Andrew’s going to be extra busy with other things for a little while, so you get a bit more of me instead. I have an appalling memory, so I won’t be introducing you to matches you may have missed or forgotten about. I’ll pick a random video from time to time and write some commentary on it. Feel free to tweet me videos I might be interested in.
My mother always said I never did things the easy way. Call it stubbornness, but I always have to take the challenging option. There’s a reason I often feel that The Dixie Chicks’ The Long Way Around is my personal theme tune. And while we’re talking in clichés, I also firmly believe you don’t choose the people and past times you love.
Given all this, it’s no surprise that two of the things I love most in the world, pro wrestling and country music, regularly niggle at me. They often force me to question what I believe in. They both cause me to cringe as much as they make me swoon. Maybe I kind of like it that way. It’s a challenge.
I came across this TNA video while looking for CMA Fest material. You’d think that combining my two favourite things would leave me delirious, but it left me a little flat. There is nothing particularly wrong with the video. It features a lot of Mickie James, who is lovely. It showcases their charitable acts. Assuming it’s not overly generous editing, the crowds seem pleased to see them. TNA is based in Nashville, so it makes sense to tag on to the biggest festival of the year and prove they’re part of the community.
But just like when I wince at songs about having a beer with Jesus, or catch myself singing along to every word of Luke Bryan encouraging willing, panting country girls to shake their arses for woodland animals, so do I recoil a little at TNA.
The problem isn’t that I’m just not a fan of the product. There are choices within wrestling so that we all find something to hitch our wagons to. Nobody likes everything. The issue is that the despicable way they treat their roster always overshadows everything they do. I find it hard to congratulate them on their charity work when they don’t pay their own staff medical bills. It cheapens the fun stuff – rolling around town on a carnival float and joshing with D-List country music stars – when lying in the background is this unspoken dissatisfaction. The elephant never leaves the room.
The big difference between TNA and country music, though, is that country music is so ingrained in language and a particular lifestyle that to change it’s going to take time. And maybe if it changes it’s not country music anymore. Country culture, whether genuine or embellished by the music, is constantly in a state of flux and trying to strike a balance between being both current and traditional, carefree and politically correct. So much of what bothers me about the lyrics is objective. I only experienced and grew to understand that Southern lifestyle for maybe 10 years. To a point, I only look in on it from the outside. I love it or I leave it.
On this occasion and while talking about TNA, the issue is welfare. It’s about facts, not opinions. They can solve so many problems by starting to care about the people who make them money. Once they do that they’ll stop being the ridicule of so many, a thorn in my side, and maybe start looking like the company Dixie Carter sees in her mind’s eye.
Hurts so good, guys. Hurts so good.