Tuesday, 23 September 2014

TNA Analysed - New network, New problems


So does anyone else think TNA will end up on a very small network next year?  I don't actually believe they will cease to have a television presence in the United States because there are always small networks who know wrestling fans will tune in and hell Spike still draws roughly a million viewers each week so it's not like TNA is virtually unknown, it just tried too hard to be like the WWE.

The situation has been discussed many times regarding the reasons why TNA has failed in many ways to grow their brand.  The biggest problem they suffer is management from an owner who is largely ignorant of the realities of the business and listening to people who didn't really care about the consequences of their decisions.  You only have to look at the so called "immortal" era of Hogan and Bischoff, both of whom have since left after leaving the company in a worse state than it was before they signed up.  Sure it had it's memorable moments that had you laughing at them, not with them, but the overall quality of the product went down considerably under their tenure.

Post Hogan and Bischoff the product went from being laughably bad to simply boring.  Every week now is extremely bland and uninteresting to watch which is the worst thing for an entertainment company.  The story's they tell just aren't interesting or fun any more.  The matches are limp.  The talent roster is getting smaller and to top it all off they are going to run their biggest show in Tokyo for no reason other than to advertise that it will be in Tokyo.  I haven't checked to see if TNA is particularly popular over there but I doubt it's popular enough to break even, let alone make a profit. 

TNA need to sort out their roster quick since they have very little in the way of new talent coming in.  They are losing Bully Ray and Kurt Angle while Austin Aries has been heavily hinting his departure on twitter recently  They just brought in a new Knockout in the form of Havok but let's face it, the Knockouts just aren't going to save the company from fading into obscurity.  The only young guys they have rarely seem to do anything that makes them title worthy to begin with.  The only recent addition who has done anything and actually been entertaining to watch has been Ethan Carter where as characters like Bram, Sam Shaw and Manik have done fuck all.  The companies over reliance on using former talent from the WWE doesn't help their image either with a steady stream of NXT rejects joining the roster it just gives the wrong signal to fans who watch more than one show.

I do wonder what would become of the brand if they did accept a deal from the Velocity network or something of a similar size.  Being that they struggle to pay for everything as it is now I imagine their roster would shrink considerably and a raft of new cheaper wrestlers are brought in to replace those who worked on better deals.  Also since these smaller networks have minimal coverage across the States it would severely impact (no pun intended) their ability to advertise and earn revenue via marketing on the show.  A lot of fans would struggle to watch the show unless they subscribed to and had access to the Velocity network so even their existing fan base would struggle to watch via legitimate means.

Abroad they may fare better at least in the area of selling pre-tapes to other channels but actual live events in the UK for instance would be a pipe dream for them at that stage.  Spike have been very generous in their allowing of TNA to continue broadcasting until 2015, despite their deal being over in October but after that I can't see TNA remaining on a major network.  It may be best to sell up, at least give the employee's a chance to keep their jobs under a new owner.  I am sure there are plenty of buyers out there for a wrestling company who may have an axe to grind with the likes of Ring of Honor and WWE.  The wrestling business seems great at churning out people who can hold grudges for a long time and frankly if a new owner did go hell bent for leather to beat Vince it would be great to watch.  It's not like the WWE is amazing to watch these days either, it's just they have the money and corporate clout to keep themselves on a major network each year.  If a serious competitor appeared who broadcast a solid product each week nationally it would seriously threaten Vince.

Honestly I think that's what a lot of people thought TNA could have become had they been able to make a product that was better than WWE in terms of in ring action and story telling.  You don't need the money and flashy equipment, you just need the talent and writers to create genuinely fun feuds and memorable in ring action.  Sadly TNA tried to emulate the competition rather than create a show that did better than them in specific area's like having an alternative to Cena and his dominance of the business.

It remains to be seen what becomes of TNA and it's workers in the next three of four months but I am sure it won't be pretty, which is a shame since the only ones to blame here are the people who made the decisions that ultimately led to this downward spiral.

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