04 September 2013

Shelbin Swerve: TNA Roster Analysis Part I

A perennially bloated roster was a luxury that TNA had been previously able to afford but with the rising costs of taking Impact on the road, the company was forced to begin the process of trimming their roster via talent cuts in recent weeks.  With this in mind, I've decided to take a closer look at the current roster and share with you my opinion on whether or not each individual should remain with the company or be released.  

Before I begin my analysis on those who have seemingly been spared a pink slip, I'd like to go on record as to say this: although I hate to see anyone lose their job, the replenishing of a pro wrestling roster is imperative in order to continue to produce quality television and to keep costs to a minimum.  I had absolutely no issue with TNA's decision to release the talents that they did.  Most of them were simply not being booked and/or not in the company's future plans.

The current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Bully Ray, is arguably the best heel in pro wrestling right now.  He has single-handedly made the endless Aces and 8s storyline bearable and, at times, even enjoyable.  On the downside, however, he's been bogged down by the Hogan family drama, which essentially took some of the luster off his first title reign.  Luckily for viewers, the start of his second title reign has shown much more promise with the addition of Brooke Tessmacher and Tito Ortiz.

CONCLUSION: Unlike many of the former WWE superstars who have worked for TNA and continue to do so, Bully Ray has reinvented himself with his bully gimmick, so much so that WWE are blatantly ripping it off.  Keep him.

Jeff Hardy hasn't quite recovered since his loss to Bully Ray in Full Metal Mayhem a couple of months ago, although his final four finish (for now) in the BFG Series could rejuvenate him.  I can't imagine he'll win the Series, again this year, and with the prospect of the Charismatic Enigma missing the forthcoming UK Tour, that leaves the writers with few options, essentially making Hardy a high priced mid-carder for the next few months.  That's hardly an ideal situation.

CONCLUSION: I have a huge amount of respect for Jeff Hardy's ability to bounce back from a horrific 2011, which still haunts the company to this day, but he's one of the company's most popular wrestlers and his merchandise sells extremely well.  Keep him.

It's been quite an interesting couple of weeks for AJ Styles, which saw the Phenomenal One become the subject of rumors that he could possibly leave TNA if the two couldn't come to an agreement on a deal.  Since then, he's reportedly agreed to a short term extension in order to continue to negotiate with the company.  Creatively, Styles' character is a bit of a mess right now but it appears that the writers are scrambling to put the lone wolf gimmick to rest, thankfully, and resurrect the AJ Styles we know and love, albeit with a slight edge.

CONCLUSION: Still eligible to advance in the BFG Series, AJ Styles can win it all and move on to challenge Bully Ray at Bound for Glory.  A victory by the face of the company on its biggest night of the year could essentially give TNA the much needed reset that it's been seeking for the last few weeks.  Keep him.

Although he still has a chance to advance to the BFG Series final four by winning the Gauntlet, I'm surprised by how little of an impact Samoa Joe has made in this year's Series, especially since he's a member of the Main Even Mafia.  But again, I suspect that he was merely a victim of TNA's decision to prematurely end the Series.  Unfortunately for Joe, he's been hampered by the Aces and 8s storyline for the last year, rendering him unavailable for other feuds.

CONCLUSION: Part of me wonders if Samoa Joe will ever be a legit world title contender again.  It's hard to say but judging by the way the fans cheer for him on the road, I think they still see him as a main event competitor.  I think it's time that TNA management followed suit.  Keep him.

I might be in the minority but I find the Bro Mans entertaining and I feel that there's room in any wrestling promotion for a comedy tag team.  However, their jobber status essentially makes them expendable.  Under the circumstances, I don't think TNA can continue to pay a pair of glorified jobbers when the company could simply hire enhancement talent to serve the same purpose.

CONCLUSION: The Bro Mans play their roles perfectly but as entertaining as the duo are I'm afraid they may have hit a dead end creatively.  I wouldn't cut Jessie Godderz simply because I believe that he hasn't reached his full potential as a performer.  I would cut Robbie E, however, or change his status to pay-per-appearance.

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