Disclaimer: This week I will talk about how I believe that the job Dave Lagana and Bruce Prichard are doing isn’t as good as its claimed to be, the Taryn Terrell signing and the signing of all non-descript ex-WWE talent and I will talk about some other miscellaneous things as well.
Is Prichard and Lagana Simply a Placebo to Wrestling Fans?When I read last week’s excellent Talon’s Take and when I read the comments from that column, I started to wonder if people are happy with Impact because of its content or simply because Impact isn’t being booked by Russo. Since Russo’s exile in February, TNA has gone through several changes and I am not gaga about all the changes that have been made. I share Jason Blade’s discontent with what has happened to the Knockout division. They went from being a big part of the weekly show to being completely irrelevant. I shudder to think where the division would be without Madison Rayne. I am not a fan of using only a small portion of the roster which was one of the best things about Russo is that he found something for everyone and more often than not I found those itty-bitty stories for lowcard acts entertaining. (Bring back the time traveling lesbian vampires, bring back the Prince Justice Brotherhood Supergroup etc.) Perhaps the biggest change I find unappealing is the fact that storylines are developing at a snail’s pace. I became a Joey Ryan fan in June and marked out when he appeared on Taeler Hendrix Gutcheck in the crowd but very little has happened since then. Aces and Eights are starting to drift into that territory but thankfully their story progressed on Impact.
Now one of the few things I believe has gone very well in the Lagana and Prichard booked era has been the ppv quality but this is also where I think the placebo effect is taking its full effect with these two. Against All Odds, Lockdown, Slammivarsary and Hardcore Justice featured “Russo” finishes (In fact Lockdown and Against All Odds were verbatim Russo finishes from WWF PPVs in 1999 and 1997 respectively) in the main event and the discontent at that fact has been minimal. Put Russo at the helm of TNA creative, book these finishes and I am sure the discontent with it would be far greater. With Russo those finishes would take centerstage in reviews of the shows while with Lagana and Prichard those finishes are quickly brushed to the side. Another thing with Lagana and Prichard is that they have the freedom to book these ppvs shows without having to deal with older talents with egos and inadequacies. In 2009, Russo had to put Mick Foley, Sting, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett (till he was sent home) on ppv cards routinely. In 2012, Prichard and Lagana don’t have to deal with any of these kinds of guys other than Kurt Angle and maybe RVD who both can still go in the ring. Russo had to resort to his bag of tricks because outside of Kurt Angle, you can’t expect these guys to put on good and interesting matches on ppv without a gimmick attached to it or an abundance of blood or an overbooked finish to get people talking. It isn’t exactly hard to put on a stellar ppv when you have the likes of AJ Styles, Daniels, a sober Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Kazarian, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Austin Aries, a Motivated Samoa Joe, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson and even RVD on the card routinely. Russo detractors will say even Russo would Fuck that up but Turning Point and Final Resolution 2009 would like to say hello as that is the only time in his tenure where Russo could book shows without dealing with egos. Unfortunately for Russo he never had control of who to hire and who to fire on the Impact roster while Prichard does and that’s the only aspect I truly believe Pritchard has excelled with. Even with that advantage, it hasn’t translated into really good TV. Prichard has molded a roster that is full of diverse talents while Russo had to make do with what others gave him. (more on that later in the column)
Prichard and Lagana have been in charge for 6 months now and I don’t see many changes they have made that can be viewed as a major improvement for TNA. I read how TNA has truly been wonderful for months now and I just don’t see it. I have often found TNA TV to be solid but unspectacular and having a show like that will not get you very far. Russo booking had some terrible moments (Joe joins the Mafia, Abyss’s character changes etc.) and some truly amazing ones (Heel Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles, MCMG’s vs. Beer Money etc.) but Impact was always exciting and must-see for me every week. Now I am still watching it every week but it’s not all that exciting.
TNA Should’t Hire Ex-WWE Talent All of a Sudden
I read this notion a few times in the past week on TNAsylum (as well as other sites) and this logic frightens me. It truly looks like the “WWE Reject” label is starting to get to TNA fans. That is the only way to explain why TNA fans wouldn’t want TNA to acquire and use ex-WWE talents who might have the talent to do great things in TNA. At any given point, the WWE has maybe 150 wrestling talents (This is a guess) under contract (TV or developmental). These guys and gals for the most part have some sort of talent because they landed a job with the biggest wrestling fed in the world. If things go south for them in WWE due to whatever reason, why should TNA avoid signing them if they can use these talents on TNA TV?
Abraham Washington got released from WWE on August 10th and he could make the perfect manager for a wrestler on the TNA roster today (Zema Ion) or a future TNA wrestler whose currently in development (King Mo or Jesse Godderz). TNA just recently brought in Taryn Terrell aka ex-WWE diva Tiffany. The Knockouts needed another talent and Taryn Terrell might not be a sexy name/talent (the woman herself is sexy) to the online fan but she does fit the bill of a blonde bombshell to replace Ms. Velvet Sky. Another ex-WWE talent (will avoid spoilers) is being advertised for TNA house shows starting in September and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. The guy is young, in shape (better shape in fact than his WWE run) and has a future in this business. He shouldn’t be brushed aside by TNA because of his previous employer and the potential stigma of being a “WWE reject”. Talent is talent no matter where they worked previously.The TNA Roster Is All Set Basically
Right now the current TNA roster I believe it is at its strongest level ever (yes ever) and that is something Prichard should be proud of. The TV product I don’t find to be all that special and it has its flaws but the roster Prichard has put together is tremendous. It is not because everyone on the roster is amazing at everything needed in the sport of Pro wrestling but rather the fact that TNA has the right mixture of talents. Because of that reason I dont think that TNA needs to go out and sign more indy darlings or big names to add to the roster. I got into a debate with I believe VicVenom awhile back about it.
I feel TNA should be looking into signing complimentary talents like an Abraham Washington, like a Taryn Terrell, like maybe a Rhett Titus (to reunite with Kenny King and replace the MCMG’s as the young exciting TNA tag team) and maybe another tag team. TNA should refrain from the big splash signings because simply put, they are not needed. The top of the TNA card is set for the foreseeable future with Aries, Roode, Storm, Daniels, Kazarian and Styles locked up in TNA deals. Then the next wave of guys like Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy (provided he re-signs which I expect) are there to add depth to the main event, upper mid card and midcard pictures in TNA. That’s 10 guys; 7 of them are under the age of 36 and the 3 older talents can still go like few can. Inserting another big name will do nothing but hurt the balance of the roster that TNA currently has going for them. TNA should let the WWE sign up all the indy darlings, all the older “big name” stars while TNA should look for talents that can complement the roster they currently have.