TNA's Gravitation Towards Mixed Martial Arts

adam smereckiCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 10:  WWE Diva wrestler Torrie Wilson (R) and WWE RAW Wrestler Bobby Lashley arrive at the Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on October 10, 2007 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)

Bobby Lashley at first was an interesting signing for TNA. Then, the wrestling world learned TNA would be taking a back seat to his MMA career. The news caused me to think about TNA as a "wrestling" company.

Why would TNA sign a wrestler that had no intention of wrestling full time?

Well, this is a pattern for TNA.

The pattern begins with TNA's very first pay per view. Ken Shamrock (if you remember) won the NWA World Title Tournament.

Shamrock has major ties with the MMA world and not to mention he is a former competitor in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Shamrock in turn was the first NWA/TNA champion.

TNA's transition to the six-sided ring became eerily similar to the octagon used in the UFC. The transition came to fruition once TNA signed with Spike TV.

The pattern continues with the network Spike TV. TNA is always in competition with the UFC which is also broadcast on Spike. Just before the Spike TV deal, TNA used Tito Ortiz as a referee. Ortiz is a former MMA competitor and had ties with Dana White, the president of the UFC.

This competition has spilled over into the ring. TNA continues to use talent from the MMA world such has Frank Trigg. Trigg "fought" AJ Styles in a MMA-style match (which did not go over well with fans); nonetheless, TNA continues to try and tap into the MMA market.

Kurt Angle has made is very clear at times that he would like to compete in an MMA-style match. TNA has not made any objection publically about his statements or desire to do so.

As a matter of fact, Kurt Angle beat Brock Lesnar in Japan for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. As we know, Brock Lesnar is now under contract with the UFC.

Samoa Joe is a MMA-style wrestler and is seen training as such. During certain vignettes TNA uses footage of Joe kick-boxing in a UFC-style ring.

On top of that, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle have wrestled an MMA-style match (though not booked as one) at the "Lockdown" pay per view.

Finally TNA has signed TAZ. TAZ is the perfect example of the MMA-style wrestler. In fact he was booked as such in the original ECW.

It is no coincidence that TAZ will most likely be linked with Samoa Joe when he makes his debut on TNA programming. Though TAZ will not be competing in the ring, the MMA vibe is the still there.

TNA needs to re- evaluate it's goals as a company. Right now, its a total mess.

Recently TNA used a storyline to put over Samoa Joe as a part of the Main Event Mafia. In which Joe "faked' wrestling Kevin Nash, Booker T., Scott Steiner, and Kurt Angle just to fool Sting. Well if TNA is so caught up in "real" fighting why would they fake anything?

I mean wrestling is fake, right?