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This past week at the #TNANYC Impact Wrestling tapings real American war hero Chris Melendez made his TNA Wrestling debut. Melendez lost his leg serving our country in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart for said service, according to the TNA Wrestling website. Also noted on the website, working for TNA fulfills Melendez’s dream to become a professional wrestler.

TNA Signs American War Hero Chris Melendez
TNA official John Gaburick tweets his welcome to new wrestler Chris Melendez. Photo: PrtSc Image

Now as someone interested in disability related stories, I’m intrigued by Chris Melendez. That intrigue goes beyond the one-legged wrestler novelty. Zach Gowen already showed you can wrestle on one leg. Rather the fact TNA Wrestling already signed Melendez to a multi-year deal captivates me. Such a contract should secure Melendez a greater opportunity then Gowen to achieve and retain success at a national level (assuming TNA maintains national exposure after October).

TNA’s timing in finalizing the Chris Melendez contract also sparks my interest. How often do you see a company tout a multi-year contract for pretty much an unknown wrestler who didn’t even make his debut yet? The timing could indicate TNA officials possess great confidence in Melendez, who received his training at the Team 3D Academy of Professional Wrestling.

Regarding character Melendez’s story can blossom into a tremendous asset or dooming curse. Real life war hero who lost his leg serving in Afghanistan provides incredible reason for fans to get behind the new wrestler.

Unfortunately the aforementioned may lead to lazy stereotype based booking, hence the dooming curse. Hopefully though, TNA avoids the latter. Surely Melendez wants to earn a reputation as a top notch wrestler, not a guy fairly good for having one leg.

Despite TNA Wrestling’s ambiguous future past October, I still plan on blogging about the company’s current product. TNA showed much improvement over the summer and deserves the recognition.

TNA Wrestling recently announced, via their website, “the Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri will appear at the #TNANYC tapings Tuesday, August 5th, Wednesday, August 6th, and Thursday, August 7th. Another Extreme Championship Wrestling alum sure to receive a welcoming ovation from the New York City crowd, Tajiri currently works for Japan’s Wrestle-1 promotion.

The Japanese Buzzsaw Tajiri will see action at the August #TNANYC tapings. Photo: Andrew Quentin/Wikimedia Commons

Personally I look forward to seeing how Tajiri’s appearances play out. Will he get involved in the Great Muta-James Storm/Sanada storyline? Who will he wrestle? Also, how has Tajiri held up physically over the past near decade? I looked into his Wrestle-1 match against Rene Dupree and Tajiri seems like he can still go.

If Tajiri remains anywhere close to his past form, his matches could become attention grabbers. Sanada and James Storm stand probable opponents if he gets involved in the Muta feud (which I predict he will). Sanada and Tajiri could put together a very entertaining fast pace match. Tajiri and Storm on the other hand offers an intriguing clash in styles.

Outside those match ups, I most want to see Tajiri vs. Low Ki. Imagine that stiff, hard-hitting contest! What about you? Who from TNA do you want to see Tajiri wrestle? Do you think the Japanese Buzzsaw will get involved in the Muta-Storm/Sanada feud? Sound off in the comments section below!

Late Sunday, July 27th/early Monday, July 28th news broke Spike TV will not renew TNA Wrestling’s weekly television show Impact Wrestling. Rather than rehashing all the other online reports, I want to offer my thoughts on the situation. If somehow you don’t already know the details, see TMZ’s coverage here.

Now that we all find ourselves informed, shall we move forward? The news completely altered my plans for today’s post. Initially titled “Positive Signs for TNA Wrestling,” I planned to discuss the positives going on with TNA. Items like the Wrestle-1 deal, the six-sided ring returning, and Bound for Glory coming to Tokyo, Japan this October.

TNA President Dixie Carter
Spike TV told Dixie Carter the network will not renew TNA's TV deal. Photo: Simon from United Kingdom/Wikimedia Commons

Instead I’m contemplating TNA Wrestling’s future existence. A look at wrestling history demonstrates the power TV time possesses. ECW went bankrupt without a TV deal. Eric Bischoff pulled out from buying WCW because the deal didn’t include television time. Television networks basically breathe life into professional wrestling companies.

Understanding TV’s importance to the professional wrestling business model leads to a question. Where can TNA Wrestling turn to? Based on the past 13 years the demand from networks for wrestling stands minimal at best.

WWE’s television deal removes any NBCUniversal channel. Wrestling on MTV (Wrestling Society X) faltered. Yet Wrestling Society X fared much better then Tru TV’s Hulk Hogan: Micro Championship Wrestling.

Looking at more promising opportunities, WGN aired WWE Main Event for a while. Heck WGN and TNA held talks back in 2005 when TNA’s Fox Sports Net deal ended. Perhaps WGN may maintain renewed interest in TNA.

Or maybe Fox Sports Net will welcome back Impact, even if that means TNA goes back to an afternoon timeslot. Said scenario proves far from ideal but at least TNA would survive. Survive first, thrive later.

A wild card option could see Impact Wrestling on AMC. Hey, unlikely AMC-WWE merger rumors surfaced earlier this year. If AMC actually wants to enter the wrestling game, TNA provides them that chance.

Another, crazier avenue revolves around returning weekly Wednesday night PPVs. Obviously that won’t happen for financial reasons but if I mentioned Micro Championship Wrestling, why not the weekly PPVs?

Okay, I’m done joking around. People’s livelihoods depend on whether TNA finds a new network. Given that hopefully the company overcomes the current adversity by securing a deal with WGN. Or TNA outlasts the adversity by surviving on Fox Sports Net. Both hypotheticals assuming the networks still show interest in wrestling.

Back on Sunday, June 15th at Slammiversary TNA Hall of Famer Kurt Angle announced the 2014 TNA Hall of Fame inductees, Team 3D. The announcement forever links Bully Ray and Brother Devon’s names alongside Angle and “The Icon” Sting, TNA’s first two Hall of Famers. While most fans seemingly view the TNA Hall of Fame skeptically, there should stand no doubt Team 3D deserves the “Hall of Fame” moniker.

Team 3D
Team 3D in Philapephia prior to Lockdown 2009. Photo: PrtSc Image

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This week TNA Wrestling parted ways with Frankie Kazarian by opting not to resign him. Rather than using the departure to speculate about the wrestling company’s future I will instead spend time highlighting Kaz’s career there. After all Kaz really blossomed into a star the past decade under the TNA banner.

Frankie Kazarian circa 2005
Early in his TNA Wrestling career Frankie Kazarian proved himself as a top notch in-ring competitor. Photo: Mike Kalasnik (Flickr)

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Speculation over a potential match between Sting and The Undertaker only increased after WWE recently released a video teasing the dream bout. If you somehow managed to miss seeing the video, go ahead and give “The Undertaker vs. Sting- Fantasy Match-Up” a view.

Sting vs. The Undertaker Fantasy Match
Sting vs. The Undertaker graphic from WWE's fantasy match video. Photo: PrtSc Image

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Back in April when Jeff and Karen Jarrett announced Global Force Wrestling (GFW), the press release touted an interactive experience for fans. Even well before the first GFW event, the Jarretts look to deliver on the interactivity by presenting the Global Force Wrestling Fantasy Draft. Capitalizing on NFL draft anticipation GFW tweeted out the following Monday, May 5th, 2014.
Global Force Wrestling Fantasy Draft
Global Force Wrestling wants to know who you want to see on their roster. Photo: PrtSc Image

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Ending our brief “Ultimate Flashback” series we recall a WWE event June 25th, 1988. On that night at Madison Square Garden The Ultimate Warrior wrestled Bobby “the Brain” Hennan in a bout where the loser must wear a weasel suit. The match embodies the sports entertainment aspect to professional wrestling Vince McMahon seems to love.

As with any Ultimate Warrior match Warrior psyched the crowd up beforehand with his signature high energy entrance. This time though Warrior came bolting into the arena carrying the weasel suit the loser would fashion. Obviously Ultimate Warrior entered the favorite to win

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Ultimate Flashback: Wrestlemania VI

April 24th 2014 05:45
Wrestlemania VI provides a refresher on Ultimate Warrior’s popularity during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Re-watching his main event bout against “the Immortal” Hulk Hogan so I could write up this “Ultimate Flashback” post, two other Wrestlemania classics came to my mind. First, Shawn Michaels versus Bret Hart from Wrestlemania XII and second Hulk Hogan versus The Rock from Wrestlemania X8.

The parallel between Warrior/Hogan and Michaels/Hart revolves around two fan favorites facing off, a rarity in professional wrestling. A couple different reasons can explain the infrequent occurrence. One a certain danger exists moving away from the heel vs. face formula. Also not many stars develop to the point where they can successfully match the top star’s popularity, again a credit to The Ultimate Warrior

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When you talk Ultimate Warrior’s most memorable matches, his title bout with Hulk Hogan from Wrestlemania VI should spring to mind. Prior to the two fan favorites facing off on the grandest stage though they naturally crossed each other’s paths within the squared circle’s confines. Saturday, January 27th, 1990 remained one such time. The larger than life personas teamed up on Saturday Night’s Main Event to wrestle Mr. Perfect and The Genius.

Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, The Genius, Mr. Perfect
Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior teamed up on Saturday Night's Main Event to take on Mr. Perfect and The Genius. Photo: PrtSc Image

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