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30 June 2014

Walking Through the TNA Hall of Fame


Well folks, Slammiversary is in the books and while there are a lot of things that we could discuss coming out of the show, here, I'd like to focus on the announcement of Team 3D being the latest inductee's into the TNA Hall of Fame. While most fans would agree that 3D deserves the honor, there seems to be a major complaint when it comes to the lack of "TNA originals" in the Hall. Fans have been dropping names like AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett as past performers that should've gone into TNA's Hall of Fame before any of the other inductee's. It does seem painfully obvious that Styles, Jarrett and others would be ideal choices, so why aren't they in? Only the TNA brass can really answer that question, but I will attempt to find the method in TNA's madness when it comes to the HOF. There are many factors that I feel some are over looking when it comes to the selection process. So let's crack open the cage and take a walk down through the hall of fame and analyze the who, what, where's and why's of TNA's Hall of Fame.

POLITICAL FACTOR

The first two names that many fans mention when talking about who should go in the TNA Hall of Fame are AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett. This is with good reason; AJ was TNA's first home grown star and Jarrett founded the company. However, Sting, Kurt Angle and Team 3D have been inducted ahead of these two. As it stands currently there are plenty of reasons why Double J and Styles are not in the Hall as both are on the outs with TNA, but they weren't two years ago or even last year. So what gives? The only answer that I can think of is that perhaps TNA were expecting these two to still be working for them down the road, while Sting and Angle perhaps were not going to be around for much longer, so TNA felt they needed to induct them now in order to do it. Who would've expected in 2012 that AJ would be working for ROH and New Japan and Jarrett would be starting a rival promotion? I certainly wouldn't have seen it coming.

So why doesn't TNA induct them anyway? It likely wouldn't be difficult to get them to come back for one night would it? Jarrett still owns part of the company anyway doesn't he? Well, that's where the politics comes into play. Jarrett has been promoting his new business venture like crazy and it likely wouldn't be above him to somehow use the Hall of Fame induction in order to promote GFW. Plus, any publicity for Jarrett would be pub for a potential rival. AJ on the other hand has been trashing TNA every chance he gets in interviews. Now, he may have every right to, but TNA cannot be happy about the dirty laundry being aired so I don't think the sides would come to any kind of agreement, at least not right now. Plus, like Jarrett, he is working for a rival promotion and it is apparent that TNA and ROH have a sort of war brewing right now.

Politics plays a factor for anyone that may be associated with WWE as well, so I wouldn't hold my breath if you want to see Christian Cage, Hulk Hogan or Rob Van Dam. It's hard in wrestling as you can't look at a win-loss record or accomplishments like setting homerun records or something like that. Unfortunately, it seems to be more about who is in good standing with TNA right now.


WWE FACTOR

What does WWE have to do with TNA's Hall of Fame? Well, to me I see Sting, Angle and 3D as guys that could easily be WWE Hall of Famers and I would expect them all to be inducted one day (Sting may be sooner than later). Perhaps TNA is trying to beat WWE to the punch and honor these guys before Vinny Mac has a chance to. I know some readers out there aren't going to like this but as it stands right now, the WWE Hall of Fame is a bigger deal than TNA's. If TNA inducts a wrestler who is already a WWE HOFer would it be as big an honor? Plus, wouldn't it just look like TNA is "copying WWE" by inducting someone who is already a WWE Hall of Famer? I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't do that as I am sure there will be folks that deserve the honor, but TNA doesn't want to look like they are late for the party.

Plus, you cannot knock the accomplishments of some of the "WWE/WCW guys" who have come to TNA. Angle and Sting brought new fans to the TNA product. Angle (along with Samoa Joe) has been part of what is possibly TNA's biggest drawing match. Sting was the first to really move the ratings, even helping TNA score a big number on a Saturday night for his first Impact appearance. Team 3D are synonymous with tag team wrestling and helped build up some TNA teams like Beer Money and The Motor City Machine Guns. Pro wrestling isn't about wins and losses or who has held the most titles, it's about who created the most interest, who had the most impact. While we all appreciate what the TNA originals have done for TNA, and they deserve all the credit they get, one cannot deny that when it came to having an IMMEDIATE impact, Sting, Angle and 3D are hard to beat.


AGE FACTOR

When someone is called a "Hall of Famer" do you think of an up and coming superstar? Would you even think of someone who is currently in the prime of their career? Usually, the term Hall of Famer is reserved for legends, people who have already accomplished so much. Basically, their best years are behind them. While, I understand that wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, James Storm and AJ Styles have accomplished a lot in TNA, is the term "Hall of Famer" suitable for a group of guys who could still be wrestling for another 10 years? They could still have more to accomplish in their careers. It would feel strange to me to refer to Roode as a Hall of Famer because he still feels so young to me. He's 37, which isn't old at all, even for a wrestler. Plus, because guys like Roode, Storm and Joe got their first big break in TNA, they're "TV age" is young, being that they have never been any other national platform.

It also doesn't hurt to have a few major names in the Hall before some originals go in. Putting some established names in makes it look more prestigious so when the originals do go in along side legends of wrestling like Sting, Kurt Angle and Team 3D, it makes their accomplishments in TNA look on the same level. I think the other issue when it comes to the age factor is that TNA's roster is very young right now, and finding wrestlers that are willing to accept the honor and that are still in good standing with the company and are over the age of 40 is hard to find.  Sure, there are a few names that are not on the roster that come to mind (Jerry Lynn, Raven) but it appears that TNA is mostly sticking with wrestlers that are on the payroll. With most of the roster being under 40, tagging someone with the term "Hall of Famer" may not do them any favors.

No one can deny that "TNA Originals" deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, when one really thinks about all these factors that can play into who gets in and who isn't in yet, I can see why TNA has made the choices they've made. So again, I leave it you. Do you think AJ and Double J and others who are on the "outs" with TNA should go in anyway? Do you think the term Hall of Famer screams "OLD"? Let me know. Till then, cage closed.

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