The most important month in TNA’s 3-year history seems to have flown by faster than an Orlando Jordan vs. Chris Benoit match. The Spike TV debut, Bound for Glory and the first ever TNA Primetime special have all been and gone, and TNA is now looking to the future, including their next PPV, and more primetime specials on Spike TV. In this column, I’ll be looking at all the latest news & rumours, including a special look at Jeff Jarrett.
– Jeff Jarrett – An abuse of power or a well deserved champion?
Lets all be honest with each other, most, if not all of the people reading this column would probably like to see the back of Jeff Jarrett, or at least less of him on TNA TV, am I right, or am I right? Jarrett has come under immense criticism since the inception of TNA in 2002 for many things, mainly for using his role as an owner of the company to further his position on the TNA roster, and using his influence on the booking team for them to further his role as the one of main attractions in TNA.
Before I look at whether Jarrett is guilty of the accusations put against him, I want to go back in history and look at some of the most high profile cases of using your influence backstage to put yourself or a member of your family over. The obvious choice would be when Dusty Rhodes was booker of Jim Crockett promotions in the 80’s, Rhodes pretty much made himself the number 1 baby face in the company in his legendary feud with Ric Flair. The one thing about that situation was that Rhodes was massively over anyway, so whether he was booker or not, he probably would have been the number one ‘babyface’ anyway because the fans just loved him. However, Rhodes also has a track record of using his position backstage to help his family as well as himself. For example when Dusty was booking for WCW in the early 90’s, his son, Dustin Rhodes was pushed quite a lot, the same happened when Dusty was booking for TNA, he brought in his son to the company, and it could be said that if Dusty wasn’t booking, then maybe TNA wouldn’t have used Dustin. Even today, its being reported that the only reason Vader and Dustin Rhodes were brought back into the WWE for the Taboo Tuesday is because of their relationship, or friendship with WWE creative member, Dusty Rhodes. I’m not just targeting Dusty Rhodes, it’s a common occurrence in wrestling, if you have some backstage power, then you use it to your advantage to put yourself over or your family and friends. A few more examples can be mentioned, maybe Triple H and his relationship to the McMahon family, or Verne Gagne’s push of Greg Gagne [his son] in the AWA, even though Greg wasn’t exactly the typical wrestler. I’m not saying the above people wouldn’t be in the position they are in if they didn’t have any help, what I’m saying is that it must have helped them.
Getting back to Jarrett, it was he and his father [Jerry] that set up NWA TNA back in 2002 after Vince McMahon took over the monopoly on the pro wrestling world by purchasing WCW. Pretty much since the debut of TNA, Jarrett has been one of their must “pushed” or “used” people, and you have to believe it has something to do with his influence backstage.
When you look at Jarrett’s career in WWE, and his first stint in WCW in the mid 90’s, Jarrett was a mid carder, holding belts such as the WWE IC Championship and the WCW United States Championship, he was hardly classed as a main event guy. However, the same could be said about people like Cactus Jack, Steve Austin and Triple H, who only achieved a limited amount of success in WCW, but went onto to be three of the biggest WWE stars in history. Just because you were only a mid card wrestler in one organisation doesn’t mean you can’t go onto be a big star in another wrestling company. Moving on, Jarrett’s first taste of being a main event guy and being a World Heavyweight Champion was in WCW, when his good friend Vince Russo was booking for the company, this leads to the question “Would Jarrett have been a World Champion had Russo not been booking?” Unlike the three aforementioned people, Jarrett had Russo pushing for him in WCW, where as Cactus, Austin and Triple H largely got themselves to the main event level due to hard work and a connection with the fans.
So, to be honest I don’t think Jarrett would have been a World Champion in WCW had it not been for Russo, I do however think he did do a fairly good job as a world champion in WCW, but WCW was a ship that was sinking rapidly, and I don’t think people took the company seriously at that time. Everyone knows what happened, WCW went belly up, McMahon bought the video library and name of WCW, and quite a few people were unemployed, thus the interception of NWA TNA, now more widely known as TNA Wrestling.
Jeff & Jerry Jarrett set up TNA, with the Carter family buying the majority share in late 2002, with Jeff reportedly still having some ownership in the company, and its this ownership many believe has led to Jarrett having numerous NWA Championship reigns, as well as being focal point of much of many of TNA’s main angles and matches. I have no doubt in my mind that Jarrett would be a main event player in TNA regardless of whether he has ownership or not. The fact is, Jarrett is a good wrestler, over the years he has had great matches with the likes of Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman and many others, and in TNA he has shown he can still wrestle with the likes of AJ Styles and Raven. Jarrett also has something else going for him; he’s a natural heel who can cut a decent enough promo, which for TNA is important. This was especially important in the early days of TNA because they were very few people who knew how to pull off a good promo, so by having Jarrett as one of the main guys in the company it made some sense from that standpoint. In addition, the one thing that TNA can petty much guarantee is that Jeff Jarrett isn’t going to abandon TNA and head elsewhere. He has burned his bridges with the WWE in a big way, and the chances of him ever going back to the WWE are slim, maybe not impossible, but slim, so Jarrett could be considered the safe option in times of uncertainty in TNA.
For me, its not a question of whether Jarrett should be used as a main event guy in TNA, as I think he should, it’s the frequency of title runs, the length of his title runs and also his dominance of TV that bothers me. Since 2002, I cannot think of a main event feud in TNA where Jarrett wasn’t involved in some way, even a feud like Raven vs. Rhino had some Jeff Jarrett involvement and its cases like that where people begin to question whether Jarrett abuses his power or not. In the last 2 months Jarrett has won the NWA World Championship belt twice, once from Raven, and once from Rhino, something which has made me, and many people question Jarrett‘s backstage “stroke“. I could have been happy with Jarrett winning the belt from Raven going into the Spike TV debut because I think its better to have a strong heel champion with the purpose of having the face kick his ass. But for Jarrett to lose the belt and then win it again on TNA‘s Prime time special, I have to scratch my head in amazement.
My conclusion is that I think Jarrett is a good hard worker, who has brought a lot to TNA. I do think he deserves a spot as one of TNA’s top guys, but not to the extent he has. Jarrett’s a well-known name, but he’s not a big draw, I think he has earned a role as a World Champion in TNA, but the fact is that he just shouldn’t be the focal point of the company and World Champion as often as he is, but hey, that’s just my humble opinion.
– TNA Bound?
In what came to as a surprise to many wrestling fans, last week Christian left the WWE after failed contract negotiations, and would you believe debuted in TNA this Sunday’s PPV going under the name of “Christian Cage”
Christian could be a huge star in TNA, the guy is a great all rounded wrestler, and what’s more than that, he is so charismatic. His time in the WWE had been somewhat successful, but whenever he seemed to get the ‘big push’, it just didn’t seem to come about. Now he has choose to sign with TNA he could reach unlimited heights and the move could be equally beneficial to both TNA and Christian, giving Christian a chance to shine, but also giving the TNA main event division a breathe of fresh air.
I really hope TNA see the potential they have in Christian Cage, he’s such a talented wrestler, and I personally think he has the intangible “X-Factor” that separates a wrestler, from a wrestling superstar. TNA are in desperate for the next “big star” who can turn their 0.9 ratings into 2.0 & 3.0 ratings, with the right angles, and correct booking I feel Christian could help contribute to TNA’s quest.
Its also being reported that Chris Benoit is in contract negations with WWE as his current contract expires in a few weeks, many people feel WWE may offer Benoit a contract considerably lower than what he is currently earning, which has obviously fuelled the speculations that Benoit may leave the WWE. All I can say on this subject is if WWE do let Benoit slip through their fingers they must be mental, and if he become available to TNA, well that would be fantastic.
With TNA, announcing that a “major acquisition” will be revealed at this weekends PPV, it has also caused a storm with TNA fans speculating who will be at the PPV. Names such as Brock Lesnar, Sting, Chris Jericho, and Bret Hart just to name a few have all been thrown about, obviously Christian debuted at the PPV, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see any big stars in TNA somewhere down the line.
– Jerry Jarrett says “Goodbye TNA!”
Well, it looks like one of the founding fathers of TNA has left the company. Jerry Jarrett made WWE.com headlines a few weeks back when he was reportedly at WWE HQ to act as an agent for some up and coming Russian wrestler. While this may be true, many believe Jarrett was at WWE in search of a job, after becoming frustrated with his position in TNA.
Since the Carter family took the reigns of TNA in late 2002, Jerry’s role in TNA went from that of part owner to someone who worked backstage as an agent. Jerry’s reportedly had many run ins with TNA management over his role, as he has been vocal in his disapproval of the way the company is heading.
Obviously Jerry’s appearance on WWE.com must have ruffled a lot of feathers down in Nashville, and it seems unlikely Jerry Jarrett will be involved with TNA for the foreseeable future, but the fact remains Jerry Jarrett helped set up TNA did a lot of hard work for TNA, and for that TNA fans should be thankful.
– A huge loss
The wrestling world has lost a true great with the tragic loss of Eddie Guerrero. Eddie will forever be remembered as one of the greatest wrestling performers in pro wrestling history. Eddie’s accomplishments in the wrestling ring are legendary, but his triumphant victory over his drug and alcohol addiction is what truly makes Eddie a legend.
**Eddie Guerrero – Rest In Peace**
– TNA End of Year Awards
Keep them coming in folks, I’ve already had plenty of suggestions for “Wrestler of the Year”, “Tag Team of the Year” and “You Gotta be kidd’in Me!” moment of the year, send any suggestions to [Dan@Wrestling101.com].
– TNA on The Wrestling Channel
A quick note to UK TNA fans TWC has confirmed that it will air “Bound for Glory” on Sunday 27th November. For all your TNA TV information from the UK, USA and Canada check out Wrestling101’s TNA TV Guide.
– TNA @ TalkWrestlingOnline.com
The famous US Scene forum over at TalkWrestlingOnline.com has been a hive of TNA talk recently; here are some quick links for you to discuss some various TNA topics. (Please note that the following links may contain spoilers).
TNA Genesis – Talk about the latest TNA PPV offering.
A New Booker? Are TNA really thinking about a new booker? Find Out!
Major Acquisition – Who do you think is heading to TNA?
That’s all for now folks.