TNA: A Home For Second Chances, A Home For Pro Wrestling

'Rowdy' Ross RutherfordSenior Analyst IAugust 24, 2010

In the past I have been a very huge critic of TNA. At one point, about two years ago, I wrote an article saying I had given up all hope on TNA and that I would never invest time into caring about them ever again. You can actually read this article here.

However, I have decided that TNA deserves a second chance. I am not saying TNA has the best content it has ever had, because it does not. I’m saying I can see the promotion trying to improve and I see the people backstage giving young and talented guys the WWE and other companies didn’t see any potential in a second chance to show the fan that they have what it takes. They are also managing to do this without burying a majority of their home grown talent that has been dedicated employees for years.

Up until about 2005 I was all about the WWE. It was the only company I had ever loved, with the small exception of a love affair with the watered down version of ECW on TNN when I was very young. I enjoyed TNA when it first debuted in 2005, but I quickly saw the content going downhill in mid 2007 and then it hit rock bottom not long after, but now it seems we are seeing a small rebound.

They may not have the best weekly show or the highest ratings every Thursday, but what they do have is a group of people backstage and a group of ring performers that are more passionate about what they do than any other people I have ever seen in the business of professional wrestling.

Notice I said professional wrestling and not sports entertainment. However I think most of the performers that have been with TNA from the beginning truly do have a strong sense of loyalty to their promotion because they have seen it grow and expand from very humble beginnings.

TNA’s president Dixie Carter is not afraid to admit that TNA is a wrestling company. She is also not afraid to admit that TNA has problems. I admire her honesty and I truly believe that she and the other people behind the scenes are working hard to improve the content of TNA and for that I am giving them a second chance.

She has pride in what she does. She is honest and is not afraid to address issues head on with the talent and the fans and I think this makes the performers and fans feel like they are really part of the TNA family. This is something the WWE does not and cannot do.

I am giving TNA a second chance just like they have given other pro wrestlers a second chance. TNA has taken in stars that the WWE misused, abused, or never valued like Mr. Kennedy, Jeff Hardy, Rhino, D'Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan, Kurt Angle, and countless others. All of these guys have brought a lot to TNA and continue to be huge parts of the roster, but without over shadowing the reasons we all first feel in love with TNA, the original TNA talent.

While TNA is often referred to as a dying “WCW” or “WWE-Lite” I think that TNA recognizes good business and good talent when it sees it. I was once a very harsh critic of TNA Wrestling, but I now think that I have been a little too hard on a company that was built from the ground up. I forget sometimes that TNA is just a baby in terms of a promotion. McMahon has had 30 years of experience in running a promotion. I have seen TNA grow since the very beginning and I have seen them at their highest heights and their lowest lows. I suppose I expected them to be an overnight success, but I forgot that Rome was not built in a day.

True success takes time.

However, TNA has had the good fortune to have acquired great talent from the WWE. Guys like Kennedy, Hardy, and D’Angelo Dinero have all helped beef up TNA’s main event scene and have brought some name power to TNA’s weekly television show. They are all also relatively young and could help carry the company with TNA’s original talent when guys like Kurt Angle hand it up for good. Some of these guys are also having a lot of success in TNA that they never really had in the WWE.

I’m not saying ever veteran or former WWE, WCW, or ECW performer needs to be in TNA, but in some cases it is cool with me. Especially is this wrestler was someone the WWE miss used and mistakenly released.

While I could do without guys like Hulk Hogan and some of the ECW talent that has shown up recently I suppose this is Dixie Carter’s way of trying to get people watching. I think her mind set is that she can get viewers watching with guys like Hogan and Flair on the show and keep them coming back after they see guys like AJ Styles, Motor City Machine Guns, and Jay Lethal. I think that is smart booking, but plenty of fans complain about it none the less.

Like I said I could do without all the countless veterans running around too, but TNA is making strides to improve and I don’t think we should knock them as they have really been improving and I must give the devil its due.

Even Rob Van Dam has been one of the most popular wrestlers of the last decade has gotten a second chance in TNA. This time however, Van Dam has been treated like this star he is. Dixie Carter has finally given Rob Van Dam the respect that he has never gotten elsewhere. This is a case where a veteran has been used in the right way. Plus Van Dam can still have entertaining match, but I must say “The Whole Fucking Show” has slowed down a bit since his return and his mouth has gotten a bit bigger as he has been saying some awfully rude things about the TNA originals.

I never thought I would see the day where I would have a renewed hope in TNA. I wrote a whole article about how I had given up all hope on TNA and I stuck to that claim for about two year now until I noticed the quality of matches and writing slowly improving. At one point I had stopped watching TNA Impact all together (you can read about it at the above link), but now I don’t miss an episode of Impact.

TNA still has a lot of work to do.

 I am not saying they have reached the pinnacle of what a wrestling company should be. Very few promotions ever have. They still have dozens of problems to address from a financial and creative stand point, but my point is I think they are in a much better place than they were about a year ago and part of me really wants to give a hand to TNA for actually listening to the fans.

They heard our pleas to showcase their talent and use the veterans to draw crowds, but not to over use them and abuse their dedicated original wrestlers. I can clearly see them doing this. With guys like Hogan, Sting, Nash, and Flair only wrestling once in a blue moon. This frees up almost all of the time for the hard working young guys and the former miss used WWE talent that are getting treated like main event draws. I see this as a good thing.

People complain about how TNA takes in every WWE cast off they can and I use to do this too, but now I see they are giving them another shot at greatness and actually treat some of these guys like stars and after being abused by the WWE I’m sure this motivates them to work just as hard as many of the TNA’s originals. I see guys like Hardy, Anderson, The Pope, Matt Morgan, and several others really making an impact in TNA.

The reason I am okay with all of this is because TNA has found the right combination of the new/original wrestlers and the veteran/wrestlers who have worked extensively for other promotions.

So yeah sure we see all the old guys ever Thursday night, but we also see the Motor City Machine Guns, Jay Lethal, Matt Morgan, and all of those other guys that represent the future and present of TNA.

So you have won me over again TNA. I again have hope in your ability to showcase an alternative to the WWE, but just remember that I can go back on this anytime I feel you are abusing it.

I could sit here and list all the problems TNA has, but we all know what they need other than time. Which I think is very important at this point. So I won’t go there right now.

The bottom line is that TNA has me interested in the content they are putting out and I am enjoying the weekly show. So this is a small victory for TNA.

Life is all about second chances and what you can do with them….