May 26, 2012

Business Sense

Judging from the comments, some people got the wrong idea about my last column, the Chopping Block. It was not about which members of the roster I thought should get fired, but who I believe may be in danger of getting fired due to the writers clearly having no desire to use them. Believe me, if I decide to write a column about TNA employees I'd like to see get canned, you'll know it when you see it.

Anyway, while I think I was on point with the 10 wrestlers I listed, inevitably people started making arguments for why this person or that person should be kept on the roster. Some of the arguments I understood even if I didn't necessarily agree with them, but others were just blatantly grasping at straws and seemed to be trying to come up with any reason they could think of for why these people should be kept around, even if the wrestlers no longer really mean anything in this company or have never really meant anything in this company, and said reasons make no sense.

One such argument was made for Winter, and her partnership with Angelina Love was brought up. It's not my intention to insult anyone, but let's be serious here -- the Winter/Angelina pairing was a complete dead end. It made Winter look like something from a movie the Asylum (the film company, not the website) would churn out, pretty much destroyed Angelina's entire character and ruined the potentially huge Beautiful People break-up angle by having them split because Angelina was turned into a zombie. Winter/Angelina as a duo were an absolute train wreck that never got over and went nowhere. Hell, in Angelina's case, it took someone who was once very over and killed all her heat dead. Suggesting that they be put back together as a way of making them relevant again is just laughable because that pairing is probably one of the main reasons why they're in the unenviable positions they're in right now.

That's just one example I could mention. And it brings to light something that has often bothered me. A lot of fans get attached to certain wrestlers -- so attached that they don't really think logically about them. Sure, I have my favorites too, but I also try to be realistic. It's okay to like a wrestler and want them to stick around, but if said wrestler has nothing worthwhile left to contribute, isn't being used or is simply not working out, then you need to rethink things.

To use Winter as an example again -- she's a wrestler that I've seen a bunch of people try to make cases for. And while I recognize that she is talented, if she were to get released, I'd be fine with it. Why? Because, in all honesty, she means nothing in TNA. She hasn't been booked like she matters in the least since the new writers took over (when they've even bothered to use her, which hasn't been often), her character has been such a joke that, even if she were completely repackaged, I wouldn't be able to take her seriously. Frankly, Winter is at a point now where I think it would make more sense to just let her leave and replace her with someone new.

Realistically, why should they try again to make a star out of a woman who has been through several different character incarnations over several years in two major companies and never really caught on with the casual audience? Why do that when it would be more expedient and probably cost less money to cut their losses and get behind a new talent with less baggage instead? It's not like the writers seem to have any desire to use Winter at this point anyway so, really, why should she stick around?

This might sound cruel, but I see it as there being 2 real options in this situation:

#1) They can keep wrestlers like Winter that they don't want to use anymore and continue to not do a damn thing with them.

#2) They can cut these people from the roster and replace them with new talents that they actually do want to use.

Tell me, which option do you think makes more sense from a business standpoint?

I swear, I'm not picking on Winter here; she's only an example of the point I'm trying to make. There are a number of wrestlers in the same boat as her -- they might have something to offer and they might not, but if the company has booked them into complete irrelevance, then what's the point of them being there anymore? Sure, they might be talented, but there are plenty of talented people out there on the indies. If cutting them opens a door for these other people to come in, that's not the worst thing that could happen. 

For example, Tony Nese Mark Haskins is a guy TNA signed last year only do to nothing with him. Other and a few appearances here and there, he's been sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs since last summer. Sure, the guy is a good wrestler, but it's clear the writers don't want to use him for anything except an occasional enhancement match to put over someone else. If they were to cut Nese Haskins from the roster, they wouldn't really be losing anything because they never made use of him to begin with. And if they dropped him to make way for someone like Jack Evans, Colt Cabana or El Generico that they actually had plans for and wanted to use in a meaningful way, wouldn't that be a good way to go? 

Another example: I'm a big fan of Sarita. I think she's been booked all wrong and is pretty much the most criminally underutilized woman on the roster. But at the same time, I admit that she's been spinning her wheels and hasn't done anything substantive for quite a while now because the writers haven't been interested in utilizing her to her full potential. I'd be upset if they cut her, but if they did so to make room for a promising new Knockout like Athena, Jennifer Blake or Kay Lee Ray that they actually wanted to push and put real effort into making a star out of, I'd be okay with it.

My point is this: it's the nature of the business that wrestlers are going to come and go. Inevitably, not all of them are going to get over, some are going to be misused, some may have things to offer, but will be victims of circumstance or bad booking and some may simply become irrelevant due to not being used at all. What they have the potential to do means very little if the writers don't even want to put them on TV. A lot of the time, we as fans may want to keep these people around anyway, but if you put yourself in TNA's shoes, you realize doing so would be counterproductive.

TNA is a business, and to stay in business they need wrestlers that are going to make them money. A wrestler can't make TNA money if the writers don't care to use them or if past booking decisions have ruined their character to the point where casual fans don't give a crap about them. Etc, etc...

Sadly, you have to employ some rather cold logic to see the forest through the trees in this situation. We might be fans of certain wrestlers, but if, for whatever reason they're not going to be in a position to make the company any money or contribute in any worthwhile manner, then the smart move is to just let them go.

I don't like it. I doubt anyone likes it. But, hey, that's business. 

No comments: