Between The Ropes Podcast – August 3, 2013

Brian and Steve are back for a quick audio discussing Kurt Angle getting arrested for DWI in Texas, his future with TNA Wrestling and if he should have one and more.

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Video: Tito Ortiz Revealed as #August1Warning on Impact Wrestling

In case you missed it, here is the video of Tito Ortiz being revealed as the person behind the #August1Warning at the end of last night’s edition of Impact Wrestling.

Just don’t stare too much at his watch … you may go blind.

Tito Ortiz Revealed As The #August1Warning

TNA Wrestling had been hyping up who the #August1Warning would be. Rumors had circulated it could be the likes of Bill Goldberg, Dave Bautista, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Bob Holly and Adam Pearce. We got the reveal, but it wasn’t a pro wrestler.

The reveal was former UFC light heavyweight champion and the newest signee in Bellator MMA, Tito Ortiz. Throughout tonight’s episode of TNA’s Impact Wrestling, it was teased as who the person would be.

During the final segment of the show, The Main Event Mafia, which consists of Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Sting, Rampage Jackson and Magnus came out to challenge the Aces and Eights to a match. A brawl ensued between the two factions, when the lights went out and when they came back on, Ortiz was walking down the ramp.

The wrestlers were shocked especially Jackson and then the show went off the air.

This isn’t the first time we have seen Tito Ortiz in TNA. Ortiz made some appearances in 2005 including a special referee position on a pay-per-view, which was during a time he wasn’t with the UFC.

It was announced yesterday by Bellator MMA that Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson will headline the organization’s first take into pay-per-view on November 2 in Long Beach, California.

The logic would seem here that we will be seeing cross promotion between Bellator and TNA to hype the pay-per-view bout. This has never been tried before, so we could get a good indication if the crossover appeal will be effective.

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Adam Pearce Plays the Internet with His #August1Warning Video

Adam Pearce has a pretty good sense of humor.

And with all the speculation on who could be the mystery person behind the TNA #August1Warning videos, old “Scrap Iron” decided to have some fun with it today, just hours before that person is revealed on Impact Wrestling.

#August1Warning Mystery Revealed Tonight on Impact Wrestling

It’s August 1st and that means tonight on Impact Wrestling, the mystery will be revealed behind the #August1Warning videos.  And yes, this person is “out for personal justice”.

This is the company latest attempt to drum up intrigue and viewers and has had some success so far.  But one of the problems is that when they have done this in the past — and they’ve done something similar plenty of times — they typically end with a dud.

That being said, there is plenty of speculation on who it will be.  We know it’s not Batista or Chris Jericho because, well, the person in the video said so.  But those are also names that very few people would really believe but they’re just not realistic.  Even Jericho has got public stating that he will never work for another wrestling organization other that WWE from this point forward.

In watching the video, the shadow of the person looks somewhat like Bob Holly.  That would be a letdown with most people.  Adam Pearce has jumped on this bandwagon and teasing that he could be the mystery man.  Another choice could be Tito Ortiz who just signed on with Bellator MMA to fight Rampage Jackson.  With Bellator having a working relationship with two of its fighters (Jackson and King Mo) along with both Bellator and TNA being on Spike TV, this would make sense.  Another fighter that could possibly be a fit would be Bobby Lashley.

And none of these people mentioned could be ‘the guy’ either.  If it wasn’t for past disappointments on this front, this could be a really big deal right now.  But there is some intrigue behind it which should be tempered until the person is revealed.

As for who it is, that’s still anyone’s guess right now.  But feel free to share your thoughts and take a stab at it.

Some of the Fallout from #AskDixie

In light of the recent criticisms that TNA has faced follow cutbacks and perceived money issues with the company, President Dixie Carter has asked for fans to send her questions on Twitter for her to answer, using the hashtag #AskDixie.

While all of her intentions were good, but it really isn’t a great idea to allow all of the general public to take part in a Q&A session for the world to see.

As expected, many people took advantage of this idea to sarcastically ask some ridiculous questions.  Here are just a few of the examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TNA President Dixie Carter Issues Statement to Fans

In light of the recent cuts and backlash from fans, TNA President Dixie Carter issued the following statement today on ImpactWrestling.com:

Hi everyone,

In the 11+ years that I have been with TNA, I am still amazed by the passion of pro wrestling fans. That passion – both positive and negative – is remarkable and something that all of us at TNA values.

With that said, I asked for questions from you like I have done many times in the past, but I didn’t provide a timeframe by which I would answer you. I know I have frustrated you all, and I apologize. Beginning next week, each Thursday, I will answer legitimate questions from you on a weekly basis.  I will not, however, address outrageous or hurtful questions/posts.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to provide perspective from inside TNA – where we stand and where, with support from our current and future fans around the globe, we are going. What is being shared with you now is what was shared with the IMPACT roster before our phenomenal Destination X show from Louisville, KY last week.

This has been a big year for TNA. We took IMPACT LIVE on the road, exactly where it needs to be – where you’ve asked us to be – in your backyard. We also changed our Pay-Per-View schedule, shifting from 12 to four live Pay-Per-View events each year, in order to increase the value of these events for you. To grow TNA, these are moves that needed to be made. And, part of changes like this, includes structural changes within TNA to align with this new business model.

Many of your comments and questions reference our recent roster changes.  The relationship that fans have with wrestlers is unique and one of the many great aspects of the wrestling business. And, for this reason, releasing talent is never easy – not for you and not for us. But, bringing in fresh faces and the best wrestling talent in the world is what you expect, and what TNA will always strive to deliver.  Recently, we have brought back some talent favorites (Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams and Homicide), and you will continue to see this and new talent that we are excited to introduce you to in the coming months.

TNA has always been, and will continue to be, a place where you can interact with the superstars, whether in person at a live show or via social channels, like Twitter and Facebook.  We are constantly exploring new and interesting ways to take this interaction to another level, and you will see this unfold in the coming months. I appreciate each of you taking the time to share your thoughts, opinions and ideas.  Your input and feedback helps us create a better product. I hope you will join us when IMPACT LIVE comes to your area.

Yours,

Dixie

Between The Ropes Wrestling Podcast – July 22, 2013

Brian and Steve talk about the current cuts in TNA Wrestling including both Bruce Pritchard and D’Lo Brown being let go, the current position of TNA, the issues with the house show over the weekend, a preview of tonight’s edition of WWE Raw, talk of Steve Austin returning at WrestleMania 30, the role of WrestleMania for the company and more.

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TNA Impact Wrestling TV Draws Highest Rating Since January

Well it looks a themed pay-per-view that aired on free television could be the boost that TNA needed.

Thursday’s edition of Impact Wrestling scored 1.16 rating with an average of 1.494 million viewers. Last week’s show scored a 0.99 rating with an average of 1.190 million viewers.

The show was a Destination X theme with some solid matches especially the opening bout between Austin Aries and Bobby Roode and the main event where Chris Sabin defeated Bully Ray to become the TNA heavyweight champion.

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Revisiting TNA’s Destination X 2013

destination xThis is the final part in a ongoing series, looking TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective. Check out Week One and Week Two.

Apologies for skipping last-week’s IMPACT WRESTLING (see, you have to bold it like that because it artificially makes the product more exciting). Some stuff happened, sure, but none of it felt terribly important. I know, I know… Rampage Jackson joined the Main Event Mafia last week. Big news. Should have covered it. So here’s my week-late article:

Rampage Jackson was announced last-night as the 5th wrestler celebrity of the NWO Main-Event Mafia. Because out of all the talent on the TNA roster to recruit from, Sting, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle felt it best to pick somebody who has never wrestled before to join their Main-Event level squad.

In the words of Damien Sandow: You’re Welcome.

Of course, I made that comment about Rampage Jackson before TNA fired about half of their personnel in series of cost-cutting moves (read: Hulkamania is expensive). So maybe I should cut TNA a little slack.

Last night on Twitter, I was told that Rampage Jackson is the “muscle” of the group, which is why he doesn’t have to wear a suit like everybody else. I can buy that logic. But I don’t understand the booking logic in advertising Destination X as the pay-per-view event of the summer, and then delivering with a series of qualifying matches for next week’s Impact Wrestling.

Right, because it makes the most sense to hold the popular Ultimate X match until the week AFTER your pay-per-view show, which is supposed to highlight the X Division. Of course, when a show in the year 2013 opens up with Hulk Hogan, Bully Ray, and Brooke Hogan, you know that TNA Creative doesn’t quite have its priorities in check. Not that I don’t love me some Bully Ray (his heel schtick never gets old), but at least let him kick off the show with somebody NOT named Hogan Bollea.

Speaking of “kick off the show,” did anybody else notice Taz was missing at commentary? Me either. Moving on…

What was on display was just alright. The Ultimate X triple-threat qualifying matches proved entertaining. Even more entertaining? Listening to me attempt to pronounce Trent Barreta’s real name after a few glasses of wine… (“no, I got it this time – MAR-Soup-E-uhl. Huh? A Kangaroo?”)

The Main Event Mafia at least delivered on their promise to fight Aces and Eights. Or, at least, they tried. Sting, Angle, Joe, Mangus and Rampage all puffed up their chests and called out Bully Ray’s rag-tag Son’s of Anarchy knockoffs. But surprisingly, In one of the most realistic creative decisions in the entire history of professional wrestling, Aces and Eights just refused. Like, “nah, we don’t want to fight. Nevermind.” So what did the Main Event Mafia do? Run backstage, and let professional wrestling’s only Olympic Gold Medalist get kidnapped in the back of a cheap pickup truck. That’ll teach ‘em!

 

 

Don’t worry, Angle was back in about 15 minutes with ZERO explanation of what went down. I’m guessing he just hopped out. I mean, pickup truck beds are wide open – Bully Ray didn’t think through that one very well, did he? Also, is anybody else bothered by the fact that TNA REGULARLY uses kidnapping as a plot device? This is a serious issue. Apparently, backstage security must absolutely suck at all TNA events. If you have an average of one kidnapping plot per year, effectively carried out on high-level athletes all IN THE SAME WRESTLING ORGANIZATION, isn’t it time to do something about it? Maybe look at the guy who walks around as a “lone wolf,” regularly wearing a hoodie and acting depressed. Oh, right, sorry Dixie, forgot about the cost-cutting measures…

Bully Ray and Sabin put together a fun show. Most fun was the unanticipated arrival of Aces and Eights, the Main Event Mafia, the Four Horsemen, Immortal, S.C.U.M., the J.O.B. squad, and the cast of Happy Days. I’m not sure why, but with a smaller wrestling ring and less space around the outside, TNA feels the need to crowd as many people out there as possible.

But in the end, Sabin finally won, and captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Mike Tenay said it was “poetic justice.” I think the hammer in Sabin’s hands probably had something to do with it.

If these past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I’m a lot more bitter towards TNA’s product than I realized. Either that, or this sarcasm is a normal reaction that every TNA fan has. I can only imagine how much more entertaining Impact Wrestling would be with the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the front row…

Agree? Disagree? Still pining for a Hulk Hogan title run in 2013? Just enjoy sarcasm? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman.

TNA Knockout Tara Released From Company

TaraTNA Wrestling is continuing its latest round of cost-cutting as Knockout Tara was given her release today.  Here is the official statement from ImpactWrestling.com:

IMPACT Wrestling has released Tara. We thank Tara for all her contributions and wish her the best of success in the future.

While she is now 42 years old Tara (Lisa Marie Varon) was still a very good in-ring performer for the company.  However, she was not wrestling that often in the last few months and her role had been downsized which led to the decision to release her.

It will be interested to see what her future in wrestling holds and if she would return to the WWE, work independents or simply not wrestle anymore after a very good, long career.

She does own The Squared Circle restaurant in Chicago and frequently has various wrestlers dropping by.

Revisiting TNA’s Impact Wrestling: Week 2

Impact Wrestling Spike logoThis is part two of an ongoing series, looking at TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective as it builds towards Destination X. You can check out week one here.

Last week, Impact Wrestling was a disaster of a show. Between Hulkamania running a little too wild, a weak X Division title change, and overbooking in every segment, I had minimal desire to tune back in this week. My final thoughts were, “is this what TNA fans really want?”

No, it’s not. What TNA fans really want are chants, like “T-N-A” or “This-Is-AWE-SOME!” Apparently, they really miss ECW.

But this isn’t ECW. It’s not WWE, it’s not ROH, it’s not NWA. After existing for more than a decade, TNA still can’t quite find an identity. (For example, am I supposed to call the product “Impact Wrestling” or “TNA” or “TNA Wrestling” or what? The re-branding with the term “wrestling” from a few years back still has me confused).

The July 4th edition of Impact Wrestling proved a little more coherent. I’m totally on-board with the Bound for Glory series – this is how you make matches meaningful. While WWE has a TON of matches every week, only a few of them seem important in the bigger picture. What TNA has done with the Bound for Glory series is give their cards a sense of purpose.

Does it always work out? No. The Joseph Parks DQ against Jeff Hardy seemed a little cheap. Also, I’m not digging the way Joseph Parks is still having “flashes” of Abyss. I’m pretty sure he was doing this exact same thing last summer when he had his feud with Bully Ray. Has his character not evolved AT ALL since then? Maybe TNA is just recycling the same storyline.

But the in-ring product overall was solid. A great tag-team match, and killer main event. Was it as awesome as the TNA fans in attendance seemed to think? Maybe. Then again, I’ve heard fans in the Impact Zone give the same ovation to Hulk Hogan in a walker. Chris Sabin and Austin Aries definitely have chemistry in the ring together. But they were simply overshadowed by the 1,540 other people at ringside during their match last night.

I also think I’m pretty much done with the Main Event Mafia. Didn’t these guys originally debut as heels in 2008? The “wrestlers-in-suits” gimmick just makes them look like they take themselves too seriously. Plus, it doesn’t really fit the kind of relatable persona this faction is trying to develop. It would have been like the WCW making the NWO turn into faces… oh, right.

And I’d like to return this emo-AJ Styles look-alike, please. His constant look of constipation is bothersome. I know Taz and Mike Tennay like to say he’s “a loner,” but I think that’s just a nicer way of saying, “he looks like the guy from the 7-eleven security cam footage.”

Destination X is only two weeks away – July 18th, live on PPV Spike TV!

Revisiting TNA’s Impact Wrestling: Week 1

impact_wrestling_logo

This is part one of an ongoing series, looking at TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective as it builds towards Destination X. 

Before last night, I hadn’t caught an episode of TNA’s IMPACT Wrestling since 2012. The last major Pay-Per-View I caught was Bound for Glory 2012, back when Aces and Eights revealed it’s (not actual) leader to be Devon, and Jeff Hardy captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Austin Aries.

I didn’t stop watching because I disliked the product. In fact, TNA’s big Summer IMPACT Wrestling push last year was some of the most consistent work in the company’s 11-year history. The shows were entertaining, Austin Aries was a great champion, and the Aces and Eights storyline still had a little teeth to it. My schedule simply got too busy for a Thursday wrestling show.

Unfortunately, I tuned in last night and my first thought was, “well, not much has changed.”

I can’t compare this show to last weeks show, and I have no idea how last night’s events fit into the big TNA picture. But watching that episode of IMPACT Wrestling left me feeling completely indifferent. It wasn’t the in-ring work, which was as solid as ever (including Samoa Joe, who continues to be one of my favorite wrestlers never to step foot in a WWE ring). I’m also a big fan of the Bound for Glory series, which was hyped prominently throughout the night.

It just felt like TNA had too much going on. Moreso, it seemed as though the creative staff didn’t know how to highlight the really important things from the not-so-important things.

Example: Main Event Mafia kicked off the show (which annoys me unto itself). Kurt Angle and Sting hyped that they would be adding a new member by the end of the night. But, when the segment with Samoa Joe took place, it just felt awkward. All three men seemed unclear how to handle the moment, and the announcers fumbled through the call. Wasn’t this supposed to be a big development? Furthermore, have Aces and Eights just given up? They didn’t seem too concerned with tearing apart TNA anymore. If that’s the case, then why are Sting and Kurt Angle so threatened by them?

Every segment seemed to have more than one thing happening at a time. It couldn’t just be a match – it had to be a match AND THEN an interview. Or an in-ring promo, then a backstage segment. And why the heck was Hulk Hogan featured more prominently than the TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray?

I thought the Austin Aries reveal was a nice surprise. On the other hand, knowing what little I do about recent TNA events, it seemed to completely undermine the whole “X-Division Champion can challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship” scenario. From my understanding, the Chris Sabin X-Division Championship win was a big deal, and it seemed like a great way to build him up to that next level. But watching fake Suicide steal the title in such a ridiculous manner, the stipulation, and thus the title, both lost a little prestige. It seemed like TNA was trying to make this its own Money in the Bank at the cost of the championship.

And by the end of the night, with so much going on, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to care about.

Yes, WWE has some weak nights too. But it seems to promote its flagship show in such a way that you know what’s important, who to focus on, and what to talk about the next day. All TNA seemed to emphasize was the “more stuff happening” part, and it caused the whole product to suffer.

TNA Hires Former WWE Production Executive John Gaburick

Former WWE Vice President of Television Production has been hired by TNA Wrestling to oversee their television.  Gaburick parted ways with the WWE earlier this year after working with the company for 13 years.

Many fans know his best as “Big” John Gaburick from his appearances on the original Tough Enough reality series on MTV.

Here is the press release that TNA sent out:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

JOHN GABURICK NAMED EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT TELEVISION PRODUCTION TNA ENTERTAINMENT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 27, 2013) – John Gaburick has been named Executive Vice President of Television Production for TNA Entertainment effective immediately. Gaburick is an accomplished production executive who joins TNA from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he served as Vice President of Television Production. The announcement was made today by President Dixie Carter, to whom he will report.  In his new role, Gaburick will oversee management and production of TNA Entertainment television including LIVE IMPACT Wrestling, marketing and advertising production, special projects and digital assets.

“As TNA evolves, John’s award-winning creative vision and production expertise coupled with his sports and entertainment industry business savvy make him the perfect person to push us in new directions,” said Carter. “He is a gifted and innovative storyteller, and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

“I’ve always admired Dixie Carter and TNA as a uniquely dynamic and growing organization,” said Gaburick. “This opportunity marks an exciting new challenge for me, and I am honored to join the team.”

Prior to joining TNA Entertainment, Gaburick spent the past 13 years in production at WWE. While there, he was awarded the PROMAX/BDA Brandbuilder of the Year Award and guided all image and brand-building media campaigns, as well as network documentary programming. Additionally, he spent 10 years as Operations Manager for National Business Archives in Jessup, Maryland. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Towson University in Towson, Maryland and is a proud member of The Towson University Athletic Hall of Fame. He will be relocating to Nashville with his wife and two young children.

Between The Ropes Wrestling Podcast Talking WWE Raw, Daniel Bryan – June 5, 2013

btrlogoBrian and Steve talks about the Rampage Jackson conference call and thoughts of him getting in the ring for TNA Wrestling, Raw from Monday night including the awesomeness of Daniel Bryan and his future there, Triple H vs. the McMahons, John Cena against Curtis Axel, the Payback PPV coming up in less than two weeks, show ratings and much more.

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Rampage Jackson Conference Call – June 5, 2013

rampage-jacksonQuinton “Rampage” Jackson talks to the media about his partnership with Spike TV, Bellator and TNA Wrestling, why he is so excited about this new deal, leaving the UFC and why this will be different and better for him, when he will be able to fight next, if he likes the tournament style in Bellator, being a wrestling fan growing up, actually getting in the ring and wrestling for TNA, his goals in fighting now, how much longer he would like to fight for, upcoming movie roles and more.  Also on the conference call are Bjorn Rebney of Bellator and TNA Wrestling President Dixie Carter.

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Report: Todd Keneley Dropped from TNA Broadcast Team

toddkeneleyTNA is making a change to its broadcast team with Todd Keneley being removed from the three man booth according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com.

According to the report, Keneley was told of the news at this past Sunday’s TNA Slammiversary pay-per-view which was his last assignment with the company.

Keneley joined the company in October of 2012 with the decision to make expand the announcer booth and have him join Mike Tenay and Taz.

Impact Wrestling will now revert back to the two-man booth of Tenay and Taz.  Keneley could be invited back to the company for future projects.

TNA Slammiversary press call with Bully Ray – May 29, 2013

bullyray

TNA World Champion Bully Ray speaks with the media about this Sunday’s Slammiversary PPV where he will face Sting, transitioning from being in a tag-team for so long to a singles wrestler, reinventing himself, which younger guys in the company stand out to him, who he has learned the most from in the wrestling business, the current state of tag-team wrestling, Team 3D Academy, Impact Wrestling going live, if there should still be blook in wrestling and more.

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