So Bad It's Horrible/Professional Wrestling/TNA

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"God, this was horrible! This show didn't have a single match above two-and-a-half stars. It had one match[1] that I gave minus-five stars!"
Bryan Alvarez, on Victory Road '09

Total Nonstop Action (TNA) may be somewhat more hardcore than WWE, but it certainly shares its propensity for idiotic ideas.

Important Note #1: If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it was probably a Wall Banger. Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there's a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this. To qualify as So Bad It's Horrible here, it should have actually damaged the business in some way — i.e., hurt a wrestler's drawing value and offended real-life fans to the point that they quit watching.

Important Note #2: If you're here to mention the fact that TNA isn't hardcore all the time and proceed to say that's not how ECW played (as TNA has most of the same wrestlers), please don't. Despite its name, ECW wasn't always all hardcore all the time, as evidenced by the Malenko/Guerrero matches.

Tropes used in So Bad It's Horrible/Professional Wrestling/TNA include:

  • Victory Road 2009, regarded by many as one of the worst wrestling PPVs in years, and easily the worst PPV of 2009. Utterly predictable, especially after a couple of mind-numbingly moronic backstage segments that made it PAINFULLY CLEAR the Main Event Mafia was going to win every match, poorly booked, sub-par matches boring and uneventful even by TNA standards...but what sends this show into Horrible territory is the Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca "match", a bout between two women who are absolutely not wrestlers that goes on for nearly 10 excruciating minutes. The reaction from the audience says it all.
  • Samoa Joe's 2009 Face Heel Turn. Joe changed his persona from a badass Samoan Submission Machine with an Elvis haircut to a tribal Samoan monster with a penis-like tattoo on his forehead, infuriating countless fans. Fortunately, he still remained a face and was taking out the members of the Main Event Mafia (led by Kurt Angle) one by one. A lot of people hated the Main Event Mafia because it was the umpteenth clone of the nWo stable with no new twist, and most fans would like to see that angle permanently retired. That wasn't what set people over the edge, though — after Joe took out every single member of the MEM, he fought Kurt Angle in the King of the Mountain match (easily one of the worst "concept matches" of all time) and threw the match away so Kurt could win. This was done with no foreshadowing whatsoever! And the fans were pissed!
  • TNA made the brilliant decision to reenact the Monday Night Wars in the first half of 2010, despite the fact that they have consistently struggled to gain a fifth of the ratings WWE gets on its worst days. This in itself was merely a poor business decision, but the angles that were run at the time were easily the worst angles in years, including the Badass Decay of Abyss reaching its low point, Orlando Jordan's bisexuality becoming an angle, Ric Flair and Hogan's WWE Hall of Fame rings becoming more valuable that the actual TNA Championship, Bubba the Love Sponge being there at all, Tag Team Championship reigns so bad they've made the title worthless, and the recreation of the nWo even though everyone involved is over the hill. Within six months, TNA had to switch back to Thursday nights, and actually lost viewers in the long run due to this decision.
    • Bubba's stint in TNA is regarded by many as the low point in TNA's history. His antics, including making disparaging remarks about the earthquakes in Haiti and subsequent harassment of ex-TNA Knockout Awesome Kong (who beat him up after hearing this statement), eventually led to both of them being fired from the company.
  • In 2010, for the second year in a row, TNA held the title of "Worst PPV of the Year", and in this case possibly one of the worst of all time, with the first Hardcore Justice PPV. Despite being an ECW throwback, most of the old ECW stars had to change their names in order to avoid copyright infringement, and since WWE owns the ECW video library none of the old ECW footage could be shown, leaving many watching the show hopelessly confused with no clue why anyone was doing anything. Only two matches had been announced prior to the PPV (and one of those had to be changed over the weekend because of an injury). Most of the wrestlers appearing for the show were desperately out of shape, almost all of them were pushing or just under 40, and almost none of the cruiserweights showed up, leaving the card to be filled with past-their-prime hardcore brawlers. And the mastermind behind the booking? It wasn't Paul Heyman (who feels that TNA isn't ready for him) — it was Tommy Dreamer.
    • Many of the alumni that could have given a great show were contracted with the WWE, other organizations, or have moved out of wrestling. With Joey Styles being employed by the WWE at the time, Mike Tenay stayed as commentator during the PPV as opposed to an ECW alum with commentating skills that was actually there such as Mick Foley or even Joel Gertner.
    • Instead of holding the PPV at a location that would have been familiar to ECW loyals, such as the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan or the original ECW Arena in Philadelphia, the show was held at the Impact Zone.
    • As for the matches themselves:
      • The FBI (consisting of [Little] Guido Mariato, Tony [Mama]Luke, and Tracy Smothers, with Sal E. Graziano) was featured in a six-man tag team match against Kid Kash, Simon Diamond, and Swinger. The opening match at a "hardcore" ECW reunion show ended in a dance off.
      • Team 3D fought Balls Mahoney (wrestling under the name "Kahoney" for this PPV) and Axl Rotten in what is one of the worst matches of the past decade, culminating in the two men fighting with toy lightsabers and treating a styrofoam head as a steel chair.
      • The match with Tommy Dreamer and Raven was deeply disturbing. Aside from the fact that both men are beyond out of shape, Dixie Carter (the "brains" of TNA) thought there would be nothing wrong with having Tommy Dreamer's young daughters in the front row for a match she knew Tommy would blade for. Never mind the whole story behind it being that Dreamer is somehow surprised when Raven turns heel "all of a sudden" before the PPV.
        • Mick Foley was the special guest referee, and brought out Mr. Socko without a trace of irony, even though at the second ECW One Night Stand, he brought it out to generate boos from the ballroom because the Mutants hate Mr. Socko. (He was playing a heel back then.)
      • Watching New Jack inform Jeremy Borash he's basically going to rape him was meant to be funny; instead, it was more disturbing than anything.
    • While the PPV had two acceptable matches, Too Cold Scorpio vs. CW Anderson and RVD vs. Sabu (where Sabu even managed to go the whole match without botching), the damage by the rest of the show further solidified TNA's reputation for constantly replaying old, tired ideas.
    • This "attitude" towards Vince McMahon and WWE was personified in a promo from Tommy Dreamer on an Impact leading up to the PPV, where he ran down the ECW revival and Vince for firing all his friends over the course of the ECW brand's existence. This is generally regarded as a load of crap, as the ECW Originals had basically run their course by the time the ECW brand hit its stride, and Dreamer — being the last ECW Original on the roster — had been given the chance to make a farewell speech after his last match in WWE (and this was after WWE had given him a run with the ECW Championship, to boot). Basically, everyone saw through the smokescreen that Dreamer was putting up as nothing more than TNA adding to the long line of failed, ridiculous, unnecessary shots at WWE that have done nothing to help the company in any way.
  • J-Woww from Jersey Shore was paid $15,000 to make a one-night appearance. Everyone hated the segment, even before it aired — but the worst part about all of this is despite the fact that many of TNA's brightest talents live in poverty, they still continually hire non-celebrities. Jenna Morasca (from Survivor), Pacman Jones (on suspension from the NFL for paralyzing a man in a strip club shooting), and Christy Hemme (who gets paid six figures to do backstage interviews in TNA) all made big money while the average Knockout is lucky to get $400 a show.
  • Tara lost the Knockout Title in a Finger-Poke of Doom match against Madison Rayne just three days after winning it at Bound For Glory. No one, in the history of wrestling, has ever liked a Fingerpoke of Doom match in any way: it kills a title's prestige, it pisses off the audience, and it kills the momentum of whatever angle is happening at the time. Oh, and one Fingerpoke of Doom match between Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan helped kill WCW.
  • Victory Road 2011's main event, a bout between Jeff Hardy and Sting for the TNA World Championship, was the obvious low point of the PPV. Hardy was visibly strung-out, and it took him close to six minutes to head to the ring. Shortly thereafter, Bischoff comes down to announce it as a No DQ match, but apparently this was a cover-up to hide the fact that he told Sting to forcibly pin Hardy down as quickly as possible before someone got injured. 90 seconds later (including 60 seconds of stalling by Jeff Hardy), a visibly pissed-off Sting hit Hardy with a Scorpion Deathdrop and held him down for the 1-2-3. One of the performers in the main event was so impaired that that he couldn't even work the damn match without there being a real possibility of him injuring someone.[2] The fans started chanting "Bullshit!" at the end of the event, and Sting was clearly heard agreeing with them.
  • Speaking of bad Face Heel Turns and horrible angles, how about the dissolution of Christian's Coalition in 2007-08? Let's run down why that failed:
    • First off, AJ Styles and Tomko grow into a first-rate tag team by backing up Christian Cage together throughout 2007. The Coalition are popular villains due to a comedic bent in their segments in which it's apparent that these guys at least really enjoy working together. AJ's career is saved from floundering and kept afloat through the influx of established name talent which started with Christian and Sting because of this team. Tomko's subtle development as a wrestler and as a character despite being a backgrounder is so popular with fans that they've started to chant his name during appearances with Christian. Styles and Tomko eventually end the aforementioned Team Pacman abomination and become Tag Team Champions at Bound For Glory, TNA's biggest showcase. Yet only a month later, they not only distract Christian by coming out when he said not to, costing him a match that would've got him back in the TNA World Championship picture, but later they go and help Kurt Angle (one of Christian's sworn enemies from earlier in the year and a major league airtime thief himself for months since his own Face Heel Turn) retain said title.
    • The next few weeks see AJ trying to bring Christian's Coalition and this newly formed "Angle Alliance" together but suddenly becomes incompetent when it comes to helping Christian, with Tomko giving subtle notes that he knows creating an Enemy Mine out of thin air will fail. Heavy implications are made that Kurt's wife seduced and conned AJ into it all. He's eventually humiliated by losing matches that get him into reindeer and turkey suits to the tune of less than no sympathy from Kurt. Meanwhile Tomko has a Crowning Moment of Awesome with his "Tomko's for Tomko" speech, which Kurt (who demanded he pick a side) tries to sucker punch him for but Christian approves of, then starts outright telling AJ he has to pick a side. AJ finds "help" from a bunch of guys but still can't make a decision until Final Resolution in January 2008, where he pretends to side with Christian but then turns on him...because Karen seduced him again in a bathroom stall and told him to do it. How so many of the same purist smarks that were clamoring for AJ to be split from Christian in the first place can look at that and still act like the Coalition is what was holding AJ back is incredible, because this took AJ Styles' character from a lovable idiot kid brother into a complete moron.
    • It gets worse. Next, Kurt immediately tries to bribe Tomko into the Alliance with Karen, but Tomko declines by citing his wife and kid. Kurt proceeds to disparage his wife leading to and then during a heated brawl between the two. Christian helps him beat Kurt decisively in a match, and even tells him later that the world applauds him for being his own man. Tomko eventually backs up Christian heading into the next PPV, where again Christian is facing Kurt for the title. The whole time the fans are way behind Tomko, chanting his name during his entrance. There were even a couple soldiers in the front row with a wide sign saying "Tomko is Army Strong". Yet what happens at Against All Odds? You guessed it, Tomko turns on Christian cause nobody should've seen it coming. And the explanation given, that Christian promised him stardom for years but he never got it, made the whole turn look six months too late.
    • Cue an utterly senseless "second husband" storyline between AJ and Karen where she and Kurt suddenly fall apart, a couple of PPV multi-man tag team losses by AJ and Tomko to Christian, and a tag team title loss which has horrible post-booking in itself to set up a tournament which Tomko can't even be part of due to a suspension for missing that year's Lockdown Fanfest, and we end up with Tomko's massive Character Derailment. Returning from suspension, he turns on AJ in a bloody beatdown along with Team 3D, Booker T, and Kurt Angle, all because of AJ and Karen's suspected relationship. He ends up destroying AJ and Christian with the same pack the following week. Soon the Tomko who loyally backed up his friends while advancing his own stand and even taking up for women being verbally abused by their bosses, the Tomko who the fans desperately wanted to cheer for, instead of turning face is replaced with a guy who'd scream out "That's my partner's blood!" and interrupt Karen's talk show to harass her on Kurt's orders and then get squashed by Matt Morgan. Soon left without a faction and reduced to Jobber duty, he would soon leave the company. Though he briefly resurfaced for a mystery attacker storyline that was kiboshed when Hulk Hogan and company came onboard, returning him to job duty and unemployment, his career would never recover from being derailed.

  1. Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell
  2. indeed, Hardy attempted to bite/scratch Sting while he was pinned down