Monday, 3 June 2013

TNA Analysed 8 - The future of TNA

TNA have been rumbling on now for 11 long terrible years, like the rule of some dictator it has raped the professional wrestling world whenever it can and treats it's citizens with equal part love and contempt.  Now I am sure the TNA of today isn't what the Jarett's would have ever imagined it would become but since they have now both left the company it has become the plaything of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.  And yes there are likely other contributors to this shambles of a wrestling company such as Jeremy Borash, but really everyone will run with what those two morons decide in the end anyway because they have more experience I guess?

The face of evil
But one of the things that bothers me the most about TNA is it's constant flip flopping from one supposed "future" star of TNA to the next.  AJ Styles has been the future of TNA since 2010 according to Hogan, yet has never really accomplished anything that would show this.  WWE always have a face of the company, you know a guy who is the public ambassador.  Back in my day it was Hulk Hogan, then going forward we had guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michael's, Stone Cold, Eddie Guerrero and now John Cena.  These faces of the company over the years have helped to build WWE to what it is today with a global audience and healthy profits year in, year out.

TNA however seem to be unsure of who exactly represents them both in and out of the ring.  Jeff Hardy would have been a likely candidate but then his prior convictions and unreliability made him impossible to use.  Despite this he is still pushed as being one of the biggest guys on the roster and TNA are terrified of losing him, even giving him the belt for an extended period along with a phony "wrestler of the year award" taken straight from WWE's slammy awards.  Jeff's injuries are his biggest flaw and really TNA need to keep him on a lighter schedule to ensure he would always be fit for a match should they need him for a big pay per view, but they needlessly run the guy in hardcore matches on free TV regularly and push him to still run matches like it's 1999.

The face of evil part 2
AJ Styles is the guy who I honestly feel should have been the face of the company.  he is a great wrestler, has the look and can bring the best out of his opponents.  It's a shame he never got into WWE as he would have easily been a hit with the fans.  AJ has, ever since Hogan and Co. arrived, simply sat on the sidelines running circular storylines, never really achieving anything of note.  When was the last time he held the title?  Hogan loves to preach about AJ being "the future of this company brother!" but never seems to give AJ the title even though he is one of the most popular wrestlers they have.  Sadly AJ is past his prime and can no longer be considered the face of TNA, although TNA will continue to promote him as such.

If anything TNA run on a weird directionless flavour of the month approach to promoting themselves.  Several months go by where RVD will be the future of TNA, then it becomes Jeff Hardy then it becomes AJ Styles, then it becomes Bully Ray and eventually it shifts to another person.  None of these individuals ever have enough time as the star of the show to really leave their mark the same way as WWE stars do.  There isn't a single era where you could say TNA had their own Bret Hart era or Stone Cold.  Bobby Roode I guess is the closest but even his reign was bland and uninteresting, with a majority of his matches being clear cut and pastes of previous WCW finishes.

Bully Ray folks....
I mean let's look at the current front runners, we have Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, Sting and Hulk Hogan.  Bully is the leader of the Aces and Eights getting probably the most attention from the company at the moment.  Jeff Hardy has been out of the show for a few weeks but his gormless face will no doubt be back in the title picture soon.  Sting has been in and out of the main event so many times now he has officially become professional wrestling's human yo-yo, and Hogan has never been out of the main storyline since his arrival back in 2010.  So we have four guys who are fairly well known but not because of their accomplishments in TNA but for their fame outside of the company.  Sting is pretty much WCW4life, Hogan has a soft spot for nostalgia and promoting his friends, Hardy was popular in WWE and Bully Ray is an ECW original.  Not a single one is TNA and the only one even peripherally involved is AJ who isn't involved in the main event.

It always makes me laugh when they mention TNA originals, because it pretty much means the B team, the guys who fill out the midcard or job to former WWE/ECW/WCW talent.  It's an insult to those guys who not only remained loyal to the company but now put up with being constantly overlooked by management.  There must be either a deep sense of loyalty to the brand or a fear that if they left they wouldn't find work elsewhere and that is pretty sad really.  I might not be the biggest fan of say James Storm, but I can see he has given a lot to TNA and his reward is playing second to each and every WWE reject that wants a job.  The "TNA originals" have all been referred to as the future of the company at one point or another during Hogan's rampage through TNA and nothing has changed for them even after his glowing recommendation.
Angle is a joke these days

The most infamous case of Hogan's apparent dislike of the Originals is that of Bobby Roode and Bound for glory.  Bobby Roode was originally meant to win the title at Bound for glory from Kurt Angle to setup a sort of underdog hero story which would have been a nice payoff.  Instead Hogan changes his mind last minute and has Roode lose.  Roode obviously isn't very happy and Hogan simply says that Roode wasn't ready for a title run.  Yeah Bobby Roode who had at that time been in TNA for near 10 years wasn't ready for a solo title run.  This caused a backlash from fans and people within the company that Roode ended up with the belt anyway only now as a heel.  There was zero reason to having Roode lose at BFG as it totally undermined the story going into the main event.

But the real star of TNA is Sting.  No really it is, the guy has never been out of the main event since his arrival in 2003 picking up titles and running his crow gimmick from WCW.  As a friend of Hogan he now benefits from being in the picture during every major storyline in the company and no doubt gets in on the main event more often than not.  His number of title wins may have dropped but his near permanent fixture in the title scene now pretty much means he is the face of the company.  This is a guy who gets chauffeur driven cars during international tours, while the rest of the roster go on a coach.  He now runs a regular travel schedule when he said he wouldn't sign with WWE because he didn't think he could handle being on the road anymore.  It's clear that Hogan pretty much has his ear when it comes to his wrestling career, and Sting seems happy to be the guy who keeps everyone else down while he basks in the spotlight.

Hardy is just a twat to be honest
TNA though are fast running out of time to really have a future roster of established guys.  The gut check system has been a colossal failure only creating jobbers out of potential faces for the company.  The current roster is getting on a bit now, even the TNA guys are all in their mid to late thirties or older and won't be around much longer.  The former WWECWCW guys are all relics of a previous generation and can't carry the company into another decade for the company without becoming a complete joke.  TNA need to start bringing in fresh young wrestlers to ensure a real future for the company and not just become WCW 2.0.  The only good thing that can come out of the current TNA would be reading the death of TNA book that would be by produced by wrestlecrap, discussing how Hogan and Bischoff once again killed a company and walked away scot-free.


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