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Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

All I have to say after viewing TNA’s Genesis PPV…and then hearing about certain events that took place the next day, is “what in the $#@& were you thinking”?

This started when the crowd was pissed about the change to the conventional wrestling ring from the six-sided ring. As all heard who watched the PPV (but was conveniently edited out in the replay), the crowd booed and chanted “we want six-sides”. Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan basically told the crowd “we don’t care what you think” and referred to the six-sided ring as a “playpen”. Brilliant..you’re a wrestling promotion, and you have something that makes you separate and distinct among US promotions (yes, I know they stole the idea from AAA in Mexico) and not just a copy of WWE…and you get rid of it; and tell your promotion’s fans “screw you” in one fell swoop.

So the crowd did the only thing possible when a promoter gets in their face and gives them something they don’t want. They responded by sitting on their hands for the remainder of the show, with the possible exception among some during the main event.

It got so bad at one point that some front row fans even turned their backs after Sean “Val Venis” Morley was put over Christopher Daniels. Yup…way to put TNA over as better than WWE…by putting a WWE mid-card wrestler over one of the the hallmark wrestlers of your promotion’s history and one of the top independent wrestlers of the last decade.

Then TNA had have a great main event with the two top wrestlers in your promotion…a match that many people who bought the PPV were waiting for through two hours of Hulkacrap…only to cheapen it with a screwjob finish.

Then the next night, in one of the more outrageous crowd moments I’ve ever heard of…TNA’s director told the crowd “since you’re not paying for tickets, you’re a cast member” and their “job is not to get in the way”. They were told no profanity (“bullshit” being the operative word). They were also told in an implied way that if they booed babyfaces, they might get thrown out. While being lectured, some people apparently yelled from the crowd “Where’s my check?” and “this is why we don’t watch WWE”.

I’m waiting for a wrestling fan who attended the shows to demand SAG membership. It might be funny to watch TNA’s explanation if someone actually did it just to make a point.

Even more likely, I’ll be curious what will happen if a large portion of a taping challenges TNA after some really crappy match result. The Orlando crowd has already tested it at this past week’s tapings with heckling AJ Styles after Ric Flair came out with him and tried doing the “kid-stealing, wheel-dealing” heel ladykiller bit with Styles; chanting “You are married”. Pretty tough to get your new heel over as a ladykiller when he wears his wedding ring around his neck (and you can bet that’s not changing).

So…is TNA going to throw out a few dozen fans? Not if they have any sense, they won’t. Because they’ll have an even bigger problem

If I were a regular, I’d show up with a beachball and making seal noises…because it’s pretty clear that’s all TNA wants and will allow. That, and ask where the grape Kool-Aid concession is at Universal. Dave Meltzer reported that TNA’s gone so far as to pipe in fake crowd sound so they could get the “right” sound…which apparently sounded really tinny. Anyone remember the days of Vince McMahon doing it with Hogan in his WWF days? Yup…it sopunded like crap back then, too. Loud cheers when fans are sitting and their lips aren’t moving look pretty obvious, even to the most casual fan.

I’d love to see TNA try taping TV in Philadelphia (TNA IS reported to be running a house show at the ECW Arena later this year) and demand that garbage from ECW Arena fans. I’d just love to watch some jackass “director” come out and demand that ECW Arena fans “behave”.

CHIKARA is the only promotion that tells fans no profanity at the ECW Arena and gets away with it, given that everyone well aware that the promotion marketed as a family friendly promotion from the beginning (although fans do get back at them with “holy crap” chants when a big spot would ordinarily get a “holy shit” chant. They also get it because they have what is overall an entertaining product and is family-friendly without having to try to be.

But even CHIKARA can’t demand fans pop “the right way”. Just ask anyone in CHIKARA about the Philadelphia fans feeling masked babyface Lince Dorado was being jammed down their throats at last year’s King of Trios tournament with the “The Future is Now” trio going over early over Team DDT. The fans (who aren’t typically “Philly fans”, but many of whom are exclusively CHIKARA fans) basically revolted and crapped all over Dorado’s trio until the top heel trio, Team F.I.S.T, beat them in a later round and chanted “Thank you, F.I.S.T”.

For that matter, let’s see TNA try that crap agout telling people to behave at any house shows NOT in Philadelphia. Now that the attempts at producing trained TNA seals has been made public online and in this week’s Observer, you can bet that some fans will screw with TNA just to get their goat.

Look, I understand that the idea is not for wrestling fans to get themselves over at the expense of the workers in the ring. When I’m at live shows, I don’t yell crap like “boring”, and I hate people who do (ask people who sit neear me at shows) and let them know I hate it. But there are times when a match is just so bad, whether in the ring, or the finish is so bad, that you have no other way to make yourself heard then to yewll things that don’t get over the product. But to outright tell wrestling fans…and they are wrestling fans, not cast members…TNA… is absolute bullshit.

Here’s how TNA can avoid that kind of behavior: give people a good, logically booked product, don’t insult the fans intelligence, and don’t ask them to be nothing more than trained seals for your TV show.

If you want people to be trained seals, quit pretending you’re a wrestling promotion, just go ahead and hire extras and pay them SAG wages and benefits and quit any pretense you’re anything more than a TV show.

Finally, and more importantly, a reminder about how you can help the people of Haiti:

Wrestling website Diva Dirt is continuing the effort to put together a friendly competition among wrestlers on Twitter to raise money for the people of Haiti which was struck by a tragic earthquake earlier this week. As part of the competition, they ask all wrestlers to tweet to their followers to send a donation via PayPal to [email protected].

How to pledge via PayPal:

1. Log in to your Paypal account or sign up for one.
2. Click on the “Send Money” tab.
3. Type [email protected] in the “To” field and enter your pledge amount into the “Amount” field.
4. Choose how you wish to send the payment [it’s advised to send it as ‘personal’ and ‘gift].
5. On the confirmation screen, you will see “Email to recipient”” which shows something similar to the image below. In the “Message” field type in the name of the wrestler who you are pledging in support of. As you can see in the example below, the pledge is in support of Awesome Kong.
6. Click “Send Money” to send your payment!

All pledges will be sent to the American Red Cross Haiti emergency appeal fund. Please spread the word to your favourite wrestler on Twitter and ask them to get involved!

WWE is asking its fans to support relief efforts through AmericCares with the following statement:

By now, most of you are aware of the devastating 7.0 earthquake that hit 10 miles Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The devastation has been significant, with estimates of more than 3 million people impacted by the disaster. Emergency response teams have entered Haiti to start the recovery effort and provide needed medical relief to people affected by the earthquake. Among those responding is AmeriCares, which is sending $5 million worth of medical aid to survivors. Medicines and supplies are critically needed in Haiti right now. Emergency response experts from AmeriCares and other agencies are working around-the-clock to get those lifesaving products into the hands of medical personnel treating survivors.

  • Donate to AmeriCares through this link
  • You can also donate to these well-known charitable organizations:

  • UNICEF’s website
  • The Clinton-Bush Haiti fund
  • American Red Cross International Response Fund
  • Doctors Without BordersThe following organizations are accepting SMS donations in the US only:
  • SMS text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts
  • SMS text “YELE” to 501501 to Donate $5 to Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts
  • SMS text “GIVE10” to 20222 to donate $10 to Direct ReliefUntil next time…

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