If the news of WWE's attempts to derail TNA by occupying larger venues weren't enough, it turns out that SOME of those arenas either POST-July or IN PLACE of scheduled events will be run out of SMALLER arenas instead of those that WWE would normally occupy. As stated in the previous columns, if TNA simply stays out of WWE's way, the product will grow naturally and, perhaps, even stronger in the southern half of the country, particularly. I've made my rant already, so I won't go into any kind of commentary on this, but I will say that I have little doubt WWE's tactics won't hold together if people begin to actively support the alternative brand even more as a result.
In other news, it was announced last night, that Jeff Hardy has re-signed a new deal with TNA long term. This leads ME to believe that March 10th marks the last day of his reign as champion. Why? In a lot of cases when there is uncertainty among those in the top brass, particularly when it comes down to decisions regarding a major championship, those in authority like a stable place to put that title and if they feel it will keep a high profile talent around, they'll wait until the 11th hour for such a time as they can elevate someone into position to carry the load. THAT means, since they wanted to keep Jeff on the roster, so they keep the belt around his waist as long as they feel it will take to let him know they have faith in his ability to carry the brand. If he would have felt that he was NOT inclined to re-sign, my suspicion is that in the next couple of weeks, we would have seen a beatdown or two followed by an immediate removal of the belt onto a new champion.
I feel compelled to point out that since there are two more TAPED episodes of Impact before the surprises truly begin, it gets increasingly old hearing from the critics that Impact is going to lose the battle of brand superiority when the battle has yet to begin. Now that TNA is ramping everything up into February 28th, you in Chicago are in for a treat. March 3rd is going to be REALLY special due, in no small part, to the revelations and the veil being torn apart as we go into the place all good feuds find their reckoning, Lockdown.
Allow me to pause JUST for a second and say a few words regarding ANYONE who wants to talk about Gallows or Knox or Devon or any other member of Aces and Eights who were previously on WWE TV the last time they were seen. I want to make it abundantly clear that I KNOW, WE ALL KNOW they weren't main eventers in WWE. We all know they were bottom card wonders. We get it! Thank you for the reminder, but let me ask YOU a question, do you guys remember Nick Dinsmore? I am gonna guess most people would remember him best as a character named Eugene. REALLY talented guy, for those who want to know. Yet SOMEHOW, and I'm betting it had something to do with his character, he never escaped the undercard. How about Matt Morgan does anybody remember HIS last persona in WWE? A stuttering IDIOT! How do you overcome that kind of character? That's right, a complete overhaul.
Right now, Knox, Gallows, and Devon are in a new place and are in process of building a new persona and, for the moment, they are yet untested in that capacity. Will they ascend the card? It's a little early to tell that. They ARE muscle, though, and they CAN move in ring well enough to create a respectable match. Is it enough to make them main eventers? AGAIN, it's still too early in their tenure to tell. Why not wait until after the Aces and Eights story has run aground and gauge that kind of assessment AFTER the faction is disbanded? It seems only fair to me to allow the men to prove themselves on their OWN merits as opposed to that of the faction or of their PREVIOUS personas. Let's try to keep an open mind, people. I realize WWE did a great deal of damage to people's perception of what these guys are capable of becoming, but bear in mind they wouldn't have even BEEN in WWE's scouting report if they weren't talented enough to make the grade in the first place. Even I'LL admit that WWE has a decent scouting team when it comes to MALE wrestlers. Their FEMALE prospects leave much to be desired, but THAT is another topic for another time.