WWE/TNA: If There Were a Trade Deadline, Who Would You Deal?
In the real world of professional sports such as the National Football League, or the National Basketball Association, there are a group of teams that are all under one umbrella. These teams are all striving year after year with the ultimate goal of being the World Champion in their respective trade. In trying to achieve that goal teams use tools such as free agency, the yearly draft, or trades to add parts to their team in the areas where they need improvement.
Unfortunately, the Professional Wrestling world does not have the luxury of every promotion being under that one umbrella.
For instance, on the field, and off, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are bitter rivals. These two franchises are not trying to sink one another though. They are always trying to out dual one another to acquire the best available player. Yet they still need one another to help the MLB stay profitable and popular.
Professional Wrestling does not have that type of give and take relationship. It's more a relationship of take. In the pro-wrestling world there are only two major promotions left. They are Total Nonstop Action, and World Wrestling Entertainment. These two are followed by a less known promotion which is Ring of Honor, but even this promotion is rather insignificant to this point.
This is going to be a fantasy slide show. What if TNA and the WWE were under that same umbrella, and though they were still competing with one another for viewers, they still needed each other to survive? WWE has proven that they can survive without TNA, but they have also proven that without any competition their content becomes rather lackluster and quite stale.
What if the big two promotions didn't have to wait for contracts to expire? What if the 90 day clauses were waived so that the newly acquired talent could compete immediately? What if TNA and the WWE had a trade deadline, and over the course of a couple hours the landscapes and rosters were reshaped to help both promotions succeed. Not in the goal of a championship, but for the ratings, fan support, and money. The three particulars wrestling promoters like Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter are in pursuit of.
This slide show is going to showcase several trades. However, just like in the professional sports world they will have to prove beneficial to both parties. They won't just be a trade that I wish would happen so I could see a particular dream match. Both promotions are still a business, and want to succeed. They aren't just going to give away their top talent for nothing. In this fantasy scenario, Raw and Smackdown are both still considered their brands, so any superstar that they would trade would leave their brand and they would get the superstar from TNA they traded for. The incoming formerly TNA superstar isn't just placed anywhere. In addition, there are no trademarked names, a traded superstar resumes their identity or gimmick in their new promotion, however their new employer can change their gimmick, and no current champions can be traded.
All of the trades will include a breakdown of why the superstar or superstars were traded, and why it's beneficial for both sides.
At the end of the slide show, you then become the commissioner per say, like Roger Goodell of the NFL, or Bud Selig of the MLB. I would like you to comment if you choose to do so, in regards to any trades you would veto and why. To take it one step further, submit a trade yourself, and I will act as the commissioner. I will either prove or reject it, and I will give details to why I ruled the way I did.
Smackdown Acquires; Eric Young and Suicide
Eric Young and Suicide
Smackdown is the first brand to reach out to TNA. They are looking to bolster their Cruiser Weight division. When the WWE was originally split into two brands, Smackdown was known for their high flying action. This is an area of production that they slowly moved away from, but it's a draw, and needs to be rebuilt
The blue brand already has a sturdy foundation of Cruiser Weights with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, and Justin Gabriel. While their newest free agent acquisition Sin Cara is getting ready to debut any time soon. It only made sense for them to go out and grab two more high fliers in Young and Suicide. Though they traded for Suicide the plan is to repackage him as "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels.
Eric Young and Suicide have both become expandable for TNA. Eric Young has been repackaged several times in their promotion and though he's been over several times with the fans TNA continues to misuse him. In TNA he's currently at the very low mid-card level with no real push in his near future.
The Suicide character has been played by several superstars. The character is most likely never going to be a true contender, and "The Fallen Angel" character has been buried for some time now. TNA knew they had some value with Christopher Daniels so they used it to their benefit.
TNA Acquires Cody Rhodes and Cash Considerations from Smackdown
In return for Eric Young and Suicide, TNA picks up Cody Rhodes.
Ever since the break up of Legacy Rhodes has been floundering. He hasn't been able to get over as a heel that can main event, and because of this he is expendable. TNA was very interested when he became available because he's only 25 and a 2nd generation superstar. There are no immediate plans for him in TNA, but they do have some story lines they would like to implement him in.
TNA executives know they may have given up a little to much for Rhodes at this point, but Rhodes has much more upside then the two superstars they dealt away. The cash cleared with dealing two guys while picking up some extra cash will help out with production costs.
In a Blockbuster Trade; TNA Acquires The Big Show from Smackdown, for Kurt Angle
The Big Show and future considerations
In the first blockbuster deal of the day TNA dealt Kurt Angle for The Big Show. Along with the Show future considerations are included. What this relates to is TNA being able to select a future superstar from one of the WWE's developlmental territories.
TNA knew that holding onto Angle will be tough. Angle has an expiring contract and has hinted that he wanted to end his career back in the WWE were it began. Along with his contract issues, Angle has a well publicized feud with Jeff Jarrett and his x-wife Karen (Angle) Jarrett. In this situation it was best for all parties involved to cut ties, and for TNA to get some value for the "Wrestling Machine" before he walked.
In acquiring The Big Show TNA was able to land a guy that has been on their radar for quite sometime. A change of scenary will do him good. He's still young so to speak in terms of wrestling age, and has some brand new talent to work with. A Matt Morgan and Big Show program is already being set up.
Kurt Angle Is Headed Back to Smackdown
Angle is back on Smackdown
During the negotiations in regards to Cody Rhodes, TNA had mentioned they were willing to part with Kurt Angle if the price was right. WWE executives, in particular Vince McMahon were all over the thought. They wanted to land him before his current contract was up, and he contemplated retirement. The mind set in the WWE was that landing Angle would be a major net.
The Big Show was teetering at the main-event, mid-card level. He was expendable. He had simply run his course in the WWE. Giving up a future unknown potential superstar may be what hurts in the long run. It was a bitter loss the WWE and especially Smackdown brand was able to digest, though it was easier to swallow with the return of Kurt Angle.
The addition of Angle will solve some large short term problems. The guys behind the scenes of Smackdown know that they are the second tier brand. The impending loss of an icon like the Undertaker, and the lack of established heels have them in a bind. The acquisition of Kurt Angle solves two of those major problems quickly. He's obviously an established superstar, and can fill that role of heel more than adequately. Hopefully he can provide an ample amount of time for guys like Christopher Daniels and Drew McIntyre to get themselves over.
The plans for Angle at the moment are to pair him with Jack Swagger in some sort of faction, where he would tutor Swagger.
Raw Trades Three for Jay Lethal and Hernandez
Pictured left Jay Lethal, to the right, Hernandez
The Raw brand could feel the pressure that Smackdown was putting on them with their first two deals. The acquisition of the "Wrestling Machine" Kurt Angle really opened their eyes. Raw was next to pick up the phone and after some negotiating they were able to pull off a deal that landed them Jay Lethal and Hernandez. In return they sent TNA The Great Khali, R-Truth, and Mark Henry.
Raw's true Prize is Hernandez, he's a big athletic guy and main event caliber material, He's not going to jump into the main event scene from the go, but a feud with a superstar such as Sheamus could give him the credibility to get over as a baby face and make a run at the Miz.
Jay Lethal was an excellent pickup as well. How he is going to be used is up in the air at the moment, but he's a great talent and could easily be put into a program with guys like Tyson Kidd, or Ted DiBiase. Lethal will most definitely be repackaged in some way to get over with the fans.
The Great Khali was actually the center piece of the entire deal. TNA is very big on the monster sized superstars right now. Ironically it was the smaller guys of the X-Division that originally put them on the map. With the acquisitions of The Big Show and now the Great Khali it appears they are headed in a different direction, most likely influenced by Hulk Hogan or Eric Bischoff. The WWE was only keeping Khali around for his following in India. He had already surpassed his potential in their eyes and was around for nothing more than jobbing an comedic relief,
The WWE had tried to get R-Truth over but it jut wasn't catching on. He had had a better run in TNA, and because he was a mid-card jobber putting over the younger talent he was expendable. His spot on the roster can be filled by a number of baby faces such as Santino Marella or Golddust. His loss will not be felt.
Mark Henry found himself in the deal because he like The Big Show has run his course in the WWE. Much like R-Truth, Henry found himself jobbing the majority of the time and not having any real storyline since MVP requested his release several months ago. He was primarily kept around for his leadership in the locker room, and that asset will be sorely missed. However the talent influx from the trade more than overshadows that quality at this point.
TNA Lands Khali, R-Truth, and Mark Henry
TNA wanted the Great Khali. They weren't excited about trading Hernandez, but they feel the talent they received in the end will be well worth it.
As mentioned earlier they wanted Khali and bad. They know that he is not a wrestling machine by any means, and they do intend to repackage him. His comedic persona will be reinvented into what he was meant to be, a monster. His size and strength should carry him in a match. His matches should never be 5 stars. He should squash his opponents, and a match he is in should be no longer than 10 minutes in time. He will initially be brought in as a bodyguard for Jeff Hardy to help squash Sting.
TNA also felt they could revitalize R-Truth, he was their former Heavyweight Champion and was super over with the fans. Before he left though, like other wrestlers, he was lost in the shuffle in TNA. They are high on him again and believe that he can be a fixture in the X-Division.
Mark Henry was primarily brought in for a locker room leader, like he was in the WWE. With so many debacles in TNA over the last couple of years a sturdy fixture will be welcomed. He will most likely stay at the mid-card level but his assets back stage are what garnered his services.
When it came down to it TNA knew they would have to give a little to get a little. Hernandez once thought to be a major part of their programming had fallen to the wayside with the influx of talent that had been brought in over the last couple of months. Though they were still very high on him he was tagging with other guys the majority of the time.
The same can be said for Jay Lethal. At one point he carried the X-Division, and though TNA was still high on him he was an acceptable loss in their eyes.
Desmond Wolfe Dealt for Ted DiBiase Jr.
Wolfe pictured left dealt for Ted DiBiase Jr.
TNA had tried to have DiBiase packaged in the Khali deal, but the WWE didn't see it that way. He wasn't untouchable, but they wanted value for the 28 year old third generation superstar.
Though DiBiase had fallen to low mid-card level on RAW, they knew he still had a future in the business. TNA offered Desmond Wolfe for DiBiase straight up. WWE and the Raw brand really didn't have to think twice about it and agreed to the trade.
Wolfe had been lost in the shuffle in TNA a lot like Jay Lethal. After a promising debut and feud with Angle he had pretty much made no other real impact. WWE's plans are to pair Wolfe with Sheamus in a some type of mini faction, maybe adding a third member as well.
DiBiase is expected to be inserted in a program with Jeff Jarrett as the heel in the upper mid-card in some type of fortunate-son and blue-collar son feud.
Smackdown and TNA Announce Another Blockbuster
Smackdown pulls off another blockbuster deal in trying to compete with Raw. In their second major trade of the day they snag Samoa Joe for Kane and Chris Masters.
In possibly the biggest deal up to this point Samoa Joe is going to be the newest edition to the blue brand. The Smackdown brass knew that they had to pull the trigger when Samoa Joe's name was put out there. Samoa Joe is going to be a huge edition to the roster and could conceivably be inserted into the World Heavyweight Championship picture upon his arrival.
In order to land Joe, Smackdown did have to give up one of their cornerstone superstars in Kane. Kane has done just about everything in the WWE, from his iconic feud with his brother the Undertaker, to being both WWE and World Champion. Kane has seen both ups and downs in his career, from being a World Champion to being a jobber. However his name has never lost any steam, and was always considered a top talent and contender. Kane's departure will be a loss, but Smackdown is very high on Samoa Joe and his untapped potential.
Chris Masters was added to sweeten the pot. Smackdown had felt that a Kane for Samoa Joe trade straight up was fair, but TNA didn't see it that way. Masters is nothing but a mid-carder. he had a promising start to his career, but after being released for failing testing through the wellness policy, and a short stint in rehab, Masters couldn't regain his steam. Masters is still very young and a fresh start may be the best thing that happens to him.
TNA Lands Another Monster, This Time Kane, Masters Included in Deal
Kane and Chris Masters
TNA continues to add monsters their roster. Kane like the Great Khali was a guy they wanted to land. His name alone should add some viewers and ratings. The addition of Chris Masters was more of a trade-off age for age as they dealt away one of their superstars in Samoa Joe.
Samoa Joe like several of the guys on the TNA roster is the whole package with his wrestling ability and charisma. But like many of those guys he was pushed to the backseat when Hogan and Bischoff took over the creative reigns. Joe had no storyline or immediate eventful direction in his future, so he was dealt. Loosing Joe is a shock to the TNA fan base, but bringing in a figure like Kane is well worth the risk in the eyes of TNA.
Kane is a bit past his prime, and has kicked around the idea of retirement, but his move to TNA instantly stirs up some very large waves. TNA is incredibly excited about the potential of a program between him and Abyss. The epic confrontation is a battle long awaited and considered an absolute dream match that fans have longed to see. Along with the Abyss potential, Sting is another dream match that TNA would love to set up. Many will say that a Sting versus Undertaker match is more of a dream match. Arguably though, Sting and Kane have just as much potential to be an iconic battle between two legends. The addition of Kane easily opens many new doors for TNA’s creative to explore and exploit.
As mentioned earlier, TNA wanted a younger talent packaged in if they were going to ship Samoa Joe. Chris Masters ended up being this talent. TNA tried to acquire Ezekiel Jackson, but Smackdown wasn't going for it. The brass knew that in Jackson they could have a powerful main eventer within the next couple years. In the stead, Masters was shipped. TNA will almost surely throw him into their mid-card, maybe even teaming him up with a superstar such as Rob Terry as a powerhouse tag team.
Raw Announces Blockbuster, They Acquire RVD and Scott Steiner
Pictured left to right, RVD and Scott Steiner
In the final trade on deadline day six superstars were exchanged. Raw was able to land a much needed main eventer and familiar face in Rob Van Dam, while also acquiring "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner. In order to secure both of these talents the Raw brand had to give up four. They were the Uso's Jimmy and Jay, William Regal, and Gail Kim.
RVD is clearly the gem of the trade, and brings Raw immediate star power, not to mention the fact he's a fan favorite. He is another guy that can easily be inserted into the main event picture with talents like John Cena, Randy Orton, and the Miz. With the retirement of Shawn Michaels a year earlier, and HHH's impending retirement, Raw was in dire need of a well established superstar to jump in the roster slot. RVD is a prized talent, and will not only help to maintain ratings, but be a great merchandise seller.
Raw wanted to bring Scott Steiner back for several reasons. The first is he is a legitimate superstar with a name that is still valued. It's pretty evident that his best years are behind him, but he still maintains charisma that makes you either love or hate him. By no means will Steiner be a contender for the WWE Championship, but he can definitely fill the void left by Mark Henry. "Big Poppa Pump" still has some gas left in the tank, and could be used to get talent over, or as an enforcer type in a faction.
Once again, to pad their roster Raw had to give up some locker room leadership. William Regal was sent to TNA, and though he was nothing more than a lower card jobber, he was another veteran who garnered nothing but respect from everyone in the locker room. He was widely regarded as one of the guys who was willing to put the younger guys over. He will be another veteran who will be sorely missed, but his leadership was needed badly by TNA, a veteran presence like his is invaluable.
Raw also shipped the Uso's, and Gail Kim to TNA. The Uso's and especially their father, once known as Rikishi in the WWE Universe were not happy with their current roles. With the WWE's lack of a tag team division, the Uso's were an acceptable loss even though they are both very young and loaded with potential. As history has proven though, tag teams in the WWE are more of a commodity rather than necessity. Gail Kim preferred TNA, and the WWE knew that. She was entrenched in a bad storyline as Daniel Bryan's girlfriend when she should be competing for the Diva’s Title. The WWE's Diva division was already clustered with performers though, and she was packaged in just to cut salary costs, Raw will not miss her.
TNA's Tag Team Division Gets Stronger with Addition
TNA adds four more
TNA once again looking to change the attitude in their locker room brought in a great veteran in William Regal. Like some of the other talents TNA acquired today Regal won't be a huge impact on the roster per say, but he is a major addition to the locker room. He could easily be made the leader of a faction including Douglas Williams and Rob Terry. Regal still has plenty of tread left on the tires and if used correctly could even punch through into the main event level.
In another smart move TNA brought in Jimmy and Jay Uso. TNA is already known for their much more developed and intriguing tag team division. The addition of the Uso's not only bolsters that stronghold by adding another exciting team, but they stole one of the WWE's handful of tag teams only to weaken the competition. The Uso's are expected to be thrown into the upper echelon of the tag teams and compete for the Tag Titles.
It was a well known fact hat Gail Kim really liked TNA, and in fact never wanted to leave in the first place. However, contract issues led to her departure a couple years back and she landed back in the WWE. Her addition will help strengthen a floundering Knockout's division, and though her arrival won't necessarily be felt on screen, her leadership in the locker room will be more than welcomed.
RVD had been brought to TNA by Hogan and Bischoff hoping he would make a huge splash and stir the pot up quite a bit. For the most part his arrival did just that, and he was the TNA Heavyweight Champion within months. He had a bit of a run, but had fallen out of favor for guys like Sting and Jeff Hardy. Hardy is clearly who TNA wants as the face of their company with all of the hand he has with the fans. Since Hardy's return, and now with Sting in the picture again, RVD, though still in the main event scene had lost a good bit of his appeal. Trading him will save TNA some major cash, and open a spot up for an incoming guy like Kane, or to re-establish AJ Styles as a contender.
Scott Steiner was dealt because there was nothing for him. After the Main Event Mafia return was thwarted by Kevin Nash and Booker-T jumping ship, Steiner was left in limbo. Angle and Sting could carry themselves, while Steiner needs someone to lean on at this point in his career. He's not a draw anymore, and what he has left in the tank could better be utilized in the WWE.
Deadline Winners, and Losers?
With the end of the 2011 Professional Wrestling Trade Deadline at hand it's time to evaluate the winners and losers.
Being that Raw is the cornerstone of the WWE they needed to add some fresh faces with star power to help replace what they have and are about to loose in HHH. RVD, Hernandez, and Desmond Wolfe all bring talent and star power back to Raw. RVD and Hernandez have to be thought of has immediate WWE Champion challengers, while Desmond Wolfe can easily be developed quickly and pushed like an Alberto Del Rio.
Additions such as Scott Steiner and Jay Lethal not only improve the mid-card ranks, but both bring credibility too. Although Raw lost a lot of veteran leadership throughout the locker room, the necessity of established stars out weighed those particular needs at this point. Raw's only big loss would have to be Ted DiBiase Jr. He's loaded with talent and is very young, while the majority of the other traded superstars can be replaced rather easily.
Raw receives a grade of A-. They picked up some big names, and lost relatively nothing.
Smackdown struck gold at the Trade Deadline. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe speak for themselves, but guys like Christopher Daniels and Eric Young are important cogs to a machine. Clearly Smackdown had two things on their mind, re-establishing the Cruiser Weight division, and acquiring some star talent. They accomplished both in their three trades. Samoa Joe was likely the steal of the day.
Unlike Raw, Smackdown did have to part with a lot more star power. Athletes like The Big show and Kane are not easy finds, but either are Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe. Smackdown was aggressive and made the deals they needed to.
Smackdown receives a grade of A+. They picked up some huge names, and while having to deal a couple big names, the gains out weigh the losses.
TNA without a doubt is not on the level of the WWE; Raw and Smackdown. It was evident that they wanted to clear some cash space, while picking up some fresh faces they could incorporate into their roster. Another goal that was apparent was that they needed some veteran locker room presence.
It seems they are slowly moving away from their former staple the X-Division. In trading for guys like The Big Show and Kane they not only brought in that locker room presence but two legitimate superstars who can help storylines. Guys like the Great Khali and Cody Rhodes are definitely projects, but if used properly can be assets to the roster.
TNA's biggest goal appeared to be fixing the locker room though, and bringing the morale back up. They surely added superstars who can do that. It's now up to creative to right the ship and point them back in the correct direction.
TNA receives a grade of B. They accomplished their main goal of locker room leadership, but may have parted with a little too much talent to reach that goal.