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After watching ESPN classic earlier today it gave me an idea for a new column. The idea is to make an argument as to why you can?t blame Vince Russo for the disaster that is TNA. Whether you agree or not agree at the end of the day this column is meant to make the people who solely place the blame of TNA on Vince Russo?s shoulders. I?m going to start this off giving an overview of what has happened within TNA Wrestling.
In September of 2006 TNA was at a breaking point in their history. The product felt flat and the fan base was starting to get restless. This lead to a decision that many felt was a mistake. They brought in Vince Russo to join a writing committee with Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell. Russo famous for the debacles that he booked in WCW was met with heavy skepticism from the majority of the fans. Though skeptics would be correct as a little over 2 years later TNA?s shows have become a running joke. Whether it be illogical storylines, moronic gimmick matches, or pointless skits the show has lost most of its appeal to its fans. However is it really Vince Russo?s fault?
5. Booking was going downhill: Many have pointed out that when Russo was brought in the booking in TNA went completely downhill. While it may have gotten worst it sure as hell wasn?t the beginning of the TNA?s booking going downhill. Many have forgotten the reason Russo was brought in was the fact that the booking team prior to him had grown stale and were booking a lot of crap too. Classic examples are the moronic booking of Sting?s and Christian?s debuts and there confusing and illogical feud with Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner. Also Samoa Joe was the hottest property in wrestling and the booking team failed to push him towards the gold when he was at his best. Also you have the Jackass X-Division stunts, continued over push of Jeff Jarrett, and the disaster of the recent X Cup Tournament.
So while many like to point at Russo for the complete collapse of the booking many forget it wasn?t heading in the right direction to begin with. Is Vince Russo responsible for recent disasters? Probably however don?t forget he wasn?t exactly handed a bed of roses to use.
4. Booking Committee: TNA much like WWE likes to book by committee which means its not just one man handling everything. Instead it?s a couple of people who split powers and they work together. So obviously my point here is how are we to know what Russo is actually responsible for? A lot of the issues could be the work of Jeff Jarrett or Dutch Mantell. A lot of people fail to either realize or mention that Jeff Jarrett has been apart of every TNA booking committee at some point in time which all were disbanded because of the failure to produce good booking. So while he might be responsible for some the complete blame should never placed on his shoulders.
3. X-Division destroyed: One thing that was always the mark for TNA over WWE or any company prior was the X-Division. It was a showcase for young athletic talent to tear the house down and add an element to the show that much of the talent couldn?t add. However by September of 2006 the division was in shambles. Thanks to the previous booking team over pushing AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe over the rest of the division a huge divide between though three and the rest of the division was created. To make matters worst when TNA decided that Daniels, Styles, and Joe were going to move on to a new division none of them put over other X-Division stars. So when Senshi took the title after not pinning any of the three mentioned names above many saw this as a step down for the division.
So my point is if your strongest asset is already weakened when you get in control how are you supposed to succeed? When you?re left with lower talent and no one to build them up with how can you rebuild or even move forward with it?
2. Kurt Angle?s Arrival: Many people tend to forget two things about the time period Russo was brought into the company. First was the above reference to the previous booking team and secondly was the arrival of Kurt Angle. He being the former WWE superstar coming off a highly publicized firing/release and reported drug problem. His arrival obviously put a huge amount of anticipation on the company as he was seen as one of the WWE?s biggest stars in the previous decade. He also was coming off like a delusional nutcase during the time period in outside interviews. Making claims that couldn?t possibly be true and saying things that just seemed to be insane. Many also have said he?s difficult to work with. Now with him being the lead star of the show and being difficiult at the same time you obviously put any booker in a position they can?t be ready for.
So if Angle is a difficult person to work with and controlling as he seems maybe a lot of botched angles over the past 2 years weren?t the booking teams fault. Considering many of the major blunders over the last year were in Kurt Angle?s storylines this is very possible situation to believe. Also considering Jeff Jarrett is rumored to be a push over for bigger name talent you have to ask how much Kurt Angle is a problem.
1. Who brought him in: A question that so far rarely gets asked is simply is why would you even bring Vince Russo back into TNA? The man who a couple of years earlier was voted out of the company by the fans, who had unsuccessful booking reigns earlier in the company, and who many me included considered the final nail in the WCW coffin. The man is a walking text book on how not to book your show. Over the years he?s shown a complete lack of understanding basic concepts of the wrestling industry. However while Russo proves time and time again he?s an idiot you must ask who?s a bigger idiot himself or the morons who allowed him to once again have any power in terms of booking?
The answer is simply they are because who gave the knife to the serial killer? Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett have done nothing for 2 and half years but sit by and watch things get worst and worst. Now the company is in a complete chaotic mess that has ruined the careers of a lot of top young talent because of irresponsible bookers. Whether you like Russo or not remember he could be fired tomorrow and it?s up to the people in charge to pull there weight and handle the situation.
I don?t know if this column will change anybody?s mind but I do hope it will make some people think. While I still stick by the thought that I think Russo is a huge problem within the company I do know TNA isn?t a one man show and that there are a lot of people who are just as responsible as Russo. Now I?ve given you some facts and reason now go discuss.
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