Superstar Spotlight: TNA Hall of Fame Edition

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

Superstar Spotlight: TNA Hall of Fame Edition

Dixie Carter made an announcement about the formation of a TNA Hall of Fame this past Thursday, and I have to say I like it. Dixie is an active Twitter user and has a habit of promoting ‘major’ announcements through the social networking site, but they are usually less than impressive. This one works, and there has been a healthy debate regarding who should be the first person enshrined into the Hall of Fame. I have heard a ton of names ranging from the obvious choices and the ridiculous, but we won’t know until the company announces it at Slammiversary.

This Hall of Fame doesn’t have the distinction of being decades old or have the history that WWE does, so they can be a little more flexible with nominees for a few more years. There are no existing rules to be nominated, but I think everyone would agree that there will be, or should be, an unwritten set of qualifications. Here are just a few of my ideas:

  • Limit the number of entrants to one per year, two at most. WWE has bigger classes because they have over sixty years worth of wrestlers to induct. TNA has to be careful because they don’t have the alumni like WWE, and they would run out of "worthy" people.
  • Choose a retired wrestler, or someone who is closer to the end of their career. Sorry AJ Styles fans, but he still has a lot left to offer and isn’t a ‘living legend’ just yet. I like Styles as much as the next guy, but Hall of Fame inductions should be a career achievement, not a halfway point.
  • Don’t pick someone who doesn’t deserve it: Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Dixie Carter herself. You want to nominate a Carter? How about her father, Bob, who provides the money to keep the company going, not the mark running it. Hulk and Bischoff could be included eventually, but they sure as hell haven’t been there long enough to warrant the first induction.
  • Pick ‘TNA/Impact’ people – pick the people who made TNA what it is, who spent a lot of time there, and contributed to their success. Don West, James Mitchell, and Scott D’Amore helped TNA in its primitive stages; Don West just left because he got a general manager job with a hockey club. He was an on-air commentator and was in charge of promotions and merchandise, but there’s no denying he worked his ass off his entire tenure. They may be the little guys compared to the wrestlers, but these personalities gave TNA their identity in the early years.
  • Celebrate the early years first, and nominate guys who made a mark. I’m talking about Ken Shamrock, Monty Brown and Raven, or any of the important people from the Nashville days. You can even include Christian (Cage) a few years down the road, because there’s no doubt he made a huge impression during his time in TNA.

Obviously people won’t meet every one of these criteria, but TNA needs to be selective and make the right choices. They need to leave the fans out of the process, and they need to leave joke entries for later. Shark Boy and Curry Man have their place in history, but they should stay on the sidelines for awhile. As for the nominees on my shortlist it’s pretty simple:

Raven – He was a huge part of TNA’s early days, and I loved his feud with Jeff Jarrett over the (then) NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He also was the leader of The Gathering, which introduced CM Punk and Mickie James to a larger audience, and the short lived Serotonin. Raven has the distinction of reinventing himself everywhere he has gone, but watching him chase the title in TNA was a fun experience.

Sting – I don’t see ‘The Icon’ as an ex-WCW guy as much as I see him having two distinct parts of his career. He has been in TNA since 2003 (June 18th, to be exact) and he is one of the biggest stars they have had. Sting won the World Heavyweight Championship four times, and he is the only person to ever win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship before (WCW) and after its introduction into TNA. Sting is a big star, and TNA could use this to say he's in their Hall of Fame, and not WWE's.

Kurt Angle – He is just as important to TNA's history as Sting is, and Kurt can flat out wrestle. He jumped to TNA when it wasn't common for a big acquisition like this, and he shocked people. Kurt has won every title except the (now) Television Championship, but I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually gets that too. He is a star who gives everything he has, and he may be starting to slow down, but you still know if he is involved, it will be a good match.

AJ Styles – I know I am contradicting myself because I ruled AJ out with point number 2, but you still need to mention him. AJ is TNA. He (and James Storm) has been there the longest, and he has consistantly put on great matches the whole time. I don't see him being inducted because my earlier points, but also because of the Dixie/Daniels/Kaz thing he has going on. He is a good choice in a few years, but right now the 'Phenominal One' can wait his turn. He has the talent and the history, but the timing is off.

Jeff Jarrett – What I think is the most obvious choice. Jarrett, along with his father, founded TNA and he is still involved today. The 'King of The Mountain' may not be the most liked wrestler there is, but there wouldn't be a TNA without him. If you want to go one step further, you can induct The Jarretts together, but I see Jeff getting the honor. Jeff is a multi-time champion in TNA and Mexico, and he feuded with top guys like Raven, Sting, Kurt and AJ. Coincidence? Yes, he was in charge for a while, but he was still at the top when Panda took over because he's a good heel and you get pissed off at him. He does his job well, and like I said AJ was the 'centerpiece' of the company, Jeff is just as much TNA.

There you have it, Jeff Jarrett, the first inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. It sounds right and it makes sense. I believe everyone I mentioned should be in line; the people I spotlighted, and the others referenced in the rules. They are all apart of what kept TNA going, and they all deserve to be recognized for their efforts. I can eventually see a few early Knockouts going in, and the X Division deserves to be recognized too. TNA can make their Hall of Fame stand out by doing things the right way and honoring their history. You may or may not agree with me, so share your thoughts or nominate some other deserving inductees in the comments section below.

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