Before I begin talking about some pro-wrestling silliness, I want to send out my condolences to the family, friends and fans of the legendary Verne Gagne. The legendary promoter of the AWA and WWE Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 89. This goes without saying but his contributions to the wrestling business cannot be measured. From his days in the ring as one in the early stars of the televised era to his work as a promoter and trainer, Gagne will be forever remembered as one of the most well-respected figures in the industry. Names like The Iron Sheik, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Road Warriors, Mr. Perfect, The Nasty Boys, Bobby Heenan and many others would not have had the impact on the business without first going through the AWA. Rest in peace Mr. Gagne.

Moving on to the other big news story of yesterday, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins has joined Impact Wrestling as a senior producer in charge of creative and talent development. This has gotten the company a lot of press with this announcement in mainstream outlets thanks to Corgan’s celebrity. That’s great for the company morale as stories making the rounds of late pay and an unhappy television partner have been making the rounds. But I have to wonder, what would is really mean for the company as a whole?

I mean not to be cynical, but we’ve heard the song and dance before. In 2003 TNA touted that Vince Russo was working for them. In 2010, Hogan and Bischoff were the ones that were going to change the direction of the company. Now Corgan, who admits he is currently working on a new Smashing Pumpkins album said this will be a full-time position. I’m not sure how that will work although TNA’s taping schedule does give him freedom outside the company to work on other projects.

Corgan, who has been around the wrestling bubble for quite some time. From the latter part of the original ECW, being the creative head of Resistance Pro Wrestling and work with AAA in Mexico, Billy has definitely proved his fandom of the industry. However, I have to question the timing of this announcement and what exactly does Corgan get out of the deal?

When talent and production is reportedly not getting paid properly due to company logistics, how do you justify bringing in a celebrity name? Because Corgan isn’t coming in just for the love of the game so what did TNA shell out to get the rockstar to get back into the wrestling business? And what will they have to sacrifice in the future to make this deal work? You don’t get something for nothing.

Like I said before, I’m not saying Billy doesn’t bring something to the table he does. But this rings so much like a desperation move for the company. Given the position they seem to be in I understand why. But I thought the days of them making these spur of the moment decisions? I thought TNA was going to be more concerted in their efforts to be smarter as a business. Maybe they are but it feels rushed. I guess all I can help at this point is that Corgan can help invigorate the creative process and bring some compelling television to the already solid in ring product that TNA provides.

Switching gears to this week’s Raw, WWE is on the road to Baltimore and Payback. There was a lot good on the show I really enjoyed the main event segments even though I thought they were little predictable. Kane has really become an interesting character playing off Seth Rollins. And adding to challengers that are both personally pissed at the champion makes for very fun television. My hope is WWE will play up last year’s Summerslam match between Reigns and Orton adding tension to their side of the equation as well. Hell, I wouldn’t mind having it be a four-way with the addition of Kane by the time it’s all said and done.

In other news from Raw, John Cena and Rusev had another showdown. And really showed that there is a rift beginning between The Bulgarian Brute and his Ravishing Russian. It seems Lana is enjoying the adulation she’s getting from the audience much to the chagrin of her super athlete. I honestly see this turning into a great face turn for the diva.

Here’s what I’m thinking. What if Rusev loses a match on Raw and blames Lana. He goes from being very verbally abusive to looking like he’s going to hit her. John Cena, being the guy that he is, comes down for the rescue. Lana is shocked by this. The next week she goes up to John and takes him for the save. This would lead to Lana realizing that Russia is not as great as you once thought because of Rusev . She would go become an American citizen doing the whole patriotic thing and becoming The new US Champion’s “Lady Liberty” joining him at Payback in Baltimore and all her star-spangled glory.

The King of the Ring also started Monday in Green Bay Wisconsin and has given us quite the semi final and final possibilities. Wade Barrett, Neville, Sheamus and R-Truth are in the final four it will be competing tonight, as I write this, on the first main roster wrestling special on WWE Network. To say one of these things is not like the other is obvious. Although I did like the competitors talking about their motivations for being King and Killings was to abolish spiders. But it seems obvious to me that Adrian Neville should win the crown. It establishes him as something special on the roster. However, I do have a fear that much like other modern kings post Brock Lesnar and Booker T that they won’t really do anything with him. But I guess this is one thing we will have to wait and see on.

I really do hope WWE continues this trend of adding more originals to their slate of Network programming. Especially, live wrestling programming as that seems to be one of the major draws for viewers. I would also add more live events involving different personalities. Perhaps not just the Jericho podcast but do some fun stuff MST3K style over WWE movies. I mean they have a partnership with Warner Bros. why not do that for “Ready To Rumble”. You need to give fans more of a reason to watch the live stream.

I think I’m done rambling for now. Hope you enjoyed this. I will see you around very soon.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.