Mark for War

Mark For War: The Old Corgan Try

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Mark for War BannerI’ve always been a huge 90’s alt-rock fan. 

This past week, my chocolate met my peanut butter, so to speak.

Billy Corgan, head Smasher of Pumpkins, has been hired as a creative head of TNA Wrestling.

Here’s the deal: unlike the majority of decisions TNA has made in its existence, I actually think this is good move. If absolutely nothing good comes of it, they’ve at least made themselves seem relevant with this hot button topic for the first time in years.

About two years ago, I went to a premier in Chicago of an ECW documentary called Barbed Wire City. I was surprised to see Billy Corgan interviewed in the film. According to Corgan, in early 2000, Paul Heyman offered Billy Corgan a chance to buy a portion of ECW. Apparently, he offered him 10% of the company for a million dollars. Corgan responded with something to the effect of, “Paul, the whole company isn’t worth a million dollars.”

Regardless, I was stoked to find out that Corgan liked wrestling enough to even consider purchasing part of a company. Right around this time is when I heard that Corgan was involved with the Chicago based promotion RESISTANCE PRO (Corgan has seen left).

Long story short: Corgan’s a legit wrestling fan. No question about that.

The question here is whether Corgan can actually devote a lot of time to this booking project. When you want to be a top wrestling booker, it’s been heavily noted that you have to eat/breathe/and sleep wrestling booking. In the mid-early-2000s, the WWE hired actor Freddie Prinze Jr. as a WWE creative member. He lasted about a year. He obviously couldn’t juggle even a half-assed acting lifestyle with wrestling booking. Corgan writes and tours with his band constantly. He’s actually got a full tour arena tour with Marilyn Manson coming up this summer. Sort of an interesting time for Corgan to be taking on a new job. 

I came across this Q and A with Corgan this week, post-Corgan accepting of the job.

Corgan’s always been a great interview, especially when it regards anything about which he is passionate. He has a tendency to be brutally honest. In this podcast, Corgan stresses several things that TNA has dropped the ball on over the years:

  • Corgan references TNA’s lack of ability to exploit the upside of guys on their roster. He talks about how guys like Rockstar Spudd have one of the strongest promos in the game right now, but aren’t being recognized. I totally agree. TNA has always forced dudes who were terrible on the mic to cut promos, and dudes terrible in the ring to wrestle thirty-five-minute shitty matches. This CAN’T happen, and I think Corgan recognizes that. Talents need to be exploited and weaknesses need to be hidden.
  • TNA is at its best when they have flagship events/talent serving as their cornerstones: I did a column in the fall about TNA’s Bound for Glory. They have turned their flagship PPV in to a laughing stock show. TNA has also in the past turned their great flagship superstars into rotation men. The good thing (or bad thing, depending on how you look at it) is that Corgan comes in with sort of a clean slate. TNA has nothing at this point. They have no flagship superstar. They have no flagship event. Because of that, nothing really has to get torn down to be built back up.
  • Corgan’s view on music’s role on pro wrestling: TNA is notorious for presenting us with hacky entrance themes for pretty much all its competitors. They all have an unnecessary edge to them, so basically two dudes that are facing each other have the same theme song. Corgan tells a great story about witnessing an intro in the PRIDE promotion out of Japan with soft Piano music and snowflakes and being floored by it. That’s always where TNA has always been easily crushed by WWE. TNA couldn’t set a mood to save their lives. Everything is lit the same. Everything sounds the same. Everything looks the same. Take their darkest tenured character, Abyss, for example. He’s basically always come out to this dumb aggressive metal theme with an exorcist style piano lead over it. Remember when Kane debuted back in the day in WWE, with that funeral chimed theme and red light? That’s a way better mood setter for a dark character.

These are just a few examples of Corgan being totally on point. 

Then there are couple instances where Corgan is TOTALLY off-base.

For example:

  • Corgan references TNA’s need for a developmental territory. That is the LAST thing TNA needs. TNA wrestlers are super green compared to the WWE’s. That’s part of their charm. TNA doesn’t have the money or luxury to keep dudes on the paid back burner. Also, where would these developmental guys get a chance to cut their teeth? For Christ’s sake, the regular TNA roster barely wrestles enough as is. TNA has a fraction of the amount of live dates a year that WWE has, which results in the majority of TNA dudes flirting with the indie scene to make ends meet. More live dates need to be booked, and a desire to go to them needs to be created.
  • Corgan also references social media and how that plays into Kayfabe in 2015. Corgan seems annoyed when heels come across as lambs over social media these days, contradicting their character. I’ll be honest, I agree with Billy. It does annoy me when I see Bray Wyatt, the Eater of Worlds, chilling with his family and dogs on Twitter. But is curbing that in the year 2015 a rational idea? We’re so far removed from Kayfabe culture that it seems like an insanely moot point.

I know Corgan is jumping into this job hot. I know he’s a driven individual. But I see this unfolding oddly. I think Corgan will roll with this for about a year. We will eventually see him on TV in some shape or form (maybe a TV GM roll). We will see him compete or at least take a bump here or there. But eventually, when the honeymoon ends, I see Corgan and TNA parting ways. We’ve seen this with Vince Russo, Hulk Hogan, and a bunch of TNA transplants. They come in hot, and ultimately leave bummed. I’m not sure how many of these misses TNA has.

And yes, you can bet your life that Corgan, a huge Chicago guy, is talking with another Chicago guy right now about getting him in the mix, if you know what I mean.

Match of the Week: Billy Corgan guitar assault on Lou E. Dangerously, ECW HARDCORE TV, Peoria, IL, July 22, 2000

Here’s Corgan appearing in the ECW back in day. He clocks Lou E. Dangerously with a guitar and gets a huge pop.

Lou E. Dangerously was an interesting character. He was basically a Mr. McMahon rip-off; an evil parody of the recognized owner of the company. There’s something special about the Lou E. Dangerously character that needs to be recognized: Hhe was played by Lou D’Angeli, who prior to this character played SIGN GUY DUDLEY in the Dudley Boy’s stable. Once the Dudley’s left in 2000 for WWE, Paul E. made Joel Gertner a commentator, Spike Dudley a legit singles wrestler/GM, and turned Sign Guy into Lou E.  I’ve always thought that it was cool that Paul E. stuck by his boys in the face of their gimmick taking off (even though they were probably all working for free at that time).

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