I've read about a thousand articles on Bleacher Report that all claim to have the solution to what ails TNA. I've even written a few of those articles myself. But one thing that I've never heard is a solution that may seem to be the most obvious:
Add a second show.
Now hold on. I know what you're thinking. "TNA can't even do right by the show they have on now!" I'm going to explain to you why TNA Impact, as their lone show, has too much working against it right now and why a second show is just the thing to fix many of TNA's problems. So just hear me out.
As far as what's working against them, TNA has a roster of nearly 50 male wrestlers, plus 10 female wrestlers, and about 10 more people that—in one way or another—soak up TV time. WWE RAW, in contrast, has only 25 male wrestlers and 10 females along with approximately five people that I'd only consider to be "on air talent."
Think about that for a minute. Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera have to try and cram 70 people into one show per week. Obviously, a large segment of these people are left out for large periods of time. But it doesn't change the problem, in fact it leads to more issues when talking about screen time, but more on that in a minute.
I honestly can't tell you the last episode of Impact that featured the wrestling talents (or even promo work) of Raven, Shark Boy, ODB, Rhino, Kiyoshi, or Lethal Consequences.
Perhaps some or all of them have been wrestling in other promotions for a while now, but at the very least, I know that these people are still on TNA's roster.
This is compounded by the second issue working against TNA's flagship show. Most fans (myself included) have become increasingly vocal about the exorbitant amount of promos being cut on the show as of late. No, the "T" in TNA doesn't stand for "Talking" just yet, but sometimes it feels as though they're well on their way to that title change.
However, fans must consider the fact that TNA has to promote upcoming matches that night, upcoming matches next week, ongoing feuds as well as the next pay per view not to mention their own sale products, house shows etc, again, all one one show.
Of course, Hogan and Bischoff have to get their TV time, so that's two strikes against you right off the bat. I sincerely doubt that Russo and Ferrera have much say in the matter. Add the need for all of those promos and are you starting to see the answer to the question: "Why do they talk so much instead of wrestle on Impact?"
My feeling is that with such a large roster and so much to promote (plus Hogan and Bischoff getting their 10 segments per night in), having only one show seems to make every minute—if not, every second—of those two hours matter that much more.
Remember that time issue that I spoke about a moment ago? Have you ever watched TNA and thought "I can't believe these guys are out there instead of..." To me, that's a blatant sign that TV time has become a bit too precious.
TNA's writers shouldn't have to measure the value of their storylines in such a manner and truth be told, they probably don't right now anyways, which is part of the problem. It's why we see the Nasty Boys pop up every so often, forcing me to seeth with anger and wonder at the multitude of ways that this five minutes of programming could've be better spent.
Thus, while the WWE can shuffle some of their biggest personalities between RAW and Smackdown for popular angles, TNA is left to try and rationalize to fans (and probably their own locker room) why wrestler X gets screen time over wrestlers A, B, and C.
Would I hate the fact that the Nasty Boys are in TNA any less if they were one or two segments in four hours of wrestling per week, as opposed to two? No, probably not. But at least I'd know that at the end of the night, I still might get to see Desmond Wolfe, Christopher Daniels, and other performers that I actually like make it on to the show later in the week.
To me, that makes all the difference in the world.
Oh, and to those that simply believe that "trimming the fat off of the roster" would cure all of the issues in TNA, I'd offer this: Hogan, Bischoff, Nash, Hall, Waltman, The Nasty Boys, Mick Foley, Orlando Jordan, Shark Boy, Raven and Dr. Stevie aka the most complained about people on Impact constitute only 12 people on a roster of 70.
Thus, you're still trying to fit nearly twice as many people in to a 2 hours show than what RAW has to contend with (not to mention the fact that they can run some of their more popular angles off on to Smackdown as well). So while many of these old timers might be part of the problem, getting rid of them isn't the be-all/end-all solution by any stretch of the imagination.
I'd also contend that many of those familiar faces can help TNA (notice how I didn't even include Ric Flair on that list), but with so little air time, showing them for even one segment per week makes it seem like they're being plastered all over my TV at the expense of the young talent (whom I still believe could benefit from these more established players if they were used in moderation).
Going off of the old timer issue, I believe that a second show would cure three of the other large problems in TNA: 10 Women/three titles, a small X Division, and crash TV.
As far as the women's division goes, can you honestly blame TNA for trimming their roster down so much? With Hogan on every five minutes "brothering" it up, and Bischoff popping in every other five minutes just to say "I'm an A-hole!" to the camera, it's a wonder they even get some of the women they still have on the roster on TV each week!
In fact, this past Monday, they had to resort to putting almost their entire women's division in ONE MATCH. If that isn't a sign that TV time is too precious right now, I don't know what else to tell you. More TV time equals more women in TNA—I'd guarantee it.
As for the X Division, it's almost the same principal. The X Division has basically become a parody of itself because they simply don't have time for it anymore. Usually there's one, maybe two matches per night at the absolute most, for the X Division. Add that up and you get a division that doesn't need a lot of wrestlers.
You put another two hours of TV on the clock and all of a sudden you might actually find time for more angles in the X Division; they would have more characters and more stories to tell. Again, it seems pretty obvious to me.
The last issue is probably more debatable, but it's also one of the most important issues facing TNA: Crash TV.
Right now, TNA's angles only seem to last a few weeks or a few months at the absolute most (a multi-PPV is somewhat of a rarity). Everyone seems to assume that the TNA writers have the attention spans of dwarf hamsters.
That might partially be the case, but I believe it's also because TNA has a ton of wrestlers and actors to spotlight. With such a limited amount of time, they need to shuttle people in and out of the spotlight, if for no other reason than to get their money's worth out of the talent on their roster.
This is why you might see Sting just show up for five seconds on an episode and not really do anything, or why angles start and abruptly stop. If an angle doesn't generate heat, I can only assume Russo and Ferrera pull it right away (except for the Nasty Boys and 3D. Dear God, why...) because they don't want to focus any of the show's limited time on something that people don't care about.
So when you add all of this chaos together, you're forced to rely on gory blood masks for shock value and surprises like "RVD is in TNA!" as opposed to real plot twists in the stories. You can't have a real good buildup because you can't devote such a large amount of time to one feud each and every week for four or five months at a time.
Oh yeah, it also doesn't leave much time for wrestling. Ironic? Perhaps. Frustrating for this fan? Absolutely!
Now some of you might say, "Well, that's Hogan's fault!" and I'd partially agree with you. As I've said, we don't need to see Hogan and Bischoff every other segment, but TNA seems to think otherwise.
Therefore, the other benefit of two shows? And this would just be my theory here: Split the two time-eaters up. I don't care if you call one the GM of Impact and the other the GM of TNA Rooty Tooty Frumple Dumple Bumble Rumble (what, you don't like the name of the other show?). That way, you only have one devourer of storylines and characters per show.
Regardless, I can only assume that TNA will figure this out in time, and who knows if maybe this is the next fairly predicable evolution for the TNA brand. But my argument is not only that it should happen sooner rather than later (due to TNA still getting solid ratings in their old time slot), but that it would also solve a LOT of their problems.
Maybe when TNA has more time to draw everything out and include more wrestlers and angles, they will not have to shoehorn everything in to such a small box, and Impact will cease looking like such a jailbreak, a fire drill and a train wreck all happening at once.
With TNA currently on Mondays and nothing going on in its old Thursday time slot, why not add a second show and put it where some casual fans might still think to look for it?
Anyway, all of this is just a theory. What do you think?
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