I've covered the possibility of Randy Orton jumping from the PG ship to TNA, but if Mr. Orton ISN'T the "big name" to sign with TNA, who ELSE could make it worthwhile? Keeping to the adherence to youth, is there anyone else that TNA could sign that could still make a difference for a few years? I say let's explore a bit.....
1. Shelton Benjamin- In my eyes, after Orton, he'd be the one I'm most inclined to pick from the vast free agent pool of former WWE talent. Fact is, his time in Ring of Honor with Charlie Haas gave him some time to mature as a performer AND punctuates his time AWAY from WWE. I think this is to his credit as it has helped break him of the WWE style of ring work, which was, by and large, filled with rest holds, cliche spots, and predictable placement of transition moves. Does it live up to the "big" statement from Ms. Carter? I'll give that a 75% yes vote.
2. MVP- This is another rumor from the mill. Nevermind that a push for him was about two years too late back when he was first released from WWE. In MY opinion, the fact that he left the United States to pursue work in Japan may have actually HURT his credibility as mainstream fans and those borderline indy fans wouldn't have been able to enjoy his work unless they had access to New Japan's wrestling library online via streaming, etc. NOW, had he stayed in the States and gone the way of the "Gold Standard", we may be having a VERY different conversation so I'll give you BOTH scenarios.
Pre-Japan- 75-80% yes; Post-Japan- 40-50% yes.
I'm going to break here to say a couple of things. First things first, I NEVER believe a person who denies signing with a company who is asked point blank. Simple as that. SO, when MVP or Batista were asked if they signed with TNA and they denied, I put ABSOLUTELY no stock in a negative answer. Secondly, when it comes to big announcements, unless we're talking about someone with the name value of a Batista or a Bill Goldberg or even Randy Orton, it can almost simply be assumed that we're going to be talking about a upper-midcard talent who was either canned mid-push or was never given the push he deserved even though fans called for it. So even RVD right now doesn't quite qualify to me as a "BIG" signing even though he's held big gold in WWE and TNA. Moving on.......
3. Awesome Kong- Before I see hands in the audience saying that she would never go back after the Hulk Hogan/Bubba the Love Sponge debacle, let's assume for a moment that the storyline is coming to exit Hogan from the equation and look at it from the best possible angle. Would Kong qualify as a "BIG" signing? In my eyes and in the eyes of those who hold to TNA's heritage, I say yes, without question. SO, I say 100% yes
4. Lance Hoyt- In his last stint with TNA before he was relegated back to the Tag Team Division, he had the chance to compete in the "Fight for the Right" tourney, where he very nearly earned a bye to the final round. Unfortunately, once the Rock and Rave nonsense card was played, his credibility tanked. My reason for him being on the list to begin with is that he IS a free agent, he's still young enough to give a few more years, and he holds a special place in TNA history and is versatile enough to make a HUGE splash in a return. 80% yes.
To pause once more, another question nagging at me has been concerning outside sports personalities. I use Monty Brown as a classic example of someone who made a name for himself in TNA, despite never winning the big belt. Could someone like Tim Tebow or Brandon Jacobs come into TNA and create an even bigger spot? Stranger things HAVE happened. With how little game time Tebow sees, I wouldn't discount him completely. Jacobs has already appeared on Impact once before, chokeslamming Bully Ray in his final appearance. Like I said, stranger things HAVE happened.
5. Beth Phoenix- Can anyone imagine the waves a former Diva the caliber of Ms. Phoenix would cause? This is still under the idea of expanding the possibilities OUTSIDE of the World Title. She's been undervalued, underutilized, and utterly mistreated in her closing years with WWE and THAT was simply criminal to fans of her work. Beth Phoenix is DEFINITELY among the top female prospects I could think to put on this list. 100% yes.
This is my top 5 candidates beyond Randy Orton, but so many other people have been released from contracts in the past few years, young talents who are looking for a fresh start. TNA is in the business of freshening careers and these could benefit greatly from that kind of treatment. But bear in mind there are others......