While spending my Sunday afternoon watching "Jumpin' Jack Flash" instead of football...
Recently, there's been a lot of speculation regarding the impending sale of TNA, and even more rumors that the person behind the purchase could be none other than Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, according to Wrestle Zone's Justin LaBar. Whether or not he acquires the promotion, I would like to take this opportunity to provide any future owner some advice...
Please put some money into marketing! I cannot stress this enough. How is it that TNA has been in business for over 11 years and yet still has no brand presence? I have actually had conversations with people about guys like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy only to get the following response...
"Oh, they still wrestle? I thought they retired."
Yes, we all know that the Hulk Hogan-Eric Bischoff experiment was (no surprise) an abysmal failure, and the only thing TNA did correctly during their regime was it reduced the number of PPVs in order to increase a better TV product, and even that is debatable.
However, with their departure, this is an opportunity to be more than just a place where rejected WWE talents reside. The company can now focus on building its program around its own stars, and I'm here to help. So put down your lattes and listen up, because I'm going to tell you exactly how TNA should begin to right the ship.
By shifting its focus on the following wrestlers, TNA can make them into the stars that can give the promotion the brand awareness it so desperately needs.
Granted, he's up there in years; however, he possesses not only incredible talent (watch his Ironman matches from Ring of Honor with CM Punk) but the mic skills to match. One thing TNA has always attempted to do has been to embrace the MMA crowd, and Joe has the ability to wrestle that type of style. He has a bevy of submission maneuvers at his disposal and a catchphrase that fits his character perfectly.
Wrestling has always been a sport that likes to put over big men who can dominate while being able to cross over to multiple endeavors, and he would be a great guy to start with in terms of marketing the promotion.
Go back to 2005 when all you would heard throughout the Impact Zone was "Joe's gonna kill you!" and tell me that isn't something that brings goosebumps!
TNA has a strong presence across the Atlantic, and Magnus has the ability to be the first World champion from England. He's only been in TNA a few years, so he is still relatively fresh in the eyes of most fans. Perhaps his recent push is a sign of things to come, but since America loves all things British, Magnus could be that type of wrestler that TNA needs to market so it can increase its international appeal.
Already establishing himself as the longest-reigning TNA champion in history, he has grown by leaps and bounds since his "Team Canada" days, as his recent matches with Kurt Angle have shown.
When I see Roode, I see remnants of HHH in his "King of the Ring" days. Roode has arrogance down to a science, and he can be built to be a force in TNA. He can be marketed as the same type of heel who dominates the World title scene again, and who doesn't like to see the heel being the champ? It creates a worthwhile chase for whoever tops him, and that is something TNA needs to take advantage of.
"The Cowboy" James Storm
I know what you're saying: "Didn't TNA try that back in 2012 only for it to blow up in its face?"
That was more about Vince Russo booking than about Storm, who did his best when he and Roode (who should be rivals forever) went at it in a very good feud.
Face it, America loves wrestlers who have a southern appeal to them, and Storm is the every man that can be marketed as such. Who can't root for a guy who wears the following slogan on his shirt: "Save Water, Drink Beer"?
She's beautiful, great on the mic and can bring it in the ring. What more do you need? The Knockouts division was a TNA stalwart back in the day, and any attempt to bring it back should start with her.
Remember when she and Awesome Kong (now Kharma) main evented an episode of Impact? Can you imagine the WWE ever doing that with an episode of Monday Night Raw? I don't think so. Kim can be marketed to a platform of women who can be successful in the ring on more than just their looks.
I know, what about guys like Austin Aries and AJ Styles? Styles can't cut a promo (just look how weak he was compared to Bully Ray), and Aries is a great talent who could be marketed to lead the X-Division, but that's about it.
Also, as much as I love Bad Influence, they need a believable rival in the tag team division first. The ones I mentioned are wrestlers you could market to both kids and adults regarding the World title scene who would come off as big deals at any time.
So TNA, there's your blueprint for building your brand—to the MMA crowd, to the everyday southern fan, to the women who want substance over style. To quote Damien Sandow, "You're welcome..."