Jay Lethal's firing from TNA ten days ago took most people by surprise. He was a wrestler the company should have been investing in, instead of being kicked to the kerb, given his youth, talent and charisma. Indeed, on the rare occasions when the company tossed him a bone, he made the most of it. He managed to make his Randy Savage "Black Machismo" impersonator one night joke gimmick work long term, which would have been a career killer in lesser hands. He stole the show at the No Surrender 2007 PPV when he upset Kurt Angle to win the X Division championship for the second time. Moreover, he proved to be one of the few people on the TNA roster who genuinely could keep up with Ric Flair on the microphone without being overshadowed in their feud last summer. However, each time his momentum stalled when TNA's creative team failed to follow through on their initial push despite him getting over, instead choosing to let him tread water in mid card mediocrity. Pretty frustrating huh?
However, more frustration was yet to come. In January, as TNA is wont to do every so often, they came up with the idea of rebuilding the X Division, at one time the crown jewel of their promotion that set them apart from WWE thanks to the electrifying and innovative action provided by the likes of A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Low Ki, Chris Sabin, et al. Given that Vince Russo mucked things up for everyone by de-emphasising the athleticism of the division and putting the focus more on his crappy storylines when he was rehired as head writer in the autumn of 2006, Lethal and his lighter weight comrades probably shouldn't have got their hopes up. But even the most pessimistic would have hoped that something would change, even if it was only fleeting. The planned big singles pushes for Jay Lethal and Chris Sabin evaporated for no good reason other than there is no time to push them when we have to push all the former WCW/WWE talent we've acquired. There was the token X division match on every recent episode of Impact, but these weren't given any time. How can you make a lasting in ring impression when you're given less than five minutes to strut your stuff? On PPV, their matches weren't hyped and stuck in an early spot on the show to warm up for the real stars. So it shouldn't be a surprise that things came to a head and an X division mutiny occurred when (close to) all the talent in that division complained about being treated like curtain jerkers after the Lockdown PPV in Cincinnatti.
According to Dave Meltzer in his subscribers only May 2nd Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this perfectly understandable mutiny may have cost Lethal his job, perhaps because he was seen as the ringleader:
I don't know if this is connected, but the timing makes it seem like it was, but the X Division guys at the PPV were complaining heavily about nothing being done with them after all the talk was putting them in the spotlight a few months ago. This may have been the response to the complaints.
For all the talk from certain circles that TNA management is not cold or heartless, just incompetent, it certainly seems like they have a petty, vindictive, nasty streak when their incompetence is confronted, if this story is indeed true. Rather than attempt to rectify their X division talents misgivings, instead they give them short shrift and fire one of their top stars in order to humble them into meek unquestioning servitude. Yet more evidence that Dixie Carter, aided and abetted by the backstabbing trio of Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, is not as nice and genteel as the wrestling media often purports her to be.