In case you’ve been on Mars, in a dark cave, with your eyes shut, and your fingers in your ears, you know that we had a major debut here on Inside Pulse this week. FINALLY, months in the making, not only did we drop some sweaty useless disgusting flabby dead weight, but your favorite Inside Pulse personality and mine, FD Swayze, is now officially an Inside Pulse columnist. Not only that, his very first article did not disapoint, and got some great traffic and feedback. If you haven’t seen it, check out The Fist Pump: 5 Ideas To Improve WWE Programming.
Without me, there would be no FD Swayze and no Jack Newbury here to entertain you. I’m not saying that it’s ALL because of me… but it is, and you’re welcome. I guess you can give Swayze and Jack some credit for actually joining the site and writing the excellent pieces in question, but in my humble opinion, I get full credit for this. Again, you’re welcome.
It’s funny that the addition of our newest Pulser comes almost one full year after I myself joined the team here, after moving over from a fun little startup called ThePowerbomb. It’s been a pretty crazy year here. You may remember that I originally joined the site to be the TNA recapper. I actually lasted way longer at that than I originally thought I would after watching only a few episodes. But looking back, it feels like I was doing it for years.
Okay, so technically, NEXT week will be my one year anniversary, but I feel like doing my idea this week, plus TNA is not really all that important. So TNA is not invited to my anniversary. TNA is the neighbour that you don’t invite to your party and you have to keep the noise down so the neighbour doesn’t realize there’s a party going on and that you didn’t invite him so it doesn’t have to be all awkward when you’re both outside watering your plants the next day.
This roster is current according to the TNA website, and I do NOT vouch for the accuracy of my information here. What I remember has been pieced together from tramatic jigsaw puzzle pieces of a mind shattered from watching Impact Wrestling, and from what I understand is going down right now.
LET’S CROSS THE MOTHERFUCKING LINE!!!
AJ Styles: Perfect place to start. Last year, around the time I started, AJ broke away from being completely lost in the Immortal shuffle and spearheaded his Fortune group’s efforts to take Immortal down. Everyone assumed this would be the start of a major push for AJ Styles, but those people don’t have very reliable memories. AJ was pushed aside from the main spotlight almost immediately, lost a bunch of matches to Bully Ray, yelled at Jeff Hardy, and then engaged in one of the most poorly scripted matches ever conceived against Christopher Daniels. When his Fortune teammate turned over to the dark side, AJ went to bat for James Storm, becoming number one contender. He lost because Roode pulled his tights, and apparently has no rematch clause because TNA hates AJ. Back down the card for him. He wasn’t even on the last PPV.
Abyss: Abyss spent most of last year going between babyface and heel, as well as between Immortal and not-in-Immortal. Abyss is a talented big-man wrestler, who is never going to be a top-picture manistay, but he’s switched sides so much it hurts to think about. He is currently either in Immortal or not in Immortal. There’s no way to tell.
Alex Shelley: My personal favorite TNA dark horse. Shelley is awesome, and his tag-team is awesome. Assuming that tag-team still exists. I don’t know if it does or not anymore, because TNA hired a guy who sucks. This guy proceeded to botch a move that crippled Shelley’s partner for a while, so Shelley has been off the show except for a couple one-0ff appearances.
Anarquia: This is the guy who sucks that crippled Alex Shelley’s partner. He was hired when TNA remembered they released another extremely talented wrestler in Homicide, and decided they couldn’t let Hernandez wrestle on his own without other Mexican people by his side. Because TNA is racist. They probably found him pumping iron in San Quentin or something. He sucks.
Angelina Love: Last year she was the victim of a time-travelling ghost who drugged her and raped her. She decided it was cool though, but then eventually decided it wasn’t cool or something. I don’t know. She looks like an extra from The Walking Dead.
Anthony Neese: I got no fucking idea who this is. He looks like Chris Masters. Is it Chris Masters?
Austin Aries: Another talented wrestler, Aries returned to TNA last year and won the X-Division gauntlet. TNA gave him back his old “Austin Starr”-ish gimmick, because really, fuck doing new things. He’s just gonna stick with that. Aries can usually be counted on for a solid match, which is why TNA has him at the forefront of their luchadore division.
Bobby Roode: Bobby Roode was in a tag-team called Beer Money, and they were doing pretty good. TNA decided to put these guys in the main-event picture, which is a step in the right direction. Roode is not my favorite guy to watch, either in the ring or otherwise, but it’s a lot better than Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy. At least they’re out of the picture, right? RIGHT?!?!
Brian Kendrick: He’s worthless.
Brooke Tessmacher: She’s a girl in TNA. She might be the one that Bischoff was fucking. I don’t know.
Bully Ray: I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve enjoyed Ray’s reinvented character a lot. When the Dudley’s broke up in TNA, no one expected anything good, because it had been done before, and both guys’ careers flopped in singles. This is one of the rare exceptions where TNA did something better than WWE did. I never thought I’d say it, but Bully Ray in singles is great. I never thought I would say this either, but he is a guy who I wouldn’t mind seeing as a heel World Champion. It would be a step up from Roode, who is boring. He’s working that Bully gimmick hard, and has always been great on the mic when he’s allowed to go full bore. It’s a topsy-turvy world.
Chris Sabin: Crippled by Anarquia. Here’s something I bet you didn’t know – since they’ve been off because of Sabin’s injury, Motor City Machine Guns have started a Detroit grunge band called The High Crusade. Certainly not anything that anyone expects will do that well, but they’ve got some decent buzz on Facebook going. I’m probably making it sound more impressive than it is, but it’s gotta be better than working for TNA.
Christopher Daniels: Daniels returned to TNA in 2011, which is good, even if he’s misused. A paycheck is a paycheck, and he probably makes more than he did in ROH. It’s tough watching guys like he and AJ be misused, though, which is why I don’t. Anyway, after being dismissed for no reason. He returned to aid Fortune, but was immediately beaten and humiliated multiple times. Then he turned heel and attempted to murder AJ Styles on PPV in the above-mentioned abortion that was their submission match. He also was left off the last PPV.
Christy Hemme: I’m pretty sure she’s just the announcer. The Fuj used to say her name and then say “BOIIIING”, for no reason. That was pretty funny.
Crimson: He really sucks. TNA brought him in last year, and all those lame TNA fans were going “NEXT GOLDBERG” even though live audiences couldn’t even be bothered to get excited about him. TNA took almost a year to realize this, though. They teamed him with some more TNA dead weight that those same lame TNA fans get excited about, Matt Morgan, which, I suppose, cuts the time you would have seen them before in half. Crimson’s 2011 was spent beating up Samoa Joe repeatedly.
The Pope: This guy still works here? Pope is cool I suppose, but I can’t think of a single thing he ever did in 2011 besides try to steal D-Von’s family for some reason, you know, because they’re both black, on TNA’s b-show, which I didn’t even realize existed before that. Eventually, TNA ran out of stuff to do on the main show and tried to feature this. I’m pretty sure Pope lost to young up-and-comer D-Von.
Devon: Nice timing. D-Von is a solid professional, no hope or delusions of promotions. I’ve always thought he was a good big-man worker, agile for his size. Pope tried to steal his family. I don’t know if anyone ever bothered to ask why. It seems like Devon would have kept his kids away from the Impact Zone after Bully Ray almost murdered them a couple times.
Don West: Still? He used to be the announcer. He was then replaced by Drunken Taz. I think he works the merchandise booths at TNA events now. Surprsied he made it onto the roster page.
Doug Williams: A good wrestler who TNA has no idea what to do with. He loses a lot, I think.
Eric Bischoff: Eric Bischoff spent a large part of last year playing The Emperor from Star Wars. He turned Darth Hogan to the dark side of TNA, but then Steve “Stingwalker” Carey brought him back. Then Bischoff brought his kid, who may or may not be his actual kid (I’m not looking it up) to TNA. I think I read that Bischoff is pretty much running things behind the scnenes entirely now at TNA. In the years that he and Hogan have been running it, they have still yet to do anything for the company in terms of ratings or any measureable success.
Eric Young: He’s still playing the retard gimmick that he’s had for over a year. For a while, Orlando Jordan was taking advantage of this by raping him. Rape is unprosecuteable in TNA. But then they fired Orlando Jordan – not for the rape, for being made of glass and a really shitty wrestler. Eric was trying to fight celebrities for a while, which was supposed to be funny, but was emberassing. Although, this involved Scott Baio, because all the kids today know who Scott Baio was. Major coup for TNA there. Good work, Easy E.
Gail Kim: Gail Kim had one of the best wrestling moments all year, but not in TNA. She was in a WWE Diva Battle Royal, when she just decided to leave the ring and see if anyone would notice. No one did. She then talked on Twitter about what she’d done, and even after that, WWE took a couple days to notice. She was fired. She’s in TNA now, because she is still pretending that women wrestlers are treated better in TNA. I think she’s fighting with Mickie or something.
Garrett Bischoff: Eric Bischoff’s kid. I don’t know what the story is here, and I’m not going to string a bunch of bullshit together to make you think that I do. I think his dad was mad at him or something, and somehow Flair got involved. I haven’t seen him, so I don’t know if he sucks or not. But he probably does.
Gunner: Speaking of sucks – this guy is basically the heel version of Crimson. He’s terrible. TNA fans were excited about him too, despite getting no reaction from live crowds and not knowing any moves besides an F5. Gunner has Ric Flair with him now, I guess. It won’t make a difference. I think even the TNA fans have given up on this guy.
Hector Gurererro: He does the spanish announcing.
Hernandez: I’m pretty sure I read that Hernandez doesn’t work for TNA anymore. Again, I know I’m probably the minority here, but I was a Hernandez fan. But, TNA is racist, so I don’t blame him if he doesn’t work there anymore. They left him in Mexico once, then forgot about him. They brought him back, but they fired his partner, Homicide, who is awesome. So they put him with a Spanish loser and two Spanish girls, and they had a stable of racist Mexicans. Because that hasn’t been done before. One of the best TNA matches I ever saw was Hernandez and Homicide against Elix Skipper and Low-Ki – and Hernandez was actually the MVP of that match, which is saying something when you’re in there with wrestlers as good as the other three. He was also really good with Homicide against Daniels and AJ. Yet another guy to add to the list that TNA missed the boat on. But hey, Matt Morgan versus Crimson is good too.
Hulk Hogan: TNA is still paying him, but I guess he’s on the show less now. That’s a good thing, although I’m not sure what they pay him for now. He does publicity for TNA sometimes, which is a good use of his time and talents, because he can’t do much else. Although, during his BFG match against Sting, he actually went off his feet 3 or 4 times. I think everyone was surprised by that. Jokes aside, the crowd went batshit for that match, and even I can say that I was surprised by how good they did with it, given the limitations they were working with.
Jackie Moore: Holy shit. Is this Jaqueline? She works for TNA again? I guess why bother paying someone like Jay Lethan when you can pay just as much for someone who’s most memorable wrestling moment happened when her tit popped out.
James Storm: James Storm was the other half of Beer Money, with Robert Roode. Once again in the minority, I always preferred Storm to Roode. Capable of a good match without having to be in the best of shape, Storm has an appeal to regular people that chiseled wrestlers don’t. I find his ringwork believable. Storm won the World Title this year from Kurt Angle after Roode failed too, then was turned on by Roode. I would have personally kept both of them in a tag-team, but it’s still a step up from Matt Morgan and Jeff Jarrett.
Jeff Hardy: Jeff Hardy was the main heel back when I started recapping TNA, but since then he showed up to a PPV to wrestle Sting while drunk and stoned off his fucking gourd. The match lasted 20 seconds, and Hardy was kicked out of TNA for a while. Then, about 6 months later, he returned and was immediately shotgunned to the top of the card as part of a redemption storyline. TNA has done this redemption shit with Hardy before, and WWE has done it a few times as well. No one seems to have a sense of pattern recognition with this guy. Including fans – when he returned, the very same fans he lets down over and over again just continue to cheer him. It’s all part of a vicious cycle. Jeff also brought Matt to TNA in 2011, and we all know how well that worked out.
Jeremy Borash: He’s a tool.
Jesse Neal: He sucks.
Jesse Sorensen: I don’t know who this is. He might be the jerkoff who showed up for an X-Division match, so they tossed him a football and said “make it work”.
Kazarian: I’ve always been a Kazarian fan, but TNA hates him too. I don’t think he’s on the show right now, but I could be wrong about that.
Kid Kash: I’ve never been a fan of Kid Kash, and always thought he was over-rated, at least until he returned this year. I remember him slapping the shit out of Brian Kendrick or somebody once, that was pretty awesome. Now he basically plays that guy at the bar who asks you what the fuck you’re looking at, takes a swing at you, calls you a fag, and yells at the band to play Journey again.
Kurt Angle: No one really cares about Kurt Angle anymore. And that’s not because he isn’t trying. He drove into a barricade and got a couple DUI’s last year, then went on Twitter and talked some bullshit about that. He also complained about WWE wrestlers using the same moves that he uses, even though he didn’t invent the moves in question. He got upset about Jeff Jarrett stealing his wife, and retaliated by agreeing to lose multiple matches to Jeff. He won a couple in the end, including one in a parking lot that meant that Jeff Jarrett would be deported for a few weeks. He also claimed to be training for the olympics again. As all the adults in the audience are smart enough to know that this isn’t going to happen.
Madison Rayne: I think this is the girl with the bad Goo Goo Dolls cover song who had that Tara girl run over Mickie James with a motorcycle.
Magnus: The British guy who isn’t Doug Williams, and isn’t near as talented as Doug Williams. But he’s more talented than Rob Terry.
Mark Haskins: I got nothing here.
Matt Morgan: This guy’s an asshole. It’s amazing that even TNA still hangs on to him. It would be amazing that they ever hired him in the first place, if they didn’t hire ANYONE who once worked for WWE. But the thing is, Morgan didn’t do ANYTHING in WWE. Not a single thing. They couldn’t wait to get rid of him. TNA, they’ve had him since 2006 or 2007 now. That’s almost 5 years. He’s yet to have a single good match, promo, feud, or… well, anything. They’ve given him several main-event pushes which have led to nothing. Before 2011, Matt had given Hernandez a concussion. In 2011, he became concerned about Jeff Hardy concussing Ken Anderson with a chair, then someone decided that his gimmick would be educating fans and wrestlers about the dangers of concussions. He can’t talk. He can’t wrestle. His finish is some retard big boot thing that Shaemus does that looks awful, and he does these retard standing corner elbows that anyone anywhere could just duck. He never gets a reaction. Matt’s 2011 consisted of beating up Samoa Joe repeatedly.
Mickie James: Her entrance song is “I Love Rock And Roll” set to country music. She’s okay, for a former-WWE girl wrestler, depending who she’s working with. The thing is, this is TNA, so there’s not a lot of talented girls for her to work with aside from Tara and Gail Kim.
Mike Tenay: In 2011, Mike Tenay continued being a company man to the marrow of his bone. For reasons not well explained, in early 2011, TNA decided to put Amazing Red under a mask and call him Sangriento (or something.) Mike Tenay told the audience about Sangriento’s ficticious past, even though everyone knew it was Amazing Red. Lies keep Mike Tenay warm in that broadcast booth while he tries to keep Taz from passing out after too many vodka-and-5-Hour-Energy-Shots.
Ken Anderson: Ken Anderson had a great year. Not so much as a wrestler, but as an example used by me regarding how people like to get behind absolutely ANYONE that WWE pushes, and how this was the case with Andesron when he started. However, he sucks, as is often the case with these guys. He’s Shaemus. He’s Vladamir Kozlov. He’s The Miz. So, he got fired after he pissed off Randy Orton. Last year, Ken Anderson continued to pretend that he was still relevant by yelling a lot. That’s pretty much all I remember. This guy is emberassing to watch. As for what he’s doing right now, I guess he’s been off the show for a month or so? That’s pretty good news. Maybe he got fired.
ODB: She’s irritating and unfunny. She’s like a female Eric Young who probably smells like a cat, but I bet there’s no cat.
Ric Flair: Ric Flair continued to be a pathetic husk of the man he was last year, and I believe there was a warrent out for his arrest at one point. On the plus side, I don’t remember him wrestling very much. Hopefully this continues, and he can continue to try in vain to get young talent over. No, not by wrestling, by managing. And no, not Gunner. I said young TALENT.
Rob Terry: Here’s another guy who I can’t figure out why he’s still around. Swayze told me the reason was because TNA is afraid he’s sue them for some chairshot thing? I don’t know. That’s pretty funny if it’s the case. I don’t know what Rob Terry did in 2011, but I do know that he’s Robbie E’s bouncer now, and being called Robbie T. When Robbie E wants to talk to someone, he has Robbie T “let them in, bro”. Whatever you have to say about these two, that’s pretty awesome.
Rob Van Dam: He’s been phoning it in since he got to TNA. Anyone who says he isn’t is kidding themselves. Interestingly, Rob Van Dam phoning it in pretty much means he’s still on par with the rest of the roster, which is just sad. And I like Rob Van Dam. And really, what’s his motivation? TNA doesn’t care, so why should he? He doesn’t want to work a full schedule, and TNA is where older or ex-WWE wrestlers go to half-ass it without any risk whatsoever of getting fired – look at Jeff Hardy. Van Dam spent the year battling Immortal, I believe. He had a World Title quest and a long feud with Ken Andesron.
Robbie E: A very poor attmept to capitalize on this Jersey Shore thing. TNA had actual people from Jersey Shore come to TNA to kick his ass. That was the extent of his usefulness. However, those attempts generated no value for TNA. So it turns out Robbie is worthless. It’s not for lack of effort, though, this dude puts in some work. So it’s unfortunate that he happens to be terrible.
Rosita: I believe she debuted in TNA last year, to join Hernandez in the Mexicools. I don’t remember who it was, but someone told me in the comments that she was an amazing wrestler. She sucks. Not that it matters, because it’s the Knockout division.
Samoa Joe: 2011 was the start of several huge pushes for Samoa Joe in TNA. That’s what everyone said. They also said that in 2010. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. Joe continues to be the whipping boy for TNA, but approaches it with a positive attitude, which you have to admire. At one point, Stone Cold Steve Austin took to his Twitter to say that WWE should sign him and give him a huge push. That was pretty cool. But knowing how good he actually is, is just one of the reasons I find watching TNA difficult. I read that he’s teaming with Magnus now – I guess they lost a tournament to Matt Morgan and Crimson. I dobut it was a good match, but you never know – Joe spent most of 2011 losing to Matt Morgan and Crimson, he’s gotta be getting better at it by now.
Sarita: Another member of the Mexicools. She does some lame dance thing that looks almost as bad as Jeff Hardy’s. She suffered from facial paralysis in 2011, yet for some inexplicable reason, continued working? TNA put her under a mask. Amazing.
Scott Steiner: Despite being old, crippled, and never making that much sense to begin with, Scott Steiner continued to steal the best crowd reactions and deliver the best promos all throughout 2011. HE’S WRESTLED A LOT OF COUNTRIES!
Shannon Moore: Jeff Hardy’s Brutus Beefcake. (Credit for that line goes to Wheeler.) Yeah, this kid likes the flippy moves, but he sucks. He’s employed because of Jeff Hardy. I figured that maybe since TNA won’t actually fire Hardy for treating TNA like his own personal opium den, that maybe they’d at least fire this dude. They wouldn’t even do that. At least they didn’t hire Greggory Helms.
So-Cal Val: I’m pretty sure I thought this was Christy Hemme.
Sting: Sting continues to work hard despite being old and broken down. Pretty impressive, but the effort is going into a company that does not deserve it. TNA had Sting go insane last year, and smearape (TM) his facepaint all over people. Insane Sting was pretty emberassing to watch. Swayze said it, but it was like a bad cross between The Joker and Jim Carey. He beat Hogan at BFG and I guess that made Hogan see that he was being an asshole. I had heard that Sting was to be done wrestling after that, but I flipped to Impact and saw him teaming with Jeff Hardy not too long ago.
Tara: Tara continues to elude the cops after trying to kill Mickie James with her motorcycle. She isn’t totally convinced that “because a girl who I don’t like told me to” is going to be a workable alibi.
Taz: He’s drunk. It’s like all the time now. It’s awesome.
Toxxin: I have no idea who this is. I couldn’t even tell if it was a man or a woman or not until I clicked on it. I’m guessing this is TNA’s attempt at some kind of goth girl, even though they already had Daffney, who people actually liked.
Traci Brooks: She’s back? Wow. I looked it up, and I guess she’s the victim of sexual harassment by Eric Bischoff. She, like the countless other rape and attempted murder victims in TNA, can’t do anything about it because the Impact Zone is located in international waters.
Velvet Sky: Velvet Sky was everyone’s “she’s improved so much this year!” figure for the TNA Knockouts in 2011. She’s still very terrible, but she has big tits and the crowd cheered for her a bit, so there you go. Her best friend Angelina was taken by a time-travelling-date-rapist, and Velvet did everything she could to try to get her back. Well, on Thursdays she did. The rest of the week, she had other shit to do and a job at Sunglass Hut to think about. That was her 2011, until she decided “fuck it”, and just left Angelina to figure it out herself.
Willie Urbina: I’m going to go with “he’s in accounting”.
Winter: The most dangerous person in TNA. Do not approach her. You may not even see her, except in a mirror. Sometimes not even then. There’s no way to tell. Her history, origins and motives remain unknown. What we do know is that she’s from the past and likes to drug and rape people. So stay away from her – unless you’re into that sort of thing.
Zema Ion: Exema-whasa? Probably one of the dudes they brought back for the luchadore division. He might be good. Anything’s possible. I’m not looking it up.
Wow, that took way longer than I thought it would. Jeff and Karen Angle aren’t on the list. I looked up why, and the explanation is sketchy at best – Sting fired them. So, they’re not gone. They can’t get rid of Jeff Jarrett or his ugly, slutty, annoying wife. Being fired is a minor inconvenience in TNA. Hell, earlier this year, Jarrett was supposed to be deported to Mexico, and off TNA for a while, and he was back within like 6 weeks.
Actually, many people said that the Jeff Jarrett / Kurt Angle feud was the highlight of TNA in 2011. I found this storyline emberassing and annoying. It went from super-serious, to shoot-like, to comedy, to who-fucking-knows. One week it would involve screaming and shoot comments, and the next week it was about who was getting pushed into a giant cake. One week Karen has a bucket of horse shit on her head, and the next week Kurt is trying to murder them with an axe. One week Chyna shows up to help Kurt, and the next week she quits to go back to porn. They had like 10 matches, and there MAY have been one where you could generously describe as half-decent. Because Jeff Jarrett isn’t a very good wrestler.
It seems impossible that given everyone I just described, that it seems like TNA is actually in a BETTER position in 2012 than they were in 2011. But from all signs, they are. Flair, Hogan and Sting apparently don’t wrestle anymore. Bischoff seems to be off the air. Jeff Jarrett and Karen are off the air. A younger guy, despite what you think of him, is on top of the show.
Still lots of problems though. This Jeff Hardy thing seems to be chief among them. They need to get rid of this dude. He’s a major liability. Sadly enough, I’d say get rid of Angle too, before his problems get out of control. Kurt WAS smart enough to say that it’s emberassing how TNA has fumbled over and over again with guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels. 3 of my favorite wrestlers ever, but sadly, it may be too late for them in TNA after all these years of criminal mismanagement. Hopefully I’m wrong, or hopefully they find success somewhere else.
It’s nice that Anderson, Morgan, Crimson and Gunner are down the card, after people realized what has been plainly obvious for a long time now, but they need to take the next step and just get rid of them entirely. This isn’t an economy where I want anyone to lose their jobs, but it’s pretty simple. You can’t deliver any meaningful gain for this company despite being given several chances to do so – then you, motherfucker, are gone. Do it like a band-aid. Tear it all off at once.
And yeah, this Bobby Roode thing. I guess I like Roode, and he had a good story to lead him to the World Title… but he’s not a guy I’m going to tune in to watch specifically, especially not in the main-event. And ESPECIALLY not when his main foil is Jeffery Nero Hardy.
But progress is progress. If history has shown anything, it’s that evolution is basically impossible for TNA. So much like a special needs child graduating kindergarden, you kind of need to pat them on the head, pretend it’s an accomplishment, and keep the fact that EVERYONE passes kindergarden to yourself. Then you wonder how the fuck you’re going to get them through the first grade. And they still had a better year than Ring Of Honor.
I’ll be in my trailer.