WWE/TNA Pushed to Punished, Edition 33: The Controversial Collapse of Crimson

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2013

WWE/TNA Pushed to Punished, Edition 33: The Controversial Collapse of Crimson

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    Since the start of my Pushed to Punished series in March 2011, I've been analyzing the controversial careers of past and present WWE Superstars. From Bobby Lashley to Zack Ryder, a total of 32 wrestlers have been featured in his selective series over the last two years.

    However, in light of the recent releases from TNA, I've decided to expand the series to the company down south. Among those let go from Impact Wrestling this past week include Crimson, an individual who was heavily pushed for well over a year.

    Although his in-ring work left a lot to be desired, Crimson embarked on a lengthy undefeated streak while with TNA. Once his streak was snapped in June 2012, Crimson disappeared from television only to be unceremoniously fired from the company a year later.

    Here, I'll break down every rise and fall in the career of Crimson in an attempt to discover where exactly he went wrong.

Debuting in TNA

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    In December 2010, Tommy Mercer took part in TNA's Gut Check Challenge, defeating Neico in one-on-one action. Shortly thereafter, it was announced Mercer had signed a contract after impressing TNA officials.

    Mere weeks later, Mercer made his initial appearance on the December 30 edition of Impact, acting as Amazing Red's younger brother. He answered Jeff Jarrett's MMA open challenge and came close to defeating the TNA founder before members of Immortal interfered.

    Known from that moment forward as Crimson, he became the messenger for a new group on the January 13 edition of Impact that claimed "they" were coming. He also brutally attacked Abyss, who would then not be seen on television for a number of months.

    This continued in subsequent weeks, with Crimson targeting the likes of AJ Styles and others. Although the faction was originally expected to be the returning Main Event Mafia, it was later revealed to be Fortune.

Teaming with Scott Steiner and Feuding with Abyss

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    Despite being aligned with Fortune, Crimson broke off on his own and embarked on an undefeated streak in singles competition. Following a victory over Magnus on the February 24 edition of Impact, Crimson reignited his partnership with Scott Steiner and joined the tag team ranks for a brief while.

    At Lockdown, the duo was unsuccessful in becoming the No. 1 contenders to the World Tag Team Championships. Shortly thereafter, Crimson was ambushed by Abyss, who had since returned from the 
    "injury" he sustained at the hands of the newcomer months prior.

    He picked up his first pay-per-view victory at Sacrifice, where he soundly defeated Abyss. In the midst of his feud with The Monster, he joined forces and gained the respect of Samoa Joe.

Comepting in the Bound for Glory Series and Feuding with Samoa Joe

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    Similar to Crimson, Samoa Joe also had an undefeated streak of his own earlier on in his career. Tension was teased between the two prior to Sacrifice, which was built upon in subsequent weeks on Impact.

    At Slammiversary, Crimson had an impressive outing against Joe and picked up what was considered an upset victory over The Samoan Submission Machine. Both competitors were named participants in the inaugural Bound For Glory Series, which would see 12 esteemed wrestlers fight for a chance to headline Bound For Glory for the TNA Would Heavyweight Championship.

    While Crimson flourished in the tournament, Joe lost almost every match he competed in. This led to jealousy on Joe's part, who proceeded to viciously attack Crimson on the August 25 edition of Impact Wrestling and take him out of the series.

    During his reign of terror, Joe also ambushed Matt Morgan, another competitor in the Bound For Glory Series. Upon Crimson's return to the ring the following month, a Triple Threat match involving Crimson, Morgan and Joe was arranged for Bound For Glory.

    At the event, Crimson won the match and extended his undefeated streak.

Teaming and Feuding with Matt Morgan

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    Following Bound For Glory, Crimson entered a program with Matt Morgan, who thought he would be the one to put an end to Crimson's undefeated streak. The two met in a match at Turning Point, which went to a double disqualification.

    Personally, I had high hopes going into the event but was disappointed with the result. That being said, it began to dawn on me that Crimson wasn't as deserving of the push he was receiving as some officials thought.

    Regardless, Crimson and Morgan put their differences aside to win the World Tag Team Championships from Mexican America on the Thanksgiving edition of Impact Wrestling. They managed to coexist as a tandem and went on to have successful title defenses against the likes of Devon and D'Angelo Dinero, Samoa Joe and Magnus and Mexican America.

    Needless to say, they worked much better as a tag team than they did as rivals, but it was only a matter of time before their reign as champs came to an end. They dropped the straps to Joe and Magnus at the Against All Odds pay-per-view after tension was teased between the two.

    They failed to win the titles back on the subsequent edition of Impact Wrestling as well as at Victory Road. At the latter event, Crimson speared Morgan right out of his boots, costing him the match and turning heel in the process.

Turning Heel

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    As a babyface, Crimson simply wasn't over and felt out of place. However, his heel turn rejuvenated his stale character, as it allowed him to brag about his lengthy undefeated streak in singles competition.

    Sure, he still wasn't getting much of a reaction from the TNA audience, but he was gradually garnering heat week by week. He continued to feud with Matt Morgan in subsequent weeks, barely defeating him in a Steel Cage match at Lockdown.

    In the months that followed, Crimson didn't engage in a full-fledged feud with anyone on the roster. Instead, he issued open challenges on a weekly basis, defeating the likes of Shannon Moore and Eric Young at Sacrifice.

    The biggest issue with Crimson's undefeated streak was the fact that it drew many similarities to Golderg's famous streak in WCW. The fact that Crimson was also using the spear as his finishing maneuver didn't help matters, either.

    After defeating then X-Division champion Austin Aries in a non-title match on the June 8 edition of Impact Wrestling, Crimson took a shot at Goldberg by saying his streak was longer than Goldberg's streak ever was. He also issued an open challenge to anyone at Slammiversary.

    Although many thought the open challenge would be answered by the former WCW champion, it was instead answered by the returning James Storm. Within mere minutes, Storm soundly defeated Crimson at Slammiversary, ending his undefeated streak at a whopping 470 days.

Disappearing from Television

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    Despite having his undefeated streak snapped at Slammiversary, I strongly believed Crimson would still land a spot in the second annual Bound For Glory Series. However, that wasn't the case, as Crimson was almost immediately removed TNA television and sent packing to Ohio Valley Wrestling.

    Aside from a one-off appearance on the July 5 edition of Impact Wrestling, Crimson was sporadically seen on TNA television. He competed at the company's monthly One Night Only pay-per-views but returned to developmental to win the OVW Championship.

    While there, Crimson made major strides in the squared circle as well as on the mic. He was able to improve and made the most out of the time he spent at OVW.

    Almost exactly a year after his streak was ended, Crimson returned to TNA television on the June 13 edition of Impact Wrestling. He announced his intentions to win the Bound For Glory Series but subsequently failed to qualify for the tournament following a loss to Joesph Park.

Conclusion

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    On July 3, it was announced that Crimson was released from his TNA contract in an effort to cut costs. My immediate thought was why the company would bring him back for one appearance if it intended to get rid of him anyway.

    Personally, I found the whole thing absolutely asinine. Crimson was green as grass earlier on in his career, but he showed tremendous potential after improving down in OVW.

    Crimson is 28 years old, which means he still has his entire career ahead of him to find work elsewhere. Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Ryan Dilbert wrote an article a few days ago stating that WWE should sign him to be a part of NXT, an idea I absolutely agree with.

    Nonetheless, it's a shame that Crimson will be remembered for his lengthy undefeated streak and nothing more in TNA. He had a lot more to offer and it's a shame to see him go so abruptly.

    Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Crimson's career in TNA and what you think the future holds for him going forward. Also, include any potential topics you would like to see analyzed in upcoming editions of Pushed to Punished.

    GSM out.

    Read every archived edition of the Pushed to Punished series here.

    Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling and listen to my wrestling radio talk show SAVE US GSM every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET.