Impact Wrestling has been around for about 7 years now, and it's had a lot of talent come through. That said, a lot of guys have stayed with Impact for years-sometimes taking a break, but always coming back to the place that made them the stars they are today, and many of those workers have been rewarded-some more than others-one way or another.
This article is to address the argument that the homegrown talent in Impact has been getting shafted for the sake of veteran names and talent from WWE. That, in my opinion, is not the case, as I believe Impact has rewarded it's originals greatly for the time they've been with the company, and while they may not always be the main-event or be champions, they're still not getting disrespected when they have to take a backseat.
A lot of names come to mind when the term originals come together when Impact is mentioned, and all are multiple time champions, yet It surprises me how often people look at the last two years of someone's career and get a bit upset that someone is taking a backseat to a new talent from WWE or a vet. The irony is, it's different from WWE, which is what people often say TNA should do.
That said, I think if you look at the careers of TNA/Impact Originals, you'll find things aren't as bad as they've been made out to be.
The Phenomenal One is the first person to come to mind when the term "TNA Original" comes to mind for most people, so it's only fitting he starts off this slideshow.
As of late, A.J. hasn't been doing much. He recently, ended a feud with Bully Ray, losing a Last Man Standing match at Slammiversary, having not done much as of late, except for a few hints at a possible run for the World Championship, and competing in the BFG Series.
A.J. is a four-time TNA World Champion, five-time TNA World Tag Team Champion, two-time Legends/TV Champion, first and six-time X-Division Champion, four-time TNA Triple Crown Champion, and first and two-time TNA Grand Slam Champion, making him, without a doubt, the most decorated man in TNA.
Yet still, people clamor for more Styles in the World Title picture-as if he's never been there before, and while I will say, A.J. does make a nice World Champion, I think even the man who's been called the face of TNA needs a break from the title picture and has to make way for the new guard of Impact, (The Morgans, Crimsons, Popes, etc.) so that they can have their chance as well.
One half of two of the most accomplished tag teams in TNA is this man-James Storm. Formerly of America's Most Wanted, where he would win 6 World Tag Team Titles before joining up with his newest tag partner in Robert Roode to form Beer Money Inc., where he has won the World Tag Titles four times. All together, including his reign with Christopher Daniels, Storm is an Eleven-Time Tag Team Champion in TNA.
Now, that's a feat I don't think anyone has surpassed or even matched-and I think it shows exactly how much Impact values James Storm and his contributions to the company, along with the other Impact Originals.
A member of Fortune, Storm is also competing in the BFG Series, and is doing surprisingly well, considering how many people thought Robert/Bobby Roode was the one in line for the singles push. Personally, I'm a big Storm fan, so I'm happy at his performance thus far, and I think he's got a lot of credit from the company and will be doing what he loves and getting treated fairly for it for a time to come.
The other half of Beer Money Inc. and one of the strongest advocates for a push by the IWC is another Impact Original. Robert Roode is currently one-fifth of Fortune and one-half of the TNA World Tag Team Champions with his partner James Storm, this being his sixth run with the tag titles-two others being with Eric Young.
Robert Roode has been said by many people to be the total package of great mic skills and in-ring skill. Personally, I'm not a fan, but even I have to admit, when he wants to, Roode isn't bad on the mic, and is pretty killer in the ring.
Roode is a six-time tag champion in TNA, which, in my opinion, is nothing to sneeze at-there are a lot of guys who've not held titles in TNA, let alone had six runs with a belt. Add to that, it's only in the last few years that TNA has adopted a secondary title, so I believe at least a run with the Television belt isn't far off, but overall, I'd say Roode, who has plenty of time left to win more titles, has been doing pretty well in TNA.
The former-X-Division Champion and second man to complete TNA's Grand Slam is currently one of TNA's most dominant forces in TNA, and I believe his list of accolades is a great testament to that dominance over the years.
Abyss is a former World Champion, World Tag Team Champion, Television Champion, X-Division Champion, and Triple Crown Champion, and Grandslam Champion, and at the moment is one of Immortal's biggest guns.
Abyss is one of the guys who helped put TNA on the map, and as such, has usually found himself in some very big story lines involving some big names. Feuds with A.J. Styles, Sting, Team 3D, Matt Morgan, RVD, and Fortune have helped Abyss become a staple in Impact wrestling.
That combined with his impressive athleticism for a man his size, translates to me, along with his accomplishments, indicates TNA has seen the work and appreciate what Abyss has done for the company and it's product.
Kazarian has been part of TNA from the start, and has become an accomplished wrestler during his time with the company-even after taking time off for a run in WWE. Kazarian has had a very impressive career in TNA being one of it's biggest names at times and winning multiple championships-especially in the X-Division.
Kazarian is a former World Tag Team Champion, five-time X-Division Champion, and two-time X-Division King of The Mountain, (winning one of those X-Division Titles and X-Divison King of The Mountain Matches, as Suicide, as well as holding one of those X-Division titles with Micheal Shane.)
People often claim Kazarian is long overdue for a new position in the company, away from the X-Division, and I'll agree to an extent, but I also think that Kazarian's success in the X-Division can't be overlooked when looking at his career and looking at how he's been treated in Impact, and as a member of Fortune, I see more success in his future.
The once known as "The Fallen Angle" has recently made his return to Impact and has joined the other Impact Originals in Fortune. Arguably one of the best in the business today, Daniels has had a surprising career during his time in TNA. From the Tag Division to the X-Division, Daniels has proven that when the time's right he can deliver.
During his time in Impact, Daniels has played several characters-Suicide, Curry Man, Daniels, and The Fallen Angel, and has found success several times over in one instance or another. Because of that, Daniels is a six-time World Tag Team Champion, four-time X-Division Champion, and was part of the winning team in the 2004 World X Cup.
Like Kazarian, people have been clamoring for Daniels to win the World Championship, much like his former tag partner, A.J. Styles, and I do think Daniels could be a good world champion-and it would be something to see how he handles a main-event program. Regardless, at this point, I don't think Daniels needs the World Championship to cement himself as a top man in TNA. I think we, as fans, have done that, by how highly we hold him and his work, and TNA has rewarded him well over the years.
Seems whenever people talk about TNA/Impact Originals, a name that they don't mention often is the man that started it all-The King of the Mountain and founder of TNA; Jeff Jarrett. This man's been in many a notable feud in TNA, and while many may question his booking, Impact shows that Jeff did good in starting this promotion.
Jeff and his father founded TNA 2002, and Jeff has been their for a lot of it, up to this point-having to take time off for personal reasons at times. In the time Jeff has been with his company, he's also been an active competitor, winning the TNA World Championship six times, and being King of The Mountain on two separate occasions.
I think it goes without saying that Jeff is a guy that, can make sure he gets what he wants-or at least was before the power shift in recent years, but I think overall, Jeff did good job, in not only helping the younger talent get over-not necessarily by what he's done in the ring, but behind the scenes, because without him, there would be no TNA.
E.Y. has been with TNA for several years now, and like the other TNA Originals, has won his share of gold in his time with the company, and has proven that time and time again, no matter the role he has to play, he does it well-whether it be the angry, foreign heel or the mentally challenged face, Eric always gets a good reaction.
Don't think TNA hasn't noticed this. Eric Young, in his time with the company has become a four-time World Tag Team Champions, former X-Division Champion, and two-time, and the current, Television Champion, (he was also the man to rename it, The Global Championship.) Not a bad list of titles for a man in the wrestling business and who has stayed with Impact for years.
If anything, Eric's complaint shouldn't be about being passed over for ex-WWE guys, but more for the humiliating gimmick he's been strapped with-especially after coming off the much better World Elite Leader/Band Member gimmick-but that's talk for another time.
Samoa Joe is one of the key names that come to mind when you think about Impact Wrestling, and when you see him in the ring, it's hard to imagine why he wouldn't be. As such, TNA has done a lot with the Samoan Submission Machine, since his debut.
Joe has had a huge impact in TNA, going undefeated from his debut for 18 months, to winning the World Tag Titles, (holding them alone,) four X-Division Titles, the TNA World Title, 2005 Super X Cup, one Triple Crown, and was the 2008 King of The Mountain, (in the process becoming the first person to retain in the King of The Mountain Match.)
Add to that, Joe has been in some pretty entertaining angles, such as his feud with Kurt Angle, (which also involved Team 3D for a time,) and the joining of the Main Event Mafia, as well as his always eventful return angles, after taking time off.
While TNA could be doing more with his character, Joe is in no danger of being replaced at anytime.
People often claim that A.J. and Joe should be in the main-event, but believe it or not, seeing the same thing in the main-event time and time again, like people say, could be just as bad as...well, seeing the same thing in the main-event over and over again.
That's is TNA's current problem-it's not just that they don't book younger/homegrown talent in the main-event. We've seen Sting vs. Angle before, but we've also seen Joe vs. Styles before. What's the difference? Granted, I'll say that Sting is helping with the situation with his gimmick change, but Sting can't have another 7 years in him.
Point being, that while The TNA Originals may not all be world champions/former world champions, they've all found success in some way or another. That being said, when push comes to shove, Impact can only push so many guys, and it is a company that, while rewarding hard workers, also has to look at it's product. You have to think, if A.J. could move merchandise like John Cena or had the name recognition of a CM Punk, he'd be in the same spot Cena is in in WWE.
That said, that is not the case with A.J., so he, like many of the other guys in TNA have to take a backseat at times to guys from outside like The Pope when he was main-eventing, or Jeff Hardy when he was around. Personal feelings can't take priority over the business, and Impact seems to take a similar stand to it's product that Vince did with WWE. Basically, no one man, is bigger than the company, and what is done is done for the good of the company, (to someone.) Thanks for reading.