By Captain Scarlet
"TNA shouldn’t sign that guy, he was just a jobber in WWE and he’ll make TNA look bad." I’m sure most people reading this will have seen that whenever TNA is looking to sign former WWE talent. It's thought that any WWE wrestler treated like garbage is a jobber whom TNA shouldn’t sign. This kind of blanket statement annoys me, as it would mean a lot of young talent being ignored simply because WWE’s booking team "has nothing for them." Although EC3 was dumped by WWE, he was gone before he was jobbed out on the main shows, so he wouldn’t really fall into this category. The same goes for Bram, as I don’t think he appeared on anything above NXT before being released. I’m talking more about Tyrus and Drew Galloway.
When TNA has signed another so-called jobber RECENTLY (let us not talk of Aces & Eights and others in the past), I give them a chance and see what they can do. Tyrus is being used as a big bodyguard for EC3, a role that suits him well and he has done a good job in. It's working. Drew’s new role (anti-sports entertainment) seems interesting and with his background, could also work, and be something different. From the camera work, to the logos, to the talent, TNA is desperately trying to create a new identity, one that is distinct from WWE rather than a pale imitation. Although signing WWE "castoffs" is derided by some as showing a lack of ambition, I believe it shows a willingness to give talented people the chance they weren’t given in WWE.
I will say this right now; TNA cannot compete with WWE in signing talent, they just don’t have the money. If WWE wants a big name indie guy, chances are, they’ll get them. That guy will go to NXT and get pushed there, before being called up to the main roster or being released. So the majority of talented wrestlers in the U.S. will have, at some point, worked for WWE, especially going forward now they seem to sign anyone passing for NXT.
Therefore a sizable proportion of TNA's young signings will probably have either passed through NXT or been messed around on the main roster, being poorly booked with an awful gimmick. TNA cannot afford to instantly dismiss that second group, and thankfully, they haven't, as I’ve mentioned above. They have to judge talent based solely on whether or not they fit within the company and have any abilities worth adding, rather than how WWE’s booking team bodged up this time.
WWE may be able to mess up, pick a new wrestler off the pile and do it all again, but TNA does not have that luxury. They can grab new, lesser known indie wrestlers and push them, but they'll have to do the same with so-called "WWE rejects." It annoys me when people dismiss someone's career based on what will probably have been a brief run in the WWE, and then declares that TNA signing them will be bad for business because the "mainstream" audience will see them as garbage. I think the vast majority of wrestling fans are pretty forgiving of what a wrestler has done previously, and will give that person a second chance (or third, or fourth) depending on how they're booked.
There isn’t an unlimited well of talent for the smaller companies to dip into, and with NXT grabbing people left and right, the options become even more limited. I don’t want TNA to start signing former WWE talent just because they were there, but when you’re searching for a diamond in the rough, you can’t afford to be picky where you look. Signing former TNA talent that were let go for budget cuts should also be taken into account, as the likes of Crimson and others do have something to offer and are still young.
I guess what I’m saying is that talent is talent – if someone was badly used, they can be rebuilt and given new life. TNA has to become that platform where you can see exciting young talent emerging. One of my favorite memories during the Attitude Era was when a talent jumped to another company and was given a new gimmick and a new direction. Watching them grow and improve was always a highlight of the shows, whichever company it was in. TNA has been doing that, and can keep doing that, as they continue to experiment on a new channel.