The countdown is on, TNA have less than one month to possibly the biggest night of the company’s history, as TNA broadcast ‘iMPACT!’ on Spike TV, exposing the TNA product on national cable TV for the first time, with the possibility of reaching millions of households. The question on many people’s mind is what will TNA have in store for the Spike TV debut, and more specifically, who will TNA bring in to the company?
– Bringing in the big names!
A few weeks ago, the news emerged that the “Hardcore Icon” Mick Foley was extremely close to signing a TNA contract, which would see him involved in TNA’s ‘iMPACT!’ Spike TV debut, and also tie him with the company for a number of matches. Unfortunately, for TNA fans, Mick Foley choose not to sign with TNA, and has signed with the WWE, which to be honest, I am not wholly surprised because WWE made Foley a huge star, and he must have some loyalty to them. Just to see Foley make his TNA debut on October 1st on Spike would be awesome, and would surely attract many WWE fans to the TNA product, and with the possible prospect of matches with the likes of Raven, Samoa Joe & Jeff Jarrett , Foley’s TNA presence would surely have been welcomed.
So while it’s a huge loss for TNA, it at least proves that TNA are interested in signing some major names to the company in anticipation for the Spike TV debut. So, in the first part of this week’s column, I’m going to look at some of the possible signings TNA could make, as well as give my views on what role they could play, and whether or not it’s likely that we’ll seem them in the 6-sided ring.
Kevin Nash – Nash is the most likely candidate to make a TNA return this autumn, the former WCW & WWE Champion is featured in the “Bound for Glory” promotional poster, but that’s not any confirmation of his return to the company. However, it would seem odd that they would feature him in the poster if they have no plans to use him. Nash’s last run in TNA was better than many people had expected, and while his actual involvement in the company was limited, and his in ring work was even more limited, he did actually have some matches which were the best since his WWE days, which came as a surprise to many people. So if Nash were to return to TNA screens, what role would he play?
Last time around he had a high profile role being involved in the NWA World Championship picture with Jarrett, and while that at the time, was quite entertaining, its not the way forward for TNA, we have seen Nash vs. Jarrett too many times both in WCW & TNA. Another problem is Nash has a reputation of being a backstage politician, so would he be willing to put over the likes of Monty Brown, Abyss & Rhino. Ideally, Nash could be brought in to feud with Brown or Abyss to put them ‘over’, and attempt to elevate them into the main event spotlight, the problem is would he be willing to do that? Another possibility is to team Nash with his long time friend Sean Waltman, and put them into a tag team feud with possibly American’s Most Wanted. This idea has both positives and negatives for TNA. First the positives, having Nash teaming with Waltman means he doesn’t have to work as much in the ring, which would be beneficial, and on the other side of the coin, by having Waltman teaming with Nash, it takes Waltman away from the X-Division ranks, where recently he has put out some outstanding matches.
I do think TNA should bring in Nash, but he needs to be put in the right role. His body is broken down and battered, with his knees in pieces, so he’s not going to be able wrestle every week, but he can still attract some fans, and as long as he is used to put ’over’ the home-grown TNA talent, I see no reason why TNA shouldn’t bring him back.
Possibility rating: Likely
Bill Goldberg – It seems since his departure from the WWE in 2004, and his subsequent interviews basing on the WWE, the odds of Goldberg returning to wrestling are slim to none, but as the usual saying goes – “Never say Never!” The thing with Goldberg, and this is just an observation, is that it seems he doesn’t have the passion for the wrestling business like some workers do, like Triple H or Ric Flair. To me, it just seems as though it’s something he done for a few years to make some money, of course this might be absolute crap, but it is just my humble opinion. Anyway, its the lack of passion that would make me think its unlikely Goldberg would go to TNA, plus the fact that TNA probably couldn’t meet his wage demands. However, if he were to be used in TNA, he could be very instrumental if he was involved in the company for a fixed number of months, maybe 2 or 3. If Goldberg were to come to TNA, the obvious angle would be Goldberg vs. Jarrett, which would probably actually sell tickets and help the company in the short term, but its not the path I’d choose. Thinking about things in the longer view, TNA would be best using big bad Bill to elevate one of their up and coming stars, and that man would be Rhino. Gore vs. Spear has money written all over it, don’t you think? Well maybe not, but I think it would be a really good feud for TNA, and if Goldberg was willing to put Rhino ‘over’ it would help massively for TNA’s future, cementing Rhino as a major player. I honestly think Goldberg would help TNA a lot, and he could certainly attract a lot of viewers, if TNA were able to copy the momentum Goldberg had in years of 1997 – 1998 I think he would be an instant hit.
As I said earlier, the biggest obstacle in the way is probably money, and whether TNA could meet Goldberg’s demands. Goldberg doesn’t have to wrestle anymore, he probably made masses of money in WCW and WWE, and that’s not to mention his new avenues of success such as his movies and successful TV show on the History Channel in the States. Goldberg doesn’t need to wrestle, but if TNA offered the right amount of money I’m sure he would, the problem is, I doubt TNA has that kind of money.
Possibility rating: Unlikely
Chris Jericho – If Jericho appeared for TNA in the next year I’d happily eat my hat, take photos and put them on the Internet, honestly I would. As most people know, Jericho is not under a WWE contract anymore, and is taking some time out of wrestling to spend time with his family and pursue more success with his rock band, Fozzy. It probably wouldn’t have entered into the minds of wrestling fans that Jericho would go to TNA, if it hadn’t of been for a graphic that was plastered on Chris Jericho’s website, showing a picture of him, and the TNA logo. But that means nothing as Jericho has previously ‘worked’ internet fans in the past. If Jericho were to strike a deal with TNA that would be fantastic, I think he would be the man to lead TNA into the future, as not only is he a great wrestler, but as demonstrated on WWE TV, he is a great charismatic superstar that appeals to a wide range of wrestling fans.
If Jericho went to TNA the possibilities of great matches would be endless, from matches with Jeff Jarrett, to the likes of Abyss, to X-Division guys like AJ Styles and Chris Daniels., it would be great. However, I think its highly unlikely, and before the TNA logo appeared on Jericho’s website he mentioned in a press release on the very same website, that he will always be part of the WWE family, and I think that’s always going to be the case, WWE would be off their rocker to let Jericho slip through grasp. As good as it would be to see Jericho in TNA, it isn’t going to happen.
Possibility rating: Very Unlikely
Bret Hart – In a previous column I mentioned about Hart signing with TNA, and although those internet stories seems to have died down, I’m pretty optimistic that Hart will sign with TNA at some point. Hart at a recent NWA Convention stated that he’d be interested in working with TNA, but not in an on screen role, rather backstage to help the younger talent improve their skills. But if TNA came up with the right programme for Hart, I’m sure Hart would appear on TNA TV. Now Hart hasn’t been involved in a mainstream wrestling TV show since 2000, so I’m sure without a doubt Bret Hart would be able to attract a lot of viewers, even if it was for a one night only special appearance, as many fans still seem interested in the “Hitman”
As I assume most people are aware, Bret Hart suffered a severe concussion in late 1999 that forced him to take early retirement. His concussion means that he wouldn’t be able to actually wrestle in TNA, but I’m sure his presence would be beneficial, whether in some sort of managerial role, or whether a authority figure, or even as I said, a one off appearance for the company, I’m sure it could work. I know Hart has spoke out against being involved with any company in one of the non-wrestling roles I mentioned, but I just think it would be a real boost for TNA to have Hart associated with the company.
I don’t actually see Hart signing for TNA this year, maybe not even till late 2006, reason being is that he has his WWE DVD coming out soon, and he wouldn’t want to jeopardise that. Plus the fact he maybe lined up for the WWE Hall of Fame 2006 next year, both of these I see as obstacles to him signing with TNA at the moment. There is however, the possibility that he does sign with TNA, but not to appear on screen, rather in a backstage role, helping the younger talent develop and giving them advice on how to improve their game, which I think would be as equally beneficial as Hart being involved with TNA in an on screen role.
Possibility rating: Maybe
Randy Savage – Savage’s last run in TNA was less than graceful, managing to walk out of the company on his first week, returning and then having one match, well it wasn’t even a full match, more half of a match, so I’m honestly not sure if TNA should bring him back. To be fair, Savage is one of my all time favourite workers, his matches with Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair are amongst some of my all time favourite matches, but then again, these all occurred over a decade ago. If Savage was able to get back into the ring, and work half as good as he did when he was in his prime then I’d say bring him back, the problem is, I doubt he can. Savage hasn’t worked a proper match since 1999, and even then we never saw the “Macho Man” at his best, so now 6 years on from that, I seriously doubt he will be able to pull off a half decent match.
Plus, there is another question to be raised when Randy Savage comes to mind – Can he actually attract any fans to TNA? In his prime, he was as popular as Hulk Hogan, but unlike Hogan, Savage hasn’t been involved in wrestling for the best part of 6 years, many fans won’t care about him, or even worse, won’t know who he is.
Possibility rating: Maybe
Ultimate Warrior – Am I serious? Well maybe not 100%, but stranger things have happened. Warrior was in negations with TNA back in 2002 when TNA first debuted with their weekly Pay per Views, but noting came of that due to various reasons. Now, what has change 3 years down the line? Well, the biggest change is that TNA will now be on national and international TV, plus the fact the TNA financially are probably in a better position than they ever have been. If a deal were struck, you’d expect TNA would be able to meet the wage demands of the Warrior, of course this is just purely speculation on my part.
Now, how would Warrior be used in TNA? For me their would only be one way, and that would be used as a special attraction, much like WWE use Hulk Hogan, but even more sparingly. Maybe pair him up with a younger worker to give them the ‘rub’. Again like Savage I’m not sure if Warrior would make a huge difference to TNA’s audience, its been about 7 years since he was in the ring last, would people still care? I think they would, they still seems to be a great deal of intrigue around Warrior.
Possibility rating: Unlikely.
So that’s my take on some of the major free agents available at the moment, whether they make a TNA appearance is all purely speculation. One thing I know for a fact is TNA need some stars who can really draw in their fans, but at the same time, they don’t want to damage their own stars, so its going to be interesting to see what happens.
– TNA hits Europe
The big news this week is that TNA Wrestling has signed a one-year deal with Eurosport to air ‘iMPACT!’ until 2006, which is great news for wrestling fans across the UK and main land Europe. TNA is already seen here in the UK for viewers of Sky Digital who can access The Wrestling Channel on 427, but now homes with Sky, Cable & Freeview (by means of Top Up TV) can access TNA every week, which in theory means that TNA could be available in more homes than WWE across Europe. This is a major boost for TNA, and will only strengthen their UK market, which will hopefully lead to a TNA UK tour one day. On the downside of the deal, its not known yet if Eurosport will replace the commentary of Mike Tenay & Don West with the horrible commentary they did on the pilots a few months back.
– Pay Per View Time!
By the time you read these PPV predication, the PPV will probably have finished, but never the less here are my views and predications for tonight’s PPV.
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Title Match
Raven Vs. Rhino – Does anyone remember their match from Backlash 2001? I do, I thought it was a great match, and I’d love to see a match like that here. I suspect this match will be quiet a brawl and we’ll see the usual weapon spots and some blood. The outcome of the match is interesting, on one hand keep Raven with the belt and have a face champion going into the Spike TV debut, only problem here is that Raven isn’t the strongest Champion and his in ring work isn’t up to a great standard anymore. On the other hand, give the belt to Rhino, who is a better worker, younger and a strong heel to lead the company into the Spike TV debut, where they could build up a good feud with one of the company’s top faces leading to “Bound for Glory”.
Winner – Rhino
- X Division Title
Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles – Should be an excellent match, I’d say that these 3 are probably 3 of the finest workers in the US at the moment. I’m going to give this match to Joe, I feel he has been built up really well, and a title victory would just top it off nicely, plus we’d probably get to see a rematch at some point as well.
Winner – Samoa Joe
- Four-Way NWA World Tag Team Title Match
Champions The Naturals vs. America’s Most Wanted vs. Team Canada vs. Alex Shelley and Sean Waltman – I’d go with Sean Waltman & Alex Shelly, they won the Chris Candido Memorial Cup, and it would make sense to put the belts on them, as long as Waltman has no plans to leave for the WWE.
Winner – Sean Waltman & Alex Shelly
- Sabu vs. Abyss W/ James Mitchell – We’ve seen these two square off before on the weekly PPV’s and their matches have been brutal, I’d expect the same this time around. Abyss to win to continue his push.
Winner – Abyss
- Team Canada’s Bobby Roode vs. “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy – Jeff Hardy to win, its his return to TNA, I expect a decent enough match, but Hardy to win with a clean finish.
Winner – Jeff Hardy
- The Alpha Male Monty Brown and Kip James vs. Lance Hoyt and Apolo – Probably Kipp James and Monty Brown to win this match. Should be your basic tag team match, nothing special.
Winner – Monty Brown & Kip James
- The 3Live Kru vs. The Diamonds In The Rough – A 3LK break up seems on the cards, so I’m going with Diamonds In The Rough.
Winner – Diamonds In The Rough
- Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin – Should be a really good match with 2 X-Division greats, I’d say Petey Williams to win.
Winner – Petey Williams
- Showcase Match: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong – Possible match of the night? Certainly, a top contender, seems Aires may get a push, so I’m going with him.
Winner – Austin Aires
All in all, this looks like a great PPV, may even be better than TNA’s PPV offering from last month.
Anyway folks, until next time.