Questions, questions, questions and they all are surrounding the free agent whose "ink is still drying" on the contract signed with TNA in Dixie message just yesterday. I realize that TNA is kinda hit and miss when it comes to the word "BIG" in signing announcements, but when they hit them, they REALLY hit them. Case in points: Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Sting, and Hulk Hogan. Now before anyone even TRIES to tell me Hogan wasn't a big surprise, you're already lying. Just admit it and we can all move on.
But I'll admit, this one even had ME baffled. I've made no bones about TNA not needing any more ex-WWE players to complicate their current Gut Check prospects, BUT if TNA is serious about bringing in a heavy hitter, they need to (in MY eyes) follow a few simple guidelines. Before I get into those guidelines, I'd like to interject that most of the people I talk to believe it to be a name to eventually challenge for the World Heavyweight Title in the coming months. While that COULD be the case, I ask why it couldn't be a brand new Knockout? Why not a HUGE X Division star from WWE past? I'll let you race that around whilst I bring you those guidelines....
1. This superstar must NOT muck the water for promising Title prospects who have a valid claim to a title reign.
2. This superstar MUST be intriguing to the feud picture of at least TWO top stars.
3. This one may well be the most important of all. The pick MUST live up to the word "BIG".
NOW, I have no doubt Dixie believes that this newly signed free agent is "big", but just how big could it be? I've heard a few names swirling around the rumor mills, among them being Goldberg, Batista, and even Steve Austin, but I'm not so sure those names are in that arena of big. On the upper-midcard landscape, I've heard MVP, John Morrison, and Shelton Benjamin.
So far, there IS a name that COULD be considered "big" that no one has brought to the table, but his contract has yet to expire. Fact is, the news might just have yet to break. According to numerous reports backstage, Randy Orton has been unhappy with the WWE product direction for a while now, having been relegated to a lesser and lesser role on television after his second violation of WWE's Wellness Policy. While I have no idea when his contract expires, WWE contracts are clear in that they allow full blown free agency if they are allowed to expire. If they are TERMINATED, the dreaded 90-day No Compete Clause goes into effect.
Dealing with THIS possibility IS a big deal for TNA. Why? Not because he has been noted as being a performer at the highest levels because, quite frankly, he could use some freshening up. Thankfully, TNA is in that business. You want one of the greats in helping get him over in the first place? TNA has two in their employ.....Eric Bischoff and Bruce Pritchard. If Randy Orton jumped ship to TNA, it would be among the worst losses to the WWE product since Kurt Angle. Again, it has little to do with his ring work, but it DOES have something to do with what it says about WWE's direction. When veteran performers who still have years left in their tanks leave for TNA, it says one of two things.....either "you're working us too hard" or "you're not giving me enough work". Without mincing any words, those are WWE's hardest truths. They will either work you to death with the travel schedule or you'll be riding the bench AND be expected to be at every show anyway.
So how do you utilize Orton without clouding the title picture? Build upon the dream feuds we've all had concerning him. Feuds with Angle, Hardy, and even Bully Ray would be amazing, to be sure, but I doubt very much that any other feud will hold NEAR as much weight as one between he and Sting would. Would it be a technical classic? No, but his early "Legend Killer" persona could come into play and allow for a HUGE Sting send-off that makes sense, has a decent story, and captures something special for the history books. Randy Orton was big in WWE, but TNA could make him HUGE.