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The Complete and Utter Misuse of James Storm by TNA
James Storm, former mainstay of one of WWE’s nationally televised rivals- TNA, has just made his WWE NXT debut. This is interesting news for fans like me as I have always wanted to see Storm make the jump to the much bigger pond that WWE offers. For some reason though, it has taken quite a long time for him to make that leap. WWE are billing James Storm as an 18 year veteran and former heavyweight champion- which is interesting because WWE has had a longstanding policy of not recognizing the competition (they did this with WWE during the height of the Monday Night Wars and it was a mistake). Since NXT is only aired on the WWE Network, I wonder if the commentators will be given a little bit of freedom in discussing James Storms’ past accomplishments. Previously we saw Samoa Joe, another former huge star for TNA, make the jump to NXT but commentators were light on his history.
James Storm has met with success, as far as TNA can afford it, on several occasions during his time there. He even briefly held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship before losing it to his former Beer Money tag team partner, Bobby Roode. Prior to the overly successful Beer Money tag team (they were so successful they offered motorized coolers at one point) James Storm was a member of another successful tag team in TNA- Americas Most Wanted. In singles competition, Storm never really had much success though he was kept in various storylines that allowed him to keep relevance over the years. The overall use of James Storm in TNA can be summed up as a complete “misuse” of a major talent.
Over the years, Storm proved that he could be a valuable player in tag teams- he had many partners though was only pushed with Roode and while a member of America’s Most Wanted. This was the biggest problem that I could see with his tenure with Total Nonstop Action- their lack of understanding of how to properly utilize him and his talent. When Storm was a member of Beer Money and the team was at the height of popularity with the fans, TNA breaks them up and has them go for singles action. Why?!? They were extremely popular with the fans, they were moving merchandise off the tables, they were getting genuine reaction in the studio and online yet TNA sees fit to break them up and utterly leave Storm in mid-card hell, while they pushed Bobby Roode.
TNA did this with other extremely popular tag teams over the years. This list of tag teams that TNA has broken up once they came over includes some big names such as The Dudley Boys/Team 3D. The Dudley’s also got similar treatment to what Storm experienced when Beer Money broke up, Devon was mid-card status (till leaving the company) while Bubba/Bully Ray went onto headline the company multiple times. This is a disturbing trend for TNA and doesn’t bode well for tag teams such as The Wolves, who TNA has hinted at many times breaking up but never actually doing it.
This is weird to me that they would break up such a successful team as Beer Money. The merchandising options were high considering the juxtaposition of the members of Beer Money. TNA showed great support for the team by offering beer money bottles (presumably filled with soda) at some shows, shirts, hats, the aforementioned motorized cooler, etc. TNA could have let the marketing department run wild with this team and it would probably have fit. WWE has marketed a lot of non-character items for people such as John Cena (wrist bands, towels, etc) - TNA could have done something similar with Beer Money. I can easily have seen them sell cowboy hats (not verified that they did not) and even belt buckles for Beer Money.
Now that James Storm is in WWE NXT it could mean that he is nearing the end of his career (18 years of in ring action can shorten a career prematurely). Maybe James Storm wanted to at least make an appearance in what many consider the “big leagues” of wrestling prior to retiring. Of course, his retiring is just a thought I had, I don’t know if he has plans to, or will, retire soon or not. I hope he doesn’t retire before he is able to make the main roster of WWE and appear on an iconic show like Monday Night Raw.
Will we see James Storm team up with someone in WWE and form a new tag team? Could Bobby Roode be far behind Storm in making the jump and us seeing a reunion of Beer Money on the bigger stage? Imagine the fan reaction to that on Monday Night Raw- I am sure it would be thunderous.
For now, we have James Storm in WWE NXT and that is a good thing.