TNA late on paying talent

So Scott… in your opinion, how are things in TNA? Fabulous? Fantastic? Perhaps some other "F" word? 

Meltzer actually talked about it on the last show, and while the payroll problems are slightly exaggerated, it's not a good sign.  More troubling for TNA is that Destination America basically has full control over the show and content and purse strings, and they're now cancelling shows left and right.  And given that TNA hasn't exactly been the smashing success that was hoped for by the network, it could be a short relationship between them.  

Is it time for WWE to bring back the jobbers/enhancement talent?

Just wanted your thoughts on this.  Do you think it's time to bring back the jobbers/enhancement talent?  One of my issues with RAW  and PPV's is how stale a lot of the matches have become.  And they are stale cause they have no choice but to do rematch after rematch due to the 3 hours they have to fill Mondays, not to mention Smackdown and the Main Event.  Take Summerslam for instance.  Since that show, we have gotten 5 rematches on RAW since(Bray/Jericho, Reigns/Ortons next week makes 5).  Now, I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but bringing back the jobbers can keep the main matches fresh cause it allows you to keep the two guys feuding, separate.  It also allows each guy in the feud to look strong rather than the stupid 50/50 booking they always do.  Instead of their usual 'guy beats the champion to earn a title shot', they can have them squash jobbers instead and look like a killer.  It will also get the midcard over.  Look at recent
 history and look what squashing jobbers did for Ryback early on in his career.  It elevated him to the main event.  You don't watch TNA anymore but that same idea got Ethan Carter over too.  I'm not saying the whole show should be these matches, but wouldn't this be a good way to get more people over?

​Of course, and I've been advocating this idea for years.  Problem is that USA controls a lot of the creative content on RAW and I guarantee that doing any more than one squash per show would cause someone to flip out.  Although it's not like they're making any better use of the three hours as it is.  But for example, but we get squash matches on NXT all the time and it's fine.  No reason they couldn't do the same on Main Event and Superstars as well, like they did in the Jakked/Velocity days.  Give some indy guys exposure​, fill time more easily with something other than recaps, etc.  

Young Talent

Hi Scott,

Long time reader and book buyer of yours. Had a few questions for blog:
1-While I know WWE prefers guys who look like male models, Cody Rhodes and Miz, to Daniel Bryan and CM Punk- I think part of the reason fans take to Punk/Bryan so much is that their offense in the ring is fun to watch! Do you think an unsaid reason for guys like Cody not getting over to the main event level is their offensive move-set sucks and no one ever tries to help improve it?
Cody's moveset is fine, the problem is that he's booked to lose every match.
2-It's been a year of Ryback on TV. Who do you blame for the potential "Goldberg like" run that was destroyed? Is it more the performer or Vince and creative? Just thinking about it: He is right up Vince's alley because he has a cool look, good entrance music and can wrestle ok for a big, juiced up gorilla but…the whole act fell off. Who messed that up?
The people who booked him to lose every PPV match he was in for the past year, until paying customers no longer believed in him as a top guy.
3-Speaking of falling off…The formula for WWE is to push new guys to the moon (The Shield etc…) and then cool them off. It seems hard for the wrestlers to get back to a main event status after that cool down so what would you do to change this pattern? Are they pushing wrestlers too high off the debut to a status they can't live up to for long run?
There's no magic bullet for success.  Once Cena found the rapper gimmick he pretty much got a sustained push upwards from then on.  Batista and Orton were put in a top place early on and never "paid their dues" either.  Who's to say that if Steve Austin had been allowed to continue on in WCW happily that he wouldn't have just languished in the midcard and then disappeared with the company?  Some guys NEED a kick in the ass to make them recreate their character or find something inside to tap into.  That being said, WWE's hot-and-cold booking is overdone because EVERYONE gets a losing streak gimmick and no one is allowed to get over bigger than the rest.  

Homegrown talent


Who do you think are some of WWE's best truly home-grown talent?  Guys like Hogan, Savage, Dibiase, etc. are name-brand WWF guys, but all started their basic characters in other organizations (AWA, Memphis, etc).  Steve Austin was awesome in USWA and WCW before breaking out with a new character in the WWF (I guess we could say Stone Cold was WWF-grown, as a character?).  The Rock is the only one that comes to mind as a guy who developed everything in the WWF/E.  Then of course the developmental guys like Cena, Orton, et al.  Any thoughts on this?  

Yeah but Rock was a man of the world even before he got to WWE, due to his family connections and life in the business.  John Cena is the guy who lived and breathed the WWE system 100% from day one and ended up as the biggest star in the business.  Although he did some stuff with Bassman's promotion before he got to OVW, so you could argue he wasn't completely WWE property.  
But if you want to go REALLY hardcore with the technicalities, Dolph Ziggler is the guy who went from tryout in the developmental system and made it all the way to the main roster as World champion, so I'd go with him.  
You know what's gonna be weird?  When guys start coming up in the system who have no knowledge or memory of WCW beyond what WWE produces for the nostalgia DVDs.  

Why bury talent?


The Brodus Clay burial post got me to wondering…

Why would you ever bury your own talent now that there isn't a viable competitor for them to jump to? 

"Yeah! We'll show this guy we've invested time and money in just who's boss! We'll make him a total loser who will never draw heat or money and then we'll release him!". 

That seems like a very short-sighted, spiteful, WCW kind of thing to do.

You've pretty much answered your own question there.  
The weird thing is that it totally goes against the POINT of wrestling.  There should never be a time, except in extreme circumstances with a final blowoff match, where you want one guy to look like a nothing loser.  Your goal should always be to have both guys looking strong as possible.  Look at, say, Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit from Rumble 2003, where Benoit lost but came out of it a much bigger star.  Now the mentality seems to be some sort of weird "robbing Peter to get Paul's heat back" thing.  Like, for example, say they want to put Tensai over.  So they'll have him go out and beat Ziggler (just like everyone else does).  But then they realize "Wait, Ziggler's supposed to be our star, so let's put him over to give him his heat back."  So he goes out on the next show and beats Kofi Kingston.  And then they're like "Oh, we want to put the IC title on him eventually, so I guess we should give him a win" so Kofi goes out and beats Tensai in a quick match.  And then the cycle begins again.  That's the problem with all the 50/50 booking — they can't protect ANYONE outside of John Cena because instead of one person getting more over, you end up with 10 people looking like goofs, until you hit the bottom of the barrel with the Santinos, Ryders and 3MBs of the world being the only ones left who can do jobs without looking even more ridiculous.  Even CM Punk, the friggin' WWE CHAMPION, gets caught up in this nonsense.  They had him do a TV job for TENSAI.  What did THAT lead to?  Nothing, because it's just stuff that happens on TV and then gets forgotten about.  
So to answer your question, no, there is no point in burying your own talent.  In fact they should be going out of their way to act like every piece of talent is the most awesome guy ever, even if it gets a bit obnoxious at times.  I'd rather have the problem of figuring out a finish for a match like Punk v. Ryback than watching 18 different guys with losing streak angles on RAW every week.  

Intentionally lame material to see what talent can make of it?

Can you think of someone besides Bryan whose reputation was built so heavily on his workrate and in-ring performance that ended up breaking out as a bona fide star on the strength of his character/mic work/charisma to the degree Bryan has? Punk's always been known for his mic work. Angle's goofy character was part of who he was from the beginning. Eddie's "lie cheat steal" character helped him ascend to new heights in 2004 but that was always part of who he was, too. Bret didn't really ascend to any new heights with his amazing 1997 heel character even if it was a personal breakout for him in terms of depth of character. Austin was obviously a great in-ring worker who went into the stratosphere based off an amazing character/individual charisma but we'd already seen tremendous charisma and character from him in his "Stunning" and "Superstar" iterations in WCW and ECW, albeit in much different fashion than "Stone Cold."
Maybe I'm not familiar enough with Danielson's ROH work and I'm way off base here, but either way, help me out.

I think Bryan's pretty unique in that regard.  To a degree I'd also say Mick Foley because he was known for amazingly crazy in-ring performance but didn't really break out past goofy midcarder until the WWF run, but at the same time he was still showing some impressive personality in WCW.  But the way Bryan has taken the simple "Yes" thing and turned it into an ongoing war with the fans is nothing short of spectacular.