Eric Young is not a bad wrestler. Nor is he an especially good one. His sole previous foray into main events (as part of the heel World Elite faction) was utterly unmemorable and saw Young busted back down to his natural role as comedy face soon after it ended. It’s that role he's been known for throughout his TNA career. He’s the comedy guy who goes out and makes the punters laugh. He’s also, for the record, a former Knockouts tag team champion, hardly something you look for on the CV of a prospective world champ.
|Eric Young is the TNA champion|
Eric Young does not have the aura of a world champion. Nor do I believe he has the ability to cut it as an underdog champion who flukes his way to successful title defences (a viable way of turning someone into a legitimate main event act over time). He has been promoted far too quickly to the role of champion and his win has harmed the prestige of the title and, by extension, the promotion.
The TNA championship is once again looking like something that everyone gets a turn with if they stay under contract long enough. That simply shouldn't be. A promotion’s world title should be its top prize, something only the elite win. It's not as important as it was in the days of kayfabe but a world title is still a significant part of a promotion's success. The champion’s credibility (or lack of it) will help to form people's opinions of the company as a whole (especially a smaller outfit like TNA). A meaningful championship is needed for a lead babyface to chase and hold. If the title means nothing then what has that top star (or anyone else) accomplished by winning it? Any athlete needs a prize worth competing for.
Bobby Roode or Austin Aries would have been a better choice for the role of relieving Magnus of his title. For starters both already have title reigns notched up, which would have avoided giving yet another member of the roster their go with the belt. More importantly they are both more credible than EY. They both look, talk, wrestle and carry themselves like main eventers and have histories at the top of the card. There was an obvious storyline to present in having a heel ally of Magnus gradually turn on him before taking the title from him, and either ‘A Double’ or ‘The It Factor’ would have been a perfect fit.
And let's spare a thought for Magnus. He had what should have been a career defining reign curtailed to reward a mid-carder's loyalty and-or to give the audience a Shock Moment™ (this more than anything else has convinced me that Vince Russo has indeed returned to TNA1). He is not the most talented man in TNA but he looked and acted the part, and was growing into the role of both champion and faction centrepiece. Of the talent at TNA's disposal he was one of their best choices for a fresh start champ. Perhaps he'll get the strap back in a few weeks. Perhaps he'll go on to have a longer, more impressive reign in the future. But the damage is done. He is now the man whose first reign ended at the hands of ‘Showtime’ Eric Young.
This is another example of TNA floundering around aimlessly, desperately searching for something that will click with viewers and ignite their popularity. It's not something that will cause the downfall of a company. At this point it barely registers above the background hum of absurdity they present on a weekly basis. When the story of TNA's downfall comes to be written this will simply be another point on the graph. But it’s one that could, and should, have been avoided.
1 I've defended him in the past and will defend him in the future but I disagree (as talked about above) with Russo’s belief that wrestling championships are simply props that embellish the drama of the stories he's telling. They can enhance the perception of a wrestler or feud and lend credibility to a company. Think of how Daniel Bryan’s recent journey to the top of WWE would have been affected if there were no meaningful championship for him to win in the main of WrestleMania.