March 02, 2012

TNAswerve Roundtable 2/20/12

I'd like to officially welcome you, our readers, to the First Edition of The Round Table - a panel discussion in which staff members of TNAswerve, along with passionate fans of Impact Wrestling, share with you their thoughts on various topics having to do with TNA and Ohio Valley Wrestling.

The following is this edition's panel, as well as a personal quote from each one briefly describing a moment or feeling they remember experiencing when they first started watching pro wrestling:

Michael Sangregorio TNAswerve Supporter
"Roddy Piper introduced me to wreslting and changed all the questions just when I had all the answers."

FK9 TNAswerve Contributor
"The first time I watched a pro wrestling show, I thought, 'You know, this is all right...' and it still is."

EmJayHix TNAswerve Supporter
"My whole family always used to watch wrestling when I was young. Once I started watching and saw Sting, I was a lifer wrestling fan and Little Stinger for sure!"

The Messenger TNAswerve Columnist
"My earliest wrestling memories are of watching WWWF's Saturday morning show and hating Superstar Billy Graham and 'The Hollywood Fashion Plate' Freddie Blassie."

Micah Daniels TNAswerve Columnist
"It was 1986, and the first time I took an interest in wrestling was when I watched Jim Crockett's 'World Championship Wrestling' on WTBS."

NMUfred TNAswerve Columnist
"Friends talked about WCW at school, so I tuned in and was impressed by the main eventers, but it was the cruiserweights that kept me coming back week after week and made me such a hardcore WCW fan."

Wrestlingsbest TNAswerve Supporter

MisterTNA TNAsylum Columnist
"As a kid, I clicked on the listing on Sky Sports 3, and after seeing the drama, the arena, the fans and the wrestlers, it hooked me for the rest of my life."

QUESTION #1: Let's begin with a topic that provokes a passionate response from TNA fans: Hulk Hogan. Do you feel that Impact Wrestling (the television show, not the company) is a better product with or without Hogan?

The Messenger: Whenever I think of Hulk Hogan, I am reminded of something that happened in the early days of the NWO. When Hogan shocked pretty much everyone by turning heel - and it may be hard for younger fans to understand just how unthinkable that was in 1996, when turns usually were still a much bigger deal and happened a lot less frequently - the Nitro announcers were talking about it on TV and Bobby Heenan, who had a long history with Hogan and "Hulkamania" spanning three different promotions, said something along the lines of "Anything Hogan is for, I'm against."

It was sort of a face-turn by Heenan. The guy never worked face in his life, to my knowledge, but whether it was kayfabe or his true emotions coming out, Heenan made clear that if Hogan was going to align with the heels, he wouldn't be part of it.

I always liked Bobby Heenan but I liked him even more from that day on.

To me, Hulk Hogan represents so much I do not like about pro wrestling. He was the prototype Vince McMahon "we're going to shove this guy down your throat, whether you like him or not" mega-face that always had me rooting for the heels in WWF and eventually turned me away from the promotion.

It never mattered that the guy could barely work. It never mattered that to anyone over 11 or so, "Hulkamania" was clearly just egomania.

At least Hogan captured my imagination a bit by turning heel in 1996. All of a sudden, a lifelong heel fan like myself was rooting for the faces in WCW, even though I loved Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

But we've been there and done that. It was great while it lasted, but it petered out in about 1998 and it's now 2012. The NWO reunion in WWE was embarrassing and short-lived. And yet, in 2010 and 2011 in TNA, we had Hogan and Bischoff, Nash and Hall and Waltman. Eventually we had Immortal.

None of this was a good idea. All of it was tired, poorly done rehash.

If TNA had been a promotion desperate for talent and angles, like WCW in its last months, maybe this would have made some sense. But instead, it just turned off some of TNA's core fans, got the promotion more laughs than good attention, and put guys like James Storm and Bobby Roode temporarily on the backburner.

Hulk Hogan is almost 59. He's an out-of-touch egomaniac who can barely walk to the ring. He brings nothing of value to Impact Wrestling. The promotion should have cut the cord with him a long time ago - I'm still waiting.

FK9: If we're comparing his tenure in the company before Bound For Glory 2011 to the few months since, then I think the answer is obvious: Without. Less is definitely more when it comes to Hogan. For all his vaunted star power, he never had much of an effect on the ratings outside of segments he personally appeared in, he added very little to the show other than long winded, out-of-touch promos and whatever input he had in regards to the writing process resulted in the year-long creative abortion that was the Immortal takeover. He's slightly more bearable as a babyface; at least then he's more willing to let the spotlight shine on someone besides himself, whereas his heel character always seems to bring out his more insecure and egocentric qualities, but ultimately that doesn't change much.

Look at all the young talents that have been emerging without him around to suck up all the attention. It's the same reason why Jeff Jarrett being "fired" has been a good thing -- the product has reached the point where it requires his absence to thrive, not his presence. The up-and-comers need room to spread their wings, and let's be honest, Hogan takes up a lot of room. I'm not saying he wouldn't be good for sporadic appearances on special occasions to put someone over (ex. raising James Storm's hand in the ring in front of thousands of UK fans), but he's far better utilized backstage or as an ambassador for the company.

EmJayHix: Overall, I would say no. Impact Wrestling is not a better show with Hulk Hogan. Hulk could be an asset to the show if he was not a central, overriding figure. If he could back off and take an ambassador or management type position on the show and stay out of the main picture, then fine. But by now we know that once he is on the show a bit, his role grows and grows. At this point, we know what Hogan is going to be so get him off the show unless his airtime is VERY HIGHLY regulated by someone above him at all times. Without Hogan, the show just flows much better and the real talent get time on the mic which he always hogs. Hogan is very tainted in my eyes because, at this point, there is always an agenda or some BS politics going on in the back with him.

Micah Daniels: To be honest, I've enjoyed Impact more without Hogan. My gripe has always been about Hulk Hogan putting himself and his friends above others, as witnessed in those long, meaningless Immortal interview segments last year, and Bubba The Love Sponge, and The Nasty Boys.

NMUfred: Before I start on the question directly, let me go on my background that may be different than most other readers. I was a WCW fan during the Monday Night Wars in my teens. When I heard through friends that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff came to TNA, it was an eye opener for me, although it took me until May or June 2010 for me to tune in and give the product a chance. So with that back story, I think Hulk Hogan is a positive for TNA. He appears on ESPN and is the most recognizable wrestler of all time, so any publicity that he brings has to be a positive thing for the company. Now when it comes to the product I see on my TV and computer screen, he brings very negative things. I don't think anything he's been involved in for the past 18 or so months I have watched has made me interested. Given that we don't know the salaries of the wrestlers, I can't comment on that aspect of it, although I'm very interested. But my final conclusion is that it's a very positive thing to have Hogan with the company. I'd love to see him doing as many, if not more interviews.

Michael Sangregorio: I think the show can benefit from Hogan being used sparingly. Just like any big feature attraction in wrestling, its value decreases when you see it all the time. Save Hogan for special appearances and pay him to promote the product like a spokesperson everywhere else in the world and on media outlets.

MisterTNA: I think Hogan has been a very mixed bag when it comes to the TV product, while Hogan could be attributed to rating's going up in segments he has appeared in, as well as popping the crowd when he appears on road shows, he always seems to take more TV time away from guys by cutting a 10 minute promo when it only needs to last a few to get the same point across. It’s been re-enforced since Sting took over as GM that Hogan dragged out hyping & booking matches and essentially hindered what could be put on the show due to him taking forever to say something, as well as being the front-man of the repetitive and just boring Immortal opening segments we saw for 10 months straight, which doesn't help Hogan when it comes to answering this question. While Hogan has positives by being on the show, unfortunately for Hogan and his TNA-Hulkamaniacs the negatives his appearances bring do mostly worsen the product when he appears.

Wrestlingsbest: I was never a fan of Hulk Hogan. I was the guy who wanted Randy Savage to win, then became a fan of Bret Hart, then Kurt Angle to this day. But Hulk Hogan is the most known legend of all time in the media outlet's eyes. He is known by everybody except a lot of kids that would know a Jeff Hardy.

I think TNA is better with Hogan when he is doing what he is supposed to be doing now backstage or advertising and sometimes doing some in-ring comebacks. He has not won the world title like a lot of doubters try to say and want to see happen just to bash TNA. He has brought the media attention and kept SPIKE TV more dedicated to the TNA product. I would say he has done his job if he leaves, because the ratings are more consistent as ever. But TNA will lose a merchandising and advertising anchor and a retired HOF who is like a coach out there on special occasions. Even Ric Flair, I like him in TNA as a retired HOF but a more consistent coach/manager.

QUESTION #2: We all know the effect that Austin Aries has had on the X Division since Destination X - he has single-handedly rejuvenated a division that was pretty much irrelevant for too long. How would you book Aries after his feud with Alex Shelley concludes?

FK9: This depends heavily on 3 things: #1) How long his feud with Shelley lasts, #2) Whether or not Shelley wins the title from him and #3) How long Shelley holds the title if he does win it.

Let's give credit where credit is due. Since returning to TNA in 2011, Austin Aries has effortlessly accomplished what both Kaz and Brian Kendrick tried and failed to do last year: he's brought prestige back to the X-division title and, by extension, made the division itself something worth paying attention to again. Hell, you could make a strong argument that Aries has been the best X-division champion since Styles, Daniels and Joe were fighting over the title. Considering what a slam dunk his reign has been, even if he does ultimately lose the title to Alex Shelley -- and I do believe Shelley should be the guy to take it from him -- it would be criminal to not have Aries in or at least near the title picture at all times, unless it's for a good reason.

Some people think that, should Shelley win the title, he may work a program with his tag team partner, the soon-to-return Chris Sabin. If this ends up being the case, Aries would need to occupy himself elsewhere for a while. In the event that happens, I say make Aries the 'Kurt Angle' of the X-division, meaning use him to "make" the newer members of the roster, get them over and make them relevant. He already accomplished this with Jesse Sorensen (granted, Kid Kash helped), Zema Ion doesn't seem to need much help in this department, so give Aries programs with Tony Nese and Mark Haskins.

The great thing about Aries is that he's talented enough to carry a feud even if his opponent isn't at the same level he is. Plus, he knows how get guys over like few people in this company do and doesn't let his ego get in the way of this, unlike a certain someone who shall remain nameless. Austin Aries can make guys into stars; if he's not defending the title, then let him do that instead. And once Shelley is done with the championship (provided he does win it) put Aries back in the title picture and give him a different set of opponents.

Hypothetically, let's say Shelley wins the title at Lockdown. How long he holds it may depend on when the MCMG will need to be put back in the tag division, but say he holds it for a few months until dropping it at Slammiversary or Destination-X. While Shelley defends the title, have a secondary storyline focusing on Aries working with the other X guys who aren't in the title picture -- maybe have them vie for the #1 contendership or have Aries form a new faction comprised of these men, with him as their leader -- there's plenty of things they could do.

And if Aries keeps the championship, then I say just let him hold onto it until his title reign stops being interesting, be that at Destination-X or beyond. That point may be moot however, as I don't think they're going to find a more compelling opponent for him than Shelley on the current roster, and anyone he faces after Shelley (except for perhaps Chris Sabin) would feel like a step down.

MisterTNA: Firstly, Aries should retain the X Division title over Shelley, then he should move onto an inevitable feud with Zema Ion, Ion right now is great and hopefully he will beat Jesse Sorensen at AAO and face Aries for the gold at Victory Road, then Aries should get past the roadblock that most X Division Champions have faced in April, the Xscape Cage match at Lockdown. After beating several X Division Title contenders at Lockdown Aries should go into a short program with Tony Nese, the guy reminds me of a thinner Samoa Joe with how he moves in the ring, i think they should run an angle where Nese comes out saying guys like Ion and Sorensen have had a shot and now it’s his turn with Aries accepting and facing him at Sacrifice. Then Aries should make a challenge saying after beating all the talent in the X Division, and Slammiversary right around the corner, he challenges 3 former X Division stars to face him in a match that decided the first X Division champion, a four way elimination match, possibly have guys like Low-Ki, Petey Williams & Jerry Lynn (doesn’t have to be those 3 but talent of that caliber) answer the challenge and face him at Slammiversary, with Aries coming out on top. Now for Destination X they need to have AJ Styles vs Austin Aries, this match would be off the charts, have Aries challenge Styles and say stuff like if AJ faces Joe & Daniels at Destination X it'll show to Aries and the World that AJ is afraid of him, pushing AJ to accept and making him vs Aries the Destination X main event. Now if TNA do any(hopefully all) of the above, i think they will get some great matches and some happy fans.

Wrestlingsbest: I would like to see Austin Aries lose to Alex Shelley in non-title matches but not lose the X-division title. Shades of what Bobby Roode is doing except with Aries using his own #GREAT heel megalomaniac tactics to prolong his reign which he has had since September 2011. So we have a question of Chris Sabin return in the imminent future that I would book him coming in and shaking up the feud and having the feud end with everyone looking good. and having the Motor City Machine Guns pumped to get backed tag team division. A feud ending tag team program with Aries tagged with someone and losing to the Guns would be my idea of making everyone look win. After the Guns together besting Aries attempt at forming a tag team then they can resume their claim in TNA's tag team division and Austin Aries remaining X-division champion.

Now the question remains who should beat #TGMTEL before or at the next Destination X PPV? And I say the best X-division wrestler on the roster that is the most over as a face by then or a new acquisition that TNA signs who is a star or a star in the making and can be on par with one of the very best in Austin Aries. I would say PAC is that man.

The Messenger: I'm in no hurry to see TNA remove the X division title from Austin Aries. I think longer title reigns can build intrigue and create a sense of invincibility. Of course, if Aries would be allowed to beat a solid opponent clean once in a while, that would help too.

Assuming Alex Shelley moves from this program back into the tag team ranks, I would simply focus on developing other X division wrestlers. I think Zema Ion especially has a bright future. Anthony Nese needs character development. It looks like Mark Haskins may be returning. And whatever happened to Brian Kendrick?

I also would not mind seeing a return by Petey Williams - I liked the "Maple Leaf Muscle" and "definition of definition" stuff - but not the transformation into a mini Scott Steiner.

NMUfred: I know that some people are suggesting a World Title picture run, and I tend to agree with that. He's got the charisma, the name recognition, the mic skills and the finisher to get the job done.

Here's my idea that probably has the most holes in it out of anyone on this panel. After Aries has finished his program with Shelley, successfully defending the X-Division title, he puts his mind on the World Title, being "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived". He enters into a feud with Jeff Hardy (appropriate with the high flying similarities), and works his way up from there. I think a feud culminating with a #1 contenders spot and the X-Division title with Jeff at Destination X would be great.

QUESTION #3: With the additions of Rob Terry, Anarquia, we've begun to see Impact Wrestling stars being sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling for some training. Other than the two I've mentioned, name three additional wrestlers, currently on the TNA roster, that should be sent to OVW and your reasons why.

MisterTNA: Garett Bischoff - I have to say, this guy is bland. I know we haven't seen much of Garett in the ring but his mic skills are poor, and having a guy like Hogan endorse him at this stage is laughable. He needs to go to OVW, I said this when he was taken out by Gunner because while he was away from TV he could of worked on his talking and returned an all-around better package, just because his last name is Bischoff doesn't mean he was going to be an instant hit on the mic, and the more Garett gets featured on TNA TV, the less chance he has of becoming big & credible in the future due to fans being pissed off that he was pushed when he didn't deserve it, he needs to get this match with Gunner and AAO over with and get down to Louisville before it’s too late.

Mark Haskins - I'm not saying this because of his painful botch on the weeks Impact Wrestling, I'm saying it for other reasons. Right now there are a lot of guys in the X Division, and until this past Thursday, Haskins hadn't been on TV for 5 months, he is great in the ring, but he needs to perfect his Shooting Star Press, and the guy needs to get a personality perfected too, he has a lot of potential to become a top X Division Star, but right now he needs to be regularly wrestling and working on his promo skill so he can become what he calls himself, the Star Attraction.

The Messenger: This is a tough question, in part because I think the obvious ones already have been sent. Some people might say Robbie E - but I actually enjoy his act in limited doses. (Full disclosure: I enjoyed "Stone Cold" Sharkboy too.)

I think the main thing that could be done with OVW is to use it as a refresher as much as a demotion. If a wrestler doesn't have a storyline currently, maybe he/she could be sent to OVW for four weeks to work on things and add some sparkle to that promotion. For example, what exactly are Brooke Adams, Sarita and Rosita doing these days?

TNA/Impact Wrestling has a bigger talent roster than you might suspect if you don't visit the promotion's web page very often. And with Impact focusing more tightly these days on fewer wrestlers and angles, I would use OVW to keep other talent working and progressing, both in the ring and on the mic.

FK9: Garett Bischoff - Yeah, no surprise here. Everyone knows why this guy is getting pushed so much, and quite honestly, it really rubs me the wrong way. From what we've seen of him so far, he's been exposed as being very green as a wrestler and boring as unbuttered toast on the microphone. They didn't even give him a chance to shed the stigma of being Eric Bischoff's son before they threw him into a storyline that essentially called for him to get pushed (and now endorsed by Hulk Hogan of all people) pretty much because he's Bischoff's son.

Is anyone really shocked that so many fans have been turning against him? The writers never even tried to make it look like nepotism wasn't a factor here. I know you can't really blame Garett for this, but the fact remains that he's clearly not ready for the spot he's in and pushing him so much before he's ready isn't going to do him any favors.

Whenever I hear people talking about Garett Bischoff, usually the first thing out of their mouths is, "He should be in OVW," and I couldn't agree more. Send him to developmental for a while, let him sharpen his wrestling skills, improve his mic work, learn more than one facial expression and hopefully grow a personality of some kind. Then, when he's actually ready, bring him back to TV and give him a shot based on his own merits, not because of who he's related to. Until then, I have absolutely no desire to see him on my TV, and that goes double for his father.

Tony Nese and Mark Haskins - Both these guys I would send to OVW for pretty much the same reason. It isn't about them not being ready for television, so much as giving them a chance to improve in a specific area. They've impressed in the ring thus far (though Haskins' shooting star press needs work), but have no defined personality or character, and if they're not being used regularly on television right now, why not take this time to work on that? The OVW trainers could be very helpful in bringing these things out of them. Help them develop their own unique personas and perhaps they could learn to make themselves stand out as something other than 'that guy who looks like Chris Masters' and 'that guy who botched a shooting star attempt and landed on his head.'

Honorable mentions: Hernandez and Velvet Sky. To be honest, I would much rather they cut Hernandez entirely (which is why he's not in my top 3). The list of people he and Anarquia injured last year due to sheer carelessness was disturbingly long. But if they're going to keep this guy under contract, he damn well better learn how to work safely in the ring and that hasn't happened on the main roster. Send him to OVW and let him be their problem for a while.

As for Velvet... I'd really like her to go to OVW so she could possibly improve as a wrestler, but the reason she's not in my top 3 either is because I doubt it would make a difference at this point. Her wrestling hasn't gotten any better in the 5 years she's been with the company, so odds are it's as good as it's going to get. The problem is, someone who gets pushed as much as Velvet really should be able to deliver more in the ring than she does. It's a source of frustration for me that she's pushed as one of the top Knockouts and currently near the title picture despite it being quite obvious that, wrestling-wise, she's pretty much the worst woman they have.

The fact that the far less experienced Brooke Tessmacher has surpassed Velvet's skill level in just a little over a year speaks volumes. Velvet's popularity obviously has nothing to do with her wrestling, but that doesn't mean that what she currently does in the ring is enough to justify her getting pushed this much. It isn't, at least not to me.

Michael Sangregorio: First off, Robbie E. I used to work with Robbie E when he was Rob Eckos. Personally I think OVW could do nothing but put him over the edge and harness that potential he has.

Second would be Garett Bischoff. If you have him develop a personality that's more than just being the son of the executive producer you can give something for the viewers to care about.

Finally, Crimson. Let him roll with Matt Morgan for a little while longer but then have his "undefeated" streak be ended by a heel and write him out of the show. Send him to OVW to develop a stronger move set and style.

NMUfred: The first person I'd love to see go to OVW is Robbie E. While the man portrays his character well (as annoying as it may be), what drives me crazy watching his matches is his lack of offense. He's been around for a year and a half now, and in most of his matches, he takes 90% of the bumps and wins by roll up most of the time. I would love to see him perfect a finisher that makes us nod our heads with acknowledgment for giving him the roster spot and 2 titles.

Next is the obvious one, that probably won't happen. Garett Bischoff would learn a substantial amount in OVW, UNLESSSSSS, he has those skills and it's this storyline that's holding him back. His mic skills leave a lot to be desired and if he can prove himself in the ring (which I hope he does in a solid match with Gunner soon), I would be happy to have Garett in TNA.

And for my last choice, I had to go with a Knockout. Now this may seem sudden to do immediately, but I think Velvet Sky would benefit from a stint in OVW. Her in ring timing is terrible and she could use more than 3 moves used over and over again as her offense (especially since one is a clothesline that her opponents sell the hell out of every match).

EmJayHix: Three wrestlers currently on the TNA roster that I believe would benefit greatly from at least some time down in OVW are...

Garett Bischoff - The most obvious of any of the talent in TNA to be sent down is Garett. He is just so raw, it is as simple as that. He knows only the basics, from what we can see in his ring time so far. His mic skills are basic as well and nothing of note really. Some time in front of a "wrestling" crowd just to get the flow of what works and don't work which you can't do in the IMPACT zone because of the horrible crowd there. Also pretty obviously he needs to be a heel because there is no way anyone is going to get behind him with the Bischoff name weighing on him and OVW would give him a chance to work on a heel persona.

Mark Haskins - I put him on here because he is on the TNA roster yet he has done NOTHING of substance since being in TNA. To me he is just one of the "British" guys, that is it. He seems like a solid worker from what little we have seen of him. He needs to find or be given a direction to work towards but IMPACT wrestling on SpikeTV is not the place to be learning on the job when you are not really adding anything to the product. OVW is the place for him to work this all out and come back when he and TNA are ready for him to contribute.

Anthony Nese - Nese is a guy that has the obvious looks, skill and wrestling ability to contribute to the X-Division. His issue is that he has no character. All other areas of his game are prime to be something in the X-Division. It is just that every-time is see him on TV I say well that is a nice move but why should I care about him, even-though I really want to care. Part of that situation is on TNA and part is on Tony himself. Send him down to OVW for a good chunk of time, find a character (sports jock, gym rat, boxer for example), give him some time to hone it and re debut him. This guy is primed for greatness but is held back by not having any character qualities for people to invest in him as anything more than a jobber.

Side Notes: Thought long and hard about Jesse Sorensen being on the list just because of his "youth" but i have seen enough character in recent weeks and he has the total package to be a star so I am willing to let him work out his character on Impact. He has brought a lot to the company in just a short time.

Crimson was another talent that came to mind because every one thinks he is "green" but after really watching him with a keen eye, you can see that he is improving A LOT. People have pigeon holed him early on and won't admit that he is getting greatly better and is a essential piece to TNA for the present and the future.

QUESTION #4: The Tag Team Division appears to have finally gotten a shot in the arm with the creation of Matt Morgan/Crimson and Samoa Joe/Magnus. Once this feud concludes, which makeshift team would you create to challenge the tag team champions? And why? Please select two wrestlers who are currently on the TNA roster but are not or have ever been in an official long term tag team together.

The Messenger: I think the important thing to learn here is that unusual or odd combinations can have surprisingly good results. That doesn't mean throw two poorly matched wrestlers together and push them to the moon - but it does mean have an open mind, especially about trying something new with underutilized talent.

Who is more underutilized in TNA these days than Doug Williams? No one I can think of. I would pair him up with Robbie E in an odd-couple pairing, where hopefully their strengths would benefit each other and their weaknesses would be somewhat offset. Robbie E has loads of personality, this is an area where ring technician Williams is lacking. But Williams has the in-ring credibility that Robbie E lacks.

I never liked the "Shore" gimmick and didn't care at all about the guest appearances from the Jersey Shore cast, but from the start I thought Robbie E had a difficult-to-define something. He does command my attention when he's on the screen. Meanwhile, Williams has bounced around - from the British Invasion to Fortune to Immortal, from heel to face to whatever he is supposed to be now.

This would be a pairing I would try. The problem is that despite the good results TNA has gotten with the pairings of Morgan and Crimson and Samoa Joe and Magnus, they also have booked themselves into a bit of a hole because these are both "monster" teams. How realistic is it going to look if Shelley and Sabin or a new team made of X-division-type wrestlers like Williams and Robbie E try to take on one of those teams?

So eventually, TNA has probably has to build the tag team division back up with a number of diverse teams, not just one here, another there.

NMUfred: I looked at the Impact Wrestling roster and a face jumped out at me. The face of a guy from a city where I'm currently living near, Mr. Ken Anderson, from Green Bay. Who would be his tag partner? Why Rob Van Dam of course from just across the lake in Michigan. Both of these men have been shunned by the new management under Bruce Prichard and could definitely work together under the premise of being former World Champs and having the rug pulled under them. The Midwest connection definitely helps as well as a reason these two men could hang out.

EmJayHix: My make shift TNA tag team is a bit out of left field but I think a pairing of Robbie E and The Pope "D'Angelo Dinero" would be a great tag team. I have always been a fan of teams that have some similarities in body shape/size/look IE Beer Money, MCMG, and The Steiners. Robbie and Pope have similar size and are both ripped muscle wise. Most people don't get to see how good of a wrestler Robbie is because they see the gimmick and look immediately away and Pope is an above average wrestler with spurts of greatness.

In this pairing Pope could do most of the talking because he is gold on the mic and Robbie can talk a bit as well. They would play a "fun" tag team as faces. Pope and Robbie can throw their jokes in there as to get the crowd to notice them and get behind them some. Robbie would have to tone down the "Shore" shtick some but he can still keep some of it but just tone it down to tolerable levels. Pope would have to revert back to "AJ Styles with Ric Flair vs the Pope" era Pope where he was funny and seemed set for stardom before the injury derailed him.

I just think a few tweaks to each of their characters and attire and a re-commitment by Pope and Robbie E. TNA could have a awesome fan favorite tag team to go against the champs who ever they should be. Maybe they could use "Sunglasses at Nite" as a tag team name. Not really, I am horrible with team names.

Michael Sangregorio: My picks would be Rob Van Dam and Ken Anderson. Two big egos who can barely be contained make for an interesting clash and odd mutual respect. Call them the Ego Trip. At least it will give some new life to their played out characters.

As a side note, call Magnus and Joe the Deadly Alliance and Crimson and Morgan the Titans or something to that effect.

FK9: I assume we're talking about wrestlers who could be packaged like a proper tag team and not just two singles guys that you can put the tag belts on for a while, right? I'm not really breaking any new ground here, but Christopher Daniels & Kazarian are a pretty obvious pairing. Both products of the X-division, both former Fortune members and good friends (until their current storyline that has Daniels manipulating Kaz somehow), plus, they're already linked together. That team seems ready-made.

[SIDENOTE: I had also picked Tony Nese & Jesse Sorensen. This was before Sorensen's injury and those thoughts have since been deleted.] 

MisterTNA: After looking at the roster several times & coming up with a few different teams, I came up with the team of Kid Kash & Gunner. Both men are very similar when compared to one another as well as both being tough guy's, I honestly feel that the two together as a team would work very well. By combining the high flying style of Kash and the ground and pound style of Gunner, as well as both men's arsenal of hard hitting moves, I feel TNA would be onto something, there is a lot of quality talent in both men's division and both deserve to be featured, and because of their similarities and potential as I team I think TNA should consider Gunner and Kash as the next 2 men to go after the World Tag Team Titles.

QUESTION #5: Recently we learned that Ohio Valley Wrestling became TNA's official development territory. For fans of TNA who aren't familiar with the product, which wrestler on the current roster would you say can show up in TNA right now and make an impact? And why? Please choose only one. (Note: you can not choose Jessie Godderz, Rob Terry, or Anarquia)

FK9: I don't want to discount any of the diamonds in the rough that I've alluded to in other places because I do think there are some OVW talents that could do well in TNA. Having said that, to really make an impact on the product right now, they would have to fulfill a specific need or fit into a certain role that needs to be filled, and at the moment, I don't really feel like there are any such roles available that someone from the current TNA roster couldn't fill just as capably. Except for one...

There is a key weakness in TNA's product that a lot of people have discussed ad nauseum for quite a while now -- a weakness that has never really been fixed or even addressed that much unfortunately. And there are two OVW stars in particular that I think could have a real positive effect on this aspect of the show, and that's the Blossom Twins.

Let's be honest, the Knockout tag team division isn't in great shape and it never really has been. I can't even count the number of articles, blogs and posts I've read that talk about how TNA needs to either DO something with those tag belts or just drop them altogether. The company has always approached them with a certain amount of apathy -- for whatever reason there just hasn't been a ton of effort in this area, and I think a lot of that has to do with them just not having enough marketable teams to work with. They tried at first, they were onto something really great with Taylor/Sarita vs Kong/Hamada, but Kong's departure killed that feud and it seemed like most of the interest the company had in the fledgling tag division died with it. It's gotten to the point where they only have two proper Knockout tag teams with TnT and Sarita/Rosita, neither of whom are even contending for the tag titles right now! There's something wrong with that. If they just had more viable teams, maybe they could finally create enough match-ups to generate some interest in those titles.

This is where the Blossom Twins could really help the product IMO. Sure, there are plenty of other female tag teams on the indies, but name me one that would be easier to market than freakin' identical twins. Hell, from an aesthetic standpoint, they'd be the advertising department's dream come true. What this tag division has been lacking is a team that the writers felt they could build everything around. I thought TnT were a good choice for that given their apparent popularity, but it seems management feels differently, so why not give the Blossoms a shot? They're young, good looking, more athletic than the WWE's Bella Twins, not to mention freakin' identical! The company wouldn't have to lift a finger to package them; they practically book and market themselves.

Granted, there are more seasoned tag teams out there, but none I'm aware of that have something like this to offer. Plus, unlike some other women on the independents, there's legit interest on their part. They've alluded in interviews and tweets that they're hoping TNA will notice them, they even did an interview from a recent TNA UK fan party in Nottingham. I don't know if TNA have expressed any desire to use them, but frankly, I think they'd be stupid not to at least explore the possibility. For a tag team division that needs some damn attention paid to it if it's ever going to shift out of neutral, Holly & Hannah Blossom could be just what the doctor ordered.

EmJayHix: I don't know as much as I would like to about the new TNA developmental territory in OVW but one talent does stand out from just a few watches of the show. Jason Wayne is that one. Jason has what is needed physically and look-wise to be a player in TNA. His secondary skills (ie. mic work and promos) at first glance seem lacking but that is why he is a prospect in OVW and that is easily fixable. His size at 6' 4" 240 lbs puts him in the realm of a Crimson and possibly a Rob Terry size-wise. He is in great shape and him formerly being in the military seems to be a great indication of a superb work ethic and want-to (ie. TNA studs Gunner and Crimson). If he is anything like either of them and I believe he is, TNA has a talented superstar in the making.

Jason is a guy we could see in TNA in the near future. He seems like the perfect fit for the phenomenal, industry leading crop of young talent TNA has within its roster.

Michael Sangregorio: To me there is clearly only one and that's Christian Mascagni. This guy is one of the best heel managers I have seen in a long time. His southern drawl, pompous attitude, and no nonsense phrasing gets under people's skin for all the right reasons and to me it harkened back to the likes of Jim Cornette in the old days. If you were to give this man to any wrestler you want to showcase, he would certainly be worth it and then some. Also he has shown on OVW television in recent weeks how good of an authoritative heel figure he can be if given the opportunity. Sign him, TNA, and give him to someone like Crimson or when Jessie Godderz inevitably debuts. Highly entertaining.

MisterTNA: For me, it's a two way tie. In my eyes, both Jamin Olivencia and Alex Silva could show up in TNA and make an impact (no pun intended). Both guys have an all around package both in the ring and on the mic. They both have an in-ring presence that some who are already on the TNA roster don't. I know Alex Silva is currently MIA from OVW but from recent comments posted on this site it seems he will be returning to Louisville and OVW which makes him in my eyes an eligible pick. I would also like to mention Christian Mascagni, I think if Mascagni appeared along side a new or current TNA roster member, his skills on the mic would make viewers take instant notice of him and the chosen wrestler standing beside him. Unfortunately right now, I dont see any heel wrestlers on the roster in need of a mouthpiece, but if that were to change, Mascagni would probably be the frontrunner to receive a call from TNA.


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