The quality of TNA Wrestling’s product has increased greatly since the company decided to go on its “youth kick,” promoting younger, home-grown talent over shipping in washed-up WWE stars. So why is it still lagging so much with its television audience?
[adinserter block=”1″]According to the latest TV ratings, last Thursday’s TNA “Impact” show recorded its smallest TV audience since Thanksgiving 2013. Less than one million viewers tuned in to see Magnus, Samoa Joe, Gunner and the rest of the roster perform.
Call it the “Tale of the Tape.” TNA continues to tape two, even three shows at a time for broadcast. Years ago, that might have worked. But in this age of the Internet spoiler, taping events so far in advance of their broadcast date is a recipe for disaster.
Why are people going to watch the program when they already know – sometimes as much as a week ahead of time – how the show is going to turn out?
Yes, I know all the wrestling promotions have done it. Even big bad WWE tapes SmackDown on Tuesday nights for airing on the following Friday night. And WWE often tapes shows during the holidays as much as a week in advance. But those are special occasions – not everyone likes being on the road and away from families at that time of the year.
I do not know how the calendars look at TNA’s Nashville headquarters, but I cannot imagine they think every day is Christmas there.
TNA did try doing some live shows in the past, and they bombed. But you have to remember that was back when the roster featured such legends as Hulk Hogan and Sting leading the broadcasts. Both were great in their prime, but 2013 was not their prime by a long shot. Hogan and Sting were senior citizens compared to the other stars.
That was then, this is now. The median age of the TNA roster has dropped significantly. TNA has just the right mix of veterans and young stars. The vets – Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Eric Young and “Cowboy” James Storm, for example – are getting their place in the spotlight but not at the expense of young stars as Gunner, Magnus, The Wolves and the Bro-Mans. TNA really does not have the upper- and mid-card talent like WWE has, and that means more room for character pushes.
TNA just recently went through a period of corporate turmoil. Vacancies happened in both the roster and the executive office. But instead of a bad thing, TNA needs to look at that as growing pains. Sometimes if you want a tree to bloom again and again, you have to prune away some of the dead branches.
[adinserter block=”2″]The company should re-visit the idea of increasing its number of live-broadcast shows. Relying too much on taping the shows does absolutely nothing to build the suspense of the match or a surprise outcome.
TNA has a great talent pool to showcase. Unless they put away the recording machines, that could once again become a talent-drowning pool.
Bill Atkinson is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and the owner of WrestleWatch, a family-friendly wrestling web site. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963 and visit WrestleWatch at www.wrestlewatch.com.
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