TNA continued its rapid remodeling of its roster this week, as the exits of long-serving stars Chris Sabin and Hernandez were confirmed via the company’s official website.
Former World Heavyweight Champion Sabin and former Tag Team Champion Hernandez join the likes of Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, Sting, Devon and Hulk Hogan on the list of departures, while Daniels tag partner Frankie Kazarian will make his final TNA appearance on tonight’s episode of Impact.
In what has been a major transitional period, TNA are seemingly keen on continuing their push for younger talent, while several of their most recognised veterans have been shown the door.
The Menagerie – a stable captained by former Aces & Eights member Knux – made their in-ring debut on last week’s edition of Impact, as did Bram, a close friend of former World Champion Magnus.
Sabin, 32, had not been seen in TNA since the Lockdown pay-per-view, when he was part of a three man tag-team which faced off against a Japanese stable, comprising of both The Great Muta and current X Division Champion Sanada.
He took to Twitter late last week to confirm his departure, saying: “As of today, I am officially a free agent.”
After joining TNA in 2003, Sabin made his name as both an X Division, and Tag Team Champion. He won the X-Title on a record eight occasions, and partnered Alex Shelley to tag team gold as part of The Motor City Machine Guns.
In 2013, Sabin won the World Heavyweight Title for the first time, successfully cashing in his X-Division Title for a shot at title holder Bully Ray. However, Sabin’s title run lasted just four weeks, as he lost the belt back to Bully when attempting to make his first title defence.
Sabin’s character grew disillusioned at the amount of interference taking place in TNA matches, as well as his unfair World Title defeat at the hands of the Aces & Eights. He turned heel, attacking Manik on multiple occasions, and forcing his then girlfriend Velvet Sky into further interference.
Sabin’s eighth and final X-Division title run came to an end at Genesis earlier this year, when Sky turned on him and instead sided with challenger Austin Aries.
Meanwhile, the departure of Hernandez, who has not been seen in TNA since late last year, will come as little surprise to many fans. The 41-year-old’s last act was to help his tag team partner Chavo Guerrero Jr. win a briefcase during the Feast or Fired match, a case which proved to contain a pink slip – removing Guerrero from the company.
Together, the pair were two-time World Tag Team Champions. Their victories took Hernandez’s total TNA title tally to five – his other victories coming alongside Homicide, Matt Morgan and Anarquia.
Hernandez also challenged for the World Heavyweight Title in 2009, but fell to defeat in a five-way match also involving defending champion Kurt Angle, Sting, Matt Morgan and eventual winner AJ Styles.
The departures of Bad Influence duo: Daniels and Kazarian – have been rumoured for some time. Daniels officially exited the company last month, and it seems extremely likely that Kazarian will follow him when his contract expires later this month.
TNA have also been busy recruiting fresh talent, in addition to re-signing current stars James Storm, Gunner, Robbie E and Rockstar Spud. The Menagerie welcomes back Rob Terry as the masked strong man known only as ‘The Freak’, as well as newcomers Crazzy Steve and Rebel.
Bram offers an interesting dynamic to the Magnus storyline, with the Brit currently struggling to come to terms with the loss of his World Heavyweight Title. Knockout’s Brooke Tessmacher and Taryn Terrell will return to TNA in the coming weeks after respective absences, while rumours continue to circle about a possible return for Low Ki, who appeared at a TNA One Night Only taping last month.
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