Not Enough Programming To Make An Impact

There are currently forty seven “active” wrestlers (meaning not the Hogans, announcers, correspondants or commentators) including the Knockouts listed on ImpactWrestling.com. Ten of those wrestlers haven’t been seen on Impact in over a month, some for much longer. There are wrestlers that have gotten TV time every week for the past few months that aren’t listed. Luke Gallows, Mike Knox, D-Lo Brown, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, etc. Some of these people are part time talent (Sonjay & Petey) to get people tuning in, but that’s beside the point. That’s over fifty wrestlers that are vieing for a spot in that two hours on Impact each week, let alone a match at one of the, now quarterly, pay per views (excluding the “one night only” events). It’s just not possible, and it’s really hurting the product that TNA is putting in those two hours.

I. The Matches

The tag-team division is the prime example of this. There are really only three tag-teams in TNA: Bad Influence (Kaz and Daniels), The Dirty Heels (Aries and Roode), and Los Stereotypicos (Hernandez and Guerrero). We’ve been seeing these three teams wrestle each other for months (since February). Granted, these are the best matches Impact has to offer most of the time, but even HBK vs Bret Hart gets old after watching it every week for four months. The “jokers wild” tag-team tournament is a great concept, atleast it provides something new and interesting, but I, and most likely a lot of other fans, am not willing to pay to watch it, just to see something new from TNA. Why not create an Aces & Eights tag team and work them into the title picture? Another example is the Knockouts division. It’s starting to look a lot like the Divas division with forced tag-team and 4-way matches just so as many of them as possible get TV time. All the while, sometimes it’s hard to remember who the champion is. Speaking of which, when is the last time the Knockouts Tag-Titles were defended? April 15th … 2012!! Instead we get ODB as the Knockouts referee. They could atleast put the titles on Knockouts that we see competing once a month. Even with the Aces & Eights we don’t get to see much variety. Always Team TNA (Kurt Angle, Sting, (Temporary Face)) vs. Aces & Eights in the main event, ending in an all out brawl. It gets difficult to stay interested seeing the same matches week after week.

II. The Storylines

I say “storylines” but there’s really only one storyline right now, and that’s with the Aces & Eights. There are a few parts to it, but it still revolves around them. AJ Styles, to join or not to join … or to do nothing. Matt Morgan ruffling Hogan’s feathers to try and get a title shot. D-Lo, is he in or is he out? Everything develops so slowly, and it all comes back to lack of programming. With PPVs being quarterly, I guess they think that they can take their time developing each match. Right? Well with Slammiversary only 3 Impacts away there has only been one match announced. I’m not sure how they’re selling tickets for Sting vs. Bully Ray but TNA is going to have to cram some serious builds into the next three weeks to get their PPV buys up and to get “the butts in the seats”.

III. The Talent

When is the last time you saw new TNA talent involed in a significant storyline (beyond the Gut Check segments)? Kenny King, Taryn Terrell, Christian York, Wes Brisco, and Garret Bischoff are the only ones I can think of in the past year. This is excluding part time talent, and guys like Luke Gallows and Mike Knox who aren’t exactly new talent. What’s the point of Gut Check if the only thing you’re really getting is your name and photo on ImpactWrestling.com? I know that they’re still training in OVW but why call it a TNA contract if they’re not on TNA TV? Will there ever be a spot for these guys on TNA TV? How long does the current undercard have to wait to make any waves in TNA? Theres just not enough TV time for anyone new to make an “impact”. Guys like James Storm, AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, Kazarian, Samoa Joe, Magnus, and Matt Morgan, just to name a few, all have World Title potential but how long will it be with Hogan/Bischoff in charge before we see any of these guys hold the belt, or even competing for it? Instead, we get Sting, Bully Ray, and Jeff Hardy main eventing the “big” PPVS. I’m almost suprised we’re not seeing Hogan vs Bully at Slammiversary. If there was more programming TNA would be able to book some of those matches. Even if it’s a throwaway match, even if it doesn’t fit into a storyline, sometimes it’s nice to see the World Title, or any title, defended against someone who could be in line for that number one contender spot in the future. Sometimes foreshadowing is more important than the end of the book, and without enough pages, it’s just not possible.

Even if it’s just an online show, TNA is doing enough live events now that they have the capabilities to book relevant matches and tape them. I certainly enjoy going to a taped event more than one that I know will be all throwaway matches. More programming just makes more sense for the product.

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  • wrestlingscoops2323

    yes tna needs another tv show or 2 and its supposed to be hogan vs bully in the main event at bfg 2013 and theres not enough tv time for the talent that should be pushed and theres no storylines or fueds in the x-division at all anymore

  • Alex Barie

    Interesting article, Jeffery! I certainly want to give my thoughts on the points you brought up.

    First, TNA does have a lot of talent. It's almost quite amazing. Someone told me that they have too much talent and this person actually works for TNA. It would be in their best interest to eliminate the stars… not add another show. They need to focus on Impact. They need to get the viewerships and ratings up for that show instead of producing a brand new one. It just wouldn't be smart for business.

    There are a lot of storylines going on Impact and yes, they pretty much wrap around Aces, but they are still separate in their nature. One focuses on AJ the other Matt Morgan. There is some story with the X-Division as Chris Sabin goes for the gold and the Knockouts is having Gail Kim be this machine that takes everyone out. We have the tag team division having their own storyline. I mean, did you knock Hardy Boyz/Dugley Boys/Edge & Christian when they had their feud in the 00s?

    TNA has the talent of Daniels, Joe, Morgan, etc and they can use them and push them, but AJ in particular is one person who will be going for the World Title. It's being planned. It's almost quite obvious. That's a good thing though. AJ needs to be champion.

    The art of storytelling has really fell in the wrestling business as people want one story to another real quick. WWE does that kind of stuff. For me, I love slow and evolving stories that really get you interested. Stories like Del Rio vs. Swagger is almost nothing. The story on how Aces formed and came into the company is entirely different. It's an art.

    • Kevin

      "I mean, did you knock Hardy Boyz/Dugley Boys/Edge & Christian when they had their feud in the 00s?"

      The difference is, there were at least another half dozen lower card tag teams to mix in. The main teams had other opposition.

      Personally, I believe you need 14 wrestlers per hour of television. So TNA would need 28 wrestlers. If you have three matches per hour (max of six per Impact), you have plenty of workers left over so there isn't major burnout.

    • Jeffery Baker

      Yeah I have to agree with what Kevin said. There weren’t three tag-teams in the WWE at that time. They saved the important Dudleys Hardyz and E&C matches for the PPVs a lot of the time.

      I absolutely agree that the “stars” need to go but thats totally unrealistic with the current management in TNA. They’re looking for MORE star power not less. Look at King Mo. The guy has never wrestled a match and is already listed on their roster page. I would love it if TNA was the place to watch new rising talent once a week … but its not and until someone else runs the company it’s not going to be.

      I AM excited about Chris Sabin, and hopefully pulling that title off of Kenny King. But I only get to see an X Division match every two or three weeks.

      Im all for slow building stories, but only when it’s actually developing! They do a whole lot of stalling in between anything actually progressing in these storylines. Do they need someone new to come out every week and say “AJ ARE YOU WITH US OR ARE YOU AGAINST US?” and have him walk away? Come on! Is he going to do that until he’s “allowed” another title shot at Bound For Glory this year? There’s a slow building storyline for you.

  • Reginald

    Wow!!

  • Rahrah

    That's the best