Friday, May 31, 2013

Survival Tactix: Who Could It Be Now?

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.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Survival Tactix: Renewed Circumstances....

So....let me get this straight.....AJ Styles ISN'T a member of the Aces and Eights AND ALSO isn't a member of Team TNA. I guess this is the time for me to say "I told you so", right? WRONG! I would never.....okay, I kinda would, but really, it's not the point. The point I want to make here is that AJ Styles is the wild card. He's the beginning of something coming to put the faction to rest.

But the Aces and Eights scenario is only the top side of the card, moreorless. The X Division, the Knockouts Division with a newly christened heel champion, and the newly reformulated Tag Team Division is TNA's anchor, giving them a fine balanced position moving into this summer's events. I believe that AJ Styles will finally put Bully Ray's title reign to rest. If I could predict HOW, I think we'd all have to agree that two ways stick out as the most likely....

1. AJ Styles challenges Bully Ray outright or as a third man at Bound for Glory.

2. AJ Styles enters and wins the Bound for Glory Series.

As a sidenote, it make become a story point that AJ Styles enters the BFG Series and loses and THEN challenges Bully Ray as the third man in a Three Way Dance as a condition of the Final Resolution 2012 Three Way Stipulation. The fact is that little tidbit could conceivably stretch out for a couple of weeks just to find out if it COULD happen, let alone if it ends up that way.

So where does the mysterious third faction come into play? Here's the thing....maybe it doesn't. I'll go out on a limb and say that maybe there WON'T be a third faction and that it may simply have been my mind with a sort of "wouldn't it be cool if...." type of scenario, but it makes sense for a third faction to rise up, particularly if TNA wants to elevate more talent above the lower or mid card into the forefront of their product. Why NOT feature new or rising talents by putting them into the cover story TNA is executing at the moment? It'd put a bullet once and for all into the argument of TNA not pushing new or homegrown talents.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Survival Tactix: Moving.....

With next week on the horizon, I'm forced, based on my previous misgivings, to conclude that TNA's treatment of Slammiversary has so many facets of possible twists and turns that I have no real clue where it's all headed. Could it bring back Jeff Jarrett on the heels of Hulk Hogan's departure? Maybe. Could it lead to a three team war that culminates with far reaching consequences? Conceivably. But could it be that instead, that it simply allows AJ Styles to become World Champion as a member of the Aces and Eights and for Team TNA to ultimately engage in a two faction battle? Yes. I'm forced to conclude that, yes, this could all be just as it appears with no twists and a linear story that will unfold without a turn that shocks the masses, but I doubt it.

I've conceded that my predictions could be wrong for this thing, but I have a question. Wouldn't it be cool if it DID lead to a war on three fronts? One side wants to take over everything and hold it with an iron grip. Another is righteously angry for crimes tasked by that regime in their rise. And lastly, a side that is angry for the crimes, but is also angry that the managerial leader has taken their home so far from it's origins that it allowed these atrocities to take place to begin with. How long would THAT take to flesh out on television?

If Styles is patched in next week, it isn't the point of no return. Slammiversary, in my humble opinion, would be that point as it is the place where a line in the sand is drawn and, once the lights have faded there, Impact will sort out the chips as they've fallen. So if Styles is put into a place where the Aces and Eights storm the ring and AJ turns on the faction and THEN crushes Angle anyway, we'll have our answer, at least in part. But it could just as easily end with the faction wanting to make an example of TNA's longest running golden boy by using him as a pinata. If THAT happens, we could see any number of scenarios take form. From Matt Morgan making the save to Team TNA coming out in spite of the patching in and apparent siding with the enemy, hoping to win their comrade at arms back. Fact is, as I stated in the last column, a great deal is at stake here.

While the subject is fresh on my mind, WWE news and rumors from the mill have said a great deal in the recent few weeks. Here's a few.....

- Jake "the Snake" Roberts may make a return to WWE as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble.
- Scott Hall and Kevin Nash may reunite for a one shot in WWE with a short term program with the Shield.
-Spring cleaning is in full bloom as WWE just released 7 talents from their developmental program, one of which was on injured reserve.

Save for the last item in this list, everything else is pure speculation, so take it all with a grain of salt, folks. As for the spring cleaning? WWE's gotten a sticky pyro finger, firing far too many people for their own good. It's really too bad too, because it just means they simply can't allow patience to creep in. Oh well, I suppose TNA will have to swoop in for at least ONE in their numbers......

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Survival Tactix: Apex.....

If I were to tell you that TNA has never been in a better position than this to score something special, you'd probably call me a broken record. I've been saying this kind of thing for the better part of two years now. But after this week's Impact, it does something that TNA hasn't done makes the stakes behind at least two matches almost recklessly high. If Sting loses, which I'm going to hope he does, for the sake of Bully Ray's credibility as the top heel in wrestling to this date, it spells the winding down for Sting as a top contender. Shawn Michaels did something similar when he determined to not hold a World Title in WWE after 2002. From that point until his retirement, his pursuit was to elevate those who would eventually take the reins and carry the company forward. Even though I may not enjoy what has happened to WWE, the contributions made by Shawn Michaels AFTER his world title reigns were over, in MY eyes, were even more notable. SO, if Sting loses at Slammiversary, I don't see the end result being any different, but the storyline doesn't end there.

AJ vs. Angle......Styles' argument with TNA has brought him to TNA's Anniversary PPV with a technical wrestling equal as his foil. What's at stake? Since the "patching" ceremony has yet to take place, I don't think that can be answered. HOWEVER, if it plays out anything like the scenario that sees Jeff Jarrett's return, there's a great deal at stake. Imagine if WWE's Invasion storyline had played out WITHOUT an alliance between WCW and ECW to take on WWF. ECW, most likely, would have played the dark horse faction as they were the smallest in number at the time. If AJ Styles turns on the Aces, which I expect to happen at the ceremony, Team TNA will be left with a problem. Now they have two problems on two separate fronts and that means time to reconcile the story, which will probably last until well after Bound for Glory. THIS is where the first stone is laid, though. Next week will determine the stakes. Here's where things align FAR better than the WWF story. Rather than everything culminating at, for lack of a better way of saying it, a consolidation ceremony-where half the titles go to die, TNA builds it towards the ending of the "era of the regime".

I realize that this might make Slammiversary sound even better on paper, but I have to ask if it HAS to be the case. If Slammiversary also sees the finalists for the Bound for Glory Series determined, it adds another dimension to the pot, allowing some who've been waiting in OVW a chance to make their mark, as I've been begging for TNA to bring about for quite some time.

TNA was already announced that 4 former Gut Check challengers will get the chance to compete in the preliminary rounds to determine Bound for Glory Series contention. With Jay Bradley as the first on the list, it will be interesting to see where it all goes next week as I'm understanding there will be more preliminaries and will be such going into Slammiversary. So this brings Alex Silva and Sam Shaw to the forefront moving forward. I sincerely hope it brings each of them a more prominent place than they've seen previously up to this point.

If Bound for Glory this year will define the line in the sand, Slammiversary could be the PPV that establishes who will be involved in the final conflict. As far as I'm concerned, this story, played out over the past year, is the single most coherent, directed, star creating storyline TNA has ever put effort behind. Why? Because TNA is planning ahead, in stark comparison with WWE, who CONTINUALLY rewrites shows the day of their airing. Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, James Storm....they were all planned 6 months prior to execution of the plans to make their first World Title reigns memorable. In case anyone has it in them to use James Storm as a monkey wrench to my argument, save it....his short lived title reign ushered in a feud that would help define 2012 with the man who used his gimmick against him.....the beer bottle.

I'm starting to see Slammiversary as an apex, channeling all forward movement of things to a central battle to take place on a much grander stage to come. Whether anyone else agrees with me or not, it seems to me that we'll know soon enough.....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Survival Tactix: Responses.....

Birthed from comments to some recent columns, this post emerges. Some have wanted to know sources, others have said that most of my predictions are wrong, but nearly everyone claims I have enough writing talent to keep them engaged. While I can appreciate the views of all who post comments on this blog, and I refer to them as often as I find comments with enough bulk or substance to refer to them directly, I will admit, I have gotten a few things wrong over the course of this column in the time it has run.

Without going into names of sources, I will say that a few reputable news websites;,,, PWInsider, among a host of others provide a good portion of the wrestling news for this site, but some of the predictions come from house show results, acquaintances working backstage, and friends who are closer to the action than I. I DO have a couple of notes to answer the most recent commenter, F5.....

In regards to Chris Masters, for a few months, Masters had been lobbying TNA for a job, taking to Twitter asking fans to aid him by tweeting and emailing Dixie Carter among others in upper management. It even worked for a time, as TNA decided to utilize him beneath a mask for a great many house shows and on television as well. The plan HAD been to reveal him as a member for AT LEAST a month or two before TNA management decided to rein in the numbers and cut the final stable number down to 8. Masters even began tweeting that he'd be making a TV appearance and that lead many (myself included) to speculate that he'd be joining the ranks of the Aces and Eights. Personally, I think he SHOULD have been included in the ranks, replacing Garett Bischoff, but apparently, management didn't share that assessment.

To address the 'third faction' I've been talking about for the better part of the month, Eric Bischoff made a statement a while back that once his contract was over with TNA, he wants to step back and focus on other pursuits, not the least of which being the TV programs he has currently in development. As has been reported on numerous news sites, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were signed at the same time and conceivably would leave at the same time as well. SO, when Eric Bischoff leaves at the end of his contract as 2013 comes to a close, it stands to reason that Hogan will follow. What has yet to be determined is what will happen with Brooke and Garett once their fathers have gone by the wayside.

Why do I bring this up? Simple. the current storyline is seeing Team TNA engaged in the feud with the Aces and Eights, right? Well right now, Hulk Hogan has been leading the charge for Team TNA. Matt Morgan and AJ Styles have already stated either in word or action that they aren't working for either faction. The reason? If Hogan is winding down his TNA tenure, we'll see a few things happen......

1. AJ Styles will continue to feud with Team TNA's members, leading the Aces and Eights to believe he's made a choice in their favor.

2. Styles will be continually courted by the Aces for allegiances, but will met with silence on THAT front also, leading to a possible beatdown, which in turn, is thwarted by Matt Morgan, who shares a belief that the Aces and Eights are a cancer needing to be cut out, but that Hogan created the problem to begin with and that he needs to be taken out as well.

3. AJ and Morgan do their own recruiting, shadowy and stealth, leading to a reunion of Fortune, at least in part, for the summer. AJ will work his way into the series and eventually either win the series or will be added to the Bound for Glory card as a by product of the Final Resolution 2012 results of his match there.

4. Jeff Jarrett will return, my guess would be either AT or shortly following Bound for Glory, leading to a three faction feud which will culminate in a three team match hinging on the disbanding of the Aces and Eights AND the voluntary exile of Hulk Hogan from TNA, thus closing the book on his tenure in time for his contract to expire at the first of the new year.

I will grant that I HAVE been wrong in my predictions about certain elements of storyline and the like, but I can see this playing out in such a way that will make sense to everyone. I doubt very much that developments like these will cause objections since Hogan has a very critical TNA fanbase to contend with.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Survival Tactix: Hogan, Ace, and the King of the Mountain....

It begins the same way......I go to read the work of another columnist who has heard something or knows someone who knows something about the plans TNA has in their back pocket. Well, today was no different. I heard something today that made my little ears perk up and gave me pause. There was a rumbling that AJ Styles has a secret ally. Right now, Styles has been biding his time, allowing the two sides to come to blows in order to reintroduce a dark figure to bring TNA back to order.

So here's how the story goes.....Hogan and Ray decide to bring their teams to a final encounter with the stipulations dealing with two things: The Disbanding of the Aces and Eights and the Voluntary Exile of Hulk Hogan from TNA. With both items on the line, the upper tier of management of TNA determines that BOTH need to be purged from the organization. SO, AJ Styles assembles what is assumed to be HIS team, but in secret, another man has promised Dixie and the management team that he will rid TNA of Hogan AND the Aces and Eights for good. The man? Jeff Jarrett.

Here's what I know as of the moment: Hulk Hogan's contract only has 6 or 7 months left....meaning he's potentially done with TNA January 1st of 2014. What THIS means is that TNA could put together a break from their already sanctioned 4 PPV schedule to have FINAL RESOLUTION live up to its namesake. Final Resolution would be the exile of Hogan AND the disbanding of the Aces and Eights in one night at the hands of AJ Styles, Matt Morgan, Daniels, Kazarian, James Storm, Bobby Roode, and Abyss.

Another little side note to this story? Since Hogan and Bischoff would be potentially leaving at the turning of the new year, TNA may NOT renew the services of two MORE talents: Garett and Brooke. I wish there were words for how THAT makes me feel, but since there aren't I'll simply say this: Good bye and good riddance.

Now IF Jeff Jarrett comes to TV within the next 3 months, we'll be able to assume there is some merit to the story, but if he doesn't? Well, it could be a long finish to the year......

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Survival Tactix: Wiping the Slate? Really?!

On a TNA fan site on Facebook just yesterday, I found a column of sorts about what TNA can do to improve. One admin gives his take on the current state of the company and I, at first, was going to address his grievances on the site in the comments box, but it then occurred to me that this topic might have more space right here. SO, in the spirit of debate, I offer my rebuttal to his assessment of the problems.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I'm sure you're curious about his statements. Without adjusting anything more than a potential spelling or punctuation error, this is the post.....

"I mentioned this before, and here it is: What I would do if I ran TNA Wrestling, in no order. Except the first thing.

*First thing I'd do is look at my development (OVW). Fire talent and search the Indies for new young wrestlers who could make an... Impact in a couple years or less.

*I'd fire a lot of talent who are one the main roster right now. Guys/girls who don't bring much, are getting old, and just need to go already.
I'd fire:

*Bring in new talent for the Indies. Guys who are ready for the big time now. Look at ROH talent, DGUSA Talent, etc. Fresh faces. Guys/girls who could be a champion right away if needed. Like how Kenny King, Austin Aries, and others were.

*Drop the Knockout's Tag Team and TV Titles. Retire those titles and create a new Mid-Card championship title. Hardcore Title, bring back the Global Title, or maybe even create a new name for a championship. The TV title could stay, but you'd need to build it 1,000x better then they are now.

*Stop the triple threat X-Division thing. Yes, the division is finally being showcased more, but really? 3-ways ALL THE TIME?! No, you can build the division better without that. 3-ways are good here and there, but not every week. That's just lazy booking.

*Speaking of booking... In all honesty, I'd hire an all new writing staff. Put TNA under new management. Make it fresh. Fresh writers with brand new ideas/storylines.

*Find ways to hire less WWE guys in any fashion. Wrestlers, writers, management, etc. Yes, bringing in some can be good. Kurt Angle is a perfect person to say worked out a million times better then anyone else, but enough is enough.

*Bring back certain match types that the fans loved. King of the mountain, more Ultimate X matches, etc etc etc.

*Get rid of Hulk Hogan and hire a fresh face manager who could fill the General Manager roll perfectly.

*Hire a new announcer. Taz should go. Enough said. Replace him with someone else who could swap with Mike here and there.

*Make GutCheck it's own online show. Like WWE's Tough Enough. Just better.

*Demand that SpikeTV advertises Impact more throughout the week. Try getting advertisements on other channels too.

*Stop making it seem like the company name is Impact Wrestling. That's the show. Say TNA more!!!

That's all I'm gonna list today. Let me know ALL your opinions in a comment below. {Eric}"

A lot to take in, I'll admit, but when I look at this laundry list of things that "Eric" has in mind it seems like gutting the organization and starting over. With due respect to his position, THIS is the kind of thing Paul Heyman would have suggested and I have stated before here, it would kill the organization as a whole. How? 

You're replacing announcers, talent, writers, formats, managers, and divisions. Unless I'm leaving anything out, that covers EVERYTHING. The fans asked for a new announcer to replace Don West because he wasn't bringing enough to the table as a foil to Mike Tenay, making the product drab and mundane. TNA listens and they see that WWE has an announcer who is tired in his role and is feeling unappreciated so they bring him in and, for a time, people are happy with Taz. When he starts sounding old to some, they decide to try bringing in another play by play to try and establish a more fresh voice in the booth. A revolving door of announcing talents every time they get stale would have seen Jerry Lawler go out to pasture YEARS ago if WWE had that philosophy. 

Replacing talents is such a touchy idea, from my perspective, because there are variables that MUST be considered. What roles do these talents serve in the program? Guys like Chavo, Gallows, Knox, Ray, Devon, Angle, Hardy, and Sting are all in their places to serve as vehicles to bring new talents up. In the time before he was relieved of his place in ring, Desmond Wolfe was one of the premier rising talents and that was due, in no small part, to Kurt Angle. Chavo was brought in as a vehicle to help Hernandez, who TNA has had difficulties inspiring to improve, to do just that. Gallows and Knox were brought in to combine with Devon and Ray to bring up Brisco and Bischoff and help give them a platform to work off of. Jeff Hardy has been used to get Austin Aries AND Bobby Roode into the top tier as well as helping to establish a new top heel in the company. IF veterans are on the list of those to put the axe to, you're missing the entire point of why they were there in the first place.

While I will echo TNA's need to retire the Knockouts Tag Team Titles, I'm FAR less apt to agree with exiling the TV Title. Granted, it hasn't been defended on a consistent basis, but a second tier title is something TNA COULD breathe life into. For a while, when Devon demanded a shot at Samoa Joe for the title he never lost, it seemed as if that title was going to rise to prominence once again, but a lack of consistent enforcing of even storyline rules has made mockery of the belt. Apparently, defending the title every week is too much effort. THAT should never have been a rule in the first place. A 30 day rule seems sufficient to accomplish that goal. My point is this instance is that it need not be retired, only tweaked in format to make the title worth fighting over again.

TNA has a quarter of their staff from WWE. 25%. Seriously, that's all. I'll never understand why so many people complain about it. Okay, I get that most of these people hold high positions in the television landscape, but asking the question of why isn't so hard to answer. Why is Ray the top guy right now? Because TNA builds best by emphasizing their heel characters. That's their strong suit. They can do magical things with people in a heel role. It worked for Anderson in his feud with Angle. It worked for Desmond Wolfe. It worked for Bobby Roode and Austin Aries and Samoa Joe and Daniels and a HOST of other performers. Questing back into TNA past will PROVE that some of the most memorable face victories came from MONTHS of a reign by a HEEL champion. Jeff Jarrett is my favorite example. His reigns made Christian and AJ Styles look GREAT as face champions. THIS is where WWE fails MISERABLY these days. Their heels are forgettable and THAT, in my opinion, is a true shame.

The writing staff. This issue is one that makes me scratch my head. In TNA's history, there has NEVER been a more stable group writing the shows. There was a time when the shows were having difficulties maintaining a sense of continuity, but NOW, storylines are being planned out MONTHS in advance in order to make sure things are following a set structure. This is something MUCH needed in TNA right now and I wouldn't change their staff at all. So you don't like Aces and Eights? Fine. Wait until the story gets over and see where things go before recasting roles. 

I get the idea of putting the hammer down on the 3 Way match stipulation with the X Division, but in respect to history, most of TNA's best matches WERE multiple man events. Ultimate X, Terrordome, Xscape, King of the Mountain, and the World X Cup were ALL multiple talent match formats and no one ever complained. For the record, the single highest rated match EVER in TNA history was a Triple Threat Match. Joe vs. Daniels vs. Styles at Unbreakable 2005. Do I agree with all 3 ways? Not particularly, but it IS a step in the right direction and, if it eventually leads to a more flexible way of putting talents into the division in one on one action, I say let it play out.

I saved OVW for last because THIS is where TNA has a good sense of vision. WWE has done a good thing in trying to establish new ground by putting more energy into their NXT developmental show. I think this was a grand gesture and one TNA could do more to establish. TNA did a good thing in putting together the Gut Check format because it sends the right kind of message to talents out there. I view Gut Check as NXT scaled back. Because of the financial constraints, Gut Check was destined to be a smaller event, but in retrospect, NXT was very much the same thing in its beginnings. Why do I put Gut Check into the same conversation as OVW? Because that's where those with less experience under their belt went once the Gut Check Challenge was over for them on television. Taeler Hendrix, Sam Shaw, Alex Silva....they all went to OVW to train for their eventual return to the TV roster.

So what's the solution? Without going to further length here, I believe the changes are minimal. A little more emphasis here, a little less there, but nothing drastic, at least not in the forefront. There MAY come a time when a more visible adjustment is made, but the current format is gaining TNA attendance numbers for live shows that couldn't have been foreseen a year ago. This is a good thing, people. Just appreciate that and work with what's there and don't try to shellshock new fans from a misguided sense of nostalgia.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Survival Tactix: Twist of Fate.....

Magnus was ready. He was eliminated from entering the match. Kurt and Sting went for over 10 minutes without a partner. I suppose the question COULD have been if AJ was going to cut in and take Kurt into the parking lot for a brawl, in which case, Sting would have been left all by his lonesome, but it wasn't the case. Instead, TNA puts a twist into the mix and pulls a trigger that, if done correctly, could truly put things on the track to resolution and wind down the saga of the Aces and Eights.

I still see a few "this is boring" posts, but it seems like people are just wanting to see where it all goes, which is good. It shows that people are being patient, but I'll admit, without things moving a bit more forward, it DOES get tedious. This is going to be something TNA HAS to be careful of in the coming weeks. Punctuating everything with an appearance by Abyss was a treat that was welcome and it'll be interesting to see exactly how this whole thing plays out. I was under the impression THAT portion of the story wasn't going to be played out until a bit down the road, but I'm glad they made a choice to move forward with it as Abyss needs to have a place in all of this.

I HAVE been wondering what their explanation would be for his reappearance. In the beginning of the Aces and Eights storyline, wasn't it Abyss who made a warning to his brother about something coming if he dug too deeply into his disappearance from TV the LAST TIME? It gets me wondering how much of the story they'll actually reveal as a part of that history or if they'll base it all on something else entirely.

I'm booking Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles at Slammiversary right now. I'm betting that's the plan right now in order to make a real run at gaining some paying fans in the seats and this one is a sure thing. People want to see exactly what Styles is going to do and I STILL think we'll see Matt Morgan play a part in the rise of Styles into the big picture of the Bound for Glory card. As for what that part will be? THAT is a question to be revealed in the coming weeks, I'm betting.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Survival Tactix: Yahoo!? Wrestling Commentary?!

A recent article from Yahoo! held TNA up to the light against WWE and asked the question "Could TNA compete or overshadow WWE?" As I read their assessment, I shook my head and closed the window on my computer screen. Why? Because it became crystal clear that the writer of the article either hadn't been watching TNA's product or simply didn't care enough to do the digging and put his commentary to any productive use. I've had enough of people claiming to be impartial and yet flying WWE's colors with glee with their eyes closed.

I can't, however, get too upset with Yahoo! for their sparkling look into the world of professional wrestling because, let's face it....this isn't their world. No fan checks in with Yahoo! for their daily fix of wrestling news. Now, I realize that I haven't been as frequent with posts here in the present, but I hope this will change in the coming weeks to a more consistent format.

SO....let's have a look at the TNA landscape, shall we?

I think the thing people are having the most trouble with these days is Matt Morgan's loss to Sting this past week ramping things up for Slammiversary. I have to ask why. Why are people down on Sting winning here? Because Morgan is the rising sun as Sting is on his way to retirement? Knock him all you want, but Sting can still go. He may not have the technical prowess of Kurt Angle, but as far as ring psychology goes, few can pull it off better at this stage in the game than the Icon. Compound that with how much sense it makes as far as the storyline goes, and you have a formula to potentially transform Morgan into the powerhouse he needs to be in order to have a true break out year.

Let me explain....

Sting has realigned himself with Hogan, at least in the short term. Morgan, however, is continually being pushed into the background and the "Blueprint" will NOT be ignored. I think this year we'll see something interesting begin to happen as a result of the loss to Sting. I DON'T think Sting will take the belt from Bully Ray. I think we'll see AJ Styles doing that. In order to do that, though, I can see AJ Styles aligning with Morgan sooner rather than later. It wouldn't surprise me if AJ was attacked by Angle after refusing to join Team TNA and Morgan coming out to make the save, making a strong first step back. I'll go out on a ledge and state that Morgan and Styles will capture the Tag Team Titles before branching out. In fact, I'd put Angle and Morgan onto the Bound for Glory card, with the big man getting the pin and the win. THAT would be a credit on the resume and a milestone on the way to the World Heavyweight Title.

AJ Styles and Matt Morgan are two in TNA's ranks that I see having a run with the big belt before year's end. I think AJ is about to make strides in the weeks after Slammiversary, putting some punctuation into his darker character. A few well placed wins with his new submission, which I LOVE, by the way, will do the trick and bring his Final Resolution 2012 World Title stipulation full circle. In short, I'm making the prediction now that AJ Styles will be the World Title holder by the time Bound for Glory is over and Matt Morgan will be his foil as the year comes to a close.