Upper mid-card (no order of ranking or importance)
THE VERY FIRST LEGITIMATE TWEENERS, AND THEY STAY THIS WAY
Mr. Anderson: I don't care how unpopular Anderson actually is with the IWC. Mr. Anderson is a great asset to TNA if used correctly. I also cannot stand the modern wrestling fan being so quick to say that a "wrestler is stale." That being said, the babyface Mr. Anderson is one of a small handful of wrestlers who I truly feel have gone stale. I miss "The Asshole" that we first got in 2010. Anderson was red hot in 2010 and even 2011, but he had two title reigns ripped from under him, and constant heel/face turns ruined him. Anderson creates a stable/alliance of him and two others that become legitimate tweeners and stay that way. I don't believe we have ever seen an actual legitimate tweener, or one that ever remained a tweener.
I thought of this concept a while ago reading spoilers when I heard that Anderson came out at the end of a set of tapings last year, gave Godderz a mic check and sent the fans home happy. I was thinking how far Anderson fell off and after wasting him on Samuel Shaw, now they're just using him to put guys over at the mid-card and honestly he's still got more to give and deserves better.
Anderson vs Godderz never happened, nor was that skit ever shown on TV; but here's what I envisioned:
I would have actually show Anderson hitting that mic check on Godderz on TV, and then we would see the match on TV between the two. Godderz would defeat Anderson with a cheap roll-up with his feet on the ropes or something similar to that. Anderson would stand in the ring with his hands on his hips, shaking his head with a look of disgust on his face.
Later that night, or the following week, we would see Eric Young defeat Chris Melendez. EY would assault Melendez after the match like usual (Anderson was somewhat aligned with Melendez at this time) and out would come Anderson to make the save for Melendez. Melendez would get to his feet, and then Anderson would hit the mic check on Melendez.
The very next Impact would be opened with Mr. Anderson coming out to the ring:
"What? Did you all forget that I was an asshole?" What would ensue next would be Anderson breaking kayfabe and shooting on TNA and the wrestling business. Anderson would talk about certain things like this in his own words: "I've busted my ass in TNA since I first got here in 2010. The fans didn't accept me because I was from the cesspool up north and I won everyone over; I made it big as an asshole and was told to tone it down and had not one but two world title reigns ripped out from under me; For TNA, I wrestled in not only one of the best steel cage matches in company history but one of the best steel cage matches in the history of this business; hell, I did everyone a favor and I was the one who ended the Aces and Eights and got those pussies in leather off of all our screens...and what happens to me? I get labeled a TNA legend! That sounds so great but what does being a TNA legend really mean?
Being a TNA legend means that the company you've helped so much despite multiple changes in management that you continue get lowball contract offers and get asked to take paycuts each year; being a legend means that despite still being in the prime of your career with plenty left to offer, your entire goal and objective is only to work with new wrestlers that you're much better than to help get them over while your unfairly stuck in career limbo. It's even that much better when management has nothing for these guys I put on my back and elevated just a couple of months later. I'll give props to EC3, but your Samuel Shaw's, Gunner's, and now Chris Melendez and everyone else TNA wants me to turn into a star will never get my compliance again.
This is what the wrestling business does to guys like me. TNA chewed me up, and spit me out because they could, but never again. Quite frankly, I'm an Asshole and always have been. I don't care if you fans love and cheer somebody or hate and boo somebody, if they are in my way, I will not lay down. I am the wrestling business and I am here to take what's mine. From here on out, I'm doing what's best for Mr. Anderson not what's best for the next flash in the pan looking for fifteen minutes of fame. All you up-and-comers beware, and our champions EC3 and [insert KOTM champion's name here] beware."
Matt Hardy: In Chapter 4 part 1 I wrote about my idea I had in hopes that TNA would sign Mike Bennett for quite some time. However, in 2015 (until the very end) it was apparent that TNA would not be signing Mike Bennett. So...I also feel I had a good thing planned with Matt Hardy that involved Mr. Anderson.
Side note: I cannot fucking believe that in these most recent tapings that TNA did something very similar between Anderson and Matt Hardy.
Matt Hardy would never be considered a possible world champion in my vision of TNA, but I actually had some pretty big plans for the guy at a time when he wasn't even being used on TV.
Matt Hardy would return to TNA TV, and get a victory over a lower card guy like maybe a Knux or Crazzy Steve. We would see a backstage segment with Mr. Anderson approaching Matt Hardy after the match, and tells him that he and Matt are both cut from the same cloth, and that they both are professional wrestling. Anderson would tell Hardy that he can't do all of this alone and that he needs his assistance, and next week he wants an answer from him.
Anderson comes out the next week on Impact, and calls out Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy would tell Anderson that he does respect him, he understands what he means, and while it gave him a lot to uof luck. Anderson would not let Matt Hardy go that easy, as he would cut a promo that includes the following topics to light a fire under Matt Hardy: "Matt, you really want to do this to me? to yourself? to your family? For what reason? You have goals for this company? This company that hasn't had plans for you since your brother broke his leg? Do you remember the first time you came to this company and how they treated you? You messed up one time and this company threw you out on your ass while your junkie brother put everyone in the comapny at risk and they paid for his demons to go away and stood by him? Are you really that content getting bypassed everyday for your younger more problematic brother to hog all of the spotlight and you are stuck in mid-card limbo?
Matt Hardy would then begin to attack Anderson before the two end up separated.
Meanwhile...a Lethal Lockdown or Hardcore War match would be on the horizon between The BDC and The Rising but the BDC would outnumber the Rising by a good amount. Matt Hardy would say he came back to TNA to stand up for wrestling, help The Revolution, and ignite the fire against his old rival MVP.
MVP would then defeat Matt Hardy and gain the BDC the man advantage in the big match. Anderson would be seen as Hardy walked by dejected, and tell him "all these young guys are just gonna blame Matt Hardy when they lose now."
Hardcore War or Lethal Lockdown: Matt Hardy comes out last, and takes a weapon and lays out the entire BDC, and then lays out all members of his team as well. Hardy would leave the ring, look at the camera and yell, "let's do this Ken Anderson, let's take the business back."
Matt Hardy and Anderson have formed an alliance and are two legitimate tweeners. Matt would say that an injured Jeff is proud of them, and he is joining forces when he gets back. Jeff would eventually get back, not be proud, he would still align himself with Matt (like heel Luger in WCW with Sting, and same examples I've used in the Mike Bennett example) but would lead to a feud with his former tag partner Ken Anderson.
Matt Hardy and Anderson would begin feuding with The Rising due to Matt turning on them, and also by Anderson claiming that they are pro-wrestling, and telling Galloway that they are defining what it means to stand up for wrestling. Anderson and Hardy would even try to get Galloway to align with them and mention his WWE failures. Other feuds they'd have would be a brief Anderson squash of Melendez; The Revolution would feud with them (which comes next) and eventually a feud with Magnus and Spud.
I mentioned my idea to bring back the TV championship in Chapter 4: During the tournament, it would end up being Matt vs Jeff Hardy at one point. Matt would approach Jeff before the match and ask him to lay down for him. Matt would explain to Jeff that he needs this win for the TV title way more than Jeff. He'd tell Jeff that he is the younger brother and he's taken everything Matt has taught him and became one of the biggest and most successful names in the history of the business, and Matt needs to become TNA TV champion to validate his career whereas Jeff is bulletproof. Matt would mention he was the world champion in the second coming of ECW, but becoming the TV champion in TNA is much more desirable and validating because the talent here is so much better than anyone he wrestled over there. A reluctant Jeff Hardy would go out and wrestle his brother in the TV tournament but during the match, Jeff would eventually leave the ring and get counted out. He'd then say the TV title meant a lot to him but that he loves his brother and wants him to reach his goals. This would make light that while Matt Hardy is a tweener, and Jeff is the top face, they will still co-exist because blood is thicker than water despite Jeff's new problems with Mr. Anderson
Anderson, and Matt Hardy would enter a big feud with Drew Galloway because they screwed him over against the BDC, but also because they would try and recruit him afterwards to be turned down.
Anderson would explain to Galloway that while he is "standing up for wrestling" he is not realizing that guys like Hardy and Anderson are pro wrestling. They're the guys who get promised the world only to have their careers ruined and pushed aside for political reasons backstage or for the next big thing. Anderson would mention that he also came from 'up north' and that he too was looked at as a 'chosen one' and he came to TNA to get the better opportunity and have his promises fulfilled...only to have the same thing happen to him again, and that Galloway would also suffer the same fate. Anderson would tell Galloway to join this revolution they're starting and get what's due to him.
Drew Galloway would decline the offer and put over TNA. Anderson would then say that if that's the case, the way him and Matt Hardy see it, Galloway is the next big thing in TNA that is taking their money away from them and then attack Galloway.
Abyss is the third member of this alliance led by Mr. Anderson of legitimate tweeners of TNA. However, Anderson being the intelligent asshole that he is would also end up bringing Joseph Park into their stable when it is an advantage for their faction.
A brief segment would show on Impact where Anderson approaches James Storm alone stating that he knows that they don’t like each other, and that they have a history together including him embarrassing Storm in front of the Dallas Cowboys at one point, but letting bygones be bygones, he needs to talk business with him.
Next week on Impact (or the sweet ass Friday Night Showcase tag team edition later that week proposed by yours truly) we see a segment where both we would see Anderson and Matt Hardy approach Storm and say they’re there to come through on their end of the business deal. Anderson would hand Storm a stack of cash…then Matt Hardy would point out the other half of the bribe and point over to a good amount of beer. Anderson would remark “nothin’ like a little Beer Money, right?”
Storm would tell The Revolution to leave with him, except him and Knux would tell Abyss that he needs to actually stay put because he has visitors, the camera would then cut out. LATER ON TONIGHT…we would see Anderson leave and tell Storm that the deal is done, and that Abyss is leaving The Revolution, and joining him and Hardy. Storm would say “he’s all yours but you know what else needs done if you’re actually keeping him aroung. Anderson would tell him he realizes that, and then say “oh, and ummm, we’re going to need his meds too.” Matt Hardy would leave with Abyss right afterwards and the stable of tweeners are born.
Abyss would be shown leaving with Hardy and passing James Storm who would say to Abyss: “I recruited myself a monster but what I got was a giant pussy!” Anderson would have to hold Abyss back, and once again mention how they’ll really need his meds.
This faction would be a frequent fixture in the commentary booth with Josh Matthews, mainly Anderson and Joseph Park. Joseph Park, you say? The manipulative Anderson made sure to get Abyss’ ‘meds’ from James Storm, which he uses to switch between Joseph Park and Abyss. Mr. Park would tend to be very clueless at times in regards to what’s going on in current storylines. The meds would be used sporadically to which provides Anderson and Hardy their best advantage for the conditions they face. When they need a smart lawyer or manager type with a level head then Anderson will tell Hardy to give Park his meds and then we get Joseph Park. However, when they need a monster, or a savage, or a wrestler they can go to war with, they will skip his medications and then the Monster Abyss will come out.
The main event of one of the free PPV specials would be the rematch between James Storm and Magnus inside a steel cage. James Storm would be interviewed by JB right before the match and close it out with: “…and Magnus, I hope you believe in déjà vu. Sorry about your damn luck.” The end of this match would be the return of the dreaded Abyss coming out from underneath the ring like LockDown 2014 when he helped Magnus. Abyss would once again help Magnus out and would give the Black Hole Slam to his former mentor James Storm. Magnus would cover Storm after the B.H.S. but then Abyss would pull Magnus up, hit him with the Black Hole Slam as well. But, would then pour out tacs and hit Magnus with the B.H.S. again where he would then be pinned by Storm. Abyss would then hit the BHS on Storm into the thumbtacks and leave the cage with both men laying in their own blood.
This would then lead to multiple feuds at once and ties in to my theory of multiple feuds at once: Anderson, Hardy & Abyss would already be in a feud with The Rising, but now these three tweeners would be feuding with both The Revolution, and now Magnus who would likely get his eventual tag team partner involved too (but that will be mentioned later on). This could and should spin off to feuding between The Rising and The Revolution.
Much needed new additions:
First, if you haven’t already check out my other columns that are much longer but they include additions and/or signings I feel would be best for the tag team division along with what wrestlers on the roster I feel should be paired up; the Knockouts and the X-Division
But, here are the wrestlers in 2015 that I felt TNA should have added to the main roster that would be focused more in the KOTM/TV title and TNA world title divisions…aka heavyweights:
[THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER OF RELEVANCE OR HOW GREAT THEY ARE OR COULD BE]
1. Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis: HALLEJULAH! CONGRATS TNA, YOU WENT OUT AND SIGNED THESE TWO, A YEAR TOO LATE, BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
2. Matt Taven: this would have not made the cut last year because I never thought Taven was a possibility. I would prefer he start in the X-Division or tagging with Bennett, but I see Taven as a guy who could be TV champion, and as a long shot as a future TNA champion, again A LONG SHOT.
3. Tomasso Ciampa: This is a heart breaker because TNA had him in their grips for a minute or two. I’m not ranking anyone, but this guy was my number one choice of reasonable options.
4. Gunner: mentioned previously as a tag team but could also come back as a solo wrestler
5. Matt Morgan: we briefly got him back for Slammiversary, and he looked great. He is apparently happy in retirement but with the right money and a push, maybe it would be possible to convince him to return. Morgan could have been world champion if he was used better in my opinion.
6. Raymond Rowe: Like Gunner was mentioned earlier in my previous columns, and now I do not see him as a reasonable possibility but I see him as a potential big star.
7. Shelton Benjamin: He is close friends with MVP and it seemed possible earlier on. He’s also close with Angle so there goes that too. He works with GFW, and admitted previous talks with TNA. This is a blown opportunity for both parties in my opinion, and I hope this happens in the future.
8. JTG or even Cryme Tyme: I believe Shad Gaspard is intent on trying to make it in MMA, but Cryme Tyme was pretty over at one time, they’d be a nice addition to the tag team division. However, JTG was and deserved better than what he was booked to be in the WWE. Not saying this guy would ever be a main eventer but he could be solid, charismatic addition to the mid-card or create a tag team with someone on the roster not being used that well like a Micah, Robbie E, or even Shera or Zema Ion.
9. Chris Hero: “Chris Is Awesome” …and Chris is also fat, but he can still wrestle well. Hero is a very good wrestler. If the mainstream wrestling audience is embracing Kevin Steen then no problem for Hero. Of course, we’d all like him to get in shape but if he can still go in the ring, he is charismatic and has a solid following. He’d put on some very good matches with a lot of the roster. Chris Hero has not turned himself into Chris Harris!
10. The Von Erichs: These guys are green (or at least were) but they come from a long blood-line of wrestling, and should respect and understand the wrestling business. These guys could be a lower-to-mid-card tag team to start with and we can see how they grow. These guys were introduced to a large TNA audience a couple years ago and should be able to do alright. I forgot to add these two when I listed tag team talents in my last column.
Carlito: I don’t care what anyone says but this motherfucker should have been a huge superstar. Carlito is one of the best talkers, along with most charismatic people in wrestling over the past ten years. Carlito without a filter and WWE restrictions with a microphone is pure gold. He proved this as well at the WWE HOF ceremony a year or two ago too. People can say he is lazy in the ring or whatever they want to say, but I don’t care, this guy could pull ratings. His character is something TNA could use. If they had Carlito along with EC3, Drake, and Bennett then watch out, four of the best talkers alive who are also pretty fucking witty and hilarious too. Add to it that Roode, Storm, and EY are great talkers too…if they brought back Aries and Pope…WWE could be obliterated as far as talkers and promos go.
John Morrison/Johnny Mundo: Two questions: 1. How in the fuck did Vince McMahon find The Miz to be the star between him & Morrison? 2. How in the blue hell has TNA never signed this guy? Whether it would be the X-Division or the main card of heavyweights, John Morrison would excel. He’s awesome in the ring, unbelievably athletic, and charismatic in the ring. Not the best talker but he doesn’t need to be either. Every year that Morrison/Mundo is not in TNA is a mistake on TNA’s end. He would instantly spark the X-Division the minute he stepped foot in a TNA ring, and I see him evolving further than the X-Division, easily a KOTM/TV champion, and with enough momentum, hard work, and proper booking he could become a TNA champion that wouldn’t be an insult to the roster or downgrade it like Matt Hardy was at BFG.
Rumored wrestlers from 2015:
Last year there was rumors of four big names coming from the WWE that TNA would be after. This is basically a yes or no from my perspective.
Alberto Del Rio: Read my very first fantasy booking column. I was not a fan of his work until ROH, but I had a storyline played out for him in TNA that I think was pretty good.
Rey Mysterio: No. Mysterio is a legend, but he is also very injury prone anymore, and I’m sure would have been extremely pricey, and would have likely been pushed way too hard in TNA. I can truthfully say my only IWC moment ever came with this guy. I was always a fan of Rey Rey but right when he became champion for the first time, I couldn’t root for him ever again. He just became too fake and too much for little kids. I remember my friends and I booing the shit out of him at SmackDown tapings in Angle’s last match before heading to ECW. The little kids around us and their parents were giving us dirty looks, except for some parents who turned and laughed with us.
If Mysterio wouldn’t have been super spendy, remained healthy, and was never world champ then it would have been a good hire, but keeping Austin Aries would have been a better choice than Mysterio under these circumstances.
Jack Swagger: Yes. Swagger is a multiple time World Champion, and even an ECW champion so him ever winning the belt in TNA wouldn’t look bad. However, I think Swagger is better than he gets credited for; but, I don’t know that being TNA champion would be in his cards, Swagger would not be a jobber by any means but he’d be an upper mid-card guy who would be beaten by the better talents in TNA and the wrestling world could see that WWE doesn’t always have the best talents. Of course, Angle vs Swagger seems like an easy angle to write (no pun intended).
Dolph Ziggler: Probably. I’ll be honest I’m not a fan of Amy Schumer’s ex boyfriend at all. I think he’s extremely overrated. Possibly the most overrated I can remember. That said, Ziggler is probably a lot better than I think he is. I bet if he was given his chances away from WWE bullshit writers and their restrictions he would not only shine as a talker and character but probably impress me as a wrestler much like El Patron did.
Here’s my grudge against Ziggler, although likely unfair to the guy (who could honestly give a shit what I think and why should he?): Right towards the end when I finally said “I can’t fucking watch this garbage anymore” and stopped watching WWE, two things about Ziggler were hug factors:
1. WWE’s booking plan was this: two guys don’t like each other, let’s have them wrestle each other in some form on TV twice per week for about five months straight and then in big feuds we will have every gimmick match known to man, repeat process! Not Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston, they just did that fucking match twice per week and on every PPV without all the gimmicks for what felt like an entire year. I was so sick of seeing those two more than I was of the Big Show wrestling John Cena.
2. Right towards the end as well, Michael Cole said this guy reminded him so much of Mr. Perfect. My thoughts were “get the fucking fuck out of here with that extreme load of bullshit, even the WWE sheep won’t buy into that absurd shit.” WRONG! The absurd Ziggler is the second coming of Curt Hennig comparisons are all over the place. Ziggler is probably better than I give him credit for, but he is nowhere near Curt Hennig’s level, and never will be. To be fair, I think Ziggler is a good wrestler, but not good enough or charismatic enough to be world champion in any of the three categories. It would be stupid of TNA to not pursue signing Ziggler and he’d probably be able to burst out of his shell and shine there without WWE writers holding him back.
THE FUTURE BIG STARS
The Wolves: Please read my previous column where these two were covered. I actually beg you to read it if you haven’t. A lot of my comments in there about Davey Richards are a current hot topic in the TNAsylum discussion area.
Bram: I hope that Bram gets his personal life all situated because they sky is the limit for this guy in my opinion. I think in a year or two with a clean nose that Bram can easily become the TNA world champion, especially being from the U.K. and TNA’s presence in the U.K. is it’s most impressive. However, I think Bram is another guy who really only works that well as a heel, and unfortunately, Bram’s character is one that doesn’t have a whole lot of depth behind it. But here is what I had in mind for Bram for last year and overlapping into 2016.
I think in 2016, Bram & EY should become tag team champions (someone other than The Wolves should hold the belts for a decent amount of time, it’s been two years without someone other than the Wolves holding the belts for a decent amount of time); the two can also branch off and have solo feuds while still being involved in each other’s corners. The guy who beats EY for the KOTM title could then begin to feud with and possibly lose the belt to Bram
Feuds: vs. Beer Money; vs The Wolves; as for solo feuds, I’d like to see Bram vs Galloway, and one of my personal dream matches in TNA right now is Bram vs Lashley. I’d love to see Bram vs Lashley at BFG this year after some decent build to the match for a month or two prior to it.
Side note: I love Vader, but c’mon TNA. Vader besting Bram could have really damaged him. Thankfully, his win over Matt Morgan, and Team TNA involvement against Team GFW washed a lot of that away. Bram needs to stop losing so many damn matches.
I’m still high on Galloway despite not being a fan of what he’s been so far in TNA. I don’t think he deserved that main event spot at BFG last year because he had only been in TNA for two years, and despite his obvious levels of talent, he needs enough time to wash off the stench of being a WWE jobber.
Drew Galloway needs a lot more than this “Stand Up…” gimmick. Not only does it not make much sense anymore, but it’s stale as shit. If Drew Galloway is used correctly he could and should be a future TNA world champion but it should be BFG or later at the absolute earliest. His match with Angle just escalated him a lot, but he needs some better feuds and more depth and build before taking the leap up. I think the KOTM title should be his next step in TNA.
Feuds: Ironically, I’ve covered all the feuds I’ve had in mind for him which I think is the best route and could be the correct building blocks to give him that rub and become a credible champion but they were: The BDC, Mr. Anderson & Matt Hardy…eventually Drake and Micah after BDC & Anderson/Hardy/Abyss alliance. Galloway would then feud with Bram and likely over the KOTM title.
Eli Drake: All the hype on TNAsylum proved to be true. Eli Drake is the man, the truth, and the future star that TNA needs. The guy has the gift of gab and it shows. They need to protect Drake and build him up slowly. But, people….seriously, this Eli Drake for world champion talk needs to stop! It’s probable in a year or eighteen months but he needs a lot more build, and to showcase his talents first.
I would have kept him with Micah to let the two of them establish some character with Drake being the mouthpiece after The Rising split. This would have provided both of them the chance to show character, it would have provided a god damned tag team, and I would have put the belts on them at some point and allowed them to feud with the The Wolves. The team would eventually split as Drake would have clearly needed to branch out as a singles star. Currently Drake should be elevated to the top from where he is now in the mid-card to the upper mid-card; again, this is what the KOTM should be used as.
Feuds: as a tag team with Micah: vs BDC, vs Galloway, vs The Wolves, and this team would have been tag team champions heading into BFG; Solo: vs Micah (briefly), in 2016 v Kurt Angle, and then see where we are at from there.
Mike Bennett: Please read my very first fantasy booking column, as they are all archived on the site. I wanted Bennett & Maria in TNA last year, and have already covered my original plans for them.
Next installment: Booking ideas from the past for the upper mid-card and mid-card wrestlers in TNA.