Posted by R.Michael Berry
Is there turmoil in TNA? It would seem so. Bruce Prichard, D-Lo Brown, Matt Morgan, and Tara have all been released from the company. Add to that the breakdown in negotiations with Doc, Hulk Hogan being paid late, and other TNA stars complaining about not being paid on time, I would say there is definitely something going on behind the scenes. It is easy to say that they are simply restructuring company management and letting go of some high price talent. But is that really all there is?
When you mix all this together and add a few more spices to the bowl, then we might start to smell what’s cookin’. So let me add a few more spices. First, the TV ratings are horrible. Most weeks, IMPACT is lucky to do a 0.9 cable rating. To put that in perspective RAW usually hovers around a 2.8 – 3.5 cable rating. Here is even a little more perspective for you on that, during the post Attitude era in 2003-2004, WWE’s Sunday Night Heat was still pulling a cable rating of 1.0. IMPACT needs viewers, and it needs them bad. With poor ratings, it will be hard for TNA to bring in the advertising dollars needed to survive.
The second spice to add to that mixing bowl is the buy rates of Slammiversary. The company expected to beat last year’s rates which were 14,000-15,000. Instead, the buy rates were lower, coming in around 13,000. Once again a little bit of perspective here, last year, WWE’s least successful ppv was Over The Limit with 167,000 buys. TNA’s lack of ability to sell pay per views is a huge punch to the financial gut of the company.
The final spice in my mixing bowl here is live attendance. I’m a video production major and have been taught wonderful tricks to make viewers see what I want them to see. I believe TNA is using some tricks of their own. If you watch IMPACT, notice it looks like a packed house. It looks to be about 90% full. The one thing you don’t ever, EVER, see on IMPACT is the non-TV side. This is a trick Eric Bischoff and WCW used to pull off near the end of WCW. It’s called “stacking” the TV side. The numbers I was able to pull up for the most recent Las Vegas Impact was approximately 3,300 through the gate. The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas holds roughly 10,000. I’m guessing the non-TV side was not too full.
High paid talent released, talent not being paid on time, lack of TV ratings, lack of pay per view buys, and lack of live attendance, mix it all up and you get a nice warm gooey “Uh-Oh Pie”. TNA is in trouble. The higher priced acquisitions of Angle, Sting, Foley, Bubba Ray, D-Von, RVD, Christian, and Hogan have not helped the company at all. The one thing they are doing right, which could change with the release of Prichard who was in charge of creative, is pushing Magnus. Getting behind Magnus and trying to create their own stars is the right thing to do.
Time and time again, it is proven that the key to any company’s success is to bring up your own talent. Don’t try to build your company off the old scraps from other companies. WCW in the mid-nineties is the only time this ever worked. It in fact ended up being the death of WCW. WWE was able to, and has since then, bring up their own talent. They find the stars of independent wrestling, bring them into the company, and develop them into stars.
TNA did this once. That is how they got their name with the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, James Storm, Chris Harris, Christopher Daniels, Petey Williams, Robert Roode, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, and many many more. TNA lost sight of this with those veterans they brought in. It is time to go back to the drawing board TNA. As I suggested in a previous article, start with Magnus.
Rebuild the company around Magnus. Still include Styles, Daniels, Joe, Angle and other young talent, but rebuild TNA around Magnus. Ask yourself one question TNA, you are essentially at rock bottom now. If you rebuild around Magnus, where else can you go but up?
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