Posted by Alex Barie
I’ve seen so much comments about TNA Wrestling in the past couple months that I can’t help but no longer feel surprised when someone writes a outrageous comment about the company. Being a wrestling news and analyst writer, I’ve seen anywhere from, “TNA is going out of business” to “TNA-MMA”. Not everyone is going to like a wrestling show. Not everyone is going to like the same wrestling company. It’s like picking your favorite star. You can pick the most popular one or you can pick the one that most appeals to you. When people decide on the most popular one, their vision gets clouded on reality. Let’s face it, just because a person says “I’m the best wrestler in the world” doesn’t really mean they are. Saying that a company is the biggest wrestling company in the world doesn’t mean that you only have to root for them. Since Rampage Jackson and, more importantly, Tito Ortiz came into TNA Wrestling, I heard a lot of mixed reactions about the two. That’s right, not everyone is against the idea. After watching the 10 man tag team match on Impact Wrestling two weeks ago, I realized that these two stars may not be comparable to Daniel Bryan or Kurt Angle, but they do have the potential to make a scratch in the company.
They Are Here For A Reason:
Dixie Carter recently took part in an interview with The Ministry Of Slam (link here). In the interview, she was asked about the signing of Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz. Below is her answer:
“I’ve gotten criticism for bringing these guys in but when you’re looking for talent and there’s only two teams, where do you go to get your star players from? You’re going to mostly look to each other and then every once in a while, you’ve got to build your own talent which takes a lot of time.
So here are two guys that are major superstars. Both come from wrestling backgrounds and both are training their butts off right now to be in the ring. I think it’s a great way of trying to find some superstar talent and not having to take so many years to try to grow somebody’s stardom. Both of these guys are so well-known and they love professional wrestling. They’re committed and they’re training and I’m excited for people to see their potential. I think it’s a great way of looking for new talent, and talent that have never been seen before in our world.”
I completely understand where she is coming from. There’s no doubt that these two are big names in their respected business of MMA. It’s like WWE bringing in Mike Tyson in the 1990s or Floyd Mayweather in 2008. People can say that Tito Ortiz is past his prime, but let’s not forget who he and Rampage are. These two are tremendous fighters. In fact, their career is not acting or entertaining. Their career is to fight and beat people up. One casual wrestling fan pointed something as he was one of the many people who watched the August 1st episode of Impact Wrestling. He stated, “You put a real unscripted sports star (Tito Ortiz) in a fake scripted television show and you have a real threat – He could take out anyone who is in his way.” We know that they are only there because of Spike TV and because they will fight each other in Bellator in November. We know Spike TV has influence on what happens and what appears on Impact Wrestling. It’s just how they role. While people may want to compare, or will compare, TNA to WWE, let me be the first to say how they are two different companies and they are run completely different. Vince McMahon is the captain. What he says goes. While we do have Triple H rising in the ranks, whatever Vince wants on the show he will get on the show. On TNA’s side, while Dixie has the last word, Spike TV is there plugging away at the company. Spike TV loves Impact Wrestling because of their ratings, but they have a say in what is being done. Do you think Dixie will say “No” to the network that airs her television show? The last thing Dixie wants to do is get them mad. So, if they want Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz on the show, they will be on the show. It’s TNA’s job to write them into the script and give them a proper storyline. They did just that. The question is, how is that going?
While Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson are on the show to promote their upcoming fight in November, TNA Wrestling placed them in a current and long-term story line. As it looks, Aces & 8s are slowly falling apart as Bully Ray is becoming bigger than the group. He has his babe, Ms. Tessmacher, and now Tito Ortiz as his bodyguard. Mr. Anderson, the VP of the group, wants more power but Ray doesn’t seem to care. Anderson is rising up and is now turning the other members against Bully. On the flip side, the group itself (including Ray) are against Main Event Mafia. The Mafia houses Rampage Jackson as a member. It’s classic good vs. bad. TNA worked these two very well into a story line that has been going on before each even came into the company. Their rivalry is building as November nears. Not only that, but their characters are developing which will give some spice to their bout in two months.
After watching these two on Impact Wrestling the past month, in particular, I am seeing them grow. Growth is key in this business. While these two aren’t in the company to be World Champion (they aren’t really even active wrestlers on the roster), they are big names giving what they can. We’ve seen multiple promos from Tito Ortiz. We’ve also seen multiple promos from Rampage Jackson. Let’s bring out the facts though. Their promos weren’t anything special. They weren’t a CM Punk level promo, but they aren’t the worst things we’ve seen. They are slowly building. They are constantly active on the mic which gives us the impression that they are willing to do what they have to while on Impact Wrestling. One thing that really brought out the potential was Rampage Jackson in the ring!
Two weeks ago, Impact Wrestling had a 10 man tag team match where the person who would get pinned would leave TNA Wrestling. Rampage Jackson was in this match and while he wasn’t in the ring for 5 minutes, he did get in the squared circle and threw some punches, hit a clothesline, and body slammed Wes Brisco! It doesn’t matter if he was limited in the ring. No one should have expected he was going to be like AJ Styles in the ring, but he showed us that he is learning. He is training. He is willing to give this a chance. Like anything, it takes time and patience. It takes a lot of hours, days, weeks, and months to train to be a wrestler. Rampage is lacing up the boots and giving it a shot. Right now, that is all we need.
It’s crucial that everyone knows the difference between TNA Wrestling and WWE. While these are the two biggest wrestling companies in the world, they have completely different business, production, and creative strategies. They have a different plan in their future. TNA Wrestling wants to grow. They are growing. But, if anyone thinks they are going to grow like WWE did in the 90′s or what WCW did in the 90′s, then you are mistaken. TNA Wrestling doesn’t have the creative and direction freedom like WWE has. Never forget Spike TV. As long as Spike airs their shows, they will want to see something. Their vision is not just a wrestling company. It’s not just a square box. In fact, neither is WWE, but TNA will be expanding through a different array of stars. These stars may not be full-time wrestlers, but they are fighters. They are big names. They are stars who are a real threat. The potential is there and so is the constant plugging of their November bout on Bellator.
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