TNA Wrestling: 5 Major Changes Needed Sooner Rather Than Later
At some point during the high school days, in between the cut classes and swirlies distributed to band members, we learned that business thrives on competition (courtesy of Adam Smith).
It is clear professional wrestling saw its heyday during the late '90s when WCW nearly bankrupted the WWF/WWE in the time period known as the “Monday Night Wars”. At present day, the WWE continues to push a stale product at the front-line in John Cena, and refuses to shake things up (as their motivation to do so is limited).
TNA's window to strike and catch up to the WWE is closing upon the heels of WrestleMania.
TNA is currently losing money, so they clearly need to shake things up. The short term loss trade-off for an increase in fan base would serve dividends toward their long-term success, and ultimately competing on the same level with the WWE.
I feel these 5 changes would help TNA reach this goal.
5. Bring Back the King of the Mountain Match
In a company which is constantly searching for and changing its identity, nothing says history like The King of the Mountain match in TNA (not including Ultimate X). Memories for me include: Raven finally reaching his "destiny" in 2005, Kurt Angle winning his first TNA title, as well as Samoa Joe "selling out" and joining the Main Event Mafia.
This would also be a great way to incorporate Austin Aries into the pay-per-view Main Event picture, because he’s on the AJ Styles path, as he has "outgrown" the X Division. I can foresee a KOTM match in June consisting of Bobby Roode, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and Austin Aries (or sub in Bully Ray for whoever loses at Lockdown).
I understand that the rules are a little confusing, and the whole penalty box concept would be better off being removed as a whole. I do like that you're only eligible to win the match upon scoring a pinfall or submission though, so that tweak would make the match easier for the casual fan to follow.
4. Bye Bye Bischoff!
I can’t be the only one who is sick of this guy, can I?
He was responsible for the downfall of the WCW (yes I’m aware Vince Russo deserves some blame as well), and he came into TNA when it was at its peak and killed any momentum they had by completely revamping the landscape.
Is anyone seriously scanning through the channels Thursday night and stopping on Spike going "oh wow, there's Eric Bischoff...I MUST WATCH THIS!" Didn't think so. Not to mention he continues to take valuable television time away from up-and-coming wrestlers.
I think at this point going forward, it would be best to keep Eric Bischoff in a more behind-the-scenes role, as long as he doesn't pull a Triple H and repeatedly make his way back into the picture.
Which brings me to my next point…
3. No More Than Three "Legends"
Currently in TNA storylines, you can find Sting, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan in the mix in some shape or form.
Keep in mind RVD, Scott Steiner (and the always in the background, Jeff Jarrett) are on the roster. I get that you want face recognition to build a product, but the current WWE model (with the exception of WrestleMania) generally utilizes one-to-two legends to help get talent over in certain situations.
I was going to use the Royal Rumble as an example of this, but the whole announcing booth participating was too ridiculous to take into consideration. So while looking at the Survivor Series, the only legends who appeared were The Rock and the Big Show.
There are so many young and hungry stars in TNA who are ready for the spotlight, that it isn’t in the best interest of the company to use more than three legends on a weekly basis.
2. Revamp the Pay-Per-View Makeup
Want the breakdown of how the recent pay-per-views have ended?
Last Sunday, Bobby Roode, Sting, and Dixie Carter had that bizarre exchange. At Genesis, Jeff Hardy won by DQ over Roode in the main event, Final Resolution’s main event ended in a 3-3 Iron Man draw, and Turning Point ended with Roode holding onto AJ’s tights for the roll-up win.
The Main Event of a PPV should have one of two conclusions: either putting an end to a feud which leaves fans starving to find out what path the combatants will go down next; or have a shocking twist (like at Against All Odds where Sting hit Hardy with the belt) which leaves viewers anxious to tune in on Thursday. This would be great, but there is still an issue remaining…
Even when I was employed, I still had yet to be compelled enough to contribute that much toward a PPV where, as my last point showed, I’ll most likely be a disappointed customer.
This is even more shocking after the fiasco which happened at Victory Road 2011 (judging from that showing, I’ll add Jeff Hardy to the list of wrestlers that it would NOT be fun to party with…No. 1 on that list is Scott Hall) where faith in the judgment of TNA’s decision makers is at an all time low.
TNA should make these two moves: make pay-per-views a respectable $19.95 and allow them to build a larger fan base. The second: why not take their historically worst-selling PPV, and make it a throwback to their first year and charge $5 to watch? This can be their way of giving back to the fans who have stuck with this company from the beginning, and would also be a great way to attract new fans—especially when there are so many other "free TV" options on Sundays.