With all of the Jarrett talk out of the way, at least from MY perspective, I'd like to return to the subject I HAD been working on right here....shopping for contracts. SO, to that end, I'd like to put a few names to virtual paper, so to speak and we can divide the names accordingly at another time to see what kinds of rivalries would bring about the most intrigue....and as a special note, I will include one X Factor for every division that hinges on an element of each picks' status in their respective divisions.
1. AJ Styles- Is it hard to believe I WOULDN'T pick TNA's poster boy first from the talent pool?
2. CM Punk- Let me clear about this pick: I'm not a fan of CM Punk from the perspective of seeing his attitude towards fans on multiple occasions. HOWEVER, if I'm being honest with myself and, in turn, you all, CM Punk would be the biggest pick-up since Kurt Angle in 2005. AND, if TNA bought just a few minutes' worth of time on the station WWE broadcasts from BEFORE their deal with NBC has run its course, provided they don't just pack up and move to their own network, allowing Punk to have some unfiltered words for his former employer, TNA would get some ratings surges right off the bat.
3. Prince Devitt- Both WWE AND TNA have been making passes at this guy and, with a following stable called The Bullet Club, who can blame them? When doing the research for this column, in particular, I was blown away at what THIS guy brings to the table. From a promo delivery perspective, he's among the best in the nation, if not the world. His entrances are dramatic and well staged. He has a persona that breathes psychology and it sticks with him through each match. Simply put, he HAS to be on this list.
4. Christian- His contract comes up this year and, from what I've been hearing, he's not happy with what's happened in his return and who can say he's wrong? Christian hoped for more exposure and, while he may have gotten that in spurts, WWE NEVER gave him the stage he deserved. He may not have wanted to be the man to induct Sting into the TNA Hall of Fame, but TNA MADE Christian into a World Champion. Period. Would he return? I say roll the dice, but for MY money, I'd LOVE to see him make a return.
5. Chase Stevens- TNA made a calculated effort to bring him back into the organization by putting him into the voting brackets for Gut Check, when he should have been brought back no questions asked. If he were repackaged and marketed as a game changer, he could main event THIS year. Why? First, he has a history with the brand and could be inserted into any story with a TNA tag veteran still working there from his Naturals days. From my count, that includes Bobby Roode, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, and the list goes on. TNA never gave him the chance to compete on the singles level, at least not in a meaningful way and I think he was the more talented of the Naturals tag tandem.
6. Lance Hoyt- Back in 2005, TNA gave him a mini push that SHOULD have ended VERY differently. In the Fight for the Right Tournament that was inaugurated by a battle royal, he faced Abyss in the final round of the three stage event. Had he won the face-off AND gone into the finals, win or lose, we may have seen Hoyt as World Champion at some point in his tenure. BUT time passed and TNA allowed him to slip off the payroll. From my perspective, he was the fan favorite coming out of that match and could very easily have swayed naysayers in the months thereafter. I can see a hero's return bringing back into relevance without much having to be done to herald his arrival.
X Factor: Petey Williams- I put Williams as an X Factor for one reason and one reason only: The Canadian Destroyer. I think Petey could be a main event player, but the signature finisher has to fall to by the wayside. The man has talent, but this finisher is a fickle thing and can only be performed in tandem with those who have worked with him before. To properly execute it, BOTH performers HAVE to be on point, otherwise you have a disaster waiting with the EMTs on standby. AJ Styles was able to reinvent his style when he took on the dark loner persona and Williams MUST do the same if he has any chance to seeing the top of the mountain in TNA. He can cut a good, solid promo; play a fantastic heel; and put on every bit as entertaining of a match as ANYONE in the world....but the finisher has to go in order to succeed in an upward move.
7 of 45 selections complete......