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.
I know, not exactly the way one would begin a column, especially when you have no idea what you should be weighing forgiveness for. But again, I apologize.
I'm usually not one to fall into trends or get caught up in the latest discussion fads or even the latest, hallow, sexy debate. But there has been one recently that has caught my attention and has lured me into its twisting realm of unending thought. I'm pertaining to the latest "Mount Rushmore" craze that started as a small sound byte from LeBron James and is now a great mind bender on various topics. Sports, politics, athletes, actors, whatever...we can "Mount Rushmore" just about anything.
The appeal really is the small, elite club it creates. Hall of Fames, top ten lists, and other ways of identifying greatness usually and typically have plenty of room to include many, with the occasional few snubs here and there. Yet, with this craze, you're allowed four. Only four. And not necessarily the "best" four, but the most prominent or possibly even the most identifiable four of the criteria selected.
So yes, I gave in on this one. Sorry. But it’s such a interesting concept.
Of course, and eventually, I came around to that thought in which I believed would make for an incredible discussion for TNA fans - Who would be on TNA's Mount Rushmore (as of right now of course)?
Go ahead, take a minute and gather your four.
It's really not as easy as one might initially think. As young and as limited as TNA Wrestling is in comparison to the mega-machine that is WWE, especially when it comes to history, we often overlook the fact that TNA is approaching its 12th year in existence. That's three more years than ECW existed (1992-2001) and one year shy of the entire existence of WCW (1988-2001). And I’m quite positive everyone could easily produce Mount Rushmores for both defunct companies.
If TNA died next year, or the year afterwards, it would be the second largest, most successful wrestling company ever. Think about that. E-V-E-R. And I’m quite positive that statement just gnaws at some who illogically despise the company.
When viewed from those perspectives, TNA has quite the history, has amassed enough longevity, has had plenty of memorable moments on record, has seen lots of talents come through its curtains, and really, has more than enough of a historic marketplace foundation to have a substantial Mount Rushmore.
But before I hand it over to you completely, I figured I would share my Mount Rushmore of TNA Wrestling with you.
Obviously, George Washington, on the original (and real) Mount Rushmore, is one of the founding fathers of these great United States. So obviously, my first choice would be that of Jeff Jarrett. After all, how can it not be?
New promotion, project, or whatever he is working on as of this moment aside, Jarrett will always be the founder and the guy TNA will forever be associated with. He managed to take a small idea that was conceived on a fishing trip with Bob Ryder, acted on said thought, and had a significant guiding hand in keeping his idea a reality and the company afloat and on its way to becoming a global company.
Its really quite a remarkable story that Jarrett isn't given enough credit for. Especially, when you think of that specific period in wrestling history, the times and status of the the market place for pro wrestling wrestling, and the guts it took to do what he did. What is even crazier is that he did so with his own life's savings. Just an enormous gamble. Again, very remarkable.
Jarrett’s fingerprints are all over TNA Wrestling until this day, even with a resignation letter with his signature on it archived somewhere in Nashville, Tennesse. Without Jeff Jarrett, there is no TNA.
My second guy is probably the most important talent the company has ever had, and that is “The Icon” Sting. Or, “The Man They Call” Sting for you fellow old school fanatics. Never understood who “they” were and why “they” called poor Steve, Sting, but I digress…
Without Sting, there is no modern TNA. From the Jeff Jarrett “King of the Mountain DVD”, Jarrett recalled the importance of Sting for marketing and various contractual television purposes. We've heard multiple times in interviews with TNA President Dixie Carter how important Sting was to TNA in helping them land the Spike TV deal, as well as other international contracts. Sting gave TNA its second life.
And that shouldn't be outdone by the years he gave TNA as a wrestler, as the main event of multiple Bound For Glory events, and even reinventing himself several times in the latter stages of his career. Sting is definitely TNA’s Teddy Roosevelt.
Third, is obviously the home grown franchise talent in AJ Styles. While Styles never had quite the impact that Jarrett and Sting had on the business structure of the company, Styles was the epitome of what TNA represented. New. Different. Non-stop. Ground-breaking. Innovative.
Styles basically became the marquee player for the company through multiple facets that I don’t even need to further explain as I'll be preaching to the choir. Styles is TNA’s Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning. But for Mount Rushmore purposes, he is TNA’s Abraham Lincoln.
Regardless of what comes next for him or the company, Styles was the guy who set the bar, from a talent perspective, for what fans should expect from TNA. He was the example of what this new company would be all about. He figuratively released wrestling fans from the style of wrestling we were unfortunately (and only) exposed to during a tough time in the wrestling industry.
Finally, my last selection might be a bit of shocker, and may even be slightly controversial to some, but that’s part of the fun, right?
My fourth person on TNA's Mount Rushmore is Raven.
Staying in line with my Presidential/Real Mount Rushmore analogy, Raven is Thomas Jefferson. There was a period in TNA’s early history where it became apparent that while all of the new faces were fun, fresh and exciting, no one was quite ready to yet offer that first HUGE match in the company. Jarrett far and away was the big fish in the little pond at the time. And after awhile, that became VERY obvious. As a fan, you wondered just how long the land of misfits would truly last without some true star power?
Sure, Styles (of course along with my guy, the real Mortimer Plumtree), Ron Killings (aka R-Truth), Malice, and a couple of others challenged Jarrett, but TNA didn't have that mega feud until Raven showed up in the then NWA-TNA. Really, Raven's debut still ranks as one of my all-time favorite TNA moments.
Raven stuck around TNA for a few years, and in between those lean years until the Spike TV deal, Raven was a fixture that brought plenty of quality television as a character and even inside the ring. Raven helped the company bridge that gap until it landed a major TV deal during it's time of exploration, innovation, and discovering what it wanted to really be.
I’m sure one day, I’ll replace Raven and begin etching Samoa Joe’s face on TNA’s Mount Rushmore, but for now, as of this writing, I’m going with Raven joining Jarrett, Sting, and Styles.
And yes, I'm quite aware of some of the notable snubs such as Samoa Joe, Dixie Carter, and Abyss, but again, that's part of the fun.
Twelve years have flown by and TNA is still standing. Cheers to that.
So I propose the question now to all of you...
Who is on your TNA Mount Rushmore?
How amazingly, epic were those Impact365 promos with Gunner and Magnus this week?
Didn't you just want to watch Impact right away after seeing both videos?
And isn't it somewhat fun to enjoy the journey on seeing the development of wrestlers week in and week out before our eyes?
After all, who else remembers when Magnus tightened his wrists and shook his head as a taunt while Gunner and Murphy did Easy E's dirty work?
Hasn't the UK been fantastic?
Have you also notice how poised and controlled Magnus is in his promos, yet, is able to make even his home country hate him?
Don't you just want to walk into work, stand in the center of your office and say, "attention ladies and gentleman, this is your champion speaking"?
Is Joe - The Samoa Joe of old - back, or what?
Even with the focus being Gunner vs. Magnus, didn't Roode almost steal the show with his performance?
Isn't it fantastic how this regime has found something for everyone on the roster to be involved in?
Are you insanely intrigued by Willow?
And did you ever think Jeff Hardy had something like that in him?
Like me, did you also really enjoy the MMA-style build up for Gunner vs. Magnus?
And after learning about Gunner, how can you NOT root for his success? Real and kayfabe.
How awesome is Lockdown shaping up to be?