06 October 2013

The TNA Curse: A Conspiracy Theory

There have been a few homegrown TNA talents that have jumped ship to WWE, but can you even name them? Why is it that a talent can do well in TNA but flop in WWE? Perhaps, it's the whole "big fish in a small pond" thing (at least that's what WWE would likely tell you) or maybe it's because the audiences are different (different strokes for different folks). Or is it what a friend of mine has called the "TNA Curse" where any talent that leaves TNA is cursed to never do well in WWE (okay that's a little wacky).  It could be any number of those things but I am going a different route: I'm going to channel my inner Jesse Ventura because I think there is a CONSPIRACY! My belief is that former TNA talent is being buried, sabotaged, or ignored by WWE for the sole purpose of keeping TNA down! Now, like most conspiracy theorists, I am going to look at the facts and twist them so they fit my theory (Alex Jones would be proud). We'll look at case studies and see what happened to these talents, try and understand why they floundered, and see how TNA can benefit from all this.  So get in the cage, sit back and have some Kool Aid because we are going to delve deep into the dark world of wrestling politics...
CASE STUDY #1- "Wildcat" Chris Harris

Here was a guy that tore the house down in the Asylum alongside James Storm as part of America's Most Wanted. After the team was split he seemed on his way to a decent singles run, he was even in my favorite TNA match of all time: King of the Mountain at Slammiversary 2007. Then Harris decided to make a move up north. I honestly thought he would do well. He had the look, the in ring ability, and the experience on a bigger stage than some of the guys they were bringing in at the time from developmental. Then he debuted on ECW as Braden Walker, all you need to do is search that name on You Tube to see how that run went. So what happened? I understand the guy showed up out of shape but if that were the problem, why put him out there to begin with? They could've left him off television until he got into shape or just released him. My theory, WWE WANTED him to look bad. Harris was a "TNA guy" AMW was one of the first homegrown acts that TNA had established in their early years. If he came into town and became a sensation, WWE, in their own way, would be acknowledging that TNA had talented wrestlers that they wanted. Therefore, making TNA a "place to be" for young and up coming wrestlers. But, put an out of shape unmotivated Harris with a lame gimmick and bad lines (Knock, Knock anyone?) and you've got people who may not watch TNA saying "man, TNA must suck if he was a big deal there."

CASE STUDY #2- Awesome Kong

No one was more excited than myself when I saw an unidentified Awesome Kong/Kia Stevens/Kharma knock the head off of a Barbie doll on Raw a couple of years ago. I had high hopes for Kong in WWE. She was different than the rest of the women on the roster and WWE always knew how to book monsters (for the most part). It started out great but then Kia got knocked up (and no she didn't win ODB's version of the Knockouts title). So she comes out on Raw, cries (it's working so well for Big Show right now isn't it?) and announces she is with child. WHAT? I was dumbfounded. They couldn't come up with another way to right her out? Also, having her speak killed the mystique. No monster in wrestling should speak, well coherently anyway. Imagine if Kamala came out and talked about how excited he was to become a dad; although a Kamala Jr. gimmick would've been bad ass; people would be scratching their heads as I was with the handling of Kong in WWE. So where's the conspiracy? Here it is: the Knockouts were a huge ratings grab for TNA, especially when Kong was on the roster. Vince McMahon was reportedly curious as to why these women were getting so much attention. So instead of hiring the talent and exploiting them for what they could for him, he takes a different route. He ruins Kong, now the pregnancy had a little bit to with it, but they could've worked around that. So she is a "flop" in the big leagues and the WWE brass can say "oh that type of women's wrestling is a niche, it doesn't fly in the big time." Therefore, they can keep going with their vision of women's wrestling: super models playing wrestling dress up; because let's face it, the best of the best "real women's wrestlers" failed.

CASE STUDY #3- Bobby Roode

OK I am aware that Bobby Roode never signed with WWE (he did a couple of job matches on Sunday Night Heat I believe though), but just before Lockdown of this year reports came out that Roode's contract with TNA had expired and he had not signed a new deal. He was even pulled off of Impact for a week or two, but come Lockdown, Roode was back and all was well. I'm glad Roode is still with TNA as I am sure most TNA fans are, but why didn't WWE jump on this? Roode has everything they are looking for in a superstar. One would think they would make him an offer not only to exploit his talents for their own gain, but also to hurt the competition. They did this a couple of years prior when TNA was going to reform the Main Event Mafia and all of a sudden Kevin Nash and Booker T pop on WWE TV, so it's not unlike them to do this. So here's my theory: Roode not being offered a deal sends a message, go to TNA and you never make it up north.  This could be being done on purpose to try and keep young, up coming talents from signing with TNA. When was the last time TNA signed an ROH talent? Kenny King is the only name I can think of in the last 3 years (maybe Austin Aries as well if you count him as an ROH talent at the time) and look how many WWE has signed. Now, money could always be a factor here, especially for the top end of ROH talent, but we haven't even seen a lower end guy come over in a while. Shelbin touched on this in a POV column here on the site; ROH talent seem to be avoiding TNA right now. Perhaps WWE's message is getting through to them over there. Not to say that there isn't any talented wrestlers elsewhere on the independents, but with the recent success of ROH alumni in both WWE and TNA, they have developed a reputation for producing stars and WWE is making sure it is for them and them only. CONSPIRACY I TELLS YA!

Final Thoughts

Ok, don't worry folks, I'm really not that serious. I'm having a little fun here. I'm not sure if there is actually a conspiracy at work or whether this is just a series of random coincidences. I do find it interesting though. I mean when you think back to Dusty Rhodes in polka dots and The Giant losing on his first night in WWE, it kind of makes sense. I hear from a lot fans that WWE doesn't consider TNA competition, but I think the above points prove otherwise, or at least prove they are a rival that they are aware of. However, I feel TNA can benefit from all this. Think about it, if AJ Styles' contract situation is what we hear it is, he may not have the leverage you'd think he'd have. Where else is there to go? New Japan? ROH? WWE would be his best option, but if they aren't interested...Another way I feel TNA can benefit (and again Shelbin touched on this) is it forces TNA to look elsewhere for new and fresh talent. ROH is full of great wrestlers, but there are plenty of amazing talents to be found all over the indies. Perhaps TNA can focus on talents they know the WWE would not have much interest in (good ones I would hope) and work on bringing them along to be the new stars of TNA. This could further establish TNA as the alternative that people have been saying they should be.  So what do you, the great readers of TNAMecca (cheap pop), think? Why do you think ex-TNA talents haven't had a lot of success up north? Does it even matter to you as a TNA fan? Would love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I'll wrestle with my inner Jesse, like Arnie did in The Running Man, put away my copies of The Lone Gunmen, and get out of the cage!

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