Hello. I’ve been solicited to recap TNA’s upcoming PPV “Bound For Glory” for Pulse Wrestling this coming weekend. I’ve not been writing too much this year, and probably most people reading this know my history covering TNA, so I won’t get into that – these days, Pulse can’t find anyone who wants to cover the TNA shows, and TNA eventually reached the point where there was nothing left to say about what they were doing or where they were going, so I think Pulse just stopped bothering to look. I covered TNA’s final Impact after they got kicked off Spike TV, as well as the first Impact on their current network, Destination America.
Just a disclaimer: I don’t want TNA to go out of business and I don’t hate TNA. But it’s not really too hard to see why they’re in a bad place, and it’s not really too hard to see why people (those that actually have convenient access to it, anyway) aren’t enjoying the show these days.
This is part of a series of articles I’m doing this week to preview TNA Bound For Glory 2015. This time let’s go with…
TNA’s Remaining Fanbase – An Ode To TNA Mecca & TNA Insider
You might remember that last year, someone suggested I check out the insane folks on TNA Insider. A couple very fun articles came out of that one, and obviously the highlight for me was that Christian Parazuli (a mod on TNA Insider) showing up to tell everyone he was going to sue me for using his name. Earlier this year, a regular (I believe it was Finn) suggested I check out TNA Mecca because it was even MORE insane.
I checked it out and he was right.
A fellow Pulse staffer (not naming names) followed me over there, and suggested I spend a few months there, and write an article on my experience. For those who don’t know Mecca, it’s widely regarded as the most insane TNA fansite on the web. Now, for anyone who knows me, I am extremely perplexed at the idea of anyone really choosing sides with wrestling companies, and not just being able to admit that every show, regardless of who it is, has some good and some bad. I can get being more a fan of Ring Of Honor, Lucha Underground or New Japan because those are different types of wrestling products. TNA and WWE, in terms of in-ring, production, storylines and any other way that really matters aside from market share, are basically the same type of product.
So, determined to get to the bottom of the thought process, I went for it. I don’t have a ton of spare time but when I was on the subway, at airports, or just had a few minutes of downtime, I would go on and participate in the discussion. Mecca is really more of a chatroom than a place with articles, per se – but that’s actually kind of what makes it interesting.
To get the silly stuff out of the way, the majority of Mecca people seem to believe the following:
– all non-TNA wrestling fans are out to get them
– the “IWC” actually still exists
– everyone thinks it’s “cool” to hate TNA
– EC3 is the greatest wrestler who ever lived despite actually not being a very good wrestler (that last part is not my sarcasm – most of them acknowledge he’s not very good in the ring)
– Dave Melzter fucks the devil in hell on a bed of lies
There’s a lot more, but I didn’t have the time or patience to go through everything, so this was the majority of what I’d try to engage them on. The level of Melzter vitriol was… extreme… to say the least. They think TNA should spend their resources suing him and getting his website shut down. I don’t think that many people really pay attention to Melzter to begin with, so I stayed out of that one.
As an example of something I would engage them on, I proposed that the IWC is a concept at least 10 years out of date and that it describes basically all wrestling fans, and I was told “THAT’S WHAT THEY’D LIKE US TO THINK”. Uh… okay, sure. At this point, if you’re thinking that the REAL hive mind is the one I’m discussing… that was my thinking, too. Years back, Swayze did some parodies of TNA fans – and like most parodies, it was over the top. I have to say, a lot of the folks there were amazingly close to what Swayze KNEW was a exaggeration for the sake of comedy. It’s insane. It was like fiction come to life.
It should be noted that while I would say the comments represent the VAST majority of the people I encountered on Mecca, that there were a lot of perfectly sane people – more than I’d have expected given the way some of the people are there –and there were some fairly cool people. While a lot of them do seem to hate WWE, (some even refer to it as “the other company” which is just a hilarious waste of characters and time) a lot of them will give WWE credit where it’s due.
Even some of the nuttier folks proved fun to engage with most of the time. I found myself enjoying not just the conversations where I would challenge them on some of the larger issues that seemed (and still seem) insane to me. But I would also take part in conversations on what the best matches in TNA history were (AJ / Joe / Daniels, AJ & Daniels / LAX, LAX / XXX and Machine Guns / Beer Money, for the record), thoughts on TNA’s best possible moves going forward, guys on the show I felt they should capitalize on, and things like that.
It might sound like I was holding back, but the truth is, I wasn’t. TNA has let me down as a fan more times than I can count, to the point where I don’t watch the shows regularly in any way, shape or form – but I don’t watch RAW either, only the WWE PPV’s, so what does that tell you? WWE is far from perfect – I know I’m in the minority here, but I think TNA had a superior roster and all-around show from late 2004 to late 2009 or so. That doesn’t mean TNA’s show was perfect (it wasn’t), but it was a LOT better than it’s been in the past 6 years, and WWE’s shows at that time were pure murder.
I think that’s TNA’s biggest failing… they failed to improve at a time when WWE was getting worse and worse, and the numbers were showing it. And TNA couldn’t get a hold of any of those numbers, because for the most part, they were just trying to be WWE, to the point of getting every ex-WWE guy they could get their hands on. They hired The Nasty Boys, Val Venis and Orlando Jordan for fuck’s sake. In 2010. That idea would have been outdated in 2001. They would do an insane amount of hype and get attention for something, but once they had the attention, they were like the dog that caught the car.
And as bad as the show is these days, there are some things to enjoy about Impact. When the Meccans were really into a match or segment, I’d check it out. There is some good stuff – not nearly as many as there were at the beginning of the year, let alone during their best years – but there was some, so I also enjoyed talking about that when I had a chance to YouTube some segments. You know how wrestling fans like saying wrestlers have “improved”? This happens a LOT when wrestlers go from WWE to TNA, and 95% of the time it’s total garbage, but Lashley has legitimately improved. Like, a lot. Eli Drake is one of the few people that I believe WWE actually missed the boat on. The Wolves are a great tag-team. Manik and Tigre Uno are amazingly fun to watch.
So, it was around this point that I decided against writing an article on Mecca. It was a combination of being fascinated by / enjoying the comments there, and I had also been considering how it would really be any different from my TNA Insider articles from last year. I didn’t want to just rehash something I’d already done anyway.
This is where it gets funny.
Almost all of Mecca are REALLY into this EC3 guy, probably moreso than any other TNA performer. I checked a lot of his stuff out when I saw that, because I figured maybe I was missing something.
He’s like a bad Miz clone (and we all know how much Miz sucks) – he has maybe one or two clever mic moments, and most of Mecca is actually pretty honest that he’s not any good in the ring – which I never really understood, because many people stand behind how much better TNA’s in-ring product is than WWE’s (that’s up for debate from week to week from my perspective, honestly) so shouldn’t TNA’s World Champion be a guy who is really good in-ring?
This was probably a couple months ago… anyway, much like the “guys… there’s no IWC… it’s 2015” point I tried to make, I was immediately rebuked.
Then casually, someone was talking about an Impact match and I said this guy named Jesse Godderz sucks. I was told by a mod named Chris Reece within negative six seconds of posting it, that I wasn’t allowed to say that, and that he doesn’t suck. I pointed out that since it’s not a real sport, who sucks and who doesn’t is subjective, plus people say that Grado and a lot of WWE wrestlers suck ALL the time on Mecca… which they did… and often times I agreed with them. I was then told that wrestlers work hard and it “didn’t sit well with him” (Chris) when I said they sucked. I brought up again how it’s said all the time about Grado and some WWE wrestlers, and added “oh, and EC3 sucks too.”
And I was banned.
I was banned from a wrestling site for saying I think a wrestler sucks.
Can you imagine the level of sensitivity you have to have to even come up with the NOTION to ban someone for such a thing?
I checked out the comments after the fact, and a few people came to my defence. Hopefully they read this, and know that I appreciate it, but honestly, don’t worry about it. It’s just a wrestling site, and I can comment on any wrestling website.
I went back to TNA Mecca when I was asked to do BFG this Sunday, just to see what the general feel from Mecca on the PPV was. I saw a post from that Chris Reece guy, saying he had found out another Meccan was posting on another site about Mecca in an unflattering way. He literally said “your days here are numbered.” They actually check out what their members are posting on other sites. Can you even imagine the amount of time you’d need to have on your hands to even think of doing something like that?
It’s just amazing.
The reason I bring the TNA Mecca topic up at all now, is to illustrate one thing – I think that these types of fans – I fondly call them Meccans – are the majority of the fans that TNA have left.
And that’s TNA’s biggest problem.
The average TNA Mecca type of fan will literally sit there and watch TNA put Jeff Jarrett in the main event of a PPV… in 2015… on the only PPV they’d had all year at the time… where he beats almost all of TNA’s upper-tier talent… thereby winning a title created specifically for him and named after a horrible match he created (King Of the Mountain)… and let him and Karen Angle spend several weeks on the show promoting Jarrett’s nearly-fictitious promotion
… just so TNA can get Jarrett out of a minority stockholder position and buy him out.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, that is a thing that TNA did this year.
Then, those same TNA fans say they’re the true TNA fans who have stuck with TNA through and through.
A TRUE TNA fan will tune out of this type of stuff, because even Mecca considered it almost universally horrible beyond seeing a few GFW wrestlers they wouldn’t otherwise have seen. A TRUE TNA fan will tell them exactly what the problem is. A TRUE TNA fan will demand the show gets better, or they won’t continue to watch.
A true TNA fan won’t sit there and get dickchoked by their TV for hours by an internal company problem like Jeff Jarrett being a minority shareholder when he runs a competing company.
If TNA NEEDS Jarrett out of a minority stockholder position that badly… then TNA needs to handle that shit internally. They don’t let a loser like Jarrett call the shots and waste the time of you, the TNA fans, who have stuck with them this far. Because I’ll be honest, if you’re still watching TNA, even casually, then TNA owes you, not the other way around. You don’t deserve to sit through that. Why the fuck would you?
But you will. You’ve proven you will. TNA has eroded your gag reflex to the point that it’s no longer a burning sensation you feel in your throat – it’s more of a funny tickle that you try to ignore.
Which is why they continue to do it. The only fans they have left are the ones who aren’t fighting back. You’re taking it all and swallowing more and more as time goes on.
YOU are TNA’s biggest problem. TNA doesn’t know it. You don’t know it. But you are.
And I’ve made this argument dozens of times before late 2012 or early 2013 in WWE… TNA won’t get better until you guys demand it. Do you honestly think Vince McMahon would have saved his company with the Attitude Era if declining numbers and fan revolt hadn’t forced him to do so? Christ, those 4 years probably took 20 off old Vince’s life. TNA’s numbers are so low now that the problem will soon sort itself out on it’s own anyway, one way or the other – the bad way would be losing their TV show, which seems closer and closer, and becoming a more regional promotion that’s based more overseas than it is in the US.
I hope it’s not that way. I hope it’s the good way, where TNA is forced to do something different, to get better, to listen to it’s fanbase.
But in order for that to work… that fanbase better be fucking vocal.
Since you hated seeing Jarrett so much, don’t try to find positives of Jarrett being there, tell Dixie Carter that you never, ever want to see Jeff Jarrett on TNA ever again.
If you hate Grado THAT much, then stop pretending that TNA’s travel agent that stops by your site to give you non-answers is some kind of important person, and tell him that the next time you see Grado, you’re done.
Tell Billy Corgan that knowingly hiring a guy who was arrested for assaulting cops, then having a main event storyline where he’s one of the guys “standing up for TNA against GFW” tanked by the fact that he’s in jail for “unlawfully detaining” his girlfriend at the same time the show airs (because the show is taped weeks in advance) is fucking pathetic. (And yes, that was a thing that happened. It was a wrestler named Bram.)
I know those people in question may not be individually responsible for any of those scenarios, but they’re the ones in charge, right? Then if you want to send feedback, that’s who you send it to.
And, for the love of God, tell whatever management is left – maybe that John Gaburick guy – that the Impact Zone is a horrible place. It sucks to be in, it sucks to watch, and it sucks to listen to.
Is that extreme? Maybe. But like I said, if you’re part of TNA’s massively eroded fanbase, you want the company to get the GOOD “one way or the other”, not the bad one. And one of those eventualities is probably coming sooner than later.
You want to be “true TNA fans”? THAT’S what you fucking do. Get the dick out of your mouths and speak the fuck up. You’re doing it for their own good. And do it soon. Let’s face it – with the situation TNA is in today, at the time I write this – it could very well be now or never.
I truly believe that many of you TNA fans that are left DO know the potential that TNA has to be a real alternative. They’re not going to get there without you speaking up. It’s important to you, and the fact that it’s important to you should be more important to anything to TNA. It’s not just because you deserve it – although with the shit you’ve had to put up with, you definitely do – it’s also because you want to see them survive.
And maybe, one day, thrive.
So stop being so defensive. That’s as much a reason that people make fun of TNA as anything else. You’re making it worse, and you’re embarrassing yourselves.
See you on Sunday for BFG. I legitimately hope it’s a good show.
Oh, and EC3 sucks. You can do better.
Tags: BD, bound for glory, dixie carter, TNA BFG, TNA Insider