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United State of Wrestling #7



1 March 2005

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This week I am going to turn my attention away from the WWE for a change and instead concentrate on a league that I now think that given more time and money could compete with the Connecticut crew. Step forward TNA.

At the end of last year, it was looking more and more likely that TNA did not have long left in the wrestling business. Suffocated at the top by Jeff Jarrett’s dull and lifeless title reigns (OK, some things have not changed) and Panda Energy looking like they had run out of energy (oh, please) and patience with a group losing so much money it appeared that the plug was about to be pulled.

But in late December, with just two weeks to spare, the Jarrett’s did something I never thought I would see them do. They installed a new booker. More shockingly was the fact that his name was Dusty Rhodes. The Amewican Dweem has had a pretty shoddy record as a booker in the past and I was not expecting much from him in 2005.

But he has thus far proved me wrong. Very wrong indeed.

From the moment he pulled up in Orlando, Dusty seemed to make changes for the better of the company. When his first PPV as booker, Turning Point, came about he showed a wonderful approach and booked what many are calling the PPV of 2004. Headlined by an awe-inspiring six sides of steel match pitting America’s Most Wanted against Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper, Turning Point was a wonderful show, that could go down in history as a real turning point in this groups history.

And then they did it again at Final Resolution. This show was fantastic, and without exaggerating, I can say that minus a couple of duff matches (Scott Hall versus Jeff Hardy, anyone?) this was the best supercard I have seen in a very long time. It featured two spectacular matches: AMW winning the NWA Tag Team titles off Eric Young and Bobby Roode was the best Tag math I have seen since the days of TLC; and A.J. Styles versus Petey Williams versus Chris Sabin was a stunner, featuring some of the most spectacular moves humanly possible.

But I am not getting excited off the back of two shows. Oh no, I have thought this through a little more. TNA, I believe is the future of wrestling, blended with a mix of older veterans who can still do a decent job (minus Nash and Hall). In the X-Division they may possess the greatest division across the water and the superstars in this league are making people take notice, with mind-boggling technical and aerial skills.

If TNA keeps producing shows like they have been, (I have not yet seen Against All Odds, so cannot comment) then they must be on to a winner. You simply can’t go wrong with talent like Williams, Sabin, Styles, Sonjay Dutt and Christopher Daniels.

However, TNA is far from the finished article at the moment. You must remember that TNA is not charging the fans that come to watch them at the tapings. Sounds shocking, but it is true. Each and every one of the rabid fans packed into Universal Studios, Orlando are complimentary ticket holders. A company cannot live off merchandise and PPV sales alone.

With large sums being paid out to has-beens like Hall, Nash and DDP, they are definitely making a loss every single time they put on a show. Now we all know what happened to ECW – they rarely made a profit anytime they hit the ring.

But lets not dwell on that, and I am not even going to mention Jarrett’s lifeless title reign. We are better off forgetting that right away. Maybe he should drop it to someone younger and upcoming – had AMW not been involved so heavily in the tag ranks currently I would have suggested Chris Harris.

So TNA does have many positives at the moment, and certainly seem to be on a roll – especially on PPV. It also has wrestling’s hottest diva in Traci. And despite the fact that some things that appear to be holding it back, I am backing TNA that after a while building (even a few years) it will provide stern competition to the WWE.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Andrew Morris

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