By Raven Effect
FANTASY BOOKING AND IDEAS I’VE HAD OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS AND MAINLY FOR 2015.
Part 1: Ideas from years ago, blunders, authority figures, the championships, faces of TNA. Legends, Managers/Valets, and a refresher on the alternative created in my last column.
I’m going out on a limb and just throwing out some storylines, and booking that has crossed my mind over the years, what I envisioned for most of last year or at least ideas I’ve had. I’m not a very creative person, so this is a whole lot more of booking wrestlers then it is creative ideas. But, I am at least going to share it with the TNAsylum community. Please be aware this was meant to be written in July or August but I’m starting this on 12/30/15.
Disclaimer: I’ve never worked in the wrestling industry. I don’t even follow it or love it like I used to. But, I still have a passion for TNA, and this is essentially a dream job for me so sometimes I think about this stuff and write it down in hopes of submitting it but never have the motivation or time to follow through. I’m by no means saying I can do a better job than TNA creative, and I do not have the slightest clue of what dealing with egos, personalities, and backstage politics is even like. However, I can say with confidence that I feel I could have booked certain wrestlers better than what we’ve seen lately, and made sure the best wrestlers stay on screen and try to use them all in some way.
First a refresher:
For those of you who did not read my last column and am reading this, I just want to give you as brief of a description of what changes have been made to the show and wrestling overall to create a legitimate alternative product.
- TNA and Pop both will advertise a whole lot more, and not just on RAW or SmackDown but on Spike, DA, Bellator, UFC, ESPN, FS! & FS2, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL networks, etc. The advertising also needs to show that this is a different type of product than what WWE puts on the air.
- Josh Matthews will be the lone commentator as The Pope will eventually make a full time return to the ring. Each week will be someone new that is not on the TV show to work with Matthews to help develop character, storylines, feuds, agendas, etc.
- Much like the WWF did in the late 80’s and early 90’s there will be short promos or interviews on the bottom right hand corner of the screen to help more talents get over and screen time (mainly tag teams and X-division wrestlers) while building to matches or feuds.
- Top 10’s in all divisions (this can work now that they’re finally signing new talents.
- All 3 or 4 person matches will be elimination rules unless specified otherwise
- 5 live PPV’s each year: Genesis; LockDown; Slammiversary; Unbreakable; BFG
- One Night Only: 7 per year which will all be relevant and tied into storylines: Xtravaganza, Knockouts, Victory Road, Tag Team special, Gutcheck where winner gets a contract; TNA vs GFW or like a World Cup special, and Open Fight Night.
- 3-5 live free PPV specials during the year: Destination X, Hardcore Justice, Sacrifice are certain, Against All Odds and Final Resolution are more than likely.
- Secondary TV show that is one hour long and only wrestling is on the show. Commentators are Tenay & Borash…or Borash and a wrestler not on the show like Impact does if Tenay leaves the company. The second show only features tag teams, X and KO talents. It would either be one week focuses specifically one one of the three divisions, or it features 3-4 matches per show, and a mixture of the three divisions.
- A couple or few heels will just be that damn good, and will not have to cheat to win. In the UFC, Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones and Connor McGregor are extremely shitty people and personalities that are hard to like…and they’re so fucking good that it makes me crazy. Seeing Rousey finally get hers was euphoric for me. So, truthfully making some heels just so good should really make people happier when they lose clean. EC3 and Bobby Roode instantly fit this mold.
- Stop running angles and storylines like they’re in dog years- slow down, build slowly to matches, and space out rematches, and cut way the fuck down on rematches. The rematch clause will be eliminated in all divisions. Building to one PPV match can also allow the wrestlers involved to also work through other feuds while still making light of other wrestlers to build to a big payoff match or feud. Wrestling has lost its big fight feel, and slowing down some storylines will really help regain that necessity.
- Option-C: If the X-Division champion cashes in Option-C then that wrestler cannot return to the X-Division for one calendar year. This allows the smaller wrestler to see how they fair getting over against bigger wrestlers, and if they will return or not.
- TNA world title contenders for the PPV will be determined like this: After BFG, there will be a handful of Joker’s Wild matches on TV and then the gauntlet battle royal will happen a week after all matches are taped, the winner of this will face the champion @ Genesis; The winner of the Victory Road ONO will be the one getting the title shot at LockDown; Unbreakable’s TNA title match will always honor the original PPV by always having the title defended in a three way match, a random drawing and tag tournament will take place where the winning team will be the two to face the champion; BFG will now have the BFG tournament which starts in June or July. It will take every male wrestler on the roster and a single elimination tournament is held to crown the # 1 contender concluding 4-6 weeks prior to BFG.
I did leave out Slammiversary and here’s why: I was doing some brainstorming after reading through some brainstorming by Wake Chambers and The Count Of Incognito, and based off of some of their ideas created a match at LockDown that will determine the number one contender for the belt at Slammiversary. The # 1 & 2 guys in the rankings will both be captains of one LockDown team. A coin toss is held and the winner gets the first pick to draft their team in what will become a Survivor Series elimination match (which will also be done for the KO’s as well). The winning captain gets the title shot, and the remaining survivors on their team [if any] get put in a match against the KOTM match at Slammiversary for the KOTM championship and get a boost in the Top 10 rankings to go with it. But the draft idea, and most of this was Wake and Count’s brainchild, I just stole some of it and thought of my own idea to add in.
- Capitalize on TV14, and man vs woman; Be different and more adult than WWE is. Use some foul language some times, don’t censor it on PPV or on DVD, make some storylines more adult (not pornographic and everyone is screwing every KO), and every once in a while have some inter-gender matches where a heel will get physical with a KO. But, I do not want to do one on one matches between male and female wrestlers.
- Most importantly eliminate the stupidity and most phony parts of wrestling: the referee and wrestler both avoiding or stopping the three count because of someone hopping up on the ring apron…No, just no, come on it’s been like fifty years this would be fixed by now; only heels being able to get away with blind tags is over with, either allow it both ways or equally kick someone out; make ref bumps and recovery time more believable; the sleeper or choke holds where the arm drops three times MUST end. MMA has shown everyone if a ref waited for the arm to drop three times then the ref needs fired and the competitor may have just died or suffered some severe brain damage; choke holds are now legal; faces that turn heel shouldn’t have to cheat against someone they beat clean weeks earlier; cut out the predictable black and white shit: heel turns and face turns need to be less obvious, and I’m tired of tag teams arguing and then an obvious split happens. I’m fine with teasing conflict but there needs to be times where differences are settled and the team stays together and gets over things much like most marriages, friendships, and families can do.
A much better way is to show a few segments where Earl Hebner is giving the referee’s a training course after it happens a couple of times to eliminate the stupidity in wrestling. Earl can say after his HOF induction he began to analyze his career and noticed so many flaws and that this is the right way to officiate a wrestling match.
Okay…here’s some ideas I’ve had prior to 2015
Sometimes you can hit, and sometimes you can miss:
I guess my biggest claim to fame as an arm chair booker happened my senior year of high school. I had very recently found out my girlfriend at the time liked wrestling. She was a very good looking girl and I thought I had a real catch (I surely did not) but we turned on the TV and watched SmackDown that night (or maybe Velocity or something like that) and I saw the Reverend D-Von Dudley with this guy with him, Deacon Batista for the very first time. I turned to my girlfriend and said this Batista guy is going to be WWE champion one day. I’ve always been proud of that.
Then again, I’ve had two ideas in my years of arm chair booker that come to mind that surely prove TNA is lucky I was not booking their shows. The first one is back when Samoa Joe was champion. LAX had split or was in the process of splitting and it seemed like “Super Mex” was about to be getting a push. My honest opinion is that Hernandez absolutely had the look going for him back then, and for a big dude with all of that muscle mass he can do some very agile things in the ring, and could also connect with a Latino market. But, I honestly thought Hernandez was going to become quite the star. My idea would have been to push Hernandez based off of those three things and hopefully get him to main event levels, possibly being the guy to beat Joe for the belt if he got over enough. Surely, this would have been a big mistake. Hernandez needs a mouthpiece, and is still slightly careless in the ring. I still feel that he could have been something bigger than he was/is, and that an LAX reunion would be great in TNA. But, long gone are any beliefs in Hernandez becoming a main event star. I could only imagine the IWC and even this site if this guy got pushed to the top.
Another is back when Lashley was just starting out in MMA, and was undefeated in StrikeForce. My friends, Lesnar and Lashley are the reason I started watching MMA as I used to be extremely against it. Now, I’m a huge MMA fan and prefer it well over any sport not named American football and much more than wrestling for the most part. But…back to my point. Lashley was making some waves, and had a big angle in the WWE, and has an incredible look. I honestly thought he was going to dominate MMA and run through it, and that TNA needed to grab him ASAP, make him their world champion and push him to the moon. However, I knew jack shit about MMA back then and when my friends who had any knowledge of the sport told me he wasn’t very good and never beat anyone I just thought they were anti-wrestling and wouldn’t give him credit. Turns out they were correct, at least at that time.
Now some legitimate ideas I’ve had:
A couple of years ago, TNA had brought back Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt, they teamed for ONO shows, and competed in singles matches as well. TNA also promoted Petey Williams and used him on a show or two on Impact (I can't remember if they used Sonjay or not). The tag team division was beginning to get thin at that time. I felt that pairing those two up would be great for the division. They certainly could have had some great matches with Bad Influence, and probably even the BroMans. I felt an eventual heel turn after not being able to become champions could work, which could have led to them defeating Chavo & Hernandez and winning the belts at some point.
Sonjay Dutt has been branded as being the best wrestler to never win the X-Division championship. To me that screams an easy storyline that would be great as well. My idea was to have Sonjay (Petey & Sonjay are faces not heels) get a couple of title shots and lose them, but eventually win the X-Division championship relatively close to Destination X. The time would roll around for his decision in regards to Option-C.
Sonjay would struggle for a couple of weeks before coming to the ring and making his decision. Sonjay would say that he has worked his whole career to win this belt, and right now it's too important for him to give up, but at this time next year he'll have another decision to make. This would add some much needed prestige and importance back to the title and division. However, his friend and tag team partner Petey Williams would try and tell Sonjay how big of a mistake he is making, and that he would kill for his chance to get just one shot at the world title but Dutt would still refuse. This would lead to some back and forth discussion leading to an infuriated Petey Williams attacking Sonjay from behind and turning heel on him. This would put over the significance of both championships.
Petey would then cut promos and interviews about Sonjay being a loser with no aspirations and that's why they never won the tag team titles, that he was carrying them as a tag team, and make light of his multiple X-Division title reigns, and that it's sickening to see a title shot that should be his to begin with not happening because Sonjay Dutt hasn't had the success that he's had. The two would meet at Destination X for the title, and a couple of mathes afterwards.
Back when CM Punk left WWE, there was a lot of hope that he would sign with either TNA or ROH. Rumor was Punk hated TNA and would never return. But, nobody in charge of booking or creative during Punk's TNA tenure nor Jeff Jarrett was still in charge at TNA, so I did hope there would have been some glimpse of hope. Bottom line, Punk would have been an extremely hot commodity, and fans would also want to hear what he had to say about the WWE as well.
My thoughts were an introduction to TNA TV in the way that ECW did things with Steve Austin. I would have built slowly to a much anticipated in-ring debut by first running a series of parody videos with CM Punk where he would shoot on Vince, HHH, Stephanie and all things WWE on the way so he could not only shoot on WWE, tell his side of the story, but also give him an opportunity to give the WWE a big "fuck you" right back to WWE. I think the material would have been great, and caused more overall wrestling fans to tune in each week to hear what he had to say.
Punk would announce on his last skit that he'd be showing up in a TNA ring in two weeks which would allow enough time to properly promote his debut. Punk would be greeted by plenty of wrestlers, some happy to see him while others wanted to get their hands on him. Angle and Punk have had some words over the Internet, and I'd start his first feud against Kurt Angle in TNA. Punk would go over Kurt Angle.
Eventually a recently absent Jeff Hardy would return with a sneak attack on Punk that would go to extreme levels and capitalize on the feud they had right before Hardy left the WWE. The two of them had legitimate problems over the Internet and I'd make light of them in promos between the two. Jeff Hardy would turn heel again (which is literally the only time I would ever do that again) and cut a promo about how he was the savior of TNA but the company never took the time to promote him like they did with Punk; how he turned his life around to stay around in TNA and help the company grow and they sign the one guy on the planet that he told them he cannot co-exist in the same locker room with; he would call Punk a hypocrite, verbally assault, and grab a babyface Dixie Carter in a threatening manner, etc. Of course, Punk would shortly capture the TNA world championship also. Not because he's a WWE guy but because of his following, and how big and over he could have actually been at this time.
During the storyline where Gunner pulled Shaw out of the mental institution and began taking him under his wing, it led to a confrontation between him and Anderson where Gunner stated that he had a friend in the military that Shaw reminded him of or something along those lines. Right around this time, I watched a Top Prospect match on ROH between a guy named Hanson against a guy that stood out with an incredible look named Raymond Rowe, who (I may be wrong) was also mentioned as having a military background.
I would have done any and everything I could have back then to sign Ray Rowe if it was possible. I would have brought Rowe in to TNA as the person that Gunner had mentioned to Anderson. (Side note: Rowe had an injury since then and after packing on some belly weight, he doesn't have the major superstar look that he had at one point in my opinion, but some extra cardio will fix that really quick) There would be some sort of incident that happened between the two of them in the past like his wife cheating on him with Gunner (or some sort of incident that Gunner was involved in and got away clean and he feels remorseful about) which led to Rowe getting violent, and keeping him in military prison for a few years while Gunner went on to have success and happiness, and looks like a great person when he's not at all, etc. Gunner would apologize, say he made a mistake and it kills him everyday what he did to his best friend, and gain sympathy back. Gunner would refuse to hit Rowe despite a couple of attacks, and words exchanged. Gunner's father had gotten involved at times on TV; Rowe would eventually get physical with Gunner's father and injure him while Gunner was off of TV milking injuries from Rowe which would then lead to Gunner caving in and fighting back with Rowe. Rowe would end up beating Gunner clean in the very first match.
Alberto El Patron
I always thought that Alberto Del Rio sucked when I still watched WWE. I thought his matches were nothing special, and his character was awful. I felt all he did was take something from Ted Dibiase, JBL, Razor Ramon, and Carlito completely ripped all of them off completely and was then shoved down our throats. The Royal Rumble wins, the world title reigns, etc. just felt undeserved, and the way they shoved him (and some others) down my throat every week who were undeserving was one of many big factors that made me quit watching WWE completely.
However, how we stood up to WWE and quit was awesome, and it gave me some respect for him. After seeing his promos in ROH, and his matches with Daniels and Lethal made me see how good he actually is. I'm extremely disappointed and lost all that respect now that he actually went back to WWE.
That said, there was a time when Alberto El Patron was a free agent and the rumor was that TNA was pursuing Alberto pretty hard. It would have been a great signing for TNA. At this time, Kurt Angle would be the GM of TNA, and he would have came to the ring and announced the newest member of the TNA roster, a man he pushed hard for TNA management to sign, and a man he is proud to share the ring with...Alberto El Patron. Alberto would thank Angle, and thank TNA and the fans and say why he is here with TNA, and then he would shoot on WWE and air out some dirty laundry.
The next week Alberto would be in the ring with Kurt Angle and then tell Angle that he needs to give him a shot at the title right away. Angle would tell him that he still needs to work his way up the roster before getting his shot. Alberto would then shockingly begin to put down the TNA roster and say that he's clearly better than anyone here, and that he was champion in the WWE so he is far above this place, etc. A stunned Kurt Angle would begin to put over TNA and then as Alberto begins to say he must have spoken wrong...EC3's music hits and out he comes. EC3 gets in Alberto's face and states that his Aunt's company will not be disrespected, and that he is undefeated, and would love to show him what TNA is all about. The two would stare each other down face to face before both turning around and beating up Kurt Angle together. World Champion Bobby Roode and Austin Aries would come out and save Angle.
The following week, EC3 and El Patron would be together as the One-Percenters club. EC3 would say how he was really the one behind Dixie Carter signing Alberto to a huge contract and that one percenters stay together, and are better than the rest of the world. Austin Aries would be the first one to face Alberto. Aries would say that he is TGMTEL and that if thinks he's so much better than TNA then he is going to find out just what TNA is all about. Aries would defeat Alberto. Alberto would have to have shown more than what he was in WWE (which he would have) and commit to TNA for a longer time if he was going to get a TNA title reign.
Veda Scott & her returning clients
A while back, Veda Scott worked a ONO show for TNA. Also close to this time rumor was Roderick Strong did not have a contract with ROH anymore. I felt that both of them were two people than TNA needed to jump right on.
A heel Dixie Carter would be shown returning to her office while Spud would be outside warning her that a lawyer was waiting for her in her office. Dixie would open the door, say "who in the hell are you?" it would show Veda Scott and then we'd see a commercial.
We'd return from commercial with Veda Scott talking to Dixie about how her clients were released from their contracts in the past without just cause and that it's in Dixie's best interest to resign her clients unless she wants some real problems and poor publicity.
Things would not go smoothly at first. But, Veda would then apologize and say that they've gotten off on the wrong foot. She would tell Dixie that she can really help her out, she would tell her that her clients can come in and defend Dixie's honor and take care of some of the TNA roster members that don't want Dixie around. Veda would also let Dixie know that prior to practicing law she was training as a wrestler and can even take care of some Knockout's if needed. "So you can let me help you or we can start discussing a union." Dixie would then cave in to Veda.
Veda would be one of Dixie's most trusted and beloved people in the company, and Veda would have Dixie's ear and could talk her in to opening up the check book and signing new talents under Veda's watch.
The following week someone like a Bully Ray, MVP, The Wolves, or anyone who had been involved as an enemy of Dixie at that time would get attacked by a returning Roderick Strong and Crimson with Veda Scott leading the way. Veda would then become a manager/valet who starts off her group of wrestlers with Crimson, and Roderick Strong. Wrestlers like an Alex Shelley, Joey Ryan, and a knockout or two like Awesome Kong, Sarita, Rosita, or Taeler Hendrix would be managed under Veda as well. Others that may have needed a mouthpiece on the roster could be paired with Veda as well as other future free agent signings. Roderick Strong and Austin Aries (Starr) were a team at one point in TNA and have history together. An eventual feud between the two (possibly over the X-Division) would be a must.
Mike Bennett & Maria
Well this one finally came true from the rumors going around (today is 1-1-16). You can trace my Disqus comments to however long ago it was that rumors were that Mike Bennett and Maria no longer had their ROH contracts expire, and see that I've been saying for a long time now that TNA should have jumped on the opportunity to sign those two right when that happened, and then later on wrote on multiple occasions that TNA missed out on signing these two when they had the chance. If the rumors are true, I'm very excited for their debut in TNA in what may be four days from now.
I've also said multiple times that I think Matt Hardy salvaged his career in ROH, and probably did the best work of his career aligned with Mike Bennett and Maria. The work they did was quite humorous and really got under the ROH fans' skin. I think a reunion to finish what they started, and continue where they left off is a must and can have a long lasting life to it.
The story with Matt Hardy has been that since he got fired from TNA after his short lived stint in 2011 he has since changed his ways, beat his demons and has turned his life around, and has been booked as a wholesome face the entire time. Hardy, Bennett and Maria worked as heels during their successful gimmick in ROH, and truthfully they all need to start off as heels together to begin with.
I would have never and would never consider letting Matt Hardy become TNA champion However, I would be using Matt Hardy in a match (even better when Jeff Hardy is actually off of TV for a while) when Mike Bennett and Maria would interfere and help Matt Hardy get a victory. Matt Hardy would then see his old pals and grin from ear to ear, smile, and hug them in happiness. Matt and the Bennett's would then be on TV together every time one or the other would be booked for a show. Matt Hardy would shortly turn full fledged heel and would win the tag team titles with Bennett.
Jeff Hardy would eventually return to TV (possibly before the tag title win and Matt Hardy heel turn) and would confront Bennett saying he needs to leave his brother alone, or at least change his ways. Jeff would tell Matt Hardy that Bennett and Maria are not good for him and that his old ways are bound to come back around if he associates himself with them again.
Matt Hardy would be a full fledged heel but maintain a good relationship with his babyface brother Jeff. A Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy feud would never ever happen again as it's been done too much, and is stupid to do again. This would be very similar to WCW when Lex Luger was a heel in the Dungeon Of Doom but was still close friends with Sting. This is an example of what I meant by eliminating the predicable black and white in wrestling. A good person can maintain a positive friendship/relationship...or be close to their family member who may not be a good person. Jeff Hardy would be able to convince Matt not to do certain actions that are too drastic, and also come to his aid at times when a face is finally going to get revenge on him.
This obviously leads to an eventual feud and big build up to a match between Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett. This leads to multiple arguments between Matt and Jeff, as Matt Hardy is always in the middle of Jeff and Bennett. He may even have to be the referee in a match between Jeff and Bennett. Eventually there would be ONE and only one match between Jeff and Matt. Jeff would hope to beat sense into his brother, and in the end says that he is his own man and will always be his brother, he'll always be there when he needs him but he can no longer support his actions and can't keep wasting his time trying to keep him from Bennett.
The Hardyz will still team up from time to time on rare occasions, but Jeff will remain a face, and Matt Hardy remains a heel with Mike Bennett and Maria.
This has ran longer than expected so I am submitting this as part 1 of 2 in regards to Chapter 4, but hope to have the second half typed up within the next couple of days.