Hello there and welcome to the first edition of Chewin’ The Mat exclusive to Wrestling101.com!
My name’s Leigh Jones and I’m a stand-up and improv comedian from a small town in North Wales called Denbigh. I’ve been writing about wrestling for the past year on my own blog (which can be found at https://leighsus.blogspot.com), check it out and check out my back catalogue of solid gold wrestling rambling and polemic.
Anyway, I’ll be posting exclusively here and exclusively there at the “old” blog. So bookmark and check both for updates!
I feel this blog’s been lacking in real jokes recently, I’m going to start with a traditional joke format.
That’s exactly what we’ve seen happen recently with Chris Harris (a.k.a. Braden Walker), who by some miracle or other, was eventually released from his WWE contract this week.
Wildcat Chris Harris was incredible in TNA. America’s Most Wanted were the best tag team in North American wrestling since the New Age Outlaws were still called the New Age Outlaws. Tag wrestling was generally in decline, but this was a team that was sure to slow down that process. Harris was a seven-time NWA tag champ.
During his time with AMW, Harris was involved in one of the greatest matches TNA has ever had at Turning Point 2004. AMW were against Triple X in a cage match. It was the main event, and they made sure it was a match of main event quality (watch it here). CHRIS HARRIS WAS READY FOR MAIN EVENTS FOUR YEARS AGO.
He proved it again with the quality of matches he had against his former tag partner James Storm when AMW was eventually split up towards the end of 2007.
So when it was announced two weeks after his release from TNA that Harris had signed a developmental deal with WWE, fans were excited.
When Harris made his TV debut at the start of July, those same excited fans were to be disappointed as it looked like he’d spent all of his time in developmental eating. It was the opportunity of his life time, and a guy who used to wear trunks to the ring was now so ashamed of his body that he was sporting a singlet. Lance Storm wrote about the debut of Braden Walker:
Speaking of huge wastes, quite the debut for Braden Walker. I don’t know Chris Harris but anyone who shows up for their WWE debut in the worst shape of their career, deserves to be fired. Wellness policy aside, I don’t believe the treadmill is on the banned substance list!
For someone who’s normally so reserved with his words and very reluctant to bury anybody, this is a scathing review of his WWE debut. Turns out he was right about the deserving to be fired (just like he is with everything else. Seriously, Storm’s an oracle. Read him here.
After two sloppy TV matches, Harris has been sent packing. It should’ve happened sooner. You really do need to question the guy’s mindset to have blown such a huge opportunity.
What now for him? WWE won’t have him back, and TNA should think very carefully before re-hiring an overweight, out of shape, sloppy worker. TNA’s fans will have seen him as ‘Braden Walker’, and any credibility he once had as Wildcat Chris Harris will now be gone.
This will be a real test of Harris’ character to see whether he bounces back from this firing with a point to prove, or continues with the downward spiral of his career.
The day after Harris’ release, WWE announced the release of FIVE more wrestlers aswell as referee Nick Patrick.
The biggest shock, at least in my opinion, was the release of Big Daddy V. It shouldn’t really be much of a surprise though. Since his debut in WWF back in 1993, this is the third time that ol’ Viscera’s been released from his contract. Seeing his current health issues (being ridiculously overweight and having just come out of hospital with pneumonia), along with the fact that he’s not been on TV for a few months, his release shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise. Give him 12 months to show up on TNA on a pay-per-appearance basis for about a month (much like he did back in 2003) before he gets himself back on WWE.
As for the other releases? Expect to see them added to TNA’s already over-full roster before making their bread-and-butter earnings on the indy scene.