With the recent Bound for Glory series and the subsequent push of Bobby Roode as number one contender, it's clear that TNA are looking to the future, in search of that one big breakout name that'll turn the business around. As such, I thought I would take a look at Impact Wrestling's roster and point out any I see as being stars in the making. This will vary wildly from those I think SHOULD be headlining shows, to the guys I know WILL end up headlining shows.
The Experiment - Bobby Roode
For all the while TNA have been active, this is probably their first true attempt at making their own genuine maineventer. No matter who they've inherited from WWE, no matter their vast array of internet darlings, this is the first time I've ever felt genuine momentum behind one of their talents. All the pieces seem to fall exactly into place to form the perfect hero's journey. He's part of a wildly successful tag team (one goes onto greatness and the other...you know how it goes), he overcame an injury, he clawed his way through the BFG series to victory, he defeated all the obstacles placed in his way by the villain and now, on the grandest stage (in TNA), he stands triumphant. That is the most coherent and compelling story I've ever witnessed on TNA programming. Sometimes it can be that simple, and given one last rub by defeating Kurt Angle, one of the best professional wrestlers in history, I honestly believe Bobby Roode will be a worthy TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I'm not saying they won't botch his run as champ, but that's for the next few months to tell. For now, it pays to be Roode.
The Cruiserweight - Austin Aries
For years, I heard whispers about the talent of one Austin Aries. But in all those years, he never truly emerged in either of the big promotions. Even when he first arrived in TNA, to much fanfare, it was an aborted venture and he quickly found his way back to the Independent scene. Now, a few years later, things are looking up for ol' Double A. He was the standout performer at the X Division themed PPV, Destination X, winning himself the contract on offer. This raised profile soon brought him into conflict with then X Division Champion, Brian Kendrick. A feud which would benefit him greatly, as he would eventually win the X Division Title for the very first time and establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. If I were TNA, this wouldn't be the end of his push either. Aries isn't just a standout of the X Division, he's a standout of the entire program. Remember how the likes of Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero worked their way up from the Cruiserweight division to full blown World Champions? Well, I see that same potential in Austin Aries. The X Division is a good introduction, now let's see about elevating him even further.
The Dead Cert - Crimson
Over the past year, Crimson has clearly been management's pet project. Even more so, they have delusions of Bill Goldberg. Where once WCW dared to tread, TNA blunder right in. They've picked a big hulking guy with a tough past, given him an undefeated streak, wins over some of the biggest names in the company and sat back to wait for the fans to pile in - only they haven't. I've come to believe even those who initially pushed him have regretted their decision and are slowly toning it down. For example, the way in which he dominated the Bound for Glory series, only to pull out suddenly at the end due to "injury". Basically, he didn't have nearly enough heat with the crowd and they couldn't risk having him mainevent their biggest PPV of the year. However, I don't think we've heard the last of Crimson. This faux injury was designed to keep him from winning the BFG series, yet retain his undefeated streak for use later. When management feels the time is right, I'll bet you anything Crimson finds himself at the top of the card, challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, whether we fans want him there or not. Ladies and Gentlemen, TNA's John Cena in waiting!
The TnA - Velvet Sky
While her time with the company has been extremely beneficial for both parties, I think Velvet still has alot to achieve. Ever since she cut that promo with Mickie James about wanting to become Knockouts Champion, I've pretty much taken it for granted that it''ll happen at Bound for Glory. She's the closest thing to a homegrown Knockout that the company has and given the right push at their biggest PPV, I think Velvet Sky could be the breakout star of the division. She's only a couple of steps from becoming TNA's version of Trish Stratus. Viewers come to let the pigeons loose and stay for the wrestling. Mission accomplished.
The Wildcard - James Storm
As I said earlier, typically when a tag team breaks up, one member goes on to greatness, while the other damn near disappears aka The Marty Janetty effect. However, Beer Money are no ordinary tag team and I don't think their breakup will be ordinary either. In the past few weeks, since No Surrender, Storm has put on a series of hugely entertaining matches and followed them up with promos to take notice of. While you could accuse him of riding Bobby Roode's coattails into the mainevent, would such an effect really be so bad? In seeing each other's performances, Roode and Storm are raising their games to keep up with one another, making for wonderful television in the process.