Sexual Politics Hurt the Product
SpikeTV likes to market itself as a network for guys, a network that caters to them, that gives guys what they want to see. But apparently, along with this pro-male stance comes an outdated mentality when it comes to women. This doesn’t really have any affect on most of their programming. Unfortunately, TNA is another story.
I don’t know what caused it, but at some point in late 2007 SpikeTV got squeamish and put the handcuffs on TNA. They laid down the law that there could be no man-on-woman violence on the TV show. Ever. And if memory serves, TNA then went and had Jim Cornette announce this on iMPACT. So from that moment on, all the TNA fans knew that the men were forbidden from bringing violence upon the Knockouts.
This would have been acceptable as long as it had stayed as simple as that and TNA had just let it go and moved on. But the writers then discovered several loopholes in this rule and them learning how to exploit said loopholes created problems.
1) the Knockouts are free to attack the men.
2) the men are free to put their hands on the Knockouts (i.e. pulling them off someone or holding them down so others can attack them, etc) as long as they don‘t actually hurt said Knockout themselves.
3) the men are free to attack the Knockouts on PPV as long as the footage doesn‘t air on iMPACT.
So TNA decided that if they couldn’t break the rule they would simply bend it until the cows come home. This is where the problems started.
Loophole #1 tells us that while the rule applies to the men, the Knockouts are somehow exempt from it. So men are forbidden from attacking the Knockouts, but the Knockouts can bring the pain on the men all they want.
This leads to the obvious question: what exactly is the difference? Especially in the case of Awesome Kong, who is bigger and probably stronger than a lot of the men on the TNA roster. Shouldn’t Kong be forbidden from attacking the men just on general principles? After all, Kong has the same physical advantage over Sharkboy that Abyss has over Velvet Sky. Shouldn’t the handcuffs be put on her too? And if the cuffs are on one woman then doesn’t common sense tell us that they should go on all the others as well?
After all, you can’t go making exceptions and compromises for certaiN tAlentS; tHat would just create a whole new laundry list of problems.
But I digress…
Loopholes #2 & #3 kind of go hand in hand. The rule prevents a man from outright punching a woman in the face. However, if, for example, Kip James were to hold down Taylor Wilde, allowing the Beautiful People to beat her senseless, isn’t that basically the same thing? Not according to SpikeTV apparently.
Plus, if the handcuffs come off on PPV then the men are free to unleash hell on the women without repercussions as long as the production team does a little creative editing.
TNA’s first and biggest exploitation of Loophole #3 came soon after the arrival of Booker T and Sharmell. We all remember it -- the infamous footage of Robert Roode berating Traci Brooks and then whirling around to nail Sharmell in the face, shattering her jaw in the storyline. It’s hard to forget; TNA replayed the footage of the incident about 100 times on iMPACT. But if you watched closely you saw that they never actually showed the act itself.
Roode yelling at Traci? Check. Sharmell trying to stop him? Check. Roode turning to attack Sharmell? Check. Roode’s fist connecting with Sharmell’s face? Che….. wait a minute. Nope, you never saw that -- not unless you ordered the PPV. Instead, what you saw was the footage freezing a split second before impact when the constant replays began airing on iMPACT.
So when SpikeTV made the rule that the men could not attack the women, the TNA writers decided to go out of their way to beat their parent network in a metaphorical pissing contest by figuring out how to tease Knockout violence in some cases and cheat it in others, thus creating the illusion that said rule never actually existed.
The problem is that they already told us it did.
Nowhere does this hurt the product more than the mixed tag match, and this is why mixed tag matches on iMPACT need to stop. Period.
Let’s look at the 2 most recent examples:
Ex. 1) LAX & Hector Guerrero vs. Beer Money Inc. & Jacqueline.
First, there’s the huge, glaring issue of why exactly TNA management allowed this match to even take place if neither Homicide nor Hernandez nor Hector were allowed to attack Jacqueline. And even if TNA expects the fans to not remember this because of the illusion they‘ve created, the problem is that pretending the rule doesn’t exist doesn’t stop it from existing.
Their solution: make Jackie run backstage and have Hector follow her for some reason, abandoning his teammates during the match when his future with LAX was at stake, which lead to Beer Money winning the match, which lead to LAX looking like complete idiots.
I’m sorry, but that’s really weak.
Ex. 2) AJ Styles & Christy Hemme vs. Scott Steiner & Awesome Kong.
This one is self-explanatory. During the match Awesome Kong exploited her size and strength to put AJ on the defensive (albeit briefly), which naturally, Tenay & West made a huge deal out of. But what happened when AJ tried to fire back at Kong? The referee stopped him because the men aren’t allowed to hurt the women.
Forget about the fact that this essentially gives the Knockouts an unfair advantage in mixed tag matches. More importantly, this means that, regardless of the fact that AJ & Christy won the match, DURING that match, AJ Styles, the man who would 3 days later challenge for the world heavyweight championship was punked out and made to look weak by Awesome Kong and would never be allowed to get his heat back.
Unless SpikeTV puts the handcuffs on the Knockouts as well as the men or eliminates the no man-on-women violence rule completely, then mixed tag matches on iMPACT need to stop right now. If you want to have them on PPV, that’s fine, but not on iMPACT. It just doesn’t work.
Now truth be told, this particular column has actually been sitting in my hard drive half-finished for a couple months. I was going to post it eventually but it kept getting put off because of more pressing topics I wanted to get through first. Then TNA aired a segment on iMPACT that made this column a bit more relevant and provided the impetus for me to finally finish this thing and send it in. It was a backstage interview with Taylor Wilde, Roxxi and Daffney. Here’s the part that interests me:
“Since Cute Kip can’t lay a hand on any of us due to SpikeTV rules, that means there’s one, two, three of us and two of you. In conclusion, your odds suck.”
-Taylor Wilde, on the Beautiful People & Kip James.
I believe this was the first time TNA had made any mention of the no man-on-woman violence rule on iMPACT since SpikeTV handcuffed them with it. Apparently, the writers were using it to illustrate how, because of this edict, Kip James is about as useful to the Beautiful People as a eunuch in a dick measuring contest (I could’ve told them that seven months ago, but what’s done is done), thus necessitating the introduction of Madison Rayne as Velvet & Angelina’s new BFF.
Quite frankly, how the Beautiful People didn’t already know this is beyond me. Aside from the fact that the only real use Kip James could possibly have is if someone needed 280 lbs of garbage to top off a landfill, SpikeTV won’t allow him to attack any of the women and everyone knew it.
So all he can really do is stand there at ringside like the useless lump that he is, he can trip someone (like he did to Taylor in the match that proceeded the interview), he can catch Velvet & Angelina, saving them from being eliminated from battle royal matches and he can jump into the ring and make his mean, constipated face at their opponents.
Just for a second, let’s try to forget about the fact that in any sane, logical universe, any one of these things should get him ejected from ringside immediately, but in TNA that never seems to happen except on this particular episode of iMPACT where it was done because the writers were selectively enforcing the rule for storyline reasons.
The TNA writers, whether knowingly or not, just completely spelled out to their audience in no uncertain terms that the no man-on-woman violence rule makes Kip James absolutely irrelevant to the Beautiful People’s act because a third female member would be able to do everything he does now, plus a lot more.
Of course, the fans already knew perfectly well that Kip James is less effective than a fart in a hurricane, but now the writers have let it slip that they know it too, which means that they can’t play ignorant anymore. They can’t bend or cheat the rule anymore. TNA management can no longer pretend that Kip James actually has something to contribute to their company because now every time he appears with the Beautiful People the fans will be fully aware that management and the writers know exactly how pointless his role is.
So SpikeTV’s views in regard to women have not only damaged the mixed tag match concept, but now they have officially turned the Beautiful People’s fashionist into the most useless human being in all of professional wrestling (not that he didn’t hold that title already).
Solution: have Madison Rayne be Velvet & Angelina’s fashionist, cut Kip James from the roster altogether and send his worthless, no talent, has-been, couldn’t wrestle a good match if the fate of the world depended on it, ratings-killing butt to the unemployment line. And while you’re at it, send Rhaka Khan with him.
Hey… maybe no man-on-woman violence isn’t such a bad thing after all. ;)