This past Saturday I had the privilege of obtaining media credentials at TNA Impact Wrestling's live event from the Raleigh County Beckley Convention Center in Beckley, West Virginia. Prior to the show, WrestlingNewsWorld.com sponsored a live radio remote hosted by yours truly. Before I begin writing up some of my insider observations I want to make sure and thank TNA's Don West, Craig Jenkins as well as the entire crew at 102.3 ESPN Radio The Ticket. There's no way I could have done it without you all and I greatly appreciate the support.
While I spoke with several workers about a myriad of topics, there are three issues I want to divulge in this blog as they are what I took away as the main talking points.
Jesse Sorensen's injury. I conducted the interviews a mere six days after Jesse Sorensen suffered a fractured C1 vertebrae at TNA Against All Odds in the opening match against Zema Ion. I asked a TNA official about his condition and was able to get 100% confirmation he was released from the hospital last Thursday. The same TNA official told me Sorensen "could have been killed" on the botched spot. I asked Kid Kash who is to blame in this situation. Kash looked my directly in the eyes and told me that every single person under contract with TNA understands they have a desirable position working for TNA and are aware of the risks. They know it can happen to anyone at any time and are aware of this every time they go out to work. I spoke with another TNA wrestler that acknowledged both Sorensen and Zema Ion were green and probably were not ready for such a match. However, the gist of what I got was the injury was very unfortunate but these type of things happen and everyone is aware of the risk.
Dysfunction is still prevalent. Anyone that thinks everyone is on the same team as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in TNA couldn't be anymore wrong. I spoke with several people that feel the X Division workers have to work two to three times as hard as the top names to remain relevant. Several of the "TNA originals" talked to me about how the company has changed under the direction of Hogan and Bischoff and has become much more mainstream, dominated by talking segments and gimmicks. I got the feeling that many felt like the company had abandoned the X Division workers that helped make TNA what it was in favor of the bigger names. There is at least one TNA wrestler that I can say without a doubt was less than thrilled about being there.
Ric Flair doesn't care. To be fair, Flair might care but if he does, he sure didn't give me that impression on Saturday night. When I heard he was a no-show at Sunday's TNA live event in Glenville, West Virginia, I wasn't the least bit surprised. I arrived at the venue around 4:45 PM EST and immediately requested an interview with Ric Flair. I was told by a TNA official "who knows" when he'll show up and it was basically looked at as a joke that Flair would be open to doing pub for TNA prior to a live event. I can't confirm when Flair arrived at the venue but I will tell you there was an extended intermission before he arrived. Without speculating too much to create unfounded rumors that could be construed as vicious, I'll simply say this - everyone needs to get on the same page. TNA needs a core group of guys dedicated to helping the company grow. If Flair is one of those guys... great. But if he's just there to collect a paycheck then it's time to put the time, money and energy into someone else.
All and all it was a fun night and great experience for my career. I always enjoy the rare of experience of getting to go backstage and talk to the workers. I wish I would have been able to do more interviews but the interviews I conducted were honest and filled with interesting remarks. I'll take one shoot interview over ten worked any day as there's no point in contrived rhetoric that can be followed by turning on Impact Wrestling.