Total Nonstop Action/Impact Wrestling: 5 Things TNA Are Doing Right and Wrong
In my very first article, WWE/TNA: The 7 predictions that we may see in the next 6 months, I got accused of being bias towards the WWE and against TNA.
Although this is not the case, I can see from re-reading the article how I can come across as bias so I'm going to outline the 5 things that I believe TNA are doing right and wrong.
Not much else to say Lets get Started!
Right: 1) Building an Amazingly Talented Roster
The first thing I think TNA are doing right is their roster.
Over the years, TNA has been blessed with some of the most talented individuals to step into the squared circle, they have a great mix of veterans and young talent which can be seen as an advantage of being the alternate to the WWE.
With talent such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Robert Roode and James Storm, Frankie Kazarian, Abyss, Brian Kendrick, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, Austin Aries, Matt Morgan, Pope D'angelo Dinero and Mr Anderson. These will be the veterans we will see in 10 years time who should be the main stars now.
The veterans include Kurt Angle, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Jerry Lynn, Bully Ray and Devon, Jeff Jarrett. These are the men that draw you in to watching. I should be drawn by Sting and see Frankie Kazarian wrestle and think, wow, this company's awesome, and for the most part I do.
Also, The Knockouts Division is given more time in TNA than the Divas Division is in WWE, although I don't believe they are necessarily better wrestlers, but they are given more time.
Plus, TNA actually has a tag team division and gives the title match time to shine.
Overall, I think TNA has a great roster and should be utilizing each star to their maximum potential.
Right 2) Trying to Get out of the Impact! Zone
Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture of the new Impact! zone.
I am of course talking about the Impact! zone that stays in Universal Studios, Florida. TNA has been in Orlando for years and have managed to built up a strong following there. However, you can only stay in once place for so long.
TNA does House Shows and Tours of the UK and Mexico etc., but when it comes to televised matches, and even PPVs, it;s been back to the Impact Zone in Florida.
Now the advantage of TNA for some of the talent is the lighter road schedule which they couldn't handle in WWE (Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle). For the company to grow, they have to televise in more arenas and TNA knows this.
I commend the company for trying this out. They filmed an Impact from North Carolina one time, I remember, and the crowd was hot. I think TNA should film all their PPVs in other arenas to start with before eventually filming all their Impacts on the road too.
Right 3) Wrestling Matters
Both WWE and TNA can be accused of having too much talk and not enough good wrestling on their TV shows and even their PPVs.
However, both companies produced great PPVs last month with WWE's Money in the Bank and TNA's Destination X. This showed a potential for the matches to be given the spotlight rather than the storylines.
TNA brought out their slogan, "Wrestling Matters", as a kind of middle finger to the WWE taking the wrestling out of their name and wanting to be known more for entertainment and I think it's a great way of building interest in your company by having "Wrestling Matters" on all your posters, I can also see why WWE would want to not be associated with wrestling when they have films and political campaigns to market.
Now TNA has been guilty of having too many screwy finishes, swerves and disqualifications/countouts, and I thought that they were moving away from this until I watched Hardcore Justice, which featured a red mist in the Knockouts match (seriously how did the ref not disqualify her?), a DQ in the Crimson vs RVD match, a low blow behind the ref's back, finish in Bully Ray vs Mr. Anderson, and worse of all, after a pretty good 15 minute match between Kurt Angle and Sting, ref bump then Hogan comes down going. "I'm gonna hit Sting with this chair brother!" Kurt Angle grabs then grabbed the chair, hits Sting, wakes the ref 1,2,3.....Why was Hogan there if he didn't screw Sting?
Now to protect myself against the claims of being bias I will say I think we're going to see something similar in the main event of Summerslam, the finish will not be clean and it'll be down to WWE's creative to make sure it doesn't suck which isn't promising.
Right 4) Keeping Kurt Angle Active in the Ring
No doubt about it, Kurt Angle is a wrestling machine.
He is the current TNA Heavyweight Champion, a six time WWE world champion and a five time TNA world champion and obviously, he won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta with a broken frickin neck!
So can TNA please stop teasing his retirement? He's only 42-years-old and can definitely still go in the ring in fact he's probably fitter than some of the under 30s in the roster. TNA can't afford to lose him and you can probably point to him moving from WWE to TNA back in 2006 as the reason for TNA becoming bigger and for more wrestlers to switch companies, even though I'm fully aware Christian Cage had done it in 2005, Kurt Angle is a bigger name than Christian. It definitely was five years ago.
The basis of TNA's success will depend on Kurt Angle's health. He has had problems with prescription medication, which made him have anger issues, but appears to be clean and doing well for himself now. Kurt also wants to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which I would go see, if tickets weren't harder to get than Kryptonite and more expensive than a golden caviar spreader!
But, I digress. TNA recognizes Kurt Angle's abilities, drawing power, and marketability, and has made the right decision keeping him in the company and making him their spokesman.
Right 5) Staying in Business
To start off this slide, I'd like to state that I don't know much about business, hence why I'm not a rich entrepreneur writing this from a big mansion.
What I do know is that TNA has an event sponsorship deal with Direct Auto Insurance which is worth millions and has helped the company a great deal. TNA are also said be 'in the black' in terms of finances and are in no danger of shutting down.
Could all this be attributed to the woman in the picture? Possibly. She's been the woman running things since 2003, and the company has enjoyed great success under her management.
TNA didn't have a TV network in the UK for a while but quickly found one in Challenge TV ( a game show channel........obviously) and seems to have a loyal network in the form of Spike!
Not much else to say but a company that's continuing to grow deserves some respect.
Wrong 1) Relying on Faction Wars
Christian Coalition vs Angle Alliance, The Main Event Mafia vs TNA Frontline, Fortune vs Immortal.
Those aren't the only factions we've seen in TNA. We've seen S.E.X, Team Canada, Kings of Wrestling, Planet Jarrett, World Elite etc.
One of the main reasons TNA gets compared to WCW is because of this: for a number of years, the NWO, or variations of the NWO, ruled WCW and at the beginning it was one of the most shocking, entertaining story lines in history, but over time, it developed into a boring mess.
Now TNA has its main heel faction of Immortal, which consists of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair (sometimes), Jeff Hardy (suspended), Matt Hardy (suspended), Mr. Anderson (for now), Gunner, Scott Steiner, Bully Ray and Abyss (for now) and possibly Kurt Angle, but we'll have to wait and see.
Fighting against that 'mighty' force is Fortune, which consists of AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Beer Money and Styles and Daniels seem to be laying the foundations of another feud so that leaves Sting who isn't in a faction but is a network executive.
Can you see why this is all a mess yet? Factions are supposed to help get their members over, and right now I don't know who's supposed to be over. All the factions are fighting within themselves and I don't know who to root for.
Wrong 2) Not Pushing over the Young Talent
This is an interesting picture. I'll go left to right, Consequences Creed is now Xavier Woods in FCW, which is WWE's developmental territory. Jay Lethal was released by TNA and went back to the independent circuit and appeared at ROH's Best in the World 2011. Petey Williams also returned to the independent circuit and Eric Young was released then brought back to play a bumbling buffoon who had a concussion but now I am not sure if he still has it....he's the TNA Television Champion.
I know in a previous slide I stated how TNA was right to keep Kurt Angle wrestling and I still believe that, however, the only other guys I think should wrestle full time are RVD and Jerry Lynn. Sting and Team 3D should only wrestle on special occasions and Hogan and Flair shouldn't go near a wrestling ring again.
Now I'm not talking about AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Daniels and Beer Money because, put simply, they are not young men. They should be the stars riding their waves of success, and should be the men who have been built as the guys to see.
The guys I'm talking about are Amazing Red (released), Zema Ion, Jack Evans (not signed), Alex Shelley, Sonjay Dutt (released), Shawn Daivari (released), Homicide (released), Jay Lethal (released), Petey Williams (released), Consequences Creed (released). The guys that have been released should've been built up as the future but the problem is TNA still sees AJ and the others as the future.
Wrong 3) Not Pushing AJ Styles as the Face of the Company
AJ Styles is phenomenal, and back in 2009 TNA did the right thing and made him the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, simultaneously making him the face of the company. Then, for whatever reason, in 2010, after Hogan and Bischoff had taken over, he was turned heel and subsequently lost the title to RVD and moved back down to a mid card to upper talent.
I am so fed up with people saying AJ Styles is the future of the company, because he's the same age as John Cena and you don't hear people saying Cena is the future of WWE. AJ Styles should be the John Cena of TNA, he should be the top face, but instead he's been messed around with being face and heel. He's been losing cleanly to Bully Ray and been put in faction after faction.
Also, while Styles should be top face, then Christopher Daniels or Samoa Joe should be top heel, but again, both men have been messed around with. Daniels has been released twice and brought back while Joe has been buried beyond belief and this is before the Bound for Glory series.
He was destroyed by Jeff Jarrett after Immortal was formed, then placed in various feuds where he lost or was beaten down. It's too late to push him now. The damage has been done, and I don't see Samoa Joe as a danger anymore. Why? because Jeff Jarrett, Pope D'angelo Dinero and Crimson can all beat him up.
Wrong 4) Not Making the Secondary Title More Prestigious
Recognize that title on AJ's shoulder? Well if you don't, it's probably because it hasn't appeared on TV in over a month and hasn't been defended in just as long.
It is the TNA Television Championship and it was supposed to be defended on TV every week....well that didn't happen. In fact, it didn't happen in record time!
The title started out as a joke when it was the Legends championship and started with Booker T. holding it, then AJ Styles won the 'Legends' title. He lost it to Kevin Nash who traded it with Mick Foley for a bit, before he finally lost it to Eric Young who renamed it the 'Global' Championship and refused to defend it on American soil.
So in Wales, Rob Terry won the 'Global' Championship and held it for 167 days ...he is the longest reigning champion.
AJ Styles then won it back and renamed it again The TNA Television Championship. The title gained a bit of prestige when it was won by Douglas Williams in a great match with Styles, but he rarely defended it and lost the title to Abyss.
To make matters worse and show TNA really didn't care, they vacated the title of Abyss after he was literally stabbed in the back with a 2x4 with nails in it. Remember that?
The title was then won by Gunner in a three way match between three members of Immortal. Gunner lost the title to Eric Young who has the gimmick as a bumbling buffoon, as i stated earlier, when Eric Young rolled Gunner up after saying he'd lay down for him. So there's the history of the belt!
Also if you say the X Division title is supposed to be the secondary belt, that's been through it's own torrid history of not being defended or mattering so it's best to end it here. Basically secondary titles are important and TNA does not utilize their own to the fullest.
Wrong 5) Not Firing Vince Russo
Finally we have the last slide, and I'm willing to put my head on the line here and say the last four slides could be resolved, if they would just get rid of Vince Russo.
Now I'm not saying he isn't a creative guy, in fact I think he's very creative, I just don't think he writes good wrestling shows, as evidence by the ratings, which have never gone up significantly since he took over as head writer for TNA back in 2006. He has managed to keep his job for five years, despite producing no positive results. Why? Because Dixie Carter likes him, I guess.
I'm not naive in thinking that Vince Russo is the only thing wrong in TNA and everything will be great when he goes. In fact, I'm sure he's had something to do with some of the things I like in TNA, but my point is that TNA as a promotion isn't seeing results in the ratings and they've tried everything except fire the man who writes the shows.
Give someone else a chance to shine Vince, you can go write another laughable attempt of a book.
So that's the end of me defending myself against being bias towards the WWE, which also has problems that I don't like that I'll probably outline in another article.
Feel free to leave me your comments on the article in any way
Continuing my theme of obscure intercontinental champions I give you Albert.
Defeated Kane in a no disqualification match with help from DDP and lost to Lance Storm.
Champion for 27 days
John Cena once called him a wookie.