A few months ago, an old part of wrestling rose from the dead to create new life in a new promotion.
No, the Undertaker didn't jump ship to TNA.
Stealing a page from ECW's book (and attempting to low-blow the WWE), TNA unveiled a foil to the all-poweful Immortal. This adversary was constantly one-upping Hogan and Bischoff's decisions and severely compromising the authority that they believed they had. The only problem was that no one knew who this adversary was.
Known only as "the network", this anonymous foil served as a thorn in Immortal's back for a couple of months before a "representative" from the network was finally sent to confront Immortal. At this point, the internet was abuzz with rumors about who would be "the representative".
Now, this isn't the first time that an important role in TNA was on the verge of a reveal. Just last October, we all sat wondering who "they" would be. With rumors that Paul Heyman might come in or some other big names, "they" turned out to be there already as Hogan, Bischoff, Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett, and Abyss. A couple of months later, a second "they" was mentioned and rumored to be the reforming Main Event Mafia. Unfortunately, TNA didn't secure all the Mafia talents and that "they" ended up being Fortune turning on Immortal.
The trend and reputation spurning from these misfires is an ugly one. Now called Impact wrestling, the company has owned an modus operandi of shooting for the stars but landing in mine fields. It's a risky strategy, and one that has failed more than it has succeeded. Case and point, the recent "network" reveal.
With all sorts of names being floated around, TNA (or Impact Wrestling as this man renamed the show) went with Mick Foley as the representative. Already under contract, Foley was the safe choice, and certainly one with experience as an on-air power personality. Safe does not always mean good though (well, in sex it probably does, but not in wrestling booking) and something just felt wrong about the whole thing. Foley's "passion" seemed insincere and standing up to Immortal just didn't flow the way it should have.
And then it was over.
Just as quickly as this debacle got going, it was over. Apparently, Foley didn't like the way the story was being booked and decided to ask for his release from TNA. This isn't the first time that creative differences stood in the way of Mick Foley and a wrestling company, but that actually makes this situation worse. When you are aware of someone's reputation, you should take that into consideration when making decisions. It seems like that was not the case here.
Yes, Foley can be a handful, but that is known. Then again, TNA's booking can be shortsighted and THAT is known as well. Thus, I see this as a losing predicament for both sides.
Unfortunately, Impact Wrestling suffers more in the end though. You see, Foley suffers in that he was put through an ordeal and had to ask for a release, but he walks away and can handle his business in any way he chooses. If the WWE wants him for anything, they certainly aren't going to turn him away because of this debacle. On the other hand, TNA loses their biggest angle (not one I agree with but not something I'm going to argue here either) after only a few weeks. Perhaps good booking could have saved it, but firing Foley on screen with no provocation just seems ridiculous and short sighted. I know that Immortal is supposed to be strong, but Hogan just TOLD the network to listen to him and they did it? This is the same network that listened to Foley, the representative, for months right?
This story is far from over, but the writing seems to be on the wall as it pertains to Mick Foley. Worse, TNA's booking moving forward has to strictly try to cover for this blunder. That is never good for any company, but worse for one that is desperately trying to get fans to latch on to their product. Having these screw ups does nothing positive for their reputation.
Then again, maybe this will be a positive. The main story in this company has been an off screen power struggle that is merely talked about in segments on Impact. Perhaps with this departue, the show can move away from the overdone power struggle and into rivalries between their top wrestlers. This would serve them well and would certainly float my boat, which means that we'll likely see exactly the opposite.
Most importantly, I implore you Impact Wrestling, finally learn your lesson! Don't write a story with long term plans unless you know that ALL the talent involved in the story is under contract and on board with the ENTIRE story!