Random Thoughts from the Office: January 28, 2011

It's only been a month but it feels like a year since I've done one of these. So a week turned into a fortnight, turned into 3 weeks. How was I to know the Co-Fruitcakes would put out two shows back to back? It's like I'm cursed in some way.

This is what it must feel like to be TNA.

Although they finally won the elusive Gooker Award they'd been craving it seems like the powers at the head of TNA have given up and as a result they blew a big opportunity to really make something out of what basically feel into their laps. I'm talking of course about Matt Hardy.

I'm serious.

Now I'm not saying Matt is a great worker. From the looks of his physique he clearly doesn't give a shit anymore and from the looks of his YouTube videos, he may very well be Damien Demento 2.0 [I am looking forward for his eventual feud with 'wrestlingcrip.com' in the not too distant future.] but Matt does do something that a lot of wrestlers can't nowadays: he gets rabid interest in what he does. Occasionally for good reasons, mostly because everyone wants to laugh at him but the old adage "Any publicity is good publicity" does ring true when it comes to Matt.

How soon we forget....how soon we forget how he was the IWC's darling after the whole "Edge stole my girlfriend" thing. When Matt discussed it and subsequently got fired over it the IWC embraced him as their own, the golden child who pushed back the curtain and let us all behind the velvet ropes, who went to Ring of Honor and got a standing ovation; for a few short weeks Matt Hardy was the hottest name in wrestling and so the WWE called him back and made money off the feud. They blew it terribly of course, so terribly that I'm not convinced the whole thing wasn't a work: Vince McMahon's joke on the Internet Wrestling Community and guys like Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez. He does do that every so often after all. Just witness the whole "Tiegate" affair for evidence of that. But nonetheless the point had been proven. Matt maintained the love of a rabid core of fans while most of the IWC chose to ignore him.

Fast Forward to 2010, Matt sees his brother getting a huge push in TNA (Despite a looming court battle that hung like the sword of Damocles over his head for the whole year. But again that's a whole other column). His papers in WWE have been stamped with the term "Mid-carder for Life" and he's frustrated. And so just like so long ago Matt turns to the internet for help, starting a whole series of YouTube videos that were pretty much a dare to the WWE to fire him while at the same time trying to get interest started in him again to prove to TNA and other prospective employers that he could garner interest.

Except at the beginning it didn't happen. The IWC for the most part ignored it, taking the stance of "Fool me once...". And so the videos got more and more insane, the last resort of a desperate man. It was amusing in a sad way to watch a man who'd been such an integral part of our lives as wrestling fans go through a mental breakdown on the internet and yet like a car crash you couldn't turn away. Finally the day came where even the WWE couldn't take it anymore and Matt Hardy was released, free to join his brother at TNA after his 90 day no compete clause expired and become the big star he always knew he could be, because after all every WWE superstar that did anything of note is always pushed in TNA (Note I say "Of Note". I did that to disqualify Orlando Jordan, lest anyone want to bring him up).

To his credit Matt kept up the videos, kept up the insanity and kept the people talking about him in his 90 days off. Granted it was mostly for all the wrong reasons but again interest is everything in wrestling and Matt was certainly garnering more interest than say....Mr, Anderson, who would soon become champion.

So the day comes when you have to debut Matt Hardy in TNA. A man who has more interest in him than almost anyone on your roster. So how to debut him? Do you give him a interview block where he can vent his frustrations at WWE and talk about how your product in TNA is the best in the world? After all if the YouTube videos showed us nothing else it's that he can talk.

Or perhaps you can have him run in in the main event and help his brother retain the TNA Heavyweight Title and have the Hardys reunite on top of TNA as the top two heels in the company?

Of course the inherent problem with those two scenarios is they require logical thinking and if the last year of TNA has shown us anything it's that logic has NO place in TNA. So instead they trotted out a Rob Van Dam against a "Mystery Opponent" match, where anyone with a modicum of sense knew just who the opponent was. At least he won the match and looked sort of strong doing it, which is more than could be said for Rob Van Dam, who was buried 10 seconds after his debut. That's not the point though, the point is that the moment was lost and a chance to make a hot new star was lost forever.

Now was Matt Hardy going to be the face that finally put TNA on the map? No. Was he going to be a game changer that drew some initial interest ala Hulk Hogan? No. Was he even going to be a name TNA could rely on long term to be a guy to be at the top? Probably not.

But still he was a "Big Name" and a "Big Name" with at least some interest following him into TNA and when the opportunity came to make a star. TNA blew it, a fact made all the more sad because right now, TNA needs all the stars it can get.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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