Thursday, 12 July 2012

Fave Five - TNA (July 2012)

Because deep down, we all want to be Booker T.

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Yeah, so I'll be doing these every now and again, because (a) they're easy; and (b) it's an opinion piece, so nobody can tell me I'm wrong; and (c) I just want to sometimes. The 'fave five' concept shouldn't need any explaining, but in case Eugene is reading, it's basically just me picking the five people I like most. That ought to cover it, so off we go. Well, sort of.

Honourable Mentions

Because five isn't enough, and I'm too lazy to try and rank ten.

Bully Ray has been living up to his name brilliantly, and I look forward to his match with Joseph Park on this week's Impact (to be honest, it should've been on Destination X instead of all the crappy qualifiers).

Eric Young is one of my favourites, and he would've made the list if he'd been on telly recently. Alas, he hasn't, so he's here instead. Similar thoughts apply to ODB, by the way.

Zema Ion has been the only challenger to the X-Division title for months, and now he's finally got hold of the belt we should see him get even better, especially if he ends up feuding with Jesse Sorensen when he makes his return.

Lastly, Samoa Joe is a beast, but he has no direction, so it's hard to really get behind him. Also, I'm never sure whether he's going to be a heel or a face next week.

Anyway, onto my fave five...

5. Brooke Tessmacher

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Brooke, or Miss Tessmacher as she's reverted back to since Brooke Hogan came and stole her first name, has earnt her place in my fave five by being one of the most improved wrestlers of the last year. There was a time not too long ago when she was pretty weak in the ring, but she has made a noticeable improvement during her time in TNA, and has been rewarded for it with a reign as the Knockouts Champion.

She's not yet reached the level of ladies like Beth Phoenix or Mickie James, and she still has the odd dodgy moment, but she's more than capable of putting on a good match, and she should continue to get better for a while, so it would be no surprise to see TNA make her the face of their division over the next few years. Probably doesn't hurt that she's hotter than a thousand suns either.

I think it's safe to say WWE fired the wrong one of the Extreme Expose...

4. AJ Styles

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'The Phenomenal' AJ Styles is probably the face of TNA, as well as one of the most talented in-ring competitors on their roster. His high tempo, high flying style has been one of the bright spots of TNA over the years, and it's led him to multiple titles - including being the only man to have won the TNA Triple Crown more than one (at the time of writing, he's actually won it four times) - as well as a shedload of memorable matches. In short, when you watch an AJ Styles match, you can be pretty sure you're going to be entertained.

At the minute he's involved in the companys main storyline, and even though it's already recieved a lot of criticism, it has led to a couple of great matches at the last two PPV's, Slammiversary and Destination X. Styles has more than enough talent to be a star in WWE, but he seems happy to stay at the company that made him, and he deserves a lot of respect for that.

He's recently suggested that he could be coming towards the end of his career, so enjoy his talent while you can, TNA won't be the same without him.

3. Austin Aries

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Austin Aries won the big one at Destination X on Sunday, having held the X-Division title for ten months before trading it in for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. During his reign as X-Division champion, Aries established himself as one of the most talented allround workers not just in TNA, but in modern wrestling. He's good on the mat and in the air, he's strong on the mic and he has plenty of charisma - there doesn't seem to be a weakness in his game.

Having only just won the World Heavyweight title, Aries' stock can still rise. He's bound to have a rematch with Roode in the near future (probably at Hardcore Justice), and he could put on great matches with any of the other top guys in TNA (if they weren't all faces, although TNA don't seem to have much probably with people randomly changing between face & heel to suit their needs, so they'll probably be fine in that regard). We've already seen him work excellent matches against Samoa Joe & Bully Ray, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Aries hold the belt for a similar amount of time as Bobby Roode did, if not even longer.

Should TNA manage to keep WWE away from Aries, it's likely that they could have found their top guy for the future, and a man who can take over from AJ Styles and the guaranteed entertainer in TNA, if he hasn't already.

All hail the 'Greatest Man That Ever Lived'.

2. Bobby Roode

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The man who calls himself the 'It Factor of Professional Wrestling' may have just lost his title, but his reign was undoubtedly the most successful of any man that's held the belt. Not only did he become the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion of all time, but he went from tag team superstar to the most hated man in the company in the process. If you want to see how to book a heel champ, you'd be hard pushed to find many better examples that Bobby Roode.

During his time as TNA's world champ he's showed good wrestling skills and done some impressive mic work, but his general attitude is what has impressed me most. He's played the cowardly, yet arrogant heel brilliantly, and it will be interesting to see where he goes now he's dropped the belt.

Whatever happens to Roode now, TNA have shown that they know how to push someone to the top, and I'm confident that they'll continue to get the best out of Bobby for years to come.

1. Christopher Daniels

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Topping my first ever TNA Fave Five is the man who I think is one of the most underappreciated guys in the company, Christopher Daniels. He's a fantastic allround performer who's been in some of the greatest matches and rivalries in TNA history, and yet he almost always seems to get looked over when people talk about who the best guys in the company are.

Whether he's working on his own or as part of a tag team, Daniels has proven his ability in the ring time and time again, and he's also one of the best at working the crowd and finding or doing little things to make him stand out, such as the finger tape and the "World Tag Team Champions of the World, and no that's not redundant" line.

I didn't realise he was 41 years old until I started writing this bit on him, but that's just another reason to love him. He's pretty much TNA's version of Chris Jericho - great talker and wrestler, loads of charisma, excellent attention to detail, never really pushed as the top star he could've been, but still going strong towards the end of his career.

So yeah, congratulations Christopher Daniels. Go have yourself another Appletini, you deserve it.

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