Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Rut

The end of my summers are starting to feel kind of like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It seems like around the beginning of August for the last few years I come to this realization that I'm in a rut and not progressing in life.

Here's a blog I posted in 2010 about the subject - Fuuuuuuuck.

I noticed this summer's rut a little earlier. Around the beginning of July, I realized that I had only posted one blog during the month of June. Since starting my first blog back in December of 2005, I have never had a month-long span as sparse as June 2012.

I realized that and decided to write about it. The theme was going to be something along the lines of "Where did my June go?" At this very moment, it is July 30, 2012 and I am just now writing the "What happened to June?" piece. So, let's amend this to "Where did June, July, and probably some others months go?"

If you know me, you probably know that I am lazy. One of my favorite television shows right now is Hoarders, and Candace hates to watch it with me for the sole reason that she thinks I will wind up like one of those people. It's easier to lay around and not clean, so that's often what I do.

My problem is that I apply that to every aspect of my life. It is easier to lay around than do anything. So, what do I do? Nothing.

It really feels like I fell asleep in January or February and woke up at the end of July. I accomplished nothing in the first half of 2012. If we're breaking my life down into six-month increments, what did I accomplish in the second half of 2011? Nothing. First half? Nothing. Second half of 2010? Nothing. First half? I feel like the first half of 2010 was decent.

But, being sorta proud of what you were doing a little over 2 years ago isn't really going to cut it. So, what do I do? I guess I need to stop doing things the easy way.

Throughout life in school it seems like I've had a yearly discussion with a teacher that goes along the lines of "You're a smart guy, you just need to apply yourself more."  I remember in the eighth grade our science teacher gave us a detailed midterm report that broke down all of our assignments. We had like 2 tests and 3 or 4 other assignments. My final grade was always a C on the midterm because I would get an A on all of the tests and a zero, an F, on the other assignments because I didn't do them.

My freshman year of college my adviser simply said to me, "You need to stop being lazy." She told me I needed to apply myself to class like I applied myself to journalism and writing. I thought about her words. And that's all I did.

A few months ago at work, they received an email complaint from a customer from me. The guy writing it complained about everything and concluded it with "And it seems like Chris had not received any formal training in how to do his job." A manager had a discussion with me about the complaint. She said, "I've seen you come in and work circles around everybody else and then sometimes I see you come in and it looks like you've said, 'Ehhh, fuck it.'"

And I feel like that's a pretty good explanation of why my life is where it's at. At some point, I simply said, "Ehhh, fuck it." 

I guess the key here to turning things around would be to stop taking that approach to life. I'm going to think about those words. I'll keep you updated as to whether or not I do anything else.

Foo Fighters [Wasting Light Live from 606]


The Foo Fighters have been around for over 15 years. After the death of iconic Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, drummer Dave Grohl picked up a guitar and formed the alt-rock heavyweights Foo Fighters. 

They released their seventh album Wasting Light in 2011. The album was a return to their roots musically, as it was recorded entirely on analog equipment. Nothing digital. Nothing "current," for lack of a better word. 

They also recorded it in the garage of Dave Grohl's house, as opposed to their very own recording studio they had built a few years earlier, Studio 606. It also reunited Grohl with producer Butch Vig, who had worked with Nirvana on their breakthrough Nevermind album. 

To get the word out about the album, the band performed the set live at Studio 606 and posted it on YouTube. That video is above. 

Foo Fighters have been one of my favorite bands for a while, and I feel like this performance shows why. They are an awesome band, both in the studio and live. A lot of bands can't maintain the quality of their recorded sound in a live performance. And the Foo Fighters can do that. I enjoy listening to their live sets, something I can't say about a lot of bands. 

 Check it out. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wrestling With Rosenberg: Daniel Bryan

 
This interview's about a month old, but it's still very awesome and if you haven't heard it yet you should. Daniel Bryan was interviewed by media personality Peter Rosenberg. He's interviewed a lot of wrestlers in the past, in addition to other celebrities and other personalities.

Bryan talks about a wide array of topics, including training with Shawn Michaels, his early influences (Dean Malenko!), his ROH career, how Vince McMahon doesn't see him as a superstar, the reasons for why he became a vegan and more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Effect and Cause


Jack White has a great way of taking complicated subjects and breaking them down. Great song with a great message. This is off the White Stripes' final album, Icky Thump.

Tricycle Offense posts

I have now posted 4 articles to the Tricycle Offense multimedia blog. I feel like all of them are pretty good, particularly my Nigel McGuinness piece. If you have not had a chance to read them, check out the links below.

Chris Benoit: 5 Years Later ... A look at the recent anniversary of one of the worst days to be a wrestling fan, when it was discovered that Chris Benoit killed his wife, child, then killed himself. I recall finding out the news, the aftermath, then I look at Chris Benoit's legacy and aftermath, some of which is actually positive.

The Monday Night War ... This 2002 DVD was only $4.99 at FYE, so I felt like I had to buy it. I had heard bad things about it and wanted to see for myself. I did not like this documentary about the war between WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro.

The Ballad of Nigel McGuinness ... CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are on top of the WWE right now. Were it not for a series of unfortunate setbacks, I feel like Nigel McGuinness - Desmond Wolfe in TNA - would be right there with them. I look at his career and the Ring of Honor documentary released about him. It's sad to watch at times. I try to write wrestling posts in a way that non-wrestling fans can relate to them. It's always hit or miss on whether I accomplish that, but I feel like I did a good job of that with this one. I didn't write about a wrestler. I wrote about a person who wrestles.

A History Of The Money In The Bank Briefcase ... After John Cena announced that he was cashing in his briefcase, I look back at the previous 10 MITB cash-ins and rank them. I also give a little bit of history and trivia.

That's all I have for the site right now. I have some ideas in my head for future posts that I'll be sending in soon. I tweet the links after they get posted, so if you follow me there you can read them that way. If not, I'll periodically post blogs like this with some links.

If you have anything you'd like to see me write about, feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook, where most of the commenting about my blogs happens.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dean Ambrose vs William Regal


Florida Championship Wrestling is the developmental territory for WWE. If you sign a contract with the promotion, they send you to FCW for a few months or a year. Basically, it's to get a wrestler acquainted with the "WWE style" of wrestling. WWE is different than Ring of Honor or Japan or the independents, and they make sure their wrestlers are adept at performing for WWE. There are also little things, like wrestling in a bigger ring (WWE's is 20x20) and learning to wrestle in front of cameras.

The previous developmental territory was Ohio Valley Wrestling. The biggest success stories to come out of that are John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, and Randy Orton. All four were essentially trained from scratch there. CM Punk had a stop at OVW before going on to WWE.

A few years ago they got rid of OVW and relocated to Florida. The biggest success to come out of FCW has been Sheamus. FCW has gotten a lot of criticism lately because he's pretty much the only wrestler to become a huge star in WWE.

That may soon change. Right now, the FCW locker room looks a lot like the Ring of Honor locker room, circa 3-5 years ago. Tyler Black and Cassius Ohno are better known as former ROH Champion Seth Rollins and former ROH Tag Champ Chris Hero. Antonio Cesar, better known as former ROH Tag Champ Claudio Castognoli recently made his SmackDown debut after a stretch in FCW.

One of the top stars there right now is Dean Ambrose. He wrestled for Evolve, Dragon Gate USA, and Chikara, to name a few. You may remember him as Jon Moxley. He is 26-years-old and looks to have the most potential as a WWE-style "character" of anybody currently in FCW. To top it off, he's also a great wrestler.

William Regal, a long-time WCW and WWE wrestler, who among other things was one of the wrestlers to train Daniel Bryan, is winding down his career in FCW and NXT as an announcer and part-time wrestler.

For the last year, he has been feuding with Ambrose. It has been a nice thing to watch develop - Ambrose was the cocky upstart who got put in his place by the evil villian (who the crowd cheers despite that fact, as they respect Regal), then he developed a vicious streak and Regal began to appreciate that, and now the feud looks to have ended with this most recent match.

When you hear things like "old school," that's what this match is. It is an exhibition in old school. It is realistic, hard-hitting, and shows two men treating this form of entertainment like it is a sport. Great stuff.

Pay attention to the name of Dean Ambrose. He will be causing waves on Raw or SmackDown sooner rather than later.

As a sidenote: Jim Ross on commentary is golden. He is missed by all wrestling fans.

CM Punk DVD cover released


CM Punk: Best in the World will be released October 9. A 3-disk set, disk 1 will be a documentary profile of Punk's life and career. Disks 2 and 3 will have matches from his WWE career, starting in their developemental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, through ECW, Raw and Smackdown. The match listing is below:

Disk 2:

Finals Match in the OVW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Brent Albright vs. CM Punk
Ohio Valley Wrestling ... March 1, 2006

CM Punk vs. Justin Credible
ECW ... August 1, 2006

ECW Championship Last Chance Match
CM Punk vs. John Morrison
ECW ... September 4, 2007

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Chris Jericho vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. CM Punk vs. MVP vs. Mr. Kennedy
WrestleMania XXIV ... March 30, 2008

World Tag Team Championship Match
CM Punk & Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
RAW .. October 27, 2008

No Disqualification Match for the Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk vs. William Regal
RAW ... January 19, 2009

Disk 3:

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
SummerSlam ... August 23, 2009

Rey Mysterio Joins the SES vs. CM Punk’s Hair
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Over the Limit ... May 23, 2010

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. CM Punk
Money in the Bank ... July 17, 2011

WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
WrestleMania XXVIII ... April 1, 2012

WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
Over the Limit ... May 20, 2012

* * *

Punk tweeted the other day about the DVD: "Just had an advanced screening of my DVD for a select few family members. So proud of it. Working on a lot of cool things for its release."

Marty DeRosa, a friend of Punk's, tweeted the following: "Lucky enough to see the upcoming @CMPunk DVD. It's the Dark Knight of @WWE DVD's. I was blown away and then laughed my ass off at the end."

I've heard good advance word on the set. Reportedly, CM Punk had a lot of input into the DVD, as he didn't want to release a half-assed retrospective of his career. He had a lot of input on what kind of music played, what was mentioned (i.e., Ring of Honor) and who was allowed to speak (i.e., Colt Cabana). And it was confirmed that Paul Heyman (of "I'm a 'Paul Heyman Guy'" fame) joined Punk to provide some bonus commentary on a select few matches on the set.

So, I'm very much looking forward to this set.

The only thing that looks odd on the cover is apparently WWE has photoshopped out the word "DRUG" that Punk has tattooed on his right knuckles. If you put his hands together, his knuckles spell out "DRUG FREE."

Hopefully they put that back in. That's an example of extreme political correctness, and one that I feel isn't really needed. I doubt anybody would get offended at the word "drug," especially after they study the picture for a minute and see that it's actually a positive message being reinforced.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

FCC vs Pacifica aka The George Carlin Case

"FCC vs Pacifica has become a standard case to teach in communications classes and many law schools. I take perverse pride in that. I'm actually a footnote to the judicial history of America," George Carllin, in his 2009 autobiography, Last Words.

I have learned a lot about this case over my loooooong college tenure. It was taught in Concord University's "Communication Law" class. Basically, it's somebody suing and saying that George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" bit was offensive and shouldn't be allowed on air.

I know a lot about this case because I took Comm. Law three times. The first time was in 2006, and I failed the course. The second time was in 2007 and I received a D, but needed a C to get credit. Then I took it again in 2008 and got a B. Sometimes I decide to not be lazy and pass classes.

The first time I took the class was with Dr. James Parker. The second and third times were with Lindsey Mullins. The first time I took it with her, she annouced one of our final assignments was to give a report in front of the class on a landmark case. I remember Larry Phares quickly volunteering to discuss FCC vs Pacifica. He went on to have one of the most fun reports of the class. So, next year when Mullins announced this assignment, I quickly volunteered to discuss FCC vs Pacifica. I don't remember all of the other cases, but I remember mine had the most laughs. Probably because mine was the only report to feature the word "cocksucker."

I recently found a rough draft of the report on my computer. It is below. I remember writing this quickly on the night before it was due. Then I woke up early (for me, probably 11 a.m.) and working on the final draft in the Rahall atrium. The class, I believe, was at 2 p.m. The final draft had a longer conclusion, some more history of other cases, and the quotes from the "shit versus stuff" bit.

That paragraph exemplifies every major paper of my college career. And we wonder why I haven't graduated yet. I remember one occasion for a history class, we had two days to write a one-page response to something we read. I forgot to do it, but went to the computer lab a couple minutes before class and cranked it out. I was only 10 minutes late for class. As a sidenote, when referring to completing assignments, I've never fully matured, so I like to use the term "cranked it out."

The George Carlin report is below. It really isn't any good, but it was good enough to pass the class with a B.

* * *

When George Carlin passed away this summer, he left behind an incredible legacy. He will be remembered as an actor, author, and speaker. He will be best known, however, as a comedian. One of Carlin's trademarks was to make fun of the English language, poking fun at its foibles. An example being, "If firefighters fight fires and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight?" Another funny bit showcases the differences between a person's "stuff" and that same person's "shit." [insert quotes from bit]. He also made a lot of humorous observations, this one about how necrophilia had to be created by humans, because we're the only people sick enough to come up with something like that - "A rat will do a lot of gross shit, but a rat will not fuck a dead rat. The thought won’t even cross his mind."

To communication students, Carlin is known as a key figure in a landmark indecency case, FCC v. Pacifica. A man and his 15-year-old son were driving in their car and listening to a radio station owned by the Pacifica Foundation. They were broadcasting a monologue by George Carlin entitled "Filthy Words." In this monologue, Carlin repeats a variety of what he calls the seven "dirty" words you can never over public airwaves: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

According to bc.edu, the man complained to the FCC, saying that while he could understand selling Carlin's monologue for private use, he did not see a need to air this over the radio. The FCC stepped in, saying that the bit was indecent because it depicted sexual and excretory activities in a patently offensive manner. The FCC noted that the words were aired during the afternoon, when children were "undoubtedly" in the audience. This led to a battle throughout the court system, ultimately ending up settled in the Supreme Court, July 3, 1978.

Justice Stevens delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court. "Of all forms of communication, broadcasting has the most limited First Amendment protection. Among the reasons for specially treating indecent broadcasting is the uniquely pervasive presence that medium of expression occupies in the lives of our people. Broadcasts extend into the privacy of the home and it is impossible completely to avoid those that are patently offensive. Broadcasting, moreover, is uniquely accessible to children."

There are a few cases that either helped shape or were shaped by this case. One of these, Duncan v. United States, decided in the 1930s, ruled that blasphemous statements such as "By God" were profane. With Gagliardo v. United States, in the 60's, statements such as "God damn it" were treated as protected expression. A case that came after Pacifica v. FCC was Action for Children’s Television v. FCC, which established the "safe harbor" hours of 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. for television and radio.

To conclude, this case is very relevant for students of communication. While the FCC didn’t take any direct action against Pacifica, they were warned that airing more indecent material could lead to fines or the loss of their station license. The lesson to learn is that stations should closely monitor what they air.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musings

The only thing stopping me is me. I’m not sure if I can overcome that, though.

I miss my Nintendo 64.

Some of my most favorite memories are from middle school age, sitting upstairs at my grandpa’s house. Not a care in the world. I long for the simplicity of those days.

I have nearly every piece of paper I have ever used to take notes, conduct interviews, or do anything related to Concord University’s newspaper staff since my first story in 2004. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of all that stuff. I might incorporate it into some sort of project later in life.

My feet hurt all the time. I move too much during the day and I hate it. My shoulder used to hurt a lot, but I’ve gotten used to that particular pain. Now I don’t notice it as much. The feet, though, that’s a different thing all together. Working a job you hate causes feet pain.

One of my biggest regrets is that I never followed up on my idea to interview Joseph Marsh in 2007. If you don’t go to Concord you probably don’t know that name. If you do or did, you still might not know that name. He died in 2009.

I like the idea of smoking marijuana. But I don’t like the actual process of it. I enjoy the idea of having a mood that is not my own. Maybe I should focus instead on trying to change my surroundings, which would then go a way toward changing my mood.

I never liked the taste of Pizza Hut food. I remember eating there in 1998 and hating it, and then once in 2001 and hating it then too. Then I worked at Pizza Hut from 2005 until 2011. I ate it several times a week, and probably stretches of several times a day, for several years. I tolerated it. I ate it once since leaving there and hated it. If I never eat Pizza Hut again, I won’t complain.

I need to find all of my books. During a 2008 move, I put them in boxes and was told they were going to a specific spot. I have not been able to find them since. Admittedly, I haven’t really looked that hard. I’d like to re-read several of them.

I’m thinking of switching over to the iPhone. The foundation upon which the BlackBerry lays upon seems to be shaky. They don’t seem to be a very solid company right now. Part of that seems to be due to the proliferation of the Android system, which I consider to be “smartphones for dummies.”

I wish the world worked on an opposite time schedule. I wish we all woke up at 6 p.m. and went to bed at noon. I enjoy the world better at night.

I have never eaten a cherry. But I enjoy cherry as an artificial flavor. Cherry Coke is my favorite soft drink. Trivia: there used to be “soft drinks” and “hard drinks,” referring to carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, essentially. “Hard drinks” went out of style as a term.

I don’t understand why people hate gay people. They’re just like other people.

I have a lot of ideas, but not enough time or space to properly explain them all.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's a good time to be a wrestling fan

There's a lot of good things going on in professional wrestling right now, in WWE and TNA. I'm going to take a quick look at those and also fill you in on my latest writing venture.

I have started a partnership with the Tricycle Offense multimedia blog. It's a cool place to go for a mix of sports, pop culture, comics, commentary, and more. It's run in part by my friend @bhyphen. And, by friend, I mean a guy who I've never met but just know on twitter. But, in this day and age that counts as a friendship.

As you can probably figure out, I'm writing about wrestling. I have submitted two pieces so far, one of which has been published. It's a look at the recent 5-year anniversary of the Chris Benoit murder/suicide tragedy. The link is below -

http://tricycleoffense.com/2012/07/09/chris-benoit-5-years-later/  

Check it out. Let me know what you think. I also wrote a DVD review that I was told should be posted in the next couple days. I don't really have anything else planned to write at the moment, but you never know when inspiration will strike.

I haven't sent anything to Under the Ring in a while. I was contributing there for a few months, but I got lazy and quit writing. Phil, who started the blog, initially asked for a couple contributors due to not having as much time to write. As I started to write less, he started writing more, so I feel like it balances out. If he ever needs some help again, I'll jump at the opportunity. @JackieFiest also contributes. She mostly writes about Friday Night Smackdown. Follow her on twitter if you're a wrestling fan. She likes Kane.

Here's a collection of some of my "greatest hits" from Under the Ring:

Slater ranks the 27 WrestleMania main events

Chris Slater's top 10 Royal Rumbles

Chris Slater looks at Bobby Roode in Impact Wrestling

Chris Slater looks at Kevin Nash's WWE run

Raw recap

So, yeah, there's that. I attempted a relationship with a blog in 2010 called "The Wrestling Dweeb." I only sent in one post before I realized the guy running the blog wasn't serious about keeping the site up. It's titled A few words from Chris Slater and is sort of an introductory piece about why I like wrestling. For random trivia, in 2009, I started to write a piece to submit to NODQ.com, as they were looking for people to write for them. I started a piece about why I didn't like Bobby Lashley, but I gave up on it and never sent them anything.

There's a lot of good stuff to write about in professional wrestling right now, as both major companies are doing some good stuff.

Austin Aries shocked the world last night by winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Click here to read a recap from the Cageside Seats blog. I honestly didn't see Bobby Roode's reign ending at the pay-per-view. Most expected Roode to remain champ until this October's Bound For Glory ppv, where it's likely his feud with James Storm will finally culminate. That could still be the plan, but for right now A-Double, who calls himself "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," is now the World Champion in TNA.

There's an interview below with Aries.


While we're throwing out some blogs, here's a couple I've written about Aries since he came back to TNA last year - Looking at TNA Destination-X 4-way & Austin Aries, longest-reigning X-Division champ.

My girlfriend's friend from college, Michael Paris aka Zema Ion, also won the X-Division championship last night. So, that's pretty cool. He's somebody to keep an eye on as his career progresses through the years.

Over in WWE, Daniel Bryan is still chasing after CM Punk's WWE Championship. It's awesome. And, made even more awesome by the addition of AJ Lee, the surprise breakout star of the summer.

She started out as nerdy arm candy for Daniel Bryan late last year, when he was portraying a nerdy good guy. She remained with him as he slowly transformed into a heel, using her as a psychological ploy against opponents. When he lost the World Championship at WrestleMania 28 in April, he blamed AJ and dumped her.

She then looked to CM Punk for consolation. He initially spurned her advances, but slowly warmed up to her. The term "crazy chicks" was trending on twitter for a while after Punk said on Monday Night Raw "I dig crazy chicks." A t-shirt was also made.

What I like about this storyline now is that before AJ was just a pawn in this angle, but it now seems like she's the main attraction. She's still playing mind games with the two men, but now she actually got the better of them in the ring last week on raw.

She had taken in recent weeks to coming out during matches and distracting the wrestlers. She did it last week but Bryan and Punk ignored her, so she... well, just watch the video below. As a sidenote, AJ mocks Bryan's Yes! chant. If you haven't seen that, it's one of the coolest catchphrases right now.


Not since 2004 have female wrestlers closed the show, when Lita and Trish Stratus battled in the main event for the Women's Championship. But, I can not think of a single instance when a female wrestler closed out the show in a segment involving the WWE Champion and his top contender. She's hot right now, in more ways than one.

So, to summarize:

Go read my blogs.

Watch TNA every Thursday at 8 p.m. on SpikeTV.

Watch WWE every Monday night at 9 p.m. on USA Network and Friday nights at 8 p.m. on SyFy.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life

Top 5 mistakes in TNA Wrestling history [part 4]

Here's part 4 of my 5-part installment looking at the top mistakes in the 10-year history of TNA Wrestling. As I mentioned in the last post, most of the commenting takes place over on Facebook, where I post the links to these blogs, so you're more than welcome to join in the discussion over there.

Here's a look back posts 1-3:

Frankie Kazarian becomes Suicide

AJ Styles teams up with Ric Flair

Samoa Joe and his Nation of Violence

Part 4 is going to look at the downfall of "The Pope," D'Angelo Dinero.

In 2006, WWE re-launched the ECW promotion as their company’s third brand. Some WWE stars were moved to ECW, namely Kurt Angle and The Big Show. Some ECW names were brought back to prominence, such as Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Balls Mahoney, and Stevie Richards. They also brought in some new stars. One of them is current WWE Champion CM Punk. Some didn’t fare as well, such as Kevin Thorn, Marcus Cor Von, and Matt Striker (who is now a WWE announcer).

There was one guy who Vince McMahon himself appeared in the ring with and pegged as a future champion. His name was Elijiah Burke. He started with a lot of momentum in WWE before it eventually went away. Like WWE does with a lot of talent they don’t know what to do with, they released him.

Probably the most notable thing to happen during Burke’s WWE run - for all the wrong reasons - was that he wrestled Chris Benoit in his last television match before he murdered his family and killed himself. Their match aired live on Tuesday night. All of that other stuff happened that weekend.

Burke stayed out of the spotlight for a while before he appeared in TNA in late 2009. He had a new character and a new name - “The Pope,” D’Angelo Dinero. Admittedly, he floundered for a little while. But, then sometimes things just click. Sometimes a wrestler breaks out and something magical happens. In the Spring of 2010, The Pope became the top face of the promotion and seemed poised to become World Champion.



The only way to really describe is that The Pope became TNA’s version of The Rock. He bought into his character and was having a lot of fun with it and the fans did the same. He was a weekly highlight of the program, leading up to his match with AJ Styles for the TNA Championship.



The match occurred at Lockdown, in which all of the matches are inside a steel cage. AJ won the match and Pope injured his shoulder. He wound up being gone for most of the summer. His momentum was halted. When he came back, he was trying to catch up and regain that momentum.

He was entered into a tournament to earn a shot for the vacant championship at Bound For Glory. It was Pope versus Ken Anderson and Jeff Hardy versus Kurt Angle. Anderson beat Pope. Hardy and Angle went to a no-contest, so it became a triple threat for the title. Pope was left out.

Around this time, two veterans were complaining about Hulk Hogan and the problems he was going to cause for TNA. Sting and Kevin Nash were two of the top heels in TNA at this point. They were embroiled in a feud with Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe. In a shocking heel turn, Pope joined Nash and Sting. While the heel turn wasn’t what the charismatic Pope needed, it was good to see him being treated as an equal by two legends.

Hulk Hogan got involved in the feud and a 6-man tag was made for Bound For Glory. A back injury and subsequent surgery pulled Hogan from the match, so it became a handicap match - Joe and Jarrett versus Pope, Sting, and Nash. In the match, Jarrett turns on Joe and he gets beaten down by the three heels.

Later that night, Hogan turns heel and creates the heel faction Immortal. On the next episode of Impact, it is revealed that Sting and Nash were right all along and leave the company, as nobody believed them. In reality, both of their contracts had expired and that was used to write them out. Sting eventually returned. Nash signed with WWE.

So, it turns out Sting and Nash were actually the good guys all along. So, that should mean that The Pope was also a good guy, right? Nope. Here’s where TNA went wrong. Instead of continuing the momentum of this newest revelation and returning The Pope back to the top, they kept him a heel and gave him a meaningless multi-month feud with Samoa Joe. After that was over, they gave him a meaningless multi-month feud with D-Von. After that, he took several months off and filmed a role in The Dark Knight Rises.

From October 2010 until maybe two months ago, The Pope has done nothing of interest in TNA. If he had been released at any point in 2011, I honestly would not have been surprised. That’s how badly they had ruined his character. He was no longer important. His character did not work as a heel. He no longer cut promos, which was what made him so popular in the first place. Basically, for lack of a better term, he was a jobber. He did nothing and was presented as nothing.

He made his return recently and it looks like he is a good guy again. He has been entered into the Bound For Glory tournament, where wrestlers fight matches over the summer and earn points, with the winner getting a title shot at Bound For Glory. He hasn’t gotten the opportunity to cut any promos yet, but he is being presented as a legitimate contender at this point. So, there’s some hope for him now.

But, they shouldn’t have to be rebuilding The Pope. He was the top guy and they should have stuck with him. Yes, his shoulder injury halted his momentum, but it made sense to make him the top man again after Bound For Glory 2010. Even more so when you consider that Anderson, pegged to be the initial top face to feud with Immortal, went down with a concussion. They needed a new top guy. Instead of sliding Pope back into that spot, they turned Matt Morgan - a guy who had never been a title contender - and put him into the position.

It was a blown opportunity by TNA to create a new face for the promotion. Hopefully Pope can recapture some of his momentum that was squandered by the promotion.