In this column, I try to provide some balance to the overly pro-WWE columns littering the professional wrestling website horizon. Because there are so few TNA columns out there that I've read, aside from those who take the love for the product to extremes I hope to never match. I like to think of myself as a realist in terms of the TNA show, presentation of their talents, backstage crew, and those in creative roles as well. That said, I realize I talk greatly about the PROS concerning the TNA product, but in THIS particular column, I'd like to address a few grievances I have.
My beef with the Knockouts Division of late is that there isn't enough storyline to keep every Knockout on the roster moving. There are too many players riding the bench right now in the division and THAT is a problem. Why? There are TWO Knockouts titles. The Knockouts Tag Titles aren't getting ANY defense....AT ALL! I, for one, am getting sick of seeing ODB coming out with a title that looks cheaper each time she wears it. Without ANY kind of title defenses on THAT front, we find ourselves in the same place we were when I first brought it all up nearly a year ago. Retire the tag belts or defend them. Simple as that.
Compoundly, the leading title of the division is beginning to read like a who's who of WWE past. This is NOT a good sign for TNA. If they aren't willing to put their belt on someone who is of TNA origin in the coming months, you can bet we, as fans, are going to hear about it. Taeler Hendrix, Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky (who, from my last check, is still a part of the roster, though on leave), ODB, Sarita, and Rosita NEED to be cast back into the mix before the division starts to implode. Gail Kim, Tara, and Mickie James MUST be kept out of the running for a time. I realize that leaves only a couple to compete in between, but I believe the Earl Hebner story has run its course and it's time to put Taryn Tarrell into the ring as well. She did remarkably well in her run in the indies leading up to her being called into the TNA fold and I don't see her becoming a part of the performing roster as a conflict of interest. In fact, it COULD breathe some new life into it with a feud with Madison Rayne to begin her tenure. Even if the whole thing was only short term, it would give TNA a leaping pad to jump back into a more serious emphasis.
2. King of the Mountain....
This match has been a staple of TNA for a number of years, but since 2009, it hasn't been seen. If TNA wants to be on par and exceeding the product of their far larger counterpart, they need another staple to look forward to each year. WWE has TLC, the Elimination Chamber (by the way, Eric Bischoff says "you're welcome"), and Hell in a Cell. Right now TNA is riding on two things....the Bound for Glory Series, and Lockdown. While the Bound for Glory does a great job of moving future main event players up the card by putting those involved in a long term program, it leaves a big hole on the other side of the calendar. From about May or June until the PPV of August, No Surrender, the Bound for Glory does its work, but what happens from Turning Point in November until Lockdown in April? So far, nothing.
TNA NEEDS something at the end of the calendar year or at the beginning of the new year to shore up the momentum. From January to April, WWE is in their hot spot. The Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania DOMINATE the viewership during that time. IF TNA were to put something right in the center, at Victory Road or even Against All Odds, you could be absolutely certain the momentum swings in TNA's direction leading into Lockdown. The catch? TNA HAS to deliver solidly going into that event.
3. The X Division....
Some will say that the X Division is getting de-pushed, but I happen to disagree....at least partially. By putting RVD into the division, it adds a missing something to the mix. What IS missing is a good, solid storyline to bring the X Division back to prominence again. The X Title needs to be booked like the immediate second place belt, second ONLY to the World Title itself. My suggestion? Go back and watch footage of WWF's use of the Intercontinental Title during the Attitude Era and shortly before. I know the division has a different style of focus, BUT by removing the weight limit from the division and returning it to its "no limits" roots, it realigns the focus to account for whatever difference still remains and makes the belt more accessible for those of a less fast paced style.
Imagine James Storm winning the X Title. On the surface, it sounds a bit odd, but when you consider that one of his best opponents in recent years has been AJ Styles, the jump isn't so hard to make. By making one or two little changes to the X Division model, you can turn it into the side door, so to speak, leading DIRECTLY to the main event.
For those of you who aren't fans of a long winded column, I apologize. But to those who are soldiers as I am for the cause of a direct competitor to Vince's company, you're welcome.