Richard Gray’s #August1Warning Manifesto & The Realization Of TNA’s Meager Beginnings

Tito OrtizOutrage, resentment, anger – these are the reactions I see all across social media one day after TNA Impact Wrestling unveiled their latest mystery talent as Tito Ortiz.

This does nothing to help TNA. Wrestling fans only care about wrestling. It had to be a wrestler. These are all the reactions popping up and it’s fine to have them. In fact, I’m not a fan on the surface of how the campaign was brought about. Let me explain.

Cryptic viral marketing campaigns tend to create unrealistic expectations. In a couple of weeks, we’ll hold our Fantasy Football Draft. We will select NFL players that we’ll carry throughout the 2013 season and hope they’ll be able top create enough “points” from week to week to lead our team to a championship… and a $200+ payday. Prior to Draft Day, I often find myself fantasizing of what it would be like if I was able to nab the top player at every position. A near impossibility, it’s a thought that often creeps through my mind as I do my pre-draft research and create my cheat sheets.

In sports, most fans like to dream of their favorite team acquiring the top players in the world. Even if we know there’s little to no chance of some acquisitions happening, it doesn’t stop us from posting “what if” blogs or tinkering with the idea of assembling a dream team that we can follow to dominance throughout the season.

GoldbergThis is what happens with these viral marketing campaigns. Most of us are realistic people. We understand the likes of Dave Batista or Bill Goldberg aren’t going to randomly pop up in TNA Wrestling but it doesn’t stop the scenarios. What if this happens? I wonder what that would be like?

One of the reasons Sting is able to work over a decade past his prime is how much pro wrestling fans love and appreciate nostalgia. We like to see top names from the past come back and make an impact (no pun intended). The Undertaker spoils us every year by putting on improbable matches at Wrestlemania when the talk leading up is always “this could be it.”

Because of our own thoughts and dreams and fantasy scenarios compiled with our thirst for nostalgia, we create unrealistic expectations. As soon as TNA [or WWE for that matter] start teasing a new debut or character or return, our senses go into overdrive. We take all of these elements and create these “earth rattling” scenarios that actually have little chance of happening. We then judge what actually happens to our own scenarios and almost always end up disappointed.

In 2011, WWE did a cryptic viral marketing campaign to re-introduce The Undertaker to the WWE audience and program him against Triple H for a No Holds Barred Match at Wrestlemania XXVII. The videos were mysterious and featured Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down).” WWE accomplished their goal by creating a buzz and while many figured the campaign was to be used to re-introduce Undertaker, the what-if it is Sting scenario crept in.

The buzz was so loud WWE actually went to Sting to gauge his interest. Despite being close, Sting and WWE didn’t come to terms and Undertaker was brought back under the campaign. While I had known all along the possibility of Sting going to WWE to work a “dream feud” at Wrestlemania was unlikely, I convinced myself it was a possibility and a result, I was disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Who did you expect?

This is the first question I want to ask everyone that is outraged over Tito Ortiz being behind the #August1Warning videos. Yeah, I know that Batista and Chris Jericho and Goldberg got name dropped in the videos but realistically, who did you expect?

Who do you think there is left out there that is a realistic option that can actually make people tune in?

TNA currently employs Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and others on top of several young up and coming talent on top of other hogan-tnanames that have either become household names or have been top stars in promotions like Ring of Honor.

When one considers that Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Booker T and Kevin Nash were also at one time part of this list, one thing is clear. Talent is not the issue in TNA.

TNA has more talent than they know what to do with (e.g. Rob Van Dam). They have the legends, the top guys, the young up and comers, the TNA talent roster is as deep as any promotion in the world and rivals that of WWE. The names are there.

Can you believe that while on Twitter Friday, one of my followers suggested it Adam Pearce should have been behind #August1Warning? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Adam Pearce fan and felt the Gut Check Challenge (his last appearance on TNA TV) was above him, but really? Is that really rational and would that have satisfied the masses? Do the masses know who Adam Pearce is?

Who did you expect?

A fair point to criticize:

RampageImpactWrestlingIt was only a couple months ago that Dixie Carter teased a major free agent signing. Speculation was rampant until it was announced that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was the latest former UFC name to ink a contract that would see him act, wrestle and fight across a partnership with TNA, Bellator MMA and Paramount Pictures (through Spike TV). A lot of fans criticized this move.

This time, they didn’t clamor for Adam Pearce but they clamored for the likes of Shelton Benjamin. No disrespect either, I’m a huge Shelton Benjamin fan but do the masses even know who Shelton Benjamin is?

I defended TNA for the decision as I’ll defend it now. Rampage Jackson, while not a wrestler, is a name that people recognize. That doesn’t mean he can work a match to save his life but his name still has value.

One, however, can argue that the Rampage Jackson signing is still fresh. People are still unsure about fighters in wrestling (much like MMA fans are unsure about wrestlers in fighting) and to announce another… well that would just be overkill.

I totally understand that and don’t blame you for that. It’s your right to not want to see two guys – MMA guys – come to a wrestling company in less than three months when we don’t know if they can even work a match. Not to mention TNA’s other crossover star, King Mo, has done next to nothing in the ring.

Why it was done:

At the end of the day Tito Ortiz was brought [back] to TNA so they could script him to feud with Rampage Jackson and increase interest in their fight scheduled for November 2, 2013 on Bellator PPV. Smoke screen or not, the announcement, came on the heels of rumors that Jackson was going to box – yes, box – Roy Jones, Jr. on pay-per-view.

So perhaps you’re feeling a bit ripped off. Cheated if you will. You were expecting an asset and you ended up playing into a viral marketing campaign. This was a business decision and it accomplished its goal. The goal of grabbing your attention.

Kick ‘em while their down:

One of the reasons I felt so compelled to write what is now turning into a manifesto of sorts is that I despise when people kick others while they’re down just for the hell of it. Some think that shows power, I think it shows insecurity and weakness.

TNA is coming off a hellacious month. They had to make significant roster cuts. While the majority of the names released were less than notable, mass cuts cause mass chaos. People not expecting to be asked to take less money, getting asked to take less money starts rumors.

Did you hear TNA actually ran a show last month in Missouri featuring eight workers in five matches? July 2013 was a bad month for TNA Wrestling. However, let’s not get confused here. There were some negative things, some things that could have been handled better but all of the sudden; everyone with an opinion has access to TNA’s financials.

The doubters and haters and trolls are out in droves driving the final nail in TNA’s coffin. I read prior to the #August1Warning that “TNA was reaching for straws with this.” Really? And how do you know this?

TNA just announced a major international television deal in India yet they’re “reaching for straws” and about to go out of business?

All because someone that wasn’t a top name and didn’t really have a creative direction was released?

A lot of the hatred and disdain I’m seeing today comes from a group of people that enjoy piling it on when things look bad. You know, the “when it rains, it pours” type people. Why not try and kick someone when they’re on top? Kick someone that can kick back. If your points are valid, they’ll hold up regardless of opposition, unless of course your points aren’t your points at all.

Form your own opinion:

Bob HollyTommy Dreamer, Bob Holly and Dave Meltzer were three names I saw that ripped into TNA for #August1Warning. Their criticism even became headline news on some websites. Beside the fact that these seem like three completely random names to pull together and make a headline on a website, their opinions do not have to be your opinions.

Sure, Tommy has always had a slice of the IWC’s heart and Bob Holly’s a big tough guy and Meltzer is Meltzer but guess what, you don’t have to share their opinion. Once a few people make up their mind about something, the masses usually follow. It becomes the new “cool thing to do.” Well, this guy is kinda cool and he thinks this so if I think that then I’ll look cool like them.

When I saw the firestorm of critics that greeted my social media Friday morning I asked each one why they were so upset.

Most of the points were recycled from some of the people I mentioned above.

There are some publications that believe that today is national bash TNA Wrestling day. You should see some of the stuff I’ve seen. Kick ‘em while they are down, that’ll make us look “smart” and “informed” and “in the know.” Maybe it just makes you look like a jackass.

Form your own opinion; don’t let me or the media or Facebook or Twitter or anyone else decide for you. Analyze the situation and form your own opinion. Then feel free to stand strong and support it.

What I think:

I think people are going way overboard on their reactions. Perhaps I am desensitized when it comes to this kind of stuff but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. TNA ran a viral campaign for Tito Ortiz. He fights Rampage in November. What’s the big deal?Tito vs. Rampage

From a marketing perspective, it got people talking. From a crossover perspective, it gives the rare opportunity to tell a story leading into a legitimate fight. It might work and it might not. We won’t know until the buys come down.

TNA is not going out of business because they’re bringing in Tito Ortiz to cross promote an MMA fight. They could go out of business tomorrow but it won’t be because of Tito Ortiz or the fact they decided to make some cuts. If TNA goes out of business it will be based on a decision from the people that financially support them.

The fact of the matter is we don’t know if Dixie Carter and company are raking in millions or if they’re on the brink of financial collapse. TNA is a privately held company and their financial information is not public. Most of the people that claim to “know without knowing” don’t know anything. They would have a hard time itemizing the expenses for a single event, much less reconciling the company budget.

Something hit me the other day while I was speaking with Bobby Roode. TNA started at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Think about where TNA is today and think about where they started.

Sure, they haven’t come close to challenging WWE and their ratings aren’t where many had hoped they would be but they started at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

TNA could be a phenomenal success story telling itself right before your eyes but you’re too busy blasting everyone that will listen over a viral marketing campaign. They could be yet another pro wrestling tragedy as well but if TNA closed up shop tomorrow, would it be a tragedy?

TNA started at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

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  • Charlie

    I have to admit, I didn't have a name to expect. I just didn't want another mma dude. All of the things people were saying about Bob Holly, or someone like that were fine, but I would have gone for any Wrestler over another fighter.

  • NightWolf76

    I half to admit was let down by the AUGUST1WARNING also but if take the fact they now have three mma guys under contract counting KING MO could be a build up of a new faction MMA VS PRO WRESTLING feud maybe these guys are tired of these pro wrestlers thinking they can do MMA and coming to challenge them let's know forget who else has signed with BELLATOR RANDY THE NATURAL COUTURE if he signs with TNA all makes since the two guys I had in mind where GOLDBERG and the biggest shock ULTIMATE WARRIOR coming to finally call out HOGAN and challenge his former blade runner partner to a dream match I would like to see that my self WARRIOR VS STING if RANDY shows up soon on TNA/IMPACT wrestling then all makes since where is going and RAMPAGE is going to turn on MEM aligning him self with the new MMA faction it is coming I can smell that would be another dream match RANDY NATURAL COUTURE VS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST KURT ANGLE in a shoot style wrestling match.

  • wrestlingscoops2323

    it was a huge letdown and major disaportiment and pissed alot of people off and tna did a great job in pissing all of there fans off so why would tna want to piss all of there fans off like that and they knew the fans would hate tito ortiz being the augustfirstwarning guy so why do it

  • http://wwenews.net Kendra Bunyon

    I disagree Richard. What people are seeing, and are most upset about are two things. ..

    1- TNA released a large group of wrestlers claiming they’re restructuring due to cost cutting. Then, within a month they bring in a huge name like Ortiz. Even though the wrestlers cut were not cut for money to bring in Ortiz, it doesn’t look good for the company as a whole. In fact, it looks really dirty on many levels. Yes, it’s basically bad timing, but that can really hurt.

    2- TNA is a wrestling company and the fans are sick of hearing that ‘wrestling matters’ when it really doesn’t seem to right now. Yes, there were two fantastic matches on Impact this week, but they were greatly shadowed by Ortiz. The WWE brings in non-wrestlers, but they are for short little bits, usually one show, not looking like they are signed by the company to wrestle. These MMA fights are over-shadowing the actual wrestlers, and that’s not cool.

    By the time Impact ended, the rumors were flying so much that all I cared about was that he was a wrestler. TNA needs to market and push themselves, but as a wrestling company.

    These are my own thoughts and feelings, not something taken from a wrestler or other writer.

    KB

    • Eggtrocious

      A-M-E-N. We're also ignoring the fact that *they got rid of Prichard too*. This, along with standing by their "chemical abuser du jour" while letting Sorenson go (I've gone on about that and I'll continue to because of the classless nature of the move). All this…for Tito Ortiz? Really? If a company is doing well, why cut costs in this manner. I completely agree with everything Kendra said.

      • jay

        I’m doing ok for cash but I still look for ways to spend less every month. It’s just sensible

    • Clint

      tna isnt funding him completely, he is there because of bellator mma

  • jflegler

    After perusing through twitter, I have encountered hundreds of tweets stating something along the lines of "first time I watched Impact all the way through, disappointed", or "tuned into Impact for the first time ever to see August warning and it was a letdown", or better yet "I knew TNA would blow this again, that's why I watch WWE".

    TNA has dropped the ball in expanding their wrestling audience. Potential WWE fans tuned in only to be let down; subsequently, further mocking the product. They are continuously losing credibility as a promotion that brings in good wrestling talent, i.e., MMA fighters, gutcheck, etc…

  • Stephen

    I dont have an issue with the signing. I have an issue with the booking and commentary. First they have im come out as Anderson accepts the challenge. He does nothing just stands there. The announcers dont even tell you who he is or that he is fighting Rampage. Nor do they mention that its a return to the company. But then Ive never been a fan of TNA announcers they have all sucked.

  • Sheldon

    I bet he doesn’t know what a try hard is but I think he’s a Dave Meltzer try hard

  • Mark freeman

    This is my problem. Yes Wwe have give us people like Mr T, LT and Floyd Mayweather in matches. They were one off shots to bring in WM viewers, it grabbed main stream headlines and worked. UFC guys aren’t the same mainstream level as the guys mentioned above. Yes rampage and Ortiz are two of the most well know but still not Mayweather. Then we have the WCW feel that TNA gives off. Talent getting underused then a C Grade movie star wins the heavy weight title. As a younger guy David Arquette winning the title was pretty cool, but as I’ve grown up and learnt more I can see how much it shouldn’t of happened. Yes guys coming in creates hype, good. If the build for the mma fight is done on impact then it’s good as it will bring in mma fan to watch the build. I just don’t want Tna to become a two hour bellator pre show.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    Great job Richard, thank you for that column, andy for being a voice of reason. This and your recent comments providing perspective is why I still visit this site regulalry. Too many folks mainly commenters and Kendra are way too hard on tna and dont seems to have a basic sense of business or events reality. They only want to be negative and nothing would have pleased them. The augustwarning really wasnt a big deal. I only heard about it on here, so only hardcore fans were even aware of it. I seriously doubt amybody tuned into tna for the first time because of a weeklong viral campaign. Its just a marketing thing. And the show without tito was an amazing show with great matches, so how can his little spot possibly take away from a, fantastic in ring show? Holly is, probably mad because it wasnt him , I tjought it looked like, him, I ve got nothing against, Holly but he wouldnt have pleased anybody. Great point also on how ridiculous it is to say tna is going out of business on the heels of its huge tv deal in india.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    How can people say tna is abandoning ” wrestling matters ” after seeing sabin v manic, aj v aries andy even odb v. Kim , and roode v. Hernandez, those were fantastic matches two of them ppv quality aj andy aries was wrestlemania quality. How does tito take away from that ? And from what I understand spike pays tito not tna so this amd their roster cuts are unrelated, they are cross promoting for their network which is good for business, he opposite of what every troll thinks. Its not popular with some fans but its very smart in the big picture. They cant survive without spike andy true wrestling fans wont abamdon a, great in ring product because of tito.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    People are saying they are letdown then memtion roster cuts. Well how pissed would they have been if it had been a wrestler that tna had to pay instead of a bellator guy spike pays. If it was somebody like goldberg any overated money hog? Comes on people would have gone nuts. If tna brought in Bob Holly after letting go folks like Morgan or Doc or sorensen fans would be livid. Adam Pearce may have pleased the iwc , I like Pearce but he is not very well known.andy everybody excuses wwe for this because when they do it its a one off like with mayweather, except it wasnt mayweather was on many a raw andy had a spot on mania. Andy how do we know tito wont be a one off, I think he will he will probably make a few appearances to promotes the fight andy go away I doubt he will wrestle much if at all. Of course I dont know that but neither do the haters, we dont know.

  • Scotty Dee

    My problem is TNA is debuting them, but they are not trained to wrestle yet. My idea would be if TNA is going to put them on TV it is to build for a feud in TNA. If I wanted to watch MMA I will watch MMA. But I’m a pro wrestling fan & what I love more. Your wondering why fans are outraged. It’s because the fans clearly don’t want MMA invading. I mean MMA fans hate wrestlers invading MMA. TNA needs these guys to draw. Then what is wrong with TNA Superstars?

  • jay

    Well, I for one am loving tna at the moment. I don’t care that it was Ortiz (that may change if they don’t do anything with him). The answer is simple, if you don’t like it, dont watch. I will be watching closely as I’m loving the bfg series etc. Stop moaning over what are essentially guesses from anyone not in tna.

    • Chris

      Here’s the problem, people aren’t watching anyway. There were people tuning in for the first time, intrigued by this gimmick, only to find out it’s a washed up UFC guy, coming to promote a fight with another washed up UFC guy. From a psychological stand point, they could had people based on the ring work of the night, in spite of the boring ass segments between matches, until their big reveal. The lack of reaction from the crowd locked it up, Tito COULD have been a draw 5-10 years ago, now he’s not. Kimbo Slice would gave been a better choice, and he’d have still flopped.

      • jay

        How cam you say no one is watching? They have huge ratings in the UK and over a million people watch in the US every week. Yes that could be better but clearly there are people watching.

  • Ignorance Ignored

    This sounds more like an excuse for the massive amount of talent that was released not even a month ago. Does anyone know who Adam Pearce was? No but did anyone know who others names TNA brought in the past like Judas Mesias and running vignettes of the never had a chance Trytan. Just a few example of how TNA hires wrestlers that clearly never lived up to anyones expectaions.

    Besides, it's up to a company to build that certain performer and the simple matter of them bringing in 3 names from MMA that are well known (atleast 2 anyways) does no good in helping the actual product. Sure it may help their relationship with Spike but regardless it turns fans off from wanting to give TNA a fair chance in competing on some levels with WWE.

    Sure we see Brock Lesnar from time to time but that's it and atleast he's doing more than any of the current MMA stars have done for TNA itself. If anything it'll help Belletor gain more of an audience while TNA loses theirs. So far the ratings are on the same level they were before Dixie decided to bring in Hogan and others.

    Another problem is that Spike isn't pushing the issue for TNA to try and gain a bigger following. They'd rather be merely satisfied with the 1.0 ratings they garner each week but seriously, what has changed since they changed from going to FSN to Spike? They only manage to dig themselves in a bigger financial hole while bringing in guys like Ortiz after firing the talent which shouldn't have never happened in the first place and if you are saying you are going to release talent due to financial issues but then bringing in guys like Ortiz who is probably making six figures only makes you look foolish. It does not matter if it's to help promote an upcoming fight that's what…….another 3 months away? Where's the justification in firing all those people you did and bring in Ortiz who is only going to help Belletor NOT TNA? I'll answer that, there's none.

    Dixie wants to give this illusion that they are all for the fans when in reality it's only to fill her own ignorant ego while kissing Hogan's ass agreeing with everything he wants done, no matter how many casualties are left behind and no matter if it drives the company into a bigger financial crisis. She only brings in these people to save face with Spike rather than the fans but even the fans are clearly unaware of how bad the product has gotten blindly following anything that's put in front of them rather than seeking out an actual alternative.

    Adam Pearce would be the most logical choice and would make alot of sense since he's worked with a good amount of the homegrown talent in TNA. Not to mention he's got tons of experience in what makes wrestling entertaining. I beleive Hogan doesn't want his power corrupted by the likes of Pearce because he clearly has a better vision of how wrestling should be viewed today, not the same recycled bs we've seen already in during the final days of WCW or making ridiculous characters like Joseph Park? Then there's those 2-3,000 dollar photo shoots of making the women look more like cheap hookers than actual wrestlers.

    That along with gutting your roster of up and coming talent only claiming it was due to financial concerns only to bring in Tito Ortiz just help another company out is not only demeaning to those released talent but it's hypocritical.

    I could care less if nobody agreeswith my statement and it is a statement but if anybody feels compelled to reply negatively then just read my name.

    That is all.

    • Michael

      You are TOTALLY LOST and `Ignorant` of the actual goal and reason for this move !

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    Wwe is great right now but remember the guests gms. Remember John Heder, Jeremy piven , the guy from Psych and others actualy being in the ring for the main event of raws, now that was ridiculous. Im not thrilled , with all the mma guys except Rampage who I do think was a good hire, but at least the mma guys look credible. I know they may not have training but at least the idea of them competing in a ring is believable and credible, because of their mma skills. andy correct mean if im wrong but ive heard spike was paying tito so tnas roster cuts are irrelavent. Some people are impossible to please and just want to pile on tna. Tell me really how did tito ruins a great night of wrestling. of people are this let down they should question their own naivette for getting to sucked into a weeklong viral campaign. At least the wrestling was great.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    I dont like Hogan but seriously does any body think he kept Pearce, out because hes scared of him corrupting his power? If he was that worried (which is, ridiculous)he wouldnt have let him on his show in the first place giving him a national stage. and letting tna fans seen him in action. I had never seen Pearce before but I was impressex with his ring amd mic work. I like Joeseph Park not as much as Abyss but at least he is on tv and getting paid, the Abyss gimmick needed a break it will be back. And as far as the knockouts I kind, of agree with you but its the same thing wwe does idea hardly call it just a rehash of wcw ideas.

  • Greyson

    Who did I expect? A wrestler. Benjamin, Pearce, Morrison, Masters, Rekks, anyone whom was released recently and knows how to work and is a name. Doesn’t matter if its a household name as long as its a name people recognize. The big difference is this: Tito Ortiz is a big name, and people tuned in to see him revealed, but they WILL NOT pay to see him fight in a pre-determined sport. If it was someone like Holly, Dreamer, Chris Masters, Johnny Nitro or Brooklyn Brawler, people will watch when Rey wrestle.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    People paid to see ken shamrock(.and to a lesser degree Steve Blackman andy Dan Severn) perform in a predetermined sport. Shamrock drew mpre fans than Pearce , Benjamin or Morrison ever did, and I am a fan of all those guys. And Tyler Reks really?

    • Chris

      Problem with that is that Shamrock and Severn were actually pro wrestlers for a long time. Ortiz is coming in with a big build, at 38 years old. MMA guys (as Rampage showed everyone) are terrible on the mic, add to that their lack of time in a wrestling ring, you now have a deadly concoction.

  • Wrecklesdischarge

    Iwc fans want wrestling shows, tailormade to their tastes but guess what the iwc is a very small portion of tna andespecialy wwes audience. If they ignored casual fans and crossing over to other areas of pop culture and only tried to appease, the fickel nature of the iwc. they couldnt afford the talent they have or to be on tv and would be, in armorys and high schools gyms. This stuff is a necessary evil to keep wrestlng on a national stage

  • wwe forever

    tna is never going to compete with wwe. vince McMahon sees tna as a joke. he does not care that tna has a 60 year old has been like hulk" say brother 1,000 times" Hogan or a 54 year old sting who leech money from a moron like Dixie carter who thinks these guys are "stars" in 2013. it is not 1998 anymore.

    vince even fired kurt angle in 2006 over his drug addiction and his departure did not "hurt" wwe in any way because wwe has the man, the icon, the immortal, JOHN FELIX ANTHONY CENA.

  • Cheddar

    Richard.

    That was a well written article. The only thing I would disagree with is your point about "the masses" not knowing who Adam Pearce or Shelton Benjamin are. I did not know who Rampage Jackson or Tito Ortiz were, because I've never watched or cared for MMA. In fact if I see those 3 initials, I immediately look away, unless it's something to do with Chael Sonnen.

    What gets me about it is that they just released DOC and a few others who are pretty good wrestlers just so a fight between 2 washed up, irrelevant MMA guys can be pushed. I understand from reading that Spike TV has a deal with Bellator Fighting or whatever, so they may be paying the salaries of Tito and Rampage.

    Either way, the way they marketed the campaign was mainly towards the IWC and "dirtsheets" because the video was the most talked about thing on all the sites. Then, after marketing to wrestling fans, they brought in a MMA guy.

    In the words of Randall Keith Orton: "Stupid"

  • _JIM_

    If Ken Shamrock could pull off wrestling why can’t Jackson or Ortiz? Especially when Tito and Rampage have 1000 times the personality Shamrock had. Honestly at their ages, 35 and 38, I’d prefer to see Jackson and Ortiz wrestle full time than fight competitively. It wouldn’t take much work to train them and they are already known more by the general public than A.J. Styles. TNA is reaping the benefits of having them appear since Bellator and Spike are they ones paying their salaries. By Spike doing this its showing me that they actually have an interest in TNA succeeding. Unlike the past when they didn’t seem to do anything to improve the company. Yes they are using Impact as a vehicle to get people to watch Bellator, but at the same time by having big names appear on Impact it will also help grow their audience. Rampage has already appeared more than King Mo who signed over a year ago. IMO having Tito and Rampage on Impact is in no way a bad thing, and if they are used properly and even given some time to train they could be a huge benefit for the company.

  • _JIM_

    By saying “help grow their audience” I meant help grow Impact’s audience.

  • Connor

    I was kind of expect Luke Gallows, and I thought in some way it kind of made sense, or in what would of been amazing at least for me, The Great Muta knowing previously he held meeting with TNA officials about a crossover with his promotion. But the fact that they went with an MMA fighter… again, would only suggest to me that they felt Trigg and King Mo were good for TNA, no matter how much this will alienate the current fans, it has potential to tap a new fanbase for them which is way bigger than the constantly butthurt IWC.

    But to me they've forgot that the average MMA fan that doesn't which pro-wrestling doesn't watch it because it's "that fake shit"

  • Matt

    Terrific piece Richard! I don’t honestly have opinion toward TNA making Tito Ortiz apart of their roster. I will say that I don’t feel that Ortiz will ever be able to work in the ring. It did peak my interest. And I will pay a little more attention to TNA since they are programming him with Rampage. I haven’t watched TNA actively since its days on Fox Sports Net. I am interested, it’s a very small amount, but it is enough to make me want to watch.

  • Tom

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with promotional tie-ins… WWE has been effectively doing it for years.

    Here's the issue though:

    You have a company of wrestlers trying to kick and claw their way to the top any chance they can get. TNA doesn't market it's product very well at all, but for hype vignettes like the August1Warning, it managed to grasp people's attention on to TNA.

    Someone was coming, it didn't matter if it were a known wrestling entity, or a new up and comer, it was fresh and it caught people's attention for once. The company gave the hint that they care, and that they are getting their act together and getting behind someone.

    I think most people WANT WWE to have a good competitive alternative, but you can't help but look at TNA in a bad-amateur light compared to the WWE in it's cartoony ways. There is a very defined difference between knowing what their market wants and ignoring parts of it, and being completely oblivious and Dixie Carter shows just how ignorant she is about this "sport."

    This was a very deceptive way to draw in a short ratings/interest/revenue boost to appease some executives either at Spike or at Panda Energy and I am not impressed by it one bit. They completely decimated their momentum to draw people because those knowledgeable of the situation will no longer trust their viral marketing campaigns as being anything but a letdown.

    It's the same tired game that Dixie Carter plays when announcing before a show that a HUGE BUSINESS CHANGING ANNOUNCEMENT WILL HAPPEN THIS THURSDAY ON IMPACT! How many times has she played that card only for it to be turned upside down and be yet another in a long history of TNA-letdowns?

    It would even seem that Spike doesn't even take them seriously anymore and are just using them as a two-hour window free advertise another show they seem willing to put their resources behind.

    Despite the moniker that in three months time, people will forget, we have moved into an age of social media, blogs, etc, where history is there for anyone to read. When you saturate the program with over-exposed entities outside of the program's intent, it becomes VERY hard to watch.

    I feel bad for the wrestlers currently on the roster, as well as the people recently released. These are people who have families to feed, bills to pay (hospital bills from wrestling for their company too).

    Rule of thumb: Stick with what you know, what you can control, and build on what you don't already know about your own product. The mass media exposure will happen given time.

    Richard: You had a good article, but you are applying logic that works for an already established company that probably won't be going anywhere for a very long time to a company that is still trying to make a name for itself. That is where your logic is flawed and questionable.