Over at the Sting (TNA) fan site of Facebook, I get the pleasure of answering questions posted on the site.....a couple of which I now answer here. Why here? Because these are GREAT questions, worthy of some time and more complete answers. Now before I begin, I'd like to apologize for taking so long before this post. Life has been more than a little bit hectic and, with the adjustments that I've had to make in order to write at all, this comes on the heels of a crazy couple of weeks.
ANYWAY, all that said, it's right back into the thick of things. I'm going to try and answer a couple of questions in THIS column and one or two in the next, just to make sure this doesn't get too long and so I am able to focus in on the topic without getting into more fine points. SO....let's begin.....
1. Why has there been a de-emphasis on the Tag Team Division in the past couple of years? Why do feds limit performers to one belt at a time instead of multiples (i.e. X Division AND Tag Team Title at the same time)?
This one is a tough one. First off, when a wrestling company decides to release talents from the roster to save money, you have to find a place where it makes sense to cut costs. This isn't saying that the Tag Division should or shouldn't be examined more closely, but when you consider the fact that the Tag Team Division of 2008 had about 5 or 6 truly decent teams in contention for the belts and you understand that this can't be done with the number in the ranks right now, it has to be understood that putting a more compelling storyline to connect two teams together as rivals bridges a gap created by the lack of wrestlers on the roster.
To put it another way.....with such a low number of talents on the roster, TNA has had to focus on storylines to maintain the division rather than tag team numbers.
As for the multiple belt situation? WWE has had quite a few situations where performers held more than one division belt at the same time. Jeff Hardy, Edge, Chris Benoit, and others have held tag team gold as well as another belt during their respective runs with WWF/E and Kurt Angle held every belt at once in TNA back in 2006. As for the reasoning as to why this doesn't happen often? I wish I knew. I DO know that the situation in TNA with Angle was all about creating a situation where one performer had done it all in one night and since Angle was the hottest free agent at the time picked up by the rival promotion, it made sense from a business perspective to allow him to usher the piece of history in.
2. With TNA and WWE picking up veterans the way they have, does it hurt the up and coming talents and at what point do they determine that the star power isn't as important as raising up their current talents?
The answer to part A is easy. As for part B? Not so much. Does the star power take from the younger talents? ABSOLUTELY......HOWEVER, if those veterans are there to elevate younger talents the way Angle did for Desmond Wolfe or the way Jeff Hardy did for CM Punk, it makes sense for them to make their debuts/returns. With Brock Lesnar, The Rock, and Batista of recent, their returns have done NOTHING to help the younger talents and, instead, have pushed guys like Dolph Ziggler and others back down the card and aided in the departure of CM Punk from WWE's ranks.
When TNA began, and at various points in WWE's history, top talents either left on their own or gave notice that they were leaving, creating opportunities for younger talents as the older stars helped create resumes for them, thus establishing them as new stars. Jeff Hardy MADE CM Punk into a first time World Champion. Sting helped MAKE Magnus. Mick Foley helped MAKE Randy Orton and Edge....the list goes on and on. Often times it's easy to predict when the necessity will come for promotions to create new stars and when they have the time to establish their current ones into leadership roles. Right now, TNA is in process of creation since Angle has given indications that he intends to leave; Sting has left; and Jeff Hardy may only have one year left in his contract. Once Hardy and Angle have left, there will be precious few former WWE names for TNA to market to the masses, not that they've needed them to establish their top tier. Fact is, TNA has created AT LEAST one brand new World Champion per year since 2009. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and James Storm have all had their respective reigns as the top dog and each made their name on the backs of one of three top selling veterans in their year.
So WHEN do top stars need to move over and make room? It seems to me that the process needs to be as fluid as the business itself....allowing flex and the ebb and flow that creates such hardcore fans who come to see history made as new talents get their own chance to make a name for themselves.