Keep or Cut? Vol. 1By Drowgoddess · · 4 Comments
TNA’s decision not to renew the contracts of Petey Williams, Jimmy Rave, and Lance Hoyt is just the beginning. More talent cuts are said to be forthcoming, and the supposed logic behind TNA’s non-renewals really brings to mind the saying, “There are none so blind as those who cannot see.” It isn’t releasing talent, we’re told, it’s just not renewing their contracts when they expire. This is semantics. Isn’t the end result the same? TNA wants to pump some new life into the undercard of their roster, and bring in new people. With a finite number of spaces and limited resources, someone has to go in order for this to be possible. Okay.
Shaking up the undercard and bringing in new talent would be fine, if that were truly the company’s main problem. Instead, it’s like repainting the interior walls of your house when the roof still leaks. A cheaper, less painful and demanding, purely cosmetic overhaul that ignores what could eventually cause the entire structure to be unlivable. One question that has yet to be asked, let alone answered, is why the “undercard” talent up for the chop is on the undercard in the first place. Yes, some of them lack the look, skills, or intangible “it” factor to make it in wrestling on any major level. This can’t be said for everyone on the roster who isn’t a close, personal friend of Jeff Jarrett, however. If rumors that anyone not a Jarrett buddy fears for his job are true, then Dixie Carter should be exercising her authority and stepping in to determine who goes and who stays. Some of the most needed cuts are planted firmly at the top. Assuming that Jeff Jarrett himself is going nowhere, which is only fair, as it IS his company in part, what about everyone else? Looking at TNA’s current roster, let’s see who makes it in Drowgoddess’s “Keep or Cut? Vol. 1.”
This group formed the core of the X-Division from the very beginning of TNA. They carried the company for years before any “big names” turned up, and should be allowed to reap the benefits of their hard work rather than being shoved aside in the company that they helped put on the map. Kazarian and Daniels aren’t listed on the roster page, but we all know that they’re there. The in-ring talent with this lot is unparalleled, and even the weakest one on the mic would probably get better if allowed time in which to do so. At one point, AJ was considered hopeless on the mic and as a character, though awesome beyond belief in the ring. He improved tremendously in those areas, and if a guy is allowed to find his groove in terms of character, it’s easy to get better. Styles has held the TNA World Heavyweight title before. Multiple times, in fact. Daniels can be a main event player as well. Kazarian and Sabin were in the first-ever Ultimate X match, and Sabin went on to compete in and win more Ultimate X matches than anyone on the roster. Dutt is the only one who hasn’t held the X-Division title, and he certainly could. When the guy is on, he’s on. These are the guys who should be treated as the mainstays of the company, even if World Heavyweight title reigns aren’t in their futures.
This group are the current and future heavyweight main eventers. Joe and Abyss have held the World Heavyweight title before, but the others all have what it takes to be the top guy in the company in some form. There is some overlap between this group and the previous group in terms of main eventers, and that’s a good thing. The idea that every World Heavyweight title match doesn’t look like two lumbering bears slamming into each other for ten minutes is a major plus for TNA. Yes, for some of these guys to regain credibility and get the fans behind them will take some work. It isn’t impossible, and it should be done. These guys are the ones who really need to be treated like the stars of the company and the faces of TNA.
These two seem to have little, if any, in-ring doings anymore. We saw BG take a match as an act of friendship for Jeff Jarrett, but that’s been about it. If BG is truly a backstage guy now, with agent duties, and Traci oversees the Knockouts Division, that’s fine. Lord knows that the current state of the Knockouts Division needs help from someone with a clue, and Traci has the experience to share. If their in-ring days are really over, and they’re doing something useful for the company, then they don’t need to be completely cut.
Verdict: KEEP, but CUT from the ring
This group hurts to watch right now. Rhino was at one point, a psychotic man-beast who piledrove women through tables. Mick was, well, Mick. Steiner amuses some people greatly when he gets within six feet of a live microphone. Once upon a time, if God were a heel, he’d be the Dudleys. Out of everyone in this group, Team 3D has had the best time of it, and is the most likely to be useful for something. That being said, all of these guys are a steaming pile of “meh” right now, and whether or not they have anything to add to TNA is questionable at best. Rhino went from taking over the Front Line, naming it, and having World Heavyweight title matches to random jobbing in the blink of an eye. No one really cares about Rhino now. Same with Mick, as greatly as it pains me to say so. Sure, Steiner may be able to pull out a surprise move like a Frankensteiner or a Steiner Screwdriver every now and then, but the guy can barely move. Both in and out of the ring, I’ve heard. Team 3D has their school to run, and could be a strong link to TNA. If the entire creative team were to meet their collective end in a tragic yachting accident, perhaps a good way to use these guys could be found. If not, they’re just dead weight that needs to go, as much as I may have loved them in the past.
Verdict: CUT, unless you can find something suitable for them to do
Sheik Abdul Bashir
These guys all have potential in some way, particularly Homicide, but haven’t been around long enough or haven’t been used for much at this point, comparatively speaking. LAX certainly needs to be allowed back into the tag team division, but with Hernandez being groomed for World Heavyweight title singles action, Homicide is focusing on the X-Division, and they’re being considered separately here. If Bashir could get out of the Shane Sewell nonsense, and possibly get a chance to break out of the one-dimensional “Middle Eastern Nightmare” gimmick, he actually has something to offer. Screaming in any language gets old after a while. Kiyoshi’s “Rough Cuts” segments made him more interesting, but now he needs to keep that interest going. This group may not be at the top of anyone’s list, but they don’t need to go anywhere just yet. Shark Boy in the pre-Stone Cold days was actually really good. He may have been a jobber, but he was a good enough one that it wasn’t a given that he’d lose. If he goes back to the 2005-era Shark Boy, he’d be a keeper.
This part is likely where the death threats and flames begin. Hear me out first. No one would argue that the Suicide character, regardless of who plays it, needs to go, or that Rhaka Khan, Kip James, and Brutus Magnus are all hopelessly awful beyond “meh.” Taylor Wilde may be hot, but she’s a black hole of charisma and really not that good in the ring at all. Newcomer Madison Rayne, who isn’t listed on the roster page yet, is more of the same. Signing her was rather pointless. Kip James is useless. The Beautiful People don’t need him, and he actually detracts from the team. If someone were needed to be the guy in their corner, it should be someone else. Brutus Magnus may have been saddled with a terrible gimmick, but seeing him in the ring was painful. He has a good look, but he’s not very good in the ring. Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed are sloppy and dull. Even in Ring of Honor, Lethal did nothing for me. He isn’t a horribly bad wrestler, but he isn’t a good one either. This was true even without the “Black Machismo” gimmick totally undermining the ability that Lethal does possess. Creed is even worse. Enthusiasm is great, but it doesn’t make up for all the other faults. No one is behind Lethal Consequences as a tag team because there’s nothing worth getting behind. I don’t hate Eric Young like some people do, and the guy is a good performer. When the most you’ve ever been over is the “Don’t Fire Eric!” bit, it may be time to consider moving on. He just isn’t as good as a lot of the other guys, and he brings nothing to the TNA game that one of the others couldn’t do better.
Booker T, Kevin Nash, Sting, and Kurt Angle are where most people will disagree. It’s ridiculous, though, to have website commentaries pointing out how none of these big name acquisitions brought ratings, pay-per-view buys, increased ticket sales to live events, or anything else of significance to TNA, but then go on to say that Kurt Angle leaving would be disastrous for TNA. How can you have it both ways? If TNA is really that concerned about the company image as a dumping ground of ex-WWE and WCW guys who could no longer cut it in the big leagues, they shouldn’t be worried about Stevie Richards. They should be worried about these guys. TNA doesn’t need any of the Main Event Mafia. They never really did. Kevin Nash is like Scott Steiner in that he can barely move and has no business in a ring. He has his moments on commentary, but is that worth keeping him around? No. Booker T has never really been all that great. He has an extremely impressive resume, but his best matches were in the Best-of-Seven series against Chris Benoit back in WCW. Let him run his wrestling school in the Houston area, and have ties to TNA. Sharmell is great as the condescending “queen” type, and as an out-of-the-ring persona, but she’d never stay around without Booker, so she’d have to go too. Sting may or may not be retiring due to bad knees anyway, and if a TNA homegrown talent performed in the ring and on the mic like Sting has for most of his TNA tenure, that person would have been non-renewed long ago. That leaves Kurt Angle. Angle deserves all his accolades as the greatest wrestler ever and so on. He’s been amazing and entertaining for a very long time. Even so, TNA won’t collapse if he leaves. One has to ask that, if the greatest wrestler ever doesn’t improve ratings, pay-per-view buyrates, and ticket sales, despite completely dominating every episode of your show, then why are you keeping him around? Kurt Angle is one of the few people in TNA who can’t blame to creative team for his problems, as he has so much control over what he says and does. After all of Angle’s talk about returning to WWE when his contract expires, he should be allowed to go. If TNA truly wants to shake things up, they should start at the top.
These are the major players in the Knockouts Division. Velvet Sky needs to improve in the ring, no matter how perfect my comrades in the Triumvirate believe her to be. J The entire Knockouts Division has suffered recently, but these women all have something to bring to the collective table besides standing around and looking good. Or strange, as the case may be. TNA was really on to something with “Hardcore Knockout” Roxxi against Kong, and should go back to that when Kong is able. Everyone in the division could improve a little bit, as these matches have become painfully sloppy, even from the good wrestlers.
Verdict: KEEP, but work on improvement
These are the managers/valets who should, for the most part, stay out of the ring. Jackie Moore (who is the exception to the “stay out of the ring” part) is fantastic in her role with Beer Money, and brings more experience to the Knockouts Division than anyone else. She can actually wrestle, and reserves the right to do so at any time. The other two, however, should not. Evil slutty Val has had some fun moments with Sonjay Dutt, but really hasn’t been used as well as she could be. The “vamp” character is missing from TNA, and Val suits that perfectly. Christy Hemme does not belong anywhere near a Knockouts title shot. With no one left for her to manage, she could be associated with someone new. She can train with AJ Styles for a year, and Christy Hemme will not be a good wrestler.
Verdict: KEEP, but CUT from the ring (except Jackie Moore)
Having done this, TNA could bring in some new people to keep the roster at a reasonable size. Paul London has been mentioned, as have several other names. There are bound to be differences of opinion here, and I’d like to hear them, but keep it civil. Else I shall be forced to release the flying monkeys wearing nuns’ habits and eating pudding. And that would not be pretty. Thoughts, peoples?
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