Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wrestlemania XIX...The Way it SHOULD Have Been....

Unless people who go to Wikipedia have actually SEEN Wrestlemania XIX, they would have no idea that their assessment of the card has one GLARING inaccuracy.....the role of the Undertaker in his match of that night....a night that should have been booked differently....but only in the Taker match as a whole.

Aside from that match, you have a virtually PERFECT card, chock full of classic matches and, in my view, one of the most underrated Wrestlemanias of all time. Austin vs. The Rock III (which also happens to be Steve Austin's last match), Jericho vs. Michaels, Lesnar vs. Angle....all great matches and worthy of mention in the archive of the best the stage has seen. So HOW is The Undertaker's match inaccurate as far as Wikipedia is concerned?

Wiki lists The Undertaker vs. Big Show and A-Train in a Handicap match, which isn't true. For those who remember, the match was a TAG match and his partner DID show up for the match. He was not only LATE, but he should have been booked in his own match to begin with.

In 2003, Smackdown was getting ready to debut a new character I've talked about a few times....Nathan Jones; the Colossus of Boggo Road. It was the decision of WWE to book HIM in The Undertaker's match. When he wasn't progressing in his training as quickly as they wanted, the match was rewritten to try and hide his inexperience by having him attacked backstage by one or both of his opponents for the match. That said, he got off minimal offense in his trek to the ring and Taker got the final pin to capture his streak defense. Folks, I submit to you that this match should NEVER have happened. Instead, I would have booked TWO separate matches and left A-Train off the card entirely....just my opinion.

Again, not that I'm condoning the course of action this column is about, but IF Sting were to have signed with WWE, THIS would have been the very BEST time to have done it. Let me put it bluntly....that year's streak defense was PATHETIC! With the engine rolling off the rails as far as WWE officials were concerned as far as their newest investment, they were in a scramble to salvage something out of the hot wet mess. If I had had a hand in writing what we ended up seeing, I would have gone with Nathan Jones taking care of himself against Big Show in a short match ending with an injury angle caused by A-Train. If WWE needed more time to hone Jones' skills, this would have given them that out AND it would have given Sting vs. Undertaker to an audience that would have better appreciated it....one not so far removed from the downfall of WCW.

Combine that fact with the fact that the entire PPV would have ended up being the perfect WCW vs WWF PPV, and you would have had, quite possibly the best PPV recovery after 2001's failed Invasion angle that concluded only 6 months before. I mean...look at what we would have had.....

Haas/Benjamin vs. Eddie/ Chavo vs. Benoit/ Rhyno
Sting vs. Undertaker
Booker T vs. Triple H
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio

This is a good set of WCW vs. WWF contests and Sting vs. Taker would have salvaged a weak spot on the card, making it into a virtually air tight gift to the fans. Think about it....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wrestlemania's "Finest"....right

Hulk "TNA4LIFE" Hogan.....or is it WWE4Life? For all I know, it could still be nWo for life, right? In any case, WWE's quest for the next big record came Monday Night. So we have Dave "I wish my people would love me" Batista vs. Randy "They boo me just as much" Orton. It seems clear to me that WWE's main event is coming apart and they only have three things that are holding the Universe at bay: the Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan match that was ORIGINALLY planned for CM Punk AND the annual defense of the undefeated streak of the Undertaker against Brock Lesnar, whom he's never beaten; AND any kind of match between the Wyatts and the Shield.

How do I figure? Well, WWE is trying to determine how best to confront the notion that CM Punk may not come back leading into a live show emanating from Chicago, Punk's hometown. Anyone who has been to a live event in the wake of Punk's walkout has heard the chants or participated in them. It's no secret that the wrestling world was livid when Daniel Bryan's music never played at the Royal Rumble, but when Punk called it quits, it shot WWE's plans to kingdom come. Now, with a Universe that has little to no interest in a couple of feuds that took place 10 years ago, they are forced to rely on Daniel Bryan and their stable creations, but only ONE will win the day.....and the fans WILL side with Daniel Bryan.

Compound that with the fact that ANY kind of outside interference in the potential high stakes match between Trips and D-Bry could jeopardize WWE's ability to perform any kind of damage control and you have a VERY tough position they are finding themselves in....even under the best of circumstances, but we all know that THAT isn't the end of the story.....because another one of their star players is down and out and may miss Wrestlemania and then some. John Cena went down during Monday's RAW and, from all reports, the injury is SERIOUS. I'm not talking about SummerSlam serious either. We may be looking at Survivor Series serious, if that.

Is this enough to believe that the whole thing is headed for the crapper right out of the gate? I couldn't even begin to predict, BUT I DO know that WWE has been dragging their feet in their negotiations with Sting, whom they claim is the biggest deal that could happen right now. Sting was pushing for Wrestlemania THIS year and not next. Fact is, it could still happen.....if they know what's good for them, it should happen. From a purist perspective, I HATE the idea. I don't like the idea that Sting would have to lay down for the Undertaker when he can STILL move better. I hate the notion that WWE pays an obscene amount of money to a man who only works ONE match per year, when people like that are EXACTLY the reason CM Punk walked out in the first place. What's worse, I HATE the idea that people tout an undefeated streak that is held together with a deceptive record. 21-0, right? If you count each win, yes. HOWEVER, if you look at the tally, 3 men account for a third of those wins and one of the other wins was a tag match that should have been called off in the first place.

I've made it no secret that I HATE a Sting vs. Undertaker match at Wrestlemania and there is not a person who can convince me that it's best for business, but this present set of circumstances that NO ONE could have predicted virtually DEMANDS it. If Sting put Lesnar out to pasture and then went into Wrestlemania as his replacement, THEN you'd have a pacifier, of sorts, for those who have been bored with the past few Taker outings since HBK volume 1. If WWE continues to stall, I have no doubt that Sting will somehow find his way back to TNA to render aid to MVP in his current dilemma concerning their own Authority figure.

Am I making any sense? Or am I just blowing smoke?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Free Agents.....Part 4: The X Division

This, folks, is where TNA has always excelled and where WWE fell from grace as the era of the Cruiserweight Title wore on. The appeal of TNA's "...not about weight limits...." moniker made the division the most popular thing in the wrestling in the present era and boasted a title history that reads more like a "top 50 greatest cruiserweight performers in the past 20 years" list than anything else, boasting AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Jerry Lynn, Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, and Alex Shelley in the ranks.

Since the goal is, obviously, to bring this division back to prominence, names are going to be the issue here. This is the division that needs the most help right now, so I'm looking at about 10-12 names to make this column happen. What follows is what I'm going to call the TNA X Factors outside of any division, composing more of the dramatic and more gritty storylines without titles being on the line. The remaining spots on the roster would be able to float between divisions as personnel requires AND serve as transitional positions for those moving up the card.

West:

1. Joey Ryan
2. John Morrison
3. Adrian Neville
4. Ricochet
5. Facade
6. Matt Bentley

East:

1. Tyson Kidd
2. Jack Evans
3. Trent Barreta
4. Shark Boy
5. Sonjay Dutt

This makes 8 performers per roster and that is PLENTY to get each brand rolling. PLUS, with a grand total of 16 performers in the X Division, it makes events like the World X Cup, Ultimate X, and all kinds of other possibilities to enable competition for a FLOATING X Title. That's right, folks. I don't like the idea of forcing the brands to cast a new belt. Rather than do that, I would insist that TNA would force the X Division Champion to defend the belt against members of BOTH rosters in joint PPVs. This does two things....on the one hand, it enables the X Division Champion build into the potential of a main event spot. On the other hand, it also gives a direction for the opposite brand to build their challengers up to compete for the title.

NOW, keeping in mind that Jeff Jarrett's new wrestling project MAY NOT be a secondary brand of TNA, OR even the purchase of the current TNA product, but this COULD give a two sided TNA brand a chance to get itself started.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Free Agents....Part 3: Knockouts

This subject, in particular, is a tough topic for me to talk about for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, TNA has had some of the best women wrestlers in the world under their employ over the years, but they've also created some the world's biggest mistakes as it relates to those very women. For example, their repeated mistreatment of Nikki Roxx and Angelina Love created a distrust in them towards the brand to the point where both ladies make respective vows to never return. SOMEONE has made a very clear error if a Knockout has that to say about TNA. Daffney is another example of the darker side of TNA, a lady who did what she was told in a high risk spot and then faced the medical backlash alone. That said, it urges me to approach these free agents with caution, that they would know precisely what they're walking into before jumping in headlong.

Since this list will contain about 5-6 talents per roster, I'll focus on the highlights and leave the ones I have covered in detail elsewhere to speak for themselves. SO without further ado.....

West:

1. Salinas
2. Melina Perez

3. Cherry Bomb- When Gail Kim made her open challenge in the days and weeks leading up to the return of Madison Rayne, this name was on the short list of her challengers. At number 28 on PWI's Top Women's Wrestlers for 2013, she has my vote to make her return to TNA as a permanent member of the roster.

4. Kaitlyn- I've made it no secret that I'm a fan of hers as she was, in my view, one of WWE's few bright spots on their roster leading up to her recent departure. Her physicality in ring makes her a perfect candidate for the Knockouts Division and willingness to learn puts her in a tier shared by very few.

5. Veda Scott- Although currently under contract with Ring of Honor, I see no reason for TNA NOT to pursue her, despite having only been in the business a couple of years.

6. Buggy Nova- Having been released from NXT just this past year, Nova was a shock to me, being among the better Diva potentials with a higher grade on in ring presence than most. You can bet TNA can do better with the raw (no pun intended) talent found here.


East:

1. AJ Lee- I feel the need to explain myself here. This choice has EVERYTHING to do with whether or not CM Punk is a part of the new hierarchy somewhere down the line. IF he joins up, I am virtually certain Lee will follow. While I've never been much of a fan of hers, I will readily admit most of my opinion has to do with WWE's wildly outlandish character they attached to her. Knowing that, I am more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her ability to perform to TNA's standards, which are far and away higher than those WWE has set at present.

2. Ivelisse Valez
3. Beth Phoenix

4. Candice LaRae- This is the second challenger of the few during Gail Kim's open challenge storyline and, in my view, one of TNA's best independent talent appearances.
5-6. The Blossoms

25 of 45 selections complete

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Does it Never End?

WWE has not kept their plans a secret on this one, peeps. APPARENTLY, Hulk Hogan is coming back for Wrestlemania 30. And you know what? That's just fine with me. You know what else? The same people who criticized him for putting himself ahead of younger talents in TNA will be cheering for him in his triumphant return in AT LEAST one lengthy segment while one of WWE's undercard guys languishing on the bench has to wait his turn for a little two bit match lasting half as long.

I'm so glad they didn't do the same thing when Ric Flair returned....wait...they did for HIM too. Well, at least they didn't welcome Christian back with open arms, I mean after all, he betrayed WWE by going to their much smaller competitor....nope...they welcomed HIM back as well. Well, I'm sure they didn't cheer RVD when he came back....umm....yep they did. Am I making this clear yet?

There is simply no logic to explain this. NONE. People who claim loyalty to WWE are more guilty than most of this, but even TNA loyalists are guilty. When Kid Kash and Kazarian rejoined TNA after their stints in WWE respectively, TNA fans welcomed them back with open arms. Same with others who allegedly supported the TNA cause.

This isn't a rant as much as it might seem so. I'm GLAD to see Hogan gone. I wasn't always, but when a person who called TNA "home" and then does the same to WWE is not the kind of guy I trust with the well-being of a business of any kind. They'll welcome Sting to the WWE, but they claimed he was too old to be effective in TNA. They'll give him a ticker tape parade, but they cast stones when he held out as long as he did, in favor of a smaller entity trying to get its footing....

*SIGH*

Oh well....at least we've got Lockdown coming in a few weeks....which reminds me....

The more I see of what is coming for Jarrett's project, the more I'm not convinced of the "new"ness of it. I just have this feeling that what's coming may have steps, but it has more to do with TNA than has been let on. In the end, TNA's sale will revolve around dollars and cents and there is no other buyer out there with the kind of leverage on the brand that Jarrett has. Period. With each vignette and promo they run, my mind goes back in time to 2010, when Jarrett and Eric Young were on camera for an interview and he said that a battle would be coming that people may not know about yet. Somehow, I get the feeling we're looking at it right now.

Add to that the freeze on the bookings of TNA's poster child, AJ Styles, who has been in ongoing negotiations for a contract; the filling out of the roster (where is the extra capital coming from?).....I say give this a couple of weeks and we'll see how this goes down. If MVP and his team WIN the match at Lockdown, I may change my views, but if they LOSE and MVP makes the revelation that he's not the only investor in this company, I think we have something to talk about concerning the on camera return of Jarrett to TNA with NO strings attached. What bearing does THIS have on the state of TNA? We CAN talk about that with some assurances.

1. WRESTLE-1 negotiated with Jeff Jarrett, NOT Dixie Carter and was willing to pull the plug if, as was rumored, that Vince Russo has made a creative team return to TNA. That said, it's been stated that the Japanese fed would have also pulled out had Jarrett not been a part of TNA in some capacity.

2. During the time of AJ Style's reign as World Champion in the time before his departure, Jarrett was in the middle of doing some promotional work (a.k.a. talent exchange negotiations and interpromotional branding) in the name of fostering relationships with AAA, CMLL, Wrestle-1, and other feds to even find talents for Styles to defend the title against. In his most recent teaser promo, he discusses AAA and other Mexican feds in his step by step plan.

3. Dixie makes promises that range from new stories to new characters to what she calls a "NEW ERA"....anyone can guess what an intercontinental TNA would do to the brand. If bringing back old staples like the "All Cage Match Lockdown" format, the way we're seeing it now and the 6 sided ring, I can see no other direction but up for the brand.

The point I'm making here is that there's more to this than meets the eye and the timing makes it ripe for the picking by the time Bound for Glory comes back around this year.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Free Agents....Part 2: The Tag Team Division

This division is one that HAS to be treated with some assemblance of caution. Why? Because a tag team depends so much on chemistry and with that, cohesiveness of their look together. That said, I've put together a few fantasy teams that, in my mind would have the cohesive LOOK, but would have to be actually put together to see how well they gel in ring.....

1. Tyler Reks and Christian York- I've brought up this fantasy team before when York won his TNA contract via the Gut Check. Dreadlocks, ink, and a potential menacing ring presence could make this team something special.

2. Willow and Samuel Shaw- First thing's first....before anyone rolls their eyes, let's take this apart and look at it. Samuel Shaw's character is psychotic, which is good, when played under a slow burn. If we were to provide Shaw with a character to push him over the edge into something more sinister, he could eventually move into something FAR bigger and better in the long run. Willow's ranting and raving could be the thing to do just that, provided Jeff Hardy is taken from the main event to make this happen.

3. LAX- Homicide and Hernandez are, arguably, among the best tandems in TNA history, largely due to how versatile each were to the whole. Bringing back the tandem would give something back to the company.....credibility to the Division.

4. Matt Sydal and Paul London- WWE has yet to release Evan Bourne from the roster, but I say give it time. They will. Once he's reached the free market, I say snap him up and back into the TNA fold and welcome London in as well. There was a time when London pissed off the higher ups in the locker room, but I hope that was simply youthful indiscretion and that water is under the bridge. This pairing would be epic as the two could light up the ring with their acrobatics AND ability to work a tandem already under their belts.

5. Garett Bischoff and EC3- With both men as privileged members of wrestling families, at least from a storyline perspective, this would give Bischoff something to do AND it would give Ethan some time to build up some street credibility. While neither of these men are free agents, none were on either roster I put together.

6. Chris Masters and Cliff Compton- Both men were under masks during the Aces and Eights invasion angle, but were never revealed to be members. Putting the two together would have to establish something in common, but if both came off as bruisers and scrappers, I doubt it should be any problem setting them apart from the pack as contenders.

X Factor- Motor City Machine Guns- This possible reunion depends upon two things. First, it depends on Alex Shelley wanting to make a return to the company. Second, it would require Chris Sabin to come from wherever he is on the card back into the Tag Team Division. SO, if those two problems are solved, I say bring back the tandem and put them against the best the industry has to offer.

13 of 45 selections complete

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Free Agents....Part 1: The Main Event

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......

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Points of Perspective.....

Before I go through my "shopping list" of the best talents the indy circuit has to offer, I've decided to take a little break to delve into this whole Jeff Jarrett thing once more. Why? Because it seems that for all the speculation going around the net these days, one nagging little problem remains....that 35% of TNA's assets Jarrett still owns. I've given one point of view from previous posts and, to that end, fashioned a possible scenario that could happen as a result.

What people don't seem to understand is that legally, Jeff Jarrett STILL OWNS a MAJOR piece of TNA capital. What does that mean? It means that even if this ISN'T a separate roster for a branch of the TNA brand, it very well COULD be a means to an end that could secure a more stable TNA brand in the long run.

Think about THIS: If Jeff Jarrett fires up a brand new promotion and it takes off, he then has a strong case to make for being able to buy out the rest of the TNA product as a whole, being the only other shareholder in the company, despite what the storylines are saying on television. PLUS, if the new promotion goes so far as to overtake the current product, TNA would end up calling HIM to take what remains of the roster onto his project.

Keep in mind this is the best case scenario. Worst case is that it tanks, in which case, he's still not really out anything since he will get kickbacks from the shareholders dividends paid out when TNA turns profits. AND, he still has the option of returning to the brand once the dust settles.

So what's the point in all this?

Jeff Jarrett is doing something new. That much EVERYBODY can agree on. Whether that something amounts to something that has to do with the TNA brand is COMPLETELY irrelevant because nothing that he does ultimately hurts the brand. This is a win/win situation, folks....think about it.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Second Part: X and the Tag, Among Many...

When I began writing this roster split, the vibe I had was of the RAW/Smackdown roster war waged between the two feuding managers, Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff. Having said THAT, I would put THIS story on a higher tier. Why? Because of the circumstances confronting this story, in particular, TNA would set itself apart from the earlier WWE incarnation. With a phantom second branch, IF this project has that in mind, instead of a fully bolstered, massive roster splitting itself between two managers, TNA would have a brand new story to tell.

Pressing this notion to the side, I'd like to finish the roster planning with the teams AND the X Division.....so I think it best to begin with the X Division.

West:

Manik
Zema Ion


East:

Rockstar Spud
Kenny King
Sonjay Dutt

This is it, people. Seriously....this is what the X Division is down to.....and this is where I fall in the matter: If and when the story takes place, TNA's rosters will HAVE to put more into this division in order to make the jointed PPVs worth the money the public at large will pay for them.

As for the Tag Team Division, since TNA has become rather lean in that department, this will complicate the process. The way I see it, we have three legitimate tag teams and a short term: Bromans, Bad Influence, the short term reunion of Beer Money, and the Wolves. Because of this fact, I have arranged the division something like this:

West:

The Wolves
Bad Influence

East:

The Bromans

Let's face it, since we have to look into new talents ANYWAY, we might as well allow The Bromans their own space to grow, whereas Daniels, Kaz, and Edwards and Richards are well seasoned veterans who can raise up a new generation of tag performers and would fit nicely into a brand new brand.

NOTE: My next column is going to be called "Let's Go Shopping" in the hopes that I can put together a wish list based upon the list of Gut Check voting candidates TNA introduced last year to fill in some gaps in the respective rosters.

So let's have a look at the score:

West:

The Wolves
Bad Influence
Manik
Zema Ion
Samoa Joe
Bobby Roode
Jeff Hardy
Magnus
Bully Ray
Chris Sabin
Velvet Sky
Alpha Female
Lei'D Tapa
Tessmacher
Taryn Tarrell

East:

Bromans
Kenny King
Sonjay Dutt
Rockstar Spud
AJ Styles
Kurt Angle
Austin Aries
James Storm
Mr. Anderson
Abyss
ODB
Gail Kim
Santana Garrett
Shanna
Madison Rayne

18 on the West, 15 on the East. That means we'll be looking for about 20-25 on the East and 22 or so on the West with one or two wild cards thrown into the number. It seems like an even spin on things, but I'll let you all be the judges once this roster has been compiled.

100 More.....

If I could run a roster split storyline, dividing TNA in half, how many talents would need to be recruited and who would be in that number?

Right now, TNA is down to 36 performers, folks. SO....in a best case scenario, we're looking at 18 members on each side from the current roster, UNLESS TNA West determines to raise up a brand new roster from scratch, which it looks might be the case. That said, I've been scouring the net and the free agent pool and have put together, in my opinion, the best roster split that could be done.

NOTE: I have put Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy as special attractions and, as such, placed them on opposite rosters. This being said, there's NO reason to suspect that Angle OR Hardy will stick around once their contracts run out and Angle is a virtual lock for bolting this fall.

With ANY further ado, I think I've made a respectable roster size and consistency....

Each roster should consist of 40-45 talents apiece. Of those talents, I believe a top tier should consist of 5 or 6 performers actively pursuing the World Title or in the hunt. Beyond that I like about a 10 Knockout ratio. In addition to that I think a 5 team Tag Division and that leaves 10 performers for a strong X Division. But that leaves 4 spots open doesn't it? Yes, but if you cut out special attractions like Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle and Abyss, it only leaves 2, maybe only one.....but that's where a bit of flex could be healthy. As for how I would split the current roster up? I think it best to make splits where oversaturation of matches between certain performers comes into play. That means we need to get past feuds like Roode vs. Storm and Joe vs. Angle and even Styles vs. Daniels, even though every one of these are amazing match ups with plenty of history to draw from. That said, I say let's work this out....

West:

Samoa Joe
Bobby Roode
Jeff Hardy
Magnus
Bully Ray
Chris Sabin

East:

AJ Styles
Kurt Angle
James Storm
Austin Aries
Mr. Anderson
Abyss

So far, this creates some brand new feuds and others that could find some traction. Now that we've created a decent top tier on each side, let's have a look at the Knockouts Divisions.

East:

Madison Rayne
ODB
Gail Kim
Santana Garrett
Shanna

West:

Velvet Sky
Alpha Female
Lei'D Tapa
Tessmacher
Taryn Tarrell

Shanna and Garrett have yet to make a televised debut, but I believe these five per side would make for a solid beginning for each coast's roster with five more spots to fill on each side. In the next post, I would like to delve into how I would construct the X Division for each side, along with put AND give a strategy for how to organize this into a neat and tidy organization. In the meantime, I'm going to state, for the record, that I believe it would be wise to recruit 20-25 talents per roster from outside sources....and THAT is where this post is TO BE CONTINUED.......

Friday, February 14, 2014

Land of Many Faces....

So THIS is what 900 feels like....not bad. I'd go so far as to say it feels pretty frickin' good. And you know what else? I've been working on a COUPLE of special columns and I'll pop those up just as soon as I get them all polished and shined up. The subject? I don't mind sharing....

If TNA were to split in half into the East and West Coast, how would I divide the roster and fill in what remains? This one's a two parter, folks, so you'll want to catch that.

But right now, I've got a few things to say about the investor. MVP was on the cusp of a main event run when WWE balled him up, so to speak, and tossed him off the bench into the unemployment line, but in his return to TV, I have to say....I'm impressed. While I don't believe for a SECOND that he's the end all be all as far as the story goes, I can't say that I mind his stint as the man with the plan so far. He has genuinely been a pleasure to watch in stark contrast to Dixie's tired self running rampant.

NOW, there have been a couple of things to update you all on as it relates to TNA AND to the business as a whole and the first one on deck is Jeff Jarrett, who has posted something for fans in the wake of his TNA departure.....

http://vimeo.com/86575877

This is HUGE, people. For TNA AND everywhere else. And for JARRETT to say it speaks volumes into the subject. For TNA, it means that more people are getting dialed into other products out there in the free market. That means that fans of the current product are coming from Ring of Honor and AAA and NJPW and all over the place looking for something that isn't TOO mainstream like WWE, but isn't too small time indy and THAT is where TNA lives right now. We're entering into a delicate time where the tide could turn up or down at any moment. That said, there isn't much in the way of wiggle room for error here.

ANOTHER thing on the horizon: TNA is, as promised, introducing a new character, this time in the guise of a former OMEGA persona for one of their best selling performers, Jeff Hardy. Have a look......

TNA is going mental....THIS is where TNA could shore up some SERIOUS odds, people; by playing a tune WWE can't. Where does this new persona begin? I only see ONE cash bid from my pocket: Samuel Shaw. Under the PG sky, WWE CANNOT follow on this journey. In my view, I only see positives here. Samuel Shaw needs to be primed for big things and an eventual cerebral face off (no pun intended) with the newly christened Willow is HUGE, if the promo is anything to go by. Another feud could be waged against Bully Ray or EC3, who has yet to be given a run for his proverbial money by someone who is always a step ahead.

If TNA was able to put some vigor into Abyss by unmasking him and then using Willow (Jeff Hardy) as a foil to REMASK him, I say, LET'S DO IT! Have Willow TAKE OUT ERIC YOUNG and you've got ammunition in spades for Abyss to turn the corner into crazy town for a nice little go around before setting down for good as the Monster TNA has always had him being.

As I have said before, TNA has been interested in signing Santana Garrett, but as of this post, the ink is drying on her newly penned contract with the roster. Anyone needing evidence that she can go in ring need look no further....I've got your hook up....


News updates, opinions, and commentary......can it really get any better?

Monday, February 10, 2014

WWE's WCS (Worst Case Scenario)

I'd like to do a couple of things in this column. First, I want to address a possible scenario WWE would rather avoid. Secondly, I'd like to answer a question. For the sake of simplicity, I'll answer the question first.....

Where could Sting fit into the TNA landscape if talks fall through and a document is never signed with WWE?

My Answer:

As sad as it is for me to say, I think Sting has overstayed his ability to be useful to TNA...at least in the current storyline. Could that change? Absolutely. How? In my mind, he's basically done it all. He's been the World Champion, he's held the Tag Titles, he's been the General Manager, he's even gone rogue a couple of times. The only thing he HASN'T done so far is work backstage. He has a good eye for talent. He has a good presence as a persona but also as an ambassador and his name still carries a lot of weight in the wrestling community. Have I reduced him to a pencil pusher? Not at all. I think he can still be a sway in the balance of power by being the swerve that makes way for the true source of power, whoever that might be. Since the current storyline is slated to last until Bound for Glory, there's PLENTY of time to flesh out who the ultimate face boss will be. Suffice it to say, I doubt very much MVP is the major player in the shift.

Now, onto the next subject of interest....WWE's current woes.

As previously stated elsewhere, CM Punk is gone for the moment and with a trail of injuries a mile long in his absence AND fans hijacking RAW and Smackdown with CM Punk and YES chants, it seems the return of Batista has been a bust, not to mention that Alberto Del Rio is planning life OUTSIDE WWE......WHEW! Have THEY got it bad!

If all that weren't bad enough, there's been an anonymous writer who has been sending letters to major news sources all over the net, telling fans to basically shut up and eat what they're given and enjoy it, among other things running along the same veins. Could it be a troll fan? Sure. Could it be a member of their roster? Sure. Does it matter? Not one bit. All of this is BAD for WWE. There's no other way to see it. Yes, people are talking, but is it helping anything? I don't think so. If enough people were convinced that it WAS a member of the roster, I would hope it would drive people AWAY from the product, leading to a fast decline, but I have my doubts. Since most steadfast fans are those within their current broadcast rating, I'm confident that most would have no reason to consult those news sites anyway. Most of the "smarks" out there are much older than the target audience, but are too mired in habit because they've stuck with the product for too long instead of being fed up enough to just turn the channel.

Right now, their top tier is a COMPLETE mess. Cena is trying to press through an eye injury. Punk is gone. It's come to even breaking up The Shield to try and salvage something of value for Wrestlemania this year. Does that seal WWE's fate? Not by a long shot. It does put them on their back foot, but I don't see WWE suffering in the long term. They have a VERY deep roster AND a complete developmental roster to boot. Would that mean pushing people before they're ready? Maybe, but in a gamble, WWE tends to do fairly well with their loyal fans, who in my view, are entirely too forgiving of the brand. It DOES, as it turns out, give valuable time to TNA to make something of this storyline before it does irreparable harm to the brand.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What I Hear About You.....

So after weeks of speculation, a story has come out concerning Jeff Jarrett, Toby Keith, and TNA, but it's not the story I wanted to hear. I wonder if it's true....in any case, the story goes something like this:

A few months ago, Keith and Jarrett visited TNA headquarters in Nashville for a business meeting with the actual owners of the promotion, the Carters and specifically Bob Carter, the patriarch of the family, with one goal in mind. Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett wanted to buy TNA, just as I predicted COULD happen.....and that's when things got a bit sketchy. Bob, thinking of Dixie, tried to negotiate Dixie into a position where she wouldn't be out of a job and would still have power within the company once the reins were turned over. Keith and Jarrett wanted COMPLETE control and weren't interested in using Dixie as an on screen personality. Bob felt her skills wouldn't be best utilized to their potential unless she had some kind of authority in the new hierarchy. THUS, the deal began to break down and all parties felt let down by the experience. Jarrett felt let down because it was a sign that he wouldn't be able to use the TNA platform to leap into the future expansion of the brand.

In anticipation of an even more globally minded TNA, he begins to reach out and try to hammer down cooperative plans with Japanese and Mexican federations to offer talent exchanges and event features in efforts to give homage to OUTSIDE sources. When the Carter family turned down the monetary offer, Jarrett, by that time angry that no agreement could be reached, resigned his position in TNA to seek his fortunes elsewhere. To that end, his investors look to fire up a brand new promotion, which looks to launch later this year.

True or false?

No answers readily present themselves....at least not yet. What will make the determination, to MY mind, is if Jarrett DOES create a new entity that has NOTHING to do with TNA. If that's the case, his 35% share in the company will provide valuable leverage if this entity eventually overtakes the success TNA has had so far in their run. If TNA's mainline entity begins to suffer as a result and the Carters decide to actually unload WITHOUT conditions, you can bet Jeff Jarrett has a chance of inheriting what portion remains....or the Carters will be more apt to listening to reason, provided the above story is true.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Right Here Waiting.....

The entire wrestling world is waiting right now. Waiting on news from any source that could be reliable in explaining what's happening in the worlds of professional wrestling....it's tough work. I'll be you've never heard a writer say that waiting is tough work, but it is. I come back to my favorite question. Why? In this case, it's because there is SO much at stake in each of the two major worlds right now.

On one side, WWE doesn't want to alienate most of the casual wrestling fans by having to tell them that one of their star performers is gone or that the current Wrestlemania plans are falling apart at the seams with injuries plaguing their top drawing names. John Cena has an eye injury. Alberto Del Rio has been talking about not renewing his contract once it runs out in the near future. Daniel Bryan is being constantly monitored for a concussion he sustained in the past month or so because the last thing WWE needs right now is for the people's secondary workhorse character to be out for any length of time. Facing public backlash over Bryan's glaring absence from the Rumble is one thing, but losing other top stars in the organization wasn't in the plans.....it never is and SOME within the organization are getting nervous that their entire Wrestlemania plans are coming off the rails.....and all there is to do now is wait. Wait for Vince to get into contact with CM Punk and try to convince him to at least put in the time left productively.

On TNA's side of things, life isn't much less stressful. With Jeff Jarrett wanting to hold off in his announcement of his new project until after Wrestlemania has died down, he's been leaving little teasers and such on his social media, but to date, no one knows for sure where all this is going....at least I have no sources who are privy to the kind of information we could use to speculate with any reasonable certainty beyond what I've written up to now.

In TNA's mainline, other than the return of Jeff Hardy, the only thing certain is that Kurt Angle goes in for surgery in the near future, meaning that he'll most likely be sidelined for AT LEAST a month, despite where things are in the storyline to date, meaning he'll miss out on Lockdown AND most likely the Fan Interaction.

On news sites right now, most presses are stopped and most bloggers and columnists silenced...until such time as something breaks that is worthy of being brought to the forefront and when that precious something is put out there, life may return to moreorless normal. But until that time, I'll be right here waiting......

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Promotion?

In the past 24 hours, Jeff Jarrett posted a teaser for his new project. The question we in the internet wrestling community are wrestling with is whether or not we're looking at a new project or another chapter of TNA crossing the line. This question of another branch of the brand is striking and one that could make ripples that would make WWE actually sweat. Think about this.....if Jeff Jarrett were to launch a West Coast chapter of TNA, the brand could cover BOTH sides of the country and come together for special events, just like WWE did with their brand extension, separating RAW and Smackdown into two separate rosters. The major difference would be that each branch could have their own hierarchy and recruit from each end of the country, allowing talents to find themselves on a TNA roster no matter which side of the country they're on.

With one headquarters in Nashville and another in maybe coastal California, you could hold events in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas where the venues are more numerous. On the other side of things, TNA could secure a more permanent home for their events right back where they started....the Asylum. If a East Coast TNA were to collide with a West Coast TNA, the result could be EPIC.

If THIS is the development Jarrett and company has been teasing, it's an exciting time to be a fan of the product. On the other hand, if we're looking at outright competition, that COULD be another story. I still look very closely at the 35 percent stake Jarrett still owns in TNA's assets as my greatest evidence that he wouldn't attack his own promotion. Another thing that flags my attention is the statement TNA Wrestling made when he resigned his duties.

"On behalf of TNA Wrestling, we would like to thank Jeff for his contributions to the Company. We wish him the very best and look forward to his continued participation as an investor of TNA Wrestling."

I have made a lot of predictions and speculations concerning TNA's future, but the evidence is beginning to mount that Jeff isn't looking at starting something brand new as an independent promotion, but rather building upon the foundation that is already established. The TNA brand has global implications and with him scouting out office space on the west side of the country, it seems clear that something big is coming, and most likely for TNA. If an investor with the mainstream reach of Toby Keith is on board along with backing from a few outside sources I've yet to become privy to, you can BET that Spike TV is going to think twice about allowing them out of a contract once their option to renew comes around.

The economic climate of the professional wrestling business would undoubtedly find itself on the verge of something monumental if the IWC is able to take sides and place their bets if Jarrett's promotion is actually a secondary branch of the already internationally popular TNA brand.

It's entirely possible I'm mistaken, but the question that started this blog seems appropriate: "Wouldn't it be cool if....."?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

TWO.....

Why call this post "TWO"? Simple. because I only want to talk about TWO things.

1. CM Punk walks out on Vince and Vince chases after him, to the disapproval of Triple H.

AND

2. What does it mean for AJ Lee?

Well, before I get into this whole thing, I'd like to make mention of Lita for just one second. She had been seeing Punk in the past year and they are still friends, from everything I've read, but it would appear that he is, at least as chivalrous as the base standard and waited until the breaking off of the romantic relationship with Lita before beginning one with Ms. Lee. Now that I've covered THAT, I say let's explore this whole mess just a bit.....

7:30 before Monday Night RAW of January 27th- CM Punk has gone over the script and run sheet for the show that night to discover that he'd been written out of the episode. In the months leading up to this, he'd been described as "going through the motions" and "despondent" over the major returns of The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and Batista to the organization because he felt they were robbing full time performers of a chance to make their name by being included in the show.

He had been expressing his frustrations during that time, but was reassured that they were, as the phrase is often said, what was best for business. That sealed the deal and he walked right over to Vince, told him that he was going home.....and that he wouldn't be back.

Since the 27th of January, Vince has told Human and Talent Relations NOT to try and reach out, but rather to let Vince handle the situation personally. To that end, that is where it has stayed. Standing at the center of disapproval over this decision has been Triple H, who had been a supporter of Punk in his early years with the company. It had been slated to have Triple H face Punk at Wrestlemania this year, but since it had been assumed that Punk would NOT be re-signing with the company in July, Punk had an idea of how the event would be booked.....with the house winning and Punk being sent packing.

My reaction to this is simple....APPLAUSE! I applaud Punk for taking initiative as I feel similarly in regards to the arrivals of the old guard in recent years. My criticisms of WWE over this very issue are clear. I make no bones about it, when WWE releases an average of 20-25 people per year in the post-Wrestlemania months, I have a big problem with that. Why? Because these are mostly characters who have been given a garbage gimmick and have been expected to make the most of it and weren't given the time to get over with it. It's a cycle, folks, and it took a major talent seeing the machine for what it is to make the difference.

WWE's problem for over a decade has been releasing veterans who could have been invaluable in helping create new stars with credibility. Imagine an up and coming wrestler who has a resume of high profile matches against the likes of Monty Brown (Marquis Cor Von), Rikishi, Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, and a host of other released talents during that era and matches against the current roster....to my mind, there is no comparison, the roster of 10 years ago is light years ahead in terms of raw talent, but for reasons beyond my ability to wrap my head around, Vince and company simply cast them aside, when plans were already in the works to have a third brand to catch those who have been refining their gimmicks and working out the kinks. Punk watched it all happen, having seen the bulk of those on the WWE/ECW brand released on their ears when the brand was cut off. Will his walking out make a difference? In my view, it all depends on whether or not he returns when Vince comes a calling.

If Punk sticks to his guns and DOESN'T make a return,  we may see a conscious return to the days of old and more talents put to better use, at least on the short term. If he lets Vince talk him out of his position and DOES return, I think WWE will decide not to re-sign him in July when his contract comes up anyway. So either way, I doubt his walk out will have any lasting effect.

As for his main squeeze? I think here is where WWE has a mean streak. Relationships within WWE aren't treated very well, especially for the women counterparts. Beth Phoenix, Melina, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Lita, and many other top names were politically edged out (no pun intended, especially in regards to Phoenix). Good in ring talents like Lita, Melina, and Phoenix were asked to serve as jobbers to the models and less talented instead of being able to keep their statuses and have the younger talents train and make it on their own merits. Others like Keibler and Wilson were subjected to embarrassing storylines and it was only a few who left on their own like Gail Kim who were spared by walking out. So, if history has anything to say about the status of AJ Lee, the future doesn't look very bright, especially if she supports his decision.

Please don't think that I'm basing my opinion on anything unverifiable. When the women support their men, it never ends well. When Edge determined that it was the right time to retire and he left for his final surgery, Phoenix wanted to leave and be with him to aid in his recovery. WWE reluctantly agreed to her leave of absence and then released her from her contract shortly thereafter in a bait and switch. I am not making this stuff up, people. This is just the way things have played out. Even though Melina had a bit of an attitude, when she was released, she was not allowed backstage at the events where her boyfriend, John Morrison, was performing. The examples go on and on, but I don't have the time to give any more proofs for this. AJ Lee has a choice to make. Either break off the relationship or risk a time of embarrassment until she walks out herself.

This is a delicate time for WWE because Daniel Bryan is the hottest thing on the block in terms of his popularity. If they give him the push that people are wanting, he still has to deal with the politics of WWE wanting someone else instead. Remember Zack Ryder? Yeah, the guy who made Sports Illustrated take note of his internet prowess to garner fan support. Anybody know where HE is now? I didn't think so. WWE takes a dim view of those who THEY didn't create themselves. They TRIED to squelch Steve Austin, believe it or not, but if they had cancelled his character, Vince would have lost EVERYTHING, and he knew it. CM Punk leaving puts that much more pressure on Bryan to perform like the workhorse he is and if he ISN'T up to the challenge, he needs only wait until his own contract is up and make his exit there. Believe it or not, John Cena and Randy Orton won't hold the WWE up forever.....

.....Already in Progress....

I have no intention of making storyline revelations in this post, so rest assured that there are no spoilers of that kind here. That said, there are some things I'd like to consider involving TNA and WWE respectively. This meaning, the biggest stories of the past week come to the forefront and I HAVE to ask who comes out on top for this?

First up? WWE. With the news of CM Punk walking out on Monday Night RAW before the show went on the air, WWE has rewritten EVERYTHING. Originally, the plans were to have a program with Kane, which he would win and eventually go on to face Triple H at Wrestlemania this year. As it turns out, Punk wanted a bigger place on the card....like the main event, which he was never truly able to have, even when he held the WWE Title for over a year.

Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Jake Roberts will all be in attendance at this year's Wrestlemania, but whereas Warrior and Roberts will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Hogan is likely going to host Wrestlemania, just as The Rock did a couple of years back since he was unable to pass a pre-performance screening by WWE doctors. As an added bonus, he'll get the chance to have those millions of hypocritical fans who complained about his place in TNA to cheer their lungs out at the biggest spectacle in WWE to date. Double standards can be so cruel.....

WWE officials were blown away by the boos and jeers for the return of Batista at the Royal Rumble, but are still plowing forward towards Batista vs. Orton at Wrestlemania. His return and winning the Rumble match torpedoed any chances of the aforementioned CM Punk entering into the main event, leading to the walk out. Combine that with the backlash WWE is STILL experiencing concerning the glaring absence of Daniel Bryan from the Rumble match and you have a recipe for a difficult situation on WWE's hands. It should be noted that current plans (as they could change) call for Bryan to take Punk's place in the storylines.

On to TNA.....

TNA is still actively in talks with AJ Styles and, though nothing is put onto paper, it is still believed by many within the organization that Styles WILL return and sooner rather than later. Since he wasn't able to be signed by the deadline, a last minute decision was made and MVP was slated to secure what was initially Styles' place in TNA storylines as the investor.

This leads to a newer development I find interesting. TNA has posted their own "Era of Punk" videos during which time CM Punk was under contract with TNA in the early years. Some believe this to be a way of both capitalizing on his tenure AND reaching out to secure a deal with him moving forward as well. It's believed that a formal release by WWE officials could lead to a debut later this year. IF Punk is released before his contract ends, we could be looking at as late as August or September, but if WWE sticks to their guns and rides out the contract, there is no reason not to assume TNA would wait any later than the minute after the contract is up to announce the signing to bolster viewers to the product ahead of his arrival.

While Sting seems to be gone from TNA, Jeff Hardy is NOT. While details I will not reveal here, suffice to say that Hardy will be making his return in a few short weeks to join in the current power struggle.

Since the number of X factors between the two companies are many and varied, I only have one answer to the question of who wins.....it's all up to the fans. If WWE fans are as outraged as they claim over the current situation with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, they NEED to put their money and time where their mouths are....back in their wallets. Invest in other products or brands, don't buy the PPVs or merch, and by no means watch their shows! If TNA fans are as loyal as THEY claim, buy the PPVs and stand by the product. It's no secret that I favor the TNA product here, but fans make or break promotions and TNA needs fans to rally behind them in order to carry through. I've been a pro-TNA blogger for nearly 6 years now and my loyalty to the brand has never been in question. I was sick of the Vince-driven machine and never looked back. I make no apologies for that. All I'm saying is to disapprove in a way that Vince and company won't soon forget.....in their pocketbooks.....because viewers are money every bit as much as buyers of PPVs and merchandise at the stands.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

MVP and the Investor's Order.....

NOTE: This post contains spoilers, so if you'd rather not know what's coming, please turn back now, otherwise, feel free to keep reading......

SO, now that you've been warned, let me give you a hint of things to come AND where this column is going to be headed in the coming days......

Beer Money Reunites
The Wolves vs. Bad Influence
Jeff Hardy returns
New Knockout debuts that was NOT a part of previous posts
The reunion of The Beautiful People

Need I go on? Yes? Well, first off, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for sticking with me through the uncertainties (and there were some) and the high spots. This would not be possible without you guys and gals. By all means, if you like what you're reading, feel free to pass on the site to friends. But that's only one part of the column for the day. As for where this is all heading.....

Now that we have a return to some proper establishments, it makes some sense to give a few highs and lows for the product to date.

HIGHS:

-Samuel Shaw.....I love the character. It's edgy, it's a step into the unknown, and it's something that could make this guy's career. If TNA plays his character with an X factor illustrating that no one knows how far he'll go to get ahead in this business and he'll take no allies to that end, this could be one of TNA's finest creations to date.

-Beer Money's reunion as a heel partnership.....I'm miked about this, but provided that the things I'm seeing are accurate, it makes Gunner into someone worth watching, which is something we haven't seen since 2011. It's nice to see TNA bringing back one of the best tandems in the past few years to feud with the newly christened Wolves acquisition.

-MVP.....He's not been a part of the domestic wrestling landscape in 5 years, but when he left, he was on the cusp of main event status with WWE. In that time, I am hopeful that he's developed into a more rounded competitor and a fully 3 Dimensional character with more than a foot of depth. Since he came from Japan most recently and they tend to have a more storyline and character driven element to the craft, I'm confident he's picked up a few things that most fans will eat up and crave moving forward.

-New Knockouts....It's no secret that TNA has been lean in the Division over the past year, but ANY new talents who can carry their own weight in ring are an improvement to what we see elsewhere. I view women's wrestling as a specialty division that provides a good barometer for the direction for a wrestling company. The better the women's division, most likely, the main event and other divisions will appear more balanced as well.

LOWS:

-Dixie on camera continues.....It's gotten old, people. I'll readily admit it. It's only been a couple of months, but I'm getting tired of her CONSTANT screen presence each week....let's tone it down, please.

-Rockstar Spud.....I never liked the guy on British Bootcamp and I still want the Blossoms to replace him. How much more clear can I make this? To me, he's a Hogan choice and he has yet to fulfill the purpose he was intended to fill on the roster in the X Division.

-X Division.....There is virtually NO presence of this lucrative division ANYWHERE in the product and tossing the belt back and forth between Aries and Sabin does NOT count. You want to regain the public trust in the product? Bring back what brought people to the show to begin with.

Main event presence.....Right now, TNA is without a true babyface as a foil to Magnus. Don't get me wrong, but Joe is only a part of the solution. Part of the pleasure in watching Joe vs. Styles vs. Daniels was that few words were exchanged through the whole of the feud and yet it was compelling to watch....with Magnus and Joe, there is not the same chemistry. One of the two needs a foil, especially if it demands the exchange of words for their segments. The return of Jeff Hardy will be a great boost to the hurting main event scene as will Gunner, once his presence takes off.

So with TNA's current taping schedule following the UK tour established until Lockdown and shortly thereafter, the problem on the short term seems averted, but for the long term? That bridge will have to be crossed when we come to it.