Jim Ross May Be TNA's Only Hope

Andy SoucekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2013

photo via ultimatesportstalk.com
photo via ultimatesportstalk.com

Hulk Hogan? Fire him.

Eric Bischoff? Can him.

Sting? Send him packing.

Jim Ross? Give him anything and everything that he wants to come in to TNA.

Right now, Ross could be one of the only people in the wrestling world (or in the entire world) who could save the company from its continuing, seemingly inevitable slide into oblivion.

Nearly everyone who watches TNA is in agreement. Things are not going well.

The company is strongly considering returning to a single location. Eighteen employees were let go, and they most recently failed to re-sign the Knockouts champion Mickie James.

On top of that, ratings are flat while expenses have absolutely skyrocketed. Something drastic needs to happen, and soon.

Eric Bischoff is not the answer. He has never been the answer.

Yes, he should absolutely be given credit for revitalizing the wrestling industry in 1995 with Nitro. But that was 18 years ago. His contributions to the professional wrestling industry are now a net negative.

TNA brought in Bischoff whose prior resume included helping usher WCW out of business by handing out bloated contracts and heading a terrible creative regime. Jim Ross, on the other hand, is one of the greatest announcers of all time and assembled the Attitude Era’s roster.

So really, which one has the more impressive credentials?

TNA’s talent future is bleak. It’s doubtful that Garett Bischoff or Wes Brisco will ever become big stars. It’s doubtful that most Gut Check winners will ever make the roster full time. They need new blood and they need it soon.

Ross has a keen eye for talent. He was helping sign guys like Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar while his successor, John Laurinaitis, was signing Heidenreich and Kenzo Suzuki.

TNA has continually stocked up on ex-WWE and WCW wrestlers instead of creating its own stars. That pool is drying up. There is no wrestler who can save them. One by one, nearly every name from WWE that the company could get a hold of came in:

Booker T, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson, Sean Waltman, Bobby Lashley, Scott Steiner, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Christian, Rikishi, Test, Mike Knox, Luke Gallows, Rhino, Tyson Tomko, Shannon Moore, Val Venis, The Nasty Boys, Orlando Jordan, Bubba Ray Dudley, D’von Dudley, Spike Dudley, Chavo Guerrero, Miss Tessmacher, Jacqueline, Victoria, Gail Kimm, Taryn Terrell, DDP and the biggest wrestling name of all time: Hulk Hogan.

None of them took the company to the next level. All that money and time gone to waste. The big concepts haven't fared well either.

The NWO knockoff The Band predictably failed. The ECW reunion EV2.0 was embarrassing. The Main Event Mafia wasn’t that good in the first place. Aces and Eights has had a year to get people interested to no avail. And Brooke Hogan? Who would have ever guessed that wouldn't take off?

ECW in 2010. Another failed Bischoff concept (photo via thewrestlingbar.mforos.com)
ECW in 2010. Another failed Bischoff concept (photo via thewrestlingbar.mforos.com)

What the company hasn’t tried this past decade is changing its philosophy. Vince Russo continued to push Crash TV well past its expiration date, and Eric Bischoff brought forth one dated power battle after another. The company continued to maddeningly run in circles despite any tangible progress.

The constant rehashes, and blatant nepotism are not working.

So maybe, just maybe, Dixie Carter should realize that no wrestler is going to fix TNA's problems and give the company the overhaul that it desperately needs.

Being WWE lite isn't cutting it. The company has no identity. There is nothing that fans can point to and say "TNA is better at" than the WWE.

The tag division? It's nearly non-existent in TNA. The Knockouts division is now composed of three wrestlers. The X-Division has been a joke for years. Jim Ross could help give the company that much needed identity.

First of all, let him handle signing talent. This could stop all of the promising young wrestlers going with WWE instead of TNA the past few years. Secondly, let him announce Impact. Mike Tenay has been linked to a bad product for so long that he has to go. He could be kept around as a backstage interviewer or in an advisory role, but he can no longer be the voice of TNA.

Ross has a connection with fans that few in all of wrestling have. He brings a genuine excitement and appreciation to calling a match that no other announcer can touch.

Most importantly, let him take over creative. Maybe he's not interested in physically writing the shows, but he could surely put people in place that could carry out his vision.

To be a true alternative to WWE all TNA needs to do is present its wrestlers as the top talent in the company. HHH is the end-all-be-all in WWE and the TNA universe revolves around Hulk Hogan. We need something different, and Ross understands the seemingly obvious importance of wrestlers to a wrestling show that WWE and TNA just don't quite get. 

Jim Ross is a man that knows wrestling. He knows more the history than Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and yes, even Vince McMahon. He gets what makes it dramatic in a way that Russo and Bischoff would never understand.

Dixie Carter takes a lot of pride in employing a lot of people. She's also shown a great reluctance to let anyone go. She may soon though have to decide between letting a few high paid, under-producing talents go or leave every single person in the company unemployed.

She failed once to bring in Jim Ross (and Paul Heyman) a few years ago. That was a mistake. A failure to do it again could be a fatal one.