Monday, April 25, 2011

Lethal Release

Photo courtesy: TNA Wrestling
By Chad Smart

I’ve been sitting on this for a few days hoping more information would be forthcoming. I’ll make the disclaimer now that what I’m about to write is taken from the slimmest of details therefore some information could be wrong. If any part of what I’m about to write proves to be false, I will correct said information. 

Normally any postings on my123cents try to avoid speculating on rumors. Kevin and I want this blog to be respected and taken somewhat serious. We’re not out to jump on every Internet rumor or base writings on unfounded reports. That’s the reason this posting will be brief.

Last week TNA and Jay Lethal parted ways. I don’t know if Jay’s contract was up and TNA chose not to renew it, or if he was released from his contract. All I know is Jay Lethal is no longer a member of the TNA roster. To me this move is very confusing and continues to bolster the public perception of TNA not caring about homegrown talent.

Jay had been a member of the TNA roster for 5-6 years. I think I read he was a 6-time X-Division champion. I know he held the title multiple times but I didn’t realize it was so many. I couldn’t tell you any significant title defenses he had during any reign, or whom he beat or lost the title to as titles change hand so frequently no reign really means anything. To be fair, I also couldn’t tell you the last 6 WWE Intercontinental champions either. It has more to do with treating titles like a hot potato than with specific wrestling companies.

Photo courtesy: TNA Wrestling
Over the last couple years it looked like Jay Lethal was poised to be a break out star for TNA.  He was put into programs with Kurt Angle and Ric Flair and got victories over both guys. Instead of using that momentum to keep his star rising, he was quickly put back into meaningless matches lower on the card or taken off television for extended periods of time. Not to be snarky or critical for the sake of being critical, but it seems around the time Jay could have been put into high profile matches, another ex-WWE guy would show up and take the spot.

Maybe Jay realized he wasn’t getting used to the best of his ability and decided to step away from TNA as a way to gain more experience and learn new styles and techniques. I’ve often said the death of the territory days has led to a lot of guys becoming stale because they stay in one place for too long. Unless WWE realizes they need more young talent and gives Jay at least a developmental contract, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jay back in TNA within a year.

Now I’m going to be snarky. While Jay Lethal is no longer a member of TNA, Jeff Hardy is still listed as a member of the roster on the TNA website. You know, the guy who was busted for drug possession BEFORE signing with TNA and who went on to be TNA World Champion. The same Jeff Hardy who showed up to two pay per views in no condition to wrestle yet was still in main event matches. This is why I’m hoping Jay Lethal’s departure from TNA was more his decision and not TNA’s. 

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