Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Thoughts on the Current and Future State of TNA

Recently TNA has lost several of it's biggest stars including AJ Styles and the founder of the company, Jeff Jarrett. Beyond those two, the veterans Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, and Chris Sabin have apparently left the company as well. Most people see this is as a bad thing, but personally I don't think so.

TNA is at a cross roads. It's a point in time where a big transition is going to take place. A new era is about to being and it's a era that doesn't include Jarrett, Styles, Daniels, Sabin, and Kazarian. It's obvious that TNA wants to build a group of new stars and although I disagree with how they've done it so far (Magnus' horrible title run), I think it could still be very successful. With a new group of stars being put at the forefront, those veterans have slipped into minor roles in the company. With new stars emerging, there aren't room for as many veterans on the roster. All the names mentioned above are moving onto other things and as a pro wrestling fan, I'm glad.

I'm happy about it for two reasons: 1) TNA has a roster full of future stars that can fill the void that the absence of those top stars left. 2) The stars leaving can add to other companies and make the business as a whole even better.

AJ Styles has returned to ROH as well as competing in other various Indy companies. This is huge for Indy wrestling and ROH in particular. Styles has been on National TV for years now so people will want to keep up with him which will bring news to the product. Along with Styles, Chris Sabin has returned to the Indy scene as well as Daniels & Kaz who have recently become available for bookings and will be competing for Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore promotion in June.

Jeff Jarrett is starting his new company which is expected to grow quickly. I fully expect several former/current TNA stars to end up there. He's the guy who brought them into TNA originally after all. I'm sure they still have a good relationship with the guy who brought them to the dance. GFW is definitely something to watch. Jarrett has posted pictures with Daniels & Kaz which teases that they may end up there. There is also a rumor that Jarrett would like to acquire Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle from TNA which leads to my next point.

Joe and Angle are two other of TNA's biggest draws that I could see leaving the company before the end of the year. That's a huge void to fill, but as I mentioned earlier. If done correctly, TNA can get through this hard time and emerge successful. How can they do so? and Who will the new stars be? That's the whole point of this article so let's get to it.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my opinion on the current state of TNA. Roster full of super talented individuals, but they are all cursed with bad creative direction from people within the company. Obviously I don't know what goes on behind the scenes, but the product is in front of my eyes every week so I can easily tell what the problem seems to be and as stated above, it's bad booking and terrible creative decisions.

The first and most important example of this that I would like to cover is Magnus' reign as TNA World Champion. To be brutally honest, it was horrible. If my memory is correct, he didn't win a single match without interference. How do you build a new star and champion like that? I understand him competing as a heel and earning cheap victories, but every time? That's nonsensical.

Magnus could have become a star in front of everyone's eyes on several occasions. From his match with AJ Styles which was an overbooked trainwreck to his match with Joe that ended with yet more interference - Magnus has been placed with outstanding opponents that could easily 'make' him so to speak, but the constant outside interference not only caused his in-ring performance to be overlooked, it also kept him from coming into his own as a main eventer.

Magnus could have easily put on a quality 20 minute World Title match against Styles or Joe that would have added prestige to his career and title reign. And yes, he could still do this and be a heel. Build him as the cowardly cocky champion, but when he has to defend his title and he backs up every word he's said about him being the best. It's that simple, but apparently people within TNA thought that a great World Champion should never have a title defense without someone interfering to help him win.

Enough of me ranting on TNA's creative direction. I just felt the need to express my opinion on why this new era hasn't been successful so far. Now let's look at the positives. What TNA has and how could they utilize it to make the product better and more successful.

TNA has a locker room filled with extremely talented and experienced individuals. Bully Ray, MVP, Abyss, and Jeff Hardy are among those names. These are nationally known talents that are respected across the board. The veteran role in the company could easily be filled by these five men over the next few years. Also in the company are several seasoned talents including James Storm and Bobby Roode who have been in TNA for many years. Both men are very good at what they do and seemingly have several more years of quality storytelling & wrestling left in their tanks. They can easily play a part in the veteran role and current star role in the company for years to come.

Beyond the veterans/current stars however, TNA also has a roster loaded with outstanding young wrestlers ready to break out. Among those names are Magnus, Ethan Carter III, Kenny King, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Manik, Sam Shaw, Zema Ion and Brittany. Each of these great young talents bring something special to the table.

A name you might be surpised to see on this list is who I'll start with first - Magnus. Yes, he's a former World Champion, but if you read my few paragraphs above addressing his lackluster title reign, you will understand why I've included him on this list. I've never personally been a huge fan of Magnus, but he's good at what he does. His title reign was in no way a good reflection of what he's capable of. I still feel that Magnus has yet to have that big break out moment. He's tremendously improved, but I think he's yet to have that moment/match that everyone will look back on and say "That's the night Magnus came into his own." Hopefully he gets another run as World Champion and is actually booked in a logical, successful way.

The next outstanding talent I'd like to mention is a young man who was put under Magnus' wing for a period of time earlier this year, Ethan Carter III. I believe he could one of the biggest stars in TNA. He has IT. If Impact Wrestling doesn't capitalize on the gold they have in this young talent, they are missing a HUGE opportunity. Since debuting, EC3 has been booked in a very mediocre way. Almost every singles bout he's had hasn't reflected his tremendous skills. I'm not going to complain though because it's still early in his career. But if booked correctly, this guy could be the poster boy for TNA very soon.

The X Division is a TNA original concept so to speak. Sadly it's became extremely poor over the past year. X Divison Title matches are only given short amounts of time unlike how it used to be when X Division title bouts regularly lasted anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. The title has lost some of it's prestige, but there is one man that could bring the title and division back to life - Kenny King.

King is a STAR. Charisma, amazing athletic ability, loaded with talent - he's got it all. I've been waiting on him to take a big role in the company since he got signed, but it's yet to happen. I think TNA should use him as the guy to bring the X Division back to prominence. He's got the skill to do so and it could make him a huge star in the process. Kenny King is definitely a future main eventer in TNA, but before being sent into the World Title picture, I think King should be booked as The Savior of the X Division.

Speaking of the X Division, King would need some competition and I know just the two guys for the job - Manik and Zema Ion.

Many of you probably only know Zema Ion under his current persona "DJ Z", but the truth is he's a phenomenal wrestler. Despite not being able to showcase it weekly, Zema still uses part of what makes him an all around solid talent, his charisma. If TNA decided to put some serious effort back into the X Divison, Zema should definitley have a major role in it. Some of you may find him annoying, but if you go back and watch some of his matches, I guarantee you'll be impressed.

The other X Division wrestler that could help bring the Division back to prominence is Manik. For those who don't know much about him, he wrestled as "Puma" in TNA back in the early years and he also wrestles under his real name "TJ Perkins" in companies such as PWG. In fact, that was my first glimpse of him and I had no idea he played Manik on TNA. Manik has fantastic technical and highflying abilities. It's been sad to see him become less and less featured on Impact Wrestling in recent months. He's one of my favorite wrestlers to watch compete as he is so fluent in the ring. Manik could be one of the guys to bring more attention towards the X Division.

Now that we've discussed the X Divsion, let's take a look at a tag team.. The Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. These two are something special. They could easily bring the tag team division in TNA to a new high, but they both also have the ability to have extremely successful singles careers in the company. I think after a few years of dominating the Tag Team Divsion, Davey and Eddie will go on to put on classic TNA World Championship matches. Both men certainly have the ability to do so. The possibilites are endless with Richards and Edwards.

In recent months, a new creepy character has emerged on the scene in Impact Wrestling in the form of Sam Shaw. Although I've been very critical of TNA in the creative/storyline department recently, I have to give them kudos for the way they've booked this young man. The character has brought out a whole new side of Shaw that I didn't know existed. I've always thought he was good in the ring, but never knew he was loaded with so much charisma. If Shaw continues to play his character as fantastically as he has so far, best believe he could be at the top of TNA before you know it!

The only area of Impact Wrestling that I haven't covered is the Knockouts division. So, you're probably wondering, who could be the next break out TNA Knockout? I've got the answer - Brittany. She made a name for himself before coming to TNA as an outstanding wrestler and now she has the opportunity showcase her abilites to a much wider audience. Brittany could very well be the future of the Knockouts Divsion in TNA.

From the World Title scene to the X Division to the Knockouts. From the veterans to the newcomers. I've given my insight on each part of Impact Wrestling as well as who I believe will be the major of stars of the company in years to come.

If TNA can get past their recent creative downfalls and begin utilizing the amazing talent they have on their hands, they could easily recover from the slump they've been in as of late. I think all the names I've mentioned above would make a phenomenal roster. They most certainly could produce quality television each week. The blend of new and young talent in TNA is exciting. The future is bright for Impact Wrestling, IF they capatilize on the opportunity to make these already extremely talented young stars into superstars.

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me your thoughts @StylesClashx on Twitter!

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