Hulk Hogan: How Exactly Has He Helped TNA?

The more things change, the more they seem to stay exactly the same.  In this case, I’m talking about Hulk Hogan and his inability to not give himself a filter when it comes to running his mouth.  So according to an interview that Hogan did with a newspaper in the United Kingdom, he said about Dixie Carter the following:

“Is Dixie Carter really in the wrestling business, or is this just a hobby? You either run with the big dogs….Or stay on the porch.”

Now, here’s where the hypothetical comes in.  If this was WWE and not TNA and it was Vince in charge and not Dixie Carter, then anybody that said this would be fired faster than you can say Bruno Sammartino.  However, reality setting back in here, we have to remember that one difference between Vince and Dixie is that Vince is not afraid of being a bastard, or of being cold-blooded. It’s unfortunately the one thing that Dixie Carter has yet to learn or embrace in the wrestling business in that sometimes you have to be cold-blooded and vindictive because when you don’t, you’re just a doormat and you’re letting the inmates run the asylum.  In this case, it’s not so much the inmates that are running the asylum in TNA.  It’s only one inmate in particular and that unfortunately is Hogan.  Not just Hogan himself but his entourage as well.  Where Hogan goes, his groupies follow and by groupies I mean Eric Bischoff, Bubba the Love Sponge at one point, The Nasty Boys, Bischoff’s talentless schlub of a son, and more recently Brooke Hogan. Hell, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if they add in Brutus Beefcake and Hogan’s spoiled snot of a son onto Impact.

Here’s a recap for you Dixie.  Since Hogan has come in, the following has happened with TNA:  The ring that separated your product from the others was taken away, the cage match that went so perfectly well with that ring is gone, matches that were made for TNA such Ultimate X, Elevation X and King of the Mountain have pretty much become extinct. Guys have been in the company and proven they can be stars in AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, James Storm, Samoa Joe and others are pushed to the way side for WWE Table-Scraps with the blind hope of making them something bigger, something that never happened (Bobby Lashley, Mr Anderson, The Pope) and the X-Division has become nothing more than a memory as well as the Tag Team division.  In other words Dixie, You let desecrate and pillage your own product. And for who? For what? Kevin Nash said when criticizing Aces & Eights that history repeats itself.  Looking at TNA, history has already been repeating itself because right now, you’re looking at Hogan & Bischoff bleeding another company dry.  And no, WCW wasn’t killed by the AOL/Time Warner deal, all that deal did was put WCW out of its misery.  So the million dollar question here is will Dixie Carter do as the Briscoes say and “Man Up” or is she simply waiting for something to put TNA out of its misery? All for the mistake she could’ve avoided by bringing in the guy responsible for making TNA and the very meaning of the word “Impact” disappear.

 

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What I Miss: Brian Pillman

There have been a lot of wrestlers who have been taken away from us way too soon.  The list of pro wrestlers that die at an early age is sadly a list keeps getting bigger and bigger. Brian Pillman is one guy who is on that list, but the saddest part about it is that he had the stuff to become one of the all time greats.  Yes he wasn’t the biggest guy and his voice would make John Laryngitis sound like a Gospel Singer by comparison, but nobody can deny the talent that Pillman had.  Between his time as a football player and becoming a pro wrestler, all you can say is not too shabby for a guy who not many gave much of a shot at living into adulthood considering the throat problems he had since he was a kid.

In WCW, long before there was a Crusierweight Division and Luchadores were introduced, Pillman set the standard for being a high flyer.  The matches between Pillman and Jushin “Thunder” Liger were the equivalent of Super Crazy vs Tajiri.  He may not have been the biggest of guys, but he was still able to hold his own against guys the likes of Sid Vicious, Danny Spivey or Mean Mark Callous. He didn’t win those matches or beat those guys, but was able to hold his own nonetheless.  As good as he may have been as a face, he seemed to get the job done as a heel just as well if not better.  A fine example of that was in tag team action when he teamed with at that time “Stunning” Steve Austin to form The Hollywood Blondes.

Certain tag teams help define what a heel tag team should be like and The Hollywood Blondes were definitely in that category.  Their promos as well as their in-ring ability were great and growing up, I couldn’t help but laugh at the “roll camera” gesture that they were known for.  If there was any complain that I could have had about the team, it’s that they were split up way too soon.  I suppose the silver lining in that instance is that Pillman did go on to become one of the Four Horsemen, but that was before he was released from the company and we began to see the birth of what would grow into “The Loose Cannon” when he went to WCW. By then, the microphone had gotten to the point where Pillman having a microphone in hand was more deadly than his fists.The guy was able to piss off so many people, that he nearly started riots with his promos.  That would of course lead to Pillman signing with the WWE and in the segment with his “press conference” and signing the contract and following that with going off on everybody in the room, this is what lead to the birth of “The Loose Cannon.”

Thanks to a car accident and procedures he had to have done on his ankle, we didn’t get to see Pillman in the ring all that much.  There were memorable moments with him regardless.  Austin “crippling Pillman’s ankle” and debuting “DTA: Don’t Trust Anybody” along with the infamous Stone Cold breaking into Pillman’s home where Brian was waiting with a gun in hand, claiming that if Steve showed up that he was going to blow him straight to hell.  Pillman was 35 when he died and it was reported that it was due to some unknown heart condition and it was announced live on PPV that Pillman had passed on during the pre-show before the PPV.   It was one of the most sad and tragic things to hear on a PPV, falling in second just behind the tragedy of Owen Hart.

During the last few years of his life and his career, Brian Pillman displayed an ability to get a reaction from the crowd, whether it was for him or against him. He knew how to play to the crowd and when he was a heel, he displayed a trait that only the truly good heels are known to have.  He knew how to piss off the crowd and get them to hate him.  But also his style was different in terms of his approach.   Pillman wasn’t afraid to curse and wasn’t afraid to tell somebody to “Shut the Hell Up!” or to call them a “Son of a Bitch” and if you go by Shotgun Saturday Night, wasn’t afraid to throw a fan over the railing and kick the ever-loving crap out of him.   It was just the way that he was because when you’re “The Loose Cannon,” your job is to be unpredictable and to be ready to snap within half a second.  Some feel that even if Pillman hadn’t died at 35, he wouldn’t have made it to become one of those wrestler that die of old age.  Maybe, but the again, people didn’t give him a shot of growing up with the health problems he had growing up, whose to say that he wouldn’t have beaten those odds too.  There are some guys who you look at and just think that there will never be another like them.   There will never be another Ric Flair. There will never be another Rowdy Roddy Piper.  There will never be another Undertaker and there will never be another Brian Pillman.

Raw To Become 3 Hours, Like That Worked for WCW

The buzz is all around about Monday Night Raw is going to go 3 hours on a regular basis.  Back then, I might have been excited about this. Back then, you had stories that people enjoyed and that weren’t insult to everybody else’s intelligence.   Sadly, this is unfortunately going to be 3 hours of the same crap that we’ve been getting from Raw for the last couple of years.  And by that, I mean that it’ll be 3 hours of too much talking, not enough matches, the matches we do see for the most part serve little to no purpose, and the same mind numbing stories that has left many of us wanting to punch a hole through our TVs.  The last time that we saw a wrestling company try to add an extra hour to a 2 hour wrestling show, it ended up going under.

WCW tried to make Nitro 3 hours, and that did more damage than good.  The talent was there for sure, but come on. You had Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo running things.  They could’ve been up to their necks in talent and they would still be too stupid to know how to use any of that talent. The second that you saw Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero all jump ship in one cluster, you knew that there was nowhere for that company to go other than straight down.  So what exactly does WWE have that will make people want to watch all three hours of Raw?  A better question is if Raw is gonna be 3 hours, what do they need Smackdown for?  What can Smackdown  give the fans that will make them still tune in after watching 3 hours of Raw? How will doing this move not over-saturate the product more than it already is?  What do they have that will attract fans to watch all 3 hours of Raw? More of John Laryngitis or Michael Cole’s oh so brilliant, and unbiased commentary?  Pardon me while I heave.

That third hour that Nitro added to itself might as well have been the final nail in the coffin for WCW.  Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t think this way with the WWE, considering the crap that they’ve been giving us lately? Their PPV’s keep losing money yearly and that same money seems to be going towards UFC & MMA.  WWE should try and find a way to freshen up the product and compete against UFC, but the problem is the fact that all these years after WCW went under, they forgot how to compete. They’ve forgotten how to actually put an effort into their product.  Why else would we get the same stories that we’ve seen time and time again? TNA and ROH are nowhere close to being a competitor and WWE is seemingly focused on the little kid demographic, and yet ignoring the demographic that has been the core of their popularity.  Eddie Mac on “We Want Wrestling” said it best that the little kids aren’t the ones that are buying the PPVs or the merchandise. They have to go through their parents or whomever to get those things and in most cases, it’s people that have been fans longer than the little kids.

What reason is there to be excited for a 3 hour Raw on a weekly basis?  The last couple times that we’ve seen a 3 hour Raw, it sucked and you always had one or two hours that were worse than the other.  Other scenarios are to have the first hour start strong and then decline the rest of the way.  Back then when Raw was something to watch, you had stories that excited people and made them want to tune in every week.  Now, you just have lazy booking which is one of the only explanations that anyone could probably think of as to why an off-camera suit is now getting pushed above everybody else that actually contributes something in the ring.  It’s bad enough that you’re going to have your franchise guy in John Cena possibly put over a guy who was so bad as a wrestler that to be called “mediocre” would’ve been a step-up.

John Laryngitis is not a strong enough character to carry a 3 hour show. He’s not even acceptable to carry a 2 hour one.  People are bored to tears and annoyed whenever he talks.  The whole concept of “People Power” is stupid as hell and nobody’s buying into it.  He’s your typical heel authority figure and that’s the problem.  The WWE has milked that type of character for all it’s worth and it’s to the point where there is nothing they can give us that we haven’t already seen or heard before with that character.  John Laryngitis is a one note character and that’s all he’s going to be.   He can’t give us anything we haven’t seen before and the heat he gets is not a good thing.  Even the good heels found a way to get the crowd to hate them, but still attract the crowd and not repel them.  WWE’s going to make Raw a 3 hour show, than give us something that will actually make it worth watching.  Otherwise, I’d suggest to start shopping for a burial plot, maybe right next to WCW.

 

What the Word “EXTREME” Really Means?

For those of you that check out my work or follow on Twitter or Facebook,  I’ve been an avid caller on Perfect Plex talk radio.  It was in doing this that I established myself with the name of The Apex Predator of Perfect Plex and now, thank you Dwayne Allen, The Apex Predator of the Wrestling Wrealm.  I’ve supported Brian Waters aka Mr Main Event and at the time, I supported Mike Knoxxx.  However, things over the last week or so have changed as Mike and myself don’t see eye to eye on certain things.  One of them which happens to also be a topic I don’t like with a lot writers who do this, is the verbal bashing of ECW. Somebody had said to me that I need to come to an understanding with Mike but I understand things fine as I’m gonna explain.

Eric Sheppard aka ERock of Podcast of Pain, had an opinion of his own on ECW and a lot of what he said is what many guys including Mike don’t get about ECW.  ECW was not and I repeat NOT just about the barbed wire, flaming tables, chair, blood and violence.  It was about a sense of belonging and a sense of being a part of something and in this case, ECW was a revolution and those that were loyal to it, those fans that were loyal and chanted those 3 letters were as much a part of that revolution as the guys in that ring were. Yes, it was the misfits that didn’t get even a shot or the rejects that WWE or WCW cast out, but what made ECW special was what the guys in charge like Paul Heyman gave these guys: a chance. A chance to become something, a chance to live a dream because the fact is that no matter what the talk is about being all about the money and all that, it started out for these guys that they were doing this because it’s been their dream to be a pro wrestler and to become a star in it.  To those guys that say “It’s always been about money” or saying that the dream is just an illusion or doesn’t exist and it never did or even that no stars came out of ECW, all I can say to those guy is BLOW IT YOUR ASS!!!!!!

The Dudley Boyz aka Team 3-D established themselves as the baddest tag team on the planet in ECW. They didn’t go to WWE or even to TNA until after they set the standard for tag teams in ECW.  Brian Pillman became a loose cannon in ECW long before he ever went to WWE.  Steve Austin was fired from WCW by a phone call and had a chip on his shoulder. Paul Heyman and ECW gave him the chance to make that his strength.  He went to ECW before WWE and the fuse was lit in ECW and by the time the fuse reached it’s end and went off, it went off in WWE and Stone Cold Steve Austin was born.  Stone Cold came to fruition in WWE, but it was ECW that pointed him in the right direction.  Scott Levy was never going to go anywhere in WCW as Scotty Flamingo and he damn sure was never going to reach the top in WWE as Johnny Polo.  It wasn’t until going to ECW that he left those gimmicks behind and Raven was born.  Mick Foley went to ECW after WCW and thanks to that and thanks to the Death Match tournaments in Japan, gave Cactus Jack a whole new standard.  Then there’s the WCW Cruiserweight Division and the guys that made it what it was.  Let me run down the names for you as well as others that WCW acquired:  Dean Malenko, Juventud Guerrera, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Psychosis, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho.  Those guys were a quarter of WCW’s roster and if they weren’t wrestling elsewhere and making themselves known, WCW wouldn’t have even raised so much as a glance at those guys.  Public Enemy, Rhino, Rob Van Dam, Bam Bam Bigelow, 2 Cold Scorpio, Super Crazy, Tajiri, Sandman, Mike Awesome, Masato Tanaka, Chris Candido,  Steve Corino, Balls Mahoney, Sabu, Jerry Lynn and probably some others that I’m leaving out, but the fact is that ECW made these guys and for a lot of them, it was because they were given the chances that neither WCW or WWE would’ve given them on their best day.

ERock said it best about the word “Hardcore” and that it wasn’t just about the violence and brutality. It was about the passion and the admiration and the damn undying loyalty that the fans had for that product.  It was about more than the type of wrestling that we got, it was about what it represented. When people continue to refer to it as “Extremely Crappy Wrestling” and use the excuse that i was what Jerry Lawler always called it, it doesn’t change things considering that Jerry Lawler stopped calling it that almost 20 years ago.  Voicing your disapproval of a product is one thing, but when you’re continuously ripping into the product and doing so by saying the same exact thing you’ve said time in and time out, you’re pretty much looking down and spitting on what many valued and held dear because you glance at it and think that you understood what it was about.  If you’re going to rip into something, make sure you have all of your facts straight but always remember that when you have an opinion, always be ready to have somebody challenge it, disagree with it, and/or think that their opinion is superior to yours.

We’ve seen the word Extreme used to the point where it almost loses all meaning.  Yes, ECW is dead and buried and it went under and while the reasons always vary such as “it expanded too quickly” or whatever, the fact is that it went under and that’s all there is to it.  After the first One Night Stand, that was my closure on ECW. I was content with that and I was able to leave it behind me.  You want to say that you don’t like the product, than fine.  But don’t try to push it down on us that did love it and think that we’re brain-dead on the subject because the fact is that those of us that remember ECW and understood what it was about were loyal to it than and we’ll always honor it as a memory in pro wrestling. And to certain people that still don’t get that, all I can say is quite simply this:

E…..C……F**KING…….W!!!!!!!!!

“Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce vs Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana ONE MORE TIME

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PJJuX1254Uw 

It was just about two weeks ago where Colt Cabana won the NWA world title from the Four Time NWA World Champ and a personal favorite of The Shark in Adam Pearce.  This is also the second time that Pearce has lost the belt in his four title reigns to Cabana and going by the promo he cut and the challenge that he laid out, this is the breaking point for Scrap Iron himself. He’s laid out the challenge for a best of seven series that was aptly titled “7 Levels of Hate.”

Pearce made it clear that just one rematch against Cabana was going to cut it nor would beating him 2 times.  The sole mission that he has is to prove that he’s the best and that he’s better than Colt Cabana.  He’s even made it clear that while Cabana may have nothing to prove, Pearce has EVERYTHING to prove. He’s doing it to the point where he’s laying it ALL on the line or as he put it, giving Cabana his one and only chance to shut Pearce up and most of all, the chance to take Adam Pearce out of pro wrestling because he has  said that he will walk away if he can’t beat Cabana.

Some of the best moments in wrestling and the most entertaining have been a best of five or best of seven series.  TNA demonstrated that with the Motor City Machine Guns vs Beer Money in a best of five series.  Chris Benoit and Booker T had a best of seven series for the U.S. Title in WCW.  I think it’s a safe bet to say that this will be no different for Pearce and Cabana as in promos like that and given the history between the two, there is plenty of emotion involved in this and you just don’t get enough of that in wrestling these days.

As for who do I think will come out on top, I would like to see Pearce take the bar in his career and raise it up another notch and become a Five Time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.  You can feel the determination, the emotion and the mindset that he’s in with his promo.  The guy is looking at this like he’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain and history has shown that in some cases, the most ferocious fighter is the one that backed up against the wall. Pearce has the mindset of a caged animal and sometimes if they’re hungry enough or just pissed off enough, a caged animal can be as deadly as they come.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the smoke clears with these two.

The Different Directions of the Dynamic Dudes

Those that remember the pre-WCW days back when WCW was still NWA, and you’d have to be a truly hardcore fan to remember this team, remember the Dynamic Dudes.  Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace composed the team and the gimmick was being a couple of surfer-type guys and they even used skateboards in the entrance. Both guys different directions in their careers.  Shane Douglas played major role in the rise of ECW from the second he threw down the NWA World Title and said that guys like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat could kiss his ass.  Johnny Ace reached no stardom whatsoever in the states, was only successful overseas and was only known for being in the shadow of his brother in one half of the Road Warriors, Animal. Beyond that, he went from being a professional wrestler to being a suit and some would even go as far as to say “Corporate Scumbag.”  Despite never truly reaching the main event levels in other companies, Douglas had the skills and abilities that Johnny didn’t.  That being said, I have no idea what the hell Douglas’ thing at Raw was all about.

I’m one of those guys that was Pro-ECW back then.  There were a lot of matches and moments in wrestling that I found to be entertaining and still stand amongst some of my all time favorite moments as a wrestling fan.  One of my favorites to come out of ECW was “The Franchise” Shane Douglas.  There was something about the guy that I liked from the day he threw down the NWA World Title to his feud with Taz.  The whole thing on Raw with him unmasking and wearing his Franchise shirt and trying to stir up the crowd in Philadelphia, I didn’t get it.  I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now.  It pains me to see it for a lot of reasons.  One of the reasons being is hat I’ve been a fan of The Franchise and that I always felt the difference between himself and Johnny Ace is that Douglas had the charisma while his partner Johnny Boy didn’t.

Douglas was trying to call it an Extreme Revolution and I don’t know which word had less effect with me, extreme or revolution. Mark Madden said in a piece on Wrestlezone that the word extreme has been played out and I don’t disagree.  The word “extreme” in wrestling has lost almost all meaning.  From WWE butchering it by naming a PPV “Extreme Rules” to the so called extreme rules matches that they used in that fake ECW Vince tried to puke up.  As for the term “revolution” this may be a revolution that was 10 years too late.  ECW tried to be that revolution a long time ago and it lost.  Some say that it was because it didn’t draw money but I think the biggest problem was that ECW tried to move too fast for its own good and ended up trying to compete before it was even ready to be a contender against the other two.  I loved ECW and I still will and will remember some of the talent that came out of it and some of the matches I witnessed. And to those that hate on ECW, if it weren’t for ECW, we’d have never seen guys like Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, The Dudley Boyz, Rob Van Dam so to those haters that seem to forget that, you’d be better off going to Paul Heyman and saying thank you.

Here’s the difference between Johnny Ace and Shane Douglas.  Johnny Boy wasn’t able to become big here in the states and any success he did have was overseas and the rest of his career was spent putting on a suit and being a brown-nosing asskisser. Why? Because Johnny Boy didn’t have any kind of charisma whatsoever while Shane Douglas was not the ass-kissing type. The tragic thing is that the character of “The Franchise” could’ve made it anywhere .  Douglas made a character that could get over anywhere, but he didn’t get any of the opportunities because he burned bridges and pissed off a lot of people. Yeah, Douglas was in WCW, but there was no way Bischoff was gonna let him go up into main event status because Douglas pissed off Ric Flair one too many times. And as far as the WWE goes, Douglas had been there twice and the most recent was a stupid teacher gimmick where he scratched the chalkboard a lot.  Needless to say after his departure from that, Douglas was on Vince’s blacklist along with Lex Luger.

As for Douglas’ thing on Monday, why? What does it prove? What did you think was really going to happen when you pulled that? It was mentioned that Douglas got little to reaction when he pulled this and if that was true, than my best guess is that it was because many wrestling fans and especially the ones in Philadelphia have accepted that you can’t duplicate that revolution that ECW was when it was around.  Sometimes the problem with revolutions is that they don’t always work.  ECW tried it and it didn’t work in the end.  It had a loyal following that still exists to this day, myself being part of that, but not a big enough one to overshadow WWE or WCW when it was around.

So, once again, a barely memorable tag team split up with one doing his own thing regardless of who it may piss off and the other carrying a legacy of either being in his big brother’s shadow or jumping through hoops, bending over backwards, and kissing the boss’ ass and calling it ice cream. Say what you want about Shane Douglas, but at least with his career, he did his way.  And even when he was a heel, you didn’t have people repulsed to the point of changing the channel.  In the case of John Laryngitis, people want to see a face or a heel in the ring, not corporate sleaze.

What Does the Title of “Icon” Even Mean Anymore?

There has been a lot of talk about where or not Sting is an icon.  Wrestlezone’s own and also member of the bleacher report Justin LaBar has gone as far as to say that Sting is not an icon and that somehow indicates that the fact that Sting has not been part of the WWE is what is keeping him from truly being one.  You know before WCW went under, there was a point where WCW was good and was watchable.  There was a time when a 3 Hour WCW show wasn’t called Monday Nitro, it was called Clash of the Champions and it was done once a month except on the months when a PPV was taking place. At the time, that was the closest thing to WCW having monthly PPVs and they were doing it before WWE/WWF did.  And long before Hulk Hogan showed up in WCW, there were two things that were always at the top of the mountain top in WCW and that was Ric Flair and Sting.

Sting was the top baby face in WCW and was the considered by many to be franchise and the flagship of WCW.  The difference between Sting and Hogan was that Hogan had his spot in WCW handed to him on a silver platter while Sting worked his way up to earn it and had no problems holding the title belts that were below the World Title picture such as the tag team titles, TV Title and the U.S. Title. When did you ever see Hogan where either of those belts during his time in WCW? Sting didn’t have a problem with that because he was about doing what was best for that company.  Sting carried that company on his back to the end and when WCW was bought out,  the WWE acquired a lot of the names from WCW but the only one that they couldn’t acquire no matter how much money they tossed to him was Sting. Yeah, Sting ended up going to TNA eventually, but prior to that, the guy was happy with having a life outside of wrestling.

Last year there was all the talk about whether Sting would go to the WWE and be the one to take on The Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  Sting didn’t do that and ended up re-joining TNA.  Now, here’s the big question. Since WHEN does going to the WWE have to the deciding factor of whether or not a certain wrestler is an icon? Jerry Lawler is still hailed as the icon and pretty much a god in Memphis for his contributions to the sport.  Bret Hart is still considered an icon for his contributions to technical wrestling as many compare technical wrestlers to him. So why is Sting not worthy of being called an icon?  Much like Tommy Dreamer was called the Heart and Soul of ECW or Bryan Danielson was called the Heart and Soul of Ring of Honor, Sting was the Heart and Soul and everything else that there was for WCW.

You’re not called an icon in wrestling just because of where you were. You’re called that because of what you’ve contributed to the name of pro wrestling.  In WCW, you had 3 names that came to mind when it was in it’s purest state. Those three names were Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen and Sting.  Hulk Hogan for better or worse is called an icon but people remember most when he was WWE/WWF and not WCW. For the most part, a lot of people have and myself included linked Hogan’s stint in WCW being one of the things that lead to its downfall. Bottom line is, Sting did more for that one company all the way until the end than anyone else did.  That alone is what makes him an icon.  Is he THE icon as in the one that is at the top of the mountain? Probably not, but his contributions to wrestling are more than enough to make him an icon.