After ten years of importing materials, words, pictures, and videos from other sites her for your viewing and for archiving, I never thought I'd get to the point where I'd be EXPORTING material out to other sites. Yes, the DP continues to grow, and yours truly had the kind opportunity to contribute a guest column to an awesome Pro Wrestling blog with a very large audience. The piece has since been very well received, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so in the future, and maybe even other sites and avenues as well.
You can read the column here on the TNAsylum website (special thanks to them as well for posting), or the entire text below:
Take a quick moment to ponder and answer that question.
Evident by the countless debates and comments made on this site (especially when ratings are announced), I'm sure most of you rattled off at least five to ten issues within ten seconds. Impact Zone? More TV? More promotion? Better Creative?
Whatever your opinion is, I'm sure you have one, and rightfully so. We're all passionate. We all care for the future growth of TNA. We are all fans. And yes, we all have this wrestling bug that we just can't shake.
For most of us, we got this bug at a young age, possibly in the early years of our lives. For me, it was as early as five when I would go to Madison Square Garden with my father to see the likes of Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ted Dibiase and the rest of the old WWF gang. There I was, a young five year-old, snot nosed, kid that yelled, cheered, booed, and screamed at my favorites as well as the guys I despised (and Hogan was one of them, believe it or not!). I followed along with the mannerisms of one of my absolute favorites, The Macho Man Randy Savage, and spun with my jacket tied around my neck emulating his wondrous cape. And yes, I hoisted my make-believe World Championship made in Ms. Fayer's Pre-K art class, reading "World Champien".
As I grew, this bug grew and I continued on into the years of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, and on and on. And of course, years later in my early teens, there was the era we all now know as the "Attitude" era. The era we still hope the industry can emulate, and the era we somehow hold as the gold standard of times in wrestling lore. Monday nights were routine. Home from practice. Homework completed (even if done incorrectly), showered, and in front of a television at 8pm for Nitro's first hour, and the intense guessing and flipping for the next two hours.
There was also Saturday nights. I'm sure I'm not the only one in New York City that stayed up until 2am with heavy eyes to watch ECW.
And of course, that bug eventually grew to Japanese tapes and trading them with friends.
Wrestling was what we loved and we couldn't get enough of it. We enjoyed it all. We ate up the characters, the classic matches, the moments, the catchphrases, sang along to the themes, and even mimicked the moves on our friends.
Admit it, you gave your best friend a stunner or two. We all wanted walk into the room - any room! - with our own entrance music. And I'm sure we all wanted to tell a teacher "it doesn't matter!" when they called on you in 8th period Spanish.
It was later in my teen years with the growth of the internet where I, and I'm sure everyone (unless you were that guy who called the WCW Hotline, and for that, Tony Schiavone thanks you) began to learn the real ins and outs of the business. "Kayfabe" had meaning (ironically Kayfab now does too thanks to Joseph Park), and with that came the sudden and constant micro-analyzing of wrestling.
It seems we went from sitting on the couch and being entertained to suddenly sitting on the couch eyeing our stop watches for the final verdict on in-ring time the first hour had.
We suddenly went from enjoying the over-the-top characters that are forever emblazoned in our minds to scoffing at "gimmicks" and "debut video packages".
How did we go from being excited to watch a Monday Night Raw spoiler of Mic Foley winning the WWF title to now seeing reported spoilers and immediately complaining about "creative direction"?
Since when did we care less about being entertained and enjoying the product, and more about the issues that Dixie Carter faces?
When did being engulfed in the excitement that is pro wrestling become a bad thing, because being a "mark" was the label of death in wrestling fandom?
Now, I'm not attempting to get on my soap box and reign down on everyone, because I'm very much included.
Nor am I saying the debates about such topics aren't valid, as it makes for healthy, insightful, and creative debates. Especially for those that care for the health and well-being of the company that is TNA Wrestling.
However, somewhere along the long the line, and it has been touched on recently with the current initiative of this website to erase negativity, we've become incredibly captivated with attempting to entertain ourselves, thus not allowing TNA to do so.
It's almost to the obsessive and obtrusive point where if TNA does something that is not in line with what we think should be done, it is all of a sudden considered "a problem in TNA".
Now older and married, I find myself moving away from many of the dirt sheets and the overall negative opinions on the wrestling industry, especially those commenting on TNA wrestling. As we all know, much of it is hypocritical and unjust. Not to mention, simply downright nonconstructive and baseless.
Part of this saddening wrestling culture somehow includes throwing jabs at TNA wrestling. Almost in a weird right-of-passage way to solidify the established norm. Negativity towards TNA seems to be foundation-less, and a mere just because.
Nonetheless, I now watch a a lot of pro wrestling with my wife and others who aren't "smart" to the terms, the on-goings, and the situations behind the scenes. While I sit there and cringe through the Claire Lynch storyline, my wife is on the edge of her seat, all riled up that someone is attempting to smear the face of TNA. While I sit there and hope Bobby Roode and Austin Aries can take the tag titles away from Chavo and Hernandez so we don't have to hear Chavo trip over his words and his atrocious entrance theme anymore, she's wrapped up in the upcoming Brooke/Bully wedding. While I debate the best place to move forward with the Aces and Eights storyline, my wife grits her teeth at every match they interrupt, claiming, " I hope someone kicks these guy's ass"
And this goes on and on at house show events and homes throughout America. And with the growing globalization of TNA, the world. All of us that are in the know, or the "IWC", as we have come to be known as, believe that collectively we know what's good for wrestling as a whole.
We've all been there and said it...
"They should do this..."
"TNA needs to..."
"This person needs to take control and.."
"They need to sign this person..."
"Ratings are not doing well because..." (I had to throw that one in there as I love the entertaining ratings debates and comments)
Seeing kids here at the Brooklyn House shows over the past three years wearing Jeff Hardy arm bands (or whatever those things are called) and those who made their own version of Austin Aries' capes out of their pillow cases prove this. There are also the countless adults who wear t-shirts and yell with any self-control to get backstage, as well as the parents who came only to bring their children for a good time and eventually get wrapped up into the night's festivities. All of them - ALL OF THEM - and so much more make you realize that there are people that still see pro wrestling the way I once did. The way we all once did.
As something fun. Something positive. Something that made us imagine, feel, and long for.
So yes, we all know TNA is not a perfect company, and it has lots of work to do to reach the potential we hold it in regards to.
And yes, it has problems. And, you know what? Healthy debates over those issues are always welcomed.
However, the more and more I take a step back from the full-court onslaught of negativity, criticism, cynicism, and helicopter analysis, the more I realize that TNA's biggest problem is simply, jaded wrestling fans.
Fans who are quick to defend that this love is not "fake", while overbearingly taking it too real.