Caught in the Ropes- The TNA and AAA Talent-Swap

Welcome back to Caught in the Ropes! As I promised, I’ll be stopping the WWE chatter, at least for this week, and going in a slightly different direction. Hell, I still write 10 Thoughts on Raw each week, so I have plenty of time to prattle on about the ‘E. But what will this week’s direction be? Asistencia Asesoria y Adminastracion, or AAA, by way of TNA. I’ve heard a couple of fans ask over the last month or so, since Jeff Jarrett won the Megacampeonato at Triplemania XIX, if U.S. fans can expect to see AAA talent make some appearances on Impact Wrestling. Allow me to answer that question in insufferably long-winded fashion.

I was, frankly, surprised when I found out that AAA and TNA had formed a talent-sharing agreement that brought TNA stars like Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, Mickie James, The Beautiful People (yes, Velvet and Angelina teamed up again in Mexico), and Mr. Anderson to AAA. I was surprised mainly because Konnan, a man with tremendous influence inside AAA, left TNA in 2007 in a flurry of lawsuits accusing TNA of racist business policies. In the end, I guess dollars and cents outweighed any moral issues he might have had with the company. But despite the high-profile utilization of Jeff Jarrett and Mickie James, I wouldn’t expect to see any AAA stars dropping by the Impact Zone anytime soon.

Now, there might be a fan-base in the US for the Mexican cruiserweights who were in WCW during the mid- to late-’90s; I don’t know. However, those former WCW guys who are still with AAA, such as Psicosis, Konnan, La Parka, Silver King, and Damian 666, are old. I know, I know, TNA hasn’t had a problem in the past with hiring guys that are past their prime, but I don’t see TNA bringing in talent with a limited draw who are also over the hill. Come on, La Parka himself is about 46 years-old. While these guys can still work despite their age, they’re probably not going to be burning up the ring in Orlando, if you catch my drift.

Let’s also not forget that taking a guy from a lucha libre background and tossing him in the ring with an American or Canadian that utilizes a different style can be troublesome.  Some might call it…a “Styles Clash”.  Thank you, thank you.  Is this mic on?  Any way, watching Jeff Jarrett work with La Parka, El Zorro, and Dr. Wagner Jr. in a recent tag-team battle, it became clear that Jeff was really relying on the other guys to carry him through that match.  I don’t know if it was the language barrier, or if he simply wasn’t comfortable with the style, but it didn’t mesh well.  Another example of this problem in action has been the work of Sin Cara (Mistico) in the WWE.  Sure, some of his troubles might be due to an adjustment to a new company, but there are also few guys in that company that can wrestle his style.   There’s also the fact that Mexican fans are much more forgiving of botches and missed spots due to the high-flying nature of lucha libre; how can you ask a guy to still work the luchador style but tell him he can’t botch…ever?

AAA has a lot of talent aside from 40 year-old men, of course. TNA could bring in guys like Jack Evans on a temporary basis, or any of the non-English speaking cruiserweights, like Joe Lider or Extreme Tiger. But why would they? We’re only a few weeks into the new X-Division push, and the roster is full as it is. There’s the whole Austin Aries/Alex Shelley/Brian Kendrick feud that is the focus of the division right now, and would TNA want to slow that feud down, or whatever feud pops up after Hardcore Justice, to throw in a few guys from AAA into the mix? TNA did bring in Jushin Liger a few years back to square off against Samoa Joe, so there is a precedent there, but I could only see La Parka (or LA Park as he’s known now) as the kind of international legend they could bring in for a “dream match”.

That issue leads to the bigger issue here: TNA doesn’t need AAA guys right now. Let’s face it, TNA’s issues have never been a lack of talent; they have a ton of good wrestlers on their roster. The problem they have is that they need young bankable face talent to replace the aging stars they do have, and they also need to clean up and simplify their storylines. The feuds and stories in TNA over the last few years have been an impenetrable maze of muddled logic, ridiculous gimmicks, and dead-end plots. Having a few luchadores on-hand for a couple of months doesn’t change the fact that their creative staff needs to be canned, or that their booking strategies need to be changed. A temporary influx of talent is something that would benefit the WWE more than TNA, really.

After Generation Me was released, they did a few interviews where they took questions about their time with TNA, and one of their biggest gripes was that they just weren’t used enough. Here’s a great tag-team, and they rarely got the chance to go on the road and do house shows or other events, which also meant that they earned less money as a result. They rarely went on the road because the roster was so bloated; there are guys on the roster who might go weeks or months without showing up on Impact. There’s no need to fill-out the roster any more, especially with the promotion bringing in more X-Division talent as we speak.

TNA helped out AAA; it was the right angle to get that company out of the creative rut they have been in with the La Sociedad/La Legion Extranjera rudo stable that had literally swallowed the company whole for damn near five years. It gave AAA a clean break—at least for now, who knows what they’ll do after Double J and company leave—and provided some great promotion for TNA in Mexico. But TNA doesn’t have to look too far back to see what they can stand to gain from bringing luchadores in, even on a temporary schedule. Konnan formed the Authentic Luchadores stable back in 2003 with Super Crazy and Juventud Guerrera. If that venture was successful, I’m sure they would have brought more guys in. But, seeing how TNA didn’t pull in too many other workers from Mexico after that, I’m willing to guess it wasn’t worth the investment.

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