WWE is far more successful than TNA. It can't be argued.
TNA’s ratings are about a third of what WWE draws every week. Its house show attendance is an even smaller fraction that that.
If you check out pay-per-view buyrates, merchandise sales, or overall brand awareness, it all adds up to WWE crushing TNA.
But they don't beat them in every area.
There are certain aspects of TNA television that are superior to the way WWE runs its shows. With two different rosters and creative teams behind the wheel there are bound to be some big differences.
Right now TNA is responsible for some more progressive ideas in areas where WWE feels a bit dated. Here are five things that TNA is doing better than WWE.
When a heel turns face in WWE, they suddenly obtain superpowers.
They’re unstoppable. They show no fear. They can clear the ring of a group of villains in a matter of seconds.
We’ve seen this play out time and time again. John Cena, Sheamus, Randy Orton and Ryback are all recent examples of the real life superhero.
Strangely, Sheamus lost most of his matches as a heel. Ryback was incredibly dominant as a face, but has now become a coward.
Basically, when you reverse those roles, their power changes.
At times, this is too much to take. We’ve seen Cena, especially, overcome ridiculous odds time and time again. It's frustrating and incredibly damaging to the heels.
With the rare exception of Sting in TNA this just doesn’t happen. You rarely see handicapped matches, and guys like Kurt Angle, James Storm and Samoa Joe are pushed as human.
TNA may actually make their top talent too human at times, but it’s a lot more believable than watching one man bury multiple men repeatedly.
When it comes to the action backstage, WWE is frustratingly inconsistent.
Take a recent episode of SmackDown for example. Damien Sandow was in the middle of the ring trying to get his Money in the Bank contract back from Cody Rhodes.
Cody then appeared on the screen and told him to come outside and get it. Sandow followed, and eventually jumped into the Gulf of Mexico to retrieve his briefcase. He couldn't swim and shouted for help. But why didn't he acknowledge the cameraman who was right in his face?
After all, Cody knew there was a camera in front of him when he broadcast the message to Sandow. So why didn't Sandow realize it?
Don't even try to figure out the McMahon and Brad Maddox segments.
They seem to happen without every character knowing that they're on TV. However, recently HHH made notice about how selecting Daniel Bryan "sounded" like a popular choice when the crowd cheered his name after it was mentioned.
So how did he hear it? And why didn't Maddox know that a cameraman was directly in front of him beforehand?
It's maddening. But TNA has a much better solution: the person holding the camera is hiding.
That way when the heels are plotting something, they don't actually know they're being watched. They just don't acknowledge the camera. In other segments, the cameraman follows around talent asking questions to give it more of a "reality show" feel. It doesn't insult your intelligence.
We don't have to watch two wrestlers conveniently turned halfway toward the camera and halfway towards each other like how WWE stages it.
With Eric Bischoff's and Jason Hervey's background in reality TV, give them credit for shaking things up. Their approach feels fresh. WWE's approach feels hopelessly staged and cheesy.
Let's look at some numbers:
To be a TNA completionist, you’d have to watch 116 hours of its programming a year.
It's a sizable time investment, but completely doable. Two hours a week, and a three hour pay-per-view every four months shouldn't be too taxing on a wrestling fan.
WWE though requires a herculean effort to follow its narrative. You'd have to watch 12 three hour pay-per-views for the year, three hours of Raw every week, two for SmackDown and one for Main Event.
This is putting your total time devoted to the WWE at 348 hours, or basically 14-and-a-half full days of your year. This isn't even counting Total Divas.
The problem is, so much content makes it difficult to fully invest in the product. Once a fan misses one week, it becomes easier to miss the next. A habit is broken.
Going back to pay-per-views: To purchase every TNA pay-per-view, you’d spend under $150. That's a sizeable amount for sure, but it's nothing compared to what WWE asks of you.
If you're going it alone, get ready to cough up $600 to be a part of it all.
Sometimes, wrestling humor is the worst.
While neither of the major companies is very funny, WWE can be downright horrendous.
For starters, in TNA, we don’t have to hear about Sheamus going to grab a pint.
We also don’t have to take part in John Cena’s cornball and toilet humor. We don’t have to sit through HHH acting like he’s the most clever man on earth.
As a whole, TNA has less humor than WWE, and it's a lot less painful.
The company has Eric Young as their central comedy figure— and he's off TV more than he’s on. Joseph Park, Jessie Godderz and Robbie E. have roles too, but that’s about it.
Overall, it's pretty painless.
WWE on the other hand has some of the absolute worst humor on TV, perhaps in all of the medium's history.
How about the time that Hornswoggle learned how to talk from Santa Claus? Or his never-ending feud with Chavo Guerrero? Or his run with DX?
Besides Vince McMahon's favorite leprechaun, we have The Great Khali attempting to speak English to management's delight, a gassy Natalya, countless dance segments, Santino and his Cobra and of course the dated Jerry Lawler jokes.
TNA may not have the epic WrestleMania type moments that WWE may have, but it doesn't have as many moments that make you embarrassed to be a wrestling fan
Hulk Hogan is overexposed and annoying. Many fans probably feel they've heard enough "brothers" for one lifetime.
But at least he's fair.
His character is consistent, and it's believable that he would run a wrestling company.
Contrast that to Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox. Their positions in power make absolutely no sense. Why would Vince McMahon or the board of directors allow them to control their shows?
Vickie has shown time and time again that she's evil. She makes matches in her own self-interest, is incredibly ill-tempered and power hungry.
But as bad as that is, what makes it worse is that she sometimes acts like a good guy.
She often gives matches that the fans want, and doesn't let heels get away with their antics. But it never makes sense why she decides to do that.
Over on Raw, Brad Maddox is a lackey that seems to exist on TV for the sole purpose of being bullied by the McMahons. Why don't they just fire him and book matches themselves?
The evil authority figure in wrestling is incredibly played out. After Vince McMahon perfected the role in the late 90s, it keeps continuing to diminishing returns.
TNA stumbled by having Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan as evil authority figures a couple years ago, but they learned their lesson. It's refreshing to see someone in charge (from a story standpoint) who actually cares about the company and makes fans proud to support the product.
It really shouldn't be that hard.