I've been reading a LOT about TNA and how it's beginning to look like they're getting ready to throw in the towel and call it a day and all that song and dance. To be fair, TNA has hit a very large hiccup in their financial footing and has been unloading a great deal of weight that has no in ring value to the product. While Tara DOESN'T fit into that category, to be clear, she doesn't have much time in ring left to offer TNA and they need performers who are willing to stick around for longer than one year at a time, which is how Tara has been setting up her negotiations for the past couple of years.
Here's where the subject of this column comes into view. Samoa Joe and Austin Aries. How do they relate to one another? Quite simply, each man brought something to the table that new and innovative and gave TNA an intrigue that lent credence to the brand. Samoa Joe came at just the right time and his Streak of unbeaten matches bore a striking similarity to the build up WCW gave Goldberg. Truth be told, Joe "fought" like his mother never loved him. Every move was crisp and devastating, creating a mystique that could not be avoided and got crowds shouting "Joe's Gonna Kill You" even at WWE events, prompting Vince McMahon to offer Joe a job. When he refused, Umaga was born as a hollow copy and, no disrespect to the man behind the character, a shameless jab who also was given a mock streak of his own. To be blunt, a thumb stab and the muscle buster AREN'T in the same ballpark and Umaga was never as versatile as Joe was built to be. So Samoa Joe thrived for a time. However, falling victim to the Goldberg Curse, Joe was relegated to the midcard and his influence in the top tier was never recaptured. My response? SHAME ON YOU, TNA!
Joes DESERVES to be fighting on the top tier because he's proven his worth on the big stage, having been a part of two of the highest rated matches in TNA history. But Joe isn't the only man this column is about and I've made no bones about my respect for another history maker.....the innovator of "Option C that allowed Chris Sabin to walk on the top for a few steps, Austin Aries. In his first run with TNA in the early goings of 2004, Austin Aries walked through the doors of TNA and became a fast favorite among the loyal viewing fanbase. When he departed shortly following the "Kevin Nash X Division Invitational Tournament, it seemed that it was for good, but in a stroke of good fortune for TNA fans, upper management heard the fans chant for him and it prompted them to make him and offer and, to the delight of all, he returned. During his absence from the TNA stage, his character in Ring of Honor was very much a picture of what we all bore witness to just a couple of years later in his return. The brash and arrogant champion also brought a refreshing cunning back to the picture, which was something missing for quite some time. In short, Austin Aries will always be a threat to whoever holds the World Title. Why? Because, in his view, he's "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived."