I will always consider myself a WWE/F guy and if my interest in that product died off, I can't imagine a way that I would remain a wrestling fan by simply watching TNA or ROH and not the WWE product. Call me a snob or whatever you like but I have been conditioned to think of the WWE/F as the true professional league in the world of wrestling. In my sports background in basketball I feel the same way in terms of the NBA being the top league in the world. Will I watch the occasional NBDL Game or some International Ball at times as well as college basketball?....Sure. Ultimately though I am not as emotionally invested in those forms of the sport. I can be entertained by them on occasion and will be excited to see basketball at the Olympics next month. At the end of the day though it is the same in wrestling for me. I can watch TNA or ROH and enjoy a show or a match but I don't feel the same investment in an Austin Aries that I do in say a C.M Punk. Punk might be a poor example as he ultimately comes from that same indy scene that Austin Aries came up from. But it is when that guy ultimately makes the big time in WWE that for me that person and wrestling character have truly made it. I loved "Stunning" Steve Austin, Chris Jericho with his bodyguard Ralphus and a number of other guys that cut their teeth in WCW. I never did fall in love with Terror Rizing the first character that Paul Levesque would play in WCW. I am pretty certain I never saw him as being a future star in WWE.
What I think the problem is at least when it comes to TNA is they feel the need to use old established WWE Stars that I long stopped caring about. The difference between WCW and TNA is that when WCW brought in stars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bret Hart and an endless list of former WWE stars. What made it different was a lot of them went to WCW by choice not because they had no other option than to go to TNA. They still had my emotionally attachment and thus I would cheat on WWE often during the Monday Night Wars especially once Savage made the jump. I got to see Randy Savage beat up Dennis Rodman in a wrestling match. My worlds were colliding even back than. TNA doesn't have one guy that once was in the WWE that I would care about. It was sad to see the likes of Ric Flair and Mick Foley there and yes even Randy Savage for brief moments in the company's history. The likes of the Dudleys, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Mr Kennedy turned Mr.Anderson and likely a few that I am forgetting like RVD who was both ECW star and eventually would have his time in WWE. The point is I could care less about any of them. A lot of them are broken down versions of what they once were. At times you can still see greatness in Angle, RVD and others. Still there best days lie somewhere in the WWE Archives. Yes It's True Kurt Angle.
While I enjoyed the feud Angle had with Samoa Joe and it produced great matches I think you could list a number of his WWE feuds that we remember more. No matter how much they may fight it the fact is when you see any of the guys I mentioned in TNA or you see the World's Greatest's Tag Team in ROH or Maria being a heel in that same promotion you think of them as people the WWE no longer wanted. It is a hard and perhaps impossible shadow for them to escape. What can be worse is when these promotion's try to book them at the top of the card. It just seems wrong. About the only time it seems to have worked well for someone is Christian who left the WWE went back to being Christian Cage and became a World Champion in the TNA Promotion. When he would return to the WWE it seemed to help his stock rise and eventually he would get a World Championship run all be it short when Edge was forced to retire. He left WWE as a mid card talent, went elsewhere and became a main event talent and than reached that level in a return to the WWE. Those days are long gone as the I-C Champ now. A title that use to mean something. That is a story for another day though.
I guess the bottom line is after a certain point if a guy has not made the jump to WWE I wonder if he is even capable of doing it in terms of the home grown talent. Think about it, could you honestly see Samoa Joe, A.J Styles or Christopher Daniels in the WWE now? All have been great workers but at a certain point you just fail to see them as capable of making that leap. While currently I would wonder what an Austin Aries or a Bobby Roode could do in WWE. Am I doomed to just lose faith in that ever happening like with the 3 guys I mentioned prior. Matt Morgan is apparently on his way to the WWE. Morgan has the look that the WWE likes in terms of the prototype of what they want in a superstar. That said he is not even in the same league as the five wrestlers mentioned before him in this paragraph. Still wrestlers have broken through the WWE's ideal wrestler mold in the past and currently. Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio to current day stars Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. If you don't want to be in WWE you might have your reasons for doing so. Still at least for me you have to go to that big show to achieve the ultimate success this business has to offer.
What I find with both TNA and ROH is they try to go spot heavy and do a lot of the things the WWE has left behind in the attitude era for the most part. I think that is meant to compensate for what their stars lack in terms of mic skills in many cases. There still are some good talkers in these promotions but ultimately they are counting on putting their bodies through hell to get over. That is not a great way to have a long career. Ask a guy like Edge that likely had a lot of years ahead of him if he wanted them. The was a reason the WWE has cut back on those spot heavy matches and only bust them out for rare occasions. You need a healthy roster and eventually you do enough crazy spots and you will not have that. TNA almost learned that the hard way with the injury to Jessie Sorensen. He is lucky to be alive and not in a wheel chair for life. You can still have a great match without all the crazy spots if you are a true ring general like a Ric Fliar, Shawn Michaels, HHH, William Regal and many others you could list.
While having Hulk Hogan on the program and getting some attention for his want to be star daughter Brooke Hogan might be what TNA thinks is a way to draw an audience it really isn't. Hulkamania has been dead a longtime ago, just someone forgot to tell Hogan. Sting is no reason to watch either. Until the day comes that TNA can claim a WWE Star that you honestly believe could still be a star there it is a fight between a tank and a kid with water pistol. I may still watch TNA and think they are doing a better job in terms of their creative direction but you can have a great script and you still don't have a hit move unless you have some great actors to make the movie great. TNA and ROH lack that true leading man that you believe could walk in the WWE and slap C.M Punk in the face and say I am here and I am taking that title and you believe that he would be both capable of that and deserving to do that, till than TNA and ROH as well will just be the top of an Indy Wrestling food chain and are not even in the same business as the WWE. It is just a different level and is has been ever since Vince McManon bought WCW.