For the first Point/Counter following Christmas, we are changing things up just a bit. John has switched seats with Andy, and we’ve switched gears and will tackle TNA happenings for a change.
1 Should Magnus Be TNA World Heavyweight Champion?
Point (Andy): Magnus went and defeated the top ranked/ toughest completion that TNA had to offer to win the title. Not to mention that he had help from Dixie Carter and her nephew. Magnus is their golden boy and some would argue that he is not ready for the spotlight. Magnus can hold his own in the ring and on the microphone. Yes he needs to work on getting through to the crowd but Magnus has a bright future and is the right candidate for now. (Key word now)
On the one hand, why not? He won the tournament, so clearly he is who Dixie wanted in the top spot while AJ is away. I think the bigger question here is, how long is AJ away? This decision with Styles could be a masterstroke, or it could be an epic failure. I keep hearing rumblings about his contract negotiations being ongoing, but from where I sit, he has all the leverage. He “left” the company as their champion and is defending “their” belt on indy shows. Which, either gets them attention, or perhaps actually cheapens their brand a bit, depending on your viewpoint. Magnus is younger and is someone fresh at the top, as opposed to a recycled guy like Angle, Sting, Hardy etc. So right there, I think TNA did something right. Assuming this builds up to an eventual Styles/Magnus “unification” clash, well….it all depends on how that goes. For now, let’s see how it plays out.
2 Does AJ Styles Need To Move On From TNA?
Point (Andy): “The Phenomenal One”has done it all in TNA, he has won every title there is to win but as a homegrown guy it is only fitting he would stay. TNA built the guy up for the past couple of months to be their world champion but due to his contract ending Styles left. I think he can help the company and honestly with his age (36) can he really do any better? WWE will not throw him right into a main event storyline so stay with the company that will.
I think a better question is, if he wants to move on, does he have a spot in WWE? 5 years ago, maybe. Today? I am not so sure. For one, Vince has shown an increased interest in developing and pushing home grown talent. And when not completely home grown, WWE is bringing in younger guys from top indy feds and getting them some time in the developmental system to refine them before debuting them. They have a ton invested in the Florida facility. I think it would be pointless for someone like AJ to jump to WWE. The reality is AJ needs them more than WWE needs AJ. I expect that WWE top brass would have much more interest in the older veterans with far greater name recognition (think of Sting for that long rumored fantasy match against Undertaker, or a WWE alum like Angle). That’s not to say WWE couldn’t use AJ. I just don’t see how he’d fit in the programs right now, and I truly believe that those calling the shots would much rather give a bigger push to a young star already in the company (Cesaro, Reigns etc) or if looking for new blood, bring someone else up from NXT.
3 With Several Changes Within TNA, What Can We Expect In 2014?
Point (Andy): Hogan, Bischoff and other key members gone, 2014 has the chance to be the real make or break year for the company that has only been around for eleven years. TNA has a young world champion, which is a good building block for them. One negative could be their back in Orlando but it saves them money which it’s a big need. TNA will either make big ground or they will continue to lose ground that could put the company out for good. TNA needs to be smart but yet aggressive to survive this year. The talent is there but can they fit the pieces to the puzzle is the bigger question for TNA.
At the risk of being a naysayer or a hater, I think 2014 is a big year for TNA. Go big or go home kind of year. Regardless of who ended the partnerships, parting ways with old guard like Hogan and Bischoff will be nothing but good for business. Their financial needs alone were a boat anchor that TNA did not need.If I am on Dixie’s business team, I am going out to find some top Indy promoters with shrewd business sense and either partnering up, or stealing them away and letting them breathe new life into the back end of the brand. The perfect mind for TNA might be Paul Heyman-provided someone is around to handle the financials and leave Paul to the creative side. But he’s under contract with WWE, and likely not going anywhere.Even without someone like Heyman, there are plenty of solid smaller feds going with smart enough minds that the help is out there. Talent-wise, TNA is well situated.
What I think they could benefit from is to see what someone like Heyman did, and that is to think outside the American wrestling box. Bring in some talents on agreements with Japanese or Mexican feds and showcase the different talents. Go find the next big thing like that. ECW took the chances on some of the crazier Japanese and Lucha stars when no one else stateside would do it, and within months, you saw Lucha stars in particular (Rey, Konnan, Psycosis) jumping to WCW. TNA needs to be innovative and on the bleeding edge. Not entirely, but they can’t play it safe, because they are already in a hole. Dare to be different. Maybe they can go a bit more adult than family friendly, since the PG scene seems to be WWE’s sweet spot of late. Go for the audiences that WWE seems to no longer cater to, and they can find untapped market share and thrive. They have the talent. Now it’s all about putting them in spots to succeed. I also think if they embraced things like Internet PPV, it could be a boon for them. This would be another way for them to think outside the box–not just in showcasing talent, but in how they deliver it to the masses. Could you imagine if Dixie approached Fox Sports or ESPN or a similar network with a proposal to get some wrestling onto those airwaves? Even once a month or once a quarter? I don’t know the odds of that happening, but that is the kind of thinking that they need. If Dixie isn’t willing to do it, then the time has come for her to put the for sale sign up.