Thursday, October 8, 2015

TNA's World Title Series

Carter is one of the favorites in the tournament
Screen Grab via
No sooner did Matt Hardy vacate the TNA World Championship than did the company get started on crowning a new titleholder. In the wake of his forfeiture of the title yesterday, TNA announced a large-scale, round-robin tournament featuring 32 wrestlers called the World Title Series. Immediately, many observers compared the tournament to the G1 Climax, New Japan's annual round-robin tournament, but the setup is more modeled after the FIFA World Cup. In fact, it is exactly modeled after the quadrennial event.

Eight groups of four wrestlers apiece will compete in the round robin phase, with wins worth three points and draws worth one. The 16 wrestlers with the most points at the end of group play will move onto a single elimination tournament that will culminate in the crowning of a new Champion. The conundrum here is that I didn't think TNA had 32 male wrestlers on its roster to compete, but Dixie Carter swooped in on Twitter and made this announcement:

Not everyone was happy about it of course, but in a business that has as many old-school curmudgeons (and I'm putting that lightly) as wrestling does, one is sure to get a backlash over doing something as overdue as having women compete for the World Championship.

The first 16 wrestlers have been announced for the fray, mainly because they all competed on last night's Impact. They include Bobby Lashley, Austin Aries, most recent former Champion before Hardy Ethan Carter III, Mr. Anderson, Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, Madison Rayne, Brooke Adams, Grado, Drew Galloway, Rockstar Spud, Bram (ugh), Crazzy Steve, Kenny King, Mahabali Shera, and Aiden O'Shea. The other half, which presumably will include Hardy and Kurt Angle among others, will be in action next week.

I have to level with all of you here and say that this concept is the first really enticing thing I've seen about Impact and TNA since I stopped watching a few years back. Who knew that an all encompassing tournament featuring cool performers of both genders could possibly bring a lapsed fan back into the fold? Either way, it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out, although I get the feeling the finals may end up putting Carter and Hardy back on a collision course.