I rarely watch TNA wrestling today. Maybe it's because of some unfounded skepticism I find in the product. Maybe it's simply because it's not as great as it could be.
I first heard of TNA wrestling via commercials on my satellite cable system. I was still a WWE-only type of fan, watching wrestlers like Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena, and Batista on my TV. I never really watched TNA.
When I did, I was very impressed.
Samoa Joe was the one who caught my attention the most. He was the TNA X Division champion, and he was someone to marvel at. What couldn't this guy do?
He was undefeated for over a year in TNA, never losing a match to anyone. Even when he lost his title, he was out of the decision. Someone took advantage of the situation and pinned another man for his well-deserved championship.
The only flaw I saw in TNA was Jeff Jarrett, and even that was just to a degree of kayfabe. Jeff Jarrett just couldn't stop winning the prestigious NWA World Heavyweight championship. That bothered the hell out of me, to say the least.
The first clue that TNA was a great promotion to me was when Christian signed on after leaving WWE. The moment he joined, he was a main event star.
The lack of success in the WWE translated into two world title reigns in Total Nonstop Action wrestling. That was the beginning of my true fandom of TNA.
Suddenly, more things happened. King of the Mountain became a concept worth witnessing.
Sting, who was past his prime but still a formidable wrestler, defeated Jeff Jarrett at Bound for Glory for another title reign. Abyss became a monster heel champion.
Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle started my favorite wrestling rivalry ever. It was a game of "who's better than who?" the whole way through.
TNA was magnificent. TNA was incredible. TNA was every word of praise imaginable. And then...something happened.
I don't know what it was for me. Maybe it was the fact that Sting never seemed to hold on to the world title of the company all that long (he's one of my all-time favorite wrestlers).
Maybe it was because the Main Event Mafia started taking over. Maybe it was because I started listening to complaints about the company and started thinking like "wrestling smark." (No offense intended to anyone whatsoever)
Maybe TNA just lost its spark. In my opinion, it doesn't feel as great as it did years before.
If WWE lost its way, then so did Total Nonstop Action Wrestling; wouldn't they be on top of the wrestling world by now?
To this day, I remain on the fence about TNA wrestling. I want to say that it's a great endeavor for people who never made it in WWE.
It's also a great place where top stars were bred. I'm not going to write my first article for TNA without mentioning my current favorite TNA wrestler, A.J. Styles.
It's also a great atmosphere for all-around wrestling action. WWE thrives on characters and story lines, but TNA has great in-ring action. Only Ring of Honor tops TNA as a mainstay technical wrestling company.
But then there's the downsides. They are downsides that many people cite, but I agree with these flaws being part of the company.
I have no problem with nostalgia in the company. Was it great to see Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and other former wrestling icons in TNA? Of course, I grew up watching Razor Ramon, X-Pac, and Hollywood Hogan in the WWE and WCW.
Is it nice to see ECW stars in TNA as well? Well, I guess so.
I'm a Tommy Dreamer fan, and Raven is also one of my favorite wrestlers as well. Sometimes, I just wish Taz would get out of the announcer's table and do something violent.
But while I enjoy nostalgia, what about the wrestlers in TNA who aren't from the past two decades of wrestling?
What about A.J. Styles, the Motor City Machine Guns, Desmond Wolfe, and others? They're obviously getting their spotlight, but shouldn't they be the top priority.
After today's Bound for Glory main event, Jeff Hardy became the new world heavyweight champion while turning heel.
He was also part of the mysterious "They" that Abyss alluded to...which was also comprised of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and the monster himself.
Can we not invest in the future? I'm not sure if TNA's way of pushing younger talent is just different, but from an outsider's perspective, I'm not convinced.
This is one of many flaws I feel TNA has, but I don't want to be ignorant. Ignorance serves no one any good whatsoever. If I'm to criticize TNA, then I have to criticize it by knowing what's going on.
That's why I've decided to dedicate my Thursday nights to TNA wrestling.
Whenever TNA is on, I'd like to give some insight on the events that have occurred. I feel that the first Impact after the company's flagship PPV is a great place to start.
It's like a fresh new start. It's the beginning of the fiscal year for TNA, much like WrestleMania is the beginning of the fiscal year for WWE.
I won't criticize anything that doesn't look wrong. I won't nitpick. At least, I hope I stay objective.
I will question some elements of programming. I will wonder why this isn't happening, or why this wrestler isn't getting a big enough push.
I will watch TNA and try to enjoy as much of the program as possible. Maybe my opinion will change.
Or maybe not. Only time can tell if I simply just lost the spark myself.