I was a reporter in Florence, South Carolina around the time Vince McMahon shocked the world and purchased WCW, proving to every wrestling fan around that the business tycoon was hell bent on making sure he controlled the industry. It wasn’t enough that McMahon, who purchased the WWF from his father to systematically eliminate wrestling promotions nationally, was the biggest man in a drying industry. McMahon has made millions on savvy business decisions and greed. And with that, he was and still is the best at what he does.
When the news broke that the owner of WWE put a bid in to purchase TNA Impact wrestling, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. The first thing I thought of, however, was the news that broke regarding his initial purchase of WCW and how a sportswriter back then viewed his dealings with WCW.
Some 15 years later, I still think it was a terrible move and the notion of him trying to do the same thing with a ship taking on water may have its immediate merits, but it will become a disaster in the end.
My reasons for this aren’t personal. I don’t have a dog in the fight. I can find fault with every wrestling operation out there, big and small. McMahon believes in the concept of bigger is better. But by promoting that theory he has sunk himself into a hole he is still trying to get out of since 2001. Yes, WWE grabbed superstars like Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and others.
But as of now, there is no real competition in this business. WCW was the last of a dying breed. Ring of Honor and TNA have their own place in this dichotomy – where wrestlers like Abyss, Jay Lethal, and Adam Cole all have their own following. It would be nice to see everyone on an even playing field, but after a while that “niceness” becomes old, it becomes stale.
This is supposed to be an editorial of sorts, getting away from the usual slideshow of reasons for such a poor move. I suspect McMahon has it somewhere in the back of his mind that despite a brand split and new titles abounding, the company is still dealing with low ratings.
Maybe an influx of change once again would help the cause. While Raw has a larger, more potent roster, it cannot grab onto a consistent storyline. Smackdown Live remains the little brother of the outfit and is winning the brand war because of smaller options and better storylines that have kept fans entertained.
If the McMahons cannot take two rosters and make them functional so fans want to watch on Monday and Tuesday nights, how will they bring in another brand with new wrestlers (although old faces) and have it work as a well-oiled machine.
The answer, plainly, is “I do not know.”
I don’t know why TNA has the issues it has when it isn’t void of talent, has solid performers and has a Knockouts division and cruiserweights that perform with zeal every week. Changes in management and ownership haven’t helped and a new look, new theme, no flavor has seemed to make it exciting, but the results are the same.
Still, having a McMahon run the joint just seems a bit redundant. The one thing I can say about TNA, ROH, CZW and every other independent promotion out there, the hardcore fan appreciates you. Having McMahon buy TNA only soils the reason for such independence. Ironically, should WWE buy TNA, wrestlers like Lashley, Drew Galloway, Aron Rex and the Hardys will be back under the thumb they escaped from in the first place. In this case, too much of one thing really is a bad thing.
Hopefully, the bid McMahon put in on the promotion will not be enough to change the wrestling world. I can only hope. I was raised on the old NWA. I believe in Jack Brisco and the fireman’s carry. I watched Dory Funk Jr. and the spinning toe hold and I thought the Dusty Rhodes bionic elbow was a thing of beauty.
TNA going to the dark side takes all that way. This isn’t about McMahon wanting to help a struggling wrestling promotion – it’s about conquering the little promotion that couldn’t. There has to be another way.
Hopefully, that way doesn’t have the name McMahon attached to it.