Another taping raps and roster full of young, hungry, talented young men and women sit and watch. To the back left, the entrance to the men's change room.. the back right to the woman's. The open door to the hall way outside is like an entry ramp onto a busy highway. Veterans of the sport, strut past high-5'ing each other on another great show as they exit into a different room. In an ironic twist, members of management are heard talking about ' this being the future. '
Kevin Nash slowly struts in and out making sure people see him, while Scott Hall slumps over in a corner. Sean Waltman isn't too far behind either making sure he keeps up. Eric Bischoff watches from afar thinking ‘ it's good to be k ing , ’ as a bloody Ric Flair is attended to by a nurse. Hulk Hogan chats in the corner to another former champion in Sting about the new story line. As a powerful, brooding, monster of a man, the companies new franchise quietly changes in the corner.
You'd be forgiven for thinking it was 1997. The company, WCW. That monster of a man, Bill Goldberg. And that Hogan and Sting were talking about the Brandon Lee movie, The Crow.
A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
While theres a lot of simularities between TNA and the former WCW, theres one key part that’s always over looked when comparing the two companies. Their mid-cards. And how some day, they went to the WWE and became stars and how potentially history will repeat itself.
TNA without even knowing it are sitting on a gold mine. The same gold mine WCW sat on in 1997. A young, talented, hungry group of wrestlers already battle-tested and experienced on the international stage. From the American independents, Mexico and to Japan holding countless titles along the way.
Early in the show Cruiserweights who helped define a generation of wrestlers in the United States with a mixture of break neck speed and high flying leave the crowd breathless. Light-Heavyweights combining the thrills and spills of men a few shades lighter with the hitting power of a heavyweight boxer and some the skills of a world class shooter continue in keeping the crowd alight. Cult heroes follow, capturing the imagination of fans with a simple blend of individuality and showmanship. This all amounts to 15 minutes. Later in the show a handful of best tag team workers in the world produce the match of the evening. In total, it's 25 minutes out of a 2 hour show thats filled with banter, promos, vignettes and interviews.
Beer Money, the Guns, Pope, Wolfe, and Joe have just proven why people hold them up so highly. The Beautiful People in 5 mins produced the highest ratings for the night, while Styles and Aybss, really puppets for Flair and Hogan close the show on a high. Yet by this point in time no-one is watching. Between the Velvet Skye peep show and the main event, Hogan spoke for 40 minutes, Eric Bischoff exchanged banter backstage with every one and The Band played another tune or three as the ratings slide. The only shining light, Rob Van Dam frog splashes a heel while Hardy chases the badmen from ringside.
Between 1999 and 2002, the WWE took a handful of under card talent from WCW both during it's demise and after it's death. Where Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Rey Mysterio sat in 1997, Robert Roode, James Storm, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Desmond Wolfe stand today. Waiting.
The WWE's future isn't necessarily in NXT. It's potentially in TNA.