Random Thoughts From the Office: July 16, 2010

For the record I think a "Manos" sequel featuring Gene Snitsky is God's gift to comedy. Now if we can weasel a way into getting our unseen but vital third member Erik Majorwitz to review it when it comes out, then we have a winner folks. But really, can it be worse than that fucking Karate Kid remake? Didn't think so.

SPEAKING OF Remakes. (I've always wanted to do that) We turn to the case of TNA's Hard Justice, also known as "ECW One Night Stand by another name is still ECW One Night Stand" and the whole growing belief that Paul Heyman is going to be the only saviour for the company.

Before we start let me say I love ECW. Not to break kayfabe but as a fan in Australia only 3 DVD's were ever released (Guilty as Charged, Living Dangerously and Hardcore Heaven 2000. On the plus side they were sold for like a dollar in our version of Walmart) so to really be a hardcore ECW mark like myself you had to spend a LOT of money, some of it wasted to go through tape traders. Yet I did it willingly because ECW, unlike the then WWF and WCW of the time appealed directly to me. There was no childlike gimmicks like the WWF had, which even as a teenager insulted my intelligence. WCW was never really big in Australia at least to me till about 1998. It was very, very tough if you wanted to watch Nitro in Australia, it was usually buried on Turner Classic Movies at midnight on a Saturday night, when you were either out drinking or home drunk. If only TiVo existed then.

ECW was different though, it had compelling characters like Raven, great storylines and great wrestling as well, something ECW isn't given enough credit for. I mean, sure they had a lot of hardcore elements, a lot of blood, a lot of misogynistic beating of women but it also had great wrestling, especially during the early years. ECW I believe was popular because it appealed to everyone over the age of 12. If you wanted to see blood and guts and hardcore brawling you had guys like Sabu, Cactus Jack, Public Enemy and the Gangstas. If you wanted great storylines look no further than Dreamer versus Raven and to a lesser extent the Network angle. If you wanted great wrestling, there was Jericho, Guerrero, Malenko, Exodia the Forbidden One (Note: That's my smartass title for Chris Benoit, which is a whole other column to explain) then later on you had guys like Rob Van Dam, Taz and Jerry Lynn. There was something for everyone and everyone soon fell in love with the little promotion that could.

Sadly though ECW fell victim to the same pressure almost every federation has, the need to compete. Debts spiraled out of control, wrestlers stopped getting paid, they lost their deal with TNN and the whole promotion was given up to the WWE for the wrestling equivalent of 75 cents.

But unlike other feds (with the exception of WCW) of its time, ECW never died in the hearts of fans. When WWE brought out "The Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD it quickly become one of their top selling DVD's EVER. When Vince decided to cash in a little and create ECW One Night Stand in 2005 it became one of the best selling Pay Per Views of the year. When it happened again in 2006 Vince got hours worth of programming on Sci-Fi and gave ECW the rebirth many fans had hoped for and there was much rejoicing.....at first. Then everyone realized how bad it was. The things that made ECW ECW couldn't be done on a WWE controlled show, add that to the fact that the ECW favorites were pretty much used to make stars of the WWE talent and ECW fans gave up quick. Not that it was a failure, ECW directly created the careers of CM Punk and John Morrison and also gave Matt Striker a chance to become the best colour man going around today in my opinion. It just didn't hook in the ECW audience.

Which brings us to TNA and their hope to get Heyman. It is very much a great idea. Paul Heyman has one of the greatest minds in wrestling and can use anyone and make them seem like a star. The young talent on the roster than any ever assembled and so he'll have his chance, but he's also going to have to jettison some top stars to do, specifically Jeff Hardy and his favorite Rob Van Dam.

Before anyone gets upset, I'm not saying that there's no place in TNA for Jeff or RVD. There clearly is, but there comes a time where the time in the main event for them has to come to an end, a time when it's best for all for them to use their star power to bring the guys who need it, the Beer Moneys, the Kazarians, the Desmond Wolfes up to the next level. It's the age old problem promotions have always had. It happened in WCW, it's happening in WWE and it's now coming up in TNA. Promoters and bookers don't want to change while the cash is rolling in (Or in TNA's alleged case, not rolling in) but by doing so they destroy their future by making the next generation look weak.

Let's be brutally honest for one moment. TNA is NOT going to compete with the WWE anytime in the foreseeable future. If Hogan and Bischoff couldn't come up with a way to help the company in seven months then Heyman ain't going to do it in five. What TNA needs now is a solid three to five year plan, which will include a lot of short term pain for their long term gain. Their current star power, with the exception of The Pope, AJ Styles and Abyss need to go for the top of the card. Angle is fine where he is, Joe needs to come back up and the guys I mentioned earlier along with people like Matt Morgan, Hernandez, Doug Williams and other homegrown talent to get an audience slowly building up; then when they're ready and only when they're ready can they then try to compete.

In the end the best advice for TNA may come from a guy who couldn't help them -  Eric Bischoff. He wrote words to this effect in Controversy Equals Cash. "You have three options when it comes to the WWE: You can be better than them, worse than them or different from them." We all know in our hearts that for the foreseeable future TNA will never be better than the WWE, being worse is exactly where they are now: on the verge of death. So they must be different than them. And for once if they want to be different they're making the right choice by signing the man who competed with the big two when no one said he could for so long. Paul Heyman.

Now, Big Show in the remake of "Harry and the Hendersons"? License to print money.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason.

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