Based on the title alone, I already know what you’re thinking: “Great. Another article about how something TNA is doing is a bad idea.” Hardly. In all honesty, I think the Gut Check is a great idea, and one of the better ideas TNA has had in a long time.
When I heard that, once a month we’d get a look at a new talent from the independent scene, and a week later we’d find out if he or she was getting a job with the company I got excited. I know that there is a lot of great, deserving talent out on the independents, and would love nothing more than to see some of these very deserving people finally get a chance to showcase their talents on a national stage where a much, much larger audience can see them every week. It’s a great concept, and a great way to find new talents talent that might otherwise go undiscovered.
Unfortunately, what looks good on paper doesn’t always looks as good upon execution.
Let’s look at its short history thus far. First, we get Alex Silva, a man that, outside of OVW faithful, no one had ever heard of. No problem, as that’s part of what Gut Check is all about. In the interview before the match, Al Snow put him over, and they showed footage of him having a couple matches in OVW, so he at least seemed experienced. So, he was put on the show in a tryout match with Robbie E (a clownshoe in his own right), and the two of them proceeded to have…well, one of the worst televised matches I’ve seen in years. Silva and Robbie completely stunk up the place, and for once, it wasn’t Robbie’s fault. Silva went out there, and appeared for all the world he had never wrestled a day in his life. Somehow, this was still good enough for TNA, and Silva was given his contract the next week.
The next month, TNA brings in someone much more well known, that being indy standout Joey Ryan. Ryan has a rather large fanbase for an indy wrestler, has been plying his trade across the world for 12 years, is unbelievably charismatic and a great in-ring performer to boot. For his match, Ryan showed the world his personality and why he’s a good fit for a major promotion, then proceeded to tear the house down with Austin Aries in a short but fun and competitive match. TNA asked fans to voice their opinion via Twitter after the match, and 87% responded favorably. The result? The Gut Check judges turned him down.
That’s right. The one guy so far that actually did a good job that fans really wanted to see didn’t get the job.
Fast forward to last month, and we get the third installment of the Gut Check, with the first female tryout in Taeler Hendrix, an average-at-best girl in the looks department, with average-at-best skills and personality in regards to wrestling. Much like Silva, most fans had never heard of Hendrix outside of OVW, and once again, we get a video of Al Snow praising her. If you haven’t been watching the show, I’m sure you can still guess where this is going. While I give Hendrix a lot of credit for surviving a cancer scare, that does not make you good enough to be wrestling on television. Apparently, TNA disagrees with me though, as she proceeded to stink up the joint with Tara (albeit not as badly as Silva) in her tryout match, then got offered a contract the next week.
As we get close to the fourth installment of this program, we’ve had two wrestlers accepted by TNA into the roster, and one rejected. The two accepted aren’t ready for the position and the one who was rejected was more than ready. Normally, I’d say “screw you, Dixie” or something similar but, oddly enough, Dixie Carter isn’t to blame here. I hate to say this, because I’ve always had respect for the guy, but the man to blame here is Al Snow. For those that don’t know, Snow is a producer for TNA and has a lot of involvement in talent relations. Because of this, he is basically in charge of finding new talents to compete on Gut Check, and has been the one to bring both Alex Silva and Taeler Hendrix on board, based on the rest of TNA officials going on his word that they were good talents who were ready for television.
Despite this, TNA doesn’t seem to agree. As soon as Silva was given his contract on Impact, reports began to surface that TNA officials were not happy about it at all, as none of them felt Silva was ready for his spot. Amazingly, they’ve backed up their claims, as Silva has not been seen on television since, and there are no plans to bring him back in the foreseeable future. When Hendrix was given her deal, guess what? Officials said the exact same thing, citing that not only was she not up to snuff in terms of skill, but also felt she didn’t have a marketable look. And, much like Silva, Hendrix hasn’t been brought back to television as of this week, and there are no immediate plans for that to happen.
I hate to pick on Snow, because like I said, I do have a lot of respect for the guy and have always been a fan of his work, but he is the main person responsible, and if you don’t believe me, ask the other TNA officials. Snow is taking the blame from them as well, since he spent so much time hyping both talents while the rest of the company watched them fail in front of a worldwide audience. It’s one thing to offer this chance to indy talents with a lot of experience who know what they’re doing in the ring; it’s another to offer them to people simply because they work for the company you have a developmental deal with.
And what about Joey Ryan, the one guy who actually got over with the crowd and put in a good performance? As I said, he was not offered a contract, and proceeded to have a war of words with both Taz and Al Snow, two of the three Gut Check judges, and he also interrupted Taeler Hendrix’s judging segment by showing up in the audience and screaming at Taz before being thrown out by security. A lot of people seem to think this is an angle that could lead to Ryan doing something with Taz that would eventually land him a deal and, for how it looks, it most certainly could be the case, and I’d be perfectly fine with it. However, I have yet to see any reports or news stories that would indicate this is true. In fact, outside of Joey Ryan’s personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, I haven’t seen anything regarding Ryan and TNA since his tryout. This would indicate that TNA has no plans to bring him into the company. However, I hope I am proven wrong.
Or, at the very least, start listening to someone other than Al Snow.
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