In the wake of Lockdown, I've been asking myself some very important questions, not the least of which has been "What is TNA turning into?" To explain my perspective, I think it HAS to include a return I never thought I'd see again. Of course, I'm talking about Angelina Love. Her return after the Hogan/ Bischoff regime debacle had me simply stunned. I didn't think we could bribe her to come back even as investors and, from her demeanor back then, you'd have had an easier time making deals with a loan shark than with her....ESPECIALLY when they depushed the Knockouts Division.
I've brought up the loss of AJ Styles more than once, but another two contracts are coming to an end and THESE ones are pretty big, folks.....Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. That said, you won't be seeing them for AT LEAST three weeks' worth of Impact broadcasts due to each week having ALREADY been taped ahead of time. I think the question to pose to the masses is something I really feel pushed to ask: How many times can we say "they don't draw money" to mid-card-upper card talents who've been homegrown TNA guys and gals before you're left without a roster? From MY perspective, ALL the homegrowns (Daniels, Kazarian, Styles, Roode, Storm, etc.) are a valuable commodity, worth the every penny of the money TNA spends to keep them on staff.
With "Corporate Kane" Abyss, Rockstar Dud, Ethan Carter, Magnus, and Storm helming a now rutter-less Dixieland stable, the story seems to be spinning wheels with no real direction. I can only believe them to be stalling for time at the moment....but for the moment, Dixie is off my TV. This makes me more able to tolerate what has seemed like a period of uncertainty. As for Magnus, I have great difficulty taking him seriously as a champion, and for the same reason I had such trouble with the 2002-2003 reign of Triple H and the 2002-2004 reigns of Jeff Jarrett. There are no truly clean victories, only inference-laden hollow finishes that have yet to make me suspend disbelief. I had such hope for you, Magnus.
So who takes the belt from Magnus? There was a time when I thought the answer might be AJ Styles, but now, I get the suspicion we might end up seeing one of two people created as champions next: Gunner and Ethan Carter. Gunner is walking through his most relevant period of his career since 2010 and Ethan's current feud with Kurt Angle will demand some respect as they will, most certainly, give him the nod if and when Kurt decides to go back up north to finish off his career as a Hall of Famer twice over. Do I agree with the way this is playing out? I can't say as I'm disappointed, but I CAN say that I think the timing is a bit suspect. While Carter and Gunner are both making their strides, I don't think either are up to the task of holding the main belt of the brand for any lengthy title reign, but rather have a placeholder reign much like James Storm of 2010.
The way I see it, TNA has a couple of options. One, they turn one of the Dixieland stable face and run a program against Magnus to ultimately take the title OR two, they run a current face up the ladder ultimately take the belt. Since TNA, of recent, hasn't done much in the way of experimenting with putting a bad guy up against someone even worse, the other two options seem the best alternative. SO, that means, to me, that Gunner is being primed to eventually win the belt, and my guess is sooner than later.