Guest Editorials Guest Editorial: A case for why TNA has the best roster in the history of pro wrestling and how to take advantage of it
Mar 10, 2008 - 7:47:08 PM
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By Darvio Morrow of Cleveland, Ohio, PWTorch.com reader
TNA has the best roster in the history of professional wrestling. Bar none. No other company has ever had such an eclectic mix of established stars, older veterans, and newcomers. They have the name recognition with the older stars and pure athletes with the X Division. It sounds like WCW's business plan, so why aren't they getting WCW numbers?
Paul Heyman, when asked about TNA, has said that they "don't have any talent that can be identified with TNA and TNA only." Paul was only partially right. TNA does have marketable talent that can help identify the brand. They just haven't used them properly.
There are five wrestlers and a tag team in TNA who have been either grossly misused or completely underused. They have enough wrestlers. If they would use the talent that they have properly, their buyrates and profits would go through the roof. From a marketing standpoint, here are the guys that I think would take this company to the next level.
Samoa Joe: Samoa Joe is the next Bill Goldberg, no question. He is a very talented athlete, but athleticism doesn't mean anything if you can't market it outside of the internet wrestling community. Samoa Joe is very marketable. He has the intensity, the look, and the swagger. His mic skills are better, but they still leave a little to be desired. Even though it seems like they are finally going to give Samoa Joe the title, I believe that him teaming up with Christian and Kevin Nash is an example of him being misused. Kevin plays the mentor role fine and I'm ok with that, but if you remember the way that Goldberg, the Rock and Stone Cold would tag team with people, they would do it in a way that would keep their "lone ranger" personas. Samoa Joe is a "lone ranger", and while he should be able to tag team with anyone, he should get "chummy" with no one. Stay away from the complaints about money and contracts, etc. It takes away from his persona. TNA has to make Samoa Joe look like a badass without making him look like a jackass.
LAX: The way that the Latin American Xchange has been used is such a travesty of justice and it proves to me that TNA has no clue that they are sitting on a gold mine. LAX is the next nWo! The attitude is there. The marketing is there. The skills are there. No one has to tell them to be rebels because they already are. The thing that concerns me is that TNA has done so much damage to LAX that they will have to move quickly to repair it, or they could lose it. One of the reasons that I have heard that LAX wasn't being pushed is because they didn't have any one to talk for them, now that Konnan has left. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I could have sworn that they hired a man by the name of Hector Guererro! They made a big deal about him being there, and did nothing with him. Take LAX off of TV for a month (to attempt to un-do the year's worth of damage done to them). Then, when you bring them back, make Hector the mouthpiece and turn the group heel again. The magic would be back.
Robert Roode: In the last five years, there have been very few people who can make a crowd hate their guts like Robert Roode. His persona just screams "Triple H in 1999." He is a classic heel, and his rivalry with Booker T should have elevated him. Instead, they managed to not only stagnate Robert Roode, but lower Booker T as well.
"Black Machismo" Jay Lethal: The success of Jay Lethal was something that TNA accidentally stumbled into, but since it works, why not run with it? The fact that Curry Man and Shark Boy vs. Team 3D was given more attention and prominence on last nights Pay-Per-View card than Jay Lethal's title match is unbelievable. I like the "So Cal Elizabeth" storyline, but TNA needs to pick up the pace a little bit.
Sting: First of all, he's Sting. He already has name recognition. Sting should be used the way that WWE uses the Undertaker, but instead, TNA uses him the way that WWE uses Ric Flair. Every time that you see Sting on television, it should be treated like a big deal. On Smackdown, even if the Undertaker is just picking up a microphone, it is treated like a big deal. Sting was overused and underused at the same time. It's good that he's been gone for a while, so now maybe they will treat him like the legend that he is when he returns. (Here's an idea. Sting vs. Robert Roode.)
Tomko: TNA really screwed this one up. They deserve all the credit in the world for building Tomko up to this point. (If you remember him in WWE, you will agree.) He is a guy who was in WWE, but can be considered as one of TNA's own because his character was tremendously developed in TNA. They have done all that work, but they stop him just as he is getting ready to break that glass ceiling. Tomko is their answer to Batista. He should be marketed as the babyface who is a tough guy, a "man's man." Instead, they took him out of Christian's shadow and put him in Kurt Angle's shadow.
If you look at the character elements that made WCW and WWE successful in the 1990s, it is all here in TNA right now. LAX and Joe is their NWO, and Goldberg, Roode is their Triple H, and Tomko is their Batista. Sting is Sting. Use these characters properly and they will bring TNA the success that they always wanted and they will finally hit the 2.0 mark.
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