Now I'm not sure how many Weiners are into NWA-TNA, but I consider myself a half-fan (I tape and watch Xplosion, but order the PPVs maybe once every two months. That said, I want them to succeed, and would love to have some good conversations of the TNA variety. So anyway, I'll be posting random TNA topics to inspire discussion.
Topic for 1/8/2004:
Should NWA-TNA introduce a secondary heavyweight title?
Given the way things have developed in the company, there are a lot of wrestlers, and a lot of potential title contenders. While I like the idea of the World title being the focal point of the company, it also seems reasonable that a larger wrestler who might align himself with the champion might want a title of his own. For alliances sake, it might benefit TNA a bit to develop another championship, so that, say Kid Kash could get as a "reward" for being Jarrett's backup. Or, back when TNA had a lot of ECW-style brawls, I could've imagined an actual Extreme or Hardcore Title (an H-Division, if you will), rather than the tournaments and such that placated that aspect of the fan base, and led to the introduction of many brawler talents.
I dunno...right now, I'll say "naw." Guys like Kash can go for the X belt. Guys who aren't "X style" can go for tag belts. That covers everyone except for "Big, slow guys who aren't main event material and who have no friends," and I don't want to see those people competing for belts.
(Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing a Cheex vs. Edward Chastain match, but ONLY if it was a ladder match and Tiny the Timekeeper was the special guest referee. THAT would be AWESOME.)
As far as H-Division -- I could see that working, as long as it wasn't like the Dupp Cup.
See, that's the thing - the X division isn't a weight division, but a *style* division. A guy could be 6'9" and 350, but if he wrestled in the "style" of the X division wrestlers, he could compete for the title.
So no, I don't think they need another title to get lost in the shuffle.
Seriously though, adding a title for the sake of having another title just dilutes the current title situation, no matter what promotion we are dealing with. Even if a new title was added (a "United States" title as an example), there's a good chance that the titleholder will participate in non-title matches (a la Big Show) so his opponents won't lose heat. So, what's the point really?
I don't know if I agree with you all. I mean, as much as the X-division is pushed as an "innovation" and a "style" division, the fact is that most of its competitors are newcomers and light heavyweights. This necessary fiction is only really relevant to justify an AJ Styles or a Jerry Lynn making the jump to thr main events, as either can conceivably compete in both the World Title and X Division spheres. But...while it is completely within reason for a Sonjay Dutt to show up and become a top contender for the X-Division title overnight, it would be completely inappropriate to have such a thing happen with the World Title.
Most "walk-ins" are established Big Name guys, who main evented in a Big Three federation. But second-tier guys need to make an impact as well, and sometimes TNA foists them into the main event scene in order to capitalize on whatever cache or name recognition a wrestler has. But in a lot of ways, it hurts the company.
Case in point: Kanyon. Most would agree that he's being horribly misused in WWE, and could be a top-flight talent in TNA. Yet, if he were released by WWE tomorrow, I wouldn't want to see him fighting Jeff Jarrett for the World Championship on Wednesday. But if they merely introduced him and buried his debut somewhere in the midcard, they wouldn't capitalize on the impact of a new beginning. Of course, TNA would want to get him into a feature match. A secondary title would allow TNA to say, hey, a former WWE jobber-to-the-stars can come here to be a player, but he shouldn't expect to be an immediate main eventer.
The other important advantage of a secondary title is this: It is a useful tool for elevating established talent. Now, some of these points are retreads of the "bringing back the IC/US title" debate, but for many TNA wrestlers, losing to Triple J was the right decision, because they weren't ready to carry the ball, but without a meaningful program, they'll never develop the following necessary to get them ready to carry the ball. They'll languish in the midcard, sometimes disappearing, and with every return less eventful than the next. Sometimes they'll have a stint in the tag division, but when a tag team really wants to be two singles, it's painfully obvious, especially in TNA. Guys like Jerry Lynn, Sonny Siaki, and Ron Killings seemed to have had fresh starts and bright futures in TNA, but have since appeared to fall into a zone of non-progression. Guys like Lo-Ki and Christopher Daniels are contending for the X-Division championship, but they were winning the championship within weeks of joining TNA, and now, a year later, Christopher Daniels, after having feuded with the current World Champion, and Low-Ki, having proved himself the in-ring equal of AJ Styles, are not even close to holding the World Title anytime soon.
I think TNA should be in the business of creating new stars, and to the extent that there are limitations to the role that the World Championship can play in that process, another title might be an interesting approach...
I think they are okay with the current title structure. they are sticking to the basic important titles, like the Tag Team and Heavyweight titles. The chases for those titles are stronger because of that. The X-Division Title actually is similar to ARSION's Sky title, which went to the daredevil, high flying wrestlers. I think when they do get more exposure and talent, they could add another one.
After a quarter of a century on this planet, there's three things I know for sure... 1)Ain't nothing like a Dirty Pair marathon on New Year's Eve. 2)I'd make a fine Mrs. HHH II. 3) I'd make an acceptable Mrs. Orton. 1400 reasons to luv me!
I suggest a women's title. Right now the women are pretty much just eye-candy, but some of the new ones have talent. An actual women's division could give them meaning.
Secondary titles really aren't all that important. I can see the point with promotions as big as RAW or SD, but for TNA there ought to be some specific purpose for a belt. Pure wrestling, Hardcore, something besides the next best thing.
Don't all professional wrestlers have "more guts than brains" when it comes right down to it?
I agree with Karlos here. If Kanyon came over from WWE and you didn't want him main eventing (although I don't know why, I wouldn't exactly say he's below D'Lo or AJ Styles) and you don't want him in X-Division (again I don't know why not, he's not a cruiser but his impressive offensive moveset could make for a good match) then you stick him in a tag team.
I mean really right now the main event division looks like Jarrett, Sting, Raven, AJ, D'Lo.
So who is the next tear of wrestlers? Daniels, Low Ki, Michael SHane, Kash, Sabin, Konnan, Killings, Diamond, Swinger, BG James, etc guys who are already in the X Division and tag titles. I think they've got everything pretty well set where they are.
Not that I would complain if they gave Kanyon a title and he had to keep for a year because everyone else was busy.
Would Jeff Jarrett's on-screen heel character be enhanced by acknowledging that yes, he does own a substantial amount of TNA?
You know the template: The Evil Authority figure vs. the Virtuous or Rebellious underling. It worked in WWF with McMahon-Austin, and the strength of the feud, in many ways came from the fact that, in fact, Vince McMahon WAS the guy who signed the checks in Titan Tower.
So given that we smarks represent a fair share of TNA's audience, would it be pandering to us to wink and nod and "reveal" what we already know, which is that Jeffrey Jacob Jarrett is running the show? Or is the system better left as is, with a nebulous conception of "power of the champion," which may later be contradicted if there's a face holding the strap?
While the evil owner idea is certainly overdone, doing it with Jarrett is unique in one particular way: he's actually a -wrestler-. Vince, Steph, Heyman, Bischoff and all the other various evil figureheads were all well and good, but they would, at most, only have matches as special attractions now and then. The only comparable figure was HHH during the McMahon-Helmsley era, which, oddly enough, was one of the best eras of wrestling, IMHO. I'm not saying necessarily that they should play that story out, but I'd at least give it a chance if they tried.
"All I ever asked for in life is an unfair advantage." Microchip, Punisher Annual #2
That's what I was thinking about; since evil figureheads are part of the wrestling landscape, doesn't it make sense to have the figurehead be true to life? In addition, while usually, authority figures can't pay off angles in the ring, Jarrett can.
And this is where Eric Watts' role as Director of Authority is so important. His job, like that of a Commissioner, is to maintain NWA's IN-RING integrity, so that creates at least on check on Jarrett's character. That is to say, once Jarrett DOES get into the ring, he has to play fair. And in truth, this isn't much different from what goes on now with the Callis-Jarrett alliance, except the way things are now, with the nebulous power flowing from Callis to Jarrett, we'd have a situation where the clear power is flowing from Jarrett to Callis.
That way, a first time viewer understands why the balance of power is swayed to Jarrett's side, because "he owns the company, and wants to be its champion" is a neat little sum-up of his motivation, and there's a tinge of reality in that setup that only serves to enhance his heel work.
I think Queezy already touched on this, but I don't think there should be a secondary ie. additional title in TNA right now, simply because the roster isn't deep enough to warrant one. WWE had to bring back the IC and US titles because there were a ton of guys not thought to be world title contenders by some who were languishing with nothing to do and no title to chase. TNA doesn't have the luxury of that depth. Without a series of viable, otherwise unmotivated contenders it would look like a title that was added for the sake of adding a title rather than one that was added because it was warranted.
As for Jarrett as the evil owner, I agree that it would be different because Jarrett can actually wrestle. The problem, though, is one that I've never really been able to overlook with these evil owner characters...when they have a hate on for a guy, why don't they just fire him? When the Monday Night Wars were at their peak it kinda made sense; Vince was better off hating Austin's guts than having him in WCW. But now? The hiring-and-firing thing is way overdone in WWE, but it makes more sense now that they effectively have a monopoly. And Jarrett? Why would he keep a guy like, say, Raven around if he's a big threat to the world title.
Could they possibly work an angle with that? Have Jarrett be the evil owner/champion for a while and gradually work towards a "putting on the best product possible for the fans was more important" face turn after he dropped the title. It would work best if Jarrett were willing to go an extended period ie. a year or more without the belt, but there could be some interesting possibilities with a face owner vs. heel champion dynamic.
Well, the logic says that although "Wrestler" Jeffrey Jeremiah Jarrett might want a certain guy to be out of the picture, "Owner" Jarrett wants the wrestlers employed who make entertaining product, leading to good ratings, and more money in his pocket. Also, with full acknowledgement of the WWE's #1 status, TNA knows that the roster of available marquee names is smaller, especially at reasonable prices.
Plus, with the NWA Board looking over his shoulder, he needs to conduct his affairs in such a fashion as to not be sued by the talent for wrongful termination, nor have his promotion decertified by the NWA. He doesn't need to be "fair" per se, but complete arbitrariness can't be tolerated either. So, yeah, he signed Raven, and he knows that he can't get rid of him unless he is breach of his contract; however, he can put him into matches that (a) take him out of the World Title picture, but keep him on TV, driving up buyrates and selling TNA merchandise, and (b) stress him out to the point that he'll quit, leaving the remainder of the money still due under his contract on the table. A Hogan, it may be argued, could have been signed by NWA proper, outside of the jurisdiction of TNA until he actually signs a TNA match, but who may still be named as #1 Contender for the NWA Title. Underlings like Don Callis represent the smarmy side of the ownership spectrum, owing his power to being a broker, but Jeffrey Jonathan Jarrett can walk around like he owns the place, because fact is, he does.
And as for the face turn thing, I guess he could be a benevolent face owner, but it would definitely work better after he was "injured," or lost a stipulation match removing his ability to wrestle, because of the conflict of interest inherent in a face holding that many cards...
Just a few ideas...
Topic for 1/12/2004:
Who should defeat Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Title?
There was a time when Triple J was beset by challengers. AJ Styles. Raven. D'Lo Brown. Sting. Rick Steiner (okay, I added that one just for fun...) The point is that Jarrett has faced, and one way or another defeated, them all. Still, the storyline has Jeffrey Jo dangling the belt like the proverbial carrot, as the rest of the wrestlers race around the TNA track. Someone, at some point, has to win the race. But who? One of the aforementioned? Someone who hasn't been signed yet? Or does the looming specter of the Orange Goblin portend that the belt will be his prize? What do you all think?
People make the comparison between Daniel Wyatt and Shawn Michaels, JBL's indentured servant. Me, I'm old. I think of Ric Steiner in the Varsity Club. He fought because he liked it. The crowd got behind his signature moves.