Before we start fixing up TNA, let’s check the result’s of tonight’s Slammiversary PPV:
* Alex Shelley & James Storm (Gun Money) beat British Invasion (Douglas Williams & Brutus Magnus) to retain the TNA tag team title after Shelley scored the win after Sliced Bread No. 2.
* Matt Morgan pinned Scott Steiner after a Carbon Footprint.
* Abyss pinned Kazarian to retain the X Division title in a triple-threat match that also included Brian Kendrick.
* Crimson kept his unbeaten streak alive with a win over Samoa Joe.
* Mickie James retained the Knockouts title, pinning Angelina Love (with Winter) after a DDT.
* Bully Ray (Buh-Buh Ray Dudley) beat AJ Styles in a Last Man Standing match when Styles became stuck in a collapsed stage.
* Mr. Anderson pinned Sting to win his second TNA world title after a low blow and a Mic Check.
* Kurt Angle defeated Jeff Jarrett to retain his Olympic medals and become the new No. 1 contender to Anderson’s title.
TNA Impact Wrestling celebrated its ninth anniversary at tonight’s pay-per-view, and while it’s nice that the company has existed for this long, things could be a lot better.
The promotion seems to be running in place from a business standpoint, drawing meager numbers on pay-per-view and the same million-plus fans every Thursday night on Spike TV.
Something isn’t working. Is it the reliance on Attitude Era stars over younger talent? Is it the mindset that fans will watch a TV-14 rated show over the PG-rated WWE? Is it the lack of mainstream recognition of the company’s existence?
Yes, yes and yes.
Wrestling fans are desperate for TNA to succeed. They want an alternative to the WWE brand of “sports entertainment,” even if they love WWE and watch it every week.
Here are some ideas to help make TNA’s 10th year its most successful.
1. Commitment to great wrestling
It’s time to deliver on the name change of “Impact Wrestling.” If fans know they can see two strong 10- to 15-minute matches on Thursday nights, they will slowly build TNA’s audience.
If fans know they can buy a TNA pay-per-view and see four good-to-great matches, they will build that audience, too.
Why? People like to watch good wrestling matches.
2. Commitment to fresh singles talent.
Here, I mean 10 guys who were born and raised in TNA and don’t have past “Glory Days” in WWE, WCW or ECW to look back on…because we all get older.
The first three guys who should be pushed as the ace wrestlers of the company are AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe. They deserve to take the ball and run with it, while everyone else gets out of the way.
The next three need to be brought back: Low-Ki, Homicide and Jay Lethal. They can have great matches with each other and the first three.
The third group of three should come from the tag team division: Alex Shelley, James Storm and Robert Roode. There’s no need for them and the injured Chris Sabin to keep fighting for the tag team titles when they can go all the way to the top as individuals.
Finally, the 10th man to push is Crimson. They have already given him an unbeaten streak, so they might as well keep it going.
3. Stop destroying the X Division.
No more storylines where some huge guy like Abyss or authority figure like Eric Bischoff is trying to kill the X Division.
Embrace the X Division. Run with it. Bring back the World X Cup, for goodness’ sake. When I turn on Impact Wrestling, I want to see cruiserweights flipping, flopping and flying across the TV screen.
4. Get rid of some titles.
Championships should be prestigious, so they should be few in number. All TNA needs is the World, X, Tag and Knockouts titles. That worked well on tonight’s PPV.
So bye bye to the Knockouts tag team title and the TV title.
5. Push Kurt Angle’s Olympic quest to the moon.
If Kurt Angle can make the US Olympic team at the age of 42, this would a huge story in the world of real sports, on par with George Foreman regaining the boxing world title at age 45.
TNA should follow Angle’s quest on TV and promote him to every media outlet imaginable. Make it clear that Angle wrestles for Impact Wrestling every Thursday night on Spike TV.
That way, clueless media types won’t say he wrestles for “the WWF.”
(@JeffDGorman is the only announcer ever to call play-by-play for one of the big three pro wrestling promotions (Ring of Honor) and for a live, global MMA pay-per-view (Moosin: God of Martial Arts). Catch his writing and announcing at www.jeffdgorman.com.)