Monday, 29 April 2013

TNA Analysed 3 - David crushed by Goliath


TNA is very much in a David and Goliath situation.  The company considers itself to be the only competitor to the gigant known as WWE.  In some respects it's true since the other north American based wrestling promotions have little to no television time compared to TNA, but it should be noted that just because TNA have a weekly show doesn't automatically make it the second best wrestling show in America. 

TNA has been around for 10 years, 11 come this years Slammiversary and the company has made little headway in becoming a new WCW like competitor to McMahon's corporate entity.  There are still many wrestling fans out there who don't actually know anything about TNA and even those who do know, rarely watch the show for long.  People such as myself only watch it because it's free over here on Challenge (pay per views included) and because it's so terrible.  This isn't to say that the  wrestling on the show is bad every week, in fact a majority of TNA matches are on par with WWE, but it's the overall management and writing that ruins the program.

When you compare TNA to WWE you begin to see one huge difference and that is product.  WWE regularly debut new talent and try to build a following around these people.  They aren't always successful with probably around 70% of new talent being repackaged or dropped within a year or two, but the remainder stick and sell merchandise.  Fans enjoy the characters and pay to see them live with the latest rising star being Fandango who may only have a brief stint at being hugely over but it's making WWE money.  Daniel Bryan is a great example of WWE taking talent from another promotion, in this case Ring of Honor and turning him into something new, something that is solely WWE and not a simple rehash of his character from ROH.  This is what makes WWE so successful because they are always looking to bring up new talent to make them more money, even if they sometimes make colossal mistakes such as Sin Cara or Brodus Clay. 

TNA on the other hand have a very limited creative field.  They have a core of 'TNA originals' who have characters and backgrounds that long time fans can tell you all about, but since the arrival of Hulk Hogan and friends we have been seeing a very diluted product.  TNA have either brought in old hands such as RVD or former WWE talent to boost ratings and this is only a short term solution to the larger problem.  The other issue is that when they hire former WWE talent they generally do little to change the character if anything at all.  Jeff Hardy is exactly the same as he was when he left WWE.  Mr.Anderson is just acting more over the top but still has the same entrance, similar theme music and aside from a name change is just Mr.Kennedy.  The lack of creativity and disinterest in building a brand of their own is clearly hurting the company year on year. 

Another mistake TNA regularly make is referencing WWE.  The story based around Hogan's hall of fame ring, team 3D mentioning their tag title runs there, Hogan's constant references to his days in WWE, selling CM Punk DVD's for the 3 matches he was in there and plenty of others only highlights their desperation to be relevant when compared to the WWE.  When you watch RAW you never hear a thing about competition, and why should they?  Acknowledging TNA would only give them viewers, something TNA should realise when they reference WWE. 

One aspect of their phantom rivalry they have that I never agreed with was their mocking of WWE.  Mr.Anderson's arrival in the company saw him impersonating Triple H for no good reason other than to fuck his own career up if he ever left TNA.  Tommy Dreamer made a horribly awkward brown nosing session to Dixie Carter about how badly WWE treated ECW, when in reality ECW was poorly treated by Paul Heyman and WWE kept the brand alive, something they had no obligation to do but did anyway.  TNA's attempt to steal ex ECW fans for a bland Pay per view was poorly handled and both shows highlighted how terrible an idea it was in the long run.

TNA to their credit did start bringing in new talent with Gut check, but immediately botched this by dropping these so called 'winners' off the main show and sending them to OVW.  Why even have them show up on Impact when you don't intend to have them appear again for several months? or years (Alex Silva anyone? and no 2 appearances does not count as a re-debuting)  Not a single gut check winner has been seen regularly since their victory, with Christian York being the only guy to have a semi-regular appearance but even he has been relegated to the limbo section.  They don't even work on giving these people characters or gimmicks, they are just a parade of faces doing wrestling moves and leaving.  How are fans supposed to be interested in new talent if you aren't going to make them memorable?

Gut check is simply a watered down version of NXT which was a WWE experiment that failed in the end.  WWE at least had the talent on NXT develop a character, you could tell the heels and faces and even if they were shit at talking on the mic, you didn't have to worry because they were on the C show.  NXT is now the new FCW which at least allows WWE to continue training and improving their future roster.  TNA have a tiny segment on a monthly program that goes literally nowhere.  Nowadays they don't even hire the winner of the gut check match, the last gut check seeing Magno and Adam Pearce dropped.  What was the point?  Why debut wrestlers who you aren't going to use again?  It's a waste of time, money and effort to do this.  If WWE did that they would be criticised heavily. 

TNA need to focus on the one thing they are good at and that is putting on good wrestling matches, although I personally think they should drop all Knockouts matches because like the Diva's they cannot fucking wrestle.  Seriously they are nice to look at, but I can go online to look at attractive ladies, I want wrestling in my wrestling program.  TNA can do some amazing matches if they let their talent do so without tedious plotlines and stupid gimmicks involving reality TV stars and MMA fighters.  If TNA simply did this I would guarantee a increased viewership and more revenue simply because people want to watch wrestling and not see WWE lite.  The X division is something totally unique for TNA and yet they crush it to promote tired over the hill guys or give face time for drug users like Jeff Hardy. 

If TNA continue to make the entire show revolve around Hogan, Sting, Hardy and Bully Ray then TNA is screwed within the next 5 years.  With no new talent being debuted and pushed the company will stagnate even more as the TNA originals aren't getting any younger and the current list of talent is either on their way out or getting there.  WWE have given us a raft of future stars that will carry the company when the likes of Cena, Punk, Orton, Big Show, Kane, Undertaker, Triple H and more leave.  We have Ziggler, Kingston, Fandango, Rhodes, Sandow, Clay, Ryback, Miz and more.  What exactly does TNA have?  Bischoff and Brisco?  Jesus they may as well pack up shop and quit now.

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