async src="//"> The Wrestling Chronicle: The Issues With the AJ Styles/Dixie Carter Angle

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Issues With the AJ Styles/Dixie Carter Angle

By: Erik Vasquez

Real life promos, often referred to by wrestling savvy fans as shoot promos, are a time tested tradition in the world of professional wrestling. Often times they are done to sort of "shake things up" and get wrestling fans talking/interested in what the promotion is doing. The appeal of a shoot promo is that it comes off as a real life issue a person has with either their boss or maybe a coworker. When you "shoot", you're not portraying your on screen character but rather you're being 100% yourself. Fans love it so much because when it isn't done often, it feels like it's a glimpse behind the secret curtain of professional wrestling, a place that is guarded by those in wrestling like it's Fort Knox.

I tuned into Impact Wrestling as I do every Thursday whether I want to or not. It's not that I don't like TNA/Impact Wrestling, it's just they aren't that good in my opinion. Let me explain, they have a wealth of great talent but choose to focus heavily on veteran wrestlers who are passed their prime and can no longer perform at the level of their popularity whether in WWE or WCW. Wrestling fans like myself tune into Impact with the hopes that the great young talent gets featured more and we get a healthy alternative to WWE.

While TNA has a wealth of great talent in guys like Aries, Roode, Daniels, Magnus, and Manik the one valuable piece they have is AJ Styles. Styles has been with the company since day one and his talent and ability from the day TNA was born to even now translates into some of the most awe inspiring performances mainstream wrestling has ever seen. He is a company guy if there ever was one.

Recently AJ Styles' character has undergone an evolution. Jovial smiles have been traded in for cold blank stares. Calculated technical wrestling have taken over for the flashy, jaw dropping acrobatics that made Styles who he is. A part of me missed the old AJ. His aerial move set, along with countless others, is what set apart TNA from other wrestling in my eyes. They wanted to excite people! Just as I was starting to get comfortable with the new AJ Styles, rumors began to spread that his contract with TNA is about to expire and he could be looking to jump ship to the competition. At the same time his performances in the ring began to morph together the old, "Phenomenal One" AJ Styles and the current "Lone Wolf" AJ Styles. Once this metamorphosis began, Styles began ascending to the top of the leader-board for the Bound For Glory series and eventually got there and earned a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

But that wasn't enough.....

Last week AJ started taking shots at TNA management, and more so Dixie Carter, for the way things have been done there in TNA. He pointed out that he has been a TNA guy from day one and has carried the company on his back at every beckoned call. With all that said, AJ felt like he was being undervalued, under-appreciated, and disrespected. AJ said it was no secret his contract with TNA is almost up but that wasn't going to stop him from winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He also planned to call out Dixie Carter to air out his grievances live face to face for all the world to see. Instantly I saw what was coming. More importantly I saw it's impending backlash.

Two years ago CM Punk, a superstar for TNA's competition changed the wrestling world and turned it upside down when he unleashed a barrage of scathing insults and painstaking amounts of truths against his employer. He didn't care if he got fired because he could easily go someplace else and wrestle. That wasn't his plan however. His plan was to win the company's title, easily the most prestigious title in all of wrestling history, and leave. Quit. Disappear. This promo, even though it had been done by others to a certain degree, set the wrestling world on fire and to it's credit gave us the PPV Match of the Year in 2011.

Now lets switch back and recap shall we?

TNA is a wrestling company still sort of struggling to find it's identity in the wrestling world. One guy has been with the company for it's entire history, AJ Styles and he has been the constant bright spot in this struggling company. As of late AJ has been feeling disrespected by his employer and threatens to not only win their World Championship but if he doesn't get the respect he deserves he has no problem jumping ship to the competition (perhaps).

Sound eerily similar to that pipe bomb promo I was talking about earlier....

Now fast forward to last night's edition of Impact Wrestling. Truthfully the only reason I tuned in to Impact was to see the progression in this story. I tapped out of the Aces and Eights story (TNA's sad attempt at creating an NWO-like stable) a long time ago because it felt like it was running in circles. And while we're being truthful here I only cared about this story to see if my prediction of TNA trying to create the same thunder as the pipe bomb was correct. Below is the entire exchange between the two:

Now that you've seen the entire thing I want you to take a long at something. It is the competition's current angle where their front office feels as if the person the fans love (Daniel Bryan) doesn't live up to the standards of what they see in a champion. He's a B+ at best. Right now this angle is the hottest thing for TNA's direct, albeit far, competition and maybe even wrestling as a whole:

What I want you to take away from both these videos is how similar they are in context. AJ  feels disrespected by his boss and vows to win the company championship at the detest of his employer and it doesn't matter whether he's under contract or not. His employer fakes sympathy as a way to trick the crowd then unveils her true feelings for the disgruntled employee. She proclaims she not only created the "Phenomenal One AJ Styles" character but also made it what it was today. Furthermore if we're speaking truths here, to her AJ isn't all that phenomenal, he's more "marginal".

So essentially what we have is a touch of video 1 (CM Punk promo) + a heavy dose of video 3 (Daniel Bryan is a B+) = video 2 (AJ Styles is marginal)

Here in lie the issue with all of this....

TNA not only rehashed a story that has been done before, they took elements of the most talked about "shoot" (still to this day it's speculated if it's real or not) that happened just two years ago and mixed it with the story the competition is doing, which some are calling a new renaissance in the world of professional wrestling. 

All of this explains TNA in a nutshell.

It lacks the ability to set itself apart from it's only competition. It furthermore believes that by testing out story lines that have been done often and enough coupled with the heavy air time vets past their prime get, it will somehow reach the success of it's competition and other once successful wrestling companies. The problem with this is TNA's competition is so much more experienced in this game. Dare I say even much more in tuned with it's audience's desires. In direct relation to last night's face to face confrontation between Dixie and AJ the reason this promo didn't sit well with wrestling fans of both TNA and WWE is because it didn't do what a good promo that is supposed to come off as a shoot should do. The execution, more so on Dixie's end, was terrible. I'm able to overlook the bad execution but I can't overlook the fact that they took elements of Punk's promo and implemented it. Whether they took too much or none at all if this is supposed to feel like a shoot promo to the fans at home who may watch both programs, most are going to hold it up to the standard of Punk's Pipe bomb. Until someone comes along and cuts a shoot promo better than the pipe bomb, the pipe bomb will never be forgotten. Simple as that.

If TNA wants to bring in a larger audience and more importantly revenue to the company, they need to give fans another option to it's competition's wrestling. An option that isn't making it obvious they're trying to compete, is introducing new young talent to wrestling fans, and not using rehashed story lines to see if they can reach the same success. They have the financial capabilities to do all of this but maybe they're just too complacent. The network is totally fine with the mediocre ratings Impact puts up and aside from it's recent budget cuts it's financial backing has no problem giving them more cash. I'm really not worried about any of that really, I just want some good wrestling.

How do you feel about this current story line and more so TNA as a whole? Comment below, post on our Facebook, or send us a tweet on Twitter!
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