Photo courtesy of impactwrestling.com
Last year, I found myself in a discussion with a reader about TNA's "youth problem."
It was his belief that, unlike WWE, TNA's roster is filled with over-the-hill talent and that the company has a problem finding and promoting younger wrestlers. He believed that it is because of this inability to introduce younger and fresher faces that TNA remains stale.
Now I would never call a reader of this fine publication stupid, but I would like to point out the inherent flaw and danger of that type of thinking.
First, TNA's main event talent, with the exception of a few, all have ages that hover around the mid-30s. This is no different than WWE. James Storm, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, CM Punk, John Cena, and Daniel Bryan are all around the same age, give or take.
There are a few exceptions, such as Kane, Bully Ray and Devon who are all in their 40s, but for the most part, the mid-30s is the age of a wrestler in his or her "prime."
So, no, TNA does not have a "youth problem." This brings me to my second point and that is wrestlers any younger tend to be sloppy workers. TNA takes care to season their wrestlers before really putting them out there. According to a March 21, 2013, interview with Fox News Latino, Chavo Guerrero believes this is the way it used to be and should still be:
In the wrestling business, you know, you really don’t know what you’re doing ‘til about seven, eight years in. You look back to the way wrestling used to be — you didn’t even make it to the big time until you were ten years in minimum. Now you’re in the business for six months or a year and they come in the ring and they’re getting shots at the big time. And if you see the wrestling, especially at the other place, you can tell. I won’t even watch that program because it’s bad. The wrestling is so bad.
Young wrestlers are dangerous wrestlers. So it stands to reason that TNA, with its limited television time, would want to ensure its roster is filled with as many seasoned and thus safe workers as possible. We've all seen tragedies in the ring I'm sure, the fewer the better.
The only exceptions I can see to this are Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco. But TNA won't even let them in the ring unless Kurt Angle's with them to carry the match and keep them safe. They're the youngest guys I can think of on the roster, and they're 30. TNA does not trust green wrestlers, and to me that's just plain smart.
The only reason I can imagine for the misconception of TNA's "youth problem" is because of its previous use of older and more widely known wrestlers. But after releasing Scott Steiner and Ric Flair from the company, and after relegating Sting and Hogan to smaller authority roles, TNA doesn't deserve this criticism.
Now WWE on the other hand...did you see WrestleMania 29?