How to Change TNA for the Better
I do not watch TNA; I only catch what's going on through websites like B/R.
The WWE can ONLY be pushed to higher levels if Vince McMahon feels challenged by another company.
For the betterment of WWE and the industry as a whole, TNA needs to become a better No. 2 company. ROH needs a better national image to be a challenger, although it is definitely growing in terms of impact (pardon the unintended pun).
So far TNA's six-sided ring, X-Division (which has been mysteriously downplayed), Main Event Mafia, arrival of Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff, return to action of Sting, RVD, The Band, and Jeff Hardy, among other ploys, have not brought about their expected results.
So I will have to take the book and show the brass in Orlando what should be done to elevate TNA into a viable operation. I will set the world of TNA in order!
Lose the Dinosaurs Now!
I can recall when the nWo was at its hottest in the spring of 1997; the Outsiders (Hall/Nash) were embroiled in a feud for the tag team belts with Ric Flair and Roddy Piper.
In the course of the feud, the 'Siders continually referred to Flair/Piper as "Dinosaurs." My, how the times have changed!
Nash is now one of the "dinosaurs" involved in TNA, holding back the young stars of today, not to mention tomorrow!
TNA should minimize the impact and visibility of the various legends that dot their roster.
Flair being over Fourtune makes sense. Mick Foley, depending on his contract status, can be of use as an adviser to EV 2.0 (while they are still there), and manage a new stable of like talents.
Jeff Jarrett occasionally in the ring can be done right when TNA's legacy is being challenged.
Sting's character is kind of lost; as much as he was my man in WCW, its time to let his contract expire with him making only random appearances, but not to wrestle.
Nash needs to be released immediately. He serves no purpose, can't do anything of note in the ring, cuts long, dry promos, and his strong point is what again? If he can't be released, let him be the third man in the booth or something.
Please, let's move on from 1998 already. It's 2010!
Let's See a Job Description
What exactly is Hulk Hogan's position within TNA?
I don't have a problem with authority figures, but let it be known exactly what it is. Representative of the Board, Managing Partner, Executive Shareholder, General Manager; he has to have some actual position, not just someone "going in with Dixie Carter." Huh?
Put a hierarchy in place, like with legit sports organizations:
Carter is Owner and President of TNA.
Hogan is Managing Partner of TNA and works directly with Dixie.
Jarrett is GM and reports directly to Hogan.
Make Hogan's presence make sense. Logical sense. End the ambiguity. Now.
Decide on What Factions To Have...or Not Have!
S.E.X., Planet Jarrett, Team Canada, TBP, Main Event Mafia, Fourtune, EV 2.0.
These are some of the factions that have graced TNA's roster since its inception.
TNA needs to break up the concept of factions, by and large.
In the heydays of the NWA, UWF, and WWF/E, there was at most one legit faction, and maybe a looser faction of faces to respond to it.
Let's see...EV 2.0 clearly has a (short) clock ticking ready to signal its demise, so we can go with Fourtune. Sure it is a facsimile to the Horsemen, but it can be run properly.
Let Doug Williams go back to being a singles wrestler. He's the X-Division champion; let him deal with defending that in 20 minute mat classics.
Have Kazarian be unceremoniously dumped by Morgan, which leads to a feud, or let him be a legit wrestler, going up the ranks toward a run at a title. Right now, he just looks like Antonio Banderas and is serving no purpose.
Have AJ drop the TV title, or show he's the best wrestler in the business and defend it every week for a long run, ala RVD in ECW.
Make Morgan the centerpiece as the Heavyweight Title contender. He has the look. He's ready. It should be his time. He's been in TNA long enough.
Beer Money is money in the ring and on the mike. After EV 2.0 is done, go back after the belts.
Then every two months or so, TNA can throw different combinations, heel or face, that can challenge them to keep Fourtune from taking over TNA.
Focus on Wrestling, Not Sports Entertainment!
With the roster TNA has they should have more classic matches, which would set them apart from WWE.
Kurt Angle, RVD, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, The Machine Guns, Beer Money, Kazarian, Desmond Wolfe, and Doug Williams can all put on high-quality matches. Use them in that way!
There are quality tag teams already in TNA. Hype it up, maybe dedicate an Impact main event or two to established tag teams, not combining two singles feuds into a big match, per se.
If guys in the back see the work going on in the ring, they will want to take it up when it's their turn. Or want to leave because they cannot keep up.
There are some teams/wrestlers who can't put on those types of matches, and they serve a purpose too.
The brawling guys are needed because they add a different flavor when they're in.
The lucha style in the X Division stands out in their matches.
Specialty matches should have a one year moratorium in place, except for an occasional cage match. Keep them because diversity is needed, but enough of the 2-3 minute matches!
TNA should strive to be different from WWE, not emulate them!
Pink Slip the Following... Immediately!
Let's wave goodbye to the following, like yesterday:
Orlando Jordan (No Need to see a New Millennium Adrian Adonis)
Eric Young (Goodbye, Already!)
EV 2.0 (Except for RVD, Stevie Richards, Rhyno, Team 3D & the occasional Sabu reappearance). Make Dreamer a booker, NOT a wrestler!
Rob Terry (The drug tests are coming! The drug tests are coming!)
At best, Terry (Hogan reportedly loves him) can be made a bodyguard-type who doesn't wrestle... for a while. Like a long while. Like Diesel in the WWF-while.
Here's an Idea: Promote the X Division!
TNA originally came up with something different: The X Division.
It was not about weight, size, or limits, but instead NO LIMITS!
So what does TNA do? They go away from what makes them different. WTH?
TNA will not out-promote the WWE. TNA will not be able to rattle off the amount of movies and TV appearances of the WWE. TNA will not be able to pump up the worldwide "TNA universe."
But they can play to their strengths, like the Knockouts, great Tag Teams, and (drum roll) their classic battles in the X Division!
Samoa Joe can go back there until the Heavyweight title picture is clear; Doug Williams can have an open challenge every other month.
The Ultimate X matches can be played up!
The many founding fathers of TNA can be shown, like Jerry Lynn, AJ, Christopher Daniels, etc...in segments to re-announce an Impact solely dedicated to the Division that made TNA unique from the start.
Get on it, TNA!
Move Impact - Cultivate the Audience!
Take Impact on the road to build up the TNA audience.
Get away from Universal for two weeks a month. TNA cannot grow while only having live audiences in Orlando.
They have been doing it for a few PPV's. Let's expand the concept, include months of promoting the move to other arenas. RAW and Nitro used to build up and hype up the next week's show by announcing where it would be happening the next week.
Many reports speak positively of the TNA live show experience; play that up.
Show clips of house show action, interviews with fans, and the like. Bischoff knows how this is done, get him to get on it and out of Hollywood, or make him choose one.
Imagine shows at smaller arenas (start in established TNA markets, where they have been on more than one occasion). Make it a happening event, not just a wrestling card.
It may cost a little more in terms of production, but we all know you gotta spend money to make money.
Focus on the Future!
Your young talents today are the foundation of the future.
When Nitro was beating RAW and many stars jumped to WCW, McMahon focused on young stars: HBK, The Rock, HHH, Mankind, Stone Cold, etc...
Have the older wrestlers that get phased out leave due to retirement stips, loser leaves TNA, etc...and make it a big deal when the younger stars beat them. Highlight a match where Styles sends Sting packing, Fourtune retiring EV 2.0, or whatever. This makes them bigger when people ask, "Who is in TNA and what have they done?"
Then storylines can be automatically plugged in: AJ Styles, the man who retired Sting (for good) will now defend his title against Jeff Hardy, or something along those lines.
On another front, make the storyline arc continue through the end, with big blow-off matches.
Do not just drop storylines without explanation, see it through to the end! If nothing else, it gives you a point to pick up months, even years later, when new feud possibilities arise.
For example, when a WWE or ROH star comes in who may have a tie to a former star retired/expelled from TNA.
Look long-term, TNA. Forget the ratings (to a degree). They have stayed steady for over the last two years.
If you tell compelling stories, they will watch.
Kill the CrashTV Approach, Russo!
Since writer Vince Russo obviously still loves the CrashTV concept, and throws out multiple angles continuously, either let him go, reduce his role, or tell him that style is done.
Only rarely do multiple programs going simultaneously work, and never in TNA!
A great example is how clustered the Fourtune vs. EV 2.0 (with the Dinosaurs beef thrown in from last week) match was.
Please, slow this show down! I know this isn't anything new, but if everyone is saying the same thing, maybe there is something to it!
Focus on one program per segment.
It can overlap in terms of time or individuals (say Angle's retirement, Angle and the Heavyweight tournament), but not all the time! People cannot maintain proper perspective and results in a WTF?!? view of TNA.
The Bottom Line
TNA does not need an overhaul in terms of talent, but it does need one in terms of focus, direction, and perspective of who the company should be built around.
Some talent, like AJ Styles, need managers like Flair to get him over in terms of promos, while others, like Desmond Wolfe, need to be unleashed.
The old guys need to be de-emphasized and phased out, while the X Division and Tag Team Division needs to be emphasized.
Some changes can be subtle, like fewer backstage segments (blend more of them into ReAction, which I hear is pretty good).
Realistically, TNA will not catch WWE in the near future (or maybe ever), but they can make themselves a viable wrestling company instead of the floundering, directionless, "let's see what sticks" company that it is currently.
Many of these ideas are not new or original. But goodness gracious, sakes alive, do something different to stand out.
The ball is in your court, TNA.