Yes, dear readers Greco may not have wanted to poke this particular bear, but I am willing to vent my rage.
I wrote in the last article about my distaste for the fact that the WWE thought it a good idea to dig up Cena's divorce as part of the story for the Wrestlemania 29 Match against the Rock. Not only did I think it was a bad idea because I think that it aired some personal stuff that probably wasn't easy for certain parties to hear again, I also think it added Sweet FA to the story side of things.
Divorce and infidelity are both ugly issues that rarely should make their way into a wrestling angle. When it's made up it seems to almost always seem trite and artificial with little tension and relies on wrestlers attempting to act convincingly (not a given at any time). On the other hand, if it is real then you are really shining a light onto a couple's life essentially crumbling in order to promote your wrestling show. At best, that's tacky. At worst, that's horrifically exploitative.
In 2010 though, TNA had a guy who cared not for being tacky and/or exploitative.
Look, I understand that bagging Vince Russo on this site is money for old rope. He often strikes me as the sort of creative mind that looks for the an angle/ promo/ match stipulation that has never been done before without actually examining if there are very good reasons why that is. He's like the kid in your science class the teacher can't trust to do experiments because he'll mix the hydrochloric acid with something that he brought from home "just to see what happens". And speaking as someone who worked as a Teacher's Assistant for 8 years, when this kid does this once, you accept he may have an inquisitive mind. When he does it ten times after being repeatedly told not to, you begin to lose patience fast.
Karen Angle had come onto TNA television in 2007 as part of Kurt Angle's heel turn. She left the company in 2008 in order to focus on raising her family, but in that time she had made an impact and was known publicly as Kurt Angle's old lady. However wrestling makes fools of us all (well, the wrestlers mostly) and as Karen Angle's marriage with Kurt deteriorated it soon was unearthed in July 2009 that in 2008 that during Karen's separation from Kurt she began seeing Jeff Jarrett- a situation that could result in a real powder keg if not handled well.
So Dixie Carter
suspended - sorry, put Jeff on hiatus- I beg your pardon, accepted Jeff's request for some extended leave (pick one, honestly, everyone seems to say something different). To be fair to Carter (or Jarrett, or both- whoever it was who decided to step away from the business of wrestling for a while), the hiatus wasn't a 'blink and you'll miss it' kind of thing, but one that laster 5 months, with Jarrett only coming back when everyone seemed ready to move on.
So why are we here again? Oh yeah, I remember.
At Bound for Glory 2010, Immortal was formed- comprising of Abyss, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Hardy and Jeff Jarrett. By interfering in the TNA World Heavyweight Title Match, the groupl not only managed to get the belt onto Jeff Hardy, but also forcing Kurt Angle to 'retire' from professional wrestling as per the stipulation if he lost.
The next night on Impact Jarrett explained his actions to Angle- claiming that he joined Immortal in order to aid them get revenge against the man who took everything away from him (I assume by this he means the hiatus, but it isn't spelled out) as well as raising the fact that Karen Angle was now with him rather than Kurt, leading to Kurt to respond with the line "you can have that slut". Admittedly, while 'slut' is beeped out, it doesn't bode well for where the feud is heading, particularly when the face is the one who is saying it. Anyway, suffice to say Jarrett manages to goad Angle into confronting him only for goons to come out and handcuff him, leaving him defenceless for a pretty brutal beatdown.
So, apart from the 'slut' line it wasn't going too bad.
After Jarrett beat Samoa Joe at Final Resolution with an ankle lock he somehow got it into his head that he was Brock Lesnar and decided to issue a 'open MMA challenge' for $100 000. Naturally, because this wasn't a wrestling match Angle was able to participate and accepted the challenge.
Ok, I know that professional wrestling has a bee in its bonnet about UFC and MMA and I know that there's a place for comedy in wrestling but this is really dumb. Not only is it not that funny, but it just makes TNA look like a bunch of guys who are really insecure in their own product.
This becomes increasingly clear when one sees the so-called match, which is the essentially Angle teasing Jarrett for two rounds as the dominant face before Jarrett resorts to cheating by blinding Angle with some sort of hot liniment on his forearm. At least, that's what Taz told me in the TNA announcers' desk because the cameras told me sweet FA. I can't imagine what the crowd thought when Angle and Jarrett locked up only for Angle to suddenly look out of it and blind...
Well, at least it couldn't have got any worse...
So then Karen Jarrett (formerly Angle) began getting involved because it was important to drag everyone's personal life right back into the open. And because no doubt this was the feud that had sooo much controversy by TNA's creative it also began dominating Impact episodes rather than oh I don't know, champions or, hey WRESTLING.
And then this occured.
As many people will know I HATE courtroom segments on wrestling shows. Put simply, I think the further a segment is filmed from that ring, the greater the risk of said segment falling squarely on its arse. And after watching this...travesty of a segment I have to think that this is possibly the worst of them all.
I'm going to leave the moral questions to the end and start with the actual production of the segment. Firstly, whoever decided on the soundtrack must be a) tone deaf or b) ...just deaf. That incessantly bad bossa nova musak in the background throughout this clip is like fingernails on a blackboard while styrofoam is being rubbed together and it just keeps going.
Secondly, why do we have to see the whole fucking house?! Was there no editor present on TNA that week? So much of the segment is just Karen Jarrett walking from room to room while the camera seems to linger on her derrière to the point where you as the viewer feel like you should turn away to respect her virtue. Furthermore because we have to see the whole house it means that Karen Jarrett, who is not Stephanie McMahon when it comes to promo work, has to carry this segment. Which leads to poor Karen having to spout out so many of the same lines again and again. After all, how much can you say about parenting and Jeff Jarrett in one take?
Ok, now the moral questions.
Firstly, from the outset I have very mixed feelings about sending any camera into a child's bedroom unless there's a good reason for it and in this case there wasn't one. Karen Jarrett and Jeff Jarrett have bought into the TNA process and that's fine but I doubt if all the children grasped the full implications. And if that's not enough, then the kids are actually essentially paraded out like a bunch of actors in a play and told to call Jarrett 'Daddy'.
If I was to point my finger at one thing that really shits me about Vince Russo it's this: if he is so convinced that everyone knows that wrestling angles are fake, why does he create these cynical stories if we are so predisposed to believing they are not true? On one hand we are offended because he has essentially aired a family's dirty laundry for everyone to see, but on the other we know that it'll come down to a fake wrestling match any way so why do it? Wouldn't time be better spent building people up in the ring so that when matches happened we were engaged with them and unsure who would come out on top?
Divorce is ugly at the best of times but when there are kids involved it's far, far worse. And while TNA might say that it was ok because there was a year between it all, that doesn't change the fact that Angle's children would then be part of a freakin' stipulation, or have Angle walk his ex-wife down the aisle as her and Jarrett had a kayfabe wedding (just ugh...), or have the feud resolved by having Jarrett move to Mexico in June. That's right, this feud laster 6. Fucking. Months.
The Angle/Jarrett feud is one of the most ugly episodes in the history of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. It was an idea that showed that even though we are in the so-called Reality Era, wrestlers and their families should be handled with tact and respect. The sad fact that in this case the disrespect was coming from creative rather than fans shows how cynical this whole angle was and showed the gulf in class between TNA and the WWE, who were about to hit gold with the Summer of Punk- an angle that was focused totally in the ring.
And that's article 37 in the can! Next time we look at when stupid egomaniacal title reigns are taken to the Extreme!
The InVasion Saga
Article One: Shane has a surprise for Daddy
Article Two: Booker T vs Buff Bagwell and the Temple of Boos
Article Three: Daddy's little Girl Gets in on the Action