This week, WWE release Memo Montenegro, brother of Alberto Del Rio. There were no shouts of a WWE crisis, and there were certainly no cheap shots fired at the owners of the company for releasing somebody.
So what makes TNA different?
With the exception of Matt Morgan, who obviously asked for his own release, they haven’t released anyone who I thought had the capability to Main Event a Bound For Glory or Slammiversary. Yes Crimson was getting pushed that way, but his in-ring work needed a lot of tweaks.
So why is everyone getting on TNA’s back? Let’s not forget that the company wasn’t around in the last century. They started off with a mix of fresh talent and stars looking for one last pay-day. Despite the fact that it was Jeff and Jerry Jarrettt who went and sought finance for the compan, it is Dixie Carter and Panda Energy who now run the show, and it isn’t that bad of a show.
I actually have to commend Dixie, rather than criticise like some recently released performers, who wasn’t obliged to be offered a job for 18 months after he broke his neck. Dixie Carter has managed to bring some of the best wrestlers in the world to TNA. Who would have thought ten years ago, when the company were running PPV’s because they couldn’t get a TV deal, that now they would have stars like Sting and Kurt Angle, as well as keeping their own stars such as AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.
In my opinion, TNA has been good at one thing in particular; using gimmick matches to help build up their own stars. Abyss and The Monster’s Ball match, The X-Division and The Ultimate X match, as well as using the Bound For Glory series to create new Main Event talent.
Let’s not forget however, that TNA isn’t perfect, but we shouldn’t expect it to be. It took WCW ten years before they produced the NWO, and the type of programming that really challenged WWF, and they had the advantage of being owned by a Television magnate. WWF had to work through the sixties and seventies with huge superstars visiting numerous cities, before hitting it big in the eighties with the Rock and Wrestling Connection.
So what do I think TNA need to do to reach to that next level?
1) Continue cutting the dead-weight
There is no point in having performers sitting at home, or working in OVW, if you think that they don’t have what it takes. That is something that WWE are very good at, and with their new performance centre giving them a 24/7 look at talent, it is something they will only improve.
If TNA do this, they can focus on the talent that have either the talent or the look to make it either in the Main Event, or the X-Division.
2) Keep doing what they do with their talent
In recent years, I feel that TNA has produced better matches for television and PPV on a more consistent basis compared to WWE. Some of the matches between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels have been outstanding, and when you have talent like Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle, it is almost impossible to have a bad match. It is hard to think of anybody who struggles to have a good match, and people like Magnus are showing that there are more people coming through to maintain this standard.
On top of this, the Bound For Glory is a better platform for elevating superstars to the main event, than in my opinion, the Money in the Bank match. Instead of something, that in my view, makes the title win cheap as it does with MITB, the Bound For Glory series gives a wrestler the chance to win a title on TNA’s biggest stage in a straight one on one match. It has helped promote Bobby Roode, James Storm and Austin Aries to the main event, and this year, it looks like Magnus may be the next beneficiary. They need to keep the momentum going though, and need to use it as a promoting platform for the considerable future.
3) Keep The Faith
TNA is a not a badly run business, it just needs to navigate through this period of uncertainty, and if it can come out with a TV deal still in place, the company has the potential to be a serious rival to WWE by the end of the decade. Keep producing your own talent, and keep the faith in the men and women who have taken you this far.
TNA isn’t in serious trouble, and has the potential to be a serious contender. They just need to keep developing as a company, bit by bit.