Words are Weapons by Dustin T Hull

                I love it when a show or movie I watch somehow correlates with how I view Professional Wrestling. By now, most of you who read these understand that I take a bit more of the positive perspective approach to creative criticism. This, however, is not always the case and a movie I watched with my wife the other day – Chef - struck a clandestine nerve with me. We viewed the film expecting to be entertained by an out of the box story; which it delivered excellently as I do recommend seeing the show. Inside that 114 minute span, the main character (Jon Favreau) delivered a statement to the critic (Oliver Platte) who scrutinized his work earlier in the film:
You robbed me of my pride, of my career, my dignity… And I know people like you, you don’t usually care about that kind of thing. But you should know it hurts people like me; because we’re really trying.

               This statement alone does not describe the film, but it does surmise the opinion I feel when  reading some commentary floating around on the dirtsheets. I am in the same boat of guilt in this regard as far too often have I allowed snap judgments to shape my view of a product. Choosing to focus on pessimistic thoughts often defeats the purpose of what I truly set out to do when I make critical comments; explain what I feel would be a better choice. However, as I’ve matured I have found that I am now able to understand that what I find bland to my palate, others might enjoy with a remarkable amount of fervor. It boils down to the outlook we choose to view it from seeing as how the common denominator in the equation is the product shown on television.

                With that being said, I have discovered a nice little nugget after last week’s Impact. When The Wolves announced an 8 man tag team tournament for the #1 Contender’s Spot to the titles, I quickly observed a trend on twitter with fans claiming “They don’t have 8 other tag teams; they’ll just randomly pair a bunch of wrestlers”. I accepted the challenge to name 8 tag teams in hopes of making a fan eat their hat – they claimed they’d do so if anyone could name enough teams – and did just that with an ease that even a super fan like myself wasn’t anticipating. At this point, 4 of those 8 teams I named have been announced in the tournament, but I want to take the time to give credit to Dave Lagana & Matt Conway for making this logical jump to conclusions easier for me than expected.

                The names that popped into my head seemed to be easily linked thanks to the creative team making ties between wrestlers obvious, without intertwining stories in a way to feel convoluted. A pairing of Samuel Shaw & Gunner in this tournament makes sense as they have been aligned for quite some time, even if they are teasing tension in the tag team. A few potential candidates, Bram and Magnus have been associated since Bram first appeared on television, even if we’ve seen both men on their own as of late. The idea of Melendez/Anderson was explained by the introduction and subsequent story told for Melendez. This tournament doesn’t feel like a hodgepodge of random wrestler pairings, and the credit to that goes to the creative staff for how they have been using talent in storylines over the past 6-12 months.

                Many of you are asking, “What does your opening rant have to do with the tag tournament?” Inside the movie, Chef Carl Casper explained to the critic that the food he prepared the evening of the review was a menu made by the owner of the restaurant. Finding balance between what roles a character (the chef) might want to present  versus the creative direction (the owner) of an entire show is not an easy accomplishment. Sometimes, compromises must be made for the sake of the show as a whole. For those that called for EC3 to be given the title and shown for 60 minutes of Impact, you must consider how it affects the story of many. The fall of Dixie, the organic build to EC3’s heel character, and even this rise of Spud; all might have been limited by pushing EC3 straight to the title. What’s worse, he might have then been included with fatuous idea thrown about for so long with TNA – that they immediately strap WWE rejects; which would be a discredit to the talents of the man portraying EC3.

                Mr. Anderson had an interview with Chuck Carroll in August. Carroll stated that during his conversation for his article, the idea is that TNA is asking for suggestions from the talent and that the wrestlers have been given the green light to pitch new storyline ideas to the writers. The creative staff writing stories for a multitude of characters receiving input for ideas from those who created these characters is something that excited me. Admittedly, I am unaware if this was already occurring, but for me it is the concoction that might inspire that next big storyline for TNA.

Having talent who feel that they are doing what they personally enjoy, all the while having the creative team interpreting the overall direction might just breed new and fresh ideas heading into 2015. Such a relationship has me excited for what’s next, yet I wanted to take the time to do what most internet critics do not; give credit to every member of Impact who busts their ass to provide me with entertainment every week. I am not telling you that your opinions do not matter, nor am I saying that you shouldn’t voice your critiques of a product you enjoy. I am simply saying that before you make that “oh so clever” comment on twitter or in your vLog on YouTube, consider that these people are human beings who experience human emotions the same as you or I do; even if their characters are not “real”. Hopefully, that one guy on twitter will tweet a few pictures while consuming his hat and that each bite will remind him that even we self-ordained critics are subject to critique.

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