There have been a few releases in both TNA and the WWE as well as some returns recently so I’m going to discuss each of them.
Let’s start with the TNA releases of Petey Williams, Lance Hoyt, and Jimmy Rave. First, I’d like to discuss Petey and his recent decline in TNA that probably led to his release from the company. Starting his career as the stand out member of Team Canada, Petey gained instant notoriety for his “Canadian destroyer” move and while some fans would criticize it for looking unrealistically, it was an impressive move nonetheless. Petey would flourish during his run with Team Canada and win the X Division title. It was after Team Canada disbanded that Petey’s career slowly went down hill in TNA. Eventually using TNA’s signature booking style where logic doesn’t always apply, Petey went from being a wrestler that was proud to have a maple leaf al over his gear and representing Canada to being a USA supporter wearing red, white, and blue gear. From there Petey would be billed as “maple leaf muscle,” which is a gimmick I think could have worked if he wasn’t one of the smaller wrestlers on the roster but I have to say, it meshed well with his pairing with Scott Steiner. After his pairing with Steiner, I thought it could have been beneficial for Petey because in a way, it could have been a veteran wrestler helping a younger star become established but that ended up not being the case. Instead, Petey was made to look only like Steiner’s lackey and when that storyline concluded, TNA seemly had no use for the talented Petey Williams. In my opinion, TNA made a few mistakes here, with the most important mistake being that they released Petey, who proved over the past few years that he’s more than just “the wrestler that does the Canadian destroyer” and he was very good with aerial maneuvers. I have to wonder why TNA would completely repackage Petey Williams to have a Steiner gimmick if the Main Event Mafia storyline was in the works where it would be the veterans vs. the younger wrestlers? Doesn’t pairing Petey with a veteran that is going to be apart of the Main Event Mafia doom the storyline from the start? Essentially, it would seem like Petey is just another victim of TNA’s booking, which is sadly the case with most of the wrestlers that get released from the company. Next, is Lance Hoyt, who had been on the TNA roster since the early years as “Dallas” and then would use his real name later on during his TNA run. Lance Hoyt was never really more than average at best in the ring and I’m not quite sure why he had a job with TNA for so long because his best role in the company was probably back in 2004 as Kid Kash’s body guard so how he had a job with the company until 2009 is a real mystery. I know a few years ago the “impact zone” put Hoyt over but that was probably a case of a few hundred smart marks that didn’t actually pay to see the show rallying behind a randomly chosen wrestler because there was no real substance with Hoyt during his TNA run. Hoyt’s latest gimmick in TNA was as apart of the “Rock and Rave” tag team with Jimmy Rave but you know when you’re being portrayed as a Slash rip off and you’re carrying around a plastic guitar that you’re days on national T.V. are numbered so Hoyt was released. Jimmy Rave was the other recently released TNA star and it will be interesting to see what he’s next move in wrestling will be. Rave began gaining recognition in Ring Of Honor, where he developed a very good heel character that made him one of the most over wrestlers on the ROH roster at one point. Rave is very solid in the ring and I’d go as far to say that he could have reached a main event level in ROH if he would have stayed with the company. Details of why Rave made his sudden exit from ROH in 2007 are still sketchy but hopefully he can return to the company with his old school based heel character, Rave can be an asset to a company. You have to wonder how TNA didn’t recognize the potential that Rave had to become a star but when you consider that Russo is on the creative, it should be a surprised when TNA drops the ball with a wrestler that has potential. Again, when a wrestler is carrying around a plastic guitar, you know that their days as numbered and as was the case with Petey, it appears that Rave was a victim of TNA’s booking.
The WWE had a few releases recently that included Manu and Scotty Goldman. Manu, who was briefly apart of the “Legacy” stable never really impressed me with his in ring ability or his mic skills and he seemed very average at best so I wasn’t really surprised he was released. Essentially, he was portrayed as a lame, less intense version of Umaga. Being that he was released so quickly, you have to wonder if the WWE called Manu up to the main roster from FCW simply because he fit the part of a second generation wrestler instead of being ready for the main stage. I wasn’t surprised with the release of Manu, however, I was very, very surprised at the released of Scotty Goldman AKA Colt Cabana. Cabana would seem to have all the attributes that the WWE looks for when signing a wrestler. He has the look, the size, the agility, the charisma, and the ability to be a major star in the WWE. Cabana was actually trained with current IC champion, CM Punk and they were discovered on the independent circuit after they had some good matches wrestling each other in their hometown of Chicago. Cabana is another wrestler that made a name for himself in ROH and was one of the company’s top stars before he was signed to a WWE development deal in 2007. Cabana would wrestle in the WWE’s developmental territory for over a year but he was only used as a Smackdown jobber during his few T.V. appearances. What doesn’t make sense to me is that the WWE didn’t really even give Cabana a real chance on the main stage of WWE T.V. and I think if he would have been given that chance, he would have been over with the WWE audience. Obviously, the WWE seen some ability in Cabana because just a few weeks ago he was given a video series on WWE.com, which was actually entertaining. It’d expect Cabana to return to ROH in the near future because just the day after he was officially released, he was back to working the indy circuit when he wrestled for PWG.
Now to discuss the return of Christian to WWE T.V. and more specifically, the ECW brand. I have to say, I think it was a great move for the WWE to have Christian show up on ECW as a total surprise because it gives people a reason to tune into the show and along with Tyson Kidd, Christian on ECW really gives the brand a shot in the arm so to speak. That being said, when you take the actually letters of the show out of the equation, the brand itself has actually had some very good shows recently and the one hour format of the show allows there to be more bell to bell action, which is a really good element for the show. Back to Christian, I know some fans will think Christian is going right back to being underutilized being put on ECW but I have to completely disagree. In my view, ECW is the best place for Christian at this time because it fit’s the image of the ECW brand perfectly. The ECW brand is being pushed as the place for young wrestlers to make a name for themselves and also a place for the underutilized wrestlers that deserve more of a chance to get the spot light. Christian, especially right before he left the WWE in 2005, was probably the most underutilized wrestler on the WWE at that particular point in time and after a fairly successful run in TNA, he has returned the WWE and is one of the main stars of a brand so I don’t see how the ECW brand couldn’t benefit his career. That being said, if Christian was on Raw or Smackdown, I’d expect him to get lost in the shuffle again but with ECW he can showcase his talents on a main stage on a consistent basis, which will help his career and the ECW brand as a whole. A side note, last week Christian challenged Jack Swagger for the ECW title in a match that went thirty minutes and it was a really great match so if you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend finding it on Youtube or finding a recording of it.