As recently reported on WNW Premium, the reason for the continuing roster cuts in TNA is the feeling backstage that the programming has not suffered as a result of the releases. Admittedly, the build-up to Bound For Glory has left few opportunities for the low-card to shine, as the majority of weekly runtime is dedicated to The Aces & Eights, The Main Event Mafia and the BFG Series. It has been many weeks since we have seen the likes of Sam Shaw or even Big Rob Terry, whose tenth singles push has come to yet another dead end.
With the exception of Matt Morgan, who reportedly asked for his release, the workers that have been cut are those that have been deemed expendable by the higher-ups. In times like these, when the majority of the TV time is taken up by a war between stables, which also involves the World Heavyweight Championship, it is easy to fall through the cracks. Even someone like Joey Ryan, whose TNA run took off with a win at Bound For Glory last year, had his momentum killed by The Aces & Eights, who were rapidly taking over the spotlight. A secure place could not be found for Ryan’s character and he had to take a backseat. Other names who suffered due to a lack of exposure include Crimson, Alex Silva, Douglas Williams, Taeler Hendrix and even Jesse Sorensen, whose leave of absence was caused by a severe neck injury. All of the aforementioned names no longer work for TNA Wrestling.
While there is no surprise in the fact that The Aces & Eights and The Main Event Mafia are considered a priority on the Road to Bound For Glory, the releases of lower-card wrestlers may have been overdone, and I would argue that TNA has lost a significant amount of roster depth. People might have different takes on what defines a “deep” roster, but in my view, it is one that features a diversity of wrestlers with varying styles, appearance, characters and status. The very last element, status, is crucial, because those with a higher status, what we would call a main event status or uppercard status, also happen to be older.
This is where I like to play a game, called Who Will Be Carrying The Company In 5 Years. I look at the WWE roster and I see all the Curtis Axels and Fandangos and the countless workers that have been brought in from both incarnations of NXT for the past few years. A plethora of rising stars are currently trying to fight their way up the ladder and become household names. From Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes, through all members of The Shield and The Wyatt Family, to the dozens at developmental waiting to be called up, the competition is as severe as ever. More importantly, their age provides them with the right time to make it to the top.
Then I look at the TNA roster in its current state. The guys who once put the company on the map, the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Bad Influence, are all past 35, and we know 40 is considered old in this business. Just a couple of years ago the same workers were called “kids” on TV by the Hogans and the Bischoffs, but we have to face the fact that every single show brings them closer to the end of their careers, which may be sooner than many would expect. Carrying out the rules of the game, I ask myself, who will the company depend on in just five years? The 40-year-old contestants in 2013′s BFG Series?
Now that Alex Silva, Jesse Sorensen, Joey Ryan, DOC and Crimson have parted ways with TNA, the company is simply running out of young blood. Magnus is the only up-and-comer who is in the dawn of his career and promises to be a future main-eventer. For the past several years, the company has failed at providing young and hungry talent with the solid characters and consistent booking needed for them to stick around. The likes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe waited for too long to have their abilities honored, and now it is time to look for the next generation of stars… which simply isn’t there.
The Internet Wrestling Community has compared TNA to the now defunct World Championship Wrestling on numerous occasions, and the only reason behind those comparisons is the fans’ impression that it is a company which lives for the moment, rather than builds its future. When the Styles, the Roodes and the Storms can no longer go in the ring, who will TNA count on to fill the void?
Are they going to rely on WWE’s rejects?