06 March 2016

Trim the Fat and Sign Talent

Let me make myself perfectly clear.  I do not typically write columns about who should have a job in TNA and who shouldn't.  However, the company is heading into a critical part of the year where they need to make the shows extra intriguing in order to maintain its audience. A small yet effective shake-up of the current roster would make a big difference.  In this piece I will share my opinion about how the Impact roster could improve and strengthen with five key subtractions and five key additions. The index of present-day Impact performers could be so much better right now.  I'd like to think that I speak for a majority of our commenting group here at TNAMecca with these suggestions as I have listened to the voice of the fans for several months.  Listed below are my personal recommendations combined with my fellow TNAMecca columnists' ideas and our readers' proposals.  I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and it would be silly to expect total uniformity amongst you all.  That's exactly why I'd like to hear what your "5 in and 5 out" list would be, so make sure to give us your feedback in the comment section.  In some respects, things have gotten a bit stale talent-wise on Impact, so why not ponder how to quickly take things up a notch in order to infuse some enthusiasm into the product?  Fans that have spent their money and time, and have made a sincere effort to follow TNA from network to network to network deserve a forum to share their opinion on this matter. 

Five Out :

Grado - It's not a secret that a majority of us here at TNAMecca (at least the vocal portion of our community) do not like Grado at all.  It's not a "we love to boo him and he's controversial" type of thing either.  It is a genuine dislike for who he is and how he comes across on TV.  I will concede that the theory of capitalizing on his appeal in the U.K. is smart business.  He is obviously over in that part of the world and I can stomach it all begrudgingly if he only appeared on that annual tour. The sole reason that I didn't turn away from his segments recently was because I wanted to see Eli Drake perform.  Take Eli out of the equation and I would have been stepping out of the room for a snack or a bathroom break.  I just can't support this Odarg/Grado bullshit any longer.  It is below TNA and I will not watch any more segments with him if he appears on Impact episodes after this final U.K. show on Tuesday.

Mahabali Shera - I don't have the same level of dislike for Shera that some fans do.  However, he brings absolutely nothing to the table.  He is a Rob Terry level wrestler that was too green to put in such a prominent role this early in his wrestling career.  The language barrier and his inability to adapt to American culture has stifled his projected progress.  I can fathom why his presence may have been perceived as somewhat important when the India Tour was on the table.  Last time I checked, the India Tour isn't happening anytime soon and I doubt that Shera headlining it would make much difference in terms of the crowd that would show up.  If you aren't going to take him off the roster, at least send him somewhere to get more training and experience so that he's not as big of an embarrassment when and if the India Tour does happen.
Velvet Sky - There's no point in having The Beautiful People group together anymore in the TNA of today.  Angelina is pregnant.  Madison Rayne doesn't need the group in order to be successful.  Velvet Sky is not good in the ring and has been very vocal on Twitter about wanting to go to the WWE to join her real life boyfriend.  It's pretty clear that TNA is slowly phasing her out anyway, so why not pull the plug completely?  Maria has already proven to be more valuable when it comes to sex appeal and overall charisma.  Velvet is no longer needed, especially when she has made her own bed of public discontent and in ring ineptitude. 

Micah - He's not good on the mic and is just an average wrestler.  He's also been featured very little in recent months and even had most of his World Title Series matches converted into short highlight clips.  I'm not sure what the point would be to leaving him on the roster moving forward as there are many better options out there.  His initial signing seemed promising with his well documented family lineage in pro-wrestling, but he was totally outshone by Eli Drake and Drew Galloway to the point where he's become  a distant afterthought.

Mr. Anderson - His value as a savvy vet has diminished vastly since the move to PopTV.  The 1 week experiment of his "Huh?!" talk show, a la Pipers Pit, was one of the worst segments on pro wrestling TV in 2016.  It was very awkward and a prime example of a channel-flipping slice of television.  It feels like Anderson's time in TNA is coming to an end.  I'd be shocked if he's around past 2016.  I'm not sure what he brings to the table at all anymore other than being a glorified jobber.

Honorable mentions: Melendez, Robbie E and Tyrus

Five in :

Shynron - Seal the deal and do it now please!  This man is very skilled in the ring and could bring much needed depth to a presently shallow X-Division.  He was brought in and allowed to give the Impact audience an appetizer of his talents in Bethlehem. Now let him work with other performers that have a similar style so that his fluidity and uniqueness can be on full display.  At this point, you need to lock him down contractually so that he doesn't get signed by another company.  That would be such a huge disappointment if Shynron got away from TNA when they've had the chance to offer a full time deal for months now. 

AR Fox - Here's another excellent X-Division-style wrestler that is available for TNA to sign that would help them tremendously in repairing the division which has become a shell of its former self.  It would be a shame if the only deterrent preventing this signing is his past with an adult film.  I think it would be progressive of TNA to look past that incident and give this high flyer a contract.  The risk of backlash is fairly minimal and if he performs well in the ring it shouldn't matter anyway.  Chris has been proposing to TNA management for a long time for Fox to be a part of the company so let's hope that it hasn't fell on deaf ears. 

Cherry Bomb - Brett has been one of Cherry's biggest advocates for her to come to TNA and the writing seems to be on the wall for her to be signed.  Her biggest rival on the indie scene, Rosemary, has become the new Internet darling of the KnockOuts Division.  It would make lot of sense to continue their feud on Impact as the previously established chemistry would translate very well to the viewing audience.  She deserves a chance to have a run on a mainstream promotion as she can work in the ring and has personality.  Awesome Kong departing has opened up at least 1 position and I think Cherry Bomb has the best odds to fill it. 

Kay Lee Ray - Looking back on the second season of British Bootcamp, it seems that Kay Lee Ray may have actually been the most appropriate wrestler to be signed to a contract.  Hindsight is always 20/20 but I can't help but hypothesize that Kay Lee Ray would have had a more effective run so far than anyone else on that show.  Mandrews and the slob with a fanny pack should have been ranked behind Nikki Storm also.  It's a tough call but when comparing Nikki and Kay Lee, I give a slight edge to the high flying red head. She has a very promising future and would be a wonderful inclusion to a division which needs depth right now also.

Killer Elite Squad - The team of Lance Hoyt and Davey Boy Smith, Jr. are my wild card pick.  It's true that there are a couple of other teams that were more preferable earlier in the year that are seemingly not options anymore (most notably reDRagon).   That being said, K.E.S. is still a very good team that could really bolster the Tag Team Division.  Lance Hoyt has already shown some interest on Twitter for a possible feud with Decay.  This old school type of team would be a solid signing for TNA as they figure to work well with any team they'd face.  This duo is well respected and would serve as a logical choice for an exciting new team to feature on Impact.

Honorable mentions: Nikki Storm, Jennifer Blake and War Machine

TNA should have money to spend with Kurt Angle coming off the books and so many other departures in the past year.  They previously made a legit attempt to sign AJ Styles, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson so it's only a matter of time for other new wrestlers to be added to the mix.  Also, it would be natural to assume that the possible new investor/s would provide financial backing to make some of these types of key signings more likely.  It appears that change is in the air.  We all want TNA to succeed and grow and having the right talent in place is a vital part of that.  Tell me who your  "5 in and 5 out" are!

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