02 May 2014

Eric Young: A Champion True to Himself

We're just over three weeks into The Reign of Eric Young and I must say it's been a very fun ride so far.  Skeptics were focused initially on the comparisons between EY and another bearded champion.  That comparison morphed into somewhat of an obsession.  That obsession has now bled over to critics nonsensically claiming that even The Menagerie is a rip-off of another group up north (and that's without seeing the group on TV yet).  They're required to have one apparently, so here's the new talking point of the anti-TNA group out there: TNA is copying the WWE.  Recently I read that Jim Ross feels that same way and is calling for "TNA to just focus on being TNA", amongst other things.  JR, just don't.  Do you even watch the show consistently Good Ol' JR?  Maybe you should put down the barbecued ribs and actually watch IMPACT objectively.  Oh wait, that's right, you can't do that because WWE still sells your product thus your opinion doesn't mean jack-shit.  I find it humorous that Dixie Carter called him out on Twitter when he recently claimed that "TNA needs to sign new talent".  Really?  Again, that's an indicator that he isn't really paying attention and should keep his trap shut about things he doesn't know.  But this POV isn't about the anti-TNA sentiment out there in the IWC.  It's about Showtime and his dream that has became a reality.

To say that his initial World Title win over Magnus on IMPACT was a surprise is a gross understatement.  The shock and awe period has now worn off and the focus has shifted to EY's identity as a World Champion.  He has had 3 consecutive clean wins over former World Champions in Abyss, Magnus and Bobby Roode.  The most impressive victory was this last IMPACT against the It Factor as they both showcased their impressive skills and Eric became even more established as the World Heavyweight Champion.  This whole thing is not a cheap trick to get the title off of Magnus.  TNA believes in Eric Young as the hood ornament of their company.  I just saw a commercial on Animal Planet today for EY's new show "No Limits" and it looks fantastic.  Starting May 30th (given there's no title change beforehand) TNA is going to have their current World Champion with his own national TV show for the first time in company history.  Is it going to take IMPACT Wrestling to unbelievable new heights and make a gigantic difference in ratings instantly?  Probably not.  BUT, the fact is, getting this type of promotion is something that TNA will have never experienced, so we don't really know what the end result will be.  Maybe the cross-promotion between Animal Planet/Discovery Channel and TNA is still being worked out as we speak?  I do know that these two entities working together won't hurt things, and I know capitalizing on it is a savvy business decision.  Besides that, it's anyone's guess if it will translate to increased viewership or ratings for IMPACT in the U.S., but that should not be the only barometer of success. 

Eric Young's calling card in TNA now is to be a fighting champion.  He knows, as well as we do, that the future is never guaranteed and holding the World Title won't last forever.  Eric Young is going to be Eric Young (he can't help it).  He's uniquely lovable and people connect with him; that natural attachment cannot be taught.  While he's in this moment, however, he is going to take advantage of every opportunity afforded to him.  As many have pointed out, Showtime is a great in-ring worker and very skilled on the mic.  There's absolutely no question of his work ethic nor his loyalty to TNA.  He has been a Team TNA player for a long, long time.  I suspect that slowly but surely some of the people that are against EY being champion are going to soften their stance and embrace it.  You can't help but like and respect the man as his entertaining ways and positivity are infectious.  Then again, some people are as stubborn as a mule too, so a portion of fans will probably fight this whole run until the end.  My advice is to savor the journey and stop comparing EY to someone else.  Eric Young is having a fantastically fun time every single moment he's in that ring.  It's hard to enjoy something that you have preconceived notions about.  Break those walls down and get over yourself.        

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