Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gotta Go Against The Grain....

Lately, for no good reason, I’ve been looking at my dog and singing (well, sort of singing) “Right off the chain, gotta go against the grain!!” To his credit, my faithful companion has not howled, ran out of the room or even put his paws over his ears. But if I also started wearing a full-length, sleeveless PVC ring jacket around the house, I think maybe that would be the final straw.

Seriously, what is TNA doing with Bobby Roode? I don’t often find common cause with the Internet Wrestling Community, but I must admit I agree with recent comments that his theme music is beyond awful. I seem to be the only one who hates that particular ring jacket (as well as the fact that he shaves himself close to bald at times). And the IWC is spot-on that sometimes his promos are shouted, well, for no obvious reason and with no real effect.

Bobby Roode in better times, sartorially at least
None of this is an attempt to rip on Bobby Roode directly – if you asked me to pick the most indispensable wrestler in the company (an interesting question given the recent departure of Samoa Joe), I’d pick Roode. He is Impact Wrestling’s MVP (with all due deference to the leader of the Beat Down Clan), its best all-around performer and the one, I think, with the greatest star potential.

Austin Aries and James Storm may be more versatile, and Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle are bigger names to the casual wrestling fan – but Bobby Roode, in my opinion, is the best thing the company has going. Even if (and now I’m agreeing with Hulk Hogan, which is even worse than agreeing with the IWC), I think Roode is miscast as a face.

If only the execution with Roode were to match his potential and his star power – and again, that’s an interesting thought given the departure of Samoa Joe, who once joked that he tripped over some “bad booking.”

I really hope we aren’t reading and commenting on articles sometime in the near future about Roode moving on from TNA, in part because the company kept messing up his character and his direction.

I don’t know who’s made the recent decisions about Roode – and I suspect he’s had a say in them himself. Which reminds me of a favorite saying: “A lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client.” (I’m sure Joseph Park could explain if the meaning there eludes you.)

I understand Roode’s face-turn last year – it was at least partly in reaction to the fact that a lot of the fans didn’t want to boo him anymore. That’s totally valid, but I’ve always been the kind of wrestling fan who is comfortable rooting for whomever I want to, regardless of heel/face/tweener status. I don’t need a promotion’s direction or permission to cheer or boo.

Roode is just far more believable as a heel. And I think he looked better with longer hair and better clothes. I don’t think there’s any question he needs new theme music.

One thing I’d suggest is getting Roode a cool new shirt that might fly off the shelves. Is anyone else confused by the current tee-shirt, also worn at times by Eric Young, that seems to include a snippet of the American flag? It doesn’t but for the longest time I thought it did, until I got a longer, closer look. Nothing against our beautiful flag, but it’s not the look I’d expect on a wrestler famously hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Speaking of Toronto, the first thing I think of when I hear Toronto is hockey. How about somebody designing Roode a hockey jersey with “It Factor” emblazoned on the front like a team name and a Roode name plate and the number 1 on the back? I think it’s been long enough since the days of Team Canada that Roode could have a gimmick like that, and if priced right and designed nicely, the thing might really sell.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next with Bobby Roode. I just hope it’s a bit different from what we’ve seen in recent months.

Short Messages

- Bobby Roode is not the only wrestler who I think works much better as a heel. I’d say the same for Austin Aries and Velvet Sky. This is not a commentary on who they are as people but in the wrestling universe, they just don’t come across authentically as nice people. And that’s okay – all promotions need performers who are good at creating and maintaining heel heat.

- I think the Beat Down Clan can go on without Samoa Joe. I hope maybe they can do some kind of angle showing him getting kicked out of the group, but the faction should go on. For now, just MVP, Kenny King and Low Ki works fine, but it’d also be interesting to see them seek out another full-time member.

- I read somewhere that what Josh Mathews and Taz are doing is commenting live on air from the TNA offices in Nashville during the taped episodes of Impact Wrestling. If that’s true, I think that’s a great idea. It can make the commentary as fresh as possible and is just one other thing that makes what TNA does a bit different. That said, if that’s what Mathews and Taz are doing, I wish they’d say it explicitly.

- I was really disappointed to see that Veda Scott was not among the wrestlers used in the recent Knockouts “One Night Only” taping. I remain a huge fan of Veda, who is not featured on Ring of Honor TV nearly as much as she used to be.

- Regarding Ring of Honor, I hear Tadarius Thomas recently taped a retirement match. Not sure if that was an angle, but if he is retiring, what a shame. Great in-ring performer who brings something different and cool to watch with his capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) style.

“Heed the Messenger”