Welcome to Seven Things, a list that will run weekly and consist of very eclectic topics. These are of my opinions and doesn’t express the views of others on WrestlingOnEarth.
One of the most interesting concepts in sports is trades. The ability to see athletes switch teams when both parties believe they are better from swapping players. Always a curiosity of mine, I frequently imagine a world where wrestling promotions make trades of talent.
In the past, we’ve seen an unofficial trade of “one night only” appearances by WWE and TNA. Ric Flair was allowed to appear at the WWE Hall of Fame despite being a member of the TNA roster and WWE active star Christian Cage appeared on a TNA PPV to cut a promo & introduce a highlight video package that celebrated TNA’s anniversary on the apropos named event Slammiversary.
That “trade” did not work out so well as Flair didn’t live up to his word to TNA (Ric Flair being unprofessional? Who knew?!) and certain parties being unhappy (TNA getting embarrassed? Who knew?!?! x 2) so obviously trades would realistically be problematic. Given money, contracts and many more factors, there is a sea of reasons that will prevent it from ever happening but it’s quite the fun topic to discuss. The criteria for these trades are simple. Sometimes wrestlers get stale or have been in a company so long, sometimes they just are not being used well, sometimes they seem to be a better fit to another company.
The top 7 trades should be based off some of these, if not all. Without further ado, here are my 7 Wrestling Trades in today’s wrestling climate.
Reminder: If you have any suggestions for future lists, feel free to share them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter: @typicalROHfan.
7. Jeff Hardy (to WWE) for Batista (to TNA)
While it may only be two months in, I think even the most diehard WWE supporters can admit the Dave Batista return did not work out the way WWE intended. Brought back as a face meant to spark Wrestlemania and somewhat fill the void of what The Rock has brought to the road to Wrestlemania last few years, Batista was greeted with utter disdain by the WWE faithful. A mix of liking their babyface stars at the time more than him, WWE severely overrating the legacy of Batista and just poor booking led to Batista having to turn heel and basically be a 2nd tier player in his own Wrestlemania program.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy is in TNA. As Willow. It doesn’t take much to put 2+2 together and see that Jeff is behind this idea. TNA’s last “legacy” asset, Hardy sells more tix than anyone else on their roster, a facet that TNA is struggling with. Without being able to offer as many things as WWE, TNA’s biggest pro would be to offer Hardy some creative respect and allow him to do something like Willow. The problem? Willow is crazy. And not good crazy.
Flipping these two would improve both of their uses. Hardy still can go when motivated and I believe fans would gravitate towards him more than Batista. For all his faults, Hardy is still a likeable dude and Batista still seems like the biggest douchebag on the planet. Batista just doesn’t fit well in today’s WWE and strange to say, would be better off working his style in TNA. Plus the Guardians of the Galaxy buzz is doubtful to be a big help to WWE as you can barely tell it’s even him in that movie. A promotion like TNA is more starved for the promoting that would be minimal in a WWE bubble but massive for TNA.
6. Roderick Strong (to TNA) for Samoa Joe (to ROH)
Both of these guys have been in their current situations for such a long time, it has become beyond stale. They provide good matches and fans still love them but I personally just want to see a change in each of their scenery.
The Wolves have added a little bit of excitement to TNA and let’s be honest. In a vacuum, Roderick Strong is a near carbon copy of those two and would add the same positives. Samoa Joe, on the other hand, needs a change badly. I think the WWE ship has sailed a long, long time ago.
Business for ROH has seemingly been great in 2014. Crowds seem to be bigger and hotter. There are a few hot current acts on it and just a good program right now but I do believe the excitement of AJ Styles and Chris Hero returning rejuvenated a lot of casual indie fans. Add Samoa Joe who was WAY bigger in ROH than either of those two and you have a huge spark. Plus Joe looked outstanding when working Willie Mack at an indie show last year so seeing him match the intensity and skill of new, younger opponents would be awesome to see as well.
5. TJ Perkins (to PWG) for Willie Mack (to TNA)
This one is more simple. I love both of their work but despise the way they are (not) being used right now. Perkins was on fire in PWG and was becoming one of my favorites to watch on the bi-monthly Reseda shows. I enjoyed his early work as Manik in TNA but as they tend to do, TNA took him off television literally right after his X Division title reign.
Willie Mack is still one of my favorites in PWG. His style is so unique and fun. I love his athleticism but his look and size is different so he adds to the shows immensely for me as a change of pace to all the 360-720 splash flip dives we see all show. When incorporating some of those tendencies, it still is showcased differently due to his size. While it’s certainly hard to predict who will succeed in TNA, I think he’d have a good chance and I just want to see him SOMEWHERE.
NXT, TNA, ROH, Dragon Gabe, PWG in a worthwhile match. Someone book him for me, please!
4. Tyson Kidd (to ROH) for Jay Lethal (to WWE)
Tyson Kidd looks like he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. The problem is you never get to see it and you can’t be sure unless you see it. His small spurts always show amazing in ring skills but the only time you ever get to see him on television is when he is failing to have sex with real life wife Natalya or doing whatever the current storyline pitched to him is on Total Divas.
Jay Lethal was shockingly fired from TNA and has been a fixture in ROH for a few years now. I’m a huge fan of Lethal but I’ve always thought he was better suited for a more story based promotion. Don’t throw pitchforks at me; I love some of the storylines in ROH so far in 2014 and adore the product but it will always be more technical wrestling match based than wrestling angle based. Lethal has shown a range of skills from comedy as Black Machismo to stepping up in big match performances such as defeating Kurt Angle for the X Division Championship or getting the crowd to get behind him vs. Jeff Jarrett in a World Championship match that no one thought he had a chance of getting more than 3 moves in.
Throw Lethal in a WWE environment and I think he would succeed. The same applies to Tyson Kidd and ROH. While he may not have the most charisma or remarkable promo skills, Kidd would go a long way to showing his full ability, something I’m dying to see before his career ends. It’s kind of a shame he’s spent his 20’s in wrestling and we’ve rarely seen him perform. Kidd seems made for the ROH roster and I hope to see him appear at some point before his career ends.
3. The Usos (to PWG) for Candice LeRae (to WWE)
More difficult to sell you than the others so far as both parties are being used wonderfully right now. Candice LeRae is treated as an upper card performer feuding mostly with Adam Cole (Bay Bay) and the Uso brothers are the WWE tag champs going into Wrestlemania.
Despite it being beautiful now, I think they are close to plateauing in current scenarios. As much as I’d love LeRae to win the PWG title, I can’t see it happening and who knows how long a shelf life she has in having a role with importance. The same applies to the Usos. In recent history, WWE doesn’t buy into giving tag teams a long run with substance. Either they break up or they become irrelevant when losing the titles or out of the picture.
The Usos wrestle a really fun style that I’ve compared to WCW’s very short lived Cruiserweight tag team division and basically current day PWG. It’s a bit sad for me personally that they weren’t on the ROH/PWG/DragonGabe scene before WWE as they could have likely had many phenomenal matches. Breaks my heart even more that they had a killer match with the Young Bucks when the Bucks had their WWE tryout and we’ll never see it.
As for Candice, WWE seems to be putting emphasis on getting talented female wrestlers on NXT. While I’m not high on all of them, you can’t argue that it’s more consistently credible than anything on RAW or Smackdown. I think someone more talented like a Candice LeRae would be perfect there and shine with that opportunity.
2. Cody Rhodes (to ROH AND PWG) for Kevin Steen (to WWE)
As many may know, I make strong claims in regards to my wrestling opinions but something I feel is necessary is that I admit when I’m wrong and often love doing so. Cody Rhodes is one of those cases. When he first came into WWE, I thought he was a bust and Ted Dibiase was worlds better. How wrong I was? Cody, especially in the last year or so, has taken his game to another level.
Kevin Steen is also on his A game on the indies and Ring of Honor but it’s starting to feel like Bryan Danielson in 2008-2009. His matches are excellent, his presence is valuable and you still love seeing him but you can sense it’s time for him to progress to a bigger stage, that likely being WWE. With rumors floating around, the potential for that is very possible.
Going further in depth regarding Cody Rhodes, his matches have had me in awe lately. Some of the moves he pulls off is something I’d never have guessed. I’d love to see him wrestle most of the top independent wrestlers. This is not based off WWE’s use of him, although I fully expect them to use him much better after Wrestlemania, but rather how impressive I think he would be wrestling matches without time and card status restrictions.
1. Kurt Angle (to WWE) for Dolph Ziggler (to TNA)
The most logical trade of them all, let’s not kid ourselves. Sure, dirt sheets are wrong at times and things can change but if you don’t believe these two points, you’re in denial:
- WWE does not believe in Dolph Ziggler being more than a mid-carder.
- Kurt Angle desperately wants to go back to WWE.
Dolph Ziggler is someone the internet wrestling fan believes should be in a bigger position and quite frankly, one of the best “work rate” wrestlers in the world. That being said, it’s easy to tell WWE doesn’t buy it. Whether it’s the rumors of him being in the dog house for making controversial comments and ignoring WWE’s criticisms or common sense sightings like Big E Langston being booked to be the strength of their tag team when Ziggler was a MITB briefcase holder and Big E was on TV for month, you can see what his role is unless things drastically change. Even when he was given the now defunct secondary main title, the first sign of a crack and it was taken away. Ziggler is the only man to be a two time champion and never successfully defend it once.
Over to TNA, Kurt Angle is on his last legs in wrestling. Some say he should hang it up now before it gets ugly but I’m not applying that to my thinking as I have zero bearing on knowing his health. Angle has been basically throwing out hints every interview he does that he wants to go back to WWE when his contract ends in Fall and finish his career in glory. If he is physically able to, I hope it happens. The matches he could have with most of the roster would be wonderful, namely Daniel Bryan. Even if not at his best, Angle has enough talent at 50% to contribute the worth.
As for Ziggler and TNA, it’s a perfect fit. TNA needs to re-establish their brand with guys that they can make their own. That doesn’t mean staying away from ex-WWE talent but rather re-building them. Ziggler would be ideal as he likely won’t ever hit his ceiling in WWE but has enough of a fan base to bring over.
If you have any trade ideas you’d like to see happen between promotions in wrestling, leave a comment below or tweet us: @WrestlingEarth