TNA's Elder Statesmen: The Positives and The Negatives

Kevin WilliamsCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2017


TNA Wrestling, once said to be the alternative to the WWE, is now seen by many fans as the promotion making a lame attempt to be WWE.

TNA used to push talent such as AJ Styles, Monty, Brown, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Raven, Low Ki, etc. These wrestlers were relatively young (except Raven) at the time of TNA's inception.

Now, however, TNA has started pushing guys, mostly over the age of forty, over their younger, more promising talent. Many of these wrestlers are guys that WWE released for one reason or the other, therefore TNA is accused of picking up WWE's sloppy seconds.

With this becoming more and more common in TNA, an evaluation of the "Elder Statesmen" of TNA is in order.

"The King of the Mountain" Jeff Jarrett

Age: 41

Jeff Jarrett doesn't really apply to this article, but he is the heart and soul of TNA, so he deserves the praise that he is about to receive. After WCW and ECW were bought out, the wrestling market became extremely dry.

Jarrett, Sting, and many others who couldn't get a job in WWE, or just didn't want to, decided to wrestle for WWA in Australia. Not exactly the best way to elevate your wrestling career, especially when you are a multi-time WCW Champion. So during a fishing trip, the idea of TNA came up.

While Jerry Jarrett and Bob Ryder thought that this was just "fishing talk," Jarrett made his dream a reality. TNA made it on to television in a shorter amount of time than most promotions could hope for. He is a six-time champ, and as the founder of TNA, he is indispensable to the organization.

Love him or hate him, without Jarrett, there is no TNA. Jarrett's only problem now is preventing TNA from going down the WCW route. Many fans are already starting to see signs that TNA may be headed in this direction.

Overall Value to TNA: A+

"Big Sexy" Kevin Nash

Age: 49

Kevin Nash has been in TNA long enough that it wouldn't be the same without him. Whether he is wrestling, coaching the Paparazzi Championship Series, coaching young talent, or whatever have you, I think Nash is more valuable to TNA than most realize, but less valuable than he thinks he is.

I don't think he's as bad in the ring as people make him out to be. He can still be better than most in the WWE on his best day. He's finally grown his hair back, and if he dyed it back to brown, black, blonde, or whatever, then he wouldn't look forty-nine (not to me any way).

It seems as if we may be seeing more of Nash in the ring soon enough, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing a Sting and Nash tag-team next week on Impact. 

Overall Value: B

"The Icon" Sting

Age: 49

Every major wrestler has wrestled for Vince McMahon. If you have not, then you must not be one of wrestling's elite. One of the elite that has eluded McMahon all these years, however, is Sting.

In one of my first articles on Bleacher Report, I wrote about Sting's decision to shy away from McMahon, so I won't give the whole back story here. The point is, McMahon wishes he could have had Sting. Even to this day, I'm sure McMahon thinks about what he could have done with the Stinger.

Sting, even though he is nearing 50, is a better wrestler than probably ninety percent of the wrestlers on this planet. He still has microphone skills, and is cheered by the Impact crowd even though he is somewhat of a tweener/heel. I might have been the only person happy to see Sting win the title at Bound for Glory. I wasn't surprised though. He is 3-0 at BFG (a long way from The Undertaker), and has won the TNA crown each time at BFG.

Despite the fact that I wanted to see Sting have one last run as champion, TNA missed an opportunity to put Samoa Joe over huge. Despite this, I still think Sting is a valuable commodity to TNA, and will put guys such as AJ and Joe over when the time comes.

Overall Value: A-

Booker T.

Age: 43

Booker T. is one of those guys that TNA signed because he was big name in WCW, was, at the time, recently released by WWE, and they thought he, along with so many others, would bring them right up there with WWE. TNA has basically put Booker in the same spot he was in while in WWE.

First it was the annoying fake British accent in WWE, and now in TNA, it's the fake African accent. Having African parents and relatives, I do sometimes find it funny, but it also makes me lose that much more respect for him too. What happened to the no nonsense guy from Harlem?

Now all I see is a guy with dreadlocks longer than Bob Marley's who gets to be in the main event picture because he was relevant in in the nineties and in 2006. I thnk guys like Christian and Rhino are held in higher esteem to Booker T., but like the other talent in the back, they are pushed aside. If Booker left TNA, I'm not sure I would miss him that much, despite how much I enjoyed him in the past.

Overall Value: C-

"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner

Age: 45

Scott Steiner is injured and has been off of TV for a while. No one would remember that he was a part of the TNA wrestler if it wasn't for his mini-me competing in lowly X-Division matches.

I first saw Steiner as a positive acquisition, but one he returns from injury, I'm not sure how he fits in to TNA's current plans. If he is ready in time, then he fits in to this story line with the older wrestlers versus the younger ones. Steiner as a face always seemed so unconvincing, so reuniting him with Jeff Jarrett isn't much of an option either.

At this point in time, Scott Steiner is very replaceable in TNA.

Overall Value: D

Kurt Angle

Age: 39

Kurt Angle is not old, per say, but it seems like a lot of time is wasted on him. I find it funny how TNA once put 4 or 5 (however many it was) belts on this guy at the same time, and yet this is the guy who wants to "consider his options" when it comes to MMA or TNA.

Kurt Angle is the best acquisition TNA could have hoped for, and yet he has been misused over the last year. Whether the current storyline with Double J goes anywhere, Kurt Angle, in my opinion is also becoming less valuable to TNA. The best thing he had going in TNA was his rivalry with Samoa Joe when he first arrived.

As the weeks go by, I see Kurt also becoming less and less valuable to TNA. Then again, this man is regarded by many as the best wrestler on the planet, which is why TNA does need him, but needs to learn how to use him.

Overall Value: B

Mick Foley

Age: 43

I don't know what Foley's status with TNA is, whether he is leaving or what not. What I do know is that there is no place for him in TNA. When Foley left WWE, I thought that was the end of him. Maybe he would make occasional special appearances for them like always.

I knew for a fact that TNA would make no attempt to sign him. I mean, he can't wrestle anymore, and even if he could there are a lot of better people who would fit in to the TNA roster better than Foley. Boy was I wrong. TNA brought Foley in to be the special enforcer for a match at Bound for Glory.

Never in my life have I picked up a remote and changed it to Raw or Smackdown so I could see Mick Foley, Dude Love, Mankind, Cactus Jack, or any more of Mrs. Foley's baby boys wrestle.

Therefore, in this day and age, I definitely wouldn't do it to see him in TNA. As far as his value to the company, despite my personal opinion, I don't think he adds ratings, but he can bring a little bit of interest to the show.

Overall Value: C

The only wrestler to start in WWE, reach fame in TNA, then go back to WWE is Ron "the Truth" Killings. After he left WWE, he became a star in TNA. He also became rather insignificant after a few years, and now he is back in WWE. With the way they are pushing him right now, he will be more famous in WWE than he ever was in TNA.

This just proves that TNA are incapable of breeding their own talent. Monty Brown could have been TNA's Goldberg, but they lost interest in him, and he departed the company only to become a joke on ECW.

CM Punk, Evan Bourne, Vladmir Kozlov, and many others should actually be in TNA right now. TNA let these guys slip through their fingers, and thought they could be replaced with talent that were big in the nineties.

If TNA released everybody on this list (obviously not Jarrett) except Sting and Nash, then guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Jay Lethal, etc. would have a chance to carry the company on their backs. Technically, AJ did this the first four years of the company's existence, but people seem to forget this.

Are TNA's days of signing over age talent and giving them all the title shots over, or is TNA becoming a home for old wrestlers who just won't hang the boots up, and are afraid of the younger kids stealing their spotlight?