See what I did there? It’s a TNA article, and I used Impact in the title? Kinda witty, eh?
No, not so much? Ah well, let’s move on. Hopefully my article is better than my one-liners today…
With last week’s announcement that TNA was taking Impact on the road permanently, I started thinking about the implications not only for that company, but for the wrestling landscape in general.
In my mind, I was taken back to September 4th, 1995. Yes, trivia marks, this was the first episode of Monday Nitro, from the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. It didn’t seem like a huge deal back then. Lex Luger made his triumphant return to WCW, Scott Norton debuted with the company, I believe Flair and Sting squared off for the 4,183rd time, and the announce team broadcasted from in front of an Panda Express on the second floor. (Okay, I made that part up. One more stab at a joke. Still not funny? Okay, i’m done. My bad.)
Point is, at that moment in time, the debut of Nitro was cool, but nothing overly significant. Eighteen years later, I see it as part of the groundwork of the Monday Night Wars, as well as the beginnings of one of the great boom periods in the history of the business.
I am of the humble belief that this move will be the beginning of another boom period for wrestling. TNA’s success will create the much needed competition for WWE that will make them elevate their game and we might, MIGHT, finally see two quality products squaring off against one another.
Now, I hate to be the bah humbug guy, but we have to address the white elephant in this happy room. Dixie Carter and her crew have a knack for starting a great fire and immediately pissing it out. Everyone loved their unique six-sided ring, so they got rid of it. They laid the groundwork for a great storyline with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, then offered Claire Lynch. Bully Ray became Bitch Hubby. I can go on with this all night. Therefore, I am happily offering my services as a (complete wannabe) booker extrodinare and (not very) creatve consultant. I will push TNA in the right direction despite itself, and present my…
Five Ways For TNA To Take Over The Wrestling World…..
Treat that first show in Chicago like a pay per view.
It’s common sense, really. This is what your fanbase has been begging for, month and month, for what seems like forever now. Make them remember it. I wanna see a title change, a five star match, and an Aces and Eights reveal that makes Mike Tenay yell “Holy $#%^, it’s _____”. A lot of people are expecting that at some point, Jeff Jarrett and/or Eric Bischoff will be revealed as leaders in the outfit, but I have a better idea. An idea that, if done right, could make CM Punk’s pipe bomb look like a dud firecracker.
Introduce Scott Steiner as the leader of Aces and Eights.
People kiss and make up all the time in wrestling, especially if the money is right. You need look no further than Bruno Sammartino and WWE to see that. Here’s a man that for over 25 years has sworn up and down that he would never do business with that company. Give the man a Wrestlemania payoff, and he’s singing the company fight song.
It would take a lot less than that to being Steiner in, I’m sure. A small stipend and a live microphone is all you need to lock up that ratings machine. If Punk proved anything on that stage in Vegas last year, it was that fans will eat up a shoot promo. As a whole, they thrive for that moment when the curtain is ripped back, and things get real. What better way to make money than to take a complete nut who hates TNA, make his the leader of a group of other guys who hate TNA, and let him say whatever he wants about it. Sold!
Give Eric Bischoff complete control of the product.
Say what you want about the man, but Eric Bischoff took a promotion from running its product out of an amusement park soundstage to being the number one wrestling company in the world. He was not the most liked, he was underappreciated, but he was a creative guru and a revolutionary in wrestling. He revolutionized the way wrestling was presented, sold and taken in by fans. And now, here he is, 15 years older and 15 years smarter, helping run a company that is in the EXACT same position WCW was in back in ’95. If Dixie Carter has any clue, she will take this and run.
Use the Impact Zone to tape a second show every week.
TNA simply has too more talent than two hours of television can hold. To me, the idea of running a second show just makes sense. This is something that WWE has down to a science right now, and I would love to see TNA copy the formula. Raw is a storyline driven show. You tune in for matches, but honestly it’s the storyline that carries Monday nights. Smackdown, on the other hand, is wrestling driven. Make Impact that show, that Raw style program that is driven by the promos and vignettes. Make the second show your old school wrestling product. Try new concepts there, develop younger talent there. And…..
Acknowledge other promotions on that second program, or on Impact
In Japan, you have the Super J Cup. Around the world, you have various tournaments that feature competitors from numerous promotions. It’s a great way to generate interest in wrestling as a whole, as opposed to strictly one company. It is the most far-fetched concept I’ll present here tonight, but why not host competitors from other independent promotions and create true world champions. You want ratings? Put one of Japan’s champions, or the German Tag Team champs, or legends of AAA or CMLL and square them off against the stars of TNA. To their credit, this concept is somewhat in the works already. One of the pre taped pay per views this year is already planned to host hardcore stars from other, smaller companies as well as a few ECW guys, and there’s already buzz. Cater to the niche fan, cater to the IWC, you’re gonna go far.
The trick for TNA is to seize the moment and work within the current landscape of the business as opposed to trying to create a landscape, like Vince did in the early 2000’s. As a fan, I don’t want to be force fed, and I don’t want to be corralled into watching something specific. I want choice, I want options, and I want wrestling to get hot again, and that can happen right now.
In 2001 I wrote an article for an e-zine, indicating that the business would suffer for several years forward due to the loss of WCW and ECW. I mentioned that the product would go to hell without viable competition for WWF/E, and I think, to a degree, I was right. Twelve years later, I am happily predicting that things are about to get good again.
Jimmy Duncan is the host of the Hookers and Shooters wrestling podcast, available exclusively at facebook.com/hookersandshooters. Generally, the show is ready for downloading on Monday morning. Keep calm and listen 🙂
I really like the idea of treating the first show in Chicago as a ppv because that could be a real good time for them to improve their ratings. Also really like the idea of taping a second show in the impact zone.
Tickets for that first show go on sale in a couple hours. I’m going to try to get my ticket as soon as I can. I think TNA can sell out that first show without giving tickets away for free especially if they treat it like a PPV. I’m expecting them to do great on the road because I think some people will come not because of TNA but because they want to see guys like Hogan, Sting, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, RVD, Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy. The only person I have ever seen from that bunch is Hardy. And I noticed TNA commercials while I was watching RAW this week so people will know that TNA is coming to their area. With those stars appearing and with the cheap ticket prices, I can’t see why the arenas wouldn’t sell a lot of tickets.
I really like this post – I like the ideas you put forward about things TNA should do to seize their opportunity. There is one thing that made me a bit cross (but it’s not your fault) – Why is everyone talking about the future success of TNA in terms of what it might do for WWE? You do this a little bit in your intro and it just gets on my nerves a bit. Again, everyone is doing this at the moment so I’m not singling you out or anything – I really do like this post.
I particularly like the second show idea – one for story and one for pure wrestling. TNA have a really good roster but they seem to keep losing talent because they haven’t space for them on TV. Hell, they don’t even have time to represent all of the belts properly – there always seems to be one that is on “the back burner” at any given time. A second show would solve that. Let’s just hope Dixie etc. doesn’t piss it out lol (fav line of the whole thing)
You’re very clever, Jimmy! haha. Great column.
A boom period in wrestling is what every true wrestling fan would hope for. We want both WWE and TNA to do well. Now WWE are likely to stand the test of time but it doesn’t mean TNA doesn’t have a chance. All we can hope for, is that you’re right!
“A boom period in wrestling is what every true wrestling fan would hope for. We want both WWE and TNA to do well. ”
I agree with that. I’m going to that first road show as a wrestling fan and not really a TNA fan. TNA getting good success on the road is good for the wrestling business.
TNA Talent Bookings and Travel Director tweets, “Big first day ticket sales for #IMPACTWRESTLINGLIVE in Chicago.”
It looks like 3 out of the 4 seating levels are sold out.
If I may pick your post apart a little bit…
Let me say first, you’re absolutely right about the fact that competition is what creates an exciting and creative environment for any product, not just wrestling.
As far as your five ideas, here are my toughts…
1. Treat first show as a pay-per-view.
No argument here. That first show needs to be big.
2. Scott Steiner as the leader of Aces and Eights.
My problem with this is, Steiner can’t wrestle. The leader of a group needs to be the most dangerous person in the group. Steiner may be a physically imposing, but he needs to be able to deliver in the ring. So while a shoot promo would be a nice prop, I think his involvement, especially as the leader, would ultimately fizzle.
3. Give Eric Bischoff complete control of the product.
Dear God, no. While I’ll admit he had good ideas which got Nitro off the ground, he proved to be too self-serving to be trustworthy long-term (i.e., Garrett Bischoff wrestling on TV). If your approach is to appeal to purists, then you need someone who loves and respects wrestling calling the shots and Eric Bischoff is not that man. Have him lead the production and promotional aspect, fine. But I would only use him as a consult on the creative side of things.
4. Use Impact Zone to tape a second show.
You’re applauding them for getting out of the Impact Zone, then you want them to try to build their future there? I agree they need to tape a second show and develop the rest of their roster but they need to do it somewhere where they can get a consistent crowd of WRESTLING FANS and not just amusement park guests.
5. Acknowledge other promotions.
You hit the nail right on the head here. The movement that wrestling needs to capitalize on right now is the increased interest in independent and international wrestling. The internet has afforded some very small groups the opportunity to be seen by a lot more people than would be the case were they simple hosting shows in local high school gyms. It has created a subculture of fans who know all the promotions and the wrestlers that travel between them.
Thing is, they can’t just mention these groups and expect the casual fans to care. There has to be build. They have to educate someone who only knows TNA and WWE and doesn’t have time for i-pay-per-views and collecting dvds as to why these people are big deal. I think it will bring that subculture of smarks into the fold and the current fanbase’s knowledge will grow if done right.
Excellent article, man. As you can see, clearly thought-provoking.
First, thanks for such an indepth response. It humbles me that you took that much time out of your day to ponder the musings of some silly fat guy from Philadelphia. But I digress 🙂
I guess I really can’t argue your point about Steiner. Personally, I think his name and mic skills would be enough to carry him. It’s kinda like a Ric Flair type deal. We all know that Ric can’t wrestle to save his life. He’s so bloody old lol. But he can still talk, and he can still draw. I see Scotty in the same ilk. But again, I more than see your side of that.
As far as taping a secons show at the Impact Zone…Yes, I do applaud them taking their main telecast, their A show, if you will, out on the road. That’s a huge piece of their puzzle. With that being said, you now have a pretty looking studio just sitting there, collecting dust. If you can use it for a secondary show, go for it. That’s all i’m sayin’
Hey guys, I can’t thank you enough for your feedback on my piece. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you all sooner, but I assure you over the next day or two I will. Between new jobs, sick kids and bad weather things have just been crazy over here. Thanks for your patience, and by all means keep the rambling comin’ eh?