Saturday 8 June 2013

Career Suicide

Over the last week or so I’ve had cause to mention TNA’s Suicide character a couple of times. For those who don’t know Suicide is a wrestler who wears a suit that covers his entire body, emblazoned with the word “SUICIDE” in all caps, has a generic red and black colour scheme, and boasts a skull on the face. The design was chosen so as to allow multiple people to play the character when it was first introduced back in 2008.

Oh, and he’s based on a character from the awful TNA Impact! video game.

Yeah, apparently someone in the company thought having a character who debuted in a computer game before appearing as a “real” character would be a good idea. We can’t even blame Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, the men currently tanking TNA, for this because it occurred well over a year before they joined the promotion.
A computer game character come to life. How very science fiction. Or, indeed, how very wrestling

The general idea was that gamers would be intrigued and enthralled as seeing a character that had been promoted as a video game exclusive creation running around on TV for real. It was a naff idea that was never going to appeal to anyone or make any money. What made things even worse was that they didn’t even come up with a good design. The outfit Suicide has worn since his debut five years ago is thoroughly pedestrian and leaves no lasting impression.

Originally Frankie Kazarian was put under the hood. When it became common knowledge that it was him Christopher Daniels started working as the character too. This allowed Suicide to appear alongside both Daniels and Kazarian (though never at the same time), presumably to prove that he was an independent entity unaffiliated with either man.

See? Naff idea.

Eventually someone at TNA realised that the gimmick was ridiculous and it was retired. No lasting damage was done to the careers of Daniels or Kazarian but it didn’t do them any favours either. They wasted time getting TNA’s stupid project over rather than getting themselves over. Anyone who’s watched the two perform as themselves could tell you what the best use of them was.
Chris Daniels: proof that wrestlers get over best when playing characters they can have some control over 

Anyway, Suicide was brought back to Impact a few weeks ago. Barring a brief return in the spring of 2011 the character hadn’t seen the light of day since 2010, when TNA had finally admitted defeat and retired the getup. This time around played by TJ Perkins, Suicide was manoeuvred into a programme for Kenny King’s X Division championship and was acknowledged as a former champion (because the suit is, even though TJP isn’t).

What’s so frustrating about this return is that TJP is an incredibly talented individual. Like Daniels and Kazarian before him his ability to form a connection with the crowd is being hampered by having to play an uninteresting character. He’s playing a collection of mannerisms invented by others rather than concentrating on forming a natural and genuine connection as himself.

The Suicide character is not over. It never was and never will be. There’s no need to have it on our screens. If TNA are going to use Perkins they’d be better off letting him wrestle as himself (or a character sufficiently tweaked so that they can call dibs on the legal rights, that’s the done thing in wrestling these days) so that fans can grow to accept him. He’s of more value to them that way.

Chuck the Suicide suit. Don’t bring it back ever again. Nobody was clamouring for the character’s return and nobody ever will. It’s a naff idea that can only hinder the progression of whoever’s lumbered with playing it. It can’t make money so just let it go. Please.

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