On Jan. 4, 2010, TNA Wrestling brought two new major players into the company. One of them is known as one of the biggest box office draws, if not the biggest, ever in pro wrestling. That man would be “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan.
The other is known for helping WCW to be able to not only compete with Vince McMahon’s WWE, but at a time even beat them. This man is the notorious Eric Bischoff.
Both men bring a lot of baggage with them into TNA. Hogan is known for wanting everything his way or no way. Bischoff is mostly known for being the main reason WCW went out of business and was eventually sold to Vince McMahon.
Some would say both of these men, along with a few others, had major parts in WCW going under, most of the others already being involved with TNA. If it didn’t work the first time, why would they think it would now?
So the biggest question on the wrestling community’s mind at the time was, why bring these two into TNA? Sure they’ve both done a lot of good things in the past, but there’s a lot of bad to go along with it.
Hogan will always be a big draw, but can he do it for a long period of time? With his age and health issue that is a huge question. At first it looked as if he would be able to wrestle from time to time. So that made things look a lot better than they would turn out to actually be.
After having a couple of back surgeries, it looks like Hogan will never wrestle again. Now the question is posed, is Hogan still that big of a draw? Well just look at the crowds. It sure doesn’t look like it from where I’m sitting.
So when Hogan and Bischoff arrived in TNA. They started making changes and bringing in new people. The first and most noticeable change they made was getting rid of TNA’s six-sided ring and bringing in a more traditional four-sided one.
This didn’t go over well with many long time TNA fans. The six-sided ring was one thing that made TNA unique. So when they took that away it was like taking away TNA’s identity.
The change of the ring still wasn’t the biggest change that would be made. After the arrival of Hogan and Bischoff, TNA attempted to change what had been their only advantage over WWE.
Before they arrived TNA was mostly known for having a lot of young talented stars that would go in the ring and put on some of the best matches in history. For some reason they decided that wasn’t going to work.
So they tried to change the pro wrestling promotion into a sports entertainment company, much like WWE.
Everyone knows you aren’t going to beat Vince at his own game, it’s been proven time and again. Why would anyone choose to watch TNA if they are just another WWE when WWE will always be better at what they’re doing?
It never made sense to me. Why wouldn’t TNA try to be different?
WWE being PG is the only difference? They have the talent to do it. All they needed to do was keep putting out a good product with good wrestling. The rest should have just been an added bonus instead of the other way around.
That wasn’t the most amazingly stupid change that was made, though. TNA Impact was a show that had a solid fan base on Thursday night, where they didn’t have any other sports entertainment competition.
But someone actually thought it would be a good idea for them to move to Monday night and go heads up with WWE’s Monday Night Raw.
Again I ask, why would they think people would choose to watch their show over WWE when WWE has a better show and are already known? I’m not saying TNA couldn’t become competitive, but at that time they weren’t in any position to challenge WWE.
After a few weeks of doing a live show on Monday night it was obvious to everyone that TNA was nowhere near being close to ready for that kind of competition. So they limped their way back to Thursday night, but the damage was already done.
They had already shot themselves in the foot, so to speak. I think the beating took a toll on the morale of the whole organization and TNA still hasn’t recovered almost a year later.
With these new changes also came changes in talent, some new and the departure of some others. The most prominent person to enter TNA other than Hulk Hogan was the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Flair is one of the bright spots in this whole mess as long as he stays out of the ring. He already did the unthinkable, wrestling again after the great send off he received while still in WWE.
Flair has always been a great talker, so being a manager works. At first, they put him with the then-TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, but instead of letting Flair be an addition to an already great wrestler they decided AJ should become the next Ric Flair.
Bad decision, why fix something that isn’t broken? AJ, the company’s biggest babyface, then turned into a heel. This turned into a recurring theme for TNA over the next year.
After AJ lost the title, Flair went on to form a group, the new Four Horsemen, called Fortune. The group included AJ Styles, Kazarian, Robert Roode and James Storm, who are better known as Beer Money Inc.
Not a bad group of talent by any means. These were some of the guys that built TNA, but when they joined the group called Immortal, it never made sense to me.
Why would these guys, who were going around telling everyone that they didn’t like being put on the back burner, join a group where they would always be in the background?
TNA also brought in one of the biggest babyfaces in all of wrestling, Jeff Hardy. Hardy came in out of shape and facing drug charges in North Carolina.
Even with all that, I believe this could have been the best move TNA made. Hardy has a huge ready-made fan base and should have been able to increase TNA’s fan base, but for some odd reason for every new fan they gained TNA lost an old one.
Then to top all that off Hardy turned heel, which was a terrible decision. Jeff is one of those guys who could kill a cat in front of everyone and he would still get cheered. So why not capitalize on this? Then when his brother Matt came into the fold it would be even more of a draw.
The Hardyz back together again and I don’t mean this crap they’re doing now, but the Hardyz everyone was used to seeing and loved. This is one of the biggest things TNA dropped the ball on.
There were other people that came to TNA, but didn’t stick around very long. Guys like Sean Morley (aka Val Venis), The Nasty Boys, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. Then there were others that came and stayed, but really didn’t do anything for the company, Orlando Jordan being one of them.
Hogan also thought it was a good idea to bring in Bubba the Love Sponge to be the backstage interviewer. Wow, what a great decision that was.
He even got one of TNA’s best women fired before he left. Awesome Kong punched Bubba because of a racial remark he made and was let go by the company because of it.
Mr. Anderson was another big name TNA brought in during 2010. At first he was to be a babyface, but the fans wouldn’t allow it. So Ken being the pro that he is simply saw that the crowd wasn’t buying it and reacted as a heel.
But for some reason TNA just had to have him as a babyface. So after a few months of being a heel and doing a good job at it, Anderson started getting some cheers because of things he said.
TNA got their wish an opportunity to turn him babyface and they ran with it. Was that a good decision? Well to me it wasn’t, it was like cutting his balls off. Now he couldn’t be the asshole that was getting cheered anymore, he had to tone it down to be fan friendly.
Another big name TNA signed was Rob Van Dam. Rob’s first night wasn’t as good as it could have been. He arrived in TNA and instantly got beat down by Sting with a bat. What a way to get a guy over on his first appearance, right?
After all was said and done, RVD went on a good run and became TNA’s World Heavyweight Champion and the face of the company for a while.
But like TNA always does they came up with a bright idea. Let’s have RVD taken out by Abyss. This way we can have Hardy turn heel and be our champion. I’m not saying they should have left the belt on RVD because it was getting old fast, but there is plenty of ways to have him lose the title.
I guess that was a big part of what they did. It was almost like they wanted him to drop the belt without losing it for some reason. What that reason was I have no idea? It could have been Rob thinking it would hurt his character.
It could have been TNA setting up something else like Hardy and RVD down the road. Either way it would have been better to just have him lose it to Jeff Hardy the babyface
It was almost like they booked themselves into a corner where they had only one way out. Kurt Angle saying he would retire if he lost had a lot to do with it. They then couldn’t have Hardy or Anderson beat Kurt.
It would have made more sense to have had RVD remain champion and not get jumped. Then have Anderson beat him for the belt and then turn around and had Hardy beat him after a month or so.
The whole Immortal angle seemed like it was there just to have a story that would take up a lot of time. It should have never been done, in my opinion. It’s been downhill ever since that night.
The thing is that it didn’t have to be. The week after Bound for Glory, TNA had the chance to grow their audience. But what did they do? They had a two-hour show that was 85 percent talking.
I truly believe if they would have just put on a good wrestling show, they would still be growing instead of dying. They had everyone talking about what happened and wanting to see what would happen next, but they just simply dropped the ball.
Now here it is months later and they are trying to pick up the pieces. Immortal wasn’t working so now they’re trying to salvage something from the last six months by turning Fortune into babyfaces, which is where they needed to be in the first place.
TNA also brought in a lot of the old ECW talent. It was good for a one-night deal, but long-term it was a bad move. Tommy Dreamer signing with TNA was a good business decision if he just helped out in the back. Tommy in the ring isn’t a good thing.
Sabu, as great as he was, just isn’t the same guy anymore. Bringing these guys in and giving them TV time wasn’t good. It took away from time they could have used for the younger guys.
Having EV2 around a month or less would have been good, but they just stuck around way too long. I liked the idea of having the Hardcore Justice PPV being a tribute to ECW. The thing they did wrong was letting it be more than just that.
TNA also let a lot of the talent that helped build the company go during the last year, including Christopher Daniels, Sting, Raven, Kevin Nash, ODB and Awesome Kong. They are better off without a couple of them, but for the most part they are sadly missed by TNA and the fans.
Having Sting and Nash leave when they did kind of killed the Immortal angle, in my opinion. It left no one to fight against them at least no one that the fans would pull for.
Then they had the whole Mr. Anderson getting a concussion from being hit in the back of the head with a chair by Jeff Hardy.
This made them have to change their plans in a short time. Matt Morgan, who was in Immortal at the time, for some reason stood up for Anderson when he was being forced into a match.
Morgan is a decent wrestler, but a main event guy he is not. I also don’t feel he does a good job being a babyface. He’s just too cocky and needs to be one of the company’s top heels.
Hogan said they needed to put people in the position to succeed when he first got to TNA. For the most part they haven’t done that. That is the biggest reason behind the failing efforts to make TNA better.
If it was up to me here is how I would handle the talent that they have at the moment. My top babyfaces would be Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and RVD. The top heels would be Mr. Anderson, Abyss, Matt Morgan, The Pope and Scott Steiner.
Since Hogan and Bischoff’s arrival, the Knockouts and X Divisions have struggled too. They’ve pretty much took away what made each of them special.
The Knockouts Division was known for having the best women’s wrestling in the world. Now it’s still better than WWE, but it isn’t the same. I believe they give the women they have too much TV time. There are too many cat fights, which are just there for cheap ratings.
The X Division used to be a bunch of younger talent that could do almost anything in the ring. It was what basically put TNA on the map at the beginning. I know it was what made me start watching TNA.
Now we have guys like Robbie E and Douglas Williams being the X Division Champion. The night Robbie won the title is the night I considered the X Division died.
TNA tries to take too many short cuts to get cheap pops and ratings. This has led them down a long path of short-term thinking, doing things just because it will draw a bigger number, instead of doing things because it will eventually pay off with 10 times the amount of success. The wrestling business can’t be rushed just look at WWE right now, every guy they rush ends in failure.
If I owned TNA, I would strip down the creative side of the company and start over. The people they have involved with creation are not getting the job done. Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, Kevin Sullivan and Jeff Jarrett are all a part of the problem here.
Russo can do good work, but he needs someone to filter him most of the time. Hogan should just be an on-screen character with no said in decisions. Bischoff shouldn’t have a job, so he got lucky once and had some success.
Since then all he’s done is proved it to just be luck. He was at the right place at the right time. I could do without Sullivan, too, Dutch Mantell is a way better booker, hands down.
Jeff Jarrett is okay when it comes to business, but creation is another thing. We get stuff like him and Karen on TV five times in two hours when he gets a say. So I’d keep him away from it.
The most important thing is that TNA needs someone to take charge and be the last word on everything. It can’t be Dixie because she doesn’t know enough to do it the right way. It would have to be someone she could trust to take complete control.
The way it is now TNA is just like WCW: too many chiefs and not enough Indians. If they don’t do something soon TNA will be where WCW is today, out of business.
I’m sure someone will say I’m a TNA hater, but I’m not. If they do something I think is good I’ll say it, but lately there just isn’t anything good to talk about. I’d like to see them challenge WWE because it would make both companies better
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