Truly A Never Say Never Industry
I was as shocked as anyone when Jeff returned to TNA, but I seriously doubt I was as shocked as the man himself was when the phone rang. I am aware of the rumor that TNA originally wanted AJ Styles to make his return and I am not here to debate if that was the case. In my opinion, although I was heartbroken when AJ left and I was a firm believer of "It's A Work", I think that Jeff Jarrett's return to TNA has much more weight behind it when you consider that Jeff was the founder of TNA and you couple that with his current rival promotion, at least as far as we know, the intrigue and pure storyline potential could possibly eclipse anything else that has been seen in wrestling.
Now I was never a big fan of Jeff as a wrestler, but I must admit that I hold a great deal of respect for the man behind the silver guitar. This was something I didn't realize until I had the privilege of seeing him wrestle live in the UK. It wasn't until his return to TNA that I realized how much he means to TNA. I must say that TNA doesn't feel like TNA without Jeff being involved in some capacity. I used to feel annoyed when a wrestler's response to a question was "Never say never" but now, after this, maybe it isn't just a cop out answer and maybe, just maybe, anything is truly possible in this wacky world of wrestling.
As a quick note, I paid for Slammiversary and I got my money's worth. We were treated to some great matches and we finally got King Of The Mountain back where it belonged as the main event of Slammiversary. Going into the main event, I had no doubt who was leaving with the belt. I believe that Jeff would have happily put over the TNA boys, most of whom he originally had a hand in bringing to TNA to begin with, and while it would have been an ideal passing of the torch for Jeff, I had a gut feeling that there was more to what was going on. After the main event, I don't think that there was a doubt in anyone's mind that TNA had some unfinished business with the GFW owner.
There was an additional fallout with TNA restructuring a lot of contracts to PPA deals, and while this could make the future of TNA look bleak, it allows their performers to take dates with other companies and keep their spot on the TNA roster. This was likely done for economic reasons, but based on TNA's old restrictive contract style the change would have been necessary before any chance of a talent exchange could take place.
Now for the main reason I am writing this article: the KOTM championship. I love the King Of The Mountain match; it was another thing that disappeared during the Hogan regime that was tied to TNA's identity. Over the years I have heard a lot of chatter about the rules being convoluted and hard to understand. I never felt that way. In fact, I found it a lot easier to understand than, say, the WarGames match or the Elimination Chamber. I never had a problem with the wrestlers having to earn their eligibility, and the penalty box was, in my opinion, a "stroke" of genius as it drove home the idea that the match could end while someone was locked up and unable to interfere, which always adds to the suspense.
As I said earlier, I has happy when I saw King Of The Mountain back in its rightful place as Slammiversary's main event. I would be happy only seeing the match at Slammiversary, but I have a feeling that if TNA or GFW want to use the championship, we may be seeing more of the match down the road. It's in the title's name and I think it would be unique if the belt was only defended in its namesake match. But we can't be having a King Of The Mountain match all the time, so how do you balance the title's uniqueness while keeping it relevant? I think if we use some of TNA's other discarded concepts, that we may be able to come up with something great,
The first thing my plan needs is for TNA to decide on what its live PPV schedule is going to be. For the sake of argument, let's say that TNA decides to run 3-4 PPVs spread evenly across the year. This would give a good platform for TNA to have a King Of The Mountain match on each of these events. The next thing we need is for the outcome of that match, and preferably others, to not be spoiled by TNA's tapings. I'm not going to suggest that TNA completely rework their taping schedule. However, a slight tweak could leave the PPVs without spoilers.
I think having a live go-home show can be a boon for the PPV, so I see no reason that TNA can't begin their taping schedule with a live Impact on Wednesday. Then if TNA have any One Night Only events that they want to record they have Thursday through Saturday to get those out of the way. Finally we can go into the Sunday PPV without anything spoiled, and TNA can tape the next batch of Impact Wrestling on Monday through Wednesday. This slightly different take would only need to be done on those months with a PPV and the rest of the time TNA can tape their usual out of sequence style while saving money.
This would just be the first step to create the perfect setting for the KOTM championship. The next is finding a way to keep your title relevant so you can defend the belt 3-4 times as a year. If you only used the King Of The Mountain match on the live PPV I don't think we would be over-saturated by it and it could keep feeling like something special. This is where TNA can draw upon their collection of failed experiments, so to speak.
If you take the idea of the X-Division rankings and select 8 people who want to participate for the KOTM championship, this would give you a pool of 9 wrestlers for the 3-4 month period between the PPVs. The champion would be heavily featured in storylines across the product doing whatever TNA wanted while keeping the belt on TV. So we have our talent pool - what do we do with them?
I suggest that the other 8 wrestlers compete in a modified BFG Series. At the conclusion of the round robin tournament we would be left with the 4 best in the winners bracket, who would then go on to compete in the King Of The Mountain match while the 4 in the losers bracket would have to face off in relegation style matches against 4 other wrestlers who want to be included in the next round robin. This would add a competitive sports feel to TNA that could be maintained year round, almost a separate entity to the rest of TNA. The tournaments would give them a chance to showcase wrestling for part of Impact while the rest can be the usual storyline focused style. I know a lot of people that are either a fan of wrestling heavy shows or a fan of storylines. TNA could use this new title to try and keep both sets of fans happy.
Regardless of the future of the KOTM championship and whatever plans TNA and GFW have for each other, it seems that the wrestling business should take notice. If smaller companies start working together this "never say never" business could find out that the sky is the limit. There is so much that could be going on in TNA, but maybe we may just start to see that as Professor Brian Cox used to say: "Things can only get better."
Penny For Your Thoughts
1) Who else marked out when Jeff Jarrett made his return?
2) Do you think that if companies like TNA, GFW, ROH, NJPW and AAA all worked together they could start to bring down WWE?
3) What do you think of my vision for the King Of The Mountain championship?