Tito Ortiz joins TNA Wrestling; Flea market continues
By Justin LaBar
Published: Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013, 10:48 p.m.
TNA Impact wrestling should be in a refrigerator because it's nothing but leftovers.
The company has spent so much time giving a place to work for guys past their prime or that WWE didn't want anymore. Good for those guys to get paid but bad for TNA's bank account. But at least that was a wrestling company taking leftover, well, wrestlers.
Now TNA is taking leftover Mixed Martial Arts performers. Let's take leftover guys who aren't even trained in your genre. Stellar business decision.
MMA fighters who Dana White and UFC felt aren't worth having anymore, and TNA takes them in. MMA fighters posting up like they're at a flea market wanting to cash in on any last value their name still has. Why not go for the flea market regular in Dixie Carter?
In 2012, the company signed MMA fighter King Mo. Earlier this summer, a BIG announcement that MMA fighter Rampage Jackson had joined TNA. Last week, it was days of mysterious videos teasing an Aug. 1 reveal of some name.
The vignettes were interesting. Fans, of course, had guesses to which free agent wrestlers could be the big reveal. Jokes on them for thinking at all that this reveal in a wrestling show should be a wrestler. The mysterious person would acknowledge and name-drop popular guesses and tell everyone to guess again.
He said he wasn't Batista, and he said he wasn't Chris Jericho. Great to get attention by dropping their names in denial but set a bar too high to deliver. The BIG reveal was Tito Ortiz. TNA has a partnership with Bellator MMA fighting which also airs on Spike TV. They're trying to get attention and I guess they got some, but at what price? TNA has become a punchline to wrestling fans.
TNA should scrap professional wrestling and start putting on MMA events. There is no guarantee they will get the return because these MMA guys aren't top billing anymore, but at least it would be the right ring/cage.
Ortiz and Jackson in a fake wrestling match isn't going to create record pay-per-view buys or television ratings. They don't matter like they used to.
WWE used Floyd “Money” Mayweather in a match with Big Show at WrestleMania 24 because Mayweather was the biggest name in boxing.
There are a dozen names who are stars on the independent wrestling circuit that TNA could spend money on. All 12 combined would be much less than any investment for Ortiz and Jackson. Those 12 guys would grab positive attention from wrestling fans. Out of those dozen, maybe only two become stars that TNA can try to make consistent money from. That's still two more than they have with the MMA senior club.
Even the reveal couldn't be done right by TNA. The lights go out while Aces & Eights and Main Event Mafia are circling each other ringside. Then, Ortiz walks down the ramp and stands there looking tough. The commentators just assumed and told us he was the Aug. 1 reveal. I wonder how many in the arena could see or figure out that was Ortiz?
The entire segment felt so forced. It felt like TNA was saying, “Hey, look, this is a big deal you should be excited for.”
When you have a big deal, it speaks for itself and doesn't need manufactured. Act like you've been there, no matter how foreign that might be.
Trib Total Media staffer Justin LaBar has a wrestling column every Monday and Friday. He also hosts Wrestling Reality at sportstalk.triblive.com every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m.
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