Thursday 7 June 2012

Hall of TNA

Last week's live IMPACT was a chance for TNA to do something different, a chance to set themselves apart from their chief competitors and encourage a new batch of fans to their programming.
That show should have been all about establishing TNA as a revolutionary, dynamic promotion that is home to wrestlers who are the future of the business. There were no fresh ideas on display. There was no shock angle, no must-see match, and no sensational new format that other wrestling (and sports entertainment) companies would be desperate to copy. It was what we see on IMPACT every week, topped off by an announcement so ridiculous I originally believed it to be a joke or a misunderstanding when I originally read it.
That announcement was made by Dixie Carter. Standing in the centre of the ring she proudly declared that TNA will soon have its own Hall of Fame.
The immediate question is, of course, why?
My immediate answer is "to copy WWE." That's been TNA's standard operating procedure for so long that I can't remember a time when it wasn't the case. The key difference is that WWE is a company that was founded in the 60s and has had literally dozens of performers pass through who could be said to have a Hall of Fame career.

WWE are the market leaders and have the money, reputation and global fanbase to make a Hall of Fame a success. Dozens of the biggest names in wrestling have worked for them over the decades and their purchase of videotape libraries of many of their strongest competitors (WCW, ECW, the AWA, etc.) has helped them to establish themselves as the spiritual home of wrestling. TNA cannot make that same boast.

TNA currently has just three stars recognisable enough to join a Hall of Fame under contract. That’s nowhere enough if they want to be taken seriously. The only currently active competitor  who could be said to have had a Hall of Fame career is Sting. I admit he would make a fine addition to a fledging Hall of Fame but despite the good work he’s done in TNA and the help he has given them over the years he will always be remembered for his time in WCW, no matter where he works.

Sting made his name in WCW but is still TNA's best choice for inaugural inductee to their doomed Hall of Fame

Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan are the other two names. Both would make credible inductees, but neither is an ideal candidate. ‘The Hulkster’ will always be the man that helped Vince McMahon expand the WWF in the 1980s and for changing the business with his stint as a heel in the nWo. Jarrett meanwhile will always seem like a mid-carder who fluked his way to the top on the strength of backstage friendships (and being the booker).
TNA has a great roster of talented men and women. I’m sure a lot of them will end up looking back on tremendous Hall of Fame careers. Guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Rob Van Dam and Bobby Roode will all be good enough one day but that day is currently a long way off.
My advice to TNA would be to drop this idea. They would be better served spending the extensive amounts of time and planning that will have to go into a Hall of Fame in order to make it a success on hiring new talent and getting over their existing roster instead.

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