10 Easy Steps Dixie Carter Needs to Take to Fix TNA Wrestling
Does everyone remember how good TNA used to be? When it was first released as a weekly pay-per-view series back in 2002, it was considered revolutionary. It was able to attract many fans who had become tired of the stale storylines being broadcast by the WWE and some of the matches that were on offered were out of this world.
The X division was the main attraction providing five-star matches week in week out. The series of matches that Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels had are among the best matches that I have ever seen.
But since Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joined the company, the output has been getting gradually worse until now it has degenerated into a farce! If the owner of the company, Dixie Carter, felt compelled to refund the fans that bought the pay-per-view, Victory Road, then there are clearly some serious problems.
In this article, I will attempt to address some of those problems.
1. Replace Head Writer Vince Russo with Paul Heyman
ECW's father figure: Paul E. Heyman
Since the arrival of Vince Russo in TNA, he has produced limited results and comparisons have been drawn with the dying days of WCW. In that company, Russo was notorious for writing convoluted storylines that made little sense. Samoa Joe's feud with the Pope D'Angelo Dinero has been difficult to follow and is straight of the WCW school of writing!
But when you compare Russo's ultimate failure at WCW with the iconic rise of ECW that was almost completely controlled by Paul Heyman, there is an obvious solution for Dixie Carter. Paul Heyman has been described as one of the most innovative minds in the history of pro wrestling by a whole host of top stars and inspired a cult-like loyalty in the ECW Originals.
He could be exactly what TNA needs if they are to provide a product that could ultimately challenge the WWE.
2. Schedule One Hour of Separate Programming for the X and Knockout Divisions
We could see matches of this quality if TNA devoted more attention to the X Division
The TNA roster is much too large to give everyone the television time they deserve in a two-hour Impact taping. This could go live on Monday Nights and there would be no pressure for it to compete with Raw as it would be the B show.
It would be the perfect environment for the likes of Amazing Red, Max and Jeremy Buck, Robbie E and Jay Lethal to develop and build storylines before they are considered ready to make the step up to the Heavyweight Division.
It would also be a fantastic place to try out new talent and the always entertaining but seriously underrated Eric Young would have more of an opportunity to show his talents.
3. Break out of the Impact Zone
Sting's return: Great crowd reaction
After performing in the same arena for eight years, it is time for TNA to film more shows on the road. I would suggest that at least half of the shows should be filmed outside the Impact Zone. The crowd there is clearly burnt out and tired from watching the same show every week and therefore the fan reactions are minimal.
Not only would this make the product available to wider audiences, but it gives the atmosphere more of a big-fight feel. When TNA went on tour in the last few weeks and Sting returned to win the World Heavyweight title, there was a bigger pop than the Impact Zone has seen for months.
4. Get Rid of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff
I can understand why Dixie Carter wanted the big names of Hogan and Bischoff to join the company as they will always attract the attention of the casual wrestling fan, especially Hogan. But they have started to steal the spotlight and take valuable television time away from potential young talents.
This NWO rehash angle has become very boring and predictable and they are doing exactly what they said they would avoid- they have put themselves at the forefront of the show.
TNA should sever ties with this duo before they go the same way as WCW.
5. Push the Younger Talent and the TNA Originals
Two of the top talents of TNA's future
The likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Abyss, Beer Money, the Motor City Machine Guns, these are the men that built TNA from the ground up and they deserve to occupy the top positions.
AJ Styles should be the face of the company and has the potential to be the best wrestler in the world. Beer Money are without a doubt the best all-round tag team in the world with the Machine Guns in a close second and The Pope and Samoa Joe deserve to be involved in better angles than the one they are currently stuck with.
I was a huge fan of Sting, RVD and Ric Flair back in the day, but their time is past and TNA have to look to the future.
6. Scripted Promos
Flair has to be restrained
Jason Smith/Getty Images
Ric Flair is probably the best microphone man of all time, but he cannot be given an unscripted promo anymore. He tends to ramble, can be very confusing and has to be reined in. But it is not just Flair who is guilty.
Jeff Hardy and RVD have had difficulty making sense and there are too many promos that don't seem to have any clear direction or purpose.
I am not saying they have to be scripted word for word, but the talent needs to be given more specific instructions if they are to keep consistency in the storylines.
7. Better Editing in the TV Taping
There have been so many basic errors in the backstage segments and Jeremy Borash has consistently failed to announce the match stipulations correctly. As Impact is a taped show, there are no excuses and these segments should be edited to a level suitable for television. Otherwise, it makes the whole company look unprofessional and sloppy.
8. Fire Jeff Hardy
Sting's comment at the end says it all
Jeff Hardy's sub-standard performance at Victory Road was unacceptable and his contract should be terminated immediately. Hardy has been given so many opportunities in the wrestling business and he drops the ball every single time. TNA made a brave decision to hire him with a court case hanging over his head but he has finally crossed the line.
If a WWE wrestler turned up for a pay-per-view under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they would be fired on the spot! This would set the right example to the rest of the roster and show that reputation will not keep you safe from punishment.
9. Reshuffle Immortal
I have become tired of generic and predictable Immortal segments and something needs to be changed if they are going to be seen as legitimate invasion threat. Gunner and Murphy are security guards who do not deserve to be in the same ring as the likes of Beer Money. Matt Hardy has not performed at his best in the WWE for years and Jeff Jarrett is involved in an angle that does not anything to do with the rest of the faction.
If you are going to keep this group and have them taken seriously then a shocking heel turn is needed. A Kurt Angle or a Mr. Anderson or a Sting would bring a new dynamic and it would provide a top heel for the young babyfaces to feud with.
But ideally, I would split this group up altogether!
10. Book More Wrestling Matches!
It is called Total Nonstop Action for a reason but the awe-inspiring matches have become a thing of the past. There are too many backstage segments and in-ring promos, mainly involving Immortal and it means that there are fewer and shorter matches as a result.
This restricts the top wrestlers like Doug Williams from showing their full capabilities and it also means that more and more viewers feel inclined to change the channel.
The Final Word...
I really want TNA to succeed because, as anyone who was alive during the Monday Night Wars will agree, professional wrestling is much more entertaining when there is serious competition. Hopefully, TNA can challenge the WWE in the future but they will need to start rocking the boat and making some serious changes sooner rather than later!
I leave you with a video clip showing how good TNA can be and could be in the future...