Vicious Cycle: Why The WWE Needs TNA To Succeed
Okay, so the IWC is up in arms about what is currently happening with TNA wrestling. That, or people are screaming about how the WWE's product is getting watered down, predictable and boring. What needs to happen in order for fans of pro wrestling to get genuinely excited again (as opposed to hanging on pins and needles for the next big thing)?
TNA needs to desperately get its act together.
Currently, the EV 2.0 phase has begun in TNA, and it isn't going over as well as Dixie Carter may have hoped. The fact is, the storyline was botched from the get-go with the absence of Paul Heyman, and he may be leery of getting involved seeing as how it's currently being mismanaged. Hogan and Bischoff are failing to steer the company in a positive direction, and Ric Flair is back in a very ugly way.
Fans of TNA are also griping that TNA's homegrown talent has been thrown by the wayside in favor of WCW's old guard and the has-beens from ECW. While some ECW talent may still be legitimate (or relevant) with the ICW (see: RVD, Team 3D, Jerry Lynn), the rest may be thrown in the dustbin of history.
How does this affect the WWE?
Currently, the WWE seems to be stuck in idle while TNA comes crashing down. The fact remains that in any business, if no competition exists, there will not be any motivation for growth to occur.
Currently, TNA is the closest thing WWE has to legitimate competition. ROH and the indie circuit have fantastic wrestlers and great up-and-comers, but ROH is only found on HDNet, and TNA has SpikeTV. TNA also has more impact (pardon the play on words) as far as name recognition is concerned, not only with its brand, but with many of the wrestlers on its roster.
The problem facing TNA is not one of finances or exposure, but rather begins and ends with failed management. We see this all the time in sports; if a franchise shows signs of continuous, sustained failure, it may not be the fault of the middle management (see: coaches, GMs) but with the ownership.
Dixie Carter is the captain of a rudderless ship. She has shown no direction, has provided no encouragement that repairs are on the way, and is at the mercy of the current. Hiring Bischoff may not have been the greatest mistake (same with Vince Russo) had they been handed the talent Dixie already had.
Hiring Headache Hulk Hogan (alliteration rules) was.
It was clear the direction things would go with him. If the terms of his employment were clear that he would only provide input directly involving his character, then it may have come across, but he never would have taken less than complete creative control. If that was the case, then "see ya, Hulk." No Hogan is better than what played out over recent months.
The WWE's storylines are not going much better. While there was good immediate feedback concerning Nexus, the storyline has stalled and may not get back the giant wave of momentum it got when it was first revealed.
Gimmick PPVs are the WWE's immediate solution, and the buyrates aren't any better than they've been recently.
The guest host formula?
They've already started scaling that back, even though a few of the guests actually made sense and provided some good entertainment (Prinze Jr., Seth Green, Mark Cuban, Shaq, are all reasonably good hosts). Complacency is killing the WWE and the efforts they have made are all baby steps. The WWE needs a giant leap.
The space race is a good analogy. In its height, space exploration captivated the imaginations of millions. The world was hooked to see if the Russians or Americans would make the moon first. The WWE and WCW were much the same. Wrestling's popularity was bred out of the incredible weekly competition between Raw and Nitro. When America reached the moon, the Russians scaled back space exploration and the Americans lost interest. The WWE bought out WCW and slowly, the audience hasn't been nearly as intrigued by wrestling culture.
Unless somebody comes along to provide credible competition to the WWE, we will continue to be disappointed with the product we see.
I love Raw. I love Smackdown! I could enjoy episodes of Impact from time to time, but lately, I'm not as in love with the wrestling product as I used to be. Wrestlemania came about because Vince McMahon wanted to have the biggest, baddest celebration of sports and entertainment. He wanted bragging rights to say his promotion was the best. With no competition, he is on an island with nobody around to appreciate his accomplishments. Without WCW, there was no WrestleMania. Without competition, we may see no WWE soon enough.
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