I just finished listening to the show, and hoping to chime in on DJ Lunchboxes “TNA Gentleman’s agreement”. Like Mad Mike I always try to catch TNA. I’m not sure if this is a misplaced loyalty for Jim Crockett Promotions, The NWA, or a longing for the glory days of WCW, but I really want TNA to thrive and I’ve been more that guilty of slinging hatred towards Florida. So that being said I’ll give this a shot.
#1. Something Good….
I won’t taint any good remarks about TNA with a statement of how difficult it was to make a nice statement, because TNA has a lot going for it. First of all I’ll have to say TNA has a great roster. Robert Roode, James Storm, and Abyss are all Mid Level veterans with boatloads of experience. It’s sad that wrestling success is measured in Slurpee cup and T-shirt sales. That was an unfortunate side effect of the Attitude era in WWE and it will always be a part of the business now. But as I was saying, TNA has a great roster of talent ranging from experienced superstars to rookie potential.
TNA apparently has a wonderful working environment. All interviews I have ever listened to describes TNA as a “Family” and I’ll have to admit that you can see the love in Ric Flair and Hulk Hogans eyes. Both these guys are veritable legends in the business and although I will acknowledge they have divorce settlements to support, could easily make money in the background or with licensing agreements, or even behind the scenes at Florida Championship Wrestling or other WWE projects. But instead of living on their legend and cashing in for themselves, they are out there working the angles, and trying to push the product. Hogan didn’t have to roll his half crippled back in the ring to job to Sting, but he did to try and draw in some numbers for TNA’s premiere pay per view. Flair didn’t have to let Jay Lethal rouge his gimmick and then take a fall to put him over, or spill half his blood with Mick Foley for a TV taping, but he did to push the product. In my opinion Flair and Hogan have hurt their “legacies” by not hanging it up, but they are trying to get this company over and that can’t be just for the paycheck.
#2 Something Bad ( and a little bit of the “make it better”)
Ok before I break out into song heralding the merits of TNA let’s face some unpleasant doses of reality. TNA has some of the worst writing that’s ever been in the business. Consistency is a joke. Character development is nonexistent. There’s no way to follow a storyline because the writers have A.D.D. I think the main cause for this is the micromanagement of the product. I heard in an interview with Jeremy Borash that the executives break down Impact minute by minute to figure out when viewers tune in and turn away and try to adjust for that. How can you expect to do that? Answer is YOU CAN’T! Don’t create by committee or by polls, Create in spite of committee….If you build it they will come. TNA is trapped in a George Lucas Causality loop. Lucas created a movie that changed the way entertainment is viewed period, but he can’t leave it alone even though and he’s alienating the people who loved his work in an effort to add new fans. I could care less if there’s a Dewback standing behind the cantina in Mos Eisley, but some jack wagon in a committee thought it would add to the atmosphere of an alien planet. That’s what TNA has fell victim too. “hey let’s turn Jeff Hardy Heel like we did Hogan in the 90’s and it will take him to the next level” You couldn’t have made Jeff Hardy any hotter or higher if you strapped him to the Hindenburg. The talent knows what to do just let them do it.
#3 How to make it better…
I already touched on this while I was hopping up and down on my soapbox, so I’ll try to throw out some What if’s…
What if you allowed your X-division to have a story arc that makes the X-division title a main event? The best PPV that TNA has had was based in the x-division. There’s the proof it works, run with it. Make the X-Division belt a sister belt to the World title kind like the World Heavyweight and WWE championship titles in WWE. Have an unsung division to keep the heavyweights from holding it and let it be the lead in to the main event matches at the PPV’s
What if you tried to add some weight to the all the championships? I know mid card belts are out of style in the business now but TNA could bring back the chase for championships to relieve some writing burden. Instead of trying to build some heat because Jeff Hardy makes Jeff Jarrett cry because Hardy’s drug problem (which by the way shouldn’t even be in the storyline, and would help stop some of this you tube foolishness). Have Jeff Hardy, who’s trying to win back the respect and favor of the fans and co-workers because he was over the top with the “anti-Christ of wrestling” angle, go after Jeff Jarrett’s Mexican Stop Sign Title. No need to explain it 50 times and replay 10 minutes of flashbacks every time they walk to the ring. The simple “My Belt means I’m better than you” story is a easy build and doesn’t insult the fans.
What if you tried to sew up some plot holes? I agree with Mad Mike that the Karen Jarrett Vice President angle makes no sense now that Dixie Carter is back in charge. Bust Karen down, with the angle that her “air tight” contract won’t let her be fired without reason. Give her Madison and Gail Kim, and throw in some unused talent on the roster (Magnus, ¾ of the x division, or even squirrel up Devon and the Pope against their will as a tag team) and Jeff give Karen her Hobby of managing. Karen would be the perfect foil to Vickie.
What if you reopened the top ten list again but used it a something to compete over? If the #5 guy whips the #2 guy then he takes over # 2 and everyone in between drops a spot. Instant heat generator without having to have a hidden camera man, Sun Tzu’s art of war, or a screwdriver under the ring. That way if you bring in some WWE superstar pet rescues, you can drop them in and let them fight their way up the rankings, instead of just giving them a title shot because they are from the “other” company. (Sorry Gail).
I got some other ideas but I think I’ve spewed enough for one sitting. I just want to say in closing that I think the reason TNA takes it on the chin so much is because We want to love it. We want it to be the greatest milkshake we’ve ever had, but so far all we get is an ice cream headache….