Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, I doubt rival pro wrestling promotions see it that way. Different wrestling organizations copying storylines is nothing new. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find any truly original angles in wrestling today. But the latest current events in TNA are so similar to WWE, that recent episodes of Impact Wrestling look like they were produced by the nearest copy machine.
TNA president Dixie Carter turned heel on television and later helped Magnus become TNA World Heavyweight Champion. In the ensuing weeks, Magnus looked terrible in his title defenses and always needed assistance or quirky finishes to retain his title. Despite the obvious similarities between TNA’s angle and The Authority and Randy Orton, this isn’t even the most egregious example of TNA copying WWE storylines.
On April 10, Eric Young defeated Magnus to become TNA World Heavyweight Champion. His victory came just four days after Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX. Like Daniel Bryan, Eric Young is an undersized wrestler, a babyface, an underdog, very popular, and he has a beard. It cannot be mere coincidence that Eric Young became TNA World Heavyweight Champion right after Daniel Bryan became champion.
Of course, if you were to ask Dixie Carter about this, she’d probably say that she created Eric Young’s character long before Daniel Bryan became a global phenomenon. In fact, when Eric Young started growing his beard, Daniel Bryan still looked like a middle school kid who hadn’t reached puberty yet. Also, at least within the ranks of TNA, Eric Young has been extremely popular and charismatic for many years.
The current director of the TNA creative team is John Gaburick. In the past, Gaburick worked as a producer for WWE television. So complaints that TNA is copying storylines from the WWE should come as no surprise. At the very least, many wrestling fans believe that TNA is trying to look like WWE television instead of forming its own niche. When Eric Bischoff was running TNA, the complaint was that TNA was copying old WCW storylines.
While it may be true that there’s nothing new under the sun in wrestling, TNA would be better served by trying to be as original as possible. TNA cannot hope to compete with the WWE by being its clone. Although Eric Young deserves to be TNA World Heavyweight Champion, the timing of his title reign coincides too directly with Daniel Bryan’s victory. TNA fans want an alternative in pro wrestling; not another WWE promotion.
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