Bettering The TNA Experience, Part 2 Of 2: Business

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.

DixieHogan

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.

MARKETING
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.

CONSISTENCY
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.

COMMUNICATION
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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  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    Great article from one of the best wrestling writers on here.

    I agree on the marketing. They should have a TNA Magazine in stores. that would certainly catch people's eyes. They can have Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, and AJ Styles on the cover. Many wrestling fans (old and young) would see it and would definitely get their attention. I have always wondered why TNA hasn't had a magazine out. Also, having a Samoa Joe (I have seen him on AXS TV at ringside for one of their fights before) on a Bellator show, since Samoa is apparently already a MMA fan, would work wonders. Maybe they could even have Kurt Angle appearing at Bellator when Rampage fights. It would certainly make sense. One thing that I have seen that I thought would definitely help them was that TNA would have their PPV ads run on NFLAM several times a morning and for a week or two. That seemed like a sure way to get publicity.

    Consistency is definitely something that needs to get better upon, in my opinion. TNA does a good times with this at times, but all too often, as you stated with AJ and Aces and Eights, stories just fold without reason. What ever happened to Abyss? I've been wondering for weks because when he got the title, I was so excited. It seemed like a big spark. Abyss had seemed a little boring but when he got the belt, and when mentioned that it might be a hardcore belt, ideas flew through my mind of how great this could be. I am a bit peeved at how the TNA tag team division has disappeared. Bad Influence was the best tag team we have seen in TNA in years. They should have made them champions and had them be the face of the tag team division. They were very entertaining week in and week out.

    To be honest, I'm glad the world heavyweight champion was Chris Sabin when this incident occured. If Kurt Angle would be champion and he was coming to Kansas then I find out that he, along with other wrestlers, couldn't wrestle. Yeah, id be really upset. But Sabin? I mean, he's Sabin. He's not a Jeff Hardy or Abyss or Kurt Angle or Samoa Joe. He's Sabin. He's all right but I don't see him anywhere close to how he used to be in 2006. I don't just mean that wrestling wise, but character wise. Entertainment wise. Look, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and Kurt Angle are all pretty old by now but can still make you on the edge of your seat and entertained during a promo. To me, Sabin doesn't have that charisma. I would say he used to have so much more than nowadays.

    Anyway, for fans to pay hundreds (front row can be expensive) for tickets to not see their favorite wrestler is a shame. There is a reason this is a first time of hearing something like this happen and I am sure TNA Wrestling will do everything they possibly can to make sure it does not happen again. This is a company that is known for being all about the fans. They will wait until the last person in line at a house show (even if there are hundreds and hundreds) waiting to get into the ring to meet Jeff Hardy or Kurt Angle and take a picture with them gets the chance. They will have Don West come out to meet you in person when you are waiting to get in then wrestlers after the show coming around to sign whatever you want.

    One thing that every wrestling fan must say is that TNA is much more personal than WWE. Even WWE fans who cannot stand TNA say that when they went to a TNA show, they loved how personal the wrestlers and experience was. When you are at a WWE event, you feel like your just another fan among the crowd. Wrestlers won't notice you and feels like you are distant from the action. At TNA, it is all about the fans and every TNA show I have gone to has an entirely different feel to it than WWE.

  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    Also, for TNA to bring in talent to creative meeting sounds like the best possible. Creative can be great. I really like Vince Russo and think that many times that there is something gimmicky, such as the electrified cage match, people will automatically blame Russo, even though he said that he had nothing to do with it and objected the idea because it didn't seem real. Creative can be geniuses at how they come up with certain characters and developing the characters. But to be able to bring in a Matt Morgan (i wish they would have) or a Robert Roode to ask them how to better their characters can be a tremendous asset. It would also be great to bring in Abyss and ask him since he has been in TNA since the beginning and has been misused in the past many times. I remember when his hero was HH and he had the silly costume and entrance music. It just didn't fit him as a monster. Having mentioned Roode, I am now reminded of the fact we didn't see him this past week. I loved how he is now turning into this Chris Jericho WCW esque type of guy and destroying everything in sight. He needs to be like this. He excels when he is a heel.

    I am interested on your stance on TNA doing themed shows. My idea is that the best themed show that TNA could possibly do would be to have a show using the six-sided ring. Maybe they could even go back to the Asylum for a couple of shows with the six-sided ring. That would be classic and something many fans would love to see. Either way, TNA should run their product straight from the fans. Maybe have creative or excutives sit in the crowd and see who gets the biggest pop and what the crowd reacts to. Maybe send spies out to the crowd to ask what TNA can do better and what they would love to see in TNA. TNA fans are very smart about the business of wrestling and making the product all about the fans, which is why WCW Nitro in the 90s beat out WWF then Attitude Era won the war. They listened to the fans. This is what is most important about any wrestling show. If you do this, you will thrive.

    Once again, thanks to Ric Santos. Always fun to read your articles and see what your opinions are.

  • Ric Santos

    Thank you very much for the kind words! I’m glad my articles are enjoyed by the fans as they are written for the fans.

    I really meant that TNA should take advertising to sports magazines and men’s magazines in general. It’s too early for a TNA magazine, especially around this time. Maybe down the road.

    In response to gimmick type shows, I like the idea as long as its not overdone. Maybe every other month or so would be good with the month that there is no themed show have Open Fight Night. I don’t think the six sided ring is needed as the recent Destination X showed. One themed show with a six sided ring would be cool, but it should go to Destination X. Now that Destination X is over, I don’t see it being considered but who knows.

    Thanks again!

  • wrestlingscoops2323

    AJ Styles has no stoyline right now at all and they just forget about him big time

    • TNA Chris

      He’s the lone wolf, not much of a story to go on.

  • wrestlingscoops2323

    aces and eights needs to end asap because its getting so old and stale and boring now and we don;t even see most of the aceds and eights members anymore

    • TNA Chris

      I disagree, aces and eights are an entertaining part of the how. Anderson makes me crack up. I wish try would have made the true leader of the aces and eights surge (Dixie’s husband) and him trying to do a take over because the company is losing money and for the Claire Lynch incident.

      Nobody would expect that.

      Also the main event mafia makes no sense. Sting brought them back because nobody would help them. Then he proceeds to add 3 guys that were there that night and would not help him. Rampage I’m saying probably wasn’t there, so he makes sense.

  • TNA Chris

    A TNA magazine wouldn’t sell in the stores. They aren’t big enough to handle that kind of department. They’d be better of not having a subscription based YouTube channel. Also more live on spike themed parties would be great.

    If anything they should partner with roh and a few indys to sell the magazine.

  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    I think a TNA magazine might have a shot. You might pull out the ratings and say, "What shot?" but I am banking on the ones who don't watch TNA might pick it up and be interested. TNA was great before I ever first watched it but I only first watched it because I just happened to be flipping through channels late one Saturday night. Well, actually, I'm pretty sure I saw it on TV Guide and it said TNA Wrestling or Impact Wrestling and I was like, "What's that? Is that real like college wrestling or like pro wrestling?" I have a feeling that even that was many years ago that it happened, there are many fans out there who are just like that. They just haven't heard of it. If they'd come across something with Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy or Sting on the cover, it might pull them in.

    Like my friend Colton who came over and saw TNA but recognized it as WWE… the trick isn't getting more TNA fans to watch it or the WWE fans to watch it… the rick is to get the people who usually don't watch wrestling or haven't in a long time to tune into it. Then you get what the late 90s got. You have to pull in the Colton's of the world who have heard of WWE, might have seen a show or two, but that's it. You have to pull them in to TNA. That is how you get the ratings up. And how you do that is marketing.

    Ric, you do have a great point of putting TNA in Sports or Muscle Fitness magazines. I have a feeling that could work. To just see Kurt Angle or a Magnus in a fitness magazine really makes sense. That definitely seems like it could attract viewers or would at least be worth a shot. One again though, I thought that after TNA used to (probably a few months ago) put up commercials and advertismenets on NFL Network in the morning every day the ratings would go up or something would change. Seemed like the ratings just went down or at best stayed the same.

    I am interested in your reasoning as to why it would be bad to have a YouTube channel. I have it and have also been watching in the past few months the 2006 season of TNA Wrestling. I just watched Turning Point 2006 a few days ago. It'll be most likely be til October or November til I can decide if I want to pay another 50-60 bucks to get the 2007 season on iTunes. I very much enjoy it and do not know how it could harm or help the product.

    Maybe the reasoning behind having a YouTube channel is for new fans to see old Pay-Per-Views and become interested in the history. The history is a great thing, for a new or old fan, to go through and relive. There are so many things that you just forget about as time goes on but then remember when it happens. Such as the faction Serotonin. I considered the faction a fail but it is pretty cool to see them and relive it.

    Now if your reasoning behind TNA not having a YouTube channel is based on WWE would never do something like that, there is a different story. While WWE wouldn't do that, WWE has WWE 24/7 on COX that I used to watch at my dads house. They are essentially the same, both trying to show past Pay-Per-Views and history of the company through a payment. WWE's was $7 while TNA's is $5. WWE would show different sections such as Pay-Per-Views, Monday Night War shows (updated every other week) old Pay-Per-Views, old TV shows (not counting Raw or Smackdown or whatever but Saturday Night's Main Event and shows I hadn't heard of or seen before). They would also sometimes have the talk show with the commentators and "legends" around a table talking about different topics. In that sense, TNA and WWE are pretty similar. WWE just does it better with it being available to watch on TV (to COX subscribers) while TNA has it on YouTube and only shows Pay-Per-Views.

    • TNA Chris

      People that don’t know what TNA is aren’t going to spend 5 bucks on a you tube channel. They need to throw some freebies out there to catch people’s eyes.

      Something WWE does on the USA network is interiupt whatever is on before it (usually NCIS) and play a teaser with Cole and King talking about the show coming up. I’m not sure what’s on spike before tna, but that might be a way to spike people’s attention.

  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    So your suggestion is to have a TNA/ROH/PWG/CMLL/TCW/AAA kind of magazine? Not that it would be bad. It would definitely be interesting to see the news on the stars from all of the indies as well as TNA Wrestling.

    ROH is a great show I usually watch but can sometimes become boring with Scum taking up most of the show. A big part of me wishes there wasn't that faction. Factions lately have seemed to take away from the product. I know I might get backlash on this, but I believe that Evolution was the best faction there ever was. Maybe it was because of how young I was and into watching wrestling but Evolution just seemed right. It seemed like the perfect heel group. They took over the whole show and proved to be a dominant force with all of the members shining and holding titles.

    I haven't seen many PWG shows except two or three. They look pretty real and there is hardly any production. I don't know much storylines when it comes to the show or if there are any but the wrestling is there. CMLL and AAA are awesome shows except for the fact that one team pins another team (almost every match is a tag match. Seems rare to see a one on one match) and the match still goes on afteward. I guess I am just ignorant when it comes to that and it's kind of a culture shock since in the U.S. it's always "This match is scheduled for one fall" as WWE anouncer Howard Finkel used to always say. I understand that it is different in such gimmick matches such as 3 Stages of Hell and Iron Man match, among others. But it seems in CMLL and AAA, that no match is scheduled for one fall which makes it confusing.

    TCW is a great new product that I have recently discovered and enourage anyone else out there to check it out. I will admit that I am biased as I mainly watch it to see Lance Hoyt. He is the World Heavyweight Champion. In my mind, he rightly should be. He is still pretty young (31 years old… compare that with how old Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, and Christopher Daniels are, that's young) and I would consider him a seasoned veteran since he was in TNA for many years before. They have also just added a star Americos into the company and it looks they are going to give him a push. He has very much talent and hope they give him the right time to shine. It's on Saturday nights at 12 AM on the Pursuit Channel (PRST on DirecTV) and is a one hour show.

  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    Also thinking about the talent that is at other companies, I have heard before in articles that WWE seems to find and sign the right talent from indies while TNA holds Gut Check tryouts and end up with guys who aren't shown on television and are released later on. This I believe is fact and has many great points. WWE signing Matt Sydal, El Generico, Chris Hero, and Pac while TNA signs Alex Silva, Sam Shaw, Crimson, Christian York, Jay Bradley, among others. I don't think TNA really needs to have a Gut Check challenge in order to find talent out there. Do what WWE does. See who is really talented out there and pick them up.

    Jimmy Rave, Amazing Red, Young Bucks, Jack Evans, Jay Lethal, Shannon Moore, Consequences Creed, Lance Hoyt, Americos, Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams, Senshi, Delta, La Sombra, Magnus (from CMLL) Mascara Dorada, Mistico III, Tiger Kid, Matt Taven, Roderick Strong, Adam Cole, and Jimmy Jacobs are stars that I would like to see come to TNA.

    Some of them, such as Mascara Dorada, and Delta, are from CMLL. They are very talented and if you think back to what WCW did that made them special, they brought in talent from around the world. They recruited great talent for the Cruiserweight division. Juventud, Blitzkrieg, Psychosis, Super Crazy, La Parka among others that I am forgetting at the moment came from WCW being innovative. There are stars that are very talented but not in a place where they can shine.

    I would love to see TNA bring in those high-flying mask-wearing guys from other places like WCW would. You might chuckle when I say mask-wearing and it's all right. The only mask-wearing ones we have seen in the major two companies are Rey Mysterio, Suicide, and Sin Cara. I am pretty sure El Generico wears a mask in WWE but have not seen WWE or a match of his in WWE. Anyway, it would be very cool since they bring a style all their own. Let alone, a whole different culture as WCW also used to talk about.

    If TNA can only sign a few of those that I have listed, that would be a major improvement over what it has been doing. I know that some of them that I have listed have been on TNA lately. Sonjay and Petey Williams have been many times lately but I would like to see a long-term deal with them. Same thing with Jay Lethal. The more I watch Lethal in ROH, the more I wish he was in TNA. I forget that he, like Lance Hoyt, even though they are veterans, are still so dang young. Lethal is only 28 years old. It would be great for the TNA roster to get younger. Even a main talent like Lance Hoyt would be considered young compared to most in the professional wrestling.

    Back to your statement about TNA teaming up with ROH and other indys to sell the magazine, I do not think that it would work. It might come across to wrestling fans as TNA lowering themselves to teaming up promotions that only hardcore fans would know about (any promotion that's not WWE or TNA). I would argue that most casual fans do not know about ROH and then if you go down further than that to TCW and CMLL and the others, you are really getting down to where people might shake their heads and walk away. They might not recognize TCW or CMLL (most likely wouldn't) and would automatically lower their preception of TNA Wrestling as a whole.

    • TNA Chris

      Jay Lethal has been in TNA. While the TNA product is great, they seem yet to find their niche. It used to be great x division high flying fast paced matches. Now, not so much. They seem to have went away from their marque match: king of the mountain too.

      I kind of feel as though Hogan and Bichoff hurt te product. I don’t mid change when it’s better, but getting rid of the six sided ring sucked.