As promised, I have gone through HOURS of footage, read dozens of profiles, and sorted through ALL 16 brackets of Gut Check contestants. This column is my personal analysis of what stars highlight each bracket and who I, personally would like to see have a hand in TNA's rise to the top of the professional wrestling landscape as a whole.
Before I launch into this this, I would like to offer Congratulations to Rockstar Spud for his winning the British Boot Camp reality show and being hence added to TNA's roster page. A good showing each time out and hard work in each match made this happen and I look forward to seeing just how well his career could go as a result of being in the assembly of talents already on the roster.
Without ANY further ado, I present the highlight reel from the brackets. Since there are 8 brackets I'll be covering here, in the interest of space and time, I'll simply given my first and second pick and a short synopsis. So let's jump in, shall we?
Bracket 9: Chase Stevens and Kelly Klein.......
Chase Stevens is no stranger to TNA, having been a former Tag Team champion with then partner Andy Douglas as a member of The Naturals. His pick to return makes sense as his history would lead to some interesting singles' matches. Kelly Klein, while having no such history with TNA, could be a definite asset to the Knockouts Division, which has been more shallow of late with the departures of Rosita and Sarita.
Bracket 10: Steven Antolos and John Yurnet.....
Both men have a decent moveset and could be assets to TNA. In what capacity remains to be seen, but even if put into the rock solid midcard, they would BOTH thrive. Yurnet would be an AMAZING tag team ring tactician and I would see some very good work in the TV Title arena for Antolos.
Bracket 11: Lince Dorado and Jessika Heisser....
Over and over I hear that TNA needs to be working on building divisions that are a bit down in number and this bracket would give a brand new X Division star in Lince Dorado and chance to shine, complete with the mask that completes the luchador wrestling style. On the other side of the coin, Jessika Heisser could help fill out the Knockouts Division by giving a different look to the division and providing some extra tactical support on the mat.
Bracket 12: Wagner Brown and Nicolas Harmon......
These two are sleeper picks as NEITHER are leaders right now in the voting. I happen to LOVE what I've seen of their footage. Wagner Brown being my frontrunner as a champion with more accolades than ANY other member in the bracket. Harmon, on the other hand, has all the makings of having the same accomplishments if given the chance to do so. His execution is nearly flawless and his timing in ring is tremendous.
Bracket 13: Adrienne Reese
Out of the entire list here, there is simply only one name. Why? On the indy circuit, her name is Athena, the Wrestling Goddess and she ranks 28th in PWI's Top 50 Women's Wrestlers of 2012. Tell me you need any more reason than that.
Bracket 14: Andrew Pulido
I realize this makes the list look a bit one-sided, but when you look at the poll numbers right now, Pulido isn't in either first OR second place. HOWEVER, as a tag team tactician and one half of the indy team, the RockNES Monsters, Andrew Pulido is a proven specialist. This may be a long shot of him, but at 25, he ALSO has more longevity than EITHER of the two leaders in the bracket.
Bracket 15: Carl Wilson.....
The list begins and ends with one name....Sugar Dunkerton. I won't lie to you, I nearly fell off my chair laughing, but this guy is the real deal. Having found a spot in Chikara in the recent past, TNA NEEDS to make the Impact Zone the home of this guy. He can cut a SERIOUS promo and has the skills to boot.
Bracket 16: Jesse Sturgeon and Nicole Barela....
Jesse Sturgeon is a beast...simply put. He reminds me of Magnus in terms of skill, which is a compliment, to be sure. He also strikes me as the kind of guy who could rocket up the card. My second pick has been going by the name Niya Barela in the Northeast Indy circuit. If you want another Knockout pick, she needs to be near the top of the list, having wrestled on the roster of Shine with basically HALF of the wrestlers on PWI's Top 50 Womens Wrestlers of 2012.
With mild apologies for the length of this column, you've now been educated, at least in part. By all means do your homework and benefit TNA by voting as the process ends March 11th for the first round with the second round of competition beginning shortly thereafter.