FATP: Why the wrestling business needs a successful TNA

It’s time for this week’s edition of FATP with yours truly. Jubilee fever has hit the UK and to be honest, I’m a bit sick of it. No offence to those celebrating though, I hope you’re having a great time! Since I last wrote anything here on PWMania.com, I suppose the biggest news was Randy Orton’s STUPID 60-day suspension (if you got that, grab yourself a beer!)

I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard what had happened. He’s become one of the greatest in-ring workers that the company has and I thought he’d matured beyond that, especially now that he’s a father. It leaves WWE in a tough spot if he fails another Wellness Test. He signed a new 10-year contract in 2009 so WWE obviously had faith in him. What do WWE do with him when he comes back? Do they push him again, only to get burned, or do they leave one of their most bankable stars sitting by the wayside as others force their way past him? I’m glad that’s not my decision to make.

I wanted to take a different route this week and talk about the notion that members of the wrestling community don’t want TNA to succeed. Speaking personally, the one thing I want, more than anything, is for TNA to continue operating and to be successful. I want to feel like I felt during the 90s when there were two great wrestling companies and the state of wrestling was at its peak.

I’m not saying that I’m an expert on wrestling, far from it. I’m a fan of professional wrestling who has the forum to express his opinion. Wrestling websites need the business to thrive so that we have more news to report and stories to comment on. Whether the websites concerned are subscription based, like PWTorch.com or WrestlingNewsWorld.com, or free for everyone, like NoDQ.com or PWMania.com, they NEED successful wrestling companies.

I’ll be honest and admit that, in the past, I’ve been critical of some of the things that TNA have done, however, when I write, I try to be as fair as I can and if I’m critical, I’ll also try to compliment TNA on the good things they’re doing. To point blank say that TNA is doing wrong, without any explanation, is just ranting for the sake of it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether we agree or disagree with it.

I’ve read and seen some things recently that I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t make them wrong. It’s important not to take anything that’s said or written on wrestling websites as personal. The reason why columnists write and people own wrestling websites is because they love pro wrestling. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I write for three or four different websites, all with their different fan bases and their own points of view. That’s the great thing about pro wrestling.

Even though you like both companies, there’ll be things you can look at and say: “Hey that’s a great idea” or “Oh, I wish they’d done that differently”. The same goes for WWE. I don’t just blindly watch WWE and say that they’re the best wrestling company out there. The fact is that they aren’t. Like TNA, WWE has done a lot of things right lately, but they’ve got a lot of flaws. Nobody’s perfect. I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about with TNA.

When they brought Hulk Hogan in to the company in 2010, it was to boost their brand awareness. As a wrestling fan, I thought it was a tremendous idea! The biggest name in wrestling teaming up with a relatively unknown company (from a mainstream standpoint) to improve their company. From the outside looking in, it seemed to be win-win. Hogan is arguably responsible for making wrestling in the first place, so it seemed like a shrewd piece of business from Dixie Carter.

However, looking at it now, in the 2.5 years Hogan has been with TNA, there’s been no significant difference in either ratings, PPV buys or domestic live attendances. From that point of view, it hasn’t worked out quite as well as they’d have hoped. Hogan knows the business inside out, so whilst there hasn’t been any significant changes (on the outside), I’m sure that his knowledge has helped TNA to grow as a company. In fairness to TNA, their recent TV ratings don’t actually reflect how good their shows have been.

I’d even say that, considering everything, TNA’s TV shows have been a LOT better than WWE’s shows lately. Saying that, it’s probably a backhanded compliment, but it’s a compliment nonetheless! If TNA continue to do new, innovative things, like the Gutcheck segments, the Open Fight Nights, then the casual fan will get used to them and word will spread. I’m confident that the next few weeks will see their ratings improve and that’s a great thing for everyone concerned.

TNA has a tremendously exciting roster. Guys like Austin Aries, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray and Bobby Roode are all at the top of their game and they’re getting their chance to shine. Their Knockouts Division is arguably the best collection in the world and they should be proud of the ladies they’ve got on their payroll.

There were two things coming out of Impact the other day that worried me though. This isn’t me shitting on TNA, it’s just my opinion, so don’t shoot me OK?

The first thing centres around the Knockouts Division. Despite having a tremendous roster full of girls that work their ass off every week, they weren’t shown on TV whatsoever. I think that was a mistake. In the past, Knockouts segments have shown that they’ve drawn in new viewers, so you’d think that, logically, they’d showcase them on the first Live Impact of the summer. Add to that the fact that Brooke Hogan has been given a backstage role as some sort of “Creative Director of the Knockouts Division”.

Now, I understand that people like Shane and Stephanie McMahon were given backstage roles in WWE. However, Shane and Stephanie understood the inner workings of the business before being given those roles. Brooke has, to some extent, had the same experience but she’s never been actually involved in the creative side of the business. I’ve got absolutely no problem whatsoever with her being an on-screen character, that’s fine. I just think that some of the experienced girls working there, like Gail Kim, Mickie James and Angelina Love might be a little concerned about the future direction of the Knockouts Division. If it works, then fair play to TNA.

The second thing was a tweet from Samoa Joe that came out just before Impact went on the air on Thursday. He tweeted: “Currently being escorted from the premises to avoid an incident on the company’s ‘big night’… Riiiight, enjoy the show”

Now, I don’t know what happened. The only people who know for certain are Samoa Joe and TNA officials. I’m not even going to waste my time speculating. What I will say about it is that Joe is one of the most under-used and under-rated wrestlers on TNA’s roster and I think he should be higher up the card than he is right now. If something’s not right, then hopefully they can work it out because I think Joe is a tremendous hand for TNA to have, if he’s booked properly.

TNA don’t deserve a lot of the criticism they get, but they do deserve some of it, just as WWE does. The opinions of wrestling fans differ across the world, but I very much doubt that anyone really, deep-down, wants TNA to fail. Stealing a line from Kent Brockman, that’s my two cents on TNA wrestling and the opinions surrounding their latest set of ratings.

This week’s Wrestling Throwback is TNA based and it’s from Slammiversary in 2004, where AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy battled over the X-Division Championship. These men are two of the greatest performers of their generation and they should be remembered as two of the best. Enjoy!

Before I head off this week, I wanted to let you know about one of the most underrated female wrestlers in the UK, Bacardi. She’s one of the best around and she’s only gonna get better. Trust me on that, this girl is gonna be a star. If you want to see what she’s all about, check out her YouTube channel, her official Facebook page or get in touch with her on Twitter. She’s also got some merch for sale and she’ll sign it for ya too! Right now, she’s got 8×10’s, 6×4’s and keychains available. Get in touch with her on Twitter and she’ll sort you out. Tell her I sent you though! Haha..

Right guys, I’m off. Until next week, enjoy whatever you’re doing and make sure if you can’t be good, be good at it!

Peace out,

George

Twitter: @georgec1982

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