My Take On 5.03.13: TNA Needed a Hero And All We Got Was Sting
Posted by Larry Csonka on 05.03.2013
Sting is once again the #1 contender for the TNA World Title and will challenge Bully Ray at Slammiversary. But was that a mistake? 411’s Larry Csonka explains why Chris Sabin was the hero TNA needed and the one they deserved!
Welcome back to another edition of My Take On. I come to you this week with some anger over the recent TNA booking, and how a suggestion I first saw in the comments section made me realize how TNA has once again dropped the ball with their booking. While the column will have some booking elements to it, this is not fantasy booking as much as it is an example of how TNA could have thought outside the box and played off of their own history to provide a new and fresh main event.
Last week as Impact ended (4.25.13), I felt that TNA was making the same mistakes that they always have over the years. They have neutered the baby face characters, and have once again allowed Sting and Hulk Hogan to save the day. Seriously, Aces and 8s beat down all of the faces, they got all the heat, and then they sold to Sting and Hogan. Just because they still get a pop doesn't mean that people will PAY to see them wrestle. In my opinion, this was simply everything that is wrong with the company, and has been for a long time. They followed that up this week with Sting defeating Matt Morgan to earn a title shot at the Slammiversary PPV. I personally think that this was a bad idea, and I will explain why and also lay out how I would have done things differently to create a new and fresh main event, rich in TNA history.
Some will think that I hate Sting, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. I feel that the signing of Sting by TNA was actually one of the best things that they have ever done. When Sting came into the fold on a full time basis (his short visit early on doesn't count) he made Spike TV happy. So happy that Spike TV has made it clear to TNA that they love having him on board as one of the main faces of the promotion. Again, they have liked Sting so much that they have supplemented part of his pay for years to keep him involved. The funny thing is that I am not going to discuss "great matches" he has had for the company. While he has had some good matches, Sting has not exactly delivered classics, but there is one more important point that gets him my appreciation. International TV Deals. When Sting signed on full time with TNA, their international TV distribution grew exponentially. And for those that do not understand what that means, it just isn't more eyes on the product, international TV distribution is where the money is and had been one of the main sources of revenue for TNA for years. Sting still had a name from WCW; other countries liked him; so they took the chance on TNA. Good matches are great, and I never turn down good wrestling matches, but a guy that can help your company make money like that has to be appreciated. I give him full credit for the good he has done the company, but with the good also comes the bad.
My issue with Sting isn't really with the man, but instead how he has been booked. He is just doing his job, and TNA Creative is failing at theirs. It seems as if every time TNA wants to reboot things, every time they want to have a big show, anytime they want to shake things up, anytime that they need a hero; they go back to Sting, and not only go back to him, but also put the title on him. Now there are times for Sting to be in main events from, and there is even a time to put the title on him, but in my opinion they seem to always do these things at the wrong time. Samoa Joe is running hot; lets run the screw job with no revenge and have Sting win the title. Jeff Hardy is running as a heel, lets have Sting return and win the title on the SPECIAL Impact taped from NC. Mr. Anderson wins the title from Sting; lets cut his balls off after a month and go back to STING. We've beat down all the baby faces again, lets have Sting and Hulk save the day and have Sting be the big title challenger on one of the four LIVE PPVs they now run a year. If Sting main eventing had been a proven bump for PPV I could almost be ok with that, but he hasn't.
Again, I like Sting, he has done a lot to help TNA in many ways and in my opinion he is a Hall of Fame guy, but the fact that TNA keeps going back to the guy in the way that they do ends up hurting the rest of the roster.
Now I want to give credit here, because while I was frustrated with the booking, the genesis of the column came from a comment from The Flying Elvis in the 4.22.13 Edition of the 4Rs. He wrote the following…
"I was thinking with Bully Ray going on about how TNA has no more heroes and the announcer going on about how TNA needs heroes and the MCMGs slogan being that Detroit needs heroes and Chris Sabin due back next week and saying on twitter that he wanted the World Title, what if they made a big deal out of Sabin's return and ran a short feud between Sabin and Bully leading to a title match on an upcoming Impact? I know that it won't draw ratings and that Sabin isn't really main event material, but I still think that it would be something different and kinda cool."
I read that and I fell in love with the idea, because it was different, and it would play off of already established TNA history. Lets watch the below video evidence, and then I will explain how I would have done things differently…
Go to the 7:00 minute mark to see what I am about to discuss.
That was the Motor City Machine Guns vs. Team 3D from Turning Point 2010. That was the night that Team 3D "retired" when they lost to the Machine Guns, but the important thing is that in the match, one that they made a HUGE deal out of was the fact that the 3D was kicked out of "for the first time in 15-years." And who was the man that kicked out of that 3D?
Lets rewind back to the April 25th edition of Impact, and do a rewrite. You still run the Bully Ray – Hulk Hogan confrontation, but that is where the similarities stop. Bully Ray, being the badass world champion and dick bag heel, cheap shots Hogan in the knee, and the Aces and 8s fill the ring. They get out the table and Knux and DOC prepare to double choke slam him through the table as Devon yells out TESTIFY and does the sign of the cross like he always does. Just then, the music of the Motor City Machine Guns hits, and out charges Chris Sabin, followed by an army of guys from the back, so many that the Aces and 8s have to retreat. As the random filler guys check on Hogan, Sabin grabs the mic and says, "You haven't killed all of TNA's heroes" and the show ends with Sabin standing tall. You could have been running the vignettes of his return for weeks, allowing the fans to know he is returning, but not knowing what role that he would be returning in.
The following week, Bully Ray hits the ring to kick off the show, obviously angered about the way the previous week worked out. He is enraged that he didn't get to take out Hogan, and calls him out again. But instead, Sabin appears. In this promo, you have Chris Sabin explain that as part of the Motor City Machine Guns, he was the ONLY man to ever kick out of the 3D (which was brought back for the first time in forever the week prior). On top of that, he reminds us all that he was the man that PINNED RAY in that match to send Team 3D into retirement. Sabin then does the TNA original speech, and states that all of the heroes aren't dead, because if he could kick out of 3D, and if he could pin Ray, that he would be the man to defeat Bully Ray and save TNA.
Now I know that many are going to cry FANTASY BOOKING here, but I disagree. What I am doing is the following:
I am proposing a way for TNA to reintroduce a former star in an important role.
I am using TNA's own history to make the feud make perfect sense.
I am providing a new and fresh main event.
I am trying to build a new baby face star at a time when TNA really doesn't have any.
I am creating a feud that is not only fresh and interesting, but one that is also a bridge to get to the end game, which is likely AJ returning to his "Mr. TNA roots" and defeating Ray and finally saving TNA at Bound for Glory.
Sabin has been gone long enough that he has a clean slate booking wise, so if he does get over huge and ratings do bump, then you could change plans and make him "the guy, brother."
Finally, Bully Ray doesn't need Sting to "get him over," because he has done a fine job of that and the victories over Hardy meant more. If he was an unproven, up and coming heel I could see the argument for Sting, but not here.
It's not the same old shit.
From there, you need to run some sort of number one contender's match, maybe a gauntlet for the gold or possibly a return of King of the Mountain; something that would allow Aces an 8s a chance to try and ruin it, only to be foiled, but also allowing Sabin to shine and defeat some name competitors. Aces and 8s are constantly trying to take out Sabin, but this is where Sting comes in. Sting can be a rallying force, a guy that gets the troops together to protect Sabin and try and even the odds against the evil faction. Sting is NOT useless here, he has a purpose in a supporting role. As you near Slammiversary, on the go home show you can run a big tag match, where Sabin scores the clean win on Ray. Setting the stage for the PPV.
What do you do with Sting? Sting rallies the troops, he is in a multi-man tag match with Magnus, Joe Park or any other guys you need to get on the PPV to battle Aces and 8s. Maybe DOC and KNUX have won the TNA tag titles, and Sting finds a partner (Eric Young) to try and get those belts back. Sting is useful, Sting does sell some tickets, but works much better in a match where he is protected and doesn't have to carry the load. Again, we're not putting Sting out to pasture here, we're using him in a smart and effective way to help support the face challenger, and to also try and take out the evil menace that is threatening to destroy the company that he loves.
Again, if the long-term plan is for AJ (I assume) to be the ultimate hero in the end, and that is something I have no issue with, then the scenario I have proposed, and already admitted to, is just a bridge to help get us there. Chris Sabin will lose, but with his skills and already established chemistry with Ray, they will have a good match. Chris Sabin will get screwed when some Aces and 8s asshole (see what I did there) takes him out with a hammer shot to the knee. He, along with AJ, Joe, Magnus, Storm other TNA guys and of course Aces and 8s members, will be announced the next Impact for the Bound For Glory Series. With all of the work you've done with Sabin, he will be looked at as on that level, and will be a valuable part of the series as far as putting on good matches. You've build a new star, you've elevated him from a simple X-Division guy and the return would have actually have meant something huge.
You say that the ratings likely won't jump and neither would the PPV buys. Tell me this, who has been doing that anyway? No one, that's who. It all stays the same, so why not take a chance.
Many times when we are not happy with the booking, people will say don't hate on it unless you can actually lay out something better. I am not necessarily saying that this is better, but it is new, fresh and most importantly, it isn't Sting in another TNA Title match PPV main event. I am not claiming to be better than TNA Creative, I am just a guy with a keyboard that saw an idea that I loved, and thought that the company could have done so much better than simply going back to Sting. Aces and 8s have claimed they have killed off all of the TNA heroes. Judging by the TV TNA did need a hero, and all we got was Sting. My take on this is that Chris Sabin was the hero TNA needed, and the one they deserved…
If only they would have used these on TV over the last few weeks to build to the return...
But what do I know, i'm just a dude with a computer and an opinion...
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.