Turning point will feature title match
The card for Turning Point, the Linda McMahon election defeat (along with its possible implications for WWE) and serious surgery for a former main event wrestler are the stories at the top of our menu this week.
TNA offers Turning Point from Orlando tonight on pay per view with Jeff Hardy defending the heavyweight championship against former champ Austin Aries in a Ladder Match.
On Impact this past Thursday, at the insistence of Hulk Hogan (who would carry absolutely no authority or be entitled to any respect in any other company in the real world given his recent track record), Aries reluctantly returned the old championship belt he recently stole (the one he wore before losing to Hardy at the last ppv) under threat of forfeiting his championship shot at TP.
He attacked Hardy, who carries a new, ugly version of a belt (I know it's only a prop, but it's even more annoying than Cena's spinning belt to some of us traditionalists) and stuffed him under the bottom rung of a tall ladder and climbed the ladder to the top where he pulled down both belts and posed to signify what he intends to do tonight at the ppv.
Earlier on the same program, Sting took another beating at the hands of Aces and 8s and appears to be written off for a while. Magnus pinned Samoa Joe in a six-man tag to set the table for a one-on-one encounter at TP. Kurt Angle will battle Devon, while James Storm, Bobby Roode and A. J. Styles tangle in a three-way to determine the number one contender for the champion's next defense at the next ppv.
Linda McMahon's second unsuccessful run at a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut made news in a lot of places this past week. It wasn't the fact that she lost for a second time that got the attention, it was that she spent almost 100 million dollars doing it. Her candidacies undoubtedly affected the WWE product in various ways, even though the money was from her personal family fortune and not from the company's coffers. Vinny Mac looked a little shell-shocked on Linda's concession speech video.
Rowdy Roddy Piper, who has been on Raw a number of times recently, publicly questioned the wisdom of such expenditures from someone who helped run a company that does not have any retirement fund for former wrestlers. Other former independent contractors may have been thinking the same things Piper was saying out loud, but that's why he is the rowdy one.
Undoubtedly, decisions about the product were influenced by the reality that anything abnormally controversial could be used against Linda in an election campaign. Some of the older episodes from the attitude era were trotted out at times, especially during the first campaign. Don't be surprised if the product looks a little edgier from here on out, though they won't likely go where they have gone before due to being a publicly owned entity now that must keep sponsors and answer to stockholders.
Adam Copeland, formerly known as Edge, underwent another major neck surgery this past Friday in Pittsburgh. Dr. Frank Maroon, who has performed successful surgeries on several pro wrestlers, including legendary champ Bruno Sammartino, did the honors. Edge was WWE champion when he was forced into an early retirement a couple of years back due to serious neck injuries.
As a fan, don't ever forget that the toll taken on the bodies of wrestlers in the "fake" sport of wrestling is very real. Remember those TLC matches with Edge, Christian, the Hardys and the Dudleys? You can bet they remember them every morning when they get out of bed.
Before you chant "boring" at an arm bar or another resthold, consider that less can sometimes be more and safer for the performers in the long run. Incessant high spots, like the non-stop shooting in video games, can leave one mostly numb. Resist the temptation to be chanting like Ryback - "Feed me more."
In some ways, wrestling is like football and hockey as fans sometimes enjoy way too much the high-speed, violent collisions that leave the Stingleys, Seaus, Websters, LaFontaines, Lindroses, Primeaus, Prongers and their families wondering if it was really worth it.
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week with The Insider)