I was excited when I heard that Total Non-Stop Action was taking their main show Impact Wrestling television show live on the road. I was hopeful for not only a better looking product, but also better fan reactions and higher ratings. None of which have really taken place.
Recently TNA cut both wrestling and office talent, and in additional have requested contracts to be reconstructed. Now I have heard that this could be contributed to the fact of TNA spending so much for Impact on the road. I can understand and respect the decision of TNA feeling the need to take their flagship show to other parts of the United States, but so far, for the most part it seems to have been a failure.
I’m not a promoter, a booker or pretend to know everything about wrestling, but I have followed it since 1986. Instead of cutting talent, TNA needs first examine their product. There really has been no substantial increase in television ratings or revenue as from reading, both TNA officials and SPIKE TV where hoping for both.
It seems that no matter how hard TNA tries to do something different that looks like it could work, it fails – from a more reality based format, innovative matches (i.e. Destination X, LockDown). WCW experienced this for a long time. It was combination of Nitro, a revamped product and the NWO that took WCW to the top for 88 weeks that almost put WWE out of business. At first I thought the Aces and Eights storyline had potential in the beginning, but after several losses and some talent cuts from the group, the faction really has no credibility.
Now I’m not trying to be nit-picky, but the company needs to focus on what they need to do in order to be number one. I still think they pay too much attention to WWE. They either need find smaller low cost venues’ to hold Impact at, or find a new centralized location for weekly shows and hold TV specials (i.e. Destination X and Hardcore Justice) in other arenas’ across the U.S. in addition to their four pay-per-views. They need to not look so much like WCW 1998-2000 and even prior (they need to get rid of the walk ramp – WCW tried it in the early 1990’s).
The questions many may ask, at least I do, is that when TNA brought in Christian, Sting, Kurt Angle, the Dudley Boyz (aka Team 3-D), Taz, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Hardy, Ken Anderson, Rob Van and others, why hasn’t TNA seen an increase in ratings? I believe it’s the overall television product.
Cutting other talent to attempt to cross over with Mixed Martial Arts talent in Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz really isn’t the answer. WCW tried during their dying days and it didn’t work.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no means trying to intentionally bad mouth TNA or be negative, I want TNA to succeed. TNA needs to succeed. It’s healthy for industry and it is health for the business overall. Every time TNA has come to my market for a house show, I have gone. They are very fan friendly, which is something they have an edge on over WWE.
TNA should tap more into Eric Bischoff if they already haven’t. The overall production of Impact Wrestling is much improved since going on the road. Both Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey have done an excellent job with the product part of the show.
By Jerome Wilen (www.prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com)
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