Podzilla 1985

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Evening with TNA Wrestling

I won't lie to you, I'm going to have trouble getting through this one.

As a lot of you know I'm a long time wrestling fan. Part of the reason I enjoyed interviewing Hunter so much was because he and I are both fans of the squared circle, and we like to shoot the breeze about the sport whenever we see each other. Neither of us keep up with it as much as we once did, but you can't really blame us. Not only has the sport taken a sharp nose dive since WCW closed, but we're all grown men now with lots of responsibilities and very little free time to devote to it.

Well sir, I found myself with some free time on Saturday, so I decided to feed that occasional wrestling related hunger and attend the TNA Impact Live! show at the Show Me Center in my loving hometown of Cape Girardeau, MO. I don't normally watch TNA, but I'm quite aware of its superstars, as most of them are former WWE stars who defected. I got a pair of tickets from Hunter and 99.3 to attend the show, and I dragged my disturbingly agreeable fiancee Lindsey to the event. I met up with some old friends at the arena, and as we all piled into our seats I decided to write a blog about it when I got home.

As the show proceeded, I found myself struggling with a perspective to write from. Should I write it as a normal fan? As a "smart" fan that "knows" the business? Or should I write it as cynical and jaded Blogzilla 1985 Super Reporter Shannon Young (Esquire)?

I was even having trouble writing a title! I came up with three possibilities, based on my experience. They were -

A. TNA Wrestling Invades Cape Girardeau!

B. TNA Wrestling Tries to Put on a Good Show in Front of 250 People!



Yes, yes, yes. No, no, no!

So before the festivities of the night even start, the supremely hot Christy Hemme came out to get the crowd pumped. And boy, did she! She constantly had to pull her very short skirt down, which is both classy and charitable to us. She introduced some guy named Pat, who informed us that due to restrictions placed on them by the Missouri Athletics Board, certain wrestlers weren't allowed to perform tonight. We got a list of them, and I honestly believe more people weren't allowed to wrestle than actually showed up TO wrestle.

I could honestly care less about Garrett Bischoff and Jay Bradley. I'm indifferent to Wes Brisco, and I was only slightly bummed that Miss Tessmacher and Gail Kim would be unable to attend because of these sanctions. Then he tells us, all 250 of us that came to the damn show, that new TNA champ Chris Sabin would not be there. The crowd went nuts, as did I, since Sabin was the only one I wanted to see in the first place! Most of the crowd thought it was an angle at first, as it just seemed so damn odd and sudden. Once they started offering refunds, we knew we were all in for one hell of a night.

Years upon years ago, when I was a wee teen, I attended my first WWE event at the Show Me Center. I wanted more than anything to see Matt Hardy, as he was my favorite guy at the time. Wouldn't you know it, Matt was the FIRST wrestler out of the curtain and I went nuts. It's a favorite memory of mine.

Well thank God TNA was kind enough to not try to cheapen that memory for me by letting me see my current favorite wrestler - new champion Chris Sabin.

Quick random fact - Chris Sabin took his last name from Sabin from the most beloved RPG of all time, Final Fantasy VI. Or 3 in America, if you wanna be a dick about it. That's right, VI is better than VII! Deal with it, nerdlinger!

So, heartbroken and Sabin-less, I slunk down in my free seat and never quite recovered. The crowd was small, the talent pool was small, and the show never really caught on. It was a disappointment to be sure, but not for their lack of trying, I guess.

See, even though they had just ran over all of our puppies in the drive way, they then tried to treat us to Save-a-Lot brand ice cream to make up for it.

They announced that every single person in the arena who stayed for the full show would get a chance to meet and greet all of the superstars and knock outs backstage!

Fantastic news! I could always use more celebrity run ins for BZ85, as like most people in America, I'm a star fucker!

It was a bittersweet announcement though, as we then watched a show that only went one and a half hours, and featured a whopping eight superstars. Eight superstars!



So you're telling me that, despite the fact your roster is deep with talent, you could only muster up eight people to perform? Look Dixie, I know our little crowd of like 300 people aren't exactly breaking box office records for you, but that's the best you could do? We literally only got five matches, with three of those matches featuring the same four people.

When I got home I checked the wrestling sites to make sure there wasn't another house show somewhere that they split the roster for. Nope! I guess the Missouri Athletics Board really screwed up their plans when they took away like 6 people from a roster of at least 40 or 50. Where were the rest of the talent? Do the math!

TNA Roster - 6 People = 8 Available Performers?

What the hell, Dixie! Where was Hulk Hogan? Sting? Austin Aries? ODB? Mickie James? Freakin' Eric Young?!!

All we got was Bully Ray, Devon, James Storm, Gunner, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy. They were damn good and very entertaining, but come on! There were more characters to pick from in Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge for the Nintendo!

That was from the 80's!!!

It looks like the missing wrestlers were due to "licensing issues" with the performers in question. I have no idea what that means, but I'm not in that business so I'm waiting for someone from TNA to dumb it down for me (UPDATE - and it turns out, someone did! PWInsider has the scoop here). All I know is that we were all pretty upset with the sudden change, and it left a bad taste in my mouth considering it was my first experience with a live TNA show.

The guys that were able to show up did the best they could with what they were given, and I want to take absolutely nothing away from the amazing talents of everyone that wrestled tonight. James Storm, Bully Ray, and Devon were particularly entertaining and turned what could have been a complete disaster into a highly condensed but still damn entertaining program. I was ready to hate this night due to the lack of Chris Sabin, but these eight wrestlers made me want to give TNA another chance.

And considering how badly they screwed up their first chance, that's really saying something.

So kudos to the TNA talent for giving us a good show when everything was already in shambles for the 300 people that even decided to show up.

And boo to whoever it was that denied the crowd their promised card, and broke one old wrestling fans little heart.

Also some kids were probably disappointed too. Not only was their night ruined with the absence of some big stars, and Garrett Bischoff, but they couldn't even buy anything at the concession stands after the 90 minute event. The stands were closed down already and they were boxing it all up. I personally witnessed kids being turned away with money in hand for TNA merchandise, and I couldn't help but shake my head at what a catastrophe my first TNA show turned out to be.

Anywho, enjoy some pictures!

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