Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.
It's very difficult not to get wrapped up in the excitement of TNA's initiative of introducing new characters. Impressive is a word that can be used to describe the effort behind the development of EC3 and now, Samuel Shaw. TNA's creative department, receives constant criticism for the things that are "wrong", yet never is complimented for those occurrences that were successful. It seems they have to be perfect, and perfect all of the time.
Nonetheless, their choices in talent for these new characters have been just as impressive. Both Michael Hutter and Sam Shaw are very good athletes, and it seems they just needed the right gimmick, along with the right timing, and of course, the right company to get behind them, for all of it to come together. You know, once again, perfection.
We all discuss and comment - right here...on TNAsylum! (Yes, that was a cheap pop) - about many wrestlers on the indie scene or free agent market through the prism of what they do well, and what they do not. We grade them, whether we do it knowingly or subconsciously. And we grade them based on how far away from perfection they are.
It is unfortunate we view downward starting from perfection in pro wrestling, but that's the culture. And to be honest, that is the demand. However, staying in line with my declaration to other pro wrestling fans on deciding what they wanted out of pro wrestling, I'm also very curious, what would the perfect TNA wrestler be like? And we're not talking Curt Hennig, who is one of my top five wrestlers of all-time. Such a shame that man never held a World Title, but I digress...
We're saying, what qualities and attributes would the perfect pro wrestler embody if it were possible?
Portraying a Dr. Frankenstein-like mind in regards to pro wrestling, using only qualities from wrestlers who are, or have been in TNA, I'll build my perfect TNA wrestler. With that said, let the mad scientist-ness, well whatever mad scientists do, begin.
Drive - Kurt Angle
In my opinion, this is the quality that separates the good from the great. This is true in any field or occupation, especially wrestling. It's hard to find a peer that shares the innate force that is Kurt Angle's drive. Kurt's drive is incomparable, sometimes to a dangerous fault, but it is always easier to dial back, rather than deal with a major talent that has this void.
Passion - Jeff Jarrett
It is hard to find someone in TNA who has more passion than the man who co-founded the company and has been around pro wrestling his entire life. His passion for the business, whether it be new projects (TNA or Rink Ka King), international partnerships, or attempting to reinvent the business (King of the Mountain, Six Sides in U.S.) is quite deep. I had the fortune of meeting him once and you get the idea that Jarrett is all in when it comes to pro wrestling.
Loyalty - AJ Styles
At this point, AJ Styles may be an official Webster dictionary synonym term for loyalty. Especially, when you think about the (very) faithful risks he took in his own career to help continue and grow the TNA brand. In a business that is often cut throat, it'll be nice to have more wrestlers (and companies) take pride in being loyal to one another.
Marketability - Jeff Hardy
I really can't come up with another wrestler in TNA who is as marketable as Jeff Hardy. People love the guy. Those armband thingies (what are those even called?!); T-shirts; and even the unorthodox form-fitting long-sleeved shirts he sports; the guy moves merchandise and is one of the rare TNA talents that have been a fan favorite with men, women, and children.
Experience/Training - Jeff Jarrett
Wrestlers rarely get the proper experience they need before being thrown in front of a camera in today's pro wrestling world. The indies are full of great talent, but often these talents aren't being trained and seasoned as it used to be. And it doesn't help some increase the hype via the internet. This is not just in wrestling, but pro sports everywhere. The clock for demand starts right away.
Jarrett has been wrestling since sixteen (16!) and has traveled the world and has had time to figure out what works best. Experience and training very rarely done anymore. One of the those nuances that have stuck with me from his "King of the Mountain DVD" from way back is his assertion of wrestlers giving promos straight on with the camera as opposed to walking around the ring and engaging the whole audience.
Jarrett's been there and done that. And has the type of training, upbringing, and experience that would make for the perfect wrestler.
Charisma - Jeff Hardy
So many others come to mind for this, such as Christopher Daniels or Austin Aries, but I still have to give the nod to Hardy. I'm not a huge Hardy fan at all, but people just LOVE the guy, and all he has to do is paint his face and yell, "Creeeeaaaachhaaaahs!" once in a while. It's quite the anomaly. But then again, it's quite the gift of charisma. Just imagine if one of Hardy's strengths were his promo ability as well.
Presence - Sting
Another quality you just can't teach. You either have it or you don't. Sting does. If there are ten other guys in the ring with Sting, he'll catch your eyeballs more than a few times. That's just unteachable. Face paint or not, Sting is just box office.
Promo Ability - Bully Ray
The easy answer here would probably be Ric Flair. Actually, it should be Ric Flair if we're talking overall career. But as far as in TNA, I'm going Bully Ray, who I continuously call the most underrated pro wrestler of our generation. He's so diverse in his abilities as a heel or a babyface. I've been to shows where Bully could have an entire crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, and I've seen him also have crowds just want to kill him. After all, just this year we've seen him say, "I love you" in a sappy way en route to getting married as well as, "I'll pile drive your pregnant wife on a stage!". And he was very convincing and effective in both scenarios. He's probably TNA's MVP over the last three years, and handling a microphone is a big part of it.
Body Build - Magnus
Magnus has the ideal wrestler's body, which really plays into the whole ordeal of him having "the look". He's athletic, tall, and built with a lean muscular body without looking controversial or a freakish-looking caricature of pro wrestling.
Strength - Hernandez
I think this is obvious.
Speed - Alex Shelley
Another obvious one. The thought of a wrestler with Hernandez's strength and Shelley's speed sort of blows my mind to be honest. That guy should probably be playing linebacker somewhere in the NFL.
Agility/Body Control - AJ Styles
The things AJ Styles is able to do inside of a ring are well...phenomenal. Part of that is insane agility and body control to pull off the moves that he does. Spiral Tap, anyone?
High-Flying Ability - AJ Styles
In my opinion, this goes hand in hand with agility/body control. AJ's high-flying arsenal is one of the best ever. I'm still amazed at the second-rope moonsault into the reverse DDT he pulls off. Absolutely, well...phenomenal.
Technical Ability - Kurt Angle
An Olympic Gold medal in free style wrestling. Enough said.
Brawling/Hardcore Ability - Abyss
TNA's Abdullah the Butcher, Terry Funk, Mick Foley or whoever else you would like to place as a Hardcore Legend. Norman Smiley, maybe? This is another easy one as Abyss has toughed his way through more glass, tacks, tables, flaming tables, barbed wire, caged doors and chairs than anyone else in TNA. The perfect TNA wrestler would definitely need his toughness.
Confidence - Austin Aries
It's no secret that Austin Aries is a small guy. However, by just the way he carries himself it rarely stands out, which in itself is amazing. I've watched Austin Aries matches with others who aren't necessarily wrestling die-hards, and never have I heard anyone of them refer to his size or stature in a limiting way.
Aries confidence carries him through that and hides it in an amazing way. In fact, that same confidence often gives him a certain edge of making him a pretty big deal. After every show, because of his aura and most likely, an amazing match, you remember the the guy in the cape. Heck, we'll just add another impromptu quality as I write this and double down on A-Double...
Swag - Austin Aries
Longevity - AJ Styles
Over the eleven-plus year of TNA, I really don't remember AJ going down due to a major injury. Especially for a guy who wrestles a style that would take a toll on the human body.
Intangibles - Bobby Roode
Sometimes it is the little things, even the ones that can't be measured or attained. Bobby Roode always just seems to have that "feel" for the moment, segment, interview, or match that he is involved in. I apologize in advance for the cheesy pun, but he really does embody the "it" factor.
Well there you have it. My building of the perfect TNA wrestler if I could. If such a thing were possible. Perfection is demoralizing to chase, but it is often so intriguing to think about. How would you construct your perfect TNA wrestler?
How cool was the opening video for Turning Point?
Didn't you also play a weird, subconscious, game of "Find the Impact Zone Regular" when the show hit the air?
And didn't you find them right away?
Am I the only one that noticed the new hard camera angle that is a bit closer to the ring?
And doesn't the angle come across great for in-ring action?
Isn't Dixie hilarious when she plays up the obliviousness in her character?
C'mon, didn't you laugh a little bit at the, "Yes, yes, boo AJ Styles. Boo him!" as the fans chanted his name?
Speaking of Dixie, how awesome, honest, and transparent was that article featuring her on SI.com (Sports Illustrated)?
And shouldn't that article somewhat quiet some of the "know it all" fans who have/had no idea what she's been through to make TNA a reality?
Did Samoa Joe really run into a chair? Really?
Were you also confused, but highly perplexed by the Joe Park blood bath deal?
Is Bobby Roode vs. James Storm ever a bad thing?
And was Gunner making sure James Storm didn't suffer the same fate as Apollo Creed? (Sorry, cheesy Rocky IV joke there...if you get it at all.)
Who else is highly intrigued by the "American Psycho" Samuel Shaw gimmick?
How much fun is Shark boy?
Didn't Anderson/Bully Ray have that big fight feel to it?
How funny is it that fans are completely thrown off when a pro wrestler tweaks anything in their gear?
And doesn't the new tights, in a weird way, give Anderson a rebirth by shedding his "WWE look"?
Didn't this show leave you excited for the product moving forward?