January 14, 2014

Ask FK... 07

What did you think of Jeff Jarrett resigning from TNA?

I'm mainly wondering how this will effect the on-screen product. Jarrett was supposedly taking a bigger role in creative lately and had a lot more say in what gets on TV. If he was the one responsible for the recent upswing in the quality of the show, then it's a damn shame he's leaving because the product really had been a lot better since BFG. That said, if he was the one behind the recent increase in gimmick matches and overbooking, then I won't be sad to see that stuff go as it's really not to my taste. It may be a little while before we see what effect this really has. I'm taking a wait-and-see approach.

What are your feeling towards the direction TNA has been going? With Hogan, Bischoff and now Jarrett gone do you think this could be the start toward a new fresh direction for TNA?

They've already been going in a fresh direction. The Aces & 8s angle is finished (thank God), a lot of the dead weight has been removed from TV, there are new storylines and new characters developing, the show in general feels like it's had a facelift. And that all presumably came from Hogan and Bischoff leaving.

It's too soon to tell if Jarrett leaving will have a similar impact, but his departure does mean that they've lost a voice in the writers room at a time when the show had been much improved, so that's a bit troubling. It remains to be seen how that will effect the product, but I think it's a safe bet that we can expect more changes soon.

Do you work for tna?

No. Not for lack of trying, though. I've actually applied for a job there several times.

Will we ever see Don West back in TNA?

Seems like DW has moved on to other things, so I doubt it, but I'd really love for him to come back. He made Tenay better, always sounded excited about the product and he made things seem more important than they otherwise would. His commentary as a heel especially was brilliant. When you compare heel Don West to what we have now with Taz butchering the wresters' names, telling awful jokes that no one laughs at but him and phoning in his performance most weeks, it's downright depressing.

Do you think TNA'S Tag Division started to go downhill when Mexican America won the belts? Even though we've had bright spots like Magnus and Joe and Daniels and Kaz holding them

It started going downhill when Chris Sabin tore his ACL, putting the MCMG out of action. This was on the heels of the Guns' tag title reign which, IMO had been one of the best title reigns in any division in this company in several years. After that there was nowhere to go but down. The next thing you know, Beer Money break up and the main tag title feud is the intolerable Mexican America vs Ink Inc. That's a pretty steep decline and it never completely recovered. They lost their two best tag teams and really didn't have any suitable replacements.

There were bright spots later on -- Joe/Magnus, Aries/Roode, Bad Influence -- but it seemed like there were always things holding the tag division back. Management's stubborn refusal to give up on Los Stereotypicos for a year was hard to stomach, the great makeshift teams they put together were only short term pairings and the current division seems totally comprised of comedy acts. Bad Influence can easily rise above that when given the chance, and if they were the team the division was built around, TNA would have something to work with, but that's not what we're getting and I really don't know why.

Do you think TNA rebounded well from earlier this year?

It's an ongoing process, but I think it's going well. They've seen a ratings increase recently. A few months ago they were struggling to even get a 1.0, but since Hogan/Bischoff/Prichard left they've been inching back into the 1.1 range, so that's a good sign.

Creatively the show has been a LOT better now that the Aces & 8s garbage is finished. They've done away with a lot of the crap that was weighing the show down -- Hogan, terrible bloated heel factions -- started cutting the dead weight from the roster, introducing new talent, developing new characters, and the show is better for it.

Financially, the road shows clearly took a toll. You can see how they're doing everything they can to streamline things at the moment, so it may take a while to recover from that, but they seem like they've got their heads screwed on straight now. As long as they don't make any rash decisions like shelling out big money for name talent of questionable value (they seem to have realized that those people don't really effect their bottom line that much), they should be able to recoup their losses.

What your thoughts on AJ Styles going back to roh?

It's clearly a step down for AJ; if fans think TNA's business has been growing at a snail's pace they need to take a closer look at ROH. I don't think AJ has the kind of star power necessary to bring any kind of real attention to that company, and even if he did, ROH don't have the brand awareness or advertising muscle to properly exploit and take advantage of it. I kind of doubt this will mean much to either side honestly.

How are things "going well" for TNA when they've lost TONS of onscreen and offscreen employees this year including guys like Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles? They cut down to just 4 PPVs in 2013, none of which did buyrates above the usual 

TNA cut the fat out of their roster -- mostly people who weren't worth the money they were making -- which is something the company had needed to do for years. And frankly, with one or two exceptions those cuts made perfect sense to me. You saying them getting rid of guys like Chavo Guerrero, Alex Silva and Christian York is going to hurt their business? Come on, man. Use your head.

Backstage, they streamlined things and eliminated non-essential positions for the same reason. The company was spending money on these people when they weren't really needed. Maybe they were nice to have around, but if you're not performing some kind of critical duty, then you're expendable. Sure, lots of people love SoCal Val, but when you get right down to it, did she really do anything that Jeremy Borash wasn't already doing in addition to a lot of other things? Not really.

If you actually think that losing Hulk Hogan (and Bischoff and Prichard) was a BAD thing for TNA, then you clearly haven't been paying attention.

I'm of the opinion that AJ Styles wasn't as big a loss as some people think. Personally, I think AJ needs TNA more than they need him. Supposedly they offered him something like $350,000 a year, and had it been me I would have taken it. Unless he wants to go to Japan (and with 3 kids at home, I doubt it), I don't see him making that kind of money anywhere else.

I think cutting most of the PPVs was a good move to make and I kind of wish they'd done it sooner. The wrestling industry is in a slump and the PPV business is in decline. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have 12 PPVs a year these days; it's not like they made a big deal out of most of them anyway. The TV deal is ultimately what keeps them in business, so it makes sense to focus on that. And personally, I like the strategy of doing TV specials in place of PPVs. It gives them something to build to that could pay dividends in the ratings.

As for the buyrates of the remaining 4, you don't know what they are. TNA is a privately owned company and don't release that information. Any outside sources who claim to know the buyrates are just speculating.

Do you want to see Jen Blake on WWE or TNA?

WWE has more Divas than they know what to do with and most of them aren't doing a damn thing. The only storyline creative has for any of them right now is this boring Total Divas feud, which is just spinning its wheels and going absolutely nowhere. Jen Blake would just get lost in the shuffle there, and that's if she even made it to the main roster, which is hardly a guarantee.

On the other hand, if she went to TNA, she could go straight to TV and be put in the top mix immediately. They need new female talent desperately, and Blake has all the tools and experience necessary to make a splash in the division. Certainly more than the green-as-grass Lei'D Tapa has so far.

If TNA were to devote more time to the Knockouts and signed Shanna, Kay Lee Ray, Nikki Storm, Portia Perez, Candice LeRae, Veda Scott and CherryBomb, would you like to see the Knockouts Tag Tittles return?

No. Unless they get a second weekly show (and maybe not even then), they just don't have the TV time to properly showcase any more championships. They can't even devote enough time to the ones they already have. The tag team and X-divisions are rarely seen right now, and when they had the Knockout tag team titles the belts were such a low priority that practically nothing was ever done with them. Even if TNA had the roster and the time for it, it probably still wouldn't work.

It's kind of a shame because a women's tag team division was a good idea in theory; they just never executed it well. I do think it could potentially work under the right circumstances, but by that I mean the Knockouts having their own spinoff show or something, and that's not likely to happen.

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