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THE SPECIALISTS
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE - TNA Impact 2/4: JB's many hats, Rare A.J. Styles loss, Rob Terry's missing title, Numbers - Developmental success to WWE/TNA success

Feb 5, 2010 - 8:06:34 AM
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By Curtis Shanks, PWTorch Specialist

Welcome to TNA Impact "Under the Microscope." This is not a detailed recap, but a review for those of you that saw the show but didn't actually "watch" it. We're here to point out those little tidbits you may have missed, make some random observations, or use a little research to dig deeper into what was on the show. Cue the opening pyro.

Literally a babyface

With Brutus Magnus in the ring to kick off tonight's first match, Mike Tenay threw out the astonishing fact that Magnus is just 23 years of age. Having just turned 23 less than three months ago, Magnus clearly has a long future in the business ahead of him. Looking at the TNA roster, Scott Steiner, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash are all more than twice the age of Magnus.

If you weren't shocked by the young age of Magnus, perhaps you might be for one of WWE's "babyfaces." Drew Gallows (Festus), despite his dad-like receding hairline, just turned 26 a couple of months ago. That life of drugs and alcohol before C.M. Punk came along certainly took their toll.

Jack of all trades

AbyssArt_130NO_1_5.jpg
Eric Bischoff was toying with the TNA careers of Abyss and Jeremy Borash this week, which prompted Mick Foley to state, "do you know how many hats JB wears with this company?" Looking through the wrestling resume of JB, there is a whole collection of hats in the closet. JB started his wrestling career with WCW, and then moved on to World Wrestling All-Stars before joining TNA.

Through out those companies, JB's hats have included ring announcer, creative writer, booker, online host, play-by-play announcer, and backstage interviewer. You could even add filmmaker to the list, as JB had a large role in creating "Forever Hardcore," a documentary about ECW and the Hardcore Homecoming show. Bug-eyed reactions could also be included on the list, but I think that falls under the backstage interviewer umbrella.

Six more weeks of winter

"Whatever I touch, starts to melt in my clutch. I'm too much." This line was uttered by Mick Foley in his reassurance to Abyss that his job would be safe. But Foley didn't create the line, as it is a famous quote from the children's TV special "The Year Without a Santa Clause." The show was introduced in the '70s, with the character the Heat Miser, who could melt any object simply by touch.

TNA wasn't the first to bring the quote mainstream. The late musician Elliott Smith was in a '90s band called Heatmiser before finding later success in his solo career. I'm a long time punk/ska music fan, so the reference is familiar to me due to the number of cover versions out there that have been done in recent years.

If a tree falls in the forest...

Eric Young dropped his Global Title at a house show in Europe last week, as Rob Terry picked up his first TNA title. But you wouldn't know it from watching the show this week. When introducing himself to Eric Bischoff, Young referred to himself as the Global Champion. Impact also featured a highlight video of the European tour, but no mention of Rob Terry winning the belt in Cardiff, Wales.

It shouldn't be a secret. It's not some storyline that TNA is waiting to reveal on an episode of Impact. A quick check of the roster page and the official title histories on the TNA website shows that Rob Terry is indeed your current Global champion, winning the title on January 27 in Wales.

Knockout Women's Ladies's Diva Championship

Ever since the inception of the Knockouts division, the TNA females have been proclaiming that they are Knockouts...not divas. It's the Knockout division and the Knockout championship. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the title. A close-up shot of the title before Tara defended against Angelina Love showed us that the wording on the belt says "Women's Champion," not Knockout Champion. The other belts reserved for the ladies do state the distinction, as the wording on the tag team titles states "Knockout Tag Team Wrestling Champion."

Join the club

D'Angelo Dinero picked up a surprise victory over A.J. Styles this week, and the surprise run-in save from Samoa Joe as well. Joe and the Pope should form a small alliance, as they are two of the three men show have defeated Styles in the last half-year. Since August 13, only Joe, Pope, and Daniels have beaten A.J. on a TNA PPV or Impact. Joe forced A.J. to submit on November 12, Daniels pinned him with the BME one week later, and now the Pope this week with the surprise roll-up victory.

Future endeavors

For those that missed the story on the PWTorch main page, Scott D'Amore has parted ways with TNA to focus on his Border City Wresting promotion. The departure is little more than a ripple on the TNA roster, as D'Amore hadn't been an on-screen character since the days of Team Canada. However, it does continue the revolving door or backstage agents in TNA, as this was his second stint with the company in that capacity. WWE has had the same cast of agents for many months now, but TNA has seen a routine shake-up amongst names like D'Amore, D'Lo Brown, Kip James, B.G. James, Jim Cornette, Savio Vega, Simon Diamond, and Dutch Mantel.

While most of those names departed due to a decision by TNA, D'Amore left on his own terms to focus on his wrestling promotion's merger with BSE Pro. The two promotions, both based out of Ontario, Canada, may not be familiar to many wrestling fans here in the states. But if you are a TNA fan, you should have no problem becoming accustomed to many of the wrestlers they use. A check of the current roster and alumni listings on the two promotion's web sites lists 25 different wrestlers who are currently on the TNA roster. There are dozens of others (Johnny Devine, Petey Williams), who have had runs in TNA in the past as well.

Numbers crunch - Who's next?

It had long been rumored that the ECW brand in WWE would be undergoing a makeover, and Vince McMahon confirmed it this week with his announcement. NXT has been listed as the new brand name, making it obvious that Tuesday nights will be a stepping stone in between the two top brands and developmental. ECW has been viewed as developmental on TV for months now with any resemblance to the old ECW dying long ago, so the program may stay the same other than the title. NXT will be the place to see the stars of tomorrow, but how has the actual developmental system done at creating today's stars?

Almost every name on the current WWE roster has been through developmental, but not every star in developmental makes it to that next step. To sum up "developmental," we'll look at OVW, Deep South Wrestling, Memphis Wrestling, and FCW since 2000. During the times that those promotions were officially part of WWE developmental, 49 different wrestlers were crowned Heavyweight Champion. Of those individuals, 39 made it to the main roster in some form, but only five have gone on to win a Heavyweight title in the big leagues as well (Batista, John Cena, C.M. Punk, Jack Swagger, and Sheamus).

If we are looking at all titles in the minor leagues, not just the top singles prize, there were a total of 134 individuals who won a title in developmental since 2000. Only 88 of those wrestlers (65 percent) made it to the WWE main roster. Out of 134 developmental titleholders, only 44 (less than a third), later went on to win a title in WWE or TNA. The most common title a developmental talent wins at the next level a tag team championship, as 36 have found success in that area in WWE or TNA.

A small portion of those 134 champions are current or recent title holders, so their day may yet come as they are still young and full of promise. But less than a third is still not a great track record for creating future champions. For every Cena or Batista that picks up gold in developmental, there's two Tony Santarelli's or Seth Skyfire's.

TNA has had some success with past WWE developmental talents. Seven of those Heavyweight titleholders have gone on to appear in TNA, with 13 of the overall titleholders getting a TNA run. But if you're looking at developmental title wins equaling title success in TNA, it's only happened for six individuals. Ron Killings, ODB, Slash, Tomko, Sonny Siaki, and Matt Morgan are the only names you could put on the list of those with developmental titles and TNA titles since 2000.

Curtis Shanks is a self-described wrestling nerd who, contrary to popular belief, does have a social life. Feedback is welcome! Send comments to curtisshanks.torch@gmail.com.


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