October 05, 2011

Change Can Be a Good Thing

A few months ago, TNA/iMPACT WRESTLING management decided that it was time to make good on a promise they'd been making the fans for several years now and finally began to refocus on the X-division. It didn't happen all at once, but beginning with the gradual departures of several talents -- due mostly to them coming down with a bad case of Creative Has Nothing For You Syndrome -- and culminating with the beginning of a rebuilding process with the addition of a number of new signees, it seems to wheels are now in motion.

Granted, I wasn't happy about a lot of the departures -- I was okay with Jay Lethal being cut, since he'd never totally clicked with me, but letting Generation Me get away I didn't agree with as I felt they had untapped potential as a tag team and had never been given a real opportunity to succeed outside of their feud with the MCMG, and Amazing Red leaving still hurts.

But I have to admit, while I do regret some of the losses, now that the dust has settled and the void has been filled with an influx of promising new talent, the X-division does feel more interesting now. A lot of that could just be due to the fact that they're actually paying some attention to it for a change, or it could be because we now have a very different X-division landscape, with a roster full of new faces. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference in the world.

Something you should know about me is that I'm not one of these fans who remains fiercely loyal to a wrestler just because they've been around for a long time, regardless of how big a star they may or may not have been. It's been years since I stopped giving a crap about the wrestlers I watched when I was a kid and are still around today. Sure, I have my favorites like everyone does, but one of the things I love to see most of all is new faces on my TV screen. I mark out for new talents and new stars being created.

And that's a big reason why I like what's going on in the X-division right now. The transition was a bit rocky, but it may have been necessary. By eliminating the talents who either weren't working out or had nothing going on creatively, and replacing them with some exciting prospects from the indies, the X-division suddenly feels fresh and new for the first time in a long time, and this makes me a lot more interested than I was before.

Now, for the love of God, can we PLEASE do the same thing with the Knockouts?

I've made no secret of the fact that I think the Knockout division needs a serious revamp and it's not hard to see why. The roster has grown stale, the feuds repetitive and nonsensical, and in recent months, it seems as if the writers have been using it as a dumping ground for ideas that were either too half-assed for the men's roster (Velvet Sky's entire past as a heel being retconned away so she can be turned into a sympathetic bullying victim) or too flat-out bizarre to exist anywhere on the show that's actually supposed to matter (Winter's entire gimmick).

It's depressing to admit this, but right now the Knockouts just feel really boring. A lot of this can be attributed to management's failure to keep most of the women's roster relevant, and a lot of it has to do with the creative end, which means, like with so many other things in this company, the finger of blame is pointing at the writers.

Countless people have said that Vince Russo has no idea how to get someone over or keep them over. In fact, Jim Cornette has been quoted saying Russo actually gets people under. This might not be necessarily true in every case, but it's hard to deny that these people have a point.

Perfect example: the Pope. This guy was hot as hell when he first showed up. People loved him. In less than a year, he was headlining PPVs and challenging for the world title. Then Russo started paying too much attention to him and suddenly all that stopped. He got buried in a horrible feud with Abyss, then he turned heel for no discernible reason, had the absolute worst feud in wrestling since Kaz/Black Reign with Samoa Joe -- a feud so ill-conceived that, to this day, I still have absolutely no idea what they were even fighting about in the first place -- then he disappeared for a while, only to resurface as a face (I think) again and became one half of a makeshift tag team with Devon of all people because he had developed some inexplicable fascination with Devon's kids that has yet to be explained.

18 months ago, the Pope looked set to become a huge breakout star for this company. Now, because of how how horridly he's been written and booked since then in one awful storyline after another, I don't know if anyone even gives a rat's ass about him anymore.

The Pope is just one example of how this creative team can take someone or something with the potential to be really big and completely ruin them. And in very few aspects of this product is this more prevalent than with the Knockouts.

Mickie James signs with TNA/iMPACT WRESTLING. Mickie James, the most popular female star in the industry today. By all rights, she should have been made the new face of the division, and for a while she was. Fast forward one year and now she's just another Knockout. And why? Why do you think?

She started out great in a hot feud with Tara that produced some really strong matches and climaxed with a memorable bout in a steel cage. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. She moved on to an agonizingly long, ridiculously drawn-out feud with Madison Rayne, an overpushed midcarder who had been a lame duck champion from day one, hadn't even managed to get over, and never should have had the belt in the first place. And instead of dethroning Madison easily, Mickie proceeded to job in one underwhelming match after another to this loser (not that this was Mickie's fault. Madison doesn't have good matches with anyone), until finally winning the title far later than she should have, thus making the long-awaited title change itself feel anticlimactic.

And what happened after Mickie finally captured the title? Not a damn thing. She was almost immediately depushed and started playing second fiddle to should-be-a-manager Velvet Sky.

After a few lackluster months as the champion in which she was never given a single compelling feud, Mickie lost the title to Winter, a woman with the most ludicrous gimmick in the entire industry, quickly won it back after Winter had virtually disappeared from television for 3 weeks, then lost it to Winter again a week and a half later.

So Mickie James has now had 2 title reigns in a few months, both of which went nowhere. That's hardly the outcome that should have resulted from Mickie coming to TNA/iMPACT WRESTLING to "make history" by becoming the first wrestler to hold every major women's championship in the industry. Her first title reign should have been epic, lasting until at least Bound For Glory, but instead it fizzled out after about 3 months because the writers couldn't produce any interesting opponents for her.

And Winter? This poor woman has already disappeared from TV again and her second transitional title reign in a row will most likely be coming to an end at the next PPV. As if she didn't have a hard enough time trying to work with a gimmick so outlandish, the writers must have lifted it from an old episode of Tales From the Crypt -- no one is ever going to take her seriously as a legit threat to the championship if her second run with the belt ends almost as soon as it begins, just like her first one did.

So bad booking and writing has rendered the woman who should have been the top face of the division all but irrelevant, and the woman who looked to have become the top heel isn't far behind her.

And let us not forget the rest of the roster...

Angelina Love was doing just fine this time last year. Then Winter showed up and things got really weird, really fast. Angelina, a talent that got over mostly with her personality and mic skills, was repackaged and given a drugged-out zombie gimmick which called for her to never talk and show no personality. When that didn't work, she went back to acting like herself. But instead of returning to her former partner Velvet Sky, she stayed with Winter, not only because she, for some reason, wasn't bothered by Winter using drugs to turn her into a meat puppet, but also because she apparently decided that becoming the partner/lover of a time traveling lesbian vampire was something that was going to help her wrestling career.

If this sounds kind of silly to you, then congratulations, your brain works.

ODB and Jackie Moore were going absolutely nowhere at the end of their previous runs in this company -- their characters had grown stale and neither had done anything particularly interesting in quite a while before their respective releases. A few months ago, company management made the puzzling decision to bring them back, and unsurprisingly, nothing has changed.

I have to seriously question why these women were signed instead of some promising new talent, especially when creative obviously had NO plans for them beyond being temporary heel foils for Velvet Sky. Eventually that storyline ended (I think. With Russo's booking, it's hard to be sure), ODB and Jackie were given contracts by Karen Jarrett and -- surprise, surprise -- they haven't been seen or heard from since. Personally, I'm glad about this as I have no desire to see either of them on my TV screen anymore.

Madison Rayne... good grief. What can I say about this woman that hasn't been said? The writers spent an entire year doing everything under the sun to make her a star and in pretty much every respect she was a colossal failure. She never had a single match worth getting excited about, was involved in boring feud after boring feud, and never managed to get over despite the mammoth push she received. She couldn't even get heel heat off of Mickie James, for Christ's sake! After all that, the fact that this woman is still employed by a major wrestling company is so baffling to me that I'm beginning to wonder if it's some sort of cosmic joke.

I like Sarita and Rosita. I always have. Rosita may be green, but has shown a lot of promise, and Sarita can be spectacular in the ring when booked correctly. Plus, them being the only real Knockout tag team in the company works in their favor. Unfortunately for them, they're stuck in the worst faction in any wrestling company in recent memory, partnered with 2 dangerous idiots who never learned how to work a match safely and are constantly injuring people as a result. There's nothing really wrong with Sarita and Rosita that getting them away from Hernandez and Anarquia wouldn't fix, but sadly, there don't seem to be any signs of that happening.

After being thrown together randomly one night despite never having anything to do with each other before then, Tara and Brooke Tessmacher are now the Knockout tag team champions. That might work in their favor if the Knockout tag titles actually meant anything, but they really don't. In a recent interview, Tara admitted to frustration over not being used much recently, and it's easy to see why. It seems like the writers only put the tag titles on her and Brooke because neither of them had anything else to do, and the fact that they're now champions who are rarely on TV is only shining a bigger light on this problem.

Surprisingly, the rookie Brooke seems to be in a slightly better position than her partner, by virtue of her continuing mutual antagonism with Karen Jarrett. I don't know if it's going to lead to anything, but these bits with her and Karen sniping at each other are giving Brooke something to do opposite the only woman in the company who will never have to worry about her spot on the roster simply because of who her husband is.

Traci Brooks returned to the company shortly after ODB and Jackie. But while they were brought in to prop up Velvet Sky, Traci was brought in to... prop up Velvet Sky. Seriously, that was the reason. She came back because she felt bad for Velvet for reasons unknown, and wanted to watch her back. Never mind the fact that Traci and Velvet had never been friends prior to this, due to Velvet being a shallow, mean-spirited, bitchy heel when Traci had last been in the company. I guess Velvet Sky's sheer magnificence had reached such staggering proportions that Traci just couldn't help herself; that sure seemed to be what the writers thought anyway.

Luckily for Traci, her part in that storyline ended almost as soon as it began and she eventually wound up in a new, albeit degrading, program with a bit more mileage. She gave Eric Bischoff sexual favors in an effort to get her old position as 'Knockout Law' back only to lose it to Karen Jarrett, then got offended that the Jarretts dared to call her a whore when all she did was prostitute herself to get a job (I know. Just roll with it). This lead to her real-life husband Kazarian getting involved, turning this into what I assume is going to be a mixed tag feud.

The way this storyline began has made it damn near impossible to sympathize with Traci, since she did exactly what the heels are accusing her of, but her and Kaz feuding with the Jarretts gives her a reason to be on TV. Unlike ODB and Jackie, Traci has managed to make herself relevant outside of an ill-concieved angle about how supposedly unbelievably awesome Velvet freaking Sky is, and you have to give her credit for that much at least.

And then there's Velvet Sky. It's obvious that the writers have been grooming Velvet for a championship run for the better part of a year now, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why. I'm not denying that Velvet Sky is over with the fans, and she's certainly a talented performer in a lot of areas. She's good on the mic, she has a lot of personality, she's very sexy, she's clearly a favorite in the marketing department, etc, and this is why she's over. But why should that mean she gets a run with the Knockouts title? She doesn't need to be a wrestler to do any of those things! Therein lies the problem.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: You could literally make Velvet a manager who never wrestles and she could still do everything that got her over. And when she does get in the ring for a match, more often than not, the results are pretty underwhelming, if not outright bad. This goes beyond her not needing the title; IMO, there is really no reason to put her in the ring period.

You're forcing a round peg into a square hole, trying to make Velvet a serious competitor. A much better fit would be to push Velvet like the 21st century version of Sunny -- a woman who's all about being sexy and entertaining people, and can certainly be a prominent part of the show, but at the same time, she doesn't wrestle because #1) let's be honest, it's not something she excels at particularly, and #2) there's no need for her to wrestle, because her being over has nothing to do with her wrestling and everything to do with her looks and personality.

But instead of putting Velvet in a role like that, which would maximize her strengths as a performer and minimize her weaknesses, the powers that be in this company seem to really want to put the belt on her. Unfortunately, instead of being smart about the process of getting her ready for it, they've gone so overboard with trying to make people believe that Velvet is the greatest thing ever that it's just become laughable.

If you absolutely have to push Velvet toward the title, the smart way to do it would be to have her be an underdog contender who has to struggle every step of the way, dealing with the fact that pretty much all the other Knockouts are clearly much more gifted athletes and accomplished wrestlers than her -- there is simply no way to disguise this, and trying to do so just looks ridiculous. She wins matches, but gains every victory by the skin of her teeth after her opponent dominates most of the match, forcing her to fight tooth and nail, and taking a beating along the way. Try to get people to rally behind her, to root for her to succeed in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Take the real-life perception of Velvet (that she's not a very good wrestler) and use that instead of trying to deny it.

It's-not-the-size-of-the-dog-in-the-fight-but-the-size-of-the-fight-in-the-dog is a much more fitting way to push someone like Velvet than having her going over everyone in the women's locker room because she's just that damn awesome. Unfortunately, the latter is the direction they've taken her in. She beats up the Knockout tag team champions with ease all by herself at Lockdown, she beats ODB and Jackie Moore in a handicap match on iMPACT, and so on, and so on.

Then came to biggest affront to the intelligence of the audience. The aforementioned ODB and Jackie explained that the reason why they were originally fired is because the company wanted to make way for the more prototypical Barbie types like Velvet, and that's why they had such a grudge against her. In ODB's case, there was actually a lot of truth to this, since she left the company during that lengthy period when the Beautiful People were being pushed as the center of the universe in the Knockout division and, with the possible exception of Tara, none of the other women really meant anything.

In the hands of a more capable writer this might have been an intriguing angle. Perhaps ODB and Jackie could have been a bit more relatable and sympathetic, making legit points that were hard for Velvet to deny, representing karma coming back to bite Velvet in the ass for all her past crimes when she was a heel. Velvet would then have to work hard to prove that she had changed and wanted to do things the right way now, showing an actual organic character evolution for her. Instead, ODB and Jackie were portrayed as bitter, mean-spirited, ugly (Velvet's words, not mine) harpies, who blamed Velvet for everything that had gone wrong in their careers just because she was a convenient target.

And then the cherry on this cake of bulls*** came when Velvet's entire history as a heel was retconned into oblivion and she revealed this never-before-mentioned backstory about how she was a victim of bullying as a kid and now she was standing up to the bullies, and refused to be picked on anymore by anyone.

Forget about the fact that this made NO SENSE WHATSOEVER when you think about everything Velvet had done in this company during the 3+ years she spent as one of the biggest bullies on the roster when she was 'cleansing the world one ugly person at a time'. The only purpose of it was to make the viewers feel sorry for Velvet, character continuity and good writing be damned. But the end result of this sloppy, carelessly written farce was making Velvet look like the world's biggest hypocrite by failing to take her own past actions as a heel into account. You can't just pretend all that stuff never happened, you know.

Later on, then-champion Mickie James made a big production of telling Velvet that it was going to be an honor to give Velvet her first ever Knockouts title shot, and when that match went down, it was going to be the greatest match in women's wrestling. And it was at this point that Velvet Sky finally crossed the line, going from poorly written babyface, to blatant hypocrite, to full blown Mary Sue character.

First of all, even suggesting that a Velvet Sky match is going to be the greatest match in women's wrestling is just insulting to the viewers because we all know that's a damn lie and you look stupid for saying it. Saying that Velvet would have a huge mountain to climb in order to beat Mickie for the title, but she would kill herself to do it would have at least been plausible.

Second of all, this would hardly be Velvet's first title shot. She had received several title shots in the past. In fact, once upon a time, she received 3 title shots in one night. But they didn't want us to remember this because she was defeated in embarrassing fashion each time, and they couldn't possibly mention that because it would make Velvet look bad. And God knows we couldn't have that, now could we?

Once again, instead of acknowledging Velvet's past and using it as storyline fuel -- maybe having her cite her previous failures to win the title as motivation to do better this time -- the writers just took the lazy way out. And instead of Velvet becoming a 3-dimensional, fully realized character people could get behind and root for, she became a ridiculous cardboard cutout Mary Sue.

Honestly, I don't know what hurts more: the fact that the writers took the sloppiest, most half-assed route imaginable in their efforts to make Velvet Sky championship material (cough), or the fact that a lot of casual fans actually seem to have bought into it. I have no rational explanation for this and I feel mildly sick admitting it, but this atrociously constructed, ill-conceived push seems to have accomplished its intended goal in getting Velvet over enough with casual fans to the point where the only legit argument for not putting the title on her is that her wrestling is still not very good and probably never will be (and seriously, why is that not a deal breaker? Is this the company where wrestling matters or isn't it?).

It's a really depressing commentary on the mindset of the modern wrestling fan. And frankly, it makes me feel a little embarrassed every time I insist that the audience isn't stupid and shouldn't be treated as such. Just because they serve us a s*** sandwich, doesn't mean we have to eat it, people. Don't lower your standards! We, the fans, deserve better than this!

Anyway, I assume the writers are patting themselves on the back right now for a job well done (cough). For better or worse, they've made Velvet Sky a top contender for the Knockouts title. Unfortunately, the process of getting her to that point was completely, 100% f***ed up, and now the woman likely to be the next Knockouts champion is stuck with a character that is a terribly conceived, albeit popular, mess.

And that's the state of the current Knockout roster. Speaking as the writer of TKO, this puts me in a very foul mood.

Many of the Knockouts have been booked into borderline irrelevance, and the ones that haven't either have nothing to do right now or are trying to create compelling television with stories and character work so poorly handled that to call it phoned in would be complimentary.

And that leads me to the point of this column. This division has seen much better days, but it's not irreparable. There just needs to be some house cleaning. What management just did with the X-division, they need to do with the Knockouts.

Some of these women need to go, either because they're doing nothing creatively, their characters have been ruined by bad writing and booking, or they've simply run their course. And yes, that would probably mean getting rid of a perennial favorite or 2. The change might be uncomfortable, but it would be no different than selling your old, beat up car. You might be attached to it, you might have a lot of fond memories in it, but it's racked up a ton of mileage and, by selling it, you'll have enough money to get a brand new car that's going to run better and you can get a lot more use out of.

-ODB & Jackie- These 2 can go. I don't see why they were even brought back in the first place. They haven't done much of anything other than hurl derogatory slurs at Velvet, and just a few months later it seems the writers have already lost interest in them. So why exactly are they still there?

-Madison Rayne- No Knockout has ever received as long and sustained a push as this woman and she has virtually nothing to show for it. So much time and effort went into trying to make her a star and she never even managed the first and most important thing a star needs to do: get over. Nothing they've tried with her has worked, and if she was going to catch on, it would have happened by now. It's time for them to cut their losses and stop wasting money on this joker.

Those are the no-brainers, IMO. The rest are a little trickier.

-Angelina Love- I like Angelina. She's great on the mic, pretty solid in the ring and was one of the more over women they had before the drugged-out zombie gimmick sucked all her crowd heat away like a vacuum. But to say her character needs to be rehabilitated right now is an understatement. Her association with the baffling Winter character has ruined her. After being put in so many flat-out bizarre situations, her stock has fallen big time, and even if they could fix her, I have to wonder if it would be worth the trouble.

Suppose they succeeded in getting Angelina back on track -- what do they do with her then? Reform the Beautiful People again? That faction is stale as s***. Give her another title reign? She's had 6 in the last 3 years! Angelina with a title is been-there-done-that territory. Add this to the fact that she's already had programs with all the other Knockouts, save a scant few, and it's not looking so good. How do you keep her relevant? What can you do with her that she hasn't done yet? Talented as she is, I'm starting to think Angelina has just run her course in this company. She might be another one I would seriously consider sending on her way.

Don't agree with me? Tough. Nobody likes change, but sometimes change is needed regardless. Amazing Red could have been this company's Rey Mysterio if they'd just booked him right. You think I wasn't pissed off at all the wasted potential when he left? And yet, the introduction of exciting new talent has cushioned the blow, just like it would in this situation. I just don't know if Angelina has a whole lot left to do in TNA/iMPACT WRESTLING, so rather than keep her around just for the sake of having her there, why not just move forward instead?

-Winter- Kat Waters, the woman behind the character, is a talented person and could have a lot to contribute. That being said, her gimmick is so ludicrous that even trying to understand what on earth the writers are going for with it is an exorcize in futility. However, I'd be hesitant to get rid of her because she's only been there a year and really seems to be trying her damnedest to make this work. I think she can be salvaged, but not in her current incarnation. The best thing she could possibly do right now is just go away for a while -- disappear from TV like she does every time she wins the Knockouts title, let everyone forget about the time traveling lesbian vampire thing (if that's even possible), then come back in a few months and try again with a gimmick that doesn't resemble something you'd see in a made-for-TV movie the Syfy channel would air at 3 in the morning. Give her some material to work with that doesn't seem like science fiction and maybe she could actually make something happen.

-Brooke Tessmacher- Much like with Winter, just the fact that Brooke is relatively new to the company works in her favor. She still feels fresh and has plenty of new things she hasn't done yet, which gives the writers a lot of possibilities to work with. Another great thing about her is that she hasn't yet had her character damaged by bad writing and booking like a lot of the others. Plus, while she seemed to me like a pointless signing at first, she has since changed my mind about her by displaying a surprising amount of raw talent. Her mic skills appear to be pretty darn good, she connects with the crowd easily and, despite her inexperience, has shown consistent improvement in her wrestling skills to the point where I now consider her a better worker than Velvet and Madison. She's still a work in progress, but I'd say she's a solid investment for the future.

-Mickie James- Duh! Most popular female star in the industry, remember? Sure, some of the shine has worn off this year thanks to bad booking, but all Mickie needs to put asses in the seats is an interesting feud with a good opponent.

-Tara- While I don't have much desire to see her challenge for the singles title anymore after she had multiple blink-and-you-miss-it runs with the belt, she remains one of the more popular women on the roster and never has any trouble getting over. The pairing of her and Brooke may have been completely random, but people seem to like them together, and for the time being, I think that's a good place for her. Like Mickie, the only thing that's keeping her from becoming relevant again is a decent feud. It's just a shame the Tara/Brooke vs Sarita/Rosita rivalry was blown through so quickly.

-Sarita & Rosita- These 2 are the only good things about Mexican America. Plus, they're the only female duo that the company bothers to market as an actual tag team rather than 2 singles wrestlers who just happen to work together. Their association with Hernandez and Anarquia does them no favors, but I don't think it really hurts them so much as it just holds them back. Luckily for them, they seem to have a ready-made feud with the soon-to-debut third member of Ink Inc, which will give them something to do other than interfering in the men's matches.

-Traci Brooks- Though she was brought back for the same really contrived reasons that ODB & Jackie were, Traci wisely found something else to do at the first opportunity. While her current storyline with the Jarretts may have been written all wrong if the intent was to create sympathy for her, at least it's something seemingly being done for the purpose of giving Kazarian a rub from a veteran, which certainly isn't a bad idea. If this is the kind of thing they intend to use Traci for, then I don't see why she shouldn't stick around. I don't care to see her wrestling very much, but she's always been a good manager in the past and could be again.

-Velvet Sky- Speaking of managers... yeah, you can probably see where I'm going with this. I credit Velvet for rising above a lot of really bad writing, being the marketing department's go-to girl and being charismatic enough to get over in situations where a lot of other people most likely wouldn't have. That said, I still see no reason to push her as a wrestler and even less reason to give her a title reign because she just doesn't need one to do any of that stuff. Take her out of the ring entirely and she would be no less over, so why have her wrestling at all when it's not where her real talents lie?

This may just come down to a difference in philosophy for a lot of people, but damn it, being a strong in-ring competitor should be a prerequisite to becoming a champion as far as I'm concerned, and Velvet just isn't one. She can be a star without getting in the ring, so why not just leave the wrestling to the more athletic women and let Velvet stick to what she's good at (promos, entertaining people, etc)? Sunny became one of the most popular female figures in the history of wrestling without ever becoming a champion; why could the same not apply to Velvet?

So that's one way to go if a Knockout division revamp were to happen. 3 women they could get rid of, 4 if they were really serious about starting fresh, and 2 put into managerial roles, which would free up 5 to 6 spots for intriguing potential new stars. Even if I'm way off base about the Velvet Sky thing, I think most, if not all these changes would be ultimately beneficial.

I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't agree with this, but I'm just tired of seeing the same women on iMPACT, doing the same things and feuding with the same people; a lot of them having their characters ruined because the writers don't know how to book them properly or even keep them relevant.

Do you know why I got excited when I heard about Christina Von Eerie's impending debut? Because finally something NEW was happening. Finally there was going to be someone different to watch -- a fresh talent that plenty of new things could be done with. Now just imagine if they got 4 more women like that. Wouldn't that be more interesting than what we have now? Wouldn't that be more appealing than certain women being pushed as huge contenders for the title when they can't even wrestle a decent match and championships constantly changing hands because a time traveling lesbian vampire spits blood in someone's face? If they did away with that crap in order to make way for exciting new prospects from the indies, would it really be such a bad thing?

Hell, the X-division had a rocky transition recently, but I'd say it's in a better position now than it was 6 months ago. Why couldn't the same thing happen with the women?

Sure, change can be uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be bad if it's done intelligently and for the right reasons. Sometimes it can lead to good things; people just have to give it a chance.


TimDH said...

Winter's gimmick in particular has been frustrating me ever since she debuted. It annoys me to see a woman as beautiful and talented as Kat Waters getting buried by a bad gimmick. I think, however, the character can be salvaged if the gimmick is somewhat, but not totally, revised.

Consider: remember how popular Daffney was in 2009-10? I absolutely loved how she looked and acted like something out a Tim Burton nightmare. She was really the only Knockout with a "dark" gimmick. Sure, Kong was menacing, but she didn't give off the creepy gothic vibe that Daffney did.

I think the writers were trying to mine a similar vein with Winter, but made a wrong turn somewhere. Try to imagine Morticia Adams as a wrestler, and you have a workable tweak to Winter's current gimmick. You could even keep the same entrance music. Tweaked Winter is just a really creepy woman who seems to have an unhealthy interest in the occult. She's not a time-traveling lesbian vampire; however, she is probably bisexual, most definitely believes in past lives and astral projection, and has, on occasion, drank blood, either as part of a dark ceremony or just to see what it tasted like.

She also needs to smile more, as opposed to climbing on the turnbuckle and slowly waving her arms around while grimacing as the last ten seconds of her theme music play. No teeth, however; it should be one of those knowing closed-mouth smiles that makes you think that she's hiding something or is planning something sinister.

Of course, you could scrap it altogether and go with something else: Waters used to wrestle under the ring name "Kat LaNoir" (i.e. Black Cat). She could go with that and use a black leather catwoman gimmick.

Or is TNA allowed to steal only one Batman gimmick per year?

AH Simmons said...

Not to criticize, but that took too long to get to the point. If you want more people to read this, tighten it up some and cut it down.

Anyhow, if Angelina Love was doing fine a year ago, that's all the more reason to keep her as it demonstrates resilience after months of already ridiculous booking since her return. She was over like rover then and a feud vs her former stable and eventual retaking of it should have been child's play to book. Instead she got multiple beatdowns a night, no Impact mic work for a month after her return, lockbox angles, and two day title reigns.

Fresh talent is fine. But you don't get rid of native people who were among your most over on the roster because they were booked to hell. But rather, you get someone new in creative. Otherwise, you are probably just switching victims.

Yes you need some new people from time to time. Which they have, generally speaking, supplied. But you also need some long term corner stones for a division (and product ftm.) Otherwise, it's a revolving door that no fan has a need to invest in. Love has the all around abilities to be one of those as a heel or cocky face and she is a native created person to boot. Mickie as the centerpiece basically reminds everyone WWE > TNA. Which is not the public image TNA needs to broadcast. And no, I don't care that Mickie drank a cup of coffee in TNA eight years ago. No one thinks about that except net smarks. To the public, Mickie is and always will be a diva.

The Beautiful People stale? Only after it became the BP version 2. Love and Sky weren't stale upon Love's temporary leave. They were the most over women and arguably most over act in the entire company. If TNA were smart, they would have marketed the original BP act. It's another missed opportunity on management.

Taking Sky out of the ring compromises rooting interest in her. TNA isn't Shimmer or WSU. You're trying to appeal to a broader audience. Sidelining a hot well spoken chick with a viable personality who was half of maybe the most over female act in your fed's history so you can calm complaints from people who frequently think bland workraters are headliners is not a step foward.

Sarita is a quality wrestler. But her speaking puts people to sleep. She has to fix that or she'll never be what the workrate geared part of the net wants her to be. Otherwise just turn her face, increase her match time, and keep her away from microphones or character moments. Rosita is hot, but hasn't really shown much beyond that yet. Tessemacher and Sky both look like all around better bets at this point.

I'm not crazy about Madison myself. But whatever benefit they might have derived out of her push was torpedoed by having her job in thirty seconds to a wounded opponent. That was a terrible way to bury someone and wipe out any purpose to featuring her in the first place.

Comparing Amazing Red to Rey Rey? No. Red is a liability on the mic, has almost no charisma, and looks like a teenage punk rocker nerd who should be jumping off balconies in some backyard fed. He's fine for lower card spotfests but is decidely limited.