My Two Centsss - WWE or TNA: Whose Roster Is Better?
By Super Chrisss
May 29, 2013 - 4:06:02 PM
(Credit: Tom Jenner @ImageBlownOut)
For those of you who have ever been a semi-regular reader of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, this column might bring back some memories. For the majority of you who have never picked up a copy of the monthly magazine - and in today's internet-heavy world, that's to be expected - here's the lowdown. Once a year, PWI selects a certain number of wrestlers from different wrestling companies and pits them against each other, usually in a four-way (RAW vs. SmackDown vs. TNA vs. ROH). The grading criteria consists of stuff like mic skills, career accomplishments, and most importantly, the wrestler's worth to his or her company's future. The brand or company with the highest number of winners would be deemed the superior brand, at least for that calendar year.
Since the brand split is dead in the WWE, and because I don't follow ROH, there will be no fatal-four-way; rather, I will pit twenty-three WWE stars against twenty-three TNA stars. I tried to make the match-ups as even as possible (i.e. John Cena won't take on someone like Robbie E; tag teams and divas will face off against each other, etc.), so please don't murder me if you disagree with my brackets. Finally, each match-up will be decided by the following factors:
-Reliability (history of injuries, suspensions, work ethic)
There will be no draws or double-winners in any match-up. The company with the highest number of points after all the match-ups have concluded will be named the superior roster of 2013.
Any questions? I hope not. So without further ado, I present to you the rosters:
#1 John Cena
#2 Dolph Ziggler
#3 CM Punk
#4 Randy Orton
#5 Alberto del Rio
#7 Chris Jericho
#9 The Shield
#10 Daniel Bryan
#12 The Miz
#13 The Big Show
#14 Mark Henry
#15 Wade Barrett
#16 Kofi Kingston
#17 Jack Swagger
#18 Antonio Cesaro
#20 The Prime Time Players
#21 Team Rhodes Scholars
#1 Jeff Hardy
#2 Bully Ray
#4 Kurt Angle
#6 Aj Styles
#7 Samoa Joe
#8 Joseph Park/Abyss
#9 Aces & 8s
#10 Austin Aries
#11 Bobby Roode
#13 James Storm
#14 Kenny King
#15 Chris Sabin
#16 Matt Morgan
#17 Joey Ryan
#18 Christian York
#19 Robbie E
#20 Bad Influence
#21 Chavo & Hernandez
#22 Mickie James
#23 Velvet Sky
Writer's Note: This tournament features only full-time wrestlers. Therefore, the likes of Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, and The Rock did not qualify.
#2 Dolph Ziggler vs. #2 Bully Ray
Mic skills: What better way to kick off the first round than with both company's world heavyweight champion vying for the first point? When it comes to evaluating each man's mic skills, you'll find plenty of people who consider Ziggler to be underrated on the mic. At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find a fair amount of people who consider Bully's mic skills a tad overrated. Not me, though. While Ziggler is no slouch when it comes to cutting promos (he made his YouTube show "WWE Download" so much fun to watch), he's just no match for Bully's unique, trash-talking skills. The President of the Aces & 8s may very well be one of the best talkers in today's wrestling world, period. Point: Bully
In-ring skills: It's no secret that despite his age, Bully is probably in the best physical shape of his entire career. Ever since Team 3D split a few years back, Bully has been forced to wrestle a lot more one-on-one matches, and has surprised many people with his bouts against the likes of Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries, just to name a few. But when it comes down to stealing the show, there's no beating The Show-Off. Ziggler is an excellent bumper, but he's also an amazing athlete. You can almost guarantee a good match whoever Ziggler's opponent is. The same can't be said for Bully. Point: Ziggler
Career accomplishments: Ziggler still has plenty of in-ring years left ahead of him, yet he's already a two-time world heavyweight champion. Throw in a tag team title reign and a bunch of U.S. and Intercontinental championships, and Ziggler has quite the decent resume despite his young age. Bully, however, holds a record for the highest number of tag team championship reigns of all-time. He and Devon have held the tag team titles in pretty much every company: WWE, ECW, NJPW, TNA. That is a feat that might never be duplicated. Point: Bully
Reliability: Ziggler is currently off the road after suffering a concussion at the hands of Jack Swagger a few weeks back on SmackDown, but before that freak accident occurred, he's managed to stay relatively injury-free despite all the bumping he does on a weekly basis. That, combined with his determination to constantly steal the show, is a remarkable trait. Bully, however, is a bit of a loose case. He is short-tempered and is no stranger to losing his cool, both in recent times, and during his ECW days. Furthermore, many wrestlers have labelled Bully as a locker room bully and a real-life prick. No contest here. Point: Ziggler
Future: Both men are the reigning world heavyweight champions, but if Bully is still actively wrestling five years from now, I will be shocked. Bully's world title run came a bit later than many people expected, and there's a very good chance it will be his only run with the top belt. I could see him and Devon returning to WWE at some point in 2014 or 2015 and ending their careers there.
Ziggler, on the other hand, has the world ahead of him. When many people think about the future of the WWE, Ziggler is a shining example of what's in store. Ziggler is already an amazing in-ring performer who has accomplished so much in his career. The scary part is the ZigZag man is just getting started. Point: Ziggler
#6 Ryback vs. #6 Aj Styles
Mic skills: It's tricky to grade each guy's promo skills. The former Skip Sheffield is not as bad on the mic as many people (including John Cena) make him out to be, but he has a lot of work to do. Styles, however, has never been phenomenal on the mic either. As a face, he cuts the generic babyface promo. As a heel, he comes across as fake and phony. But between the two, Aj can cut a longer, more engaging promo. Point: Styles
In-ring skills: Oh, boy. Do I really have to explain this one? Ryback has competed in only a handful of one-on-one matches, and with the exception of his TLC match with CM Punk last January, a match with Daniel Bryan, as well as his Last man Standing Match with Cena at Extreme Rules, none of them have been memorable or very good. In fact, he gets gassed faster than The Rock does nowadays. Styles, meanwhile, is one of the best wrestlers TNA has ever produced, and even competed in what many call the best TNA match ever against Daniels and Samoa Joe. Point: Styles
Career accomplishments: Another easy one here. Ryback is yet to capture a title in the WWE, despite being given numerous world title opportunities. Styles is not only a Grand Slam Champion in TNA, but he's won pretty much every title there is to win in the company, more than once. Point: Styles
Reliability: Countless people have been BEGGING Styles to jump ship to WWE for the longest time. Unfortunately, it's just not going to happen. Styles is a homegrown TNA star and I see him staying with the company until the day it falls or he retires (whichever comes first). Ryback, prior to his return/re-debut last year, was out for over a year due to an injury, and I don't think many people in WWE consider Ryback a 'go-to' guy, or someone who will still be at the top of the card in the forseeable future. Point: Styles
Future: I hate to make this a total shut-out, but Ryback's future is extremely uncertain. If he loses his upcoming match at Payback, I honestly believe his character will be forever ruined. But if he wins, he could save his spot at the top of the food chain. Styles, however, will always be a guy who TNA can throw in the main-event without much - or any - effort. He's a huge star that has overcome some really awful booking the past few years, and regardless where his current tweener angle takes him, I don't see that changing anytime soon.
#11 Kane vs. #11 Bobby Roode
Mic skills: Many people would be a lot happier knowing Kane could never qualify in this category because they feel The Big Red Machine was at his best when he let Paul Bearer do his talking for him. However, Kane has proven to be both intimidating on the mic, and his tag team partnerships with the likes of The Hurricane and Daniel Bryan has revealed Kane's awesome comedic timing. That being said, the "It Factor" of TNA is simply a great heel: he knows how to piss off an audience in fewer words than others do. In my opinion, Roode is a lot more smoother on the microphone than his opponent is. Point: Roode
In-ring skills: Bobby Roode is one of the most talented wrestlers on the TNA roster today, both as a singles competitor and a tag team wrestler. But for a man his size, Kane may very well be one of the best big men in wrestling history. Not because of his title accomplishments, but how many watchable/good matches he's produced, even against other hosses. Kane is super agile despite his immense structure and every Kane match is at least decent, regardless of the unlucky opponent. Point: Kane
Career accomplishments: On paper, Kane is the easy winner here. He's a former WWE Champion, former world heavyweight champion, former ECW Champion, and has had multiple tag team title reigns throughout his lengthy career. But don't count out Roode just yet. My fellow Canadian has a respectable number of tag team title reigns under his own belt, and he holds the distinction of being the longest reigning TNA World Champion in history. Kane, on the other hand, had one of the shortest WWE title reigns of all-time, and his other two world title reigns (if you count ECW as a 'world title') were forgettable. Point: Roode
Reliability: Roode has proven to be a valuable asset to TNA, regardless if he's competing in the tag team division, or chasing the world title. But there's not many wrestlers on the planet today who can call themselves a bigger company man than Glen Jacobs. Kane has been a WWE guy his entire career, and has done everything Vince McMahon and his team of idiots have asked of him over the years. The fact that Kane is still a regular competitive despite his age shows you just how well he's taken care of himself over the years. Point: Kane
Future: Both men are tied with two points apiece, but sadly, the deciding point isn't much of a debate. Kane has had a great career, but he could hang up his boots next week and no one would be surprised. Roode, however, has years left in him, and as long as TNA doesn't forget to resign him to a contract (again), Roode should be a top guy in Dixie Carter's company for a long, long time. Point: Roode
#16 Kofi Kingston vs. #16 Matt Morgan
Mic skills: This is an interesting match-up, possibly one of the most unique brackets yet. To be honest, I don't know how good Kofi is on the mic. The majority of his promos took place when he was sporting that phony Jamaican accent, and since he mercifully dropped it a few years back, WWE hasn't exactly given Kofi plenty of time to work the mic and develop his character. Since arriving in TNA, Morgan's mic work has continued to improve. Those of you who remember Morgan's brief stint in WWE with his stuttering gimmick shouldn't be fooled - the man has improved leaps and bounds over the past decade. In fact, I'd say he's one of the most skilled big men on the microphone today. Point: Morgan
In-ring skills: Like Kane, Morgan is not a slow giant - he paces himself fairly well during his matches. In other words, Morgan's matches aren't anything like watching Big Show in the ring. The only thing is, Morgan doesn't really have a list of good or great matches to his name, except for his Bound For Glory semi-main-event match with Kurt Angle a few years ago. Kofi, on the other hand, has been ragged on endlessly by critics for being a spot money or not incorporating psychology into his matches. While that may certainly be up for debate, Kofi almost always puts on a fun, above-average match. Point: Kofi
Career accomplishments: Kofi is the textbook definition of a midcard champion: he's won the United States title four times, the Intercontinental belt five times, and even holds a number of tag team titles under his belt. Time will tell if Kofi can ever win 'the big one', but he still has a resume thousands of other wrestlers would kill for. As for Morgan, he's been a contender for the world title for years now, but has never been able to get that elusive world title. A forgettable tag title run with Hernandez isn't going to get him past Kofi in this department. Point: Kofi
Reliability: Excluding today's news that Kofi will be having elbow surgery this week, forcing him to miss one or two months from the ring, Kofi has always remained healthy despite his high-risk style. More importantly, he's always stayed healthy. When partners like Evan Bourne and R-Truth went down with weed or injuries, Kofi was always there to pick up the slack for his team. Morgan, on the other hand, has dealt with his share of setbacks over the years, both physically and professionally. It just seems like TNA has no idea what to do with the big man. One week he's challenging for the world title. The next, he's filming a commercial for Direct Auto Insurance. Talk about inconsistent. Point: Kofi
Future: I really hope Kofi's injury is a blessing in disguise, as it allows him to return to WWE sometime this summer as a brand new, HEEL Kofi. Because if not, I think Kofi will spend the rest of his WWE days wallowing in midcard hell. Morgan, however, has recently been involved in an angle with Hulk Hogan, Sting, and Bully Ray. Many fans were irate when Morgan lost a number one contender's match to Sting last month, but I don't think this is the last we've seen of The Blueprint getting his feet wet in the world title picture.
#22 Kaitlyn vs. #22 Mickie James
Mic skills: Today's fifth and final battle is between the DIvas and Knockouts Champions. Kaitlyn seems like a cool chick; I don't think she's had any in-ring mic time since the third season of NXT, but based on her backstage segments, she seems like an interesting talker. Mickie has been fortunate enough to receive mic time both in WWE and TNA, and she's good at playing an obsessive fan as well as being a strong-willed babyface. Almost by default, Mickie wins. Point: Mickie
In-ring skills: Let me say this: I don't think Kaitlyn is half-bad in the ring. She may not have the prettiest-looking spear as a finisher, but at least it's better than Edge's. Unfortunately for Kaitlyn, she can't match Mickie's in-ring abilities, who many people feel are superior to both the WWE and TNA female rosters. Another easy win for James. Point: Mickie
Career accomplishments: The night Kaitlyn defeated Eve for the Divas Championship was a memorable one: the two had been feuding for quite some time, and everything from Eve trying to get counted out, to the vicious spear that earned Kaitlyn her first Divas title, was extremely well done. The problem is, she's competing with a woman who is now a NINE-time women's champion - and that's a record. Love her or hate her, you have to respect Mickie for that one. Point: Mickie
Reliability: Despite having won the TNA Knockouts championship on three separate occasions, it just feels like TNA hasn't really trusted Mickie as the face of the division. Maybe it's because she hasn't showed the same fire she had while competing for the WWE; maybe it's because she's been more focused on her country music career in recent times. Either way, I'm sure there was a reason TNA didn't bother to use Mickie for many months. As for Kaitlyn, she has improved leaps and bounds since NXT, and her Divas title reign is WWE's way of rewarding her hard work, no doubt about it. Point: Kaitlyn
Future: Both women are their company's female titleholders for a reason: backstage officials see something in both Kaitlyn and Mickie. However, if we're going to compare their actual ages, then Mickie is 34, and Kaitlyn is only 27. Unless Mickie plans on pulling a Tara and wrestling for another five years or so, I can't see Kaitlyn hanging up her boots before Mickie does. Besides, I'm pretty sure Kaitlyn would still be more bangable than Mickie five years from now, just as she is today. Point: Kaitlyn
TNA may have won today's battle, with Aj Styles, Bobby Roode and Mickie James coming out victorious, but the war is far from over. Can TNA hold on to the lead or will WWE catch up? Part 2 of WWE vs. TNA will be up one week from today!
Phew. That was the longest column I've typed in quite some time. Hopefully you' enjoyed it, even if you disagree with some of my winners. But if you do think I chose the wrong winners, I would love to know who you would have gone with instead.
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