We here at Ring Psychology understand that it may have been some time since you’ve followed wrestling regularly. Perhaps you’re looking to jump back into it, but you’re concerned you won’t understand what’s going on. "Oh no," you may be thinking, "I don’t want to look like a fool in front of my wrestling friends if I can’t tell The Miz from The Morrison!" Don’t worry, we’re here to help! "The State of…" will provide key storyline info and identify the main players of all the major television shows…and ROH, too!
As it turns out, when I originally did The State of Wrestling for July covering the WWE and ROH shows, I thought I could move on to random indies like CHIKARA and PWG for kicks, because CHIKARA and PWG are great. Apparently I forgot all about TNA. When I say "forgot about" what I mean to say is "attempted to block it from my memory". Watching TNA is like running a triathlon: there's no real reward for finishing, and by the end you're wondering whether your legs will give out before you shit yourself. It's not fun, it's not entertaining, and it will usually just make you angry. Once I remembered that TNA existed, I considered just not writing about it out of spite. But if I want to truly call this series The State of Wrestling, well I suppose we have to take the atrocious with the bad.
TNA or "Total Nonstop Action" Wrestling (a bit of a misnomer, as the action quite often stops, and is far from total) is technically the second-largest professional wrestling company in the world, owned by an energy company, sponsored by an energy drink company, and featuring main eventers with no energy. It is written by Vince Russo, a man largely credited with creating the worst parts of wrestling from 1997 onwards, and for killing WCW.
Let's take a look at the major players and storylines of TNA!
TNA World Heavyweight Championship: This title, created when NWA pulled their affiliation with TNA due to TNA's chronic jackassery, is held by Kurt Angle, a name most of you will recognize due to chronic awesomeness. Kurt currently looks like a more haggard Wanderlei Silva and is down to weighing about 215. He is the current leader of a group known as the Main Event Mafia, a crew of heels famous for being in other companies and also a big fat guy. The Main Event Mafia is known for their lack of enthusiasm toward their chosen profession and for currently holding nearly all the titles in the company. Kurt Angle is currently feuding with Mick Foley, the crippled current "majority share holder" of TNA. Also in the mix both on-screen and off is Jeff Jarrett, the man who created TNA and is currently banging Angle's ex-wife in real life. Just added to all of this awesome old-dudes-hitting-each-other intensity is the newly-arrived Bobby Lashley, who has spent most of his TNA on-screen time talking about how he wants to fight Brock Lesnar, a man who has never been affiliated with TNA in any capacity and never will be.
TNA Legends Championship: This is a title that I guess if you hold it, you are a legend? It was created by Booker T because I guess he was tired of wrestling for titles and it is easier to just show up with a title and say you're awesome (note: this worked for Ted DiBiase back in the day). The current Legends champion is Main Event Mafia member Kevin Nash. As far as I know, he's not in any storylines apart from the fact that he's holding a competition for women to be his valet. He still calls himself "Big Sexy" and looks like the world's oldest giant Kenny Rogers.
TNA Tag Team Championship: The current tag team champions are Main Event Mafia members Scott Steiner and Booker T. They are currently involved in a feud with Beer Money, Inc. which is comprised of Robert Roode and James Storm. Beer Money is one of the very, very few good things about TNA, because they ride a motorized beer cooler to the ring. Also in the mix are British Invasion, who are a bunch of British dudes, and Lethal Consequences, and probably some other stupid tag teams with stupid names. The tag team division is bogged down by the fact that TNA has a partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling, so any TNA wrestlers that win an IWGP title are recognized and promoted as tag team champions. So this led to a situation recently where you had THREE DIFFERENT TAG TEAMS in TNA who were all tag champs: Beer Money were TNA Tag Team Champions, Team 3-D (who you would know as The Dudley Boyz) were IWGP Tag Team Champions, and The Murder City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) were the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. So if you're watching TNA and you see a bunch of tag team belts flying around, just shrug and move on.
TNA X Division Champion: The X Division used to be for cruiserweights, and then they said it was not about cruiserweights, so it was for young dudes and up-and-comers and now I don't even know what the fuck. The current champ is Homicide, who is really awesome but you'll probably never see any of what makes him awesome on TV. He is one-half of LAX along with Hernandez, and he seems to be starting a feud with Samoa Joe, the one member of the Main Event Mafia who does not currently hold a title. Joe is managed by the just-arrived Taz, who stands around on the outside being fat and telling Joe how to optimize his fatness.
TNA Knockouts Champion: The "Knockouts" are TNA's version of WWE "Divas" because if there's one thing women hate, it's not being objectified by a pithy marketing descriptor. Current champ Angelina Love is part of The Beautiful People, which are a pair of ladies who think they're real great. TNA has like a million billion women wrestlers who are all pretty whatever, and also Awesome Kong who is enormous and angry and one of the few women wrestlers in North America that can be taken seriously.
Other Notables: The most notable thing about TNA is how bad it is. They've got a bunch of seriously talented wrestlers, but they manage to be so spectacularly bad at what they do that nothing ends up meaning anything at all. Good luck with watching this craphole.
Next time: CHIKARA, seriously.