Ranking the Impact of Every Recent TNA Release

Andy Soucek@Andy_SoucekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2013

Ranking the Impact of Every Recent TNA Release

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    This has been one brutal summer for TNA.

    Impact is now on the road, and what was once thought to be the next step in the company’s growth could possibly bring about its demise.

    The television ratings have remained stagnant, which isn’t going to offset the extraordinary rise in production costs. Because of this, 18 people have lost their jobs since early June. This is a staggering amount.

    So far, new talent hasn't been brought in, which means nearly everyone let go is a tangible loss. Among the 18 are men and women who could have helped out the company if they were put in the right position. Some of the cuts, though, will perhaps help out TNA in the long run.

    This is a list of all the released talent from this summer ranked in order of who is the biggest loss to the company. 



No. 18: Bruce Prichard

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    The quality of TNA did not improve during Prichard's run in the company. Many would argue that things only got worse.

    Prichard was let go from WWE after years of employment. He quickly rose through the ranks in TNA after being hired as a producer in 2010.

    He became the senior vice president of programming and talent relations. His responsibilities also had him oversee the creative aspect of TNA.

    He failed miserably at every role.

    His eye for talent is questionable, and the company didn't create any stars during his time. To his credit, though, Prichard did manage to give himself an on-air role as a Gut Check judge.

    His character, though (or was it really him?), was just arrogant and complteley unnecessary. TNA should be just fine without him.

No. 17: D’Lo Brown

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    The role of a backstage agent in a wrestling company is hard to judge when fans get so little information about what they do.

    It's hard to praise or criticize TNA for cutting D'Lo Brown for his backstage work, but for his on-screen work, he was completely expendable.

    Brown was revealed to be the vice president of Aces and Eights, in an angle that was meant to shock but was largely greeted with apathy. He just doesn't carry the same gravitas that someone like a Hulk Hogan does.

    His most recent run in TNA only saw him in the ring once against Kurt Angle in an "I Quit" match. That's probably for the best, as he clearly didn't look to be in top wrestling shape. 

No. 16: Todd Keneley

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    Todd Keneley wasn't a bad announcer, but he wasn't very good, either.

    He was just kind of there. 

    He didn't last too long in TNA and was put in the unfortunate position of becoming the lead play-by-play announcer by sitting in between Tazz and Mike Tenay, both of whom have had their jobs for years.

    While those two have become increasingly stale over the years, Kenely wasn't the answer to TNA's announcing problems. 

No. 15: Alex Silva

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    The lesson to be learned from Alex Silva is don’t win TNA Gut Check. Actually, don’t try to compete in it at all.

    Stay far away.

    Silva was the first man to take part in the reality-based competition and was voted in by a 2-1 count. However, he wasn't even supposed to win, but due to judge Ric Flair going off script, he was let in. 

    But after winning a contract, he disappeared. Never seeing him again made it harder to care about subsequent Gut Checks, when there was no telling when the winners would show up.

    Silva only appeared up on a couple of One Night Only pay-per-views before being let go. While he’s only 22, he didn’t yet show the talent necessary for a main roster spot. He may have years ahead of him in wrestling, but now wasn’t his time.

No. 14: SoCal Val

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    You may not have realized it, but SoCal Val had been with TNA since 2005.

    She spent time as a ring girl, a backstage interviewer and occasionally took part in storylines. Who could forget her engagement to Jay Lethal, and then when she turned her back on him to join his former best friend Sonjay Dutt?

    Actually, TNA must have because the storyline was quickly dropped.

    It's doubtful that many fans tuned in just to watch SoCal Val, but it's still a shame that a longtime employee was let go so unceremoniously. 

No. 13: Brooke Hogan

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    Some would argue that Brooke Hogan was the most disposable of the TNA releases.

    While it may be hard to dispute that, the company shouldn't have gotten rid of her...yet. After investing so much time into her storyline with Bully Ray, there never really was a payoff.

    The two broke up, teased getting back together and then nothing.

    Besides that, though, getting rid of Brooke was probably not a bad call at all. While she was a better actor than one would have hoped, her unwillingness to wrestle took away most of the value she brought to the company.


No. 12: Devon

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    Devon just isn't that interesting on his own.

    Whether it was as his reverend character on SmackDown or with his sons at ringside, he just needs Bully Ray to complete his act.

    But these days, Bully Ray has come into his own as a singles star at the expense of leaving Devon behind. Now, anyone can get over with the right storyline, but TNA didn't really need him as a thug in Aces and Eights when there are much cheaper options available.

    You can imagine that, due to his WWE experience, he carried a heavier price tag than your average midcarder. This made him one of the first to go.

    Still, after eight years in the company, he deserved a better sendoff.

No. 11: Christian York

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    You can’t help but feel for Christian York.

    After years of trying to make it on a national stage, he finally achieved his dream. But it was very brief.

    Probably due to York’s years of experience (he competed in ECW and in TNA during it’s early days), he put on the best Gut Check match in the competition's short history. The judges were impressed and brought him in.

    Unlike other winners, York didn’t disappear, and he joined the main roster. However, he lost virtually every match he was in. TNA didn’t bother giving him a feud or playing up his interesting life story.

    However, York wasn’t exactly A.J. Styles in the ring, either. He was decent, but he also seemed to lack the mic skills necessary for a big push. Still, he could have at least found a home in the tag division, an area where the company desperately needs help.

No. 10: Jesse Sorensen

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    This is a hard one to rank.

    Not only because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his release but because of how little we got to see from Sorenson.

    He had a gimmick where he'd come to the ring in a letterman's jacket and give a football to a fan. That might work in a local indie show in a high school gym, but not on national TV.

    Management seemed to be high on Sorensen's potential, but before he could gain much traction as a wrestler, he suffered a severe neck injury. After his match with Zema Ion at Against All Odds 2012, he was unable to compete again before his release. 

    At the age of 24, he should have years left in the business if he's able to fully recover. 

No. 9: Madison Rayne

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    In order to save some money, TNA let Rayne's contract run out while she was pregnant.

    Another classy move by the company.

    Rayne was pretty average in the ring, but her character was often entertaining. She was a four-time Knockouts champion who was, at times, the focal point of the division.

    With so few women in the company, it would have been nice had TNA kept her around. At the age of 27, she still has a lot to offer the wrestling business. Hopefully she can return when she's ready and TNA is in a better place financially.

No. 8: Joey Ryan

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    For a short while, Ryan had some pretty good buzz going for him.

    After he failed his Gut Check, he cut a blistering promo on Tazz that got people talking. TNA then had him show up in the crowd for weeks without doing much.

    Due to Tazz’s neck injury, Ryan had to feud with Al Snow instead to earn his contract. After that, things became even more random. He was paired up with Matt Morgan for no good reason, then performed jobber duties and became a Knockouts division referee before his release.

    Unlike everyone else on Gut Check, Ryan had a definable gimmick. He played the part well and displayed far more personality than the average X-Division wrestler. TNA couldn’t find anything for him to do, though, and let him go.

    That's what you get for creating one of the most buzz-worthy moments in recent TNA memory. 

No. 7: Tara

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    The 42-year-old Tara may have been nearing the end of her career, but she could have still been a key player in the Knockouts division. 

    WWE had painfully underused Tara in her last few years there, and TNA ended up making the same mistake. 

    There are very few women in all of wrestling who are as athletically gifted as Tara is. TNA, though, has begun rapidly dismantling the Knockouts division, and she became a victim.

    Tara was able to develop a connection with the crowd as either a face or a heel. She could have proved valuable over the next few years as a wrestler and been used to help groom the next era of women wrestlers. 

    It's probably the end of the line for Tara on a national stage, and once again, it's too bad we didn't even get to say goodbye. 

No. 6: Taeler Hendrix

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    Of all the people TNA released, perhaps only Alex Silva had less of a chance to get over than Taeler Hendrix did.

    While she was with the company for over a year, she had only a small handful of matches. For her young age (24), she was impressive in the ring. But she was cast as an underdog who didn't get to win. 

    While Tara is a better talent right now, Hendrix had potential and surely made far less money, which makes the case for letting her go even stranger. 

    With the depleted Knockouts division these days, it would have been nice to Hendrix stick around. She had the potential to grow into a fan favorite with enough time and hopefully finds that chance somewhere else. 

No. 5: Crimson

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    Crimson’s release was one of the more surprising ones on the list.

    At one point, he was being groomed for big things. He was a pet project of the creative team, as they gave him a ridiculous 470-day undefeated streak. That streak, though, was largely forgettable, as many of his wins were flukes.

    The crowd just didn't buy him in that role.

    Crimson then turned heel and started to finally become interesting. TNA felt otherwise and shipped him off to developmental for over a year.

    When he returned, he had a new look and some new-found confidence. It didn’t matter. He jobbed to Joseph Park and was let go.

    Crimson’s release was just mean.

    The guy spent a lot of time in the minor leagues and actually improved his game. Yet he was still let go. While he may not have developed into the main eventer TNA hoped for, there’s plenty of places he could have been placed on the card.

    The 6'6", 28-year-old Army veteran may land on his feet someday, but for now, he remains a missed opportunity in TNA.

No. 4: Douglas Williams

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    Douglas Williams was part William Regal, part Dean Malenko, and he ended up just like those two: undervalued.

    He held the Tag Team title, the TV Championship and The X-Division belt. He was technically sound in the ring and possessed an in-ring style like no one else on the roster. 

    After gaining some traction as a heel in singles action, the company gave him a brief run as a babyface. That was quickly dropped. He quietly disappeared and returned again as a heel with no explanation. 

    Williams is in his 40s, which means he'll most likely never appear in WWE or get another shot in TNA.

    Like many other talents that have come and gone through the company, TNA had someone unique but also had no clue what to do with him.

No. 3: Kid Kash

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    Even though Kid Kash is no longer a kid (he's 44 years old), he can still flat out go in the ring.

    He's also good on the mic, too. There are very few people in all of wrestling who play as convincing of a jerk as Kash does.

    Unfortunately, TNA never did much with him when it re-signed him. He'd show up in random X-Division matches and lose within a few minutes. He then had a short-lived tag team with Gunner that was used to put over the forgettable pairing of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez.

    The X-Division could have been built around Kash. Just have him dominate the competition and run his mouth. Then, have some up-and-coming babyface finally make him shut up. It's the tried and true storytelling method that works in wrestling. TNA ran nonsensical three-way X-Division matches instead. 

    And how well did that work out for the company?

    It's doubtful that we'll see Kash in one of the big two companies again, and it's a shame that TNA was never able promote his talents effectively. 

No. 2: D.O.C.

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    D.O.C joined TNA while CM Punk was the hottest thing in wrestling. TNA made the connection between their former alliance...once. 

    Upon his arrival in the company, he could have been pushed as a big deal. He has a good look and is a solid worker for a big man. 

    But the entire time he was in TNA he was stuck in Aces and Eights. He didn’t even mean very much to the group. Not only did he have to take a backseat to Bully Ray but also to Mr. Anderson and Devon.

    Had D.O.C. been pushed as a monster (and preferably given a different name), he could have had great battles with smaller babyface challenger. Or TNA could have paired him with Knux in a badass tag team.

    There were a lot of good options. TNA took none of them. 

    Hopefully D.O.C. can have another chance in wrestling, as both major companies have let him down.

No. 1: Matt Morgan

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    You can't blame Matt Morgan for wanting to leave TNA.

    After being painfully misused in WWE, where he was stuck with a stuttering gimmick, he joined his new company with high hopes.

    He was teased repeatedly with a big role but was pushed with incredible inconsistency. 

    Morgan's most recent return was flat-out maddening. He kind of feuded with Hulk Hogan, was placed in a tag team with Joey Ryan and then broke out on his own only to job to Sting. He showed up sporadically after that until he asked for his release.

    Morgan had a lot to bring to TNA.

    Unlike so many others on the roster, he wasn't seen as a WWE guy. Enough time had passed since his WWE run that he could have been built as a top star in TNA and still felt like homegrown talent.

    Besides displaying confidence on the mic, Morgan also competed at a higher level of athleticism than other giants in the industry like Big Show, The Great Khali and Kane.

    Had Morgan been pushed correctly, he could have been one of the top heels in the company. He could have had big matches with Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles. There were so many things TNA should have done with Morgan, but his time in the company was an exact blueprint for how not to push a monster.