A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
KT’s “In The Black” Report
NEW JERSEY—If you’re looking for the current World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit to retain both the world title and one half of the WWE Tag Team titles for an extended length of time, maybe you should take a trip to Las Vegas, and put a few bucks down on it. Not that I advocate gambling, but you just may make some money off such a longshot.
In my lifetime(of 32 years), the only two men to ever hold both of those titles at the same time were the Latin-tempered Pedro Morales, and the legendary Bob Backlund. While you can put Benoit in the class of the elite in wrestling history – if he can hang on to the world title for more than just a month, I don’t think that Vince McMahon and company have a two-title reign in mind for the man from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. As a matter of fact, don’t be shocked if Benoit’s opponent this Monday night on Raw, Shawn Michaels leaves Phoenix as the new champ. Just something to chew on over the weekend.
Moving over for a moment to NWA-TNA, as I mentioned last week, former WWE superstar D’ Lo Brown became one half of the tag team champions 2 weeks ago. Just to update that situation, it took all of one week for Brown and his partner, Apollo to lose the belts – by disqualification – on pay-per-view. Now, this week, they try to get them back in a return match. Only in pro wrestling.
Another NWA superstar is Ron “The Truth” Killings, who is still trying to “Get Rowdy” in the ring. Killings, who is a former NWA-TNA Champion, has become part of the 3 Live Kru, which features former WWE star “Road Dog” Jesse James, now affectionately known as B-Gizzle. Hey, I didn’t make it up. Rounding out 3LK is former WCW standout Konnan, straight out of Mexico. They seem to be an established clique, who are getting results under this promotion.
Speaking of which, for those who don’t know the situation, NWA-TNA is a resurrection of the defunct National Wrestling Alliance. This operation is being run by the proud Jarrett family, which features former WCW Champion, NWA-TNA World Champion, and WWE Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett. Unlike the WWE, the main events in this organization all take place on pay-per-view. Every Wednesday night, for 10 dollars, you can catch some old faces, and some new ones. I would only recommend putting down the cash if you either want to see something different, or if you are just a die hard wrestling fan. In a nutshell, that’s what NWA-TNA brings to the table. For the few African-Americans that are involved in pro wrestling, it looks like the NWA is on the level, in terms of promoting Black talent. Hopefully, Slyk Wagner Brown will be among the next wave of stars to see his way into Nashville, which is the headqaurters for the company. With D’ Lo and Ron Killings achieving success, it can only serve as a blueprint for the ones who aren’t there yet. We can only hope for a continuation of that success.
In order for NWA-TNA to thrive long term, you need to have a lucrative television deal. Like any other sport, or form of entertainment, without that television exposure, you’re pretty much dead in the water. As of right now, there is a limited cable deal in place for NWA, but before you can expand to the national level, you have to consider the catch-22 that comes with it.
When your TV program is showing highlights of your pay-per-view broadcasts, then you’re giving away the bread and butter of your product. On the flip side, how do you get people to put down $10 every Wednesday night, if you don’t give them an idea of what they are buying? It’s a tough call, but one that the Jarretts will have to make, if they are to survive, and I’m not even talking about competing with the WWE. That’s next to impossible to do. Anyone who tries usually gets the boot for their troubles.
However, in order for African-Americans to thrive in the business, NWA-TNA needs to thrive. As Booker T. gets passed up for yet another world title opportunity in WWE, you have to look at alternatives such as TNA, if you want to progress. Plain and simple. Not that you can’t do it in the WWE. After all, The Rock is the prime example that White folks like to bring up constantly. However, don’t get hung up on that. It doesn’t happen often, trust me.
After all, look how long it took in football for Black athletes to prove that they are capable quarterbacks. In a non-traditional sport such as professional wrestling, it’s going to take that much longer. One way or another, we’ll get there, though. You are now officially “In The Black”. Peace…