December 16, 2013

Ask FK... 05

How do you feel about TNA doing so many tapings at once? So far they have taped through the first week of January... 

I'm not crazy about it, but they're trying to minimize costs after they put so much money into the road shows. They save money by taping several weeks' worth of shows in advance over a couple days. It might not be ideal, but we've seen by now that going live doesn't have much of an effect on the ratings, so it doesn't really hurt them either. I'd prefer it if they could be live more often, but this taping schedule just makes the most sense for them financially right now, and that's more important.

It didn't take long for TNA to screw up the open challenge gimmick for Gail Kim. I really hope this isn't going where it looks like it is....

I'm really disappointed with how this has turned out. It could have been a vehicle to introduce some new female stars (which they REALLY need), and instead it seems like just something to make Gail look unbeatable (which she doesn't need) while they build up to ODB or Madison Rayne (shoot me) challenging for the title instead, which is a horribly boring way to go.

So much wasted potential... This angle has been one giant tease so far. It's honestly felt like the company is trolling us.

What ever happen to tna gutcheck?

I believe Gutcheck was a Prichard concept. As such, since he left the company, it seems to have been phased out along with many other things he was responsible for. It looks like TNA are now making an effort to get back to their old ways of doing things after they tried doing it the way Prichard/Hogan/Bischoff wanted and realized those guys sold the company a bill of goods they couldn't deliver. I'd expect most, if not all the concepts introduced during their regime to be done away with.

It's kind of a shame as I really liked Gutcheck and thought the idea could have worked if it had been done properly, but they just never figured out how to present it right.

What do you think about the Ethan Carter III?

I'm a big fan of the guy! I always thought Derrick Bateman in WWE was a pretty solid talent that was just crying out for a good gimmick. TNA came up with one for him and I think he's working out great. He's a good athlete, he's got an entertaining personality and character, an impressive entrance (which are very rare in TNA); all the pieces are there. They seem to be putting a lot of effort into helping him get over and he's making the most of it. EC3's got a bright future.

Hey foolkiller what do you make of Aj, Hardy, leaving and Angle and sting possibly leaving tna, does this mean the end or do you think that this could be good for tna? Hopefully it is not he end.

The end? Okay, calm down. Nothing is ending here.

I believe Hardy is still forbidden from leaving the country due to legal issues stemming from his drug trial. Obviously they were going to have to write him off TV temporarily before they went on the UK tour just like they did last year. As far as I know, Hardy still has time left on his contract and there's no reason to think he's leaving.

What's this about Angle leaving? I don't know anything about that. I knew he was planning to retire in another 1-3 years, but if he were leaving soon, this is the first I'm hearing about it. But rest assured, Angle most likely doesn't have too many miles left in him. He's beat up and getting more injury prone, so he doesn't have much further to go, but TNA have gotten everything out of Angle that they could, so it's not a tragedy. He's done good business for them, but everyone's clock runs out eventually. Obviously they knew they couldn't rely on him forever, which is why he's used more as someone who can help give a rub to stars like Magnus and Roode these days; they're using him to help build up the younger stars while they still can. He might have a little time left, but if he were leaving in the near future, TNA would probably devise some kind of send off angle for him that we'd be getting wind of.

Seems like Sting comes thisclose to leaving every year and every year they convince him to re-sign. I don't know if he'll stick around this time now that he can't go for the world title anymore. I suppose it depends on how fulfilling he finds working with the younger talent. At any rate, it's the same deal as Angle -- the company has gotten everything out of him that they possibly could. His in-ring performance is just depressing to watch now, he's still worth a good promo and casual fans might still pay to see him, but the guy is used up. He's best utilized as an attraction until he wants to leave, and if that day comes soon, what is there to do about it? TNA know the man is running on fumes at this point; why else would they do that angle at Slammiversary? He had a great run, but his clock is running out. Other than putting over some young stars, what does Sting have left to do in TNA?

Even if the worst case scenario happens and Sting and Angle both leave, TNA survived without them before and they can again. They can retire knowing they helped the company grow while they were a part of it.

The AJ thing I'll address in a separate question.

Are there any young wrestlers you'd like to see in TNA?

Kay Lee Ray, Nikki Storm, Candice LeRay, Noam Dar, TMDK. Plenty of others.

Thoughts on AJ Styles being done with TNA?

It's a symbolic loss for TNA more than anything. Losing the guy who's been their poster boy since the company started, the franchise of TNA, the guy fans think of when they think of TNA, that hurts. It probably won't do locker room morale any favors. The wrestling quality may take a hit. It certainly doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that they can't keep a guy like that who's been such a big part of the company since the beginning.

Having said all that, I don't think it's the end of the world either. People predicting doom and gloom because of this are getting ahead of themselves. First of all, just because he's leaving right now doesn't mean he'll never be back. They couldn't come to an agreement on a new contract before his deal expired, but that doesn't mean they won't keep trying to work something out. AJ Styles could very well return to the company in a few weeks or months. Personally, I'd be surprised if we never saw him in TNA again.

But even if we didn't, it's not something that's going to kill the company. I know I'm going to get a ton of hate for saying this, but AJ Styles is not as vital to TNA's survival as some fans seem to think. Yes, he was arguably their top homegrown star (or at least the guy they treated like their top homegrown star), yes, he's popular, but was he really that big a draw? I've never read any reports about him NOT doing good business, but I don't recall AJ ever really moving the needle forward very much either. If you look around, you can probably find people on here that question how much of a draw AJ Styles actually is.

TNA got behind AJ because he was a big standout when the company was in its infancy, doing weekly PPVs in the Asylum in front of a few hundred people, but it's grown a lot since then. In what has supposedly become the #2 wrestling promotion in the world, aside from being a sentimental favorite, AJ Styles doesn't necessarily strike me as a guy you'd want to build everything around. It's easy to be a big fish in a small pond, but when the pond grows, it gets harder. We have to ask ourselves if AJ Styles has what it takes to be a big fish in an ocean because that's kind of what this is all about.

When you're talking about a company that has guys like Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Sting, etc., even after everything they've done with AJ, does he feel like as big a deal as those guys to you? Does he feel like a star on the same level as those people? At times he has, but it took so much effort on their part in pushing him, developing him, branding him, and so on, just to get him to that point when there are others (ex. Bobby Roode, James Storm) who might have accomplished this feat more easily if the company got behind them the way they did with him.

I'm not saying AJ Styles isn't a star, I'm just questioning if he's as big a star as some say he is. He helped the company get to where they are, yes, but can he help them get any further than where they are now? No one is irreplaceable. Even though he's the world champion (the man that's supposed to be the central figure of the product) right now, he's been off TV since BFG, and have the ratings declined in any major way during his absence? Not really. They've stayed about the same. Has the quality of the show suffered without him? No. In fact, I think iMPACT has been pretty darn good lately.

Some may dismiss this and say I'm full of crap, but if AJ Styles was so indispensable, so absolutely essential to TNA's success that they couldn't possibly survive without him, then they would have found a way to keep him. If he were THE star that was going to take TNA to the next level (BROTHER!), it would have happened by now.

Sure, losing AJ hurts them, but if TNA decided to plug Austin Aries into that spot and role with TGMTEL as their new go-to guy, would they really be suffering that much? If they elevate talents like James Storm and Samoa Joe to help fill the void, would that be such a bad thing? If you ask around, there are people who might consider that the better option actually. Hell, if this creates an opportunity for James Storm to finally get that main event run he deserves, that's a pretty big silver lining if you ask me.

Is AJ Styles a loss for TNA? Yes. Is he a loss they can't recover from? No. If they really apply themselves, they can create new stars and move forward. WWE didn't go out of business when they lost Hogan, Hall, Nash, Hart, Austin, et al. TNA won't go out of business because they're now without AJ Styles. This is just another bump in the road. A big one, yeah, but they've survived worse.

With TNA broadcasting at Glasgow Hydro soon do you think we'll be seeing Noam Dar debuting there? Same thing with Nikki Storm.

The only way I see that happening is if they're announced as contestants for British Bootcamp season 2, assuming season 2 is even in the cards. We've heard nothing about either of them potentially being signed in the near future, so I doubt there's any other way it would happen. Still pretty unlikely, but you never know...

Is TNA in a youth movement?

It would seem so. And I don't think they have much of a choice at this point. Sting is running on fumes, Angle doesn't have a lot of time left, none of the established names like Hogan, RVD, etc. have done much of anything to increase business. What else can they do but try to revamp their roster and start developing their own stars from a younger talent pool?

If there's a talent out there that's going to generate new interest in their product, it's not going to be an aging veteran; we've learned that by now. They've been there, done that and got nothing to show for it. Creating newer, younger stars is harder, sure, but the potential long term benefits are much greater.

Think the Madison Rayne storyline could be a fake-out? Remember she got kicked out by The Beautiful People and teamed with Roxxi for a couple weeks before turning on her? She's not awful as a side player and played that role well with Gail before.

A fake-out? Meaning she'll be teaming with Gail again soon? I hope not. Her character tanked as a heel despite them doing everything under the sun to get it over. The only way I imagine she'll do any better this time is if she's completely repackaged. It's too early to tell if it's going to work, but when she returned as a babyface last Thursday she got more of a reaction from the crowd than she ever got as a heel (hell, ANY reaction at all would be more reaction than she got as a heel). Making her a heel again now would be idiotic.

I agree that Madison is more tolerable in a supporting role. Unfortunately, judging by the spoilers, it doesn't look like that's what she's back for. They seem to want to push her as one of the top Knockouts again -- a role she failed spectacularly in last time. For the life of me, I will never understand what they think is so great about this woman, but apparently I'm just going to have to live with the fact that they see some kind of star quality in her that I simply don't think is there.

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