The Heel Stable is one of the most successful and long-lasting concepts in professional wrestling. It’s a simple yet effective way to combine characters which, when properly executed, makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. In Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s four-year history, the quintessential heel stable has been Team Canada.
TODAY’S ISSUE: The End of Team Canada
Joined together to represent their native maple leaf during an international tournament several years ago, Team Canada remained a unit indefinitely, and established the team as a force to be reckoned with in TNA.
Team Canada had a perfect combination of characters:
Coach Scott D’Amore. The loud-mouth, annoying manager who knows how to create havoc at ringside and get inside the heads of Team Canada’s opponents. Coach D’Amore knows how to hurt a man physically as well, as displayed against Rhino at the Slammiversary ppv. The entire handicap match featuring Rhino against Bobby Roode and Coach D’Amore reminded me of Bobby Heenan and the Islanders versus Koko B. Ware and the British Bulldogs from WrestleMania IV. It was also reminiscent of Mr. Fuji’s performance as a tag team partner of the Powers of Pain against his former team, Demolition, at WrestleMania V. D’Amore perfectly played the role of “heel manager who shows fear until face opponent is down, then he strikes quickly and tags out again”.
A1, Alastair Ralphs. The former bodybuilder is an ideal hired gun. A1 is a huge, heavily muscled, mostly silent powerhouse who knows his role in the team, and is there to protect and defend his brothers-in-arms.
Bobby Roode. The “Canadian Enforcer” is a good fit in TNA’s heavyweight division. He has size, strength, and a chiseled physique, but he also uses speed and aggressiveness to damage his opponents. With his Northern Lariat finisher and his “Who’s the Greatest?” catchphrase, Roode stands out as a future player in the main event. His recent choice of flamboyant Flair-like ring robes certainly doesn’t hurt his character’s development one bit.
Petey Williams. The best pure wrestler on the team, and one of the best on the TNA roster, Team Canada’s Captain is a former X Division Champion. His six-month reign was aided immeasurably by his unbelievable flip-piledriver finisher, known as the Canadian Destroyer. It’s one of the most devastating maneuvers in all of pro wrestling today, bar none. Williams has the look, the personality, and the ability to stay in the X Division title hunt for years to come.
“Showtime” Eric Young. Young is the character of the group, with his paranoia and antics adding some liveliness to Team Canada’s fold. Also quite capable in the ring, Showtime is the tag team specialist of the group. Young and Roode brought NWA tag team championship gold to Team Canada on two occasions in 2004. Young can also shine brightly in singles competition, specifically in the X Division.
Tragedy struck for Team Canada a few weeks ago when TNA’s new authority figure Jim Cornette placed them in a position to be permanently disbanded. As with all important storyline events in our beloved business, their fate hung in the balance of a match.
Of course Team Canada lost the match, and were thus disbanded “forever”, although we all know what that word is worth in pro wrestling context. Torn asunder by a random pairing of opponents (Jay Lethal, Rhino and Team 3D), Team Canada is now no more. Brother Runt was instrumental in the decision, but he hadn’t been on TNA television in many weeks at that point, so his involvement was also quite random.
I would have preferred the end of Team Canada’s run to come at the pinnacle of a major feud and have some real meaning, instead of this odd match. But, my feelings aside, Team Canada is gone for now. Don’t despair, Canuck fans, the former teammates have all been prominently featured in the past several weeks of iMPACT! broadcasts.
Petey Williams won a four-way X Division match last week to become the unofficial number one contender to Senshi’s championship. I expect him to be a player in that title scene for a while. The “Don’t Fire Eric” campaign is truly catching on with fans, and Showtime even scored the pinfall in a six-man tag match last week, teaming with the James Gang against AMW and their hired gun, none other than former Team Canada muscle man A1. Showtime pinned A1 for the win, by the way. During the match, Young showed reluctance to lock horns with his former partner. Continuity! Booby Roode seems to be getting set for a singles push next. He’ll soon conduct interviews for a manager that can take him to the top, and the promo segments introducing this concept are making him seem like a valuable commodity. Team Canada’s everywhere!
At least the individual performers seem to be respected by the bookers, and while they won’t be together as a unit for the time being, they’re each being given a chance to shine on their own. I’m holding out hope that they’ll be allowed to reunite for the World X Cup, and somehow stay together again after that (perhaps as a stipulation if they win the Cup), but only time will tell.
Even if Team Canada’s days as a unit are truly over, they had a hell of a run in TNA, and their impact won’t soon be forgotten.
For more on TNA, check out Eric Szulczewski’s The Triple-Threat Short Form, Mark Neeley’s The NeelDown iMPACT Zone, and Jeremy Lambert’s TNA at Ringside.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a “hearing”?