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Originally, I was planning to call this episode of Rantables “The Elephant in the Room,” but after some thought, I think the current title is more appropriate.

I abstained from talking about the Jeff Hardy situation because everybody else was talking about it.  And most people had the same opinions on the subject.  Initially, I agreed with them, going so far as to believe that he would never work in wrestling again.  But then I thought about what exactly he was charged with, and realized that it’s all just drug charges.  If you haven’t read Peter McWilliams’ book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do, I’m telling you to go read it.  You don’t even have to buy it; it’s online for free viewing at this website:

http://www.mcwilliams.com/books/books/aint/toc.htm

If you don’t want to read the entire book (though I highly suggest you do) but do want to understand my point, just skip to the chapter on drugs in Part III.  I bet your outlook on these crimes will change after you read this.  Anyway, why am I getting all weird and preachy?  Because Jeff Hardy’s crimes were consentual and victimless.  He’s the only person partaking in this, and unless he has another personality who is forcing him to take these, he knows the risks of said drugs and is willing to risk the side-effects in order to enjoy what he gets when he takes a vicodin (some time without physical pain).

All of this is a prelude to the newest elephant turd in the punchbowl, known to many as Hulk Hogan signing a deal with TNA.  Now, I’ll tell you straight up that I don’t give two shits about TNA in the first place.  I find their booking pathetic and confusing, many of their main eventers to be washed up old geezers wanting to relive their glory days from 15-20 years ago, and I think that holding down those who have actual talent and can be the future of this business just to appease some fourtysomethings to be reprehensible.  Now, you take the ultimate liver of the past, Hulk Hogan, and you give him wads of cash so he can stink up the joint?  Wow.  If he ever steps inside the ring to wrestle a match, I would bet that the death of TNA would follow soon after.  Why?  It’s simple.  If you’re taking however many minutes every week of your two hours on television and dedicating it to a guy in his fifties whose in-ring talent disappeared ten years ago and who can barely move on account of the rampant steroid overuse back in the 1980’s, you’re taking that time away from both the people who CAN still wrestle AND you’re taking time away from the fans, who could be enjoying themselves with a match featuring guys trying to be the present and future of the industry.  If you give Hogan a ten minute match with anyone (and it’s more than likely going to be one of the other older guys), you’re telling every young guy backstage that it doesn’t matter how many dues you pay, how many bones you break, how much blood you shed, because Hogan will always be more important than you.  Yes, he pretty well single-handedly brought wrestling into the mainstream back in the mid 1980’s, and without him, there probably wouldn’t be a TNA.  Well, there might, but it sure as hell wouldn’t have a national television deal.  But the guy is over the hill.  He might be good in a commissioner-type role, with limited television time.  But if he’s onscreen for more than a few minutes every week, he’s wasting our time and the time of guys like Sabin and Shelley, Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, James Storm, Eric Young, and all the guys who should be leading TNA into a new decade.  Instead, you’ve got Hogan, Angle, Foley, Sting, Scott Steiner, and Kevin Nash ruling the company and cutting out everybody’s on-screen time.  Oh, right, and Eric Bischoff too.  Great.  If Hogan wrestles in TNA, I would bet you that TNA goes under within a year.  They have to play this very carefully.  It could give them a huge bonus in the ratings, or it could end them.

One thing I’m really curious about is if some of the younger guys feel like jumping ship, knowing that their screen time will be cut short every week.  I’m betting Nigel McGuinness (I refuse to call him by his ridiculous new name) is kicking himself for signing with TNA right about now.  And I’m betting Bryan Danielson is glad he waited for a WWE contract.  I’m curious if any of the guys whose contracts are expiring are planning not to resign specifically because Hogan’s now with TNA.  I wonder how many people will get cut just to cover Hogan’s salary.  I’d bet that quite a few of the less important guys will get cut.  Guys like Trevor Murdoch…or Jethro something, whatever his TNA stage name is.  Hell, WWE resigned Lance Cade.  Maybe they can resign Murdoch and put them back together.  I thought they were a great team, and they might be able to bolster the WWE tag team division, which is preparing for a major blow to what’s left of its ranks come Survivor Series.

Speaking of, Survivor Series’ main events are set, and I couldn’t be more bored with them.  Cena vs. HHH vs. HBK?  Snore.  Taker vs. Show vs. Jericho?  Meh.  All these matches are going to do is split up DX and JeriShow.  And you’ve got to believe that Legacy is not long for this world.  With those three teams done for, what’s left for the tag division?  Let’s see…you’ve got Cryme Tyme, the only tag team in WWE that’s been together for more than six months.  You’ve got the Hart Dynasty, probably the strongest tag team in the company that doesn’t look as though it’s splitting up any time soon.  And you’ve kind of got MVP/WSM and Kozlov and Jackson, but MVP/WSM is just kind of a strange conglomeration that happened and isn’t a real tag team.  And Jackson and Kozlov are just lackeys for Regal, who needs an ECW Championship run more than anything else.  So bringing back Cade and Murdoch would definitely help the near-dead tag team division.

On an entirely different note, I’m glad to see WWE FINALLY took my advice and moved Matt Striker to Smackdown while Jim Ross is out.  He had another fantastic show tonight on Smackdown.  And his replacement on ECW, Byron Saxton, did very well on his first night on national television.  Yes, there were several very large gaps of silence, but he’ll get the timing down soon.  He’s very intelligent and he knows what he’s talking about.  He’ll only get better as the weeks go by.  As will the new ECW ring announcer.  People were really down on her those first couple of weeks.  But wouldn’t you be scared shitless if you had to do these announcements in front of 15,000+ people?  I bet you would be.  And she’s putting a little personality behind the entrances now, unlike her first couple of weeks.  She’s getting better.  She’s already screwing up less than Lillian, so that’s something.  I’d also like to congratulate Christian and Yoshi Tatsu on a fantastic main event on ECW.  You guys pulled out all the stops, and Tatsu proved any doubters wrong.  He’ll be a champion someday, probably within the next year or so.  Tyler Reks, on the other hand…not so much.  Ditto Eric Escobar (though I do love saying his last name and drawing it out to ridiculous lengths…try it, it’s fun!), and I am bored already of Drew McIntyre.  His voice sounds like a 12-year-old chain smoker.  That isn’t charismatic.  Oh, how I long for the days of the manager and his stable!  I’d also like to thank Cryme Tyme, Mickie James, Layla, Michelle McCool, and Natalya for completely wasting my time.  I would actually like to thank Beth Phoenix for giving us probably the best women’s match of the year in her squash match.  I can’t remember the last time we had a female jobber on WWE programming.  She did really well in getting the crap kicked out of her by Beth.  Though I would bet that it might have been edited.  Who knows.

And as far as Survivor Series goes, besides the two championship matches, I’ll bet there’s going to be a Kofi vs. Orton match and a Batista vs. Rey match.  Speaking of Batista, did anyone else think that nearly all of his promo with Rey was shot in a studio with a black background using low shots to give us the illusion that he was at the show?  It sure looked that way.  And I’m still hoping for a Miz vs. Morrison elimination match.  We’ll see how it develops.

Okay, that’s enough of my jabbering for a while.  Time to go back and see how the progress on the patch for Champions Online is going.  They’ve got a free weekend going on, and I would have been playing it all day today, if the patch wasn’t still going.  I started it at around noon.  It’s been 11 hours and it hasn’t finished!  Cryptic Studios really bungled this up.  My three days of free playing time have dwindled to less than two.  Thanks, guys.  And with that, I bid you all a good evening.

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