24 January 2014

The Roster Breakdown: Part 1

In TNA's recent ad campaign, two specific things were mentioned that are evidently coming into play as the company moves forward, new talent and new characters. With TNA hyping the arrival of more new faces and new gimmicks, the current roster will more than likely under evaluation to make room for new talent and for some current stars to possibly receive new gimmicks. In this two part column, I will run down the TNA roster and give a brief summary of a superstar, and conclude whether they will carry on as normal, repackaged with a new persona or find themselves heading for the exit.

Abyss - The monster continues to make appearances on TNA TV, whether it be in full Abyss attire or as the monster within Joseph Park. The future of Abyss is intertwined with his "Brother's" and it seems their futures will come to a crossroads in the near future. After only appearing for short stints over the last two years, the Abyss character has re-captured is intimidation factor and the interest of fans. My conclusion is that Abyss will continue down the path leading to some sort of revelation concerning himself and his brother.

Austin Aries - Aries is once again the X Division champion after losing the title just a few weeks ago. While he may have won the X Division title twice in the time period, Aries has lacked direction for several months until recently going after Chris Sabin and seemingly getting pulled into Sabin & Velvet Sky's relationship issues. Now that Aries is Champion again, and Sabin seems more occupied with Velvet, I predict/hope Aries will move onto new challengers coming after his X Division title.

Bad Influence - Daniels & Kazarian continue to entertain both in the ring and on the mic. Currently they find themselves playing Sherlock & Watson trying to "expose" Joseph Park as Abyss, and that story seems far from over. In the last few days a rumour has appeared saying their contracts are up in April, whether it's true or not, I think both men will re-sign if necessary and continue to be 2 entertaining characters on Impact Wrestling.

Bobby Roode - The It Factor has kept himself busy since Bound For Glory, continuing to mock and do battle with Kurt Angle, and deliver some great segments and matches in the process. Roode really is such a strong point on TNA's roster, and after being the one to put down AJ Styles, Roode has cemented himself as one of TNA's top stars going forward. The future is very bright for Roode, and I see him being a big part of TNA's 2014.

Brooke - Like most involved in the Aces & 8's, Brooke currently finds herself with nothing to do. After being dumped by Bully Ray, she has yet to return to the Knockouts division and attempt to regain the Knockouts title. Because she is not on the UK tour, it seems she won't be able to return to TV until Lockdown. While it may seem bleak that she is not in TNA's plans for the next few months, I see Brooke returning after Lockdown and going straight into the title hunt.

BroMans - As current World Tag Team Champions and members of Team Dixie, Robbie & Jessie are getting the biggest push of their careers. They originally formed as a comedy duo, however since BFG they have taken more of a serious role in the ring and established themselves as a solid tag team. Before last week I would have said the BroMans will continue to ride high as Tag Champions, however the signing of the Wolves and their alliance with the new investor indicates to me they will have solid contenders coming after them to take the belts as well as get one over on Team Dixie.

Bully Ray - The Former World Champion and Aces & 8's President has evolved again, now with a darker persona, Bully Ray is one of a few stars that have received a big character change recently, showcasing the range Bully has. It's safe to say Ray's new character is a project of the creative team, so expect for him to develop this character in the coming months before stepping back into the title hunt.

Chris Sabin - It's been up, down, up, down for Chris Sabin recently. In 3 months Sabin has won the X Division title twice and lost the X Division title twice. He broke the record for most X Division title wins but also seems to have broken his relationship with Velvet Sky in the process. With Velvet finally saying enough is enough with Sabin using her to win, I expect Chris' attention will shift from the X Division title to his girlfriend.

The Wolves - Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards debuted in TNA just a week ago, and already find themselves playing somewhat of a big role on TV. As well as being dubbed the hottest free agent Tag Team, they made even more of an Impact by revealing that the company had a new investor, something that looks to dominate the world of Impact Wrestling for the foreseeable future. I'm 99% sure the Wolves will already have the World Tag Team Titles in their sights, but I see them doing the bidding of the new investor in their future as well, making them a big part of the company just a week after arriving.

Eric Young - Since he returned last March, EY has toned his character down a bit to mix his great comedic skills with his serious side to give viewers the best of both. In recent months EY has befriended Joseph Park and began a "science experiment" to prove whether or not Park is actually his brother Abyss. With the Park story being one that has lasted for such a long time and has yet to reach its end, Young looks to continue playing scientist as he tries to prove his theory is correct.

Ethan Carter III - EC3 has only been on the TNA roster for a few months, but it is clear he is a future star and will play a big role in the company for many years to come. Carter received a whole new persona when he entered Impact Wrestling, and he has made it a success. With him being such a recent signing and almost immediately becoming a big part of TNA, it's clear the future is very bright for EC3.

Gail Kim - The Knockouts Division isn't in the best state right now, however the cornerstone of it the past year or so has been Gail Kim. Kim has constantly delivered in the ring with several opponents, and until recently was the Division's crown jewel. While the short term direction seems to be the continuation of Gail's feud with Madison Rayne, fresh faces are needed in the division, and the person who can turn someone from a d├ębutante to a established face is Gail Kim.

Garett Bischoff - Since being pile-driven on the stage by Mr Anderson several months ago, Bischoff has not been seen or heard from. While Garett was able to improve his look when he was given the chance to be apart of the Aces & 8's, his in-ring work and promo skills didn't follow suit. It seems like TNA have no plans for Bischoff, and with his father leaving the company, I believe the writing is on the wall and Garett will be released in the very near future.

Gunner - As we're all aware, their is a youth movement going on in TNA, as it's evident with young and fresh faces being given bigger roles in the last several months, and Gunner is certainly apart of that. The Modern Day Viking finds himself in possession of a World Heavyweight Title shot that he can cash in at any time over the next year, and after beating his former partner James Storm, Gunner is riding on a wave of momentum. The next few months could be interesting for him, whether cashing in his title shot is successful or not, it may elevate him as being a top guy in the promotion depending on his development in the coming months.

Hernandez - Super Mex is another who finds himself sitting at home with nothing to do. After the Bound For Glory Pre-Show, Hernandez has only been seen on Impact Wresting twice, and with the firing of his partner Chavo Guerrero, his chances of stepping back into the tag scene have reduced dramatically. While he's looked like a promising talent during his LAX days and first singles run, it's been several years since Hernandez has really stood out, and with changes to the roster happening, now may be the time where TNA decide his services are no longer needed.

James Storm - Currently the Cowboy is re-entering the Heavyweight division since forming yet another title winning team with Gunner. Currently in a conflict with his former partner, Storm needs to re-build after his loss last night, whether that is to continue to pursue Gunner or move onto mounting a challenge to Magnus is unclear, however Storm has all the tools to be TNA's top face, and maybe the opportunity will come to him now that the likes of AJ Styles & Sting are gone.

Jeff Hardy - There isn't really much to say about the Charismatic Enigma, the last time we saw him he "quit" saying the company was a dark kingdom and that he wouldn't return until the light shone on it once again. While some thought Hardy's exit in December really was him leaving the company, I can tell you he isn't going anywhere any time soon. My prediction is now with the new investor, he will shine some light back onto TNA over the next 6 weeks in the UK, which maybe enough to see Hardy return at Lockdown.

The first half of the roster are mostly being used in significant roles on TV, with only a select few finding themselves sitting at home with their futures in question. The second half of the roster is a bit of a different story, but as you can tell by the title this breakdown is a two parter, so the second half is for another time. I'm interested to hear what you think, do you think some of these names should be in more prominent roles? Are some in a bigger role than they should be? And whether on the shelf or on our screens, do you see a new gimmick for someone being the making of them? Make sure you share your thoughts in the comments below, and I'll see you soon for part 2.

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