Of all the topics to choose from in this little competition between myself and Joe Burgett, one stuck out for me. "What does the crystal ball hold for the future of TNA?"
Well, unfortunately, there is no solid answer. There are a lot of "ifs" and "maybes," but I'm going to give my best prediction possible.
The direction in TNA, and I use that term loosely, at the moment isn't a set one. It seems the direction is one way today, another tomorrow and so on. Jeff Jarrett, the man in charge, seems to flip flop between pushing his young stars and putting over the aging veterans whom he feels will get him ratings.
The current fans of TNA tune in, or tuned for those Jeff has lost with some porous booking, to see an alternative to the WWE. They turn in to see a step away from the over-the-top gimmicks and poor televised matches.
For the last few years, TNA has suffered from the same setbacks WCW did. They are bringing in high-priced, aging talent in hopes of drawing viewers. Now, I'd like to go on record stating that this isn't a terrible idea. Guys like Kurt Angle, Booker T, Christian Cage, Rhino and Team 3D could be valuable commodities in not only drawing based on their names, but making legit stars out of the younger generation.
It's when these men are elevated to the top spots in the company that we have issues. Angle and Sting should not have had a title run to date, yet Sting is on his third and Angle already had a pair. These guys should be building main-event feuds with guys like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles (who appears to be in line for another run with the title), etc.
Another thing TNA has borrowed from WCW is the dusty finish. Too many run-ins, too much interference and not nearly enough definitive finishes to the matches. Sometimes, it makes sense and is needed, but at the rate TNA does this, it hearkens back to the days when every nWo match ended with some interference.
Ridiculous gimmick matches are also a huge issue. They are fine if they are used sparingly or as a send-off for a big feud, but when there are pay-per-views with nothing but gimmick matches, it gets a bit old.
And lastly, the biggest issue TNA has at this point in time is the reason WCW squandered it's success and ran itself into the ground: they care too much about what the WWE is doing and not enough about what is going on in their own company.
Stop challenging the WWE, stop taking shots at them, and stop worrying about their ratings. Build your fan base. Build up new stars. Sell some PPV's. Get some people to actually show up to your live events. Then worry about the WWE.
The future won't be promising if TNA continues on this path. They are living up to their nickname of "WWE-lite" and it's not one they should wish to have. If things don't change, don't be surprised to see the only competition in town fall off the face of the earth.
Here's hoping that TNA re-evaluates itself and sets things straight before "Crossing the Line."