I probably sound like a very angry broken record by now, but WWE is really clicking on all cylinders. Everything has been really good – from new character introductions to the return of Evolution and their super-hot feud with The Shield. From the little nuances in the Cena-Wyatt promo battle to the beautiful memorial videos for Ultimate Warrior, there isn’t much to be mad about.
That makes these angry rant pieces a little difficult to write.
So today, I’m going to turn my attention away from WWE, and focus on the minor leagues. And no, I don’t mean NXT. NXT is THE SHOW compared to the real minor leagues.
Let’s start off with TNA. I recently broke my promise to myself and watched an episode of Impact. On this night, Eric Young won the TNA Heavyweight Championship. I think I’m going back to NOT watching Impact.
That’s not my gripe with TNA, though. What is? Their talent relations department.
I was fine with TNA letting Sting and Hogan go. At this point in their careers, they really don’t offer much of value to (what’s supposed to be) the hip, young alternative. But TNA has said goodbye to a lot of great talent in recent months that really, really doesn’t make sense.
It started with AJ Styles—the man most fans recognize as the face of TNA. Dixie Carter let him walk, because they couldn’t come to an agreement over money. Really? You’re still paying Eric Young and Abyss to show up, but you can’t afford AJ Styles? Ken Anderson still collects a check, but AJ walks free? Insert the “Jim Cornette Face” from Botchamania here.
Then it happened again, with Chris Sabin. You know, the guy who had a great feel-good TNA World Heavyweight title win this past summer, before dropping the title and dropping right back to the midcard. He went from TNA Champion to the unemployment line in less than 9 months. How does that happen? And hell, if you didn’t plan on giving this guy enough money to stay around, and didn’t have a deal in place a few months before his contract was up…why would you ever put the title on him? What’s the point? Who does it help? No one wins.
Now it’s happened again, with the best tag team act in the company. Chris Daniels and Kazarian are GONE. Before I stopped watching, and before the Abyss/Joe Park/Eric Young clusterkerfluffle of a never-ending storyline, Bad Influence was by far the best part of Impact. They were the right kind of heels with the right kind of heat, and get this—they are solid hands in the ring. Perfect upper-midcard heels who could carry the tag division, and work main events when needed.
So naturally, they’re taking indy bookings, and are now available for TV and internet pay-per-views. Great news for ROH, PWG, DG-USA and New Japan, but for TNA fans? A huge slap in the face—especially when the goddamn BROMANS are your tag team champions. Thank god TNA hired the American Wolves, because without them, the Bromans would be your ONLY TAG TEAM.
Seriously, there’s no one else. It’s the same problem in the X-division, which has three wrestlers—Senada, Tigre Uno, and, once he returns, Kenny King. Remember when TNA’s tag and X-divisions were the best things in wrestling?
TNA isn’t getting it all wrong. They are working to bring in some new talent (most likely, at much cheaper prices.) MVP was a good hire. So were the American Wolves. Rumor has it Low Ki is on his way back, too. Good moves. But part of me thinks TNA is just snatching these guys up so Jeff Jarrett can’t.
Typical TNA. Worrying about everyone else’s business but its own.
Who wants to bet on the next big TNA talent to walk over money? My guess is Booby Rude. Gotta save money to pay for Lashley.
There’s one contract TNA should probably consider cutting, regardless of where the talent lands afterwards. That contract belongs to Austin Aries.
Now don’t get me wrong – Aries is one hell of a worker. I watched him go from solid midcarder to spectacular main event talent in Ring of Honor. I watched it happen again in TNA. He’s got the ring work, the look to match, and he even turned into a pretty decent promo.
So why do I think he should go? Simple.
Austin Aries is an asshole. Yeah, I realize that may be a bold statement, but it’s not a false one.
Years ago, Austin Aries CHEWED OUT a friend of mine at an indy show in Philly. Yeah, I know. It’s a long time ago, and it’s a one-off, right? No.
Years ago, Austin Aries called me, a fan in the ROH crowd, a faggot, because I was wearing his rival’s t-shirt. Oh, Aries was the babyface, too. Good PR.
Not too long ago, Christy Hemme botched when introducing Austin Aries on Impact. So, like any real talent, Aries backed Hemme into the corner and climbed to the second rope, putting his junk in her face. You could see and hear how uncomfortable she was, on TV. Christy Hemme could have owned TNA after a sexual harassment suit. Luckily, no one really wants to own TNA.
Now there are rumors on the ‘Net that Austin Aries is in the TNA doghouse, after some sort of incident backstage, and that’s why he’s been M.I.A. from TNA TV. While I assume he’ll be back (and featured prominently) once things smooth over, I have a better idea.
Let him go.
Yeah, he’s a great talent in the ring, and he’s popular with the crowd. Yeah, he’s got a great look, and looks like a real superstar—even if he’s pretty short.
But he’s not worth it. Whatever money he’s drawing isn’t worth what he’s costing you with the crowd, the workers, and the office. Your top stars shouldn’t be sexually harassing your fans or your talent, and they sure as hell shouldn’t be making huge scenes backstage.
I’m an Austin Aries fan. I love his work. I love his intensity in the ring. But maybe it’s time for Aries to disappear for a while, get his shit together, and come back as an adult – whether it’s in TNA, ROH, DG-USA, or even Global Force Wrestling.
So, Jeff Jarrett is doing everything he can to keep his name and face out there, until he’s ready to launch Global Force Wrestling full-time. Part of his efforts include taking indy bookings. And my message for Jeff is to remember that not all bookings are created equally.
Not too long ago, I read that Jeff and Karen Jarrett were booked for IWA-MS. I had two thoughts: Wow, IWA-MS is open again, and Jeff Jarrett is going to get screwed out of money.
Sometimes, I’m not just Angry Andy – I’m a psychic, too.
For those of you who don’t know, IWA-MS is the indy promotion that launched the careers of lot of guys you know and love, notably one CM Punk. It’s a small-time fed, run by one-time ECW stooge Ian Rotten. And it doesn’t have a good reputation.
IWA has closed and reopened several times, to the point where it’s become one big joke. The promotion announces comeback shows, books a bunch of talent, runs the show or cancels it, and either way, no one gets paid.
Care to guess what happened with Jarrett?
Jarrett got stiffed, like I knew he would. It’s not clear if he got half, or less, but what’s clear is that he wasn’t paid what he was offered in exchange for his work.
And according to Ian Rotten, that’s Jarrett’s fault.
This idiot went on Facebook and accused Jarrett and his wife of being intoxicated backstage at his show. He also accused Jarrett of assaulting his son, stealing and breaking his classes, and generally making a huge scene.
If you believe that, I’ve got an Orlando-based wrestling company to sell you. The numbers are great, BROTHER.
What happened here is Jarrett tried to make himself, and by proxy, his new promotion, relevant to a new audience. He got screwed over on the deal, and then got blamed for it on social media. Rotten later went online to change his tale, but the damage is done.
My advice to Double J is to stick to promoting GFW, and maybe skip the shady indy deals. What you need to be doing right now is securing the top unsigned talent, while convincing investors to foot the bill. You need to be a shrewd businessman, and look like one too. You know what will make that impossible? Making deals to appear at half-assed indy shows with absolutely awesome reputations. You need people to associate you with names like Toby Keith, not Ian Rotten. You should know better. When we see your name in headlines on the Observer or Insider sites, it should be something good, and major league –not bullshit indy drama.
I’m trying to keep faith that you’ll do the right thing with Global Force Wrestling. Please don’t prove my wrong. There isn’t enough room in pro wrestling for two companies run by Dixie Carter.