Who Should Replace John Gaburick?

Fix TNA

In my last article - Read here - I pointed that after 1 year with TNA John Gaburick has failed to improve any aspects of which his job entailed. Sure he has been working under difficult circumstances but then we all do and we don’t have the luxury of failure. So with Big John’s head on the proverbial chopping block, in my opinion, I am going to take a look at realistic candidates to feel the role as head of creative.

Now taking into account that the wrestling world is relatively small it will come as no surprise that whoever the Carter family next places in charge would have already performed this role at another company or even TNA. One can only hope that after the Gaburick experiment, he had no experience in a role like this before, has at the very least shown Dixie that she needs to select someone who will have an idea of what they are doing.

So lets look over the TNA creative alumni and see who/if any can make an “Impact”.

Bruce Prichard

Bruce Prichard came over from WWE where it seemed he just worked in conjunction with the creative team and as an agent. Lasting nearly 2 years as head of creative in TNA, though some would argue that was just a title, Prichard was neither qualified or experienced enough for this role. While ratings did slightly improve, the company bled a lot of money during his time and while not all of that can be blamed on Prichard, the buck has to stop somewhere. Also of note is that Prichard inserted himself on screen during the interminable Gut Check series. Having a had a reputation as just a “Yes man” within WWE, Prichard was always going to find it tough at the top on his own. He was released from TNA in July 2013.

VERDICT

Maybe…….. there are better available but ratings did slightly improve under Prichard. Personally I don’t think he has what it takes to cut it as the main man, the job is just too big for him. However he could definitely contribute under a main writer as part of a team. With less pressure maybe TNA could get the best out of his near 30 years worth of experience.

Hogan and Bischoff TNA

Eric Bischoff was another guy who was given a crack at the whip, depending on who you speak to. One thing for sure is that when Bischoff and co-arrived in TNA, changes happened. Well to be more specific, lots of changes, which surely could not have been a coincidence. No doubt Bischoff has pedigree in this field and what he managed with WCW was nothing short of brilliant. What isn’t so brilliant unfortunately is the state he left WCW in, by the time Bischoff was removed as head of TNA, the ratings had plummeted to a 2.6. At its peak WCW Nitro was pulling 4.0 and above with ease. Again I am not putting all the blame on Bischoff but he was at the top and simply had no long term plan for WCW. His tenure in TNA seemed to consist of him talking through segments, allegedly making decisions backstage and pushing his son Garrett way ahead of far more deserving talent.

VERDICT

Dixie should steer well clear from Easy E no matter how much Hogan or anyone endorses him. Aside from his poor run already within the company, its blatantly obvious that Bischoff doesn’t care about TNA. In recent podcast appearances with Steve Austin and Jim Ross, Bischoff didn’t mention TNA once. In close to over 3 hours of conversations not at anytime did Bischoff even hint at having worked for TNA, nor did he speak about TNA when asked about his son, Garrett. All Bischoff said was that Garrett is a great worker with natural ability who is under utilized. When asked about another book Bischoff stated that nothing interesting had happened and that it would be nothing more than a pamphlet. Over 3 years with TNA and other ventures and Bischoff describes it as nothing interesting. That right there is reason alone to not go back down the Bischoff route.

On a side note I am not going to address Hulk Hogan or Paul Heyman as both are tied under contract to WWE and therefore unobtainable.

Vince Russo TNA

Vince Russo has previously worked in the TNA creative department, much to the amusement/annoyance of TNA fans who have been more than vocal about his involvement in the past. Having been head writer in WWF/E and WCW, he is more than qualified and has all the relevant experience one requires for the position. Also unlike others Russo is very strong willed and won’t let wrestlers or other members of staff dictate to him. Obviously Russo comes with negativity as many fans have a perception of him that is set in stone and may try to hijack matches or segments with “FIRE RUSSO” chants. However, as proven, Russo can contribute well to a show if given the opportunity.

VERDICT

So it’s time to bring on the abuse as for me I would urge Dixie to hand over full creative control to Vince Russo. Now before I am put before a line of people holding stones, let me put my case forward. When Vince Russo was made head writer in WWE it was after RAW had just pulled a 1.9 rating in March 1997. By March 1998, the rating was up to a 4.4 and it continued to get higher. WWF/E have never had the kind of ratings they had when Vince Russo was writing there show, that’s not an opinion the numbers make it a fact. No doubt people will point to WCW, and still to this day, people blame him for the demise of the company. Again though if one looks at the ratings Russo took over WCW when it was in the 2.6 range and within a few weeks Nitro was back up to a 3.4. Russo was fired and rehired 4 months later where the numbers again had dropped as low as a 1.8. It took 3-6 weeks under Russo’s booking for WCW to get back to a 3.2. His last ever Nitro pulled a 3.6….WCW never achieved as high a number again before being bought out by WWE. Even when given complete control of TNA for 8 weeks numbers remained steady under Russo. Another positive is that Russo has a penchant for pushing mid card acts and thus is always creating fresh main eventers……something TNA fans have long complained about.

If anyone wants anymore evidence, just simply read what the man himself writes at www.pyroandballyhoo.com. Some of the articles will blow you away and show what a great mind Vince Russo has for the wrestling business when allowed to just write and not deal with politics etc. There is no doubt in my mind that Russo is the man who could really make a difference to TNA and replace John Gaburick.

We all want TNA to not just survive but thrive…….so here is hoping that Dixie for once does copy WWE and does “what’s best for business”.  “HIRE RUSSO!!!”

 

Who do you guys think should be in charge of creative?

 

@mcnm1981

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  • Adam Eaton

    Jim Ross or Mick Foley should get the job

    • Mark M

      Thank you for reading. Jim Ross would be great but has rules himself out of working for TNA at any point in any capacity….unfortunately as he has a terrific feel for talent and wrestling.

      Mick Foley really didn’t impress me when he penned the whole Ric Flair angle they did over Summerslam 2006. Lots of the promos, which Foley tooke credit for, were far too insider and disjointed for me. If he can’t put one angle together then i would be reluctant to trust him everyone’s.

      • Adam Eaton

        But that was one angle that was very personal. I bet given the opportunity he would shine

        • Mark M

          You could well be right. I agree that particular angle was personal and maybe that affected the writing of it?

  • Luchador

    Russo had ideas that’s in the past a lot of years had gone by and ideas run out so I would look for someone else and is EB officially gone from TNA? I haven’t heard anything about that

    • Mark M

      EB production company still does Impact but I don’t believe he is involved with creative. Even if he is its irrelevant as he refuses to acknowledge TNA in any interview he does.
      Russo still has a great mind for the business. The way he explains wrestling/entertainment angles on his website is quite incredible and I do feel he is still up to date with pop culture.

      • Luchador

        maybe given E.B a second chance with no Hogan since his under contract anyways it would be a different story, they given Russo chances why not to EB

        • Mark M

          Maybe….but i just get the feeling Bischoff really doesn’t care for TNA and would more than likely still try to bring in his mates over his opening period. The fact he took the job in TNA before whilst being unfamiliar with the product says it all for me.

      • http://miscellaneousmumble.blogspot.com/ Alex Barie

        While I think Jason Harvey still appears in production for TNA, I do know Eric Bischoff is not part of the same. He may be a consultant at home, but I honestly don’t think that means anything. I think he has finished up with the company. The reason why he didn’t talk about TNA at all is because it was in his contract with TNA. It’s not too common in the wrestling business to have a “non-disclosure” agreements.

        • Mark M

          Its in Eric Bischoff’ contract not to talk about TNA?

          • http://miscellaneousmumble.blogspot.com/ Alex Barie

            Yes. I believe it was in Hogan’s too. That makes me wonder what they were trying to hide.

          • Mark M

            Wow!! Also that is a great question Alex, exactly what were they trying to hide?

          • TNA Chris

            Plenty of companies have non disclosure documents.

  • Alfred Brickrock

    TNA are clearly in a rebuild, so it would behoove TNA to bring in somebody with a track record with young wrestlers. Some would automatically assume I’m suggesting Paul Heyman…wrong. Bit not far off. I’m suggesting Heyman’s protege in ECW, Gabe Sapolsky. Think of the talent he brought up in ROH. Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Nigel, the Briscoe. His Summer of Punk angle and Samoe Joe’s dominance are just a couple of example’s of his strong booking style.

    • Mark M

      Great choice and when he booked the shows ROH was about as good as anything in the wrestling business. Also Dragon Gate which he helped create was a big hit. My only doubt would be that booking a wrestling show and writing a TV show are different. He may need some help in terms of structuring but he really could make a difference to the product.

      • Alfred Brickrock

        Lagana and Conway could easily stick around. When the Heyman to TNA rumours were hot in 2010, it was said that Heyman wanted to bring in Sapolsky and Lagana to be part of his team. I just think bIg John is a bit over his head with being Director of both Creative and Talent Relations. The dual role didn’t work with Pritchard and it has not worked with Gaburick.

        • Mark M

          Totally agree that Big John is in way over his head but that always seems to be a problem in TNA that they release someone and then give the job to someone with lesser experience.

    • Tim Maxey

      that would be amazing gabe would improve tna bye alot

  • Ardvark

    Jim Ross and Paul Heyman would be dream signings but what about Tommy Dreamer? he was known as the heart of ECW had a good relationship with talent and has produced a few good House of Hardcore shows and Al Snow as well apparently TPTB are high up on him so how about these two working with Russo or Pritchard.

    • Mark M

      Tommy Dreamer has been very much touted as having a good wrestling mind and the House of Hardcore shows have received positive reviews. As long as he keeps himself off TV then why not. Again Al Snow is familiar with the product and it would be different. Working with a Russo who knows how to structure a TV show would be the perfect blend.

  • pw1229

    One downside about hiring Russo is that Wrestle-1 would end their relationship with TNA. Wrestle-1 made it clear that Russo is racist and if he is involved with TNA, they wouldn’t work with TNA anymore. So there’s that.

    • Mark M

      Great point……personally I don’t think Russo is racist and while maybe his comments regarding guys wearing masks or not being able to speak English weren’t polite, they were very much spot on. Sure there are exceptions like Rey Mysterio but very few compared to those who flopped.

  • O’m7

    Jim Cornette would be my shout as long as Prichard, Russo & the rest of the writers are gone, Have JC head up a creative team of Taz,Tommy Dreamer, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels,Joey Ryan & Bully Ray, an old head to lead younger guys with fresh ideas… they couldn’t be any worse than the current lot

    • Mark M

      Jim Cornette has a terrific wrestling brain but also can be far too volatile and would probably end up making more enemies than friends. Also I don’t think that many guys in creative would work. The old adage too many chefs spoil the broth etc.

      • O’m7

        I see your point although as long as as there’s clear defined roles ie Bully Ray works on the creative of Promo’s, Daniels & Kazarian tag division & so on, Then you have an inner-circle of Jim Cornette, Taz & Tommy Dreamer who make the decisions with JC as final say.. you always have to have somebody with the final say. As long as they have a clear structure, the more creative minds they have sit in at the discussion table to plug ideas to JC, Taz & TD the better, As long as boundaries are not crossed. outside of bringing ideas the rest could be given roles as agents, talent spotters & Quality Control ( that one needs serious looking at, some of the ring attire & image of some wrestlers needs to be evaluated, plus recently DR dying his hair for a bet.. that would never happen without permission in WWE ).
        As for JC been too volatile, well yes that can be the case however as long as he’s not dealing with the likes of Russo & Prichard, I think it could work once he’s in charge & I also think they need someone strong minded & passionate about wrestling & will who not book matches where both competitors end up getting squashed like Russo did. I really think TNA should follow the first rule of corporate business.. promote from within where possible, you have people more involved & productivity will improve. TNA need that family ethic for it to be a success because they can’t compete with the pound signs of WWE.

        • Mark M

          That is a great way of looking at it and something which on paper could really work. Anything that is fresh and different can only benefit creative which, with all due respect is becoming somewhat stagnant. Lets hope TNA/Dixie go with something soon.

          • TNA Chris

            Problem is cornette thinks he knows everything. No thanks

          • Mark M

            On some level, that is the kinda mind set TNA needs. Someone with one vision and wont be swayed. Gaburick admitted in his interview that he takes ideas from everywhere and just tries to mesh them all together. That simply doesn’t work.

          • TNA Chris

            I see what you’re saying, but the guy is very old school and we are in a new age of wrestling. I’d rather see someone younger in there that understands the business evolved.

          • Mark M

            Oh definitely Gaburick needs to go. I respect that Russo is around 53 years old but when you read his articles on his website you can see that he is still very much in tune with pro wrestling and pop culture.

    • Tim Maxey

      god NO Jim Cornete almost ruined ROH

      • Mark M

        To be fair everyone has blemishes on their records when it comes to creative but I do see where you’re coming from.

  • TNA Chris

    I would love to see JR, but that’s not going to happen.

    I personally think Chris Jericho would be good at it, but he has a band.

    • Mark M

      Listening to YSJ’s podcast he definitely has a good mind for the business and is familiar with the TNA product. Unfortunately he is very much focusing on Fozzy plus i doubt he would take any wrestling related job outside of WWE. But no doubt he would do a good job.

      • TNA Chris

        I think whoever they hire outside of heyman (creative wise) that has actual years of experience with it are going to be busts.

        It would be interesting to see if Kevin Von Erich would be good at it though or one if the Hart kids.

        • Mark M

          Personally I would try to avoid someone with a wrestling family as nepotism will creep in. Heyman no doubt is amazing but he does have blemishes on his record like everyone and I really can’t see him leaving his cushy job in WWE.

          • TNA Chris

            If we’re staying away from wrestling families then this company would not even exist. The BEST HEAD OF CREATIVE in the world is from a wrestling family. The McMahon family, there has to be a tell there that it’s ok.

          • Mark M

            But look at what nepotism has done to WWE. By putting Steph in charge WWE ratings have remained stagnant for the last 12 years, while Smackdown’s have fallen off a cliff compared to what they were.

          • TNA Chris

            Is that because Steph/HHH are in charge or because they have no competition to push them to that next level?

          • Mark M

            A company as insulated as WWE wouldn’t rely on competition. Its been well noted that Vince doesn’t watch anything outside of WWE. Also with no competition that would mean there are wrestling fans out there who are no longer watching. If WWE were to engage them in wouldn’t matter if there was an alternative or not.
            The conundrum Vince has is that he can’t fire his own daughter and if he moves her away from creative and someone new increases viewership that will make Steph look incompetent.

          • TNA Chris

            Vince might have never watched the competition, but he did look at the ratings and so did the guys in the back. It heightened their game. Michael Hayes has went on record saying competition is what made the attitude era so good.

          • Mark M

            I would say it made Vince take a risk on say letting Russo write the show, but the show still had to be written in a way that attracted the viewers it got.

          • TNA Chris

            True, but the best way to get ratings now is innovation and reality. People like things that are new and edgey

          • Mark M

            I agree people like innovative, fresh, edgey TV, and that could certainly work. It needs to be balanced though, hardcore fans liked Punk’s pipebombs but ratings went down during them as casual fans (the ones wrestling companies really want) didnt know what he was talking about.