Four years ago, the professional wrestling world was buzzing over TNA's biggest move in company history by adding legendary star Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to its roster. The new Hogan-Bischoff regime was supposed to take TNA to the promised land and compete strongly against the WWE.
As Hogan and Bischoff made their way to TNA, so did many other big-name stars in the industry, including Jeff Hardy, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman (known as X-Pac in the WWE), The Nasty Boys and more. Even Bubba "The Love Sponge" earned a spot on the TNA roster. Unfortunately, despite growing its roster and providing veteran experience to a young locker room, TNA wasted its opportunity to grow to a whole new level by slotting more television time on big-name-but-past-their-prime stars.
Although TNA got off to a strong start by earning its highest television rating in company history when they went head-to-head with WWE's Monday Night Raw program on January 4, 2010, the company struggled to build on that momentum despite a new roster loaded with major names and changing its six-sided ring to the traditional ring with four sides.
Instead, just a few weeks later, TNA elected to go permanently head-to-head with the WWE. It was a move that ultimately failed, as TNA got crushed in the ratings and quickly moved back to Thursday nights. Once TNA made the switch back to Thursdays, several stars that the company slotted its focus on left one by one. These included Hall, Waltman, The Nasty Boys and others.
However, TNA kept its focus on the mainstream stars instead of turning its attention to the future of professional wrestling. Although Hogan, Flair and others added more attention to the TNA brand, the company has yet to see its product grow.
Unfortunately for TNA, television ratings have hardly moved the needle since the arrival of Hogan and Bischoff. Despite peaking at all-time highs during the Hogan and Bischoff era, the ratings bump would be only temporary and quickly drop down to normal levels.
Today, Impact! Wrestling's ratings have nearly flattened out to all-time lows, including this past Thursday's edition with just 1.08 million viewers.
TNA is struggling to find its stride. It appears going live on the road has also taken a toll on the company, as many wrestlers have been let go, including veterans and promising young talents. Despite all the excitement and the ever-changing atmosphere, TNA is clearly not where it should be. Instead, the company has its back against the wall, looking to find some momentum in its lackluster product.
With Hogan no longer currently with the company and Bischoff's status up in the air, TNA has another opportunity to change the wrongs to the rights. TNA should once again be the company that provided an alternative for viewers to the WWE. This includes going back to the basics and focusing on its young and fresh talents that are waiting for their next big break, changing its traditional four-sided ring to six sides and allowing more television time for its highly talented X and Knockouts divisions.
This was what made TNA the once perfect alternative to the WWE. Instead, after showing such promise and hope, the company has nearly become a similar resemblance to the final years of World Championship Wrestling. To avoid that from happening again, TNA needs to be smart about rebuilding its product, and that means letting Hogan and Bischoff pursue other projects.
Unfortunately for TNA, time may be running out.