I am not going to place blame for this since I don't know what TNA can afford or if Roode and EY's expectations were realistic compared to other top roster members. All I can do is view this as a fan of the product.
In reality, this stings a lot for TNA and for me as a long time fan. The Beer Money act that just reunited in January is officially dead. A dream feud between Beer Money and The Wolves is also out the window which is a shame because we may never get a full match between the two. The tag team division is immediately impacted as two teams are done with in Beer Money and EY/Bram.
Another issue is that even more star power (or what is left of it) has left TNA. Between EY, Roode, Anderson, Angle and Kong, that is a lot of upper card talent that has left the company. TNA hasn't done a great job in years scouting top level names.
Where does that leave the roster. I have broken down the roster into divisions below. Excluding names like Gregory Shane Helms, Angelina Love and Reby Sky, there are about 35 known people on the roster:
Tag Team Division
TNA has a lot of work to do. They don't need a roster as big as they had years ago but I do believe they need to keep scouting. As of now, they are in need of heavyweights, X stars and tag team wrestlers.
TNAsylum Reader Dr. Lobo described it best as TNA shuffling their deck of cards. While there are different combinations, its still the same cards. That's great if you like the players but if you want something different, its a long-term problem. TNA shuffled their deck on March 14th when they switched World Champions and started new feuds between EC3/Mike Bennett and more.
Even though it freshened things up quite a bit, TNA's booking strategy is very fast-paced. They burned through a lot of top matches over these episodes. Hardy vs Hardy, EC3 vs Bennett, Galloway vs Jeff/Matt/Tyrus and so much more. I don't have a problem with making each show PPV worthy and making IMPACT must-see television BUT your talent relations has to be on top of this as well or else everything gets incredibly stale.
IMPACT Wrestling has a new breed of talent in Galloway, EC3, Wolves, Bennett and more. You could tell since John Gaburick arrived in 2013 that this was the case. Some wrestlers got preferential treatment over others. These are the guys that the company is building around.
I personally think the best approach is to detach itself from a brand that was built by different people. When people think of TNA they think of the TNA Pioneers and with a brand that was tainted by bad business decision after bad business decision. IMPACT Wrestling is a brand that is newer and hasn't been dragged through the mud as much. The company has done a lot to move towards this new brand but won't fully commit. Its just a few more steps so I am hoping they eventually leave the past in the past.
* These tapings were really good about building up the new round of talents. The Knockouts Division for example built up Jade as the new Knockouts Champion. They split up the Dollhouse using the Knockouts Title as a catalyst. Splitting up the group and the Beautiful People is "shuffling" the deck. In the meantime they are continuing the feud between Maria and Gail Kim.
I like that they made Maria the leader of the division however I hope we don't get overdone abusive authority segments. She gave Rosemary her first Knockouts Division match and will likely be the one to introduce Cherry Bomb to the division so she can't be all bad right?
One interesting tidbit is that the Knockouts Knockdown PPV airs around the same time that Maria is made the head of the Knockouts Division. Based off of the results, I could see the ONO PPV having storyline ties to what happens on IMPACT. Maybe new Knockouts earn jobs with TNA as a result of their matches on the PPV.
* The tag team division lost two teams in Beer Money and Bram/EY but gained a new team and new tag team champions. Bromans reunited during these tapings. I found that strange since Jessie was teaming with Eli Drake and had issues with Robbie E. It looks like they are sticking together though and will be a face duo. They will probably be first in line for the new tag team champions.
Decay defeated Beer Money in a "Valley of Shadows" Match on Saturday's taping. I am pretty happy about this since Decay has become a very hot act. They are one of the highlights of the entire brand and credit should be given to Billy Corgan for this.
* Gregory Shane Helms continues to lead his protege Trevor Lee as X Division Champion. Lee feuded with DJ Z and Eddie Edwards during these tapings. I like that DJ Z is actually being used and that Edwards is being used with his partner being on the sidelines. Trevor Lee got some backup in Andrew Everett who shares a history with Lee and Helms.
We got a few X Division Matches during this marathon. Its nice to see knowing that they division is on the bottom of TNA's priority list. Mandrews and Tigre Uno both sat at home during these tapings putting into question their status in the company.
* It was interesting to see Al Snow feuding with Grado and Shera on these shows. My guess is this was a way to save a little money since Snow is already there as an agent. I believe this is a short term role for him even if he likes getting in the mix.
* Speaking of which, The Pope returned to action in a losing effort to Lashley. With some top level heavyweights leaving the company, having The Pope return to action full time is definitely something TNA should consider. He got great reactions on the live show. He is a charismatic guy who could add a lot to the product. Just put Josh Mathews and Jeremy Borash on commentary as his replacement.
* TNA's bread and butter has become their heavyweight division. Drew Galloway won the World Title and seemingly got in the mix with a few of his challengers. First he ran through Jeff Hardy and then former champion, Matt Hardy. He retained against the underutilized Tyrus and seemingly will face the "tank that moves like a race-car" Lashley in the near future.
Bram stepped out of Eric Young's shadow. Young didn't take too kindly to this and gave Bram a beard trim. It was Bram who got the last laugh as he beat EY in a Falls Count Anywhere Match to become the King of the Mountain Champion. I am not as bothered by Eric Young's departure as Bram fills his spot. Young has been over the top recently to a point where he has been annoying.
One of the highlights that I am looking forward to is that Eli Drake got his own talk show called "The Facts of Life." TNA really is digging the talk show concept as they tried it with Anderson and now Drake. This is a perfect role for Drake as he is an excellent talker. With this being his forte and with him having the KOTM case, things are looking up for him.
I mentioned James Storm earlier. With Roode departing, this is a huge opportunity to move Storm into the Heavyweight Division and make him a legitimate challenger for the World Title. This is a TNA Pioneer that they really need to get behind as he is money on the mic and in the ring. Very few times you get a second chance like this.
Mike Bennett moved on from Drew Galloway to EC3. The Miracle was responsible for EC3 taking his first pinfall loss. I like that the somewhat unbeatable Ethan Carter has his kryptonite in Bennett. These two are guys the company should be building around.
Their battle came to a head at Sacrifice, which will air in mid-April. I am liking the idea of having a "supershow" every two months whether it be on PPV or a TV special. They can't overdo it like last year but if they have 6 "Bell to Bell" specials a year (February, April, June, August, October and December) then they can stand out more.
The Hardy rivalry came to a head in an I Quit Match. I am super excited for this match. With the Hardy name being on the line, I found the stipulation strange. I suggest people check out that match as it has an OMG spot that has to be seen.
* There were a number of matches taped that used a TNA graphic instead of ONO, Xplosion or IMPACT. My honest opinion is that some are dark matches while others are going to be used for Xplosion. It probably made it easier to pick which ones to use if they all had a generic logo. TNA can use some of them for webmatches if they wanted.