The Wrestling Genius: The Great Vignette Heist

Before I get to what happened on Monday, I would first like to lie to rest a promising wrestling organization, TNA. You see a tragedy happened on Thursday that ended the poor company’s credibility and any hope of being a legit company. They have been on life support for some time now and finally I guess they just decided to pull the plug on the company. When they ran a complete rip off WWE’s 2/21/11 vignette, it killed all hopes of them being a WWE equal. I get the whole point of it was to show Vince “Hey we got Sting and you didn’t!” but all it did was show how pathetic and unimaginative their company is. Russo should be arrested because he has now committed double homicide; he is killed once before you see. Yes, this same man killed WCW, along with his accomplice Eric Bischoff. These two have now killed two companies in the span of 15 years, and it only took them a year and a half together to kill TNA.

This didn’t have to happen, had Dixie Carter just made the right decision two years ago. She should have avoided the momentary boost given by the reunion of Hogan and Bischoff. While that union gave a boost in ratings, it has slowly consumed the company, and has now brought us to its death. Dixie could have avoided it, had she gone with a lunatic, a maniacal genius on the level if not better than Vince, that man of course is Paul Hayman. Paul Hayman took a company so small with no money and made it a near equal to the WWE and WCW. Paul Hayman would never have in a million years ripped off the WWE the way Russo and TNA did on Thursday. Paul Hayman was an innovator and Russo and Bischoff are destroyers. They care more about putting themselves over then the product. I can overlook putting the belt on a drug addict who has reportedly shown up high to tapings, I can overlook putting the strap on an overrated WWE cast off, but I can’t overlook you giving up on anything original and just doing something someone else did just a week before. Vince Russo has more lives than a cat, and has milked his one good idea longer than M Night Shyamalan has lived off 6th Sense. I’m not sure if he was the mastermind behind the ridiculous Sting vignette but he is the head writer so he has to be the man to take the blame for it. The only way Dixie can save this company would be publically fire Vince Russo and possibly offer his head to the highest bidder. If it was not for AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and a few of the tag teams I don’t think I’d be watching TNA anymore. I have hopes they can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and save itself but that can’t happen until Russo is gone from TNA forever.

Now onto something a little lighter and cheerier I mean I’m even a little depressed after two paragraphs of nothing but talk of death and destruction.  Monday Night Raw was okay, not a lot of wrestling but then again you need shows like this one to build storylines for Wrestlemania. I’d like to first talk about HHH’s promo at the beginning apparently there were a lot of wrestlers in the back who didn’t appreciate him saying there were no challenges left for him and the Undertaker. Now when I heard him say that I thought “Well didn’t Sheamus just beat the holy Hell out of you?”. Well they resolved that little problem by having Sheamus completely job for HHH. I do not know why WWE creative has decided to bury Sheamus, but by doing it the way they have done it I feel it has made the WWE title seem weaker in general. I mean he is now taking beatings week after week and he is a former champion. What does that say about anyone else that has held that title, or the people who lost to him while he was champion? Okay back to HHH’s promo and the perceived shot he took at the entire locker room. HHH was right when he said they have nothing left to accomplish, no one else left to beat. They have held every major title, won the Royal Rumble, they both have had every accolade you can have. He didn’t say that to imply that no one in the locker room can beat him, all he was saying is, is that none of them offer a career defining milestone that a match at Wrestlemania with Undertaker would be. HHH has faced the Undertaker many times, and has faced him at Wrestlemania so they had to find a way to build this match in a unique way to get us to believe he can pull it off. I think that promo did just that for them because it made us realize just how focus HHH is at ending Undertaker’s coveted streak. That’s the kind of promo we have been missing for a long time in the WWE, a straight from the heart and unscripted.

Shawn Michaels had a pretty good segment talking about the HHH vs. Undertaker match. Shawn pointed out how much it hurts to lose to The Undertaker and that while he wants HHH, part of him wants Undertaker to win because if Shawn wasn’t able to end the streak no one ever should. He also made a great point that fighting Taker at Wrestlemania is really like fighting two different things. You have The Undertaker, but then you also have the legacy, the streak. The pressure of being “the guy” to end the streak can get to you and distract you. Bill Russell never lost in the NBA finals; he was a perfect 11-0. There are quite a few quotes from former opponents who talked about how difficult it was to beat him in those big games, because he had never lost at that stage. It crawls into the back of your mind and makes you do things you would not normally do, and guys like Undertaker and Russell will use any small mistake you make to beat you. Even veterans like Michaels and Edge made mistakes and Taker will used those mistakes to beat them.

The other part of Raw that seems to have angered some people is that The Rock was not in Buffalo on Monday, but instead he did his promo from his home in Los Angeles. I have no problem with this because quite frankly The Rock is great from anywhere. Would have I preferred him to be in front of a live crowd? Of course, I would but in all honesty, it doesn’t make that big a difference because he still worked circles around John Cena again. He continues to remind us just what we are missing from the WWE, and he makes John Cena look like an amateur by comparison. His promo was not as good as the first one he had after coming back, but it was still better than anything else we heard from anyone not named HHH on Monday. The Rock once again seemed to not notice the PG Rating and just steam rolled right through his promo as if it was 1999, and I would not have wanted it any other way. I was afraid after his last promo they might tell him to tone down the swearing. Apparently, Vince has a few good ideas left because he didn’t censor The Rock, if anything The Rock was a little more vulgar. The Rock is setting up to be a major part of the Cena vs. Miz match and I hope a crappy ending does not destroy the angle.

I touched on this earlier while talking about the beating, Sheamus took but I want to give it its own paragraph. The WWE creative team has decided to make certain wrestlers who are current champions or former champions job to make others look good. Daniel Bryan did not even get to have his match because The Miz jumped him and beat him down before he could get to the ring. Sheamus had to job for HHH and jobbed for Mark Henry a few weeks back. I do not understand the thought process behind burying current and former champions. All it does is make the titles seem less sacred and it makes anyone who has lost to them seem weaker. It also bothers me that certain writers can have it out for a wrestler for personal reasons and that wrestler no matter how talented or how much potential they have, can and will get buried to appease the writer. Jack Swagger was buried the same way on Smackdown and I still do not understand why. Is as if the WWE goes through lapses of petty inner battles where the writers decide at random to destroy up and coming talent. It is starting to remind me of WCW, but not quite on that level yet, and I it never gets that bad in the WWE.

One last thing I would like to touch on before I wrap this up, the CM Punk vs. Orton angle is shaping up to be the best part of Wrestlemania. I love every promo, every confrontation, and every time Punk calls Orton Randall. Punk’s style is closest thing we have to an Attitude Era style left on the current roster. Orton continues to play the part of The Nexus destroyer perfectly and the whole thing is working for me. Orton and Punk are both at the top of their games and I cannot wait to see them at Wrestlemania. I just wish they got a little more time on Raw each week, not a lot more time but just a little more to shape the story. I also like the fact that Randy is doing something Cena failed to do and that is divide and conquer The Nexus. I just hope Otunga is next to get his head punted by the Viper. This matchup seems like a title fight, and not just for pride. I have said it before but it bears repeating, this is going to be a great Wrestemania and I can’t wait to see it.

Thanks again for reading the column, and if you have any questions, comments, concern, or hate you can send them to As I said before I try to respond to all the mail I get, even the hate mail.


The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt