I love interacting with readers on my Twitter and Facebook because it gives me an idea about how other people view things and my subsequent musings and reactions to them. On Thursday, I had an interesting conversation with a reader that was reacting to me likening Dixie Carter advertising a "former World Champion" and delivering Adam "Pacman" Jones to WCW putting the World Heavyweight Championship on David Arquette in the latest installment of Ask WNW.
I'm going to feature that conversation and explain my reaction.
">@wnwdotcom i respect all of your work that you do on your website. your usually fair /unbiased and one of the only integral websites left.. — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom but i cant believe how u compared bringing in pac man for a 1 off appearance to putting the title on david arquette ? why are so — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
My comparison is based on the bait and switch. Let's don't overreach here. I have no problem with TNA bringing back Adam "Pacman" Jones and garnering some local publicity. I have no problem with using Jones in the storyline that Dixie Carter is a delusional southern bell. I do have a problem with the bait and switch, mostly due to similar situations in the last 4 months. How many times has Dixie Carter used the shtick before? How many "major signings" have been promised? What about "groundbreaking announcements?" Just how many times are we going to get the "earth-shattering, change the business forever" Tweet?
">@wnwdotcom many ppl on the internet failing to understand whats going on here ...aj styles left the company because he was complaining about — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom dixie ruining the company and being delusional . this whole thing was done in 24 hours to further this part of her character and — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom provide more backstory for aj for why he left and when he eventually comes back . would fans have been happier if the "former — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom world title holder " and they re-signed hogan , nash, flair, raven, shamrock etc...tna woudl have been ripped to pieces.. — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
It's not that the Internet or critics "fail to realize" the storyline, it's that no one buys it. I say all the time the most successful gimmicks are extensions of a person's real life personality. It's why Steve Austin was successful, it's why John Cena is successful, it's why the Mr. McMahon character garners so much attention.
Even the biggest TNA fan will tell you that Dixie doesn't fit the bill of a heel character, not even as a delusional southern bell. While some may feel Dixie is "over her head" at times, pretty much everyone will tell you she is as nice as they come. She's easy to work for because people like her. She's compassionate and caring. Dixie Carter views her wrestlers and her staff like family. The role as a delusional heel authoritative figure is the antithesis of her real-life personality.
Now, as for fans "ripping TNA to pieces," you are correct. This is what I explained in Ask WNW and it's why I don't like it when the promotional blurbs of a "major free agent signing" or a "former World Champion" are used. There are only a few people that are going to appease the fans, so it's best to find another way to do it.
">@wnwdotcom this was simply a 1 off appearance done to 1. promote pacman and 2. more imp to further her " delusional , running tna into the — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom ground character " which is kind of based on real life though lol. im sorry for venting like this and im by no means a tna — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom apologist , but the second i saw that video i knew dixie was trolling as part of her heel character — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
As of this writing, the initial video (located here) has 34,307 views. So while you see what is being done and understand the backstory, what about the other 900,000+ people that never saw it? Even then, perhaps some saw the promotion of a "former World Champion" and tuned in, only to learn it was an NFL defensive back. Isn't that going to leave people feeling ripped off? Yes, Dixie was trolling the audience to further herself as a heel but isn't this the kind of thing that causes people to tune out?
">@wnwdotcom i think people care. people were very happy when aj won the title . and they will be very happy when he comes back. the problem
— jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom is ppl legit hate dixie both on and off screen so no matter what she does she will get ripped for even if its being done for
— jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom storyline purposes here. this wasnt an attempt like rampage or tito to draw attention as tna huge new signing. just look at — jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
">@wnwdotcom lagana/borash reactions to dixie when she says pacman. their just as perplexed as all the fans are. that was done intentionally
— jp21 (@JYP2121) November 7, 2013
If people care, then where's the increase in viewership? Why did the post-Bound for Glory Impact tapings look like this or this? If people care, then why did Bound for Glory look like this? If people care, then why have we seen ratings and viewership remain flat or even decrease over the past 4 years? If people care, why is TNA returning to Orlando after Dixie Carter vowed that Impact was permanently going on the road?
I want people to care but I'm just not sure that they do. If they did, then the joke is on us. We're all kayfabed! Dixie Carter promising a "former World Champion" and delivering Adam "Pacman" Jones is all gravy baby! We're just cogs in the machine and we're playing into a storyline that will inevitably give Dixie Carter the momentum the company needs in turning things around and competing with WWE.
However, I'm not sure that's the case. TNA is in a bad place right now. It's been a brutal year. The last thing that Dixie needs to be doing is "trolling the fans." In-character or not, the bottom-line is this is a questionable move. It's a bait and switch that is only going to leave fans disappointed and wondering why they tuned in in the first place.
There are your normal "we want TNA To fail trolls" but I don't think everyone hates Dixie Carter. The fans are frustrated with Dixie Carter. While that isn't completely her fault, the fact of the matter is most fans want WWE to have a viable competitor. The company is in no place to pull this kind of move and I would question it even if the Dixie Carter heel turn was catching on.
Now, just take a look around the Internet. Publicity is what Dixie wants, right? Well, take a look at some reactions:
From Bleacher Report - Bengals' Adam Jones to Make His Return to TNA Wrestling Thursday Night
From Pro Wrestling journalist Brian Fritz - Latest WTF Moment in TNA Wrestling as Returning Former Champ Revealed
I want to put something on the record and I'll end this debate/editorial. This isn't going to work. Dixie Carter advertised something she had no intention to deliver. In-character or out-of-character, it's irrelevant. It's an overexposed shtick that is not going to add to TNA's audience. The people that do watch are just getting more and more frustrated (read this and the other two pieces I linked too). I'm not a TNA hater, I want TNA to succeed but TNA is not going to succeed with moves like this.