On January 19th, I posted a blog, which exposed how young wrestlers are getting into TNA's Gut Check program. If you yourself are thinking about joining either WWE or TNA's talent-show programs, I have all the details on that link, including the costs you'll need to pay for out of your pocket.
TNA's program asks for $20 up front, another $230 due at the seminar, and then if you are chosen to compete for television, you must pay for your own plane ride and travel expenses to the episode of Impact Wrestling you're asked to show up for, and double should they opt not to tape more than one episode per show. If you win yourself a contract, you must then pay for your own ride to OVW to begin training, until they can think of something for you.
Now there are a few flaws with this system. For starters, nobody should ever have to pay a company for the right to work or try out for a job. That's usually called a SCAM, and it's what every good "how to work from home" website warns you about before you try applying for any job ever. Worse is that the wrestlers themselves generally do not make $250 in a month, despite most of them being very hard working individuals.
Another flaw is that TNA advertised on their own Facebook accounts that the voting is set to "unlimited" or "Chicago-style". That means that there is nothing stopping me from auto-voting for one guy 500 times in a row. There's no captcha or cookie code anywhere on the page, so there's no real way to track and see if the voting is coming out legit or not.
A third flaw is that in order to appear on the Gut Check ballot, you need to send them more data than they can actually use. Outside-of-wrestling sports you've played, hobbies, your trainer's name, where you currently work, all of these things are irrelevant to what TNA wants, and yet you must not only send it all in AND be telling the truth about it (yes, they will send a scouter to check) you also must consent to them posting your real name and personal information online.
Even wrestlers featured on Wikipedia generally do not want the fans to start calling them by their real names, as it's a time-honored tradition that you show these guys respect by NOT FREAKING USING THEIR REAL NAMES unless the wrestler decides you can. If a wrestler gives you his real name, be it for business or just as a friendly gesture, you respect him by not posting it on any website, video or blog EVER. It's just common courtesy, and TNA just blew it out of the water, much in the same way as when they allowed Sting and Hogan to throw around the word "kayfabe" on a live episode of Impact Wrestling ~ in front of the fans ~ like it was an adjective.
A fourth flaw is while they do check to see if you're for real (let's pretend) a race car driver or noodle chef outside of the VFW Hall, they do not actually check to see if you for real CAN participate with Gut Check.
They started taking names for recruits in 2010. All of the bios taken from that point onward are on the website, categorized by time and event. For three years, they told a ton of wrestlers who participated for the underground gut Check "Thanks but no thanks" only to wait 3 years and "surprise" post their names and information on the website for voting.
A year is a very long time to a wrestler. Three years may as well be a decade.
Since that time, the wrestlers have moved on with their lives, thinking that TNA wasn't going to accept them. So several of the names (like Sasha for example, look her up) have gone onto NXT.
The only name they have pulled was the name of a young wrestler who went by the name "Spiro". The only reason why his name was pulled this week was because he passed away in 2011. It took them over a week to realize their mistake, and another 48 hours to remove his name.
The NXT names? The names of the people who've given up on them? Still up. Showing that TNA isn't even watching who gets put where.
Even more embarrassing is that a few OVW names have popped up. Gut Check winner Taeler Hendrix for example was already in OVW ~ TNA's developmental promotion ~ the day she had her TV tryout match. So she didn't even win anything, except for a pat on the head. She was ineligible to compete, and ended up winning a contract she had already signed. She is still in OVW right now, waiting for a push that may never come.
Many people are of the mind that this has all been rigged, as the people that were ahead this morning have no followers on Twitter, hardly any fans and little to zero wrestling experience. People are having flashbacks to WWE's Tough Enough 5 and NXT 1, where the winner was decided long before the first show ever began to be filmed, rendering the entire competition useless. Just mindless entertainment for the "powers that be" and a chance to screw with the dreams of a thousand hopefuls.
Well I suppose these flaws are what led TNA to post this today:
A MESSAGE TO OUR LOYAL FANS REGARDING THE GUT CHECK CHALLENGE
In January, we launched the Gut Check Challenge as an online competition to give many independent wrestling stars a chance to showcase their talents and potentially earn a spot on the IMPACT WRESTLING roster.
However, due to a number of issues with the voting - and in fairness to all the competitors - we have decided to suspend the Gut Check Challenge.
We will be re-launching the contest in the near future with a new voting system that will eliminate the voting issues. Stay tuned to our website for updates - and thank you for your continued support of TNA and IMPACT WRESTLING!
No timetable has been set for it's return as of this writing.
And TNA is still holding onto everyone's $250.