It's hard to believe at times, but TNA has actually become incrementally better since its January 4th re-launch under Hogan and Bischoff. However, every time they seem to fix something, another blunder rears its red and yellow head.
One step forward and two steps back.
With a talent roster as stacked as they have it and the in-ring talent and product arguably stronger than that of their major competitor, it would take Tsunami level ignorance to screw this up. Right?
I present ten ways to improve the product, please comment!
While firing talent isn't #1 on the list (as all their blunders have been 90% creative), there has been talk about trimming the growing roster.
I can't think of two people I would rather see not on the show than these two.
Orlando Jordan is a tough one to criticize. His gimmick, if you don't know, is that he's bisexual. That's it. How many wrestlers can you name whose gimmick it is to be straight? It's really an abomination to good taste that this idea was green lighted.
If you really wanted to be edgy, how about a bisexual wrestler that is a babyface? I can see this persona being great for cheap and short term heat, but this gimmick has no legs and I just can't bring myself to boo the guy without feeling like a bigot.
And Rob Terry? Well, if I wanted to watch someone who knows two moves and is only employed because of steroids, I would watch WWE.
Actually, I loved the Black Machismo gimmick he had! I thought the Flair impersonation was a natural evolution of it. Why not have him do impersonations of everyone he's about to face? It doesn't have to be as elaborate or time consuming as Flair's, but seriously, now he's just a guy?
Very poor follow up on that Flair confrontation, as well. The whole Sacrifice thing just seemed to fall flat,and fans hate to see those kinds of finishes on a PPV.
It is beyond reasoning that Flair and Lethal aren't in a PPV match yet.
In closing, if Lethal is going to rise above the five star roster he needs a hook. Being a wrestler impersonator may be one way to go. Or heck, just bring back Black Machismo, I love that guy!
For awhile there, Mr. Anderson was really the only new blood rising to the top of the promotion.
New AJ sucked, new Abyss sucked, Jeff Hardy wasn't really doing anything interesting, and really the show was Hogan and Bischoff's way to try and remain relevant.
He has been a consistently good heel, giving the fans some exciting main even matches even on the mid card. So, finally when fans are starting to show him respect for the effort he puts forth, management is starting to toy with the idea of a face run.
Here's the thing: TNA fans in the IMPACT zone love to cheer heels. I've heard AJ state that he wants to tour simply to see if they get different reactions across the nation.
This is a problem for a promoter as they use audience reaction and participation to decide how to book matches, and if they are interpreting the reaction WRONG, then disaster is likely to strike.
Mr. Anderson is a phenomenal heel, one of the few consistently great heels on the roster. Until TNA can groom more main event heels, leave Mr. Anderson in his place for longer than 5 months. You just know Bischoff thinks he has a new Randy Orton...we'll see.
Actually, limiting Bischoff's air time has been the best improvement since Bubba the Love Sponge went and got himself fired.
I know it must be frustrating for Eric to not be the center of attention, but he had to know things weren't going well with the cricket chirp level of audience reaction his segments were getting.
I remember watching him and Mick Foley way back doing a little promo in the ring. It was like watching a Jedi Master battle a Jawa (look it up).
Bischoff couldn't keep up the rhythm, you would hear the audience perk up and cheer when Foley would talk and then dead silence following Bischoffs commentary.
It was frankly embarrassing. I vote to hire a water cooler to fill his position, maybe keep some of the roster intact.
I still want to cheer for AJ Styles. I can't help it. He's got that once in a lifetime charisma you saw in the Rock and Austin.
Actually, while I felt the first month or so of his "new Flair" persona was rocky, the last several months he's really pulled it together and is not half bad (especially since he's started to distance himself from Flair as Flair was hogging the spotlight).
Regardless, it's going to happen, it has to. While AJ may be more valuable now as a heel, make no mistake, he is the John Cena of TNA.
TNA is really high on Hardy and RVD but a wise promoter would do whatever necessary to bring AJ back over to babyface and put him in a program with whoever (it seriously doesn't matter).
Strangely, I've only ever seen bad AJ matches with him as a heel. You just know when he's reaching for the brass knuckles that deep down he really just wants to splash over the top rope as the audience goes apeshit.
The fact that these two are not in a main event match at Slammaversary and Morgan is wresting in some gimmicked up match against the Shady Lanes Retirement Villa is testament to the ignorance of Bischoff and Hogan.
They must be allergic to success because this match has money written all over it.
P.S. If the finish to the Slammaversary match involves Joe in any way screwing up Morgan, I WILL STOP WATCHING TNA FOREVER.
Seriously. What do they have to do to earn them? Get drunk and start a fight at a bar? Badmouth the product on their crappy internet TV show? Go back in time and be part of what made WCW go under?
I know they earned a title shot, but it couldn't come soon enough. And again, why this match isn't on one of their largest PPVs and instead is a gimmicked up sure to be disappointment match, is beyond me.
Did anyone else notice that for awhile Hulk Hogan was living vicariously through his on-screen persona on IMPACT?
For a bit, it seemed like he was portraying every character he played in a movie during the 80s and early 90s.
He would save the day at the last minute, give his friends the confidence to succeed and was generally trying to be a world class Yoda.
You could really psychoanalyze some of the BS he was pumping out. Remember when Abyss got arrested and Hogan was trying to console him as the cops put the cuffs on? How many people made the analogy to Hogan's own son being arrested?
There are lots of themes of redemption, struggle and loyalty throughout all of the segments Hogan has been involved in.
The number of times I've considered Hogan to be, basically, reenacting key moments in his life, with him as the hero that always saves the day, and Abyss as his fake son, is too many to remember.
I understand that sometimes wrestlers take real things about their lives and incorporate it into the show. However, Hogan has been through some really emotional, life changing stuff recently. Bringing that fresh pain onto the small screen is NOT good television. It blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and honestly, I feel sorry for him at times.
He needs to distance himself not just from these hokey storylines, but from the product itself, which he has been doing. Take a siesta Hulkster, let the younger drama-free guys take the reins.
The Knockouts Division is not just the Beautiful People. Learn it.
If TNA wants to create interest, it has to generate an alternative product that is similar but different enough from their competitor to warrant a watch from a WWE fan.
If you're like me, you've come to fast forward through every Diva match. However, I will absolutely watch a Knockouts bout, start to finish, and generally enjoy every minute of it.
TNA, before Hogan, would generally (I think) have two knockouts matches per impact (singles and tag). Bringing back increased emphasis on the Knockouts would, as the ratings demonstrate, increase viewership.
In my opinion, gutting the Knockouts in favor of more Hogan and Bischoff time during the wars was one part misogyny and two parts ego.
Gotta give it to the girls though, despite the lack of respect they are being shown, more times than not, they still deliver a decent to good match.
Screwing up this character has really been a Herculean task beyond measure. Hogan and Bischoff should get some kind of award for killing the momentum Abyss has garnered over the last several years.
Where to begin?
First off, curb the ego trip and give him real clothes. The amalgamation of the Abyss and Hogan character into its current incarnation is like trying to match a word that rhymes with orange. It can't be done! And if someone tries, they inevitably end up looking really stupid in the process. Like...smorange? Man, I feel just like Abyss must in that goofy costume.
Second off, just turn him heel. It's really the only way to salvage his dignity. Why Abyss wasn't turned heel instead of AJ is one of the greater mysteries of the universe.
Can you imagine walking into the TNA locker room early in December of 2009 as Hogan must have, seeing Abyss and AJ standing next to each other, and NOT picking Abyss as the top heel for your future promotion?
HE LOOKS LIKE A MONSTER! In fact, just in case you miss it, they conveniently call him THE MONSTER ABYSS!
It really is one of the worst judgment calls in the history of TNA. I truly feel that Abyss vs. AJ during the Monday Night Wars, while it most definitely would not have changed the ultimate outcome, might have yielded better rating than the crap they were shilling instead.