Well, the “Future Endeavors” axe has dropped in NXT…on the international branch, at least. And while many fans may be rushing to the performers’ defense, I’ll be the one to say it… since being a pessimist is kind of my gimmick, anyway.
Nothing of value was lost. And yeah, I’m talking pretty specifically about the one and only, Mason Ryan.
Yes, this guy had an incredible look. Yes, this guy was carved from stone, and looked to improve while working in NXT.
It would have never been enough. Want to know why? It’s pretty simple.
You can’t teach charisma. Period.
A million generic big guys have come and gone in WWE. 99% never got over. For ever John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista or Randy Orton, there are a thousand Mason Ryans. You forget them the minute they’re gone. Remember Jackson Andrews? Eli Cottonwood? The Great Khali? Oh, wait.
Ryan got better in the ring. His work in NXT proves it. But pro wrestling is about far more than the actual physical act of pro wrestling. That’s why guys like Hulk Hogan generated a billion dollars in merch and ticket sales and PPV buys, while workhorses like Brad Armstrong never got anywhere NEAR a world heavyweight championship. Mason Ryan will never be a draw in the world of wrestling. He’ll never sell a ticket. He’ll never sell a T-shirt. He’ll probably sign some autographs at your local wrestlecon, but that’s about it.
I feel bad for the big lug. He tried. But in 2014, there’s just no room for him. Guys like Daniel Bryan are fighting for the top spot in WWE. And big guys are a dime a dozen. I’ll take one Titus O’Neil over ten Mason Ryans. You will, too. Titus has charisma, and can be entertaining as hell. Mason Ryan? Well, he works out.
Leave the memories alone…because you sure as hell don’t want to relive them.
For every year of ECW’s existence, there has been a company that lived and died by its reputation. XPW was the first of a hundred. IWA-MS, CZW…some have been more successful than others. But for every CZW that is alive and kicking, there are plenty of IWA-MS’s closing their doors, stiffing workers, and screwing fans.
This April, it happened twice in one weekend.
First, Extreme Rising closed its doors when its champion, Luke Hawx, blew up the companies spot on social media. He and his trainees were getting the shaft from a half-assed promoter. Just like that, the company cancelled its shows, the promoter deleted his and the promotion’s social media accounts, and the company “folded.” History. Fans and workers alive screwed out of hundreds of dollars, or more.
In the same breath, Hardcore Roadtrip ran a doubleshot in Canada. The afternoon show seemingly went off without a hitch, with all the boys getting paid, and the fans getting what they paid for. Great. Then came the evening show. The evening show? Not so much.
Devon Dudley smelled a rat before anyone else, and demanded his money up front. The promoter said no, and Devon bounced. The rest of the boys should have followed.
The promoter “had a heart attack” and left halfway through the evening show. No one got paid. The show ended with the locker room clearing and coming to the ring, announcing that they’d all been screwed. Fans were asked to either put wrestlers up for the night in their homes, or drive them across the border.
Only in indy wrestling.
The problem with promoters pulling this shit is twofold.
First off, the boys are getting screwed out of the business. Would you continue to take bookings, knowing there’s a good shot you’re not getting paid? Would you continue to drive across the country, across borders, rent cars and hotel on your own dime? I sure as hell wouldn’t. My time is worth a lot of money (except, you know, when it comes to this blog.) I would never let someone make a fool of me, at my own expense.
Secondly, this kills the fans – in more ways than one. In the case of Extreme Rising, fans paid for tickets to shows that never happened—that they’ll never see. Hundreds of hard-earned dollars, travel plans, vacation days…wasted. As a wrestling fan, it becomes hard to justify pre-ordering tickets to shows, not knowing if you’ll ever get your money’s worth. That’s a pretty shitty feeling.
Part 2, is fans start to associate that shitty feeling with the workers – not the promoters, or their promotions. Instead of blaming Extreme Rising and “Mr. Miami” for failing to deliver the show he promised, they’ll associate that bad feeling with the workers. The same workers who got screwed out of their pay. When those guys are booked again for a show in their area, the fans will think back to the last time they were supposed to see the stars in action, and got ripped off.
Once upon a time, I bought two front row tickets to Ring of Honor at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I bought great tickets to see Ric Flair, who was advertised to referee the main event. When the main event came, Nigel McGuinness came out to Flair’s theme song.
I never bought another Ring of Honor ticket. I never will.
We here at Juice Make Sugar aren’t shy about the things we like. You know we love Santino. If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you know I appreciate Fandango, Summer Rae (Mrs. Angry Andy isn’t a title I throw around very freely). Layla makes me feel like a 13-year-old boy, who just discovered the Internet.
Yet when I see these five on TV, I groan.
It’s not that I don’t like what they’re doing, the way they work together, or what they could accomplish together. My problem is they’re not being given the chance to do much of anything, because nothing they do counts at all.
Every week, we get some combination of Emma, Santino, Fandango and Layla. Every week, it just happens. Every week, there’s some silly flirty stuff between Santino and Emma, and then it’s forgotten until next week.
It’s not bad. There’s definitely a place for it on the show. But at some point, it has to matter. The fact that none of it matters means that none if it can possibly draw. It’s not selling one extra ticket, one extra PPV buy (err, Network subscription), or one T-shirt. Not one.
It wouldn’t take much to make this stuff count. “Winner gets a Divas title match.” “Winner gets a US title shot.” Or, hell, give them something personal to fight about. Have Fandango kiss Emma. Personal angles sell tickets. It’s why Daniel Bryan is the hottest act in pro wrestling. People take what he does personally.
Santino isn’t ever going to be WWE Champion. Fandango probably won’t either, but he could be a lot more than he is. Summer and Emma are future Divas champions.
They’ll sell a lot more T-shirts along the way if WWE makes their matches and feuds matter. Until then, it’s simply a recurring filler segment that isn’t going anywhere, and isn’t helping anyone.
Speaking of Santino Marella…
Eric Young is your TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Don’t Fire Eric, Team Canada, the dufus running around with Joseph Park for the last two years. That’s your TNA Champion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Eric. He’s a talented guy, who clearly puts a lot of work into his body, his promos, and his in-ring work. Solid talent who deserves a spot on the roster. But he’s TNA’s Santino, and Santino doesn’t belong anywhere NEAR the world heavyweight championship. He’s holding it.
TNA has some amazing, world-class talents on its roster. Kurt Angle. Jeff Hardy. Samoa Joe. Booby Roode. James Storm. Magnus. Gunner.
TNA has let world-class talents walk. Alex Shelley. Chris Sabin. AJ Styles. Christopher Daniels. Frankie Kazarian.
But Eric Young is your TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
I’ve said it before, but this time, it’s for good. I’m done with TNA. They put their top prize on a comedy midcarder, then put him over, clean, over a top-talent on pay-per-view.
They must subscribe to the Vince Russo school of booking. The belts are only props, right?
I’ll never care about this company again. I hope it stays around, and continues to give guys a chance to make a living while doing what they love, but seriously, I hate TNA.
This is the same company that just hired yet another scrap from the WWE heap, in former NXT star Kenneth Cameron. You may remember him as the guy who was canned for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer. He’ll win his first title around the time TNA cans Magnus… or when Jarrett finally launches Global Force.