There is little doubt that TNA Wrestling has an extremely talented and diverse roster. Every viewer can find somebody to root for, from pure wrestlers such as AJ Styles and Samoa Joe to the likes of Mr. Anderson, whose main strengths are presence and mic work. The established names of Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy add credibility to the product, while homegrown stars like Austin Aries and Bobby Roode give it its own identity. The roster is further enriched by the undercard, including the high-flying daredevils of the X Division, each of whom brings something unique to the table.
And then there are those few individuals who do not fit the grand scheme. They are official members of the roster, yet their contributions to TNA programming are rather debatable. With a plethora of promising young wrestlers roaming the indies in search of work, the fact that these five names have been granted contracts is often mind-boggling.
Do these workers deserve their spots in TNA? That is a question which cannot be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. Perhaps they have not been utilized properly or maybe they need more time to develop their characters. Whatever the case is, the purpose in having them on the roster evades me at this stage.
I do not want to take anything away from Christian York as a performer and an athlete. His in-ring abilities are impressive and his physique is a near-perfect combination of strength, power, speed and agility. Mic skills and charisma are not among York’s top qualities, but he can get over with his performance within the squared circle. The reason he is on this list is unfortunately his age.
There is no doubt in my mind that York should have made it to the big leagues at a much earlier point of his career. The issue at hand is, how does one book Christian York as a newcomer in 2012? He has not been in the company long enough to be thrown into main events. On the other hand, TNA cannot afford to take a slow and gradual approach to building York. The investment of TV time may not be worth it considering the uncertain number of years he has left in him.
TNA’s blatant lack of direction in booking York has been evident. He has called out the World Champion on one show, competed for the X Division Championship mere days later and then disappeared completely. The problem is, with so little TV time for the undercard, York has to take a step back to someone like Magnus, who can be built to carry the company for the long term.
Mike Knox has a great look. In most situations it would be very easy for him to get over as a monster heel. The reality of the situation is: he has already had a horrendous WWE run which people have not yet forgotten.
Knox’s credibility has been harmed permanently. Back in 2006, his on-screen relationship with Kelly Kelly led to a somewhat entertaining feud with CM Punk in ECW and… that’s about it. The rest of Knox’s time with WWE consisted of pointless brand switches and countless jobs.
The Aces & Eights are supposed to be the most dominant force in professional wrestling today, yet among the stable’s members is a guy whose last match with WWE was a loss to JTG. Yes, let that sink in.
I felt insulted as a wrestling fan when Lei’d Tapa went over in her Gut Check contest. Her opponent, Ivelisse Velez, impressed the fans with her varied moveset (as well as a very emotional video package) and drew a remarkable crowd reaction. Lei’d Tapa, on the other hand, made sure she would be remembered with her blatant lack of ring awareness and inadequate hold execution.
Lei’d Tapa looked confused and out of place throughout the match, but she was offered a TNA contract because of her look. I will admit, she has a very distinct appearance and she looks unlike any other female wrestler I have seen on TV. Does it excuse that train wreck of a performance? Not in my book.
Garett Bischoff is a member of the TNA roster due to one reason and we all know which one it is. Despite Eric’s efforts to make his son a star, the audience could care less about him. Perhaps if he has an actual wrestler and he could hold his own against the talented locker room, he would get over.
Everything about Garett, from his look and presence to his in-ring abilities, speaks blandness. He looks the least convincing of all Aces & Eights members, similarly to a kid who tries to look as badass as his big brothers. If hopes are that the stable can help him get over, I fear he is bringing the faction’s respectability down.
Former Big Brother contestant Jessie Godderz, also known as Mr. Pec-Tacular, was brought into TNA at Bound For Glory 2012 as Tara’s “Hollywood boyfriend”. For the past few months he has made it clear that he is limited not only in terms of wrestling, but in terms of basic acting and showmanship. Godderz has nothing to bring to the table in TNA.
If the purpose of his signing is celebrity appeal, I do not think there are many people out there who would switch the channel to see Mr. Pec-Tacular wrestle. Neither is he a gifted competitor, nor is he as relevant as TNA might think.
Godderz’ biggest contribution to TNA programming remains consistently making Tara look whiny and desperate. Imagine, what would it be like if his role was given to a genuine wrestler with proper comedic timing? I can personally imagine Joey Ryan as Tara’s boyfriend.