There has been a lot of chatter going around the Internet Wrestling Community about all the things that TNA is doing wrong, and even more debate about how it can be fixed. And while I understand how easy it is to be an armchair quarterback, I do have to say that there are some very good points that are being brought up. So here is a list of the main problems that most people seem to have with the current TNA product, and possible solutions.
They are obsessed with pushing former WWE wrestlers.
Recently I was watching TNA’s 50 greatest moments, and it was very enjoyable, since I didn’t get a chance to see the company in its very early days. It was obvious that from the very beginning, they had to build up their own stars. But even then, they knew that to get noticed, and to grow, using established names would help. People like Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Raven, DDP, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and eventually Sting. Having these men, along side of their own talents, such as A.J. Styles, Americas Most Wanted, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and Abyss, made a good mix of old and new. They are still bringing in new talent whenever they become available, but the problem that people are pointing out is correct, in that they are no longer mixing in their own talent well enough with the new. The main event for Bound For Glory this year, which is TNA’s biggest pay per view event, features 3 former WWE talents for the World Title. A Title which was vacated by another former WWE talent, Rob Van Dam. Now as I said before, I understand the importance of name recognition when it comes to getting your brand noticed, but there are certainly others that could have been used in this main event just as easily. Or at the very least, should be competing in the main events against these former WWE starts more often to get recognized. Styles, Matt Morgan, Abyss, Samoa Joe. and Desmond Wolfe should be much more active in the main event scene against the already established, former WWE stars. This way, you would still have that name recognition, while at the same time you are building up the stars that will still be with the company for years to come. Putting the TNA originals on the back burner, while you milk the fame of names such as Hardy and RVD will only hurt you in the long run. TNA needs to get back to their roots, and find a much better way of blending the old with the new. Elevate the young stars, while still respecting the veterans.
The storylines are no good, and the booking is too erratic.
This problem has been blamed on 3 people. Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Vince Russo. Now as much as I am not a fan of Russo, he was there before Hogan and Bischoff showed up, and things werent’ as bad as they are now. Does that mean that he is off the hook, and the other two are to blame? Of course not. Vince Russo has always been controversial as the man behind the scenes that goes for the “shock and awe” approach to booking. Anything to get a reaction, and the hell with continuity or sense. The big problem right now, is you have Hogan and Bischoff sticking their noses in as well, and what results is an even bigger mess. TNA right now is looking as disorganized as WCW did just before it went under. It’s probably no surprise that the same three men were around in that company too. They say that if you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. This should be a wake up call for Dixie Carter to get things under control, if she can. Before the Hogan/Bischoff regime came to power, the storyline situation in TNA was actually sort of interesting. The Main Event Mafia, at war with the Front line, and the third party of World Elite, was handled much better than this whole Fourtune vs Ev2.0 business. The booking for the X-Division, and the Knockouts was still very strong. And nothing was hotter than the Tag Teams, with the Team 3D invitational kicking off a good three way feud with Beer Money, Team 3D, and The British Invasion.
So what can be done to improve things? This one is hard to call. Storylines in wrestling can be very hit or miss. Some people think that the magic pill would be for Paul Heyman to be given the keys to the kingdom as head writer, and man in charge. I would love to see that, but the bigger problem that has to be resolved first, is tightening up all these current programs that seem to be a bridge to nowhere. Abyss and his “they” The Feud between Jarrett, Sting, Nash, and Joe, that has a basis in…..nothing that we know of. And the nonsense that is Ev2.0 vs Fourtune. I have a feeling that after Tommy Dreamer got destroyed by them, that this war isn’t quite over yet, and it really needs to be. Hopefully once all this is done, and Bound For Glory wraps up, they can start something new, that will keep us interested, make sense, and not be dragged out for months on end
The Titles are worthless, and most should be dropped.
This one is mostly in referene to the current T.V. Title, and the Knockouts Tag Team Championship. But I have also heard many people say that the X-Division Title should be done away with as well.
Let me address them one at a time.
First would be the T.V. Title. When Booker T first brought this belt into TNA, I figured it was a gimmick and would be gone in a year. Who knew that they would actually keep it around and recognize it as a legitimate Title? The thing that hurt it the most, was the name changes. That has to be blamed on whoever decided to keep it as a real Championship in the first place. Nobody really understood the dynamic of a “legends” Title, so it got changed to a Global Championship. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Heavyweight Title, a WORLD Championship? That would mean that you have a World, and Global Champion. Sort of redundant. I had said for a very long time that if they wanted to have something on par with the WWE’s, Intercontinental, or U.S. Title, that they should introduce a Television Title. It has been a staple of many wrestling promotions in the past, so it has that built in familiarity. Lo and behold, they do just that. But in a way, the damage had been done. Rob Terry lugging around a “Global Title” while being as usefull as a chocolate coffee pot did nothing for that belt. Hopefully now that it has a new name, and A.J. Styles as the Champion, it can finally be worth something. it will take time to repair its image, but it can be done.
The Knockouts Tag Team Titles. To me, this was just a case of jumping the gun. The Knockouts Division at the time was booming, so the powers that be decided to add tag team gold to the mix. It was a premature decision, as now there are hardly enough women to challenge for the main Title, let alone tag team belts. They need to phase them out, and focus on getting more women in the company. Then perhaps they can be brought back.
The X-Division Title. For those that think this Title should be done away with, you really should give your head a shake. This was the cornerstone of TNA from its early days, and is still something that makes it stand out. Lots of people have called it nothing more than a Cruiserweight Title. To them I have to ask, whats wrong with that? Back when WCW was doing 3 hour episodes of Nitro, the main focus of the first hour were the lower card wrestlers, and the cruiserweights. Stars from Mexico and Japan were brought in, and some of the most exciting and inovative matches I have ever seen, were on those shows. That was the X-Division. Except now, they don’t just have a weight limit. Samoa Joe has been X-Division Champion, as well as A.J. Styles. Both of whom went on to become Heavyweight Champion. The problem right now with this Title, is the same as the Knockouts, and Tag Team. It’s been forgotten. The Tag Belts are starting to get new life, thanks to the Motor City Machine Guns. And hopefully now that Jay Lethal is the X-Division Champion again, we will start to see some of the exciting matches that made the TNA fun to watch right from the start. They certainly have enough talent riding the bench right now. The main thing here, is just use what you have. Its just that simple when it comes to this Title.
So there you have it. The top 3 problems that TNA is facing right now, and possible solutions that they should explore. TNA is far from going under, but they do need to make some changes to get back on track.
By Bruce Shearon.