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October 3, 2008

Meet TNA’s biggest star: Vince McMahon

I didn’t keep count, but it seemed to me that Vince McMahon’s name was mentioned more times on TNA Impact last night than Samoa Joe’s, Sting’s and Kurt Angle’s – combined.

Angle and Jeff Jarrett made the WWE chairman the focus of their angle, and even Mick Foley took a shot at his former boss in his much-anticipated debut promo.

TNA’s obsession with McMahon is nothing new. They’ve parodied him in the past, and let’s not forget those lame anti-WWE segments that were done by VKM (Vincent Kennedy McMahon, get it?).

The constant mentions of McMahon, the “machine up North,” past WWE story lines and current WWE stars make TNA look second rate and desperate for attention. How many times do you think WWE will reference TNA tonight on Smackdown or Monday night on Raw? There’s a better chance of Ted Nugent endorsing Barack Obama for president than there is of Samoa Joe or Jarrett getting a shout out from Triple H or Chris Jericho (both of whom were mentioned on Impact last night, by the way).

I understand that to hardcore TNA fans McMahon is the enemy, and that a heel will get heat by praising him, and a babyface will get a pop by insulting him. But I don’t think it will sell tickets or pay-per-views.

When ECW in its heyday went after WWE and WCW it was cool because they were the outlaw company rebelling against “the man.” It was what ECW was all about. TNA is not ECW and this is not 1997. The company would be better served concentrating on its own talented roster and story lines than on Vinny Mac.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

This is what I wrote on June 1 of last year in regard to the death of Jarrett’s wife, Jill, who lost her battle with cancer the week before:

I just don’t want to see a heel bring up Jill’s death in a disrespectful manner in order to get heat and start a feud with Jarrett.”

Sure enough, Angle, who reportedly is going through a divorce from his wife, Karen, said in his promo that he “wasn’t the only one who has lost his wife.”

As I have said before, I know this is wrestling and that real-life personal issues are often brought into story lines. I’m usually OK with it, but I draw the line at death. I wasn’t comfortable with MVP trying to get heat by bringing up Jeff Hardy’s dog, who died when Hardy’s house burned down last March, but, as much as I love dogs, a pet is not a human being. To bring the death of a wrestler or a wrestler’s spouse into a story line is disgusting.

I didn’t like it when WWE did it with Eddie Guerrero and I don’t like it now with Jarrett’s wife. It amazes me that Vickie Guerrero and Jeff Jarrett go along with it, but wrestling people are just a different breed, and using deaths in story lines has been going on in the business for decades. ...

It was refreshing to hear Sting say this week that he and Ric Flair “didn’t always see eye to eye.” That’s quite an understatement to anyone who watched them feud for over a decade in WCW, but at least it’s better than Sting referring to Flair as “a confidant and a brother.” …

Rhaka Khan definitely was a surprise as ODB’s mystery partner against The Beautiful People. Khan was a little clumsy in the ring, but she did show some personality as a babyface. …

I loved Robert Roode’s lid, but not nearly as much as Jacqueline’s shirt.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 5:48 PM | | Comments (17)


Totally agree KEvin. Angle using Jeff's wife last night really bothered me when I watched it this morning via my DVR. It just bugged me that it would even be brought up at all.
I realize that Angle is going through it which also semi surprises me since won't that mean Karen and Kurt will work for TNA... though I could see Karen leaving or even already being gone.

Mentioning Vince McMahon's name on TNA is akin to someone mentioning Kevin Eck's name on TNA . ( JUST A JOKE KEV ! )
I totally agree with you about how disrespectful it is to bring up Jarrett's deceased wife to aid in a storyline . I'm glad you mentioned how it's also done with Eddie G . - makes me just a little uncomfortable . Me personally , mentioning Hardy's dog is going too far as well .

Today they announced that Mongo McMichael will ref the tag team 4 way.

That should improve the buy rate by at least 5 or 6 buys.

I loved Foley's promo. He always makes for great theater.

Mentioning the WWE so many times is classless. The only reason guys like Booker and Angle are in TNA is because WWE didn't want them anymore, not because they "love" TNA.

Also looking at that one video of Angle talking about McMahon, I was shocked by how much thinner Angle is today.

Finally, Abyss' character is a complete failure. He just needs to go away. He is a completely unoriginal, untalented Mankind knockoff.

I'm shocked, shocked! that McMahon Jr would be upset about his Daddy being made fun of. But for once you are right. When will Jarrett wake up and realize Russo is hellbent on ruining another company? By the way Kevin does Jarrett write his own storyline or does he leave it up to Russo?

You'll never understand the wrestling industry storylines about the deceased if u dont open ur mind to the fact that these wrestlers lives pretty much evolve around wrestling and such things open you to more experiences.. for instance; take anyone in the military or who has a spouce in the military when they die doing what they do, they nearly always have a memorial with some sort of military just give it alittle more thought

The sad, sad, truth is this: TNA as a company, fails time and time again to actually be creative in branding itself and differentiating itself from WWE. In an interview with Paul Heyman, he more or less said the exact same thing. And rather than challenging that, they opt time and time again to embrace who their performers were in previous companies, down to their theme music (if you don't believe me, look at Booker T's music in TNA compared to WWE, Team 3d's, etc.).

A lot of the fans sick of WWE - those lost after the Attitude era ended, former ECW fans, etc. - would love many viable options. But unless someone running TNA gets it through their head and realizes that swerves at every corner and rehashing of plotlines and characters is not good business, they will never have a shot at being a stable and successful company, and much less being an alternative to WWE.

Dude, TNA even cribbed lines last night from Jerry Lawler. When the four team tag was announced for Bound For Glory, JC said to Beer Money Inc. "I hope your alligator mouth can keep up with your hummingbird rear ends". Lawler said that very line four months ago about Jamie Noble when he was puffing himself up prior to a match with Kane when he was trying to impress Layla. TNA is a second rate show, hell they can't even write their own lines anymore. Sad, sad sad. I said it before and I'll say it again, that company can only get WWE's sloppy seconds.

I actually agree with everything you have said here Kevin. I do mean 100% when I say everything!

Very well written, and it speaks the truth!

Pro wrestling Yankee style is finally getting interesting again. Inside references, real heat between promotions and talent, death, pet and divorce references. The storylines are supposed to resemble something believable right, with a logical and compelling sequence of events, which doesn't reflect the cartoon character stuff from the 90's when IRS , Vinny Vegas and Doink was all the rage... not. Could this be NWO part 3 or 4? Your getting strong readership from down in Sydney, Australia, so the very much global audience must tell a story also. Are the web stats up also?

I find it funny how Tenay and West talk about the Motor City Machine Guns disrespecting the veterans, but they've disrespected LAX, two young guys along with Consequences Creed, who could very well be the youngest guy on the roster.

I disagree with you about the use of VKM in the Foley/Angle promo. I thought the entire piece was a golden segment. Both performers cut classic interviews. Though the reference to Jarrett's wife was unnecessary, I think the VKM mentions were needed to solidify the reasoning behind Foley's departure, and to further use Foley as a symbol of why viewers should follow him away from WWE. I think their strategy, at least as conveyed by Foley, is not to create TNA as the new ECW, as a rebel organization that is doing everything WWE isn't, but to use Foley as a vehicle for the message that VKM has gone so far off the deep-end that he's losing the big-names he's placed so much investment into (i.e. Foley, Angle, even Flair to some degree). By mentioning the Undertaker, Edge and HHH matches, Foley aims to demonstrate that there is some great WRESTLING talent in WWE being held down my VKM's lame storyline ideas and his overwhelming desire to control the narrative. Additionally, Foley insinuates that VKM's commentators should be allowed to craft a narrative around that great talent, instead of letting VKM do so. With TNA, I think Foley will strive to create a better narrative around excellent young wrestling talent, notably Samoa Joe and A.J. styles. He wants to convince the audience that's been disenfranchised by poor WWE programming for so long that it's time to follow Mick Foley into new territory, and the reason why is because the old territory is selling you short on the entertainment you could be receiving. The only way to do that is to kick VKM around for a bit. Eventually, TNA will get to a point where it doesn't need to do that anymore. I say give it time.

I totally agree with the blog man. Deaths should never be brought up in storylines no matter how scripted it is. And I will agree on 2 other things:

1) It is pretty sad to see TNA take so many shots at Vince how desperate they are for attention.

2) And yes to respond to someone Abyss is a cheap Mankind knockoff.

Back in the day, with all the territories, you never knew there was anything outside the territory on your TV screen. The old WWWF would refer to a new wrestler's previous experience (ie., Greg Valentine) as being "world wide" or "know around the country". Never mentioned a territory, let alone NWA or AWA by name.

I agree with the death thing. What I also hate is how the best friend of the deceased always likes to ride the fame of his fallen friend. See Rey and Eddie.

If you all had notice in the past that WWE hadn't use any death probs since Jeff's dog but I'm like everyone I dont like talking bout deaths expecially ones whom accure

If I were TNA Management, I'd would worry about the company and not compare it to WWE, The WWE is now up on the mountain, then it was in 1995. Take TNA across the globe if they can. Have shows in Canada, England, Europe etc. Cause the WCW only stayed in the southern of the States which I believe was also their down fall they called them selves World Championship Wrestling, at the time I'd called it Stateside Championship Wrestling (because they stayed in the far south and barely traveled to Canada, or Europe for T.V tapings).
Use the young talent to work with the "legends" and promote that work with the promos etc.
Another thing, don't let Russo be the control of the company, that's where the WCW went down with his so called Sports & Hollywood Entertainment ie; David Arquette is WCW Champion, Jay Leno wrestling, mocking fun of Jim Ross (Oklahoma) nuff said

Jonathan Michaels
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

look wwe IS da bigger of da 2 no matter who tna signs! concentrate on ur own product cause u DO have great talent but ur storylines sucks i'll take the game taker hbk batista cena over anyone in tna! 2 aj GO UP NORTH! develop ur character there i'ts like wcw all over again!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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