RVD’s Status, Richard Reacts To TNA Changes, Big Show/Steve Austin, Chyna & DX In WWE HoF

What’s the contract status of Rob Van Dam?

WWE claims that Rob Van Dam is not under a performance contract at this time. When he returned to the company at Money in the Bank in July, the plan was for him to work in 90-day increments. His most recent deal is up and he is expected to return. That’s all I have for now.

What’s your reaction to TNA pulling Impact Wrestling off the road and returning to Universal Studios?

The biggest story of the week is the news that TNA is pulling Impact Wrestling off the road and will once again tape television from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I mentioned on Twitter after the official announcement was made, the story was greeted by two separate reactions. One was the “I told you so” doom and gloom reaction and the other was the “it’s no big deal, business as usual” reaction. I always like to take the middle ground and cover the story from both sides and that is no different here.

First of all, to the doom and gloomers – this is a move that had to be made. TNA clearly wasn’t ready to tape television on the road and couldn’t handle the increase in expenses. The internal hope was they would hit the road and attract fans from all over. Rather than run in major cities with big expensive venues, TNA tried to run in suburbs or wrestling hotbeds in the south to try and attract an audience. They held press conferences in cites, invited local politicians and really tried to make the tapings a big deal in hopes of attracting large crowds. While they had some early momentum, the crowds didn’t grow while the expenses piled up. Dixie Carter was under a tremendous amount of pressure to cut expenses and after trying to solve it on the roster side, the inevitable decision was made to return to Orlando. However, let’s lose the “I told you so” attitudes, TNA’s decision to pull Impact off the road is a move to save the company, not a move waving the white flag of surrender.

Now, to the “business as usual” people that treat this like it’s no big deal – this is a big deal and this is a step backwards. All we have to do is go back and look at what talent said about leaving the Impact Zone. This isn’t just another failed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff project, this is something the majority of the TNA roster wanted. Everyone was excited and hopeful that taking Impact on the road was the next major step. The fact the decision didn’t work out is disappointing. However, at the same time, most realize it’s a decision that had to be made. The people working in TNA have watched the cutbacks and knew changes had to be made.

So where does that leave us and who am I rooting for? I’m rooting for TNA the company. I want WWE to have competition because I feel competition is good for WWE, good for the wrestling business and good for this website. However, we need to take TNA for what it is. TNA is a mainstream pro wrestling product that is bigger than your run of the mill independent promotion, but it’s not the global empire that is WWE. They’re a promotion with a larger budget and a television deal but aside from a very talented roster, that’s where the comparisons end. They are not WWE and should not try to be WWE.

Now as for who I am rooting for, Dixie Carter is going to be fine. She comes from a very wealthy family and is a very smart and successful person. Main eventers like Kurt Angle and Sting are going to be fine. Yes, they gave up signifiant chunks of their careers to work for TNA, but they’ve been paid well and have had amazing schedules they couldn’t have gotten in WWE. The people I am rooting for are the workers that have been giving all they have to TNA from day one. Workers like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and others. I’m rooting for the guys that started with TNA as a dream and helped it grow from the Nashville Fairgrounds to a national TV program. I’m rooting for everyone that works backstage or in the office who has put in countless hours and time away from their family. I’m rooting for them for this company to succeed.

Sometimes I think in the midst of frustration that fans forget these are real people with real families. This is their livelihood and this is how they put food on the table. No one should ever celebrate for a company to go out of business or for someone to lose their job. Yes, we want more entertaining programming but there are ways to critique without celebrating the demise of someone else.

Is it far off to compare Big Show to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin?

I think it is. Big Show is a great athlete and one of the most versatile big men in the history of the wrestling business. He’s been able to get over multiple gimmicks and has been very reliable. However, I don’t think his drawability comes close to matching that of Steve Austin. Austin is in very rare company and belongs right atop the list of people that have had the most impact.

If DeGeneration X is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, will the induction include Chyna?

This question should be phrased, “when” DX is inducted, not if. The faction will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame one day and it will mean dual inductions for Shawn Michaels and eventually dual inductions for Triple H. I don’t see any reason why WWE would exclude Chyna although they probably do not like the fact she’s transitioned into a porn career. That doesn’t exactly follow along with their PG initiate but it wouldn’t be right to exclude someone that had a big role in one of the most successful factions in history.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2007What stops athletic talent in WWE with no direction from going to TNA?:  WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, thus there is more money to be made in it than anywhere else. While TNA has managed to land some big names due to their lighter schedule, there are going to be guys who would rather job in WWE than go to TNA or another promotion not only because of the money they make but the amount of earning potential that they have in WWE.

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  • Nostaljack

    Richard, your response to the first question is beautifully worded and I feel much the way you do. Do I want TNA to succeed? Well… They’ve been given a TV deal and they have an amazing roster of talent. Their marketing has let them down over and over again. Relatively few know who they are. They’re made some horrendous booking decisions but WWE has too. Their issue is marketing – pure and simple. I would love for WWE to have competition. WWE has a total monopoly on this business and in many ways, they’ve gotten lazy. TNA has shown they can’t be competition for them and they aren’t the company to fill that role. I think we need to abandon those expectations and be content with what they are: a much smaller promotion with a TV deal. They exist in the own sphere and that’s fine. Looking for them to be more is pure and simple daydreaming.

    • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

      Hey thanks for the response and I absolutely agree – it’s time to realize what TNA is… A much smaller promotion with a television deal. They haven’t marketed well but there’s never been a good structure of command behind-the-scenes either. That needs to be settled moving forward, especially now with Hogan out and Bischoff essentially “sent home.”

      • TheBigKing1

        Hey, I thought Hogan was suppose to meet with them the other week to sign a new contract…what’s the status on that? He changed his mind, they changed theirs, etc.? What’s going on?

        • Nostaljack

          It likely wasn’t true.

          • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

            I wouldn’t go that far. I was told they were scheduled to meet but probably just didn’t cave to his $ demands. He was pretty much completely against taking a pay cut.

      • Nostaljack

        Agreed. I just don’t think they’ll ever be competition for WWE and I wish they’d realize it too and stop trying. We as fans need to leave that idea behind too and just be glad workers have somewhere else to go and ply their craft.

  • BMGabe

    Big Show drives a Semi into a arena once (does nothing with it) and automatically gets compared to Stone Cold?

    Yea that makes sense

    • TheBigKing1

      I know. Some people. SMH!

    • Jamie

      Well I only saw him when he drove it from behind the curtain. I did see an article that the backstage part was already recorded. So, I think you’re looking for he drove it about 10 foot and gets compared to SCSA.

    • Robert D Miller

      I think the comparison that’s being made is the story line “the whole fighting the authority thing” scsa did it with Vinnie now big show is doing its with the levasquese’s thing that would worry me is rehashing the storyline straight down to the arena appearances shows no creativity

  • TheBigKing1

    Yeah, I wouldn’t wish demise on any promotion. I hope things work out for TNA.

    As far as the WWE Hall of Fame induction for DX, that is rumored for next year with the inclusion of Chyna. So everybody will be involved in that.

  • Nostaljack

    Chyna is another matter entirely. She has a history if being “off the rails” and she had a thing with Hunter prior to his marriage to Stephanie. I’m not sure she’d be inducted into the HOF with DX at all.

    • Malboja

      It wouldn’t suprise me if chyna was left out
      They left ole Anderson out from the horseman

      • blb1983

        thats because ole said back in the 80s he would never work for vince that’s why he didn’t participate in the ric flair sendoff a few years back

  • Tim

    I feel Austin was bigger than hogan

    • The arbiter

      Nah, if you see them stand side by side Hogan is clearly bigger, even after losing some height from old age ;)

      • Tim

        Haha I see what you did there lol

  • Jay El Bee

    I know RVD doesn’t have a performance contract at the moment but doesn’t he have a Legends type of deal or something like that. Also I believe question 3 was asking if the Big Show is playing the Austin part in this feud, which for the most part I would agree with.

  • J Sal

    I’d rather them postpone the DX inclusion until after HHH gets inducted as a singles wrestler. I feel it would slightly dull the allure of HHH being inducted on his own. They can still throw in the Steiner bros, doink, razor, diesel, bam bam, etc.

  • Stoney

    I just want TNA to be an alternative to WWE, not competition but an alternative

  • Rus

    Atleast TNA have tried to do everything they can to make it further can never fault anyone for trying

  • Tim

    I feel like inducting the undertaker while he is still competing will add more to the wrestlemania streak.