A little more than a month ago, I wrote an article stating seven steps that WWE should take to improve their current product. After seeing the state TNA has been in, I decided that they are in heavy need of something similar. (Now if only Dixie could see this list).
A majority of TNA fans have refused to believe that TNA is rapidly decaying before their eyes. Their hatred of the WWE and complete and utter devotion to TNA has made them blind to the truth: That their own TNA is currently no better, and in fact can't hold a candle to WWE right now, in terms of storylines at least, I will admit that the wrestling is still much better.
Now let us take a look at some of the ways TNA could make their product better and in turn attract more fans.
1) Break up the Factions
Right now there are so many Factions in TNA; it makes one's head spin. Sometimes a faction war could be interesting, but right now in TNA, it is just overkill. There is one faction in particular that needs to be broken up, that being the Main Event Mafia.
The Main Event Mafia is a parasite to TNA right now, even if some TNA fans refuse to see that, believing them to be the saving grace of TNA. I believe I know what TNA was trying to aim for, and that was not their own NWO, but their own form of the 4 horsemen.
However there are so many key differences between the two groups I would have to write a whole separate article just to discuss them all!
The Main Event Mafia also is an epic failure in terms of drawing boos like they are supposed to as heels. For some odd reason fans won't stop cheering them! This makes it very difficult for the faction that is supposed to be opposing them, The TNA originals, that is the TNA originals still exists, to connect with the fans and draw their cheers.
2) New Creative
TNA has begun in a way to start this step as they have fired two of their creative team including Dutch Mantel.....
Now whose dumb idea was that!? If a new creative team is being assembled Dutch should have remained a part of it. Dutch is the creator of the Knockout's division which resulted in an actual interest in woman's wrestling in the USA! He was probably the finest member of the TNA creative department.
Now to resurrect an old chant that I personally love, FIRE RUSSO! Dixie hired Russo personally (many seem to be under the misconception that it was Jarrett that did so) to be a part of the creative department in what I will say was one of the most un-wise moves the company has made.
She hired him under the note that he was well-known for his controversial booking, now if the definition of controversial was terrible that statement would be accurate.
Russo is a not that good of a booker. It was under his time as head booker that WCW went into the ground; something I will admit has made me bitter and highly critical of him.
Now if he was booking the same way he did for the WWE in the 90's, it would be a different story, but the fact stands that he is not. He may very well have been gone from TNA by now but Russo is Carter's golden boy and she has said many times in the past she is happy with his booking.
3) Change the commentators
A lot of fans are highly critical of the TNA commentators, Don West and Mike Tenay.
Fans are turned off by Don West's commentary; he was even named "Worst Television Announcer" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 2007. His current Heel persona is also flat out annoying and lacks any real depth and personality, other than apparently being blind when it comes to heels cheating and practically worshipping the Main Event Mafia.
Mike Tenay is a fairly solid commentator, even though he may have lost his touch a bit since WCW. He has been named the "Best Television announcer" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter 4 times. He was at his best when he was naming facts about wrestlers that no one but the wrestlers themselves should know. He has since stopped doing such as he has been mostly arguing with Don West, which has grown pretty stale rather quickly.
It has been brought up that both Tazz and Foley would be suitable replacements for West. I am inclined to agree, although I do find Tazz's current position as a manager rather interesting.
4) Stop trying so hard to compete with WWE
For the love of the wrestling world, this needs to stop! I think if I were to look at the TNA mission statement it would read:
"We must beat the WWE at any and all costs, even our self-respect, personal dignity and any form of credibility we have or once had. Oh and Vince McMahon = the Devil."
It is obvious that TNA is trying to beat the WWE; in fact it is more obvious than it should be because they can't help but bring up the WWE, or Vince McMahon, on just about every episode of Impact! TNA needs to do something similar to Ring of Honor and just attempt to provide an alternative product.
5) Refocus on the X-Division
There was once a time when TNA's primary draw was the X-Division, a focus on hard, fast paced, high flying wrestling and it was awesome. A.J. Styles, Chris Sabin, and Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, They were all the reasons people tuned in to watch TNA.
However the X division has since almost fallen into obscurity. The big stars of TNA are no longer there, instead being mixed into the Tag team division, wrapped up in the Main Event Mafia storylines or they have gone the routes of Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt on the alumni list. It is a shame that something which was once regarded as the very backbone of the company is given almost no time on air. A refocus on the X-Division may be what the company needs.
6) If Angle wants to leave, let him
Many feel Angle is the best wrestler in the world today, and I will not take away from that, he may very well be such.(However in my mind Bret Hart retains that title as long as he is breathing, it doesn't matter whether he is wrestling or not).
But the man is a hog. He loves having the spotlight shown on him and TNA has done too much to appease his hunger, by constantly having him in the World title picture, or having him hold the world championship.
In his time with the company, Angle has held every title at least once, with the exception of the Legends title, and won the World Heavyweight title three times. Having Kurt constantly in the title picture is taking away from other younger stars that could be there.
It has recently been stated that when his contract is up, he may leave the company. I think TNA should cut their losses, no matter how big a loss it may be, and use the money they were previously paying Angle to bring in younger stars and produce more of their own homegrown superstars.
7) Put more focus on creating stars
There is something about making money quickly that blinds people, bringing in WWE superstars that have been released can be seen as making money instantly for TNA as the WWE alumni are already established and people know whom they are. However it is something that is hindering TNA in the long run because they are focusing so heavily on this "established" talent that they are not taking the chance to build stars for their own future.
I ask you what would happen if Booker T, Scott Steiner, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Sting, Mick Foley and Bobby Lashley all decided to call it quits on Wrestling for good? The answer is TNA would lose more than half of their Main Eventers. TNA can barely turn back to what they have made as they haven't exactly created that many of their own Main Eventers. One Wrestler I know can be made into a solid mid-carder at least Cody Deaner.
How do I know this? Well Cody spent a good deal of time in the Indies here in Rochester as well as Toronto and all over NYS. I have seen him perform live as well as on Wrestlevision (which airs on Channel 18 weekends and often shows tapes of Indy Shows) a fair few times. TNA is massively misusing him by making him a face due to the fact that he is a career heel and plays the role strongly.
Well there are seven of the many steps I feel TNA could take to improve their product overall. They may very well be in the process of taking these steps as you read this. Many rumors are flying that Carter is taking total control of TNA, something I am weary of as I know wrestling history a little too well and the concept of having people that don't know much about wrestling never really worked out in a company's favor but maybe Carter will be the exception. Only time will tell if this is the right move to get TNA out of its current slump.