09 November 2013

A New Day for TNA

After several weeks of speculation, the announcement came that TNA was going off the road and returning to the Impact Zone. We'd heard that TNA were looking for a permanent home for Impact Wrestling, and Orlando was on that list. What we didn't know however was that this wasn't just a return to the Impact Zone, but something much bigger and better than we could have imagined.

The announcement of TNA's return back to Universal Orlando was apart of a huge press release announcing a new initiative called “Where Action Never Ends”. The direction involves 24/7 coverage of TNA across multiple platforms filming the stars of Impact on the road and in their homes. Universal Studio's fit into TNA's new direction as their programming hub & training facility for TNA. While some will be disappointed with the return to Universal, with everything that ties in with it, I'm quite optimistic. There are several huge pluses that can come from this announcement, so here's my breakdown of what #IMPACT365 may deliver.

More Storyline ContentBy focusing on 24/7 content, it gives TNA the chance to further storylines between episodes of Impact Wrestling. One negative that has been apparent for years in TNA is their limited TV time. Not everyone/everything can be featured in the 82 minutes Impact is on the air, so understandably sometimes storylines can't progress naturally. By opening the door for 24/7 content, that problem can be solved. Already Dixie Carter has used the platform to announce she had stripped AJ Styles of the World Title, the “Wheel of Dixie” for the World Title Tournament and the return of Adam “Pacman” Jones, all of which have been good way to promote and set the stage for Impact.

This should continue going forward, TNA can use #IMPACT365 to set the stage more for each episode of Impact, they can cover more ground to get fans more emotionally invested, as well as cover more of the little things that may normally not find their way onto TV. This also gives TNA the chance to continue some storylines that may not appear on an episode of Impact. Even though the feud isn't featured one week on Impact, it doesn't stop them uploading an angle or even a match that same week to progress the story further. Hopefully through this we get more in-depth storylines that should add to the quality of the product.

House Show Coverage – I mentioned above progressing storylines online by filming angles and possibly matches also, and there is no better place for these to occur than at TNA's live events. This is a great way to get something out of House Shows, as well as give house shows a great selling point as to why fans should attend. TNA have the opportunity to showcase some mid-card feuds by releasing both matches and pre-tapes on their Youtube page, and when the feud is featured on Impact, they can show a little re-cap video with highlights on the online content to catch people up.

More Programming – With both the return to Orlando and the focus on 24/7 content, the possibility of more programming is certainly there. Many have wanted a second weekly TNA show for a long time, with more emphasis being put onto online content, and the return to Universal Studio's, TNA may finally make the move. By having that home base and something they now view as a crucial platform, a second one hour show on Youtube could be great for TNA.

There were also rumours that TNA may be again considering an all Knockouts show and an all X Division show, whether they would do those shows or merge the two to feature both division's I don't know. I'm not sure how I'd feel about those shows, if it meant the division's disappearing from Impact then I would be against it. However if it were to showcase more of both division's while the main feud's still featured on Impact as well then I would be for it. Where potential shows emanate would be interesting also. While the first and obvious choice would be Orlando, it's also possible they could tape matches at Live Event's and add commentary in post production. Regardless of the theme or location, more programming can certainly come from this new direction.

Better Use Of Facilities - TNA highlighted in their announcement that Universal Orlando would be their “programming hub” and that they would use their state of the art facilities and soundstages. It sounds like upon TNA's return to Universal, they have looked to get more out of the facilities than they did in the past. This should be another great bonus for TNA. To have top of the range production facilities should increase the company's production values, and a plethora of locations to shoot backstage pre-tapes for both Impact & #IMPACT365 that should add a unique look and environment to each situation.

Another way TNA look to take advantage of Universal Orlando is by locating their primary Training Facility at the resort. With now being back at Universal, and seemingly moving a lot of different parts of TNA under one roof, it makes sense to have their own training facility and make it apart of their new set-up. This gives TNA the chance to have developmental talent and younger talent on the main roster train under one roof and also be around the rest of the roster on a regular basis. If TNA do this right, they could see some great results by having their own training ground in Orlando.

Character DevelopmentWhile I mentioned in several points that TNA are now able to shoot angles and continue storylines after Impact, this also gives the roster the chance to develop and show more of their character, with it all being under their own control. The roster now have the chance to shoot their own videos to give the person we see on TV more depth and detail to their character. Wrestlers can do this using multiple styles, some will work better than others for certain stars, the main thing is we now have the chance to see talent show more of what they envision their character being, which should result in more of a connection and investment in talent from fans.

There are a lot of positives that can come from the #IMPACT365 direction. This is TNA going back home, sitting down and asking the question “who are we, and what do we want to be” this is a time where the company is ready to re-focus, and build even stronger foundations for their future. The last few years has been a time where the organisation have got away from what they used to be, a company that knew its identity, knew what made it unique and knew what they had to do to continue to grow and progress. It truly feels that this is the time where they have re-assessed, and have focused on what made them TNA, but also changing with the times.

Was I disappointed with TNA returning to Universal Studio's?, at first, yes I was. But putting everything into perspective, I'm happy and optimistic with it. This is an exciting time, exactly what are TNA going to do when the return to Universal Orlando on November 21st?, how will #IMPACT365 play out and will it change the way we watch wrestling. Not only is this a re-focus, but this is a fresh start, and November 21st will certainly be TNA Wrestling's “Turning Point”.

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