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TNA will conclude its World Title Series on Tuesday, when Impact debuts live on Pop TV. Over the last three months, TNA has seen several wrestlers rise to the occasion during this tournament, while others have been booked to fall by the wayside.
It will be interesting to see if the TNA product is any different once it returns live on Pop TV this Tuesday. For much of the past three months, Impact Wrestling has taken on an relatively old-school approach. It’s not a squash show, but it’s the same format, using an order of match-interview-match-interview.
Long-term TNA will need some angles and storylines to spice up the broadcast, but the focus on the actual wrestling product has been good step in differentiating them from WWE. TNA has taken on a very sportlike feel over these past few months.
TNA is in a tougher spot than ever, though, with WWE actually creating its own alternative brand — NXT — it makes it even more difficult for TNA and other nationally-televised brands to carve out their niche in the marketplace.
Moving forward, TNA needs to focus on its talent. Ultimately, that’s the lifeblood of a wrestling company. It needs to invest in developing the talent it has, and also invest on bringing in the best outside talent it can — such as Mike Bennett — in order to better the roster, which was somewhat exposed in certain areas during the three-month World Title Series that will wrap on Tuesday.
Coming out of that tournament, there were some risers and fallers. Here, we examine them:
The biggest riser coming out of this tournament could be Robbie E., and that includes whoever wins the TNA World Title on Tuesday night. If you consider where Robbie E. started this World Title Series, just where he was on the card, and where he could end up now that it’s over, Robbie might have taken the biggest jump of anyone in the tournament.
He only won one match — beating Eddie Edwards — but Robbie was booked to look extremely competitive against not only Davey Richards, but the focal point of the entire tournament, Matt Hardy, in group play. He broke out as a singles wrestler and TNA could do some meaningful things with Robbie E as they enter the Pop era.
Speaking of former BroMans, D.J. Z. also saw his stock rise within the X Division after winning that group via a tiebreaker three-way match with X-Division champion, Tigre Uno. But D.J. Z. scored the first pinfall, which technically means he won the group (right?), but it also signifies that TNA might be ready to run with him in the X Division once they return to a regular TV schedule.
Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz both began establishing themselves as heels. Drake in particular was helped by the roundtables and backstage promos. There’s a lot of work to do with both, but they began to forward themselves in this tournament.
Drew Galloway continued what feels like a slow rise to the top, and it might be too slow to rise. Like Anderson, he’s a former WWE talent that has been relatively untapped.
Lastly, there’s Mahabali Shera. With the tour of India postponed, at least for the time being, it will be interesting to see where TNA goes with Shera once they return to television tapings this week. Shera was being built up throughout the World Title Series, but there was also a big tour of India that was supposed to happen in December, and Shera figured to be a big part of those creative and promotional plans.
With that tour not happening, TNA could begin slowing his push down. But fact is that he went undefeated in group play before running into Lashley in the Round of 16.
Mr. Anderson tops the list, unfortunately. He’s a talent that TNA dropped the ball with after he made the move from WWE. He had breakout potential in WWE and worked as a borderline main-eventer before falling out of grace, it would appear, with several of the company’s other top stars.
Anderson has a charisma about him that should be better utilized. His work is jerky, but realistic. Anderson looks like he’s in a fight when he’s wrestling a match, he doesn’t look like he’s in a choreographed dance.
Anderson inexplicably was swept out of group play. In hindsight, in order to utilize Anderson better not only within this tournament but in the company as a whole, he should have been in a different group. Anderson would have been better utilized in the Wild Card group, perhaps, where he could have advanced rather than Kenny King.
Bobby Roode was another talent that surprised in how early he was eliminated. Roode made it to the Round of 16 but was defeated in his first match to Matt Hardy. It’s not that Roode lost to Hardy, but saving that match for later in the bracket could have been better for Roode.
Roode should have been switched with Shera or even Davey Richards, who could have lost in the Round of 16 as a singles wrestler and recovered just fine, as it’s presumed he’ll go back into a tag team with The Wolves now that the tournament is complete.