New TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Eric Young?
A smallish, bearded wrestler wins a world title. Heard this story before? TNA’s new World Champ is perennial underdog Eric Young, who won a gauntlet match on tonight’s Impact Wrestling, and demanded the title shot that he earned with that victory later in the show, then pinned champion Magnus in a surprise result.
Surprises are good in wrestling, but fans are already questioning the timing of having Young, 5’11”, 225, win the title just days after WWE put its world titles on Daniel Bryan, listed at 5’10”, 210. Is tna guilty of copying WWE and trying to capitalize on the hot run that Bryan has had dating back to SummerSlam?
It’s possible. And if so, shame on TNA, not for copying WWE, because imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but it can sometimes just be good for business if done right. But the shame here is, this one wasn’t done right.
Bryan was hot because WWE kept him chasing after the title for months. He had it at SummerSlam, and then Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase after Bryan spent himself defeating john cena and with some help from Triple H scored the easy pinfall. Then it was his again at Night of Champions after he pinned Orton, only to be stripped the next night by Triple H, acting on behalf of The Authority.
After his second brief title reign, Bryan was relegated to the midcard for a while, with a brief feud (and loss at Royal Rumble) to Bray Wyatt, all the while WWE fans clamored for his return to main-event status, which was eventually granted in the walkup to WrestleMania 30.
Even the win at ‘Mania was done well, with Bryan having to run his own gauntlet, of sorts, first having to get through Triple H to earn his spot in the main event, then overcoming the odds in a triple threat match with Orton and Batista.
Nobody is saying EY isn’t deserving of a title run in TNA, but what had tna done to push him to the front of late? Having him job to Abyss and Samoa Joe? Having him spend a record 478 days as one-half of the Knockouts Tag Team Champs with ODB?
The Bryan title win at WrestleMania was the culmination of a classic chase; the Eric Young title win on Impact was … uninspired booking.
– Column by Chris Graham