I’ve never watched TNA.
I’ve never watched a single episode or pay-per-view. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve even watched a full match on TNA. Even on the Internet.
I didn’t watch when Jeff Jarrett was the top guy. I didn’t watch when they got Kurt Angle. I didn’t tune in for A.J. Styles or Samoa Joe.
Even after the recent buzz surrounding Matt Hardy and his Final Deletion (which I would like to see but have yet to watch), I wasn’t interested.
Why am I telling you all this? Because Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA.
Whether he was Damien Sandow, or Damien Mizdow, or Davy Crockett, he was can’t-miss, must-see every time he showed up on WWE television. He’s a rare force who connects with the audience no matter what stupid gimmick he’s handed. He’s the super-rare performer who can make my wife look up and laugh when he’s on TV.
Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA. That’s the difference one man – the right man – can make. Let’s hope the famously bad powers that be at TNA don’t botch this one up!
Listening to Jeff Jarrett on this week’s Talk is Jericho and he brings up an interesting point about the uptick in quality in independent wrestling.
In the old territory days, the young guys were made to watch every single match. Dutch Mantell forced a young Steve Austin to sit in a chair, watch every match on the card every night, and learn. He did, and look where it got him.
In the heyday of IWA Mid-South, when the old territories were just a memory, CM Punk, Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, and Dave Prazak would stay up all night raiding Ian Rotten’s video tape collection and watching wrestling from around the world. Prazak founded Shimmer. Cabana and Hero are two of the few making big bucks outside the WWE. Punk became a legend.
Today’s young stars grew up with Internet and YouTube. They have access to wrestling from every era, every federation, every continent, and every style. It’s Ian Rotten’s old video library times a million.
I am not excusing those who never get in the ring to train and call themselves “professional wrestlers.” There’s no excuse for not learning all you can, inside the ring and out, from veterans who know the business. There are some things you can’t learn from video, but there’s a whole lot you can learn just by watching.
There’s a reason why Stone Cold became Stone Cold. It’s the same reason Punk became Punk. It’s one of the reasons today’s indies are a far cry from the indies of fifteen years ago.
Just one of many reasons we are seeing a revival in independent wrestling.
If you missed it this past week, Jeff Jarrett finally began dropping names. He’s starting to build the roster for the long awaited debut of Global Force Wrestling, and he’s assembled a promising list of talent. Legends like Scott Hall, Hacksaw Jim Duggin, and my friend Jim Cornette; former WWE stars like Doc Gallows (Festus), PJ Black (Justin Gabriel), and Cliff Compton (Domino); and hot rising stars like the Young Bucks and guy featured on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle, Jamin Olivencia.
OVW fans have known for years that Jamin was a star. Now that he’s part of Global Force, I know we’re all hoping that he gets the national and international recognition he deserves.
In honor of Jamin’s selection, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be on sale for Kindle only this week for the price of $2.99. That’s $11 off the retail cover price for the paperback.
Eat Sleep Wrestle profiles Olivencia, Crazy Mary Dobson, Mad Man Pondo, Aaron Williams, Ron Mathis, Zodiak, Hy Zaya, LuFisto, The Lovely Lylah, DJ Hyde, and other stars of the independent wrestling circuit. It’s a great introduction to the world of wrestling beyond the WWE and a chance to get to know some rising stars before they really make it big.
The price is only good through Memorial Day weekend. Download it now, and please share with your friends. If you’re already an indy fan, or if you’re just curious what the indies are like, you’re going to love this book.
It’s been a few days since I posted. Been a busy week with other writing projects besides wrestling. Hoping to resume my normal writing schedule by end of the week.
I did get to take in the OVW TV taping tonight. Strong showing by Ryan Howe and Mohamad Ali Vaez in the main event, and it was great seeing Jim Cornette and Jeff Jarrett (yes, Jeff Jarrett!!) in the ring. Prior to that had dinner with Cornette, Kenny Bolin, and legendary OVW announcer Dean Hill. Some great stories were shared that will pop up in future blogs and book projects.
Prior to that, I went to the library to do a little more digging on both The Black Panther Jim Mitchell and promoter Heywood Allen. Here are a couple of ads I found today featuring Mitchell, one from 1941 and the other from 1954.