TNA Plaque Celebrates 7 Years, Few Originals Really Remain

Bill Behrens

Recently TNA release a Plaque to commemorate its Seventh Year Anniversary.  The company has every reason to celebrate as few thought it would survive.

The plaque, which is nicely done, is on sale now at the TNA website and pictures folk suggested to be "originals", which suggests to me they were with TNA at the beginning, June 19, 2002 or maybe soon thereafter, but many were not.  

I noticed this when I was reflecting on the recent release of referee Rudy Charles who is pictured on the plaque.

Those pictured who were at the 1st PPV tapings in Huntsville or the next set in Nashville at Municipal Auditorium are AJ Styles, James Storm, Jeremy Borash, Jeff Jarrett, Don West, Mike Tenay, Rudy Charles, Andrew Thomas, Slick Johnson, Abyss, Vince Russo, and Dixie Carter.

Slick Johnson, however, was only briefly with TNA at the beginning and left to join a rock band on the road as drummer returning in March 2005 replacing Mike Posey who had resigned to try-out for WWE.  I recall Jeff Jarrett calling me when Posey wrote him saying that the timing was good as Mark needed a job, and that Posey had not burned a bridge with TNA nor him. 

Abyss appeared on the 1st taping in Huntsville as Justice (former NWA Wildside Champion), then did not return as Abyss (a gimmick Dutch Mantel creaed in Puerto Rico) until June 2003. 

Also at the 1st TNA tapings but MIA from the picture are Dutch Mantell, Hermie Sadler and Daffney (Shannon). 

Others pictured joined TNA later, some much later, some after TNA had already started tapings in Orlando, as late as July 2005.

Bobby Roode joined TNA in May 2004

Eric Young joined TNA initially in Jan 2004, then fulltime in May 2004

Chris Sabin joined TNA in Spring 2003

Alex Shelly joined TNA in July 2004

Raven (TNA’s 1st WWE "steal") joined TNA in Jan 2003 and made his most recent appearance on the June PPV but not on the TVs taped thereafter.

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