Recently, yesterday actually, I wrote an article on the woes, to put it lightly, of TNA. Looking back, I may have sounded bias and as a WWE "fanboy." This is to clarify a few things.
Now, I am far from being a TNA mark but I do want the business to improve and blossom and TNA holds the key to that happening being the second largest wrestling company in the world.
Many are excited for the return of the "Monday Night War" as the Jan. 4 ratings for TNA showed, but was that an aberration? Were people really tuning in for TNA or was it merely for curiosity? Nostalgia maybe?
A fact many fans do not know is that is not TNA who suddenly decided to go up against WWE. It was Spike TV who still holds a grudge against Vince McMahon for leaving to head back to the USA Network. They are picking up Hogan's salary along with many of the other signings that Hogan suggested. And they are not only using TNA as a weapon.
The following Monday night after TNA air lived, Spike TV officials told Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, that they were going to schedule his popular "Fight Night Live" program directly against Monday Night RAW. So the war is essentially between WWE and Spike TV.
Before I go any further however let me say that TNA does have bright spots, Beer Money Inc. is a pair of hungry, talented workers. Kurt Angle is well Kurt Angle. Desmond Wolfe is a tremendous wrestler who will only get better. The Knockout Division is excellent if compared to the Diva Division in WWE. But is that enough?
TNA needs to improve and fast. Think of this not as a bashing but as a friendly warning.
Hulk Hogan. The name is synonymous with wrestling. He sold out arenas around the world. His merchandise sales are surpass only by Stone Cold Steve Austin. He has legions of fans around the world. He truly was the face of the wrestling industry. That doesn't mean he knows how to run a wrestling company however.
His decisions to bring back un-dependable talent such as Scott Hall were a big risk, one that with Hall's track record with TNA does not seem worth it. Others like Sean Waltman, who was relevant back in 1998 as the "X-Pac" character, will bring little to the table and in fact it wastes a valuable TNA roster spot. And does anybody really want to see Val Venis or Shannon Moore anymore?
Hogan and TNA are also taking a huge gamble signing Ken Anderson. Here is a guy with no personal responsibility, blaming Randy Orton for his release from the WWE, when in fact they let him go for multiple failed drug tests and a consistency of getting hurt, it shows Dixie Carter is hungry for former WWE talent. His signing and the others however fail to compare to Hogan's two biggest mistakes: The Nasty Boys and Jeff Hardy.
The Nasty Boys, who are Hogan's close friends, have no business to be in a wrestling ring. They were relevant how long ago? The 1980s? They used up a spot at the pay per view that and up and coming team should have gotten and they are severely damaging TNA's reputation.
That brings me to Jeff Hardy. Here is a guy that has so much talent and a very unique charisma. WWE never meant to push him as a champion but people just gravitated towards him. What does he do? He gets fired once and quits the second time. Can you blame the WWE for never really pushing him as much as they could have? Now he faces jail time for drug possession and TNA fully aware of this decides to bring him on-board regardless.
Is TNA really that hungry for publicity? How can they risk their name being associated with a drug dealer, allegedly albeit but we all know perception is reality. Not surprising however as TNA has no establish drug testing program and they just sign another former WWE talent that got fired for a drug violation, Brian Kendrick.
Why are all those signings bad? Because TNA is doing something that helped killed WCW. They are ignoring their home grown talent. Air time and mic time are being used up by has beens instead of the new up and coming stars. TNA claims to be an alternative to WWE but having one look at their Main Event picture is hard to tell.
Two of the nine TNA World Champions have been TNA talent, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, the others former WWE wrestlers and Sting. Even going back to the NWA Title days only two were TNA talent, Styles and Abyss. Now the No. 1 contender is Dinero who is another former WWE employee. Hogan, Dixie, Bischoff learn from the past.
Hogan, Dixie, stop mentioning WWE. They don't talk about you for a reason, why give them free press on your programming. It makes you look amateurish and weak. While you are at it, don't tout a rating. 1.5 is not impressive when you have a better known roster than ECW and you still get beat by them or barley surpass them. Is not impressive that it took you eight years to get it either.
You guys need to choose a direction as well. All too often faces turn heel one week then turn heels again the following week. Feuding wrestlers partner up for no reason or and with out an explanation. Storylines go around in circles and have an anti-climatic end. Viewers need consistency, is how they connect with wrestlers. TNA needs desperately for us to care about the talent. Is how merchandising and pay per view rates go up.
When less than 15 percent of your fan base buys your pay per views, and your numbers are actually lower than when you didn't air on free TV, you are doing something wrong.
This article is not to bash TNA nor is it coming from a WWE mark. I will be the first to admit WWE is in a very bad period. This is simply a plead for TNA to get better. They have the talent, The Motor City Machine Guns, The British Invasion, Wolfe, Daniels, Hernandez, Amazing Red, Lethal and my personal favorite Beer Money. Use them. Push them to be main eventers.
The X-Division was phenomenal and innovative at first but it has gone stale. Tweak it. Feature it more. You just signed Kendrick he can put on five-star matches and can be the next Brian Pillman if handled correctly. Pair him up against Red and showcase it.
Stop worrying about what the WWE is doing and just focus on your company. If the product is good people will watch it and spend money on it.
Don't waste this golden opportunity. It may very well be your last. You are not WCW. They had a huge fan base before being WCW back when they were a NWA territory that is why they had room for error, not to mention Ted Turner's wallet. You don't have that safety net. Don't become a foot-note in history.
Rise up and challenge the axis of evil: Vince, Stephanie, and Triple H. Someone has to. The wrestling industry and fans need it.