When Nigel McGuinness debuted as Desmond Wolfe on the October 22, 2009 edition of TNA Impact, mainstream wrestling fans were introduced to one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Wolfe was immediately thrust into the TNA spotlight with a high profile feud against another of the world's best, Kurt Angle. The two had a series of incredible matches, including a couple of match-of-the-year candidates on consecutive pay-per-views.
It seemed as if the sky was the limit for Wolfe, but once his feud with Angle began to fizzle out, his main event potential in TNA did as well. Since the Hogan/Bischoff regime took over control of the company, Wolfe has been relegated to mid-card status.
Sure, they gave him a lovely valet and are teaming him with Ric Flair's posse, but the bottom line is that Desmond Wolfe has not been given much of a chance to shine over the past few months.
When he left ROH in 2009 along with Bryan Danielson, it was a pretty big blow to the company. Their two top stars were gone and both were WWE bound. An issue with a failed physical messed up Wolfe's chance to sign a WWE contract and shortly afterwards he made the leap to TNA.
During his time in ROH, McGuinness was accustomed to having gold, often strapped backwards, around his waist. He held the now defunct Pure Championship longer than anyone else and went on to nearly do the same with the ROH World Championship. His reign of 545 is incredibly impressive considering how often championships change hands in wrestling these days.
It was exciting to see Wolfe gain such notoriety right off the bat with TNA. He showed up arguably in the best shape of his career and appeared to be on the fast track to becoming one of the top heels in the company. Who knows why that all changed once the new regime took over, but his push stalled and suddenly he was wrestling, and mostly jobbing to, The Pope just about every single week.
The best example of TNA not knowing what they have in Wolfe came on this past Monday's edition of Impact. After surprisingly winning the first week of voting in the fan's poll to determine the No. 1 contender, Wolfe was given a shot at Rob Van Dam and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
It was highly doubtful that we would see the belt change hands so quickly, but the potential was there for a highly competitive and entertaining title match. Instead, TNA gave us a three-minute-long squash match that made Wolfe look miles away from being championship material.
We get three minutes of Wolfe/RVD and TNA follows it up with an incredibly anti-climactic confrontation between Hulk Hogan and Sting. Is it any wonder why the ratings have been so abysmal for Impact? Wrestling fans like to see good wrestling matches, especially when those matches are for the top prize in the company.
Wolfe is undoubtedly fairing better than his ROH counterpart, the 0-10 NXT rookie Daniel Bryan. Then again, given what the WWE is doing to Bryan that doesn't amount to much. Both of these guys are top-notch wrestling talents and they are both being sorely underutilized by their companies.
That is another rant for another article though.
At least Wolfe was able to build some momentum, but after Monday night his credibility as a main-event player has taken a huge blow. His next task is a match with Abyss at Sacrifice, where he puts up his valet Chelsea against Abyss' coveted Hall of Fame ring. Given the mega-push Abyss has received, the odds aren't exactly stacked in Wolfe's favor.
The fans obviously think Wolfe deserves more from TNA, as made apparent by their votes in the poll. Let us hope that the guys running the show down in Orlando figure that out sooner than later, otherwise another potential top star is going to go to waste and that would be a shame.