Delving headlong into WrestleMania season, the world of pro wrestling has certainly given us plenty to talk about as of late.
Whether it’s CM Punk’s latest tantrum, speculation over Sting’s future and whether TNA will last the year, the yearly Streak predictions or That Daniel Bryan Thing, the focus on backstage shenanigans over on-air product is greater than it has been at any time since perhaps Montreal.
With all this going on, are we so preoccupied with WrestleMania and backstage gossip that we haven’t noticed something pretty huge going on right under collective schnoz?
If the grapevine is to be believed (and all signs suggest it should be), TNA founder Jeff Jarrett is currently planning to launch a new promotion, all while staying under the wrestling media’s radar.
This is a smart move. With most of us looking the other way, Jarrett is free to conduct meetings, make deals and go about his business without having his every move leaked to the masses and routinely scrutinized.
Jarrett’s return to promoting professional wrestling has all the potential in the world of being something very good.
As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
He may be trying again, but it’s probably unfair to say that Jarrett didn’t succeed on some level with TNA.
When he founded the company back in 2002, Jarrett proved that not only was it possible to develop a recognisable pro wrestling brand in the aftermath of the Monday Night Wars, but that he and his colleagues were the ones capable of doing so.
Right from the early days, it seemed clear that TNA stood out as something more than just another indie league.
Sure, critics have always come down harshly on the product (though often no more so than they do the creative output of any other organisation), but that doesn’t disguise the fact that the company enjoyed a commercial success beyond the grasp of many other post-WCW startups.
Jeff Jarrett played a part in that, and after jumping (an apparently sinking) ship, there’s every chance he could so again if he’s been able to learn from past mistakes.
Jarret is no longer a newcomer to promoting wrestling in the 21st century. In the 12 years since the first TNA show, he’s had ample opportunity to look at what works and what doesn’t. He has (or at least did have) facts and figures at his disposal which will show him what sells and what doesn’t, who draws money and who draws nothing but hot air.
Backstage, Jarrett should have an idea of who he can work with to create the most entertaining pro wrestling show. Likewise, he should also know who he couldn’t trust to book a logical angle if their lives depended on it.
He should know who’ll drive fans away with terrible ideas like The Johnsons, and who’ll score big with memorable classics like Angle/Joe.
Yet even with all his new knowledge and experience, Jarrett’s new venture could still fall flat if he follows the same path that has spelled disaster for many a promoter before him, and simply emulates what’s already going on in other organisations.
Nobody wants to see TNA 2.0 (to be fair, few people want to see TNA 1.0 lately), and taking the approach of mimicking the WWE has proved an unsuccessful business model for many a would-be contender.
At a time when many fans seem completely disenchanted with the current product, offering them more of the same could prove to be lethal to any new promotion’s chances.
Instead, offering fans an alternative to what they’re currently getting seems like a much more attractive route to success.
In The Rise and Fall of WCW, Eric Bischoff explains that one of the key factors in WCW’s unprecedented success was his insistence on doing every differently from Vince McMahon.
Raw was taped? Bischoff went live with Nitro. McMahon’s stars had crazy names and whacky gimmicks? Bischoff went with characters more grounded in reality. Whatever the WWF did, the WCW did the opposite.
In doing so, Bischoff spearheaded one of the biggest boom periods in pro wrestling.
Where others had failed before him, Bischoff succeeded. Where others before him have failed in the wake of WCW’s eventual demise, Jeff Jarrett has a chance to succeed too, and that’s exciting.
If audiences really are as sick of the current product as we’re lead to believe, the arrival of something new and different could be just the thing to help them enjoy pro wrestling again.
Of course, it could always turn out that there is no new promotion in Jarrett’s post-TNA future. In that case, feel free to return to this article and mock me heartlessly when Jarrett reveals he’s actually becoming a country music promoter.
Though for now, let’s go with the idea that he is, if only to give us something else to talk about other than CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
About Chris Skoyles: Chris is a writer who once saw Shawn Michaels hurl Marty Jannetty through a window and has been hooked on pro wrestling ever since. He tweets about wrestling at @Allpwrestling