><99>s Impact has in store for us.
The Best Moments in Wrestling History
I’m looking for your favorite wrestling moments of all time: matches, title wins, debuts, returns, skits, feuds…anything wrestling!
Submit your favorite moments. Up to 10 (or a few more) will be fine. Rank them yourself, or I’ll rank them in the order you submit them. Using a weighted point system, I’ll be calculating the top vote-getters and posting the top moments on WrestleZone sometime during WrestleMania weekend. Votes must be submitted by March 27 – the night of TNA’s first live, two hour Impact.
A fair warning to fans of old school wrestling – particularly the NWA, WCCW, AWA, and the various territories – your favorite moments are going sorely underrepresented in the voting. Also, moments from around the globe (Mexico, Japan, Europe, etc.) are garnering very few votes. Want to change that? Be sure cast your votes to get your favorite moments on the list!
Email me HERE!
Kevin McElvaney is also a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?