Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Building a TNA Wrestler

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Noth Texas
    Posts
    26

    Building a TNA Wrestler

    I read with interest the post on Brian Cage. It will be interesting to see how Impact grows from this point. So much of the talent is fleeing. It is hard to recognize the program. For fans to be interested in a program or a show running in the area there must be a connection with the wrestlers. And the turnover does away with that emotional connection with Impact or any other program. To see James Storm, EC3, Bobby Lashley and Laura Van Ness among others disappear from the weekly episodes makes watching less of a priority. One of the comments on Brian Cage is that he is not "going to move the needle" and that he does not have name value.

    Let us as wrestling fans take a look back to when there were two strong promotions battling it out on Monday nights. The deep pockets of Ted Turner allowed the big names of the rival federation to be signed. And a war was born. The promotion to the north lost much of its valued talent. I was a fan of WCW at the time because they treated the product as more realistic while WWF was more of a cartoon. Let us take the history of the rivalry that followed and how WWF recovered.

    At first WCW had the advantage. Known names and great wrestling led to more viewers. Squash matches were out on both programs. This made the product more like the local promotion in my area as my memory of WCCW was a television show that featured the past week's matches from either the Sportatorium or the Will Rogers Coliseum. Since those were shows made in front of paying fans there were few squash matches. Seeing the two national promotions strive for entertaining television was nice although bitter sweet in the fact that the local product was cratering.

    But after a while WWF started to catch up. For the most part they did it by promoting lower card members or bringing in wrestlers from regional promotions who were not as well known to the majority of the country. Take Rocky Maivia as an example. I had seen him in Memphis programing. When WWF signed him I am fairly sure the same thing could be said. How could Rocky Maivia "move the needle" if one looked at his reign in Memphis. His name value even when given the names of his father and grandfather to give him relevance was not that high. Yet he battled through this and finally grew into The Rock. From "die Rocky die" to the "People's Champ" he moved from a vanilla face to a beloved character. When he became a star he was nothing like Rocky Miavia.

    Or Stunning Steve Austin. I remember his time in the Dallas area as Steve Williams. Even though he was not one to move the needle in his present form he was a talented wrestler. But a Ringmaster? From Steve Williams to Stunning Steve Austin to the Ringmaster to Stone Cold Steve Austin. The popular wrestler was nowhere near the initial run of the Ringmaster.

    The Radicalz made headlines but were not the top stars in Turner's world when WWF signed them. But each of them added something to the card. It was the serious wrestler Chris Benoit who made the biggest mark although it is now erased from proper histories.

    From my memory the biggest signing by WWF at the time was Chris Jericho. But I don't think anyone could argue that at the time he was near as popular as WCW signings of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. The talent of Chris Jericho allowed him to grow into a bigger star on WWF television.

    What is the common thread among all the wrestlers mentioned above? They were all talented. They had varying amounts of fans as they moved from promotion to promotion. And most of them became larger stars in WWF than they were in their predecessor promotions. Not because they came in as the biggest star but because they worked hard and were given good stories.

    In management training there is a maxim that one can hire winners. But to hire a winner from another organization means one has to pay more. And bringing in that winner does not always work because the atmosphere is different at every company. The surrounding talent is different. Anyone who is also a football fan know the name Clint Longley? He had one great game when Roger Staubach was injured and allowed the Cowboys to get a high draft pick when he was traded away. Without all the talent of the Cowboys at the time around him, he never was heard from again.

    Management training also states you can hire someone with talent and mold them into your system.

    With so many names gone Impact has the chance to hire some younger wrestlers and mold them into fan favorites. I hope they have as fun and interesting a time doing this as WWF did in the late 90's. I know that different people are behind the scenes now but look at the past. Who was James Storm before TNA? Who was EC3 before Impact? Derrick Bateman did not move the needle in WWE. How respected was Bobby Lashley before his run in TNA/Impact? Who was A. J. Styles before TNA? Who was Eli Drake before Impact Wrestling? My favorite wrestler on the show now. I could go on and on about stars made in the much debated and in some cases hated promotion.

    My conclusion is that the next few months should be fun for fans of Impact Wrestling. Yes there are a few established wrestlers there. Joseph Parks and Eddie Edwards have been there a while. Austin Aires is a known name. But much like WWF in the Monday night wars there is an almost clean slate on the roster. Can Scott D'Amore and Don Callis find talent that can be molded into great characters. Will a new Stone Cold Steve Austin or a new Rock appear. I doubt that because the new characters need to be their own persona. But can a new break out wrestler or wrestlers appear. Of course. And if they are introduced properly the next few months should be interesting over at Impact Wrestling.
    Last edited by von wrestler; 01-22-2018 at 04:46 AM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    4,096
    There are some phenomenal points in this! I disliked the "move the needle" argument with Cage, especially because Impact always receives such bitter criticism when they do hire on talents who became known in WWE, so it's like they just can't win in the eyes of some fans. I am fully in favor of them just doing their best to hire talented people and trying to create needle moving stars, rather than buy pre-made ones. That's always been something they had some talent at, as you mentioned guys like AJ and EC3 as prime examples, and usually it only went bad when they deviated from that strategy (just look at their use of Alberto for another clear example!).

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Noth Texas
    Posts
    26
    I agree with your statement that it went bad when TNA / Impact deviated from using talent they developed. I have been thinking of a future post about WCW and how the talent they brought in doomed them. While Hulk Hogan brought more eyes to the company, in the long run I think he and the Outsiders are a big part of the failure of the company. WCW was the "we wrestle" promotion that more or less stayed away from the cartoon character in their legacy to that point. Once Hulk came in he would use his hulking up persona to win matches. I really feel that if he did not have creative control and could have been booked to look weaker coming in then in story line learned to truly wrestle it would have made his character stronger in the end. WCW would be promoting its roots and its wrestlers while showing that those from up north had to learn to truly wrestle. Vince seems to have known this because he rarely brought in wrestlers who would win right away. Look at what he did to Dusty Rhodes. How long did it take Ric Flair to become champion in WWF? I was extremely disappointed in how Sting was used when he finally wrestled for WWE. It seems that WWE still wants to make their product look stronger than the opposition.

    I do think there were many fans of WCW who lost heart when Hulk came in so strong. The NWO was a stroke of genius but again it took away from the pure wrestling heritage of WCW. Sure there were heels who cheated to win. But a group having its own referee? Then bringing in Vince Russo and having the cartoon type matches divorced WCW from its heritage fan. Yes it brought new eyes to the product. But in my mind it also drove some eyes away. New eyes can be fickle. Fad booking can lead to fad fans. And when the NWO was not new those fans did not stick around.

    Using a comparison of consumer product companies to wrestling promotions I offer the following. Proctor and Gamble rules the detergent market. Tide is one of the better known products produced by Procter and Gamble. It is often updated and has spin off products. But each of these products has to do with the laundry process. Tide may come in liquid or pod form. But Tide is always a laundry detergent. With both WCW and TNA / Impact they were known for their wrestling. When they brought in wrestlers from the outside who were tenured and had their own style they were no longer selling the product that fans were used to. It was like Proctor and Gamble deciding to make Tide barbecue sauce. The name may be the same but the product has radically changed. The Tide name will work on laundry detergent but not on other types of products because its reputation was made in the laundry room. WCW and TNA / Impact sold realist wrestling. That was their brand. Bringing in sports entertainers does not fit that brand. When the new wore off the NWO the casual fan lost interest. Wrestling fans were already gone. I remember being a contrarian and hating the black and white segments of the NWO. I imagine it was more for the generation behind mine. Much like New Coke the taste of the product was nowhere near what I had grown to like. Instead of going back to the "we wrestle" persona or Classic Coke WCW brought in Vince Russo and he action got more cartoon like. Up north Vince had seen the success of ECW and gone to more realistic wrestling for the most part. Sure there were too many skits for my taste but the matches mostly grew more bloody or at least more intense.

    WWF grew new personas and made one want to tune in to see what would happen next. Except for Goldberg WCW concentrated on the old. Sure there were wrestlers who were new to the roster like Disco Inferno, Lodi, Mark Jindrak, The Maestor and others but they did not find the success of the new wrestlers in WWF. They were not given the room to breathe that their brothers to the north were given.

    It is not that I want he older wrestlers pushed away. But the product must always grow. The veteran wrestlers keep the brand relevant while the rookie and younger wrestlers grow into the brand. But the brand must be stable. Impact has a chance to brand itself with the clean slate it has now. Can it overcome the cloud of the past years of unstable booking and ownership? Can it be the WWF of the 1990's era that grew a brand by developing new characters? Or will it get lazy and turn to wrestlers from promotions that do not share its values under the new regime?
    Last edited by von wrestler; 01-25-2018 at 04:02 AM.

  4. #4
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    4,096
    I think if WCW's survival was dependent on sitting around and waiting for Disco Inferno to grow into a great performer, they deserved to die.

    Nah, for the most part I really agree with you here. I do a podcast on LOP Radio called WCW: The Legacy Series, and though we are now covering the year 2000 we often talk about the days of "We Wrestle Here" and how that was a core piece of WCW at it's best. I think at their peak WCW was striding the line between the two concepts, pure wrestling and wild sports entertainment, specifically when the nWo was fresh but they also had a roster full of fresh talent to make the undercard a shining example for the wrestling world. Once the nWo went sour and they had no real other ideas, and they drove away their undercard with lack of favorable booking, it was all doomed for them.

    And YES, it is so true that WCW always valued WWF guys to the moon, whereas WWF was disdainful of anyone from WCW/NWA. That fact almost ruined them, as they stuck Steve Austin in the worst gimmick of his life (Ringmaster!) before being driven into a corner and giving him the ball out of necessity. But the vice-versa actually did ruin WCW in the end. Hogan did great numbers for them, but there's no doubt in my mind a whole subset of fans simply drifted away and never came back when it became clear that there was no longer a "true" wrestling company on TV anymore.

    I fear Impact has already lost too many key assets to truly rebound, but you never know. I'll be keeping an eye on them, for sure.

  5. #5
    Squared
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Northern England, UK
    Posts
    5,260
    Disco is as mad as a mongoose, but I think he's actually underappreciated as a performer. Remember him doing great things with Kidman. Never going to headline but I don't see why he couldn't be a useful midcarder, especially for TNA when he was working without the gimmick.

    On Hogan, I don't think the WCW fans you are talking about left until the overall quality of their product drove off a cliff in 1999. Then there's another big exodus from the industry when they go bust, which both WWE and TNA expected to benefit from and neither really did. But for the most part I get the impression that they gave it the benefit of the doubt for the first 4-5 years of Hogan. Certainly very little evidence in the numbers of the old guard giving up on them en masse.



    @lopprimetime

  6. #6
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    4,096
    I think I've seen maybe one Disco Inferno match I'd begrudgingly call good, and that's because he was wrestling La Parka. Sometimes I admit he can have some pure entertainment value, but then I think back to the talk segment he did in early NWA/TNA and I mostly just want to die.

    I always thought there was a period of old fans leaving in the early 90s, say 93-95, and then being replaced by new fans in the nWo/Attitude boom, and then a lot of those fans leaving when wrestling stopped being the cool thing. I admit that's speculation on my part though!

  7. #7
    Squared
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Northern England, UK
    Posts
    5,260
    In the WWE that's true, though I think it's more returns than anything. WCW viewership troughs before Hogan and is actually then pretty stable, with a big spike when HH first arrives.

    Of course if the 'true wrestling' comment was not about Hogan and applies more to DingDongs, Shock master's, and special appearances by Robocop, I withdraw my objection!



    @lopprimetime

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Noth Texas
    Posts
    26
    Actually It is about DingDongs, Shock Master, Robocop, David Arquette and also Hulk Hogan. Hulk's American image of hulking up is cartoon like. A friend at a former job I had was also a wrestling fan. He was more in the know than I as he knew the bars to hang out after local shows from WWF and WCW where he mingled with the wrestlers. He had a large collection of VHS tapes (kind of gives away the time period) among which were Hulk's matches in Japan. When he wanted to he could do a straight match with a larger move set and without hulking up. Those were some great matches to watch. That is why I have said that if it were not for his creative control it would have been nice to see a period of time when he first came in where he had to go from being a name from up north who did not know how to really wrestle and then release his Japanese style in the U. S. A. The finger poke of doom and other unrealistic booking also led to me loosing the intensity of my fandom for WCW. I preferred it to WWF because it was a show where the "we wrestle" tag line held up. In the same way I was more of a Steve Austin fan than a Rock fan. The People's Elbow just comes across as so unbelievable.

  9. #9
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    4,096
    I'm all for the idea that Hogan should have adjusted more to WCW, and not the other way around. Sadly, WCW bent over backwards to change for him, even attempting to recreate a lot of his biggest stories and moments. The Giant as a stand in for Andre, Renegade as an attempted stand in for Ultimate Warrior, re-doing the Mega Powers hand shake with Savage and even losing the title to him indirectly... it was honestly sad how much they were trying to be 80s WWF at times!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •