Posted by Ric Santos
In part one of Bettering The TNA Experience, the wrestling fans were the focal point in looking into the ways of how we can support and encourage the TNA product. Behind the scenes, management and other decision makers need to also take steps to better the product that is presented. This looks to be what is taking shape as we speak, but let’s get specific and how the business side of things should and could shape up.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions and ideas of solely its author and does not reflect that its author has direct knowledge of what may or may not actually be taking place behind the scenes in TNA Wrestling.
There are opinions and so called facts being thrown around by many “analysts” regarding the state of TNA Wrestling. There are also the blatantly rude, ignorant and immature fans who believe they know everything or are looking for more twitter followers with their disrespectful comments. The recent #AskDixie was filled with negativity (apologies to Dixie Carter for the hateful, biased and hurtful comments and “questions”), but the truth is that we have no idea what is truly happening in the back. What we will look at will solely be opinions and ideas according to what’s been reported as factual and/or what has been produced based on the marketing of TNA. That is a good place to start.
It’s interest how TNA Wrestling is stacked with some of the best talent in the wrestling world, but they are still not at the appropriate level ratings wise. We all know that Impact Wrestling has been churning out great programming on Thursdays, so what is the problem? Visibility and awareness.
Instead of partnering with a lottery or a hotel chain that no one recognizes by name, there should be a forceful marketing campaign nationwide. When TNA moved to Monday nights, a billboard was erected in Times Square, NYC with Hulk Hogan front and center. A return to this style would certainly gain visibility. Reaching out to sports related magazines and/or mens magazine can also draw some interest eventually. How about working with Spike TV to feature TNA Wrestling and TNA Wrestling stars on Bellator on a regular basis to bring over MMA fans? Or how about getting more commercial time on USA Network during Raw or SyFy during SmackDown? Instead of advertising just TNA/ Impact Wrestling, promote the preview for the coming episode. That would certainly spark interest in those who have yet to watch TNA Wrestling. “I know Gail Kim from WWE and she’s in a Ladder Match? I think I’ll check that out!”
Advertising is a money issue as well, so let’s not forget that aspect. The point being that better advertising draws better responses which leads to better ratings. Patience, and a solid marketing team put in place, is also of extreme importance. Rome was not built in one day is the old saying.
The main aspect of TNA this author has issue with. Many times over we are presented with a story arc or feud that is given a good amount of time to develop to only be swept under the rug. Some examples include AJ Styles and the Aces & 8′s. Styles was a big deal for the Aces & 8′s not too long ago and now they are not worried about him. Even though Chris Sabin took the title from Bully Ray, if this were the WWE, AJ Styles would still be involved in some way in regards to the Aces; feuding with one of the members until that is properly blown off. Not joining the Aces, attacking them and then the Aces not looking for any kind of revenge doesn’t give the story a good flow. Another example is Taryn Terrell. Where is she? If she is selling her injuries from the Ladder Match, a mention by the announcers or Gail Kim or even Taryn herself via sattelite at the least would keep her visible and involved in the Knockout’s saga. We will now see a possible feud between Gail and ODB. Why? Why isn’t the feud between Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim prolonged into Bound for Glory with the inclusion of Mickie James right now?
TNA clearly focuses more on the wrestling aspect of the show. Story lines are a key component, but the wrestling is what’s first and foremost. However, a feud or story can be hurt by the lack of deep development outside of the ring; an aspect the WWE is criticized for as they over do it with out of the ring hijinx.
A change in the Creative department, which is happening now, is what is in order so the release of Bruce Prichard may have been a good business move. TNA should now put in place individuals with a fresher understanding of creation in the wrestling business and with an interest in working with talent directly on a constant basis. A better or closer relationship between writers, those who make creative decisions and talent should be the goal.
A recent live event in Missouri on 7/19/2013 could have been total disaster. Several wrestlers, including world champion Chris Sabin, were not allowed to perform as they did not have licenses to compete in the state. Was TNA at fault for not handling the license issues for those involved? Were the wrestlers at fault for not keeping up with what they needed to ensure they can work? Both sides should be given the blame. TNA for not checking in with their talent and the talent for not checking in on and for themselves. Though the live event took place and those who competed claimed that it was successful, the fans were still hurt.
Wrestlers are contracted and are responsible for their own travels and anything else they need to keep in order. TNA, and any promotion for that matter, should always take the initiative to speak with their talent, ensuring everything is in order. If there is a communication breakdown, events like the Missouri show will happen and the fans will not be pleased. Human error can and will happen and we know this. However, someone should be responsible in looking over these sorts of things to ensure they are taken care of before they become a big issue.
If there is a management team put in place with individuals who are wrestling fans first and foremost, TNA can truly start to fashion themselves as a focused and even more profitable product. Confidence will be built further which will lead to a positive atmosphere and a product for the fans that can become second to none. Are there other aspects of TNA that are not shared publicly that can be improved on? Maybe yes or maybe no. However, those are internal matters that we honestly are not made privy to and we should not speak or comment on those matters as if we are employees on the frontline that have the facts.
Support, patience, renewed focus and confidence. Those are the key factors needed from the fans to the management team to the wrestlers to move TNA forward. With that, everything else will fall into place.
We are entering a new week of wrestling. Let us all leave the negativity and confusion in the past and look forward to Impact Wrestling this coming Thursday. What will happen between the Aces & 8′s, Hulk Hogan and Chris Sabin? Will the Knockouts look better in their matchups than the boys? Isn’t it all wrestling in the end that we care for?
TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA!
Follow me on Twitter: @RealRicSantos
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