04 July 2014

Thank You Bethlehem, PA!

TNA fans have been very complementary of the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania crowds at the Sands Events Center and rightfully so.  Last night was a fantastic audience again as they got very vocal and provided a boost of energy for the entire show.  The "TNA! TNA! TNA!" and "WE WANT TABLES!" chants were awesome to hear.  I, for one, was very concerned about how ticket sales were looking prior to these shows being taped and I'm happy to say that I have been pleasantly surprised.  Drawing 1,000 or so fans for both nights should be a considered a success, especially because the fans actually knew the product and were not smarky.  Yes, the NYC shows have been getting most of the attention and adulation of the wrestling world (and rightfully so), as far as TNA is concerned, but I felt it necessary to share some thoughts about this Bethlehem crowd and how the tapings there may serve as a blueprint for TNA road shows going forward.

Now, some of the naysayers out there would claim that a crowd of 1,000 or so people is bush-league and a sign of TNA "not drawing".  Those sentiments would be far from the truth of the situation though.  None of the remaining wrestlers on TNA's roster have any direct ties to WCW.  That automatically reduces the draw of an older crowd that would go to see Sting, Hogan, etc. in person.  They are relying on their younger-superstars roster that also has a mix of ECW vets and TNA originals.  And it is working!  That is what the company IS right now.  They are finally being TNA again.  A live audience like the Bethlehem crowd is what defines TNA at this moment.  A smaller yet passionate audience that enjoys the product.  In time, the crowds will get bigger and the company will continue to rebound and grow but don't forget to enjoy these little glimpses of what TNA is, and what it's evolving into.  These shows are documenting IMPACT Wrestling finding its way back home. 

I am personally loving the success that TNA is having in the Northeast, and with many more NYC episodes being taped in early August it's almost like they've transitioned into being a totally different and improved entity altogether.  They will have brought us all 14 episodes total in that part of the country by the time late September rolls around.  While Bob Ryder and others have indicated on Twitter and other platforms that TNA will be shooting in NYC more in the future, a time will come where they have to venture out to other parts of the country again.  I am 100% supportive of TNA doing so much of their programming in New York City as those fans deserve to be rewarded.  Eventually TNA will go West, South and overseas again to visit their adoring fans all over the world.  Just don't forget that Bethlehem, Pennsylvania brought the energy to these road IMPACT shows first (I'm not forgetting about you Dallas) and that they set the table for a very successful transition time period in TNA history.  There needs to be more crowds like this everywhere they may roam.    

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