James Storm showed up on NXT this week, and the Full Sail faithful welcomed him with open arms. Just like when Sting and Samoa were brought in, personally it felt a little odd; I had only seen them work in TNA for the past several years. I never believed Vince would allow these dreaded “TNA guys” to earn a spot on his roster, but it’s happened, and I am happy about the decisions to bring them in.
However, one thing disturbs me. It won’t disturb fans who don’t care for TNA at all, but for those who do, might feel frustrated when WWE tries to explain where these guys have worked for the past 7-13 years. Instead of just outright saying .. “he worked for TNA for 13 years, and became a 13-time Tag Team Champion and World Champion”, all they can say is .. “He worked in the Independent scene”, although to be honest, Storm didn’t really work the independent scene; he was kicking wrestler’s heads off in TNA 99.9% of the time.
And then you have Sting, he left WCW, but then what? Did he just disappear? Or was the mighty legend known as Sting wrestling on the Independent scene as well? Surely, the WWE could have offered a Sting a contract if he was only working for pitiful money in an indy promotion? But did you notice? They completely ignored what happened to Sting after WCW went under.
Now now, I know what you’re thinking. But Kyle, TNA is nothing, it’s not competition to WWE whatsoever so why should they mention TNA in any fashion? Well the answer is, why does WWE reference ROH, PWG, NJPW and UFC when it pertains to explaining where their wrestlers worked in the past? They have no issues having Paul Heyman blatantly name drop Dana White and UFC, despite the controversial things Dana White’s said about wrestling/sports-entertainment.
So why is TNA in the dog house? Perhaps, it’s to do with the lawsuit pending over the leaked information regarding contracts. TNA took legal action against WWE for swooping in and taking Ric Flair from them, as TNA believes they employed a member of staff who took private documents to WWE headquarters. WWE knows TNA isn’t going to draw millions of new fans if WWE makes one small reference, but what it knows even more is Vince McMahon’s mentality; do anything and everything to keep your opponents down.
I’ve heard Josh Matthews mention WWE. When Mike Tenay was on commentary, he had no hesitation in referring to past accomplishments of wrestlers who worked in WWE, citing how many championships they held with the company. But I’ve also heard TNA mock WWE and their storylines, their gimmicks (like Tyrus’ Funkasaurus gimmick), and go too far by dropping their biggest nemesis’ name on their show every week. Like back in 2010, when Bischoff, Hogan and Flair were in the company, they mocked WWE almost every week and tried to goad them into reacting. Clearly, it went nowhere.
Surely though, Vince has fought much bigger foes than TNA, so while I don’t understand why it’s “against the rules” to mention TNA, it will continue to happen. The stupidest thing is though, the fans know TNA, and the fans know who James Storm and Samoa Joe is, even fans who don’t necessarily watch the product. If WWE was to mention TNA, they would be acknowledging the company is doing a good job at developing talent in to worldwide names.
If TNA was nothing but an indy promotion, James Storm would have made his debut in silence, no one would know who he is, but the fans know he is. As much as some fans want to say TNA doesn’t produce talent, WWE picked up three of their biggest names in the past year.
But Kyle .. Sting is a WCW guy, and Joe is a ROH guy. Wrong. Sting was in TNA for a long time, just because he became famous in WCW doesn’t mean his time in TNA was for nothing, he was a multiple time TNA World Heavyweight Champion and he had many great matches. Samoa Joe worked for TNA longer than he worked for ROH, so although Joe made his name known in ROH, TNA picked him up and showcased him to the world. If Samoa Joe was still wrestling in the independent scene, he would never have faced Kurt Angle in their classic feud, and he would have gone unnoticed by WWE.
WWE refuses to acknowledge James Storm’s career, so here’s a brief explanation of his accomplishments: Storm made himself known as one half of the tag team Americans Most Wanted, with Chris Harris. They held the NWA Tag Team titles six times and was one of the greatest teams in TNA history. James Storm also partnered with Booby Roode as Beer Money Inc, and they held four TNA Tag Team titles. He also held tag team gold with Christopher Daniels, Abyss, and Gunner, making him a 13-time Tag Team Champion.
In 2011, James Storm defeated Kurt Angle in a shockingly short match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He lost the title to Roode shortly after, who turned heel on him, and the former teammates feuded for months. James Storm is known as one of the best workers in TNA’s history, as he wrestled for the company since its inception in 2002.
Continuing on, Samoa Joe held every championship TNA had to offer. He held the tag team titles twice (once by himself), TV title, X-Division title five times, and he defeated Kurt Angle in a Lockdown steel cage match to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in 2008. He held an undefeated streak in TNA for eighteen months, til Kurt Angle jumped ship and defeated him, sparking a feud which took TNA to new heights.
Sting feuded with many wrestlers in TNA. He teased retirement on many occasions, but the fans always brought him back. He joined TNA in 2003, and made sporadic appearances until 2005, when he became a full-time wrestler. In his time, Sting won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship once, and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times, making him a 12-time World Champion, if you include his WCW, NWA and TNA title reigns. Sting was “The Icon” in TNA Wrestling for over a decade, and was also the first inductee in the TNA Hall of Fame.
At least the fans know who these guys are, because if we have to rely on WWE, they will make us believe Joe, Storm, and Sting were wrestling for peanuts in a high school gym for a decade. This was not the case, they did not magically appear, they kept their names relevant by working for TNA, and as much as some want to disagree and say TNA is going to die and never made anybody, I can assure you, it’s not going to die.