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TNA's Ineptitude

Hey Scott,

Isn't it kind of fitting that Samoa Joe debuts with WWE on the night the final nail is driven into the coffin of TNA (Meltzer's report that TNA will be cancelled by Destination America)?

It got me thinking about all of the guys they've squandered over the year, but then you look around the business and it's alarming how badly they screwed up passing on certain guys given what other promotions have done with them. 

Samoa Joe (left TNA in 2015) - Now likely a top guy on NXT.

Okada (left TNA in 2011) and A.J Styles (left TNA in 2014) - Both top guys in NJPW. Okada is basically the guy the promotion is going to be built around going into the future, and A.J. is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion. 

Ezekiel Jackson (Big Ryck) (brief stop over in TNA in 2014), Brian Cage (brief stops in TNA in 2012 and 2013), and Hernandez (left TNA in 2014) - All three have been top guys at varying points during this first season of Lucha Underground. 

Jay Lethal (left TNA in 2011), Chris Daniels (left TNA in 2014), Chris Sabin (left TNA in 2014), Frankie Kazarian (left TNA in 2014)- All top guys in ROH. Lethal has been put over huge as the TV Champion, Daniels & Kazarian are the tag champs, and those two are now in a stable that is going to be come a fixture of ROH programming with Sabin. 

All of these guys are major contributors to promotions that have TV shows in the US Market and are direct competition with TNA:

NXT - WWE Network

NJPW - AXS TV 

Lucha Underground - El Rey/Unimas

ROH - Syndication


And all of these guys are guys that apparently TNA didn't see as valuable enough to build their promotion around. 


And now they're likely off the air and possibly out of business because of that. 


Like I said, fitting that Samoa Joe ends the NXT special in a staredown with Kevin Owens as news breaks that TNA has been cancelled. 



​I think Okada was probably the biggest "WTF" one for me, as they had this guy under contract, you know, the guy who WWE is almost literally begging to sign and push, and the best thing they could think of ​was a lame Green Hornet gimmick. 

Comments

  1. The problem with TNA was never the talent.

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  2. They lasted this long because of Daddy's Money and Spike's Money. When Spike's Money went away, they became half of what they were. Pretty sure Daddy's Money is going away next.

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  3. I hope Fuji Vice sent this in because this was totally his comment last night.

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  4. Okada was never contracted directly under TNA. He was just sent for learning excursion by NJPW as a young boy similar to Nakamura in AAA, Goto in TNA etc.

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  5. Was Russo booking when Okada was around TNA? If so, then I totally understand why he was given a lame Green Hornet gimmick. Because Russo doesn't think Japanese guys can draw

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  6. All he learned in TNA was "Man, I should stay the fuck away from this place"

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  7. I was watching TNA Turning Point 2009 the other day and was noticing how star studded and jam packed the roster was right before Hulk's debut and the disastrous first Monday Night Wars show. It looked to me back then like they were gearing up to move Impact to Monday and have their Thursday slot as well and compete with WWE by producing an equal amount of TV with a roster to fill it.


    When they absolutely belly flopped on Monday and brought in Flair, Hogan and Bischoff, Jeff Hardy, The Nasty Boys and Scott Hall (all definitely flops except arguably Jeff Hardy) they were absolutely crushed under the weight of that roster and payroll and the guys who hadn't been around as long and weren't as adept to politicking or getting the best deals were the ones who didn't survive.


    I wonder what the wrestling landscape would be like if they had not felt like Hogan/Bischoff and Mondays were the key to expansion. If they had a flagship show on Thursdays with a backup show on say, Sundays at 7 PM with that roster I think they would actually be fairly competitive today - provided Hogan and the old folks don't come in.

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  8. Okada's time in TNA was referenced by AJ Styles last year during their feud.

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  9. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 21, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Jeff and RVD were the only two worthwhile Hogan signings.

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  10. RVD never moved the needle for TNA at all. I think if they had waited until Jeff's court stuff had ended and he had resolved some personal issues they would have got the money out of them they put into him.

    RVD was such a non factor in TNA despite winning the title I forgot him signing. Also put Mr. Anderson on that list although he came after the Monday debut.

    Nobody remembers the great Styles vs. Angle match and everybody remembers the Red Cage, TNA just never got the headline right.

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  11. TNA certainly screwed up by not building the promotion around AJ, Daniels, etc. But I think it's a stretch to bring Hernandez, Ezekiel Jackson, and Brian Cage into the conversation.

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  12. Was there a debut moment that signalled that ECW was done? Was Raven debuting at the end of 2000 kinda like that?

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  13. While some of the statements above are quite damning, saying that TNA missed the boat on a guy that is currently the tv champion in ROH is just ridiculous. Lethal was in a far better position when he was in TNA than he is as a third rate champion in a promotion that is as weak as it has been since 2005. Daniels, Kaz and Sabin ditto. I'd bet that all four of those guys would love to go back to when they were at TNA and have that kind of stability. They all had prominent roles also.
    And AJ Styles? Really? How many times was that guy the champ? He was pushed over and over and over and he just never got any traction with it. I'm hard-pressed to think of a guy that is more overrated than Styles.
    Okada, on the other hand, is a fucking star and just oozes it out of ever pore. He as close to a new The Rock as you're ever going to see.

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  14. I've still never watched a single episode of TNA. Doesn't sound like it's much good to be fair

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  15. Yet, Lucha Underground has made all those guys relevant and good contributors to the program. They've done a great job getting all three over.


    I wouldn't say any of them should be the guy to lead a promotion, but when you have all this talent that is contributing in majors ways for your competitors, something's wrong.


    Lucha got a nice run out of Puma/Cage, and they're getting a nice run out of Puma/Hernandez now.

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  16. Ezekiel Jackson, Brian Cage, and Okada are a stretch. I don't think Okada could have been a star for TNA.

    Hernandez is not a stretch. He should have and could have absolutely been bigger for him. If he had Ken Anderson's push and TV time he would have got over.

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  17. The Hogan era pretty much killed them. I'm not blaming Hogan specifically, but the changes that happened when he came in. The fans wanted 6 sided rings, they give them 4. They run to Monday Nights to compete with Raw and shell out big money for anyone who had any degree of recognition, and supplied nothing but nonsensical stories about dominating heel factions trying to control the company. During this, one by one they let their best talents leave.


    It's too bad because there were times TNA was a really strong show but they couldn't seem to keep it up for more than a few months at a time.

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  18. They tried to make it 1996 again.

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  19. What kills me about Lucha Underground is that we're probably not going to see John Morrison in the WWE again.

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  20. The best thing that the Hogan era did was getting rid of that stupid 6-sided ring.

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  21. RVD breaking his leg was the moment it looked like it was over to me. The company was obviously going to be built around him and it fell apart.

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  22. I think the problem with AJ is after Christian debuted in 2005, he was passed over as the face of the company.


    AJ and Joe really should have been their Bret & Shawn.


    And AJ was still relevant, but they no longer viewed him as the guy to build the company around and his value deteriorated.


    But then you see him in NJPW, and ROH hits, and I'm sure Jarrett's trying his hardest to get him on GFW, and you wonder why the hell TNA thought this guy wasn't valuable anymore.

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  23. I think TNA did all they could with Hernandez. He was in a great tag team (LAX), a lame tag team (he and Chavo), and it was becoming obvious that his potential was limited as a main eventer. I know less about Jackson and Cage, so I won't comment more on them.

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  24. And I'm fairly certain WWE wanted AJ for NXT, but AJ passed because the money wasn't enough.

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  25. AJ has been totally reinvigorated in NJPW and ROH. It's like he found a new gear. I don't think he'd be the same guy if he hadn't left.

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  26. AJ is the blandest, most uninspiring prominent wrestler in the last 20 years.

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  27. The original plan to have Hogan come in to do one big PPV match in 2003 with Jarrett would've worked to get the company exposure.

    Bringing Hogan in full-time from 2009-2013 on the other hand...

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  28. I feel really, really bad for WWF1987. If this happened to ROH, I'd be in a bad place for a while.

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  29. Really Sabin had a tremendous run in TNA. Multi-time X-Division and Tag Champ and then a largely undeserved reign as World Champ. In spite of their accomplishments, I would still say Styles, Daniels, and Kaz were not used to their potential in TNA.

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  30. Wait a month.

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  31. I liked Jay Lethal a lot in TNA. I hate to admit it but Kevin Nash helping get over character that got him heat with the audience instead of "talented work rate guy" who audience is mild towards was great!

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  32. They all got marginalized when TNA went after Christian and Angle in '05-'06 and then it just deteriorated from there, because TNA seemed to make the decision they wanted to be WWE lite from that point forward.

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  33. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 21, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    I think the failure lies more in who they let steer creative (Russo, Hogan, Bischoff), and who they decided to make a big deal (all former WWE guys). And then of course, the biggest failure was the lack of marketing direction.

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  34. TNA really should have been built around Styles, Joe, Roode and Storm. Really, TNA's inability of creating their own babyface ace like John Cena has been their biggest downfall.

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  35. The other thing about Jackson and Cage. They weren't really around TNA for very long. Which means TNA looked at them and passed on them.

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  36. I'll never forget that night of Hogan's debut. The FREAKING NASTY BOYS!!! were featured in like 3-4 segments! Hall and Syxx-Pac hanging around! Sting hanging around the rafters and Eric Bischoff tearing up the format sheet! All so terrible! I feel bad for Dixie Carter. Kinda.

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  37. Nope, not a good change, hurt their identity, hurt their brand, was loathed by their fans.

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  38. Well, Kazarian and Lethal both had great starts to pushes when Christian and Angle were with the company. I remember Kaz's big win over Christian in a ladder match and Lethal's win over Angle for the X-Division title (both in 07 I think). Angle and Christian were both great signings for TNA, but yes--TNA was incompetent and couldn't follow up correctly even when it looked like they might be heading in the right direction.

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  39. I think that's the point.


    They had all this talent that other promotions have found value in, and yet they couldn't figure it out.


    It took WWE two minutes of screen time to make Joe the top babyface in NXT.

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  40. Plus, didn't Hogan put the kibosh on someone getting the belt, like, the night before he was supposed to get the belt?

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  41. Looking at the list above, you've got to add Xavier Woods (Consequences Creed in TNA). Here's a guy that's a member of one of the hottest acts in WWE right now. And was just featured on the E:60 special.

    His stock is continuing to rise. I see Woods having a long and successful career in the WWE.

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  42. Yep. I think Hogan coming in, the move to two hours, a move to live programming all came around and none were able to push TNA to the next level. That ruined any credibility the company had when they promised big things for the company's future.

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  43. If Jeff Jarrett stayed, would this have happened? He seems to have competently built the product and the company.

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  44. Instantly pushing any WWE veteran over the existing homegrown roster was the biggest creative problem to me.

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  45. Yep. Angle, Christian and RVD. Anyone with WWE name recognition got the nod over the homegrown folks.

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  46. Cena vs Orton,one more timeMay 21, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    He also hogged the main event picture when others were more deserving.

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  47. At least Christian was in his prime when they signed him, I watched him debut and I hardly ever watched TNA.

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  48. I really liked Nash's time in TNA with the X Division. He was having fun and guys were getting over left and right. It seemed like he was finally paying the business back a bit.

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  49. This. I think Jarrett has the best of intentions when he starts things like this, but when he sees a chance to make himself the star, he can't help himself.

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  50. The most i watched of TNA was when Destination was running a marathon of different matches. I was like "Oh I havent seen Kurt Angle, The Dudley's or Lashley for a while." Then I turned it off and watched WWE network.

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  51. When Taz and the Dudley's left and RVD was hurt, it didn't seem that they would last much longer. Especially with Justin Credible as the top guy.

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  52. Yep. I mean, the roster getting picked clean to the point where Justin Credible seemed like a good choice for world champ may have happened anyway and if it had, who knows how long they would have lasted regardless, but the whole drive of ECW for 2 years was to see RVD claim the throne as ECW Champion and when the injury ruined everything they were building to, it went off the rails.

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  53. Buffalo HopscotchMay 21, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    And then you end up with Justin Credible as your #1 heel and World Champion. That's probably what happens when you lose Raven, Shane Douglas, Taz, Mike Awesome and then RVD to injury all within a year though.

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  54. Yeah, but LU is maximizing his strengths and downplaying his weaknesses perfectly. I'd rather than than him mumbling his way through face promos and calling Ziggler "Mr. Ziggles" as an insult again.

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  55. Buffalo HopscotchMay 21, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Have you ever heard the conspiracy theory that NJPW sent Okada to TNA because they thought he had a big ego and was getting ahead of himself and knew that TNA would use him so poorly that he'd beg to comeback and clean up his act.

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  56. No, Jarrett has promotors blood in him. I'm positive he would have made much wiser choices than some energy execs daughter.

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  57. Their fans, the ones at the tv tapings, were complete idiots.

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  58. Can we all at least agree that this wasn't Hulk Hogan's fault?

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  59. The company's "Fingerpoke of Doom" moment was when Hogan conned Dixie into starting another Monday Night War.

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  60. Nash was so weirdly good for that division. Those guys came out of those segments with so much more personality than before. Alex Shelley was my absolute favorite in TNA during that time because of the killer chemistry he had with Nash.

    "Are they sitting on the floor?"
    "That's right, because chairs are a luxury there."

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  61. I'm with Jared on this one. The Impact Zone regulars sucked, but the 6-sided ring was a big part of their identity, especially when the X-Division was prominent. Getting rid of that coincided with the final changeover from an athletic wrestling style to more of a sports entertainment focus. They took away everything that made TNA distinctive.

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  62. Also, they had serious issues with building monster babyfaces. They had opportunities with Monty Brown and Tomko, who were both hugely over for awhile, and missed it. They probably could've done that with Matt Morgan, too.

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  63. The Impact Zone Regulars turning on something looked really bad since that was the last crowd that would boo something TNA did even when things were awful. They didn't condition fans to want a four sided ring, they were told by Hogan and Bischoff (outsiders to TNA) that six sides was mickey mouse shit and had what they wanted dictated to them. Their response: "We want six sides! *clapclapclapclapclap*!"

    I also thought the ring gave it a more athletic identity since it looked similar to cage structures used in MMA, especially for the Lockdown event which was typically their highest drawing PPV though not their most heavily promoted.

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  64. I think the Top 10 list is:


    10) Kurt Angle debuts by going over Samoa Joe clean
    9) Paying Pacman Jones a million dollars to do nothing.
    8) Main Event Mafia
    7) Aces & Eights, building almost a year of the show around Brooke Hogan.
    6) The great TNA talent purge of 2014
    5) "Monday Night Wars"
    4) Hogan/Bischoff era in general
    3) TNA pulls an offer to Paul Heyman to run TNA because he wants full creative control
    2) Russo becomes the creative head of TNA
    1) Dixie secretly hires Russo back and lies to Spike TV about leading to TNA's cancellation.

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  65. Hah, yeah, that always cracked me up - bring in outside guys to dictate changes to your company's most faithful fans, and these guys are meant to be the faces in the situation. The Zone fans annoyed me sometimes - they hugely supported Eric Young for YEARS - but I always loved how much they hated Russo, or Hogan & Bischoff.
    And I always thought that about the ring, too - seeing a wrestling ring shaped like an MMA ring announced that you were gonna see a hard-hitting, athletic product where the focus was on competition over goofy theatrics. It made them something different, and that focus was their biggest asset for a long time. Throwing that away revealed a complete misunderstanding of their own brand.

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  66. Where does "Bob Carter refuses to sell the company to Jarrett & Toby Keith because they don't want Dixie involved" land?

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  67. We could amend #3 to be an all inclusive, "This is Dixieland" entry which encompasses, that and the Heyman thing, and emphasizes that all decision regarding TNA must be made around the premise that Dixie is the most important person in TNA and shall always remain so.

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  68. Russo: "Bro, last time a Japanese guy got over, it was Bruce Lee. Gotta do that Green Hornet thing."

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  69. I think not putting the title on Joe in 2005/6 should be on there but yeah everything else is spot on. I think the first Hogan show was the real failure. They got crazy attention and ratings for that show but failed spectacularly. The true beginning of the end.

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  70. I don't see how you can criticize TNA for Okada. No one in the wrestling world knew what kind of talent he was. It's like when WCW had Nagata as a jobber and then he turned into a Japanese all-time great.


    And anyone who says WWE would have treated Okada better around the same time period is crazy.

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  71. One of the most damning moments during the Jarrett era was Monty Brown, the biggest babyface act in the company, turning heel to be Jarrett's henchman so Jarrett could keep the title. I like Jeff, but he's definitely not a top guy and he hurt the company early on by keeping himself in that position.

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  72. I forgot that "Bro" was Vince Russo's version of Vince McMahon's "Pal"

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  73. Works for me.

    Nothing says stupidity like refusing to sell your failing company because you insist it has to prop up your daughter

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  74. 5 should be way higher. #1 we really can't add because we have no idea what impact that had. I agree with Fiji below. Dixieland would be clear #1

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  75. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I disagree about the Monday Night Wars. I think they should have stuck with Monday nights, taken their lumps and try to steal viewers over time.

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  76. When people were talking about Kurt Angle's debut with Samoa Joe and the headbutt, I pulled up the video on youtube since I didn't really remember it. Jarrett's appearance in it is very jarring with how out of place he is.

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  77. TNA would probably still be on Spike if not for Russo.


    And Jarrett, according to Cornette, saw the light on Russo towards the end of his tenure there.


    So none of the Dixie going behind Spike's back to rehire Russo stuff would have happened and there is a good chance TNA would still be on Spike and still in ok shape if Jarrett had stayed.


    I don't know that he would have help make it better, but he wouldn't have let it be destroyed in the way it has been the last two years.

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  78. No way spike would've allowed it

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  79. AverageJoeEverymanMay 21, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    He thinks they can't draw because of their squinty eyes. How the hell they gonna be able to see the paper, hed say.

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  80. Hulk Hogan spent three years using TNA's coffers as a slush fund to hire his friends and ran the company into the fucking ground. Are you kidding me?

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  81. Jay Lethal is going to be world champ on June 19th if there is any justice in the world.

    TNA's loss Has been ROH's gain for years now.

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  82. Agreed! Okada was a soft, uncharismatic, pudgy dude when he was in TNA. NOBODY saw anything in him, and people on Scott's blog used to openly mock him.

    It was impossible to predict he'd become what he is today, though I do think some of the wrestlers saw his potential.

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  83. I remember vaguely the puro scene freaking out when he returned to Japan and suddenly was a god.

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  84. James Storm I beleive, but that lead to the amazing Bobby Roode reign so I can live with it

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  85. It wasn't up to TNA, it was up to Spike, and Monday Impact ratings were in the toilet. No way it was going to stay for the long haul.

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  86. You're so silly.

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  87. He did ... its an unfortunate trend in the business when its run like a territory because Jeff had only one person he could trust namely himself. Not defending it. I thought they had something too with Chris Harris after AMW broke up and that died on the vine.

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  88. Hulk didn't boost business, but he seemed to be pretty working pretty hard over there. His talking was usually pretty great, and he really did seem to try to get things over. Just... didn't work out.

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  89. He should have pushed harder to be World Champ

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  90. That's not really an excuse, though. Their job is to be able to identify talent. I doubt Okada's ability to work and natural charisma are new. They just never saw it and never put him in a position to use it.


    But regardless, if you want to give them a pass on Okada, it's fine. It's not about one guy, it's the sum of all their terrible decisions. Half their roster from the last 3-4 years are key foundational pieces in every other major promotion in that is in the US market.

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  91. I didn't really have an issue with Angle going over Joe, although the follow-up didn't work out. But I love how we all generally agree on TNA's ineptitude and just disagree on a few minor details.

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  92. Oprah NoodlemantraMay 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    It's like how Hunter seemed to have to wedge himself in with the hot angle.

    JJJ

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  93. Oprah NoodlemantraMay 21, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    "They fight in a two sided ring!"

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  94. To Hulk's credit, he brought in TNA's biggest ratings success and he left before the company really went down the drain. So...I'd certainly blame Dixie and Russo before Hogan.

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  95. Oprah NoodlemantraMay 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    "You had 6 sides brother, and it only got you so far!"

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  96. I think Jarrett legitimately viewed himself as the biggest full-time star in the company for some time. To his credit, I don't recall him winning the belt again once Angle arrived--although that could also be due to him losing power backstage.

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  97. There is no justice in this world so who knows?

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  98. Oprah NoodlemantraMay 21, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    So will all the fans get severance pay? They were/are "cast members".

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  99. I eagerly sat to watch the first night of their Monday broadcasts, as I'm sure you did. As what I saw was person after person from the Australia tour showing up on my screen. Like, in November, Hogan is headline a 4-night tour in Australia, and then on January, TNA moves to Monday. And I kept seeing people from the tour. It was like Hogan only knew that these people existed.


    At one point, I said to myself, "What's next, Orlando Jordan?" And then that's exactly what happened.


    So yeah, I put some blame on Hogan.

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  100. Buffalo HopscotchMay 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Bloody Russo should be thankful for every chance Jeff gave him. Isn't Jeff estranged from Jerry Jarrett because Jeff chose Russo over his own Dad? Absolutely no idea why anyone would put that much stock into Russo and it's all the more worse now that Jeff has realized that Russo isn't good for your product.

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  101. Corino winning the big belt.

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  102. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 21, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    The roster purge of 2014 is semi-understandable. They were all great and entertaining but 12 years is s long time for anybody to hang around not named Flair or Cena.

    Gradually letting them go instead of all at once would have been better.

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  103. Lethal was in ROH before TNA though.

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  104. Hands down, Justin Credible winning the World title.

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  105. Playing pretty fast and loose with the term major, aren't you?

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  106. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 21, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Hogan tried his ass off to get mainstream attention. He also tried to put over everybody and anybody he could verbally. Even the smack talking of Roode in public was a work to put more light on h. It almost excuses the Brooke nepotism.

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  107. Wonder how Dixie will spin the inevitable Mav TV signing.

    Going from a major cable channel to a minor channel that is at least owned by a cable giant and at least has a ton of original programming (albeit mostly awful programming) to a channel whose entire schedule consists of lower than bush league racing and reruns of Bonanza and Rad Girls, that would be tough for even Hulk Hogan to spin.

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  108. Art Macklin, Man Without FearMay 21, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    Goddammit. You really are some kinda wonderful.

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  109. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 21, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    Well done.

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  110. Well I'm pretty sure that Spike would have never cancelled TNA and Dixie would have never hired Russo back if Hulk had stayed so in hindsight, letting him go was a huge mistake.

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  111. Yeah. because TNA use to be a more profitable place to work.

    key phrase: used to be

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  112. So is Hogan ever going to book that second Australia tour that he promised back in 2009?

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  113. Haven't seen his work over the last couple years I take it. AJ was someone I always thought was over rated until this post TNA career.

    He's doing his best work ever in ROH and New Japan

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  114. I'm pretty sure the two dovetailed pretty closely. Spike had to pay part of Angle's salary, which got them a seat at the table. Dixie got more involved backstage as she was the primary financial backer at that point. Once those things happened, the squeeze play on Jarrett was in motion.

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  115. Point is that its not like ROH saw him as some huge superstar before he wen to tna.

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  116. Its a lot easier for him to be over as a heel in japan because he doesn't have to talk and he joined a pre-existing stable. I've seen the match where he took the title and he's easily the least important part of the match.

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  117. Worst_in_the_WorldMay 21, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    Hogan hurt them a great deal, for sure.

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  118. Really? How? He's easily the #3 guy in a 3 man stable midcard act.

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