Alan Wojcik’s Statement Regarding Laptop Banishment From TNA Wrestling
Last night was the first time in nearly 5 years I didnâ€™t watch TNA Wrestling programming. It was the weirdest thing to look at the DVR and not record Impact. According to some of the websites my work appears on, people emailed asking why I will no longer be covering TNA Wrestling events at Universal Studios. Was it politics, did I do something to anger the office, did I get into a fight with someone on Universal property? I was going to remain silent but after some soul searching I decided to write this item up for people to read.
Since June 2002 I have covered TNA Wrestling then called NWA: TNA with no problems. Until June 2004 I am sure no one had a problem because TNA was a live weekly PPV. When they made the move to Orlando for the creation of Impact which aired on Fox Sports Net I was there. From that point until this past weekend I attended and covered nearly every Impact taping and only missed three PPVâ€™s.
I always had an agreement with the media relations department, namely Jodi Davis and Tim Welch, I would cover the product like I was a sportswriter or beat writer for a sports team. Meaning I would cover them objectively without opinion over storylines or gimmicks used in matches. I kept my word and view on the product even as media dept heads and bookers changed. I kept my word even as friends I had on the roster were hired, fired, cut or just forgotten. People in the front office like Terry Taylor, Jeremy Borash, Bob Ryder and supposedly Jeff Jarrett read my reports and could have told me we donâ€™t want you covering TNA anymore at any point.
I think the birth of my demise came during a February phone call with current media dept. head Steven Godfrey about the change in interview requests. Mr. Godfrey told me they were thinking of keeping the â€œspoilerâ€ people out of the building. I told him the only way to do that would be to hire Hollywood extras and keep every wrestling fan out. He felt â€œquite honestly I think you are too good at your review work.â€ Mr. Godfrey felt my work was keeping viewers from watching Impact on Spike TV. Now donâ€™t get me wrong I had no problem with Mr. Godfrey looking out for his product, I had been doing it for free for 5 years and some sites say I did it better than TNA. However I think his observation and viewpoint is absolute garbage because the average wrestling fan is going to watch no matter what they read. People watched WWE Smackdown recently even after WWE went on their own website telling fans the Great Khali won the World Title at a TV taping that didnâ€™t air yet. So itâ€™s ok for a promotion to do spoilers but my work is not good. From that point on my main contact person was named Ross Foreman who was at TV tapings when Mr. Godfrey was unable to travel from Nashville. I never had any kind of conversations with Ross about any aspect of my coverage, just giving approval of my interview requests and aiding me during the Slammiversary PPV weekend this past June.
Now that you have an idea of my background with TNA Wrestling, let me address the events of this past weekend. While I was driving over to Orlando, Ross Foreman called and let me know my laptop was not going to be allowed in due to a new Universal Studios policy. He was trying to get to the bottom of things and let me know soon. I asked who do I talk to about this problem and he was vague in his reply. So when I checked into my hotel I sent out a note to the websites informing them what went down and the front of the email read PLEASE DO NOT POST THIS! I decided I was already over in Orlando so why not attend the PPV and say goodbye to the fans I sit with and decide Monday what I was going to do about TV.
During the event Ross came over and said he still had no answer and was upset our phone conversation made the internet. I told him it was not my doing as the sites were asked not to post it. I later found out it was David Meltzer who was the first person to mention the laptop being banned. I did not do a report on the PPV since it was a live event and normally the sites have someone watching at home, so I sat there in absolute confusion about what had gone down. That confusion turned to anger when I looked above the announce position and saw three mainstream reporters who were there to cover Adam Jonesâ€™ debut. All three of them were using laptops with wireless cards. That evening I chose not to go out but to head to my hotel and talk to my girlfriend about what went down for a fresh perspective since she is not involved in wrestling. As we spoke I came to find out Mr. Meltzer was not the only site to speak out. There were several that spoke out in anger.
After talking to my girlfriend and some friends in the business I came to find how Ross got my cell phone number. He asked a friend of mine (who will remain nameless) for it. What Ross didnâ€™t know was my friend saw him talking to Steven Godfrey beforehand. Before seeing Steven and Ross talking, my friend saw Steven Godfrey talking with two new people; Steve Small (who does what Don Harris did before leaving TNA.)
The next day before TV I spoke to Ross who told me he had no idea what was going on. He said â€œIâ€™m just the messenger.â€ I replied, â€œSomeone gave you the message and for some reason you arenâ€™t giving me their name.â€ I told him how hurt I was about what went down. When I asked him about the mainstream media being allowed to use their laptops he stopped the conversation saying he had to enter a meeting. That was the last time I spoke to Mr. Foreman until an email Tuesday night giving me Steve Smallâ€™s name. David Meltzer did have a conversation with him, telling David I was allowed to attend with a Blackberry or some other small portable device. After looking online at the devices I laughed because they come with adapters that are fold out laptop style keyboards.Â I decided to attend the TV taping and do a small report, sitting away from my normal spot to avoid attention from people. Afterwards I said my goodbyes to some friends on the talent roster and left Orlando to head home.
I know there are people who read my Impact spoilers and PPV notes that are happy I am gone. Some people say I had this coming and I deserved it. For others I hope this diatribe provides you with some answers. I never asked for the fallout that came from TNA banning my laptop. I will not be contacting Steve Small, Steven Godfrey or Ross Foreman about what went down, because they made the decision and there is no going backwards in life. It was a fun ride and I will keep doing book and DVD reviews while covering local Florida based promotions. Thanks to everyone who wrote me and wrote the websites about what went down. Some site owners say I should be upset about David Meltzer posting his note asking for someone to take over for me. I am not upset because of what I spoke about previously. Thanks also go to my girlfriend who kept me sane during this week, plus writers Phil Strum of the Poughkeepsie Journal and Sean â€œthe Micâ€ McCaffrey of Declaration of Independents who suggested getting this out into the world. I wish TNA Wrestling nothing but the best of luck in their future endeavors since after they read this I am surely off their Christmas card list