Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Impact Wrestling Commercials Offend Me

This segment disproves the notion that wrestling matters at Impact Wrestling
Photo Credit: TNAWrestling.com

If you watched RAW last night, then odds are, you probably saw a commercial for the newly rebranded Impact Wrestling. I'm not sure if it was locally-purchased or whether the folks at TNA grew balls and bought national advertising on USA, but my guess is that no matter what they did, they did it on a wide scale. I can commend that kind of advertising attack, although that's the extent of the praise that I'll deliver for it. I've been trying to find an embeddable video of said commercial as more of a reference for why I hated it, but I can't. For those who didn't see, it was basically Hulk Hogan, AJ Styles and Robert Roode talking about how wrestling mattered and how if they wanted to watch "entertainment", they'd rent a movie.

ON a deeply personal level as a wrestling fan, every second of that commercial offended me to the core. It wasn't because they made slurs or because they did something "insensitive". They insulted my intelligence, really. I mean, I watched Impact both weeks since they rolled out this "wrestling matters" campaign, and judging from what I've seen, it's nothing more than lip service.

I mean, it's one thing to try and brand yourself with a new identity, but that rebranding isn't going to work if the same people are in charge who were part of the prior identity. It's shown throughout the last two weeks. Two shows ago, there was barely any focus on the kind of things that would mark a "wrestling" show rather than an "entertainment" show until Mick Foley made the announcement halfway through. This past week didn't have a different feeling than your garden variety Impact since the Bischoff/Hogan regime took over either. There was still a massive focus on Immortal fighting a battle with a face NPC authority figure. There was still Eric Bischoff getting into ring gear and being an active competitor even though he's not a "wrestler". The angle where Winter is using voodoo magic to control Angelina Love.

And the most galling thing to me? A big segment of the show was surrounded around Robert Roode and Ric Flair acting out a scene that would better fit on a reality TV show about the back workings of a wrestling fed rather than a wrestling angle. Yes, there was a ham-handed attempt at saving towards the end to turn it back into a wrestling angle, but in no way, shape or form should anyone go out there and call out another wrestler for using a wrestling hold to win a wrestling match because of a non-kayfabed injury. I'm sorry. If wrestling mattered, then the backstage stuff wouldn't and shouldn't peer out into the on-camera world.

The opposition to my viewpoint is that I should give them time to change the game. I say feh to that, a feh indeed, because since the Hogan/Bischoff regime took over, they have proven nothing to me that they deserve the benefit of the doubt. As a wrestling fan, I am NOT obligated to give everything a chance to play out. Promoters, bookers, wrestlers, announcers, whatever, they have with me and should have with everyone a limited line of credit when it comes to what they want to sell us, and with each entity, they have a credit score. If NWA Hollywood or Chikara came to me with a questionable gimmick, I'd give them a lot of time for them to win me over. Why? They have good credit scores when it comes to the intellectual capital known as "the benefit of the doubt". The WWE has considerably less capital in that regard, and dragging up the rear is any promotion that Bischoff or Vince Russo has a hand in creative. If they've given me NOTHING to hang my hat on as a fan in the last 18 months (or really, 10 years to be honest), then why should I give this iteration time to develop without criticizing it?

That being said, if they deliver (even a blind squirrel finds a nut), then yeah, I'll praise them. But for now, what they're telling me is so patently offensive that I actually get angry when I see those spots on TV. I don't like being lied to, and I don't like having my intelligence insulted. For Hulk Hogan to tell me wrestling matters when he's the head of a company where they've yet to prove it in the last 2+ years that I've followed it closely is a slap in my face, and it makes me not want to tune in on Thursdays or record it to watch at my leisure.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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