Posted by Ric Santos
TNA has taken Impact Wrestling on the road with a live broadcast televised on Spike TV followed by tapings for the next week’s program. There are obvious positives to this format but there are also noticeable negatives. The question is, do the pros outweigh the cons?
THE POSITIVES OF TAPING IMPACT WRESTLING
One of the biggest positives to taping the same night of a live broadcast, when looking at it through a business perspective, is the cost savings.
Despite going on 11 years, TNA is still a very young company. With the company still sorting out other money issues, it’s pretty obvious that they are nowhere near as solid as the WWE in that area. However, they’ve pushed forward enough to take Impact on the road, which is a very expensive venture as Dixie Carter has said. Taping the same night of a live show takes pressure off of management and essentially gives the crowd two shows for the price of one, a higher value in entertainment that is provided.
Editing is also very important for a taped program. A bad promo, if tightened the right way, can come across as very effective on TV when airing. Wasted motions, unnecessary banter or fan interactions during matches can be edited down so the match looks much better. This can make the competitors look better as well. Time constraints are an issue when going live (unless you’re the WWE with a great deal in place with your network) and they can get the timing just right so the aired show ends properly and isn’t cut off so suddenly. That’s pretty much where the positives end and so…
WHY TAPING IMPACT WRESTLING IS A STEP BACKWARDS
A glaring issue for the taped shows is how unenthusiastic the crowd seems. Are fans tired from exerting all of their energy during the live show? How many times can they cheer their hearts out for the same performer when their theme hits for the 3rd or 4th time? Is management telling the fans when to cheer or how to cheer?
On television, the crowd for the 4/4/13 show in Jonesboro (taped the week prior after the live show on 3/28/13) was not great. They looked bored and without that energy, it’s difficult for the performers to care about what they’re doing, even if they say otherwise. If the crowd isn’t there, the viewers at home will think it was a mediocre show.
Organization has been a TNA issue when going to tape while at The Impact Zone and now on the road. One of our readers advised me, as he attended the first live show on the road in Chicago, that the X-Division match (which aired on the taped show on Spike TV the week after the live show) was actually filmed before the live broadcast aired.
He also confirmed that they made the crowd facing the cameras sit down during the taping. He only assumed that the reason was to make it look like the crowd was not the same. Not certain what the real reasoning is for this but the important thing is the end result and the end result is a crowd that looks bored and reactions that are left with much to be desired. At least WWE fakes crowd cheers for SmackDown!, but even that’s pretty annoying too.
Alex Barie, with whom I had a brief twitter exchange with regarding the topic, brought up a good point. In less than 45 minutes of this past Impact Wrestling airing, maybe 3 or 4 storylines were presented. Too much in too little time. How can we, as the audience, care about a story if it’s rushed out and a new one is rushed in continually? This is the result of bad editing and filming without a lot of meat on the bones. When you jumble things up, it doesn’t translate well on television and decreases the importance of the story that has been built up. Any gaps are then filled in post production with vignettes and “backstage segments” that are filmed after the show or some time during, which is not aired for the live crowd on the screen.
HOW TNA CAN SLOWLY START TO FIX THE PROBLEM
It goes without saying that the presented broadcast of a taped event does not translate well in the hands of the TNA editing and writing team. The cons outweigh the pros overall because opinions of the taped shows are generally negative. It may not necessarily be that a match is bad or there’s too much talking, but the flow and pacing of the show suffers. When that happens, then the matches and verbal segments are hurt. So, how can this be fixed? Here are just a few thoughts:
1) Writing and editing needs to step up their game. Trim the fat and get in new people to handle the job.
2) It’s good to have deals and sponsors in place, but teaming with a hotel chain is just not something the company needs to be focusing on right now. This is along the lines of the King Mo deal. No one cares and the product doesn’t expand the way it should. Money could have been saved towards other aspects of production. TNA needs to work on their advertising deals.
3) The most important: Take Impact Wrestling live PERMANENTLY. Taping should only apply to times of holiday or tours (much like the recent UK tour or WWE’s taping schedule during the holidays). If one house show during the week needs to be scrapped in order to have a bit of money left over for another week of live TNA on TV, then so be it. At least for now until a good stream of income comes in for a comfortable live run. Also, the crowds will constantly change and bring their unique energy to the broadcast.
What are your thoughts on TNA still taping? Do you mind or prefer a weekly live television event, much like WWE Raw on Mondays? Sound off on the comments below.
Have a great rest of your weekend and enjoy tomorrow’s WrestleMania if you will be watching (who won’t be watching?). Until next time: “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”.
Follow me on twitter: @RealRicSantos
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