TNA Wrestling was supposed to be the true alternative for wrestling fans. Garnering such gifted wrestling talents as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Jay Lethal, Amazing Red, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, etc. TNA was the first American promotion to make use of a six-sided wrestling-ring (as opposed to the conventional four-sided ring). Giving the impression that TNA, much like Mix Martial Arts, would feature total nonstop action. So you know what really grinds my gears? Vince Russo, what the hell happened?
The head writer of TNA believes that a pro wrestling company should emphasize the entertainment aspect over the in-ring competition of professional wrestling. That backwards thinking is fine when it comes to World Wrestling Entertainment, who have compared themselves to Ringling Brothers, but TNA is supposed to be a professional wrestling program.
A professional wrestling program should display the wrestler’s athleticism and strength through series of striking and grappling moves, not a wrestler’s ability to act through poorly written and illogical story lines. We might as well start calling it Total Nonstop ACTING.
Vince Russo concentrates so hard on creating the edgiest, sexiest, violent form of television that the show completely misses with wrestling fans.
Whenever something strange occurs in the story–because that’s all TNA is nowadays–and you say to yourself, “WTF,” that would be thanks to Russo. So a look at those “WTF” moments in the illogical story-telling of “Vic Venom” Vince Russo in the year 2010:
Tara and Madison Rayne: Tara turned heel at Lockdown when she attacked Angelina Love after their match against Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky. Then she put her career on the line for an opportunity at Madison’s Knockouts title at Sacrifice. Tara later returned as a mysterious biker and was revealed to now be allies with Madison? After Madison cost Tara her career… WTF?
Angelina Love’s Reigns: Angelina earned two illegitimate title reigns in 2010. She obtained her third Knockouts title by winning it in a Lockbox challenge. Then-champion Tara did not have the opportunity to defend the title. So the Knockouts title was forfeited, and, thanks to a key, Love takes home the jackpot… WTF? What respect is that for a championship? Then at Victory Road, the referee assumed that the mysterious biker girl was one of the Beautiful People and awarded Love the belt–since the rules stated that the title would change hands via disqualification if Velvet or Lacey interfered. The title was returned to Madison after it was determined that there was no proof on the biker’s identity. Since the referee apologized and restored the belt back to Madison, wouldn’t it make sense that Love’s title possession not count as a reign? Well, it’s in the TNA record books that at Victory Road, Love became a four-time Knockouts champion… WTF?
Where in the world is Jay Lethal?: In 2010, Jay Lethal dropped the Black Machismo gimmick for a worthwhile shot at “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Lethal was a legitimate threat to Ric Flair, due to his imitations being insulting. He was even taking on all of Fortune one-by-one. His credibility as a performer sky rocketed in the weeks leading up to his dream match against Ric Flair at Victory Road. But shortly after Victory Road, Lethal became a five-time X-Division champion in a lack luster celebration with left over confetti from Rob Van Dam’s TNA championship ceremony. Okay… so is this going to ignite a feud with Douglas Williams, and continue his grudge with Ric Flair? No. Lethal won the X-Division title and was never seen in the Impact Zone again, along with the rest of the X-Division wrestlers… WTF?
As you can see from these examples, Vince Russo has two pitfalls: 1) He strips away the meaning out of championships; and 2) he doesn’t understand how to legitimately build someone into a top star.
Another issue with Vince Russo is his constant attempt at breaking the fourth wall of professional wrestling. For someone who makes a point to emphasize entertainment, Russo breaks a cardinal rule of the entertainment business–never break the fourth wall. How does Russo break the fourth wall? By lacing every aspect of TNA with a myriad of worked-shoots. He thinks professional wrestling should come off as unscripted, so as to get a rise out of the “smart” pro-wrestling fans (smarks).
Here’s a question that we must ask ourselves, if Russo writes for smarks, then why write something that they know is not true?
Seeing as smarks collect most of their knowledge from internet dirt sheets, the current retirement angle of Kurt Angle doesn’t work. Because smarks already know that Kurt Angle signed a one-year contract with TNA prior to Bound for Glory. So any shoot-like promo that Jeff Jarrett cuts regarding Kurt Angle’s retirement is bogus.
Final Thoughts: In pro-wrestling, fans are suppose to suspend their disbelief much like when watching a movie or a Broadway show. But Vince Russo’s style of writing forces pro-wrestling fans to either become smarks to understand the product, or simply remain lost throughout. If he wants to emphasize entertainment then that’s fine. But at least make sense out of the stories because Russo has a tendecy to write in medias res (into the middle of things). At Before the Glory, the Ric Flair/Mick Foley bout was advertised as twenty-years in the making. Did they feud whatsoever in TNA? Seem to recall Ric Flair semi-feuding with Hulk Hogan, and Mick Foley feuding with both Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett. But never did Ric Flair and Mick Foley fight while in TNA.
Do you kind of get the gist of why Vince Russo really grinds my gears? Any thoughts to the matter?