Another potentially embarrassing story for TNA Wrestling this weekend, as fans sending in reports from Girardeau, MO reveal the brand new world champion, Chris Sabin, wasn't even booked to wrestle, following some rather ambiguous "paperwork issues" claimed by the company.
According to one source, who spent nearly $70 on a "V.I.P. experience" that should have granted him front row seats and an exclusive behind the scenes meet-and-greet, "there was no organization whatsoever throughout the night when it came to lines". Apparently, whatever paperwork holding up the organization kept them so busy, the fans waiting for a 5:30PM autograph signing were delayed a full hour without any indication from TNA as to the problem.
"Five-thirty came around, and nothing. No doors opening, no nothing. Some people were pulling on the doors, some voicing their displeasure. It was a hot, and stuffy day to begin with, everyone growing more frustrated by the minute. One woman got so sick from the heat and waiting, that she threw up a good amount."
After waiting in the heat, the many disappointed fans stuck in line were then told that five TNA wrestlers were unable to compete – the list includes: world champion Chris Sabin, Gail Kim, Brooke Tessmacher, Wes Briscoe and Garrett Bischoff.
TNA apparently spent the final hour before the opening bell re-tooling the night's script, as only eight wrestlers were left to perform at the company's first ever show in Girardeau, MO. As we detailed in our match results from this weekend's event, half of the remaining stars worked double duty to make up for the lack of talent.
They did attempt to make up for all the dissatisfaction, however, offering special deals at the merch tables (described as "less than tempting"). The exclusive meet-and-greet was pushed back until after the show, and was made open to everyone who purchased a ticket to the night's event, no matter the price level. Those who bought the special V.I.P. package were instead offered a free in-ring picture with Jeff Hardy as well, although these incentives would cause even more chaos.
"Fans could pay $20 to get a picture with Jeff Hardy as well – The VIP customers who shelled out almost $70 and were guaranteed first dibs at the Meet-and-Greet were being pushed back for people who were paying on the spot," said our source. "I spent near two hours before the show to meet these wrestlers, and was forced to wait behind people who didn't have the VIP package."
Backstage, most of the wrestlers who performed stuck around to sign autographs and meet with the fans; some happy to be meeting their heroes, other frustrated by the long waits and disorganization. One person attending the show was actually laughed at by a TNA employee when he asked where the lines began for autographs.
"I felt really bad for everyone who tried to make sense of all the chaos … I saw people who had waited fifteen minutes for an autograph get pushed aside for people who just walked up. It was disappointing to say the least."