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The Katz Files
Rating the TNA Roster
The Kingfish Arnie Katz begins a new, month series that rates TNa wrestlers’ recent performances, analyzes strengths and weaknesses, and even charts future courses for major TNA stars.
A story racing through the Internet claims that Hulk Hogan is frustrated, because TNA wants him to push “TNA Originals” whom he allegedly feels are unworthy. Whether or not this story is true, it did get me thinking about the performers on the TNA roster.
The result of all that cogitation – some people in Vegas thought a forest was burning, because of all that wood smoke — is this series of columns based on the current TNA Roster.
Mic: C- The thin, whiney voice is often out of control.
Ring: B- He has skills, but hasn’t had to use them much in the last year or so.
Comment: Hogan and Bischoff’s decision to steer Abyss away from those blood-soaked freak show matches gets an approval here.
Comment: Trying to shoehorn him into a Flair-like heel role is doomed to failure. He doesn’t have the look and he doesn’t have that sort of personality. If ever there was someone cut out to be a babyface, it’s The Phenomenal One. Trying to do this angle raises questions about the new regime’s ability to make smart decisions about talent.
Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin
Comment: Lukewarm mic skill remains the biggest problem for The Motor City Machine Guns. They have main event ring performance, but they never seem to capture the crowd with their interviews, though lack of story support doesn’t help them.
Comment: He can’t talk and he’s is tiny. Amazing Red always gives a good, and varied, show in his matches, but it’s hard to generate enthusiasm for a program around a guy who doesn’t talk. TNA’s answer, making Don West his manager, made a bad situation worse. West didn’t seem to know what to do.
Comment: She’s back in a somewhat hazily defined tweener role. The crowd’s behind her when she harasses The Beautiful People, but loyalty is divided in her simultaneous program with tweener Tara. My guess is that she will revert to heel once she is re-established in TNA, but she could play either role.
Comment: She’s the biggest talent in female wrestling, both literally and figuratively, but TNA always has trouble finding her credible opponents. Raisha Saeed wasn’t a perfect solution to the interview problem, but she was certainly a lot better than having no one speak for Kong.
Kong, like Chyna before her, has the problem of being too physically imposing. The only TNA female wrestler who can beat Awesome Kong without it looking totally artificial and contrived is ODB. Beth Phoenix would fit so well into this situation.
Now that they have fired her as “Alissa Flash” perhaps they’ll bring her back as “Raisha Saeed/” Or maybe CurryGirl.
Comment: The weird experiment of turning him into the new Booker T, complete with Crystal as Sharmell, has apparently ended. That’s good news for everyone from Lashley on down.
The jury is still out on whether he can divide his focus between pro wrestling and MMA, but there is a lot of talent, mostly still untapped.
Brutus Magus/Doug Williams
Comment: Williams is a seasoned campaigner who can deliver in the ring, while Magnus is still pretty raw. The British Invasion gimmick may have run its course in its original form. It is very tempting to categorize these two as enhancement wrestlers, but a hot storyline might keep them in the mid-card,
Bubba the Love Sponge
Comment: He’s a friend of Hulk Hogan and he certainly knows how to handle a microphone. Thus far, Bubba hasn’t distinguished himself as an interviewer and non-wrestling character so far.. Continued opportunities may well help him improve his act in the wrestling context.
Comment: Christy has done well as Lauren’s replacement. She has always put out effort in whatever role WWE and TNA assigned her, but she is starting to look comfortable.
Comment: He has some flash and decent athleticism, but he might well be in the development group if he was with WWE. He needs some polishing – and more mic- and ring=time than he is likely to get in TNA.
Comment: His star looked a little dimmer after he lost a couple of high profile matches, but Pope has returned to the winning side of the ledger. He is probably not main event material, but he can be a terrific mid-carder if they help him refine his character and develop a more consistent point of view in his interviews.
I’ll be back on the weekend with another part of my TNA roster ratings. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz