The crowd at the Impact Zone in Orlando booed the hell out of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and the new (gasp!) traditional four-sided ring during Sunday’s Genesis PPV, so TNA director of production Scott Small delivered an impassioned plea to the fans gathered for Monday night’s TV tapings, urging them to consider themselves as “cast members” who can help–or hinder–the company’s storytelling. (I love the guys in the crowd who can be heard saying, “Where’s our checks?” and “Pay us then!”)
If Small wants more effective storytelling, I suggest he start with getting rid of Vince Russo and Bischoff. If he wants the loyal (admittedly, to a fault…some of these marks scare even me) TNA fans at the Zone to respond with cheers, then kindly ask Hogan to refain from shitting on the foundation on which the company was built. OK, I understand that loud cursing and vulgar chants/signs are out of order and can be pains in the ass during the editing process, but you have to understand that these Orlando fans have invested a lot time and energy in this promotion for years–they most likely feel a part of it. And now the new management comes in barking “change.” That’s the kind of political rhetoric that a lot of Americans in the South are tired of hearing in their everyday lives…and now you’re gonna “change” their rasslin’ too? Yikes. It’s no secret that Hogan hates the atmosphere of the Impact Zone and wants to move the tapings to “jam-packed arenas,” which is not only ridiculous from a cost standpoint, but also because the company can’t even fill the small venues it currently runs.
For the record…four-sided ring, six-sixed…who gives a damn? Just give me an alternative to McMahon that features logical angles and programs with stars who display the natural charisma, passion and sincerity that I need to believe in them. If you don’t want to piss off the people who show up to support your PPVs, then don’t bury the guys who have carried the company on their backs to make room for guys like Former Fed outcasts like Val Venis, who got a win over former X-Division champion and recent World title contender Daniels at Sunday’s event. Be careful with chokeslamming Hogan’s cronies like the Band (the regurgitated NWO) and the Nasty Boys down our throats–name recognition with casual fans is one thing, but building around the late ’90s WCW roster is suicide. And if you’re still not happy with the crowd’s ”performance,” then by Gotch treat them as extras and pay ‘em. I’m sure well-behaved sheep like those from the days of the WCW/Disney tapings–who woke up just long enough to respond with boos and cheers when prompted–roam Universal Studios today. But good luck keeping those rowdy marks out of the Impact Zone; after all, if a drunken goof like Scott Hall can find his way into the building, anybody can.