Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thoughts On... Eric Young As TNA World Champ

Note: Originally written last Sunday.

I want to nibble on TNA booking Eric Young to win their World Champion on the same week that saw Daniel Bryan Danielson get his Wrestlemania moment and win the WWE Heavyweight Championship. I was going to do this in a video log format, but I'm not really going to bother because there's really not much to say and what I do have to say doesn't need any mincing of words, so I'll just say it.

The only reason Eric Young is World Champion has nothing to do with his years of loyalty to the company that put him through some ridiculous and oftentimes embarrassing situations, has nothing to do with his skills and talent, but rather due to the size of his beard. I added a postscript to last Monday's episode of the DTM-Cast towards the tale end of the episode, about how I was talking with a friend of mine and he brought the prior week's episode of Impact where Eric Young won a match early on to become no. 1 contender and later on, usurping Magnus to become World Champion. Seeing that I didn't follow TNA, I thought, "Good for Eric." ANd then my friend added the last piece of the puzzle and at first, I laughed it off and accused TNA of going to that Xerox machine.

But I actually had some time to think about it and, going through past recaps of Impact, it sort of dawned on me that this Eric Young World Title hotshotting was just that. It was a hotshot. It wasn't something planned or built up. It was out of the blue. It was like the Undertaker streak ending after a massively dull build-up. Except there was no build up to that title win. There was no rhyme or reason for that title reign to take place. Eric Young won the World Title because he had a massive beard, much like a certain WWE champion. Eric Young, a talent who, for the better part of his TNA tenure, is known for being a comedy act than any serious threat to the World Championship, is suddenly put in position where he has to pretend that he's the top guy in TNA. And when you have that thought process where you're going "Oh look at that guy pretending to be World champ" even within the narrative of what is largely a "pretend" sport, that's really bad.

And the funny thing is, I don't think this is going to be a big deal in the long run, because in my mind, TNA is not a big deal. I hate to bring this up because I'm sure it's been brought up, but right now TNA is nothing more than a glorified independent outfit with moderate television exposure. Always has been and from the looks of things, always will be. I honestly believe that TNA has no chance of growing into something bigger than what they are now, because despite trying many different things, they are no better off now than they were five or six years ago. They're sort of just there. And I think at one point somewhere, I said that "The most positive thing I could say about TNA is that they're still around and they're surviving." And that's really it. They're there, they're around, and that's all that registers in my mind. And that's pretty much the kind of attention that I give TNA. I don't actively follow it. I don't wonder what's going on in TNA. I don't CARE about TNA.

It's a stark contrast to about a decade or so again during the tail end of the Monday Night Wars, where at that point, I was mostly watching RAW and pretty much ignored the WCW programming save for the occasional replay that would air on TSN and the PPVs... but I would still try and track down the online recaps of Nitro and Thunder, just to get a idea of what was going on. I don't do that with TNA. I haven't payed attention to TNA in about a long ass amount of time, outside of a quick dabble here and there. And whatever they have on their programming always came off as if they were trying to do what WWE was doing at the time, except much shittier. And again, THAT's a stark contrast from when TNA first started back in 2002 and they were doing weekly PPV events for ten dollars and the show was a much more grittier, but more wrestling-oriented product. It was a true alternative to the WWE product and the beginnings of their Ruthless Agression era which had amazing angles for the ages such as Katie Vick, the Billy & Chuck Gay Wedding where they came out and said that they were NOT gay, and the death of Al Wilson due to having a boner in bed... oh and nearly an entire year of Monday Night RAW with HHH as the main focus and not enough coffee to keep me awake during those shows.

The TNA of 2014 is a much different beast than the TNA of 2002 or 2005 or even 2006. It's a company that has had many chances to grow and really stand out from the pack... and blew every single one of them. Nothing that has come out of that camp has made me care about TNA. That may not mean a whole lot, but it could be easily applied to anyone else. Say what you will about WWE and how that company's programming has been something of a questionable quality, but that company is still making money, that company is growing and expanding, and I believe it's safe to say that WWE is in a position where they can do a thousand things wrong and they'll be fine, short of one major catastrophie.

TNA doesn't have that. TNA doesn't have anything to make the eyeballs look at the product. And what they do have, they're most likely going to go, "This is kinda like WWE. Maybe I should watch WWE." I don't hate TNA, because I have to care about TNA. And I don't care about TNA. I'll go so far as to say that I'm more intrigued by the Jeff Jarrett wrestling promotion start-up than I am TNA. That's about all the attention I'm going to give TNA, which is an admittedly considerable amount, perhaps more so than usual. And that's about all I'm going to say in that regard... but, seriously, guys. Stop abusing the Xerox, alright?

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