The reason that it is impossible for TNA to succeed in its current form is because mainstream pro wrestling has become stale and predictable. Now there is always at least one exception to the rule, and in the case of the wrestling business, the exception is WWE.
WWE is a functional machine, which has mastered the art of churning out highly entertaining weekly television.
TNA, on the other hand, is more akin to a track & field Olympian who overslept his alarm clock, and has been bringing up the rear since before the race even started.
There is no need to spend any time breaking down TNA’s downfalls. Instead of burying the company, we should be encouraging them to try something different.
It is not as bleak for TNA right now as it could be:
They are the most legit upstart wrestling company since the death of WCW. They have plenty of talent, and weekly prime time television, yet they are light years away from being a worthy competitor to WWE.
TNA does not need a miracle to succeed—they need a vision.
On the first edition of WCW Monday Nitro, when Lex Luger showed up un-announced, WCW immediately separated itself from WWE by becoming the program where anything can happen. It was a major statement that eventually propelled the company to great heights.
Some critics will say that everything that can be done in wrestling has already happened. I am taking a more optimistic approach.
Let’s blow open the closed minds of the world, and think outside of the box.
Here are five never-before-seen ideas that could push TNA closer to the top of the wrestling mountain.
The No. 1 complaint about the internet wrestling community is that the fans always think they could write better story-lines and book better matches. Well, what if they could?
It’s never been tried before, a nd if there is one thing that the Internet has proven over the last several years, it is that you don’t have to be anybody to be somebody anymore.
Every day thousands successful sports and entertainment blogs are maintained by everyday working people, who just so happen to have a dedicated passion.
Now I am not saying that any single fan out there could write a two-hour wrestling program, b ut I definitely believe that a certain level of interactivity would pique the interest of casual and die-hard wrestling fans alike.
Now here is where it gets fun.
I’m not talking voting online for what kind of gimmick match you want to see—that has been done by WWE. TNA should capitalize on the popularity of social networking in order to make Impact or pay-per-view events more unpredictable.
Imagine a scenario during a live broadcast where a match was taking place, and the TV audience was given a list of possible wrestlers who could interfere with the match. Options to Tweet or text your vote would bring a new level of excitement to the show.
Or what if votes could be cast to call the matches themselves? It would be very possible for TNA to communicate live voting-results to the referee who can than inform the wrestlers of where to take the match.
A social networking site such as Twitter could be very useful as a tool to let fans communicate what they want to see.
Wrestling purists would hate this kind of interaction, but it’s never been done before, and it would definitely be fun.
On any given night in America, thousands upon thousands of sports fan pack arenas and stadiums all across the land. And every single sporting event has one thing in common: intermission.
The half-time festivities for most professional sports are usually reserved for less than exciting dance teams, mascot antics, and the ever popular T-shirt cannon.
What if that 15-minute period was used to showcase the best talent TNA has to offer?
A ring could be rolled out and set up in minutes, and thousands of people would have reason to stay in their seats and witness an entertaining wrestling match.
You can have a top heel come out and start bashing the home team, and a rowdy arena will strongly react.
The average non-wrestling fan at least knows about WWE. TNA is not on the radar of everyday people, and this could be a great marketing tool to create new fans of the product.
If somebody sees AJ Styles or Jeff Hardy live, and then stumbles across Impact a week later on TV, odds are they will at least stop and watch for a few minutes.
Pro Wrestling is pure entertainment and nothing is more entertaining than an old-fashioned serial killer.
Now before you call me sadistic or demented, just take a second and think about it.
Year after year in Hollywood, horror movies rake in huge money. Horror franchises based around sadistic murderers are widely popular, so why wouldn't that apply to pro wrestling?
Sure we have seen insane characters doing dastardly deeds for years in the wrestling world but we have never had an actual killer. They could stretch out a story for months with the mysterious murders of crew members and wrestlers every week on Impact.
Yes it would be controversial—because for some reason wrestling is held to a completely different standard than any other form of entertainment—but if well-written and executed it could draw big ratings.
This would have to be pretty violent, and TNA would have to make that choice to be more adult-oriented, but at this point they should be willing to try anything.
After many months, the reveal of who the killer is would be a major event unlike anything before in wrestling.
I don't know when TNA's contract is up with Spike TV, but whenever it does end, I think TNA should seriously consider the avenue of a premium cable network. Why? A few reasons.
First, expanding a little bit on the serial killer idea, being on a premium cable network such as HBO or Showtime would allow TNA to have complete freedom as far as content goes.
They could do or say whatever they want without censorship.
Now the opportunity for huge ratings numbers would be limited on a premium cable network, but with a higher standard and production value, the company could soar. In recent years, channels like HBO have led the pack in quality television programming.
TNA could utilize the minds of top Hollywood executives to produce a higher quality wrestling show. Utilizing an array of qualified television writers could project wrestling into a whole new direction.
A live weekly program and monthly or bi-monthly special events along with HBO-sponsored pay-per-views would create a ton of buzz for the product.
This combined with uncensored content, and better production could be a huge step for TNA.
Having an offseason in wrestling seems like a hard pill for fans to swallow. Weekly television with no re-runs is one of the key components that separates wrestling from other forms of entertainment.
Like a day-time soap opera, the story always goes on without interruption. It is this way for one reason: That's the way it has always been done.
Without a doubt a smaller wrestling organization such as TNA would have everything to gain from a few months off every year. Sometimes the best part of being a fan of a television or movie series is the anticipation for the next show. Ask any fan of Lost.
Waiting six or seven months after a huge cliffhanger was part agonizing and part thrilling. The discussions and theories one has about a show can be half the fun of being a fan.
The wrestlers would also have the opportunity to rest their bodies. I, for one, am surprised that the days of 300-plus road dates are still here. These guys are still torturing their bodies, and it is about time we let these great performers take a few months off every year to rejuvenate themselves.
It is easy to be selfish and say you can't live without a year-round program, but wrestlers—more than any other entertainers—deserve the time to heal.
The anticipation that builds during the off season would generate speculation and interest for the "season premiere" just like any other great TV show.
The offseason activity such as the signing of new wrestlers could be covered just as it is in major sports, adding a new perspective on being a wrestling fan.