What happened here? AJ Styles as the X Division Champion, and being featured prominently. Oh yeah, TNA doesn't operate under those guidelines anymore. Crying shame.
Do you see the above picture?
What do you see when you look at that? I see AJ Styles, legitimately one of the best wrestlers in the world today. A man who was recently ranked Number One on the PWI 500 list of the best wrestlers in the world.
Now, granted it's Pro Wrestling Illustrated so take that with a grain of salt but you'd be hard pressed to find a professional wrestling publication that is better known.
Given that even the mighty WWE has referenced PWI in the past, it's safe to say that the rankings are probably as legitimate as any others you'll ever see.
So how does TNA respond to having the No. 1-ranked professional wrestler in the entire world?
They take him and the other TNA home grown talent and TNA based wrestlers and cram them all in the backseat of a used limousine being driven by aging WCW stars from the '90's and ex-WWE talent that have flocked to TNA as a way to stay relevant and/or avoid the WWE Wellness Policy.
You might be thinking, "Gee Quinn, that's still a limousine. That's not a bad ride at all."
The problem is, when you've got an abundance of TNA home grown talent and young guys that should be getting over and they are all being crammed into one back seat to make headway for ex-WWE guys and the Hogan And Bischoff Variety Show, it stops mattering that the vehicle is a limo and it starts mattering that they're crammed into a frigging back seat.
Take Bound For Glory 2010.
Want to know what TNA's example of proper use of their home grown stars is?
Jobbing AJ Styles, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the entire world, out to Tommy "Quintessential Jobber" Dreamer. In a match that never should have taken place because the overwhelming majority of one of the teams (EV 2.0) was comprised of ECW bingo hall stars that, God bless them, couldn't get over outside of ECW if their lives depended on it.
If that's not enough proof, look to the main event of that same PPV offering.
Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle.
And no, that's not a WWE marquee you're reading. That was TNA's main event to their biggest event of the year.
AJ Styles gets pinned by Tommy Jobber while three ex-WWE stars main event.
If that's not enough proof for you, look further back to AJ Styles holding the TNA Championship for six months.
The man defended it against all comers, raised its prestige and truly earned that ranking as the number one wrestler in the world (I keep repeating this for emphasis.)
Why did he do all this?
So he could job the title to Rob Van Dam, a man who had been in TNA long enough for a cup of coffee in a match they gave away for free on TV.
Fast forward to present day and who is in the World title picture?
Mr. Anderson and Sting.
An ex-WWE guy and an aging veteran that was more than likely given the Title as an incentive for not signing with the WWE during WrestleMania season.
Where is AJ Styles?
He's still floating around in a faction.
Did I mention that Vince Russo just loves factions...?