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TNA Wrestling Releases Jay Lethal

TNA Wrestling has fired Jay LethalTNA Wrestling fan favorite and original Jay Lethal has fought his last match for the company after a disappointing 7th place finish in the X Division Xscape Match at the 2011 TNA Lockdown event. For a company that is prone to making decisions that range anywhere from silly to the utterly bizarre, this decision will do nothing to quiet the negative criticism from pro wrestling fans.

While this isn’t exactly the death of the X Division, I think it’s a clear message that the writers don’t want to focus on the high flying, daredevil style that is a breath of fresh air from the stomping around of over the hill veterans that currently hog up all the air time.

It’s pretty apparent that TNA needed to cut down the roster, but why Lethal? Why the guy whose impersonations of Ric Flair and Macho Man Randy Savage brought down the house? From what I’ve seen in the ring the past year, Lethal is one of the hardest working guys in the company and, according to Twitter fallout, was one of the most popular guys backstage.

You never like to see people lose employment, but what does management see in guys like Rob Terry, Gunner, and Murphy that they didn’t see in a guy like Lethal who helped keep the company afloat through thick and thin? If this was a booking issue, turn Lethal heel but at least keep him television. If you cut the Immortal fat, they could have done something cool like having him join forces with Robbie E to create a Jersey themed team, join Immortal and fight guys like Kazarian and the Bucks in the X Division and battle with Beer Money for the tag titles.

I’m not certain how much money Lethal was pulling with his TNA contract, but a possible silver lining here is that he is talented and young enough to have a shot at a WWE career. I’ve heard ideas float around about a possible remake of the Nation of Domination (involving guys like R Truth, Zeke Jackson, JTG), which is an angle I think could be moderately successful and that much more entertaining with a maestro of the mic like Jay Lethal.

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Regardless, TNA is still losing a valuable resource but remains content in pushing older and older guys like Scott Steiner. If you missed Impact this week, Steiner has now entered into a feud with Matt Morgan, a program that could see the victor be next in line for a World title shot. Steiner has been very effectively on the mic and can still pull off most of his suplexes, but the amount Dixie Carter is probably paying him doesn’t offset the less than average ratings this year.

TNA can mull over name changes all they want, but if a show is called Crap on a Stick but puts you on the edge of your seat every week, it still beats the pants off the “leader” in pro wrestling. Especially when that leader is firing their best employees and hardest workers and keeping their World title on a fifty year old.

What else is on TV, tonight? This officially sucks.

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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