TNA's Pay-Per-View Conundrum: How to Balance Quality and Quantity
Reaction to Victory Road 2011 was overwhelmingly negative. The second to last match was a double count out between Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam in a No. 1 contender's match.
But that does not touch the surface of what happens next in the main event. An impaired Jeff Hardy lost to Sting in less than a minute.
TNA pay-per-views need to be promoted better. There needs to be more time to build up feuds. Increasing the quality of these pay-per-views will compensate for the reduction of total pay-per-views by generating more buys.
I will tackle the pay-per-view conundrum surrounding the professional wrestling industry as a whole.
Do I have fewer pay-per-views but more buys or do I continue to have more pay-per-views but fewer buys? Moreover, would slashing prices boost total buys or reduce revenues?
I will answer that question by saying pay-per-views always need to be worth buying. WWE does not understand that not everybody wants to churn out $55 to see John Cena destroy the Miz or Randy Orton bury Christian.
My solution to this problem for both companies is to have nine or 10 pay-per-views a year. That allows enough time to properly build up matches while generating enough revenue to keep TNA afloat.
$29.95 is the ideal price for pay-per-views. It is high enough to generate sufficient revenue while low enough to not "Sting" the wallets too much.
Was that the corniest joke you have ever seen?
Mid January: Genesis
Genesis is a great way to kick off the year. With WWE's Royal Rumble scheduled for late January, it is best to schedule this around mid-January.
Scheduling this in early January would not be wise because people will spend their hard-earned money on Christmas and New Year's Day festivities.
Strive to make it a particularly excellent pay-per-view to get fans interested in buying other ones. Lead Genesis off with an X-Division title match.
Have a Tag Team title match, a Knockout's title match, and a World Championship match to round out the card. Other matches can be added as long as there is enough time to create masterpieces.
My ideal price: $29.95 ($39.95 in high definition)
Late February or Early March: Against All Odds
Against All Odds is the ideal bridge pay-per-view in between Genesis and Lockdown. Bring back the 8-card stud tournament for this pay-per-view. The winner is the No. 1 contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Lockdown.
Overbooking (insert Vince Russo disparaging comment) is a major concern if there are seven matches dedicated to the tournament at Against All Odds.
To alleviate this problem, make the tournament the primary focus of the show. It will be compelling to witness men trying to win three matches in one night. However, it seems more realistic the opening round matches will end up being on Impact Wrestling.
Have a World Heavyweight Championship match along with a choice of a Tag Team Championship bout, a Knockouts Championship match, or a high-flying X-Division contest.
My ideal price: $29.95 ($39.95 in high definition)
Mid April: Lockdown
This can be TNA's most lucrative pay-per-view. Lockdown has been a key pay-per-view for TNA since their early days. From Against All Odds to Lockdown, there would be about six weeks to properly build feuds and angles for this pay-per-view.
Imagine the buildup of a feud between the winner of the Against All Odds 8 card stud tournament and the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Regardless of the contestants, the payoff to the feud would be worth buying.
Continue to have every match contested inside a steel cage. Maybe even for the more intense feuds, such as Angle-Jarrett, make it a Hell in a Cell type match. Don't forget to continue to have the Lethal Lockdown match signature to the event.
Lockdown is successful enough to be bumped up $5. People would still buy it due to the compelling storylines and the violent steel cage matches.
My ideal price: $34.95 ($44.95 in high definition)
Early May: Have a Pay-Per-View Quality Three-Hour Special of Impact Wrestling
Make this the best free TV show of the year. Put Raw and Smackdown to shame by offering a phenomenal show with plenty of five star matches.
I'm not kidding about having five star matches. Cajole Spike TV into adding a third hour of TV to give matches more time.
Put all of the titles on the line and end any feuds not worthy enough for Slammiversary on this show. Make sure this show is live and out of the Impact Zone if this makes financial sense. Making it live is a must to avoid spoilers.
Early June: Slammiversary
Slammiversary is the most historic TNA pay-per-view. June 19, 2002 is when the first-ever TNA event occurred. It is a celebration of the company's anniversary.
What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to resurrect the King of the Mountain match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship? Let us throw in a six-sided ring for the special occasion.
Nostalgia is in the hearts and minds of the Nashville crowd. Slammiversary will be held in Nashville, the headquarters of TNA.
On the heels of this nostalgic feeling, I pounce at the opportunity to make extra money by charging $5 extra for this pay-per-view.
My ideal price: $34.95 ($44.95 for high definition)
Early July: World X-Cup
Here is a snippet of what a World X-Cup would look like. Except it's a tag team tournament instead of a singles match. The World X-Cup is the main concept of the pay-per-view but there is still a World Heavyweight Championship match, a Tag Team title match, and a Knockouts match.
It would be a perfect time to make a talent exchange with a Japanese or a Mexican promotion. It would be a fantastic time to bring in international performers for the lagging summer months.
The World X-Cup would be a four team tournament with each match a tag team match. All matches in this tournament would be Ultimate X matches.
Let's say there is a high-flying Japanese team facing a Mexican team of Luchadores. On the other side, the Motor City Machine Guns face Douglas Williams and Magnus of the British Invasion. The winner faces each other for the title in a Ultimate X match.
Just don't let your collective drool or the $5 discount ruin the night.
Price: $24.95 ($34.95 hi def)
Early or Mid August: Hardcore Justice
Hardcore Justice is a good pay-per-view for fans who want some actual violence in pay-per-views. It cannot be a bigger contrast than the X-World Cup. Hardcore Justice can end any feuds brewing throughout the Summer.
With the TV-14 rating, every single match must be a true ECW-style match. Imagine blood, guts, and promos terrorizing the foundations of the human mind. Imagine my hyperbole terrorizing the readers of this article.
It is not hyperbole to have Tommy Dreamer main-event Hardcore Justice. It is insane.
My price: $29.95 ($39.95 high definition)
Late August or Early September: Turning Point
Turning Point would be a good transition pay-per-view from Hardcore Justice to Bound for Glory. It marks a break from the gimmick-based pay-per-views of the summer.
All feuds for Bound for Glory can start here while any feud taking up unwanted space for Bound for Glory can end here.
As always have a TNA World Heavyweight Title match, an X-Division Title match, a Tag Team title match, a Knockouts match, and fill the rest with those aforementioned unwanted feuds.
Knock $5 off this pay-per-view a little less so people can actually think they are saving money.
Price: $24.95 ($34.95 in high definition)
Early or Mid October: Bound for Glory
This is TNA's answer to Wrestlemania. Make it the best pay-per-view of the year. Only the best of the best are in this event. Each matches are booked properly (am I asking too much?) and have relatively clean endings.
Unlike Wrestlemania, there is not a extra $10 charge to buy the event. The cost is the same as Lockdown and Slammiversary.
Take Bound for Glory on the road and hold it in as big of an arena as possible. A lot of you might snicker at my bold statement that TNA can have Bound for Glory be ultimately better than Wrestlemania.
Remember the only five star match at Wrestlemania 27 was Undertaker-Triple H. Miz-Cena was plain awful and the rest of the matches were not given sufficient time.
To accentuate my argument look at the names below.
Names such as Sting, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner, Matt Morgan, Samoa Joe, Pope, A.J. Styles, Beer Money, Kazarian, Abyss, the Hardy Boys, Samoa Joe, and countless others are worthy enough of not only having matches during Bound for Glory but also headlining Wrestlemania.
All of these men can easily headline Wrestlemania. Well, some of them would have headlined it 10 years ago.
My ideal price: $34.95 ($44.95 for high definition)
Early or Mid November: Destination X
Not too much buildup is needed for an X-Division themed pay-per-view. The World Heavyweight Championship will be defended at this pay-per-view.
But to pretend the X-Division owns the night, the X-Division title match will be the main event of the evening.
Watching an Ultimate X knockouts title match would also be worth paying to see. Just don't ruin this pay-per-view into a gimmick PPV by making each match an Ultimate X match.
That's what the other company does. By the way, there is a $5 discount for high definition.
My ideal price: $29.95 ($34.95 in high definition)
Mid December: Final Resolution
This is the last pay-per-view of the year. Pokemon Red Version had an epic theme song for the final battle of the game. Therefore I will use it to promote the pay-per-view called Final Resolution.
All feuds stemming from Bound for Glory can come to an end here. All titles are defended as usual.
The price of this pay-per-view goes down due to Christmas shoppers spending their money elsewhere. There's also a $5 discount on high definition.
My ideal price: $24.95 ($29.95 hi def)
Have a Special Impact on New Year's Eve
Wouldn't it be fun to see an Impact on New Year's Eve? Spike TV and TNA can benefit tremendously from this idea.
Have all titles defended on the show. Have the final match of the year be for the World Heavyweight Championship. Even make it a special live three-hour episode of Impact. Start it at 8 PM eastern so it will not interfere with any New Year's shows.
That was my solution on how to solve TNA's pay-per-view problems. Having 10 pay-per-views a year is enough to give proper buildup while generating sufficient revenue.
It is not a perfect solution by any means but I hope TNA executives consider following my basic outline.
Thanks for reading!