April 30, 2003
TNA rumours fly over Hardy, Sabu, Ferrera
By DONNIE ABREU - SLAM! Wrestling
The top stories this week circling around TNA revolve around a couple of individuals who may or may not be joining the roster.
The first is former TNA color man, Ed Ferrera.
Ferrera, who used to wrestle under the moniker "Beautiful" Bruce Bodine, first made headlines in the wrestling world when he made the much publicized jump from the WWF to WCW's writing team along with Vince Russo.
While he was with WCW, Ferrera played a character that still gets ripped to this day, Oklahoma, a Jim Ross parody.
Fans everywhere were skeptical when Ferrera debuted a new look (punk-style clothes and dreadlocks) on a new show (NWA TNA) as a member of the play-by-play crew. He managed to impress many with his ability to add insight and thoughtful information to the broadcast. That's why so many fans were disappointed when Ferrera inexplicably left the company just a couple short months after it all began.
NWA TNA was battling with some very public financial issues, and Ferrera apparently decided to head out for greener pastures. Recently, several stories have come out that Ferrera has put calls in to the TNA offices inquiring about a return. I spoke to TNA officials yesterday and was told that Ferrera had in fact been in contact with the company. Nothing was said to make me believe that Ferrera will be returning -- but as wrestling fans have learned over the years: never say never. It certainly will not happen in the foreseeable future though.
I received several emails this week from fans who were disappointed that Sabu did not appear on last week's show as was being rumored on various websites and in several newsletters.
According to TNA officials, bringing Sabu back has been discussed, but not specifically for the April 23rd show.
Sabu is definitely a cult favorite all over North America, and most fans are dying to see him back in a mainstream ring. His first stint with TNA did provide a memorable ladder match against Malice, but on the flipside a terribly-worked World title match against then-champion Ken Shamrock.
We may see Sabu as soon as this week, but where would he fit in? Rumors that he would join Team Extreme, but in order for that to happen, the team would have to re-organized in my opinion. With four members (two only able to work hardcore matches) and Raven's Gathering of himself plus two, the team would need to be shaken up. I'd love to see Sabu and Shane Douglas in the fold.
Since his release from the WWE last week, Jeff Hardy has been the center of discussion for many TNA fans. There seem to be two distinct groups: Those who can't wait to see him make his debut at the Asylum (if he decides to sign) and those who claim they will lose interest if this "passionless slacker" is given a dime.
The official word from TNA is "There is interest (in signing Jeff Hardy) -- but it will all depend on the conditions of his release. Those conditions are being investigated". It is common to find no-compete clauses in the WWE's contract releases. They could range from 30 to 90 days. Raven is an example of a WWE worker who was released-recently and did not have a no-compete handed to him. That being the case, Raven showed up on TNA TV the day after he was cut.
I've been told that several TNA workers, including newly signed Justin Credible have contacted Hardy hoping to recruit him.
I have also been told that Jeff Hardy wants to continue his pro wrestling career, despite stories to the contrary. Yes, he wants to spend time relaxing and with his band, but he still wants to wrestle.
To me, Jeff Hardy is a natural fit for this hot new brand. Those who say he has lost his passion for this business should consider that he may have just lost patience with the low glass ceiling in the WWE. Hardy hit his head on that thing so many times it's amazing he doesn't have post-concussion syndrome!
Think back to last year when Jeff was matched up against then WWE champ, The Undertaker, in a ladder match. The fans were red-hot for Hardy and were dying to see the upset. They wanted to see the kid grab the title. What happened was Taker pinned Hardy cleanly and Jeff didn't see another prominent match for nine or 10 months. That's when he faced World Champion Triple H on RAW. Once again, the crowd was hot for the underdog, but once again Hardy was buried.
Hardy must feel that regardless of what the crowd feels or buys (his merchandise was always a top seller) that he would never reach the top of the mountain in the WWE. That would certainly not be the case with the NWA's top promotion.
PAY PER VIEW PREVIEW
It has been called (almost tongue in cheek) the most anticipated match in TNA history. More correctly, it is the most anticipated match in recent memory -- in any company. This match has been building for months and tonight we will finally have the World Title blow off between Raven and Jeff Jarrett. Will Raven realize his destiny or will the champion retain? Will Team Extreme figure into the decision? Will Jarrett continue his rule breaking ways while receiving pops as the company's top baby? I can't wait for this one.
Another classic battle will be the X-Division Title rematch: The Amazing Red versus Kid Kash. Several weeks ago Kash defeated Red with help from Trinity, but she is no longer in his corner. Will Red win his first bit of singles gold -- or will Kash continue his run as the longest reigning X-Division champion in TNA's brief history?
The fun will be live tonight at 8PM on Pay Per View. Check listings for encore presentations.
Donnie Abreu has been a wrestling journalist for eight years and is the co-founder of IceCold Media (http://www.icecoldmedia.com). Visit IceCold Media for all your custom media design needs. Mention that you read Donnie's column on SLAM! and receive a 20% discount!