From McNeill's Take (Torch):
Torch editor Wade Keller pointed out how sad it was that TNA spent
the three-hour event building up the arrival of Rhino, who was near the
bottom of the WWE totem pole before being released after WrestleMania
21. He has a good point. But what does it say about TNA when the
Universal Studio fans, the diehards who turn out in Orlando every month
for the love of the business, cheer the arrival of Rhino and ignore Jarrett,
the biggest heel in the history of the TNA promotion?
Over in WWE, John Cena is about four months into his first reign as WWE
Heavyweight Champion, the title belt with the most prestigious heritage in
business. Cena is not the most athletically gifted man in the WWE, nor the
best technical wrestler, nor does he have the largest arms in the universe.
But the Doctor of Thugonomics is one of the most charismatic performers
in North America, and he has forged a solid connection with WWE fans.
Cena's crowd reactions rival that of any other wrestler in the company,
despite the fact that he doesn't always have the best material to work with.
During a recent television promo, Cena explained that his popularity with
WWE fans was a case of "real recognizing real." That's a curious choice of
words in an industry founded on carny tradition, but it fits here. The WWE
fans are behind John Cena because they see him as a pro wrestler who has
accomplished a lot. Cena was an unknown WWE rookie three years ago,
a faceless act in a sea of muscular dudes. Cena honed his act, broke out of
the pack, and became one of the promotion's headliners. Your average
wrestling fan may not follow a lot of insider wrestling news, but he or she
knows that Cena's the champion for a reason.
TNA has a very different situation. The fans who attend the company's shows
in Orlando may or may not follow TNA backstage soap opera through
PWTorch.com and the Torch Newsletter. They may not know how much
influence old Double J has wielded over the past three years. But they do
know that they're tired of his act, and that they don't want to see The
One headlining for "their" promotion. His position isn't based on his
athleticism, or workrate. Jarrett's push doesn't feel right because it isn't
RSPW's 2004 Most On-Topic Poster.