The Crow's Nest - Summertime Clean-up in TNA: My Thoughts on the Recent Releases
Jul 3, 2013 - 8:12:00 PM
1) Summertime Clean-up in TNA: My Thoughts on the Recent Releases (07/03/13)
Before I get started, a little note on my fantasy booking column. I was pretty happy with the amount of votes that were sent my way, and I'm still working on calculating the results. That column will be up shortly, and unless something huge changes, I think a couple of the results are going to shock you. Because I'm still working on it, I'm going to extend the deadline for vote submissions to tomorrow night at 11:59:59 ET. So if you haven't yet voted, get it done.
In case you haven't noticed, TNA seems to be doing some clean-up of their roster. The general feeling is that this is all being done to cut costs, with some reports stating that the company is a full month behind on paying their talent. I don't want to comment on that bit because I've yet to see any proof that the financial situation in TNA has gotten quite that bad, but I do want to offer my thoughts on the releases themselves. A couple of them were more shocking than the rest, as is obvious by looking at the reactions on Twitter and the various comment sections of the news articles, but one common theme I'm noticing is that nobody seems surprised that TNA has gone into cost-cutting mode.
All joking aside, I would never wish being fired on anybody. Regardless of whether or not I am personally a fan of that person's work, they're often doing what they do to support a family, and that's a big deal to me. That being said, I also understand that business has no room for bleeding hearts, and sometimes people have to get cut for the company to survive. Does that mean I necessarily agree with the cuts TNA made? Well let's take a look at the names and find out, shall we?
Well it just came out that Shaw wasn't actually released, but I wanted to comment on it anyways. Shaw hasn't done a lot in TNA since appearing on Gut Check, and while the work of his that I have seen isn't anything mind-blowing, I think he has some potential. It's a little early to be predicting any future World Championship reigns, but I think he could be a valuable addition to TNA's X-Division or mid-card. I wouldn't have been too surprised if he had actually been released, sadly, because as I already mentioned, he hasn't really done anything in the company since Gut Check, and recently lost his chance to be in the Bound For Glory Series after losing a match to Jay Bradley at Slammiversary. I really don't think the Gut Check experiment is working out as well as TNA had hoped it would, and with everything going on in the TNA product right now, there's not a lot of room for guys like Sam Shaw to start building themselves up. It's a busy time of year, and there's a lot of big storylines going on right now. Personally I'm glad to hear that Shaw wasn't actually released, and I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in the future.
Considering all the hype surrounding Ryan when he initially came to TNA, I am actually quite shocked that he never accomplished more with the company. He had an interesting gimmick that he pulled off quite well, and at first he was given ample time to create that connection with the fans. Pairing him with a bodyguard seemed to be the answer to his dwindling popularity and usage, but that quickly went nowhere as Matt Morgan moved on to other things. Ryan's a solid enough worker in the ring and is loaded with charisma, but he just never seemed to find his stride with TNA. Whether that's his own fault or the fault of TNA's creative team is besides the point, it just is what it is. Unfortunately I don't think he'd find a place in WWE, but luckily for him I think he could return to the indy circuit and do quite well for himself. I'm sure his stock has been raised to some extent by appearing with one of the major companies, which is going to work in his favour when looking for work in the future. As evidenced by his online work while building the drama before his official debut with TNA, the guy knows how to market himself and build a following, not unlike Zack Ryder when he was first trying to improve his situation. It's too bad Ryan never got to accomplish more, but I'm not all too surprised that he was handed his walking papers.
Man, this dude fell from glory hard and fast. He was never the most polished guy on the TNA roster, but clearly the company saw something in him and he was given a huge undefeated streak to kick off his main roster career. His matches to this point will never be confused with 5-star classics, but after spending some time honing his skills in OVW, he was finally on the right track to becoming a valuable part of the roster. It's too bad that the company clearly didn't know what to do with him once his streak was ended, because they spent a lot of time building him up. Unlike Joey Ryan, though, I think Crimson could possibly have a future with the WWE if they chose to sign him. He's got a decent look, big but not too big, and if he spends a bit more time in a developmental system I have no doubt that he could really make a name for himself. Thankfully he's still young (28) and has remained mainly injury free thus far. Do I want to see him in WWE? Not particularly, but being the kind of optimist that I am, I'd be willing to give him a shot in developmental at least.
Side note: That's probably the most pro-Crimson paragraph I've ever written in my column writing "career". Dude still has me blocked on Twitter though, so I'm not totally on his side. Crimson if you're reading this, let's let bygones be bygones. We both said some things, let's squash this beef.
This one really caught me off guard, and I say that for a couple of reasons. I had read the reports that her contract was expiring this month, but I assumed that she'd be re-signing with the company and return once her maternity leave was over. Granted she has "teased" a future return to the company, and given her past successes with TNA that would not at all surprise me. Rayne is possibly one of the most talented Knockouts the division has ever seen, bringing together solid in-ring work with the amazing ability to actually make a connection with the fans and get them invested in a women's feud. Her "Queen Bee" character was always a blast to watch, and it really showed what she was capable of doing once she was no longer forced to be a part of a team. Given that her contract expired and she wasn't actually released, I'd have to think the chances of a return down the road are very likely. The Knockouts Division is okay right now, but bringing back a character as strong as Madison Rayne could help elevate it even further.
This is the release so far that has shocked me the most. TNA made a big deal about him returning to the company, hyping up how hard York had worked to return to the big time, making it sound as though this was his "last chance". From the get-go, he was pushed towards the top of the X-Division. He received multiple shots at the belt and was even featured prominently in the One Night Only: X-Travaganza PPV event, where he was the big winner of the main event. I'm a big fan of his in-ring work, and he seemed to have a very natural connection with the fans without having to do a whole lot of work. For a guy this talented, it's really too bad that he's been given the old pink slip, but I have no doubt he'll be able to return to the indy circuit and do fairly well for himself. I would love to see him end up with the WWE, as I think he could be quite successful in a big company if he was given a real shot. He did actually spend some time in the WWF developmental system back in 2001, but was released after the acquisition of WCW. He's very versatile as a worker, and I really think he could be a valuable addition to either the tag division or the mid-card in WWE. Fingers crossed.
While not at all surprised by this release, it is the one that has me shaking my head the most. I mentioned earlier that Madison Rayne had an amazing ability to connect with the fans, and the same can be said for Hendrix, arguably even more so. For a wrestler that rarely appeared on TV, she got massive reactions from the crowd. She has a great look, combining great sex appeal with an innocent sort of cuteness, and was actually quite sound in the ring. On top of that, the girl knows how to use her Twitter to market herself to the fans. I've had a handful of tweets get retweeted and/or favorited by her, some of them entirely unrelated to wrestling. Any time I've interacted with her personally or seen the way she interacts with other fans, she's always come off as somebody that legitimately loves every fan she has. Great story, unique look, solid skills and the ability to market herself and independently gain a following? I'd argue that Hendrix is the total package, and I truly believe that TNA is going to be kicking themselves over letting her get away. This would be a great chance for the WWE to pick up a very talented and young female talent to continue boosting the Divas division. More than any other name on this list, I really hope Hendrix gets picked up by WWE, because she has so much untapped potential. I don't think we've seen the last of the beautiful "Redhead Bombshell".
I know this was a short entry today, but I just wanted to offer my thoughts on the big TNA news of the day. I'm currently working on the write-up for the results of my "TNA vs. WWE Supercard" column, and once tomorrow night's deadline passes I can have the final draft completed and post it here. Thanks again to everybody who has taken the time to send me their votes, and to those of you that haven't yet, what is wrong with you? Get on it.
Catch you all later.
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