There is an extreme amount of criticism we get for being associated with and supporting TNA. Go to any Facebook, Forum, Wrestling News site, and you will see a fair amount of constructive criticism, and a huge proportion of slander, cruelty, and just plain hatred. And all for various reasons.
And a good portion rightfully deserved. When the lead editor of TNANews.com wrote a scathing opinion I took notice. And he loves TNA more than I do, and I agreed with many of his points. The fact of the matter is, nothing helps anyone to make changes for the future, like positive feedback and congratulations. And that’s where I’ll focus my energy in this week’s Wrasslin Wramblins.
Wrasslin Wramblins – Credit where Credit is Due.
Positive feedback works just as well if not better than constructive criticism. In twelve years, TNA has flourished, suffered, and survived. There are many reasons to focus on, in terms of improvement. Let’s look at Slammiversary and how this show set a new tone for success.
Slammiversary 2014 saw a great wrestling show, with minimal errant finishes, and excellent in-ring work. The wrestling portion of the federation, is why we clamor for the X-Division, The Originals, the workers from ROH, the talented in-ring competitors who clearly are among the best in the world. Eric Young, Davey Richards, Manik, Kenny King, and the MVP of the night- Austin Healy Aries, made this pay per view worth watching. This is why when AJ, Daniels, Sabin and Kazarian were released, fans were alarmed. On any given pay per view night, the TNA roster can put out a superior product to any wrestling company on the planet. Wrestling is our number one strength, and yes while TNA is a sports entertainment company, you have got to highlight your strengths. Congratulations all around to the wrestlers, for wrestling. Well done.
Booking. TNA has a shoddy track record of satisfying people with booking. Right here on the TNANews site, we had a poll that showed 80 percent were completely against MVP getting the title shot against Eric Young. Then the knee injury to MVP happened in PCW, and TNA used logical booking to take two regular matches and make them mean something by using them as qualifiers for the new three way steel cage main event. Samoa Joe would face Bobby Lashley for one slot, Austin Aries would wrestle Kenny King for the other. Now they could have just went with EY/Lashley, but were smart enough to let the PPV itself tell a story.
Slammiversary automatically grew interest from this author and many more, as last minute ticket sales gave it the highest PPV attendance in recent memory. And even better, instead of Lashley and King both winning to qualify, Aries and Lashley advanced, providing the fans with a strong, unpredictable match that allowed Aries to not only carry two pay per view matches, but lose cleanly to put over the Champ and not lose any heat in doing so. That also makes two straight pay per views with a clean main event finish, and because of this World Champion Eric Young has finally started to be taken seriously.
Marketing. I have called for the firings of the advertising and marketing departments more than I can remember. Yet we had around 3,500 to 4,000+ paid attendance in Texas. I almost can’t believe these are the same teams that screwed up the Basebrawls and brought us almost 1,500 for Lockdown. The Pope said it best, when TNA is in town, the employees across the street don’t even know, the trucks don’t say TNA, they say Ryder, and half the time the marquee outside the building doesn’t mention the events until the shows themselves. I could go on- but not this time.
Featuring the debuts of Ross and Marshall Von Erich and the Dallas Cowboys was a stroke of genius, and Kevin Von Erich getting The Claw on DJZ resulted in the pop of the night. That’s how you play to your market, that’s how you give those fans a show they have never seen before, and one they will definitely come back to see again. TNA Live is an experience that used to rival any company, and it is great to see this kind of energy return. Dare we hope this trend continue? There is already a storyline in place based around Tommy Dreamer, Dixie Carter and Bully Ray at House of Hardcore for the PA Faithful. Kudos to TNA for being proactive in heading into a brand new territory.
Financial. TNA’s money has been a source of controversy, mostly because as a private company, no one really knows their situation, nor should they. What we do know is they released some of our favorites due to budget cuts -at least that’s the explanation given by many- and that just underscores the bad decisions made during the Hogan/Bischoff era to take us on the road and book extravagant arenas. However, now we hear about the financial hardships of other companies and that gives a break in itself, plus with Impact Wrestling’s contract with Spike looking to be renewed, the future is brighter.
Talent. The loss of Jeff Jarrett could have hurt our standing with international promotions. But coming off a good touring exhibition with Keiji Mutoh’s Wrestle-1, we have a strong connection and a well-booked X-Division Champion in Seiya Sanada. Notice I said champion, not division, as there is work to be done, but Sanada is being booked like a star. While we lost some Originals, others are being pushed to the top of the card. The main event features Eric Young, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, and Bully Ray, all huge fan favorites, with Bobby Roode running an angle with MVP, and Kenny King getting a lot of TV time. The Knockouts have brought back Angelina Love, made her Champion, and reunited The Beautiful People to bring the KO division back to prominence. Taryn Terrell is on her way back and she will make a great contender for Angelina’s belt. Old faces, solid hands such as Devon and Matt Hardy will only bolster the tag ranks, and many new stars have been signed to multi-year deals. TNA has the ability, much like they are doing with Ethan Carter III, to really shape the future of this company.
In many cases, TNA has opened itself up to abject criticism of all kinds, and some is rightfully deserved. But they are looking up on many fronts, and deserve a good share of acclaim as well. Now what one hopes, is for consistency, and a more patient approach, a step by step plan and execution based on confidence, and direction. Two leaders who have come under fire, John Gaburick and Dixie Carter have really shown if nothing else, their work ethic and dedication to learning and improving and this in itself is inspiring. No one expects perfection. No one expects a worldwide juggernaut. However face facts. We are seen in over 150 countries, and by a million fans domestically every single week. And being fans, that puts it on us to demand quality, but also to celebrate success.
Because that’s how we grow. This is a 12 year old company that began in 2002, and for all the bad, there’s been good. For all the valleys, there have been peaks. The time to witness growth and understanding is now, and more than ever, your feedback is needed. Remember, today’s fans actually have the ability to shape the future of a growing federation, opposed to those organizations already established and set in their ways. It is not only positive, this is crucial to TNA’s development. So twelve years from now, if we do our job and new generations are established, every future wrestling fan can give credit where credit is due. That’s it for Wrasslin Wramblins, please share some of your congratulations in the comment section, and as always, enjoy the show.