R.I.P. TNA: Where Would TNA Talent Go in the Event of a Collapse?
TNA minority co-owner Jerry Jarrett recently made the comments that unless the "cancer" is cut out of the creative process in TNA Wrestling, it's going to continue to be a drain on its parent company, Panda Energy, LLC.
Now, while this probably doesn't mean that TNA is going to collapse tomorrow, or even next year, it is an ominous sign when an owner publicly starts calling for dismissal of the head creative writer in Vince Russo.
It's no secret that TNA is headed in the wrong direction, with frequent reports of backstage friction, disgruntled wrestlers, performers not being paid and poor ratings.
With men like Russo, Hogan and Bischoff involved, TNA resembles the final years of WCW much more than it represents a company full of young stars and promise looking for a way to compete with the dominating WWE.
Should TNA go the way of WCW and collapse in the future, what would happen to some of the TNA talent currently signed to TNA both young and old?
This article is going to take a look at some of the possibilities for TNA's biggest movers and shakers and promising young talents as it regards their future in the event of a TNA closure.
There really isn't much of a doubt about where Kurt Angle would end up if TNA went out of business.
The WWE would more than likely jump at the chance to have a star the caliber of Kurt Angle back in their fold, as he is one of the best in-ring performers in the history of pro-wrestling, not to mention a fantastic mic worker as well.
For his part, even though his departure was drama filled several years ago when he jumped to TNA, Kurt has gone on record to state he misses parts of the WWE, cited a good relationship with Vince McMahon and floated the idea that he might return this month when his contract was up with TNA.
Obviously, he decided to remain with TNA, where he said he was happy and he is now the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, clearly a perk or incentive to remain with TNA Wrestling.
But, should TNA collapse, with Kurt's comments earlier in the year, it's a no-brainer that he would go back to the WWE and probably finish his career with them, as no one else could pay him enough as the WWE would, with TNA gone.
The one that got away.
Sting is the only major superstar of the modern era who has never wrestled for the WWF/E in any capacity throughout his career.
He has turned down overtures from the WWE, stating reasons ranging from the product conflicting with his personal beliefs to worries over how his character would be handled by WWE executives.
Though one has to wonder why he still works for TNA when their programming is actually more raunchy than the WWE, he does have a valid reason to be concerned with how Vince McMahon would handle his career in its twilight (Because certainly, Joker Sting flopping down the ramp like a trout in messed up mascara isn't hurting his image at all...).
Vince McMahon is known to bury talent just to prove the superiority of the WWE brand, even at his own detriment, such as the WCW/ECW Invasion angle and the crime against nature: WWECW (Don't look it directly in the eye. It's evil.).
It is very possible that Sting will be buried should he join the WWE following a total collapse of TNA.
However, I believe that to be a very remote possibility.
Should Sting sign with the WWE, the money to be made from an Undertaker/Sting Wrestlemania feud would be too tempting to crush the legend of Sting right away.
However, once Sting loses that dream match, as he obviously will, as Vince would never let his icon in the Undertaker, be undone by the former WCW/TNA legend, he should quickly retire.
Once that feud is done, he more than likely would be sent on a downward spiral, considering his age and possible retribution for shunning Vince for so many years.
Though, sadly, I think it will never come to this.
In all likelihood, Sting will probably not wrestle for the WWE, period. For whatever reasons he might really have in doing so, he has avoided the bright lights of the WWF/E for over a decade since the collapse of WCW.
There probably won't be much of a reason the WWE could give him to change his mind now.
Should TNA collapse, Sting will probably retire from wrestling, save the sporadic appearance at events here or there around the world.
Hulk Hogan is a key element to the slow downward spiral of TNA.
His insistence of being at the focal point of almost every major happening in TNA is driving the quality of the product down. His behind the scenes maneuvers with Eric Bischoff are alienating and angering the TNA locker room. And the plain fact of the matter is that Hulk Hogan is no longer the megastar draw he used to be, but he still thinks he is.
Should TNA continue to decline until it falls apart, Hulk Hogan will be just fine, and that's probably the biggest injustice of it all, seeing how he'll have ruined a good thing for many younger wrestlers.
Because of Hulk Hogan's name recognition and the nostalgia factor that comes with it, Hogan can pretty much go where ever he pleases and can even return to doing his own tour internationally, if need be.
Hogan has already had four stints with the WWE, and almost all of them have ended with varying levels of acrimony between himself and Vince McMahon, including his last run where he accused Vince of being a tightwad and not paying him what he's worth.
I would say that the bridge is burned forever, but Vince has brought Hogan back into the WWE even though he has testified against him in a steroid trial, tried to put him out of business with the WCW and has bashed him repeatedly in the media.
I wouldn't be surprised if Vince and company gave Hulk a chance at a fifth run in the WWE and see if it can get ratings and popularity for the promotion to climb again.
But, because this isn't 1988, or 1997, it probably will do nothing to elevate the company. Hogan will probably have yet another falling out with the WWE and then will go on to do his own tour and pop up on TV in various places.
Eric Bischoff is much like a musician who creates one smash hit, but can't find success with any other song they create, so they keep making various songs that mimic the song that found mass appeal with the audience in hopes of recreating that spark they had the first time.
They call them "one hit wonders."
This is exactly what Eric Bischoff is: a one hit wonder. He created the NWO and found immense success with it. He became the single biggest threat to Vince McMahon since the federal government. He almost put him out of business and set the world on fire.
But because nothing else outside of the NWO, except Goldberg, ever worked, he keeps trying to recreate it again and again. First with "The Band" and now with "Immortal". And honestly, he's even trying to recreate Goldberg in Crimson.
Bischoff's ideas are antiquated, and his, Hulk and Russo's decision that bringing in old WWE stars and putting them in ridiculous angles, as opposed to really thinking out quality feuds and using younger talent, is the main reason why TNA not only can't get over the hump, but are actually declining from where they were before their arrival.
Should Dixie not wake up and realize that Bischoff no longer has that mojo, Russo is borderline mentally handicapped and Hulk Hogan is all about Hulk Hogan, TNA will eventually die a WCW death.
Should that happen, expect Bischoff to do what he normally does: tag along with Hogan where ever he goes and keep cranking out bad idea after bad idea like "Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling."
I wrote an article called "The Fix," which you can read here.
While the story is an amalgamation of wrestlers who are past retirement age but keep wrestling, it was Ric Flair who was foremost in my mind when writing it.
Flair is the epitome of the wrestler who just can't let the business go. He is 62 years old and is now about to go into the top program on TNA against Sting (And you wonder why an article about the collapse of TNA is even being written?).
You could not have written a better ending to a legendary career than what the WWE did for him in 2008. The entire angle was a masterpiece, from its inception and every match putting his career on the line, to his epic matchup with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24, and finally the respectful send-off he received on the following Raw from the entire locker room and arena.
And then he ruined it.
First, it was the final few scraps he had with Jericho and Legacy. Then it was off to Ring of Honor, then to Hulk Hogan's tour and finally to TNA.
It wouldn't be so bad if he would just remain a guru for younger guys like he was in Fourtune. But, he just insists on hopping in the ring again and again, even though he hasn't been able to wrestle a decent match since Wrestlemania 24.
And unfortunately, even though it should, it will not end with the demise of TNA.
As long as Triple H has power in the WWE, there will always be a place for the shell of Flair to perform.
Should TNA collapse, Flair will call in a favor with Triple H and come back to the WWE.
Fans will probably be initially excited due to the nostalgia of not seeing him for three years.
Then they will remember after a few matches that he probably should've stayed gone.
Beef doesn't get any more personal than it does between Jeff Jarrett and Vince McMahon.
Jeff Jarrett pretty much held Vince McMahon's Intercontinental Championship hostage to get Vince to pay him more money to drop the title to Chyna before leaving to go and try to put Vince out of business with the rival WCW.
When WCW folded, Vince McMahon got his revenge by publicly and legitimately firing Jeff Jarrett on the air, on WCW's final Nitro.
Should TNA fold, there is no chance of seeing Jeff Jarrett in a WWE ring.
However, this won't be the end of Jeff Jarrett's career.
In spite of the fact that Jeff continuously booked himself to be the "King of the Mountain" and top dog in his own promotion, TNA was actually a decent company at one point.
It could be said that the entire reason that TNA is floundering is because Jarrett and Dixie Carter went away from the young talents people loved to see in TNA, in A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Senshi, Christopher Daniels, etc. and began loading up on outcast WWE stars.
Add to that the acquisition of the untalented Vince Russo as a booker, and TNA has been on a downward spiral ever since.
If Jeff can convince another individual to fund another organization, one that won't meddle in affairs like Dixie Carter, perhaps he can rebuild another organization similar to TNA.
However, having failed with TNA as a minority owner, it would be difficult to find another big money investor to plunk down significant capitol to compete with the WWE.
Should Jeff and his father, Jerry Jarrett, fail to get another organization up and running, expect double J to work the international markets such as Mexico, where he is already the AAA Heavyweight champion and Japan until his retirement.
Just the very mention of the name of "Vince Russo" brings up revulsion out of the typical wrestling fan.
Many say that he's the man who destroyed the WCW and is now destroying TNA with absolutely horrid booking ideas.
And while his ideas are horrible, all the responsibility doesn't fall squarely on him, because whether it was the WWF, WCW or TNA, there were checks and balances in place, and the rest of the decision makers at those companies had chances to prevent the insanity in the mind of Russo from reaching unsuspecting fans.
One thing is without question: Vince Russo is a one trick pony. He was gold in the WWF, because he had the right system of accountability under Vince McMahon.
But, after a brief stint in the WWE after the fall of WCW, both sides recognized that it would be best if they not work together again.
That isn't going to change, considering the WWE is very aware of the product he's putting out at their biggest competitor.
Vince Russo is exposed as being extremely flawed in creating captivating television. And if the rumors are to be believed, the only person who can't see this is Dixie Carter.
But, should TNA collapse, the book will be out on him. His name will be synonymous with "The man behind the fall of WCW and TNA." Whether it's entirely his fault or not.
No serious wrestling organization would touch him.
There's probably only two paths for the career of Vince Russo after the death of TNA:
A. Find some minor wrestling organization that would be intrigued by the name of Vince Russo.
B. Leave the wrestling business and try creative writing in some other genre.
I think most wrestling fans will hope he chooses plan B.
If TNA does collapse, no one will be more responsible than this woman.
Dixie Carter is the president of TNA and the person who convinced her parents to fund TNA from the resources of Panda Energy, LLC. It's Dixie who has the final word in TNA, so anything that happens there is ultimately her responsibility.
So, hiring and refusing to fire Vince Russo? Her fault.
Hiring Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan and letting them run the joint? Her fault.
Burying the younger talent that has served TNA through thick and thin? Her fault.
So, when TNA eventually dies? Her fault.
I believe that the most likely scenario is that her parents and the higher ups at Panda Energy are going to determine that TNA is not worth keeping around and will either sell it to Vince McMahon or a third party or dismantle it.
When that day will come, who knows? But when a minority owner, like Jerry Jarrett starts publicly talking about cancer in the company and calling it a financial drain on its parent company, the writing is on the wall.
Should TNA fall, Dixie will more than likely leave the wrestling business, which is probably for the best, because she clearly has no idea what she's doing.
I would expect her to go back to her roots in advertising and sport/music management. Or perhaps she will work underneath her parents in Panda Energy.
But hopefully, Dixie will wise up before it ever comes to that and release Russo, Bischoff and Hogan. Maybe she'll take a step back and let wrestling minds with fresh ideas run the company.
Only time will tell.
The Phenomenal One has been at the heart of TNA since the beginning.
Whether as a face or a heel, ever since the beginning of TNA since 2002, A.J. has been at the forefront of trying to advance the agenda of TNA and help it to grow.
He has put on superb match after superb match, whether it was with RVD and Christopher Daniels or Chris Sabin and Raven.
If there was a title in TNA to be held, at some point, A.J. Styles held it.
It's safe to say that what Sting was to WCW, A.J. Styles has been to TNA.
Which is why it has to be frustrating for him to have to take a backseat to Hogan, Flair, Sting and Bischoff and suffer through Russo-styled booking. Watching helplessly as TNA slowly descends into a state that so closely mirrors the demise of WCW that articles like this one can even be written.
Even worse for Styles is the fact that he is synonymous with TNA. If there was anyone Vince wanted to pick to show the WWE brand is superior to anything TNA ever attempted, there's no one better to bury than A.J.
And it would be easy for the WWE to do. A.J. Styles is another "little man" at only 5'11". And while he has remarkable in-ring ability, his promo cutting isn't exactly at the level of a CM Punk. In addition to this, even though he's been one of the franchise faces of TNA, it has never once risen to be a real threat to the WWE. This may make them consider A.J. Styles as someone who can't draw.
If TNA were ever to crash, it might be best for A.J. to do what he did in 2002 and avoid the WWE altogether, like when he passed on a developmental contract with them.
It may be in his best interests to return to Ring of Honor.
Though, should TNA fall, Styles will probably try his hand at making it in the WWE. Honestly, I believe they will relegate him to mid-card status, and he may not ever achieve any level higher than that of an Evan Bourne.
Either way, it's going to be a bad day for A.J. should TNA ever go out of business.
There is alot of talk about Samoa Joe leaving TNA to come to the WWE after his contract expires.
I wouldn't be so certain that is going to happen.
While Joe has a great many reasons to be frustrated, least of which is the demotion of not only himself, but many of the TNA originals, in favor of promoting ex-WWE and WCW wrestlers.
However, nothing is for certain in wrestling when work-shoots are concerned. I can recall not that long ago, arguing with wrestling fans who swore up and down that CM Punk was leaving for real on July 17 and never coming back to the WWE.
So, I will believe that Joe will leave TNA when Joe leaves TNA.
But, should Joe have no choice but to leave TNA in the event of its demise, I don't think he will be happy with the results should he go to the WWE.
The WWE has been a mixed bag when it comes to "minor league" wrestlers from the indies. CM Punk has probably been treated the best, and even he had what appears to be legitimate frustrations with the way he was being treated.
Bryan Danielson has to struggle with the fact that he resembles nothing like what the WWE wants in a champion, but understands nevertheless that the American Dragon has a huge following. This is why at one moment, he's winning Money in the Bank, but then in the next, he's losing cleanly, back-to-back matches against Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio.
Another example is the way "Kaval," a.k.a. Lo-Ki, was jobbed out and treated by the WWE before he asked for his release.
Samoa Joe actually has a disadvantage to all three of the aforementioned individuals: He's overweight.
No matter what Jim Ross says about him having a "unique body type," the WWE prefers chiseled abs and bulging biceps. Vince McMahon probably burst into a big smile when Kevin Nash told CM Punk to hit the weights and get a clue.
Samoa Joe isn't huge like Brodus Clay or The Big Show, either. He's only 6'2" to their 7'0" and 6'8" heights. So, basically, he'll be a "little" chubby guy who can really wrestle and cut a good angry-man promo.
I have a feeling that unless the WWE demands that Samoa Joe work out more, he's not going to be pushed very high up the card for long periods of time, should he sign with the WWE.
It's more than likely he'll end up in the mid-card somewhere, get frustrated and not renew his contract or ask for his release, at which point he'll go back to where he would be most appreciated: Ring of Honor.
Abyss, or as I like to call him, "The love child of Mankind and Kane", has already been offered a position with the WWE a couple of times throughout his career in TNA. But he turned them down, stating that he was happy with being in TNA.
Abyss, has a very unique look and is talented for a big man, so I expect he would still have a place in the WWE if TNA fell apart and he had no other choice.
It could go either way for Chris Parks, depending on if the WWE decides to bury him or make him one of their stars.
A program with Kane and The Undertaker could cement Abyss as the WWE's new resident, and apparently homeless, by the looks of it, monster. That is, if they let him come out on top.
It would be in the best interest of the WWE to let Abyss go over on Kane and the Undertaker, as both are in the final stages of their careers. They have nothing left to prove or gain by beating Abyss.
Although, Abyss' run in the WWE probably wouldn't last long, as he himself is already 37 and probably only has four or five good years left in him.
Jeff Hardy and his brother Matt are slowly turning into one of the tragic stories of professional wrestling.
Drugs, alcohol and just plain stupid decisions have derailed both of their careers, with Jeff's being even more of a waste, as he had finally reached main-event, world championship status in both the WWE and TNA.
Jeff Hardy hasn't been seen on TNA television in months, ever since he was suspended back in March and cut from the Immortal group, for showing up "in no condition to wrestle." He appears only on Youtube every once in a while.
His brother Matt was just fired from TNA for a DUI arrest.
I doubt with the combined issues they've had with the Hardy brothers, that the WWE would be willing to tolerate more of their antics. Even Jim Ross has gone on record as saying he doesn't see a Jeff Hardy return in the future, though you can never say never with the WWE. A Jeff Hardy return would be big for the company. But, how long would it last before he messed up again?
Should TNA collapse, I believe it will either be the worst or the best thing for Jeff Hardy as a human being.
Not having a place to go and perform every week will either drive him to sobriety or further into intoxication and addiction.
At the same time, being off of the road and away from the temptation might be what's best for him.
Either way, until he cleans up his act once and for all, if TNA collapses, he won't have a place in the WWE.
He and his brother will more than likely end up working indie events with promoters who will tolerate their antics just for the hopes of drawing a larger than usual crowd to see them perform.
Ken Anderson is one talent who had better pray that TNA never does collapse.
He embarrassed himself, the WWE and most importantly, Vince McMahon, by getting caught in a steroid scandal and suspended, directly after saying he would never take steroids and during an angle where he was going to be revealed to be Mr. McMahon's son, himself.
Then, he got on Randy Orton's bad side with an in-ring botch that he claims led to Orton getting him fired.
Then, he publicly mocked Triple H upon jumping to TNA.
He's made a lot of enemies in high places in the WWE. A return back in the face of a TNA collapse is still possible, but if he does return, he should expect to be ruthlessly buried for a long time.
However, Anderson does have one saving grace: He is extremely charismatic. If that charisma can win the WWE fanbase over, and he can hang in there mentally through the undoubtedly rough patch he will receive upon his return, he may still be able to become a top-star in the WWE.
But that is a long shot at best. Especially in light of a full TNA meltdown, where suddenly, dozens upon dozens of talented wrestlers will be taking up spots in the company, many of which without all the mistakes that Anderson has made.
Should he not land in the WWE at all, expect to see him with MVP over in Japan.
Brian Kendrick is to pro-wrestling what Ricky Williams is to the NFL.
He could've been a multiple time WWE World Champion by now, even at his size, because he is that good in the ring and that charismatic on the microphone.
However, just like Williams, he ruined the chance to be great over his love for marijuana.
It wasn't as if the WWE didn't see the talent in him, as they tried to market him as this generation's Shawn Michaels and even made him an interim WWE Champion during the WWE Championship scramble a few years back.
Instead, because he couldn't say "no" to the ganja, he was depushed and eventually fired.
Now, he's TNA's X-Division champion, a far cry from being the WWE or World Heavyweight Champ.
Kendrick's future is in his hands, and that would be reflected upon a collapse of the TNA franchise.
If he straightens up and recognizes that Mary Jane is not worth him blowing a successful career, I believe he could come back to the WWE and actually reach his potential as a main event star.
He would have to prove it to the WWE that he can stay off of the sticky-icky, but if he can, and he can turn around their perception of him, I wouldn't call it a stretch to say that he would be a major draw for many years to come.
But, if he doesn't quit smoking the bud, his fate is going to be that of someone who tours the indies and Japan and never achieves the level of success he could have had because of his own silly decisions.
Rob Van Dam
RVD has done it all in this business. He's one of the most popular athletes to ever compete in the industry and is loved where ever he goes. He's held every major heavyweight title in America, with the exception of the WCW World Heavyweight title, and is the only man to ever hold the ECW and WWE title at the same time.
Though he did blow that mega-push by getting arrested with Sabu over drug possession charges. He was stripped of both titles and suspended for thirty days.
Even in spite of this, RVD has maintained an amicable relationship with the WWE and left on good terms with the company. He chose to go to TNA because of the lighter schedule and the ability to spend more time with his wife, who was struggling with cancer.
Should TNA collapse, not only would RVD more than likely return to the WWE, especially since his wife no longer has cancer, but he would probably walk right back into the main-event and title scene.
Because RVD keeps himself in great shape and utilizes his martial arts training and stretching techniques to stay loose, he probably can still perform at a high level for the next 10 years, even though he's already 40 years old.
I can't see RVD going anywhere else but the WWE in the event of a TNA collapse. But he, just like Brian Kendrick, is going to have to keep his nose clean of marijuana in order to keep a stable career in the WWE.
"The Pope" D'angelo Dinero
Releasing Elijah Burke was a mistake. I felt that from the moment I first heard the news back in 2008. I felt it was a travesty that they couldn't find anywhere for a man of Elijah's charisma and mic skills anywhere on WWE programming.
But that was the story with the WWE from the very beginning. They never took care of him. From saddling him with a ridiculous "tough man" gimmick because of his real-life toughman competition success, to making him have to carry the lump known as Sylvester Terkay, putting him through the God-awful "New Breed" ECW angle, to keeping him off of TV for months at a time.
They never did right by him.
TNA, however, did initially try to make something out of The Pope, but the same shoddy booking that has plagued every aspect of the company affected him, too.
D'angelo went from teaming with the likes of Sting and Kevin Nash, fighting against Hogan and Bischoff, to being unceremoniously dumped by his partners, left to be mauled by Immortal, and in response, they then turn him into a heel, have him collect donations, visit strip clubs, feud with Samoa Joe then go back face and start hanging out with Brother D-Von's family.
Yes, only Russo could come up with something that stupid.
If TNA folds, one only hopes that Burke can find a spot on the WWE roster with his amazing charisma and unique "Pope" character. There is a lot that can be done with it in a post-PG WWE.
I believe that the Pope will be given a second chance in the WWE, though to what level he'll be able to climb is the mystery.
The WWE never gives serious main-event pushes to Urban stereotype characters like The Pope, JTG, or the non-crazy R. Truth. Truth had to be turned into a nutjob before he could get a title shot. Booker T. had to act like a royal aristocrat before he could hold the world title. Even The Rock had to leave the Nation of Domination before he could reach the main-event.
It remains to be seen if a black wrestler pretending to be a street preacher/pimp would make it far in the WWE and not be turned into a mid-card caricature.
If TNA collapses, I believe we'll have a chance to find out. The Pope is too charismatic for the WWE not to give a second chance.
Watching Scott Steiner wrestle these days is particularly painful for me. Ever since he turned on his brother and joined the NWO at the height of the Monday Night Wars, he became one of my favorites.
But the truth of the matter is, just like the big bad booty daddy would say about his freaks, he's been used and abused.
Watching him in the ring, he's as stiff as a statue now. A lot of it has to do with his well documented back problems, but more of it probably has to do with his age. Steiner is going to turn 50 years old next year, and with all of the muscle he carries around, it's going to be harder and harder for him to put on a decent match.
Should TNA collapse, it would probably be best for Big Poppa Pump to retire for good. But, I doubt he'll do that.
With his last run with the WWE being severely mismanaged, ultimately leading to him negotiating for his release while injured, it's not likely that Steiner would want to willingly return to the WWE, or the WWE really wanting to take him back.
Like other talents, it's more than likely that if he doesn't work things out for a return to the WWE, he'll move on to doing shows in Japan or larger indie scene events.
But he really should retire.
Crimson is TNA's version of WCW's Goldberg, but with more wrestling ability and without a voice that sounds like he had his throat mauled by a grizzly bear.
TNA, probably recognizing what they have in the man has had him on an undefeated streak since he debuted for about the past eight months.
This is the kind of man Vince McMahon dreams about in his sleep after a warm cup of cocoa and a shot of whiskey.
He's big, he's talented, he's got a good look and he can actually talk on a microphone. He's only been in the business since 2007 and is a young gun at age 26.
Should TNA fold, I would expect that Crimson would be one of the first talents that the WWE would pick up.
I would imagine that Crimson would be launched to the moon and would definitely hold the WWE and World heavyweight championships throughout his career, barring anything like injury or personal problems.
In fact, even if TNA never folds, I believe Crimson is going to end up in the WWE eventually. As Crimson works with guys like Kurt Angle and Sting, and they teach him all the nuances of being a really great pro-wrestler, the Crimson that the WWE will buy from TNA with an offer they can't afford to match, will be seasoned even more so than he is now.
With or without TNA, Crimson's future is going to be bright in pro wrestling.
When you hear certain wrestlers talk about how being fired from a company can be a good thing because it gives the wrestler an opportunity to go elsewhere and get more experience, they're talking about Matt Morgan.
I watched Matt Morgan debut in the WWE several years ago under Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. He was very green and not ready for primetime. The WWE also didn't do him any favors by giving him a ridiculous stuttering gimmick, either.
But in the six years since his departure, The Blueprint has blossomed into a true star. He's got the moves, he's got the looks and he's got pretty sharp mic skills.
Plus he's seven feet tall and over 300 pounds of solid muscle.
This is the man that Vince McMahon has nightmares about letting get away after a cup of hot cocoa and a shot of whiskey.
The WWE isn't waiting for any collapse of TNA that may come years down the road, if ever. They are making overtures to get Morgan back right now. Morgan has already confirmed as such, but also stated that if TNA stays loyal to him, then he'll stay where he is. Translation: "Give me a world title reign and pay me on time, or I'm gone."
Should TNA collapse, Matt Morgan will be right along with Crimson as guys the WWE wants to immediately sign and make stars.
Gunner is a tremendous in-ring talent, and if you watch some of his interviews, he seems like a genuinely nice guy.
He hasn't been in TNA all that long, just a little over a year, but has made some noise by winning the TNA Television title once, joining Immortal and even defeating Sting in a tag match. Though I'm not certain where his stock is headed of late, as it appears he was fired by Ric Flair for being unable to successfully jump Sting in the backstage area on the last episode of Impact.
He's also been pretty much stuck in the middle of the standings of the Bound For Glory series as well.
But should TNA collapse, I believe the WWE will take a look at signing Gunner to the roster. He has a tremendous upside and boundless potential. He brings an intensity and fierce look to the table as well.
How far he goes in the WWE is the real question, as he just hasn't spent alot of time on the main stage yet.
If he can't make it with the WWE, he would probably return to wrestling in Ring of Honor and continue his indie work as Phil Shatter.
Eric Young is a very gifted wrestler who has a great sense of humor and charisma. He can flip from a psychotic and paranoid character like in his days of Team Canada (which was one of my favorite stables in the earlier days of TNA), to a more heelish character like his days in World Elite, to a complete goofball like he is now in this "feud" with Scott Baio.
Plus, he is no joke in the ring.
However, I think that Young has no future in the WWE should TNA fold.
The problem is that Eric Young, through much of his career, has been comic relief. I'm sure the WWE is aware of this and would probably use him in the same capacity with the company.
However, being comic relief in TNA and being comic relief in the WWE are two completely different animals. Eric could still be involved with the top players on a card in spite of his usually comical character.
His comical WWE counterpart, however, Santino Marella, is utilized as a complete curtain jerker and couldn't catch a whiff of the main-event even if every main-eventer from Randy Orton to CM Punk was lost to injury.
The same fate would probably befall Young if he got a chance to wrestle for the WWE.
But, I don't think the WWE would even give him much of a chance, as they already have comic relief guys like Santino and Zach Ryder. Eric would probably be jobbed out and eventually released after a few years, especially considering that the WWE already passed on him early in his career, and he's not a big guy at only 5'11".
However, if the WWE did give him a serious shot at a career in the company, I believe he would catch on with the fans and have a lengthy run at the top of the mid-card.
If not, Eric would probably head over to Ring of Honor to continue his career.
Austin Aries has practically been everywhere in the last several years but the WWE. The closest they ever came to even giving him a chance was asking him to audition for Tough Enough, and they cut him.
Even though Austin is a tremendous talent, and that's putting it lightly, the odds of the WWE changing their minds on him the middle of the talent rush they would receive from a collapse with TNA would be highly unlikely.
It's a shame, because finding a more talented worker than Aries would be a very hard feat to accomplish.
It is perhaps his size that hurts him with the WWE. But with the recent turn of direction that is causing the WWE to look more at independent wrestlers, and giving Daniel Bryan a push, who is only an inch taller than Aries, there would be a slim chance for them to consider him, again.
Because honestly, he can wrestle every bit as good as Bryan can, and he can talk rings around him on the microphone. His heel persona is something to behold.
However, if he doesn't catch on with the WWE after a TNA fold, he'll probably go back to Ring of Honor or do some more tours in Japan.
Suicide is the physical representation of a fictional character created for the TNA Impact video game series.
Depending on who you ask, he's either the greatest character TNA has ever created or one of the worst ideas TNA has had for attempting to make a video game character real.
No matter what your opinion is on him, you can be certain that the death of TNA is the death of the character who has been played by Christopher Daniels, Kiyoshi and Frankie Kazarian.
The WWE would probably never use a character so closely linked to the TNA franchise, and the independents would probably be banned from using a TNA trademarked character.
Not to mention that without TNA around, there really wouldn't be much need for a character based upon their video game to be floating around other promotions.
The Dudley Boyz
The case of "Bully" Ray and Brother D-Von is an interesting one, should TNA fold.
Right now, wrestling as singles competitors, Bully Ray appears to be being groomed for a TNA World Title run. Personally, he's always been one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. I always believed that with his in-ring ability and mic skills, he could be a top guy if given the chance.
I felt like D-Von was both a blessing and a curse, as he and Bubba were one of the greatest tag teams in the history of the sport, but he was also holding Bully back from the heights he could achieve as a singles competitor.
This may be the case again if TNA folds and the Dudleys are welcomed back into the WWE.
The WWE would more than likely decide to bring the Dudleys back as a tag team, ending any shot that Bubba might have at a WWE main-event.
That is, if the WWE decides to bring them back, or if the Dudleys even want to come back to the WWE at all. The Dudleys didn't leave on the best of terms. The WWE decided to cancel contract negotiations with them and let them go, and then threatened legal action against them if they used the "Dudley" name, as it was now trademarked by the WWE since the acquisition of ECW.
There have been much more ugly break ups between the WWE and the wrestlers they employ than this, so it shouldn't be a major wall to a WWE return.
However, if it does remain an issue for both sides, expect to see the Dudleys work the indie scene and international events until they eventually retire, as Bubba is already 40 and D-Von is 39.
Rumor has it that Triple H has already expressed interest in signing Beer Money, as the WWE looks to revamp the tag team scene.
So obviously, Beer Money would be one of the first groups to be picked up in the event of a TNA closure.
Beer Money's big and bruising style, mixed with old-school tandem attacks, would fit in perfectly with a new revamped WWE tag division.
I also believe that once the Beer Money tag team has run its course, there's a very good chance that Robert Roode will be looked at to be elevated to the main event. He has a great look, tons of talent and when pressed, can really deliver on the mic.
James Storm would probably be relegated to the high mid-card level or partnered up with another wrestler to continue on in the tag team division.
The Motor City Machine Guns
The Motor City Machineguns are one of the most entertaining and exciting tag teams to watch in all of professional wrestling, in my opinion.
Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley are two of the most talented wrestlers in the history of TNA.
If TNA were to collapse, with the WWE having a renewed interest in tag team wrestling, I believe The MCMG would be one of the best pick ups in the history of the WWE tag division as far as athleticism, high-flying and excitement are concerned.
They would be instant fan favorites and probably multiple time WWE World Tag-Team Champions. If the WWE Universe loved Brian Kendrick and Paul London, they are going to eat these guys up with gravy.
But for some reason, should the WWE have a mental gaffe and not sign Sabin and Shelley, they already have a good fan following in Ring of Honor and Zero 1 in Japan.
Should TNA fall apart, the stable of Mexican America would probably be some of the biggest winners in a losing situation.
The WWE is desperately searching for Latin stars to push to the Mexico and South American markets. This is why Alberto Del Rio was pushed so quickly to the WWE title and why the WWE would do something as drastic as put Hunico under the Sin Cara mask to replace Mistico while on suspension for violating the wellness policy, as opposed to just keeping the character off TV.
Mexican America would benefit from the WWE's desire to find and cultivate Latin stars. They would more than likely given a big push upon entering the WWE in an attempt to capture more the the South American market.
The biggest winner of all would more than likely be Supermex, as he is the kind of muscled up wrestler that the WWE loves to push.
If the WWE took Mexican America as a whole, then look for Hernandez to be broken off from the group in less than a year, while Hernandez is elevated, Anarquila would be left in the mid-card and Sarita and Rosita would be moved over to the Divas division.
If TNA folds, I believe it would be a disaster for the X division, which would also be a loss for WWE fans who will never get to experience it in the WWE.
With the talent influx that would undoubtedly come from a collapse of TNA, there just isn't going to be enough room, money or TV time for the entire division.
Those who are lucky enough to get picked up are probably going to be jobbed out, kept to dark matches and eventually released, even though they have extreme talent.
While seeing something like Robbie E team up with Zach Ryder and continue the Jersey Shore gimmick would be interesting, they aren't going to push aside time for returning stars like Kurt Angle, RVD and Matt Morgan, or new athletes like Crimson and Abyss for us to see it.
I believe guys like Kid Kash, Jesse Sorenson and Mark Haskins would be forced to return back to the independent scene and scrape for a living going from promotion to promotion.
Even a talent like Douglas Williams may be passed up because of his age at 38.
There's only so much wealth to be spread around, and unfortunately, The X-Division would be licking scraps that fell off the table and on to the floor.
The TNA Knockouts
This will probably be the saddest part of the collapse of TNA.
The WWE just doesn't appreciate women's wrestling to the degree that TNA does.
Trying to add 13 TNA Knockouts to a Divas division that already has 14? There's simply not enough room for it.
Depending on which way the WWE would decide to take it, they would either focus on bringing back ex-Divas that their fan base might recognize, like Winter, who was Katie Lee Burchill in the WWE, Tara, who was known as Victoria, Mickie James and Christie Hemme.
Or, they might go with the women who have no baggage from previous stints, like Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky and Angelina Love.
There's no way to tell which way the WWE would go, but they would of course, prioritize their own Divas over adding Knockouts.
If the knockout division scatters at the demise of TNA, look for some to make it into the WWE, while others will fall to Shimmer, Ring of Honor, International markets and other independent organizations.
Sadly, a few of them may leave the world of pro-wrestling altogether.
Being beautiful women, a bevy of opportunities would be available for them from modeling to acting to...modeling?
Tazz and Mike Tenay
In all of my years of watching professional wrestling, I have not heard a more knowledgeable or informed voice at ring side than Mike Tenay.
He can tell you the name of every move in the ring, every time. He can tell you the history of every title and every wrestler ever. He can tell you everything from who was hot on the indie scene in 2005 to who was the first luchadore to ever wear a mask and take it off in public.
And it's for those exact reasons why he won't be brought into the WWE should he be left jobless after a TNA collapse.
The WWE, as Joey Styles has famously told us, prefers to ignore the matches in the ring in favor of story telling. Mike Tenay is not the guy you're looking for when that is your preference.
The King and Michael Cole are who you like when you want "Sports Entertainment", and Mike Tenay is a "Pro-Wrestling" guy.
I would expect to see him in Ring of Honor as an announcer. Give him Mike Hogewood's or Kelly Kelly's spot. Whoops, I mean Kevin Kelly.
As for Tazz, there wasn't really animosity with his departure, so I'm sure the WWE would like to have him back on Smackdown as the color commentator, again.
And as much as I love hearing Booker T. shouting goofy catchphrases, while overacting in that raspy voice of his, I think Tazz would be a cut above as far as quality is concerned.