Dr. Wrestling:TNA Returns and Debuts


Recently, TNA has seen a slew of returns and even some debuts for the company but how will the new members of the roster “impact” the organization? Ironically, TNA’s most recent stars to return to the company seemed to leave their on air roles because they were victims of TNA’s booking, which has seemed to remain a fundamental problem for the company since it’s debut on national T.V. on Fox Sports Net five years ago. That being said, there’s new stars create new and interesting scenarios for the promotion so let’s start to discuss them.

When I read that “The Franchise” Shane Douglas was returning to TNA, I was very, very surprised, considering that  Douglas has voiced his opinion about the misdirection of the company since his exit over two years ago, but I also thought it was cool because as an overall talent during his twenty plus years career, I always thought Douglas was underrated in some respects. However, Douglas has done himself no favors over the years as he’s burned many bridges when he’s decided to pick up a microphone. During the former ECW champion’s last run in TNA, Douglas become a manager for The Naturals, which was an angle that I really think could have worked if TNA wouldn’t have put the brakes on it before it even got a chance. Speaking of The Naturals, They were a very talented young tag team but got zero T.V. time when TNA started to sign more “superstars” such as Team 3D, Scott Steiner, and others. Following the failed storyline with Naturals, Douglas become an agent for the company until he left the organization to deal with problems with pain killers. “The Franchise” has since been able to overcome that, which is great because he’s contributed a lot to wrestling and doesn’t get much recognition for it. Plus. I’ve met Shane on a few different occasions and he’s always been very polite to the fans. In my view, there’s a few reasons Douglas doesn’t get much recognition these days, During the early stages of his career when he was signed with WCW, Douglas was more of a high flyer but underneath the glass ceiling in WCW, his career didn’t exactly flourish in the early 1990s. During his first run with ECW, he was one of the main reasons the promotion began to become more than just another independent wrestling show, but most fans didn’t get to see it because of ECW’s limited T.V. exposure at the time. Eventually, Douglas had a six month run in the WWF after he signed with the company in 1995 but after being involved in a debacle of a storyline with Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, He really wasn’t given much of a push, which Douglas claimed was due to Shawn Michaels refusing to job to him for the IC title. When he resurfaced in ECW in 1996, Douglas become one of the most hated heels of the decade and used his great mic work to get major heat from the “smart” ECW crowd. After leaving the land of extreme, he had a lackluster run in WCW, which was probably due to the company falling a part and even when Douglas debuted in TNA in 2003, the company was only on weekly PPV with a very limited audience. Basically, the point I’m trying to make here is that it seems like Shane Douglas was just never at the right place at the right time for his talents to be used to their fullest potential. As I said, when I read Douglas was coming back to TNA I thought it was cool and was looking forward to see his match against A.J. Styles last week on Impact until I saw Shane walk down the ramp. The veteran, who is now in his 40s was wearing a T shirt and looked to be considerably heavier since his last appearance on T.V. Still, being in the ring with A.J. can make it possible to have a good match but that just wasn’t the case for Douglas. He looked extremely winded just minutes into the match and the pace was slowed several times. Saying Douglas is past his prime would be an understatement and based on his match last week, I doubt TNA will use Douglas beyond his current storyline with Daniels, which I think is actually a good angle. It keeps Daniels busy for now and relevant for TNA’s next PPV. As for Douglas, it would seem like there wouldn’t be plans for his after this current storyline anyway, despite his lack of ring work but if for some reason TNA decides to keep him around, Douglas could be great on the mic for the company. Only time will tell but it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a future for “The Franchise” in TNA.

Another former ECW champion, Raven made his return to the promotion a few weeks ago and as of now, it appears as if he will be the leader of another Flock type stable with Stevie Richards and Daffney, which I think is a really great idea for Raven. The Flock type stable as been a staple of Raven’s career and he’s made it work wherever it’s been formed. Each variation is able to stay fresh and not look like a cheap rip off because of Raven’s great ability as a performer to portray the cult leader type of character. In my opinion, Raven didn’t get a chance to really get over as much as he could have with last two runs with the company. More specifically, Raven won the NWA world title in a king of the mountain match in 2005 and really could have done well for the promotion but dropped the title to Jarrett less than a month and a half later. Raven doesn’t seem to have the in ring ability to be in the same spot now but there’s no question that TNA dropped the ball when he was champion four years ago. More recently, Raven was the leader of the serotonin stable, which again I think had potential to be successful but they would only be booked on T.V. for a few weeks at a time and than you wouldn’t see them again for another 2-3 months so I’m not sure how TNA expected the stable to get over. I’m interested to see if TNA really gives the newest “flock” a chance to get over because I think it could create some good T.V. but as is the case with TNA most of the time, just because something has potential to work doesn’t mean it will get a chance on T.V.

Former WWE Women’s champion, Victoria, who is now known as Tara made her TNA in ring debut last week and of the stars mentioned so far in this column, I think Victoria has the best chance at being successful. I say this because she  can still go in the ring and she proved it by having a good match on Impact. I’ve said it for years, Victoria was VERY underrated and underutilized in the WWE so hopefully TNA offers her the chance to be the star that she deserves to be with all her hard work in the ring. She’s also said recently that she wants to start training for MMA so it will be interesting to see where that could possible take her career.

I didn’t plan on it but I’m going to briefly discuss Bobby Lashley’s status with TNA. I was in attendance live at Lockdown in Philadelphia when Bobby Lashley made his shocking TNA debut but he’s only been seen once since than for less than thirty seconds on an episode of Impact. Lashley confirmed in a radio interview recently that he still hasn’t actually signed a deal with TNA and you have to wonder why would TNA bring in Lashley without a contract signed? Yes, it does get them some buzz around the company that he showed up but if a deal with Lashley can’t be reached, it makes TNA look bush league for not being able to deliver on Lashley being on the TNA roster after he made a surprise appearance on a PPV. Besides that, it’s been two months since Lockdown and with no sign of Lashley on TNA T.V. in two months, you have to wonder, what was the point of TNA even having him show up? He didn’t do anything other than walk out on the stage so as of right now, Lashley served no real purpose appearing in TNA. That being said, I just don’t see Lashley being involved in pro wrestling in the future. He lacks charisma and let’s be honest here, how many great Lashley matches have you seen? However, I do think that Lashley has a very bright future in MMA and with a fight with Bob Sapp in less than two weeks, Lashley could really start to climb the ranks of MMA if he defeats Sapp. Lashley’s undefeated record so far in his MMA career really shows how much potential he has to be successful in the sport, which is why I don’t think you will see Bobby Lashley back in TNA anytime soon.

Until next week
That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It
Dr. Wrestling

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