04 August 2014

The Quiet War TNA vs. ROH

TNA and ROH have always had a funny relationship. The two companies do have a lot in common. Both started up in 2002, both have tried their best to provide wrestling fans an alternative to WWE and carve out their own niche in wrestling. At one point they worked together, well, they at least shared talent. But, things were different back then. Now, with ROH having national television and recently running a live pay per view, they are competing on the same platforms that TNA is using and TNA has taken notice. Although you may not realize it, shots have been fired - they may have fallen on deaf ears, but from the cage I can see the banners flip flappin'. On one side is the ROHbots, on the other, the TNA faithful. So let's see how this started, each side's advantages and downfalls, and maybe see just what the outcome could be of The Quiet War.

Shots Fired:
OK so let's list the events that have gone down over the past couple of months between ROH and TNA, some may have just been coincidence, but some methinks are not.

-ROH runs Best in the World pay per view, not only on the same platform that TNA does via cable, but in TNA's old stomping grounds in Nashville. TNA runs ROH's old haunt in NYC for two big TV tapings. This could be a coincidence, but it's still interesting.

-Reports of TNA trying to get ROH Tag Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly surface. In fact, rumours were running rampant that they were supposed to wrestle The Wolves at Slammiversary.

-Apparently, every ROH wrestler without a contract got a call from TNA about coming in. Could just be a rumor but doesn't seem unlikely.

-Matt Hardy returns to TNA in June. Finishes up with ROH soon after.

-During ROH's Best in the World pay per view, TNA announces two former ROH champions, Low Ki and Homicide are to appear at the NYC tapings. I know they are both TNA regulars as well, but real convenient TNA!

-ROH goes out of their way to announce that ReDRagon (Fish and O'Reilly) have re-signed with them. Obviously amidst rumors of their getting interest from TNA, plus TNA's situation with Spike TV.

TNA Advantages:

-Star Power
Wrestling is a star driven business and while TNA has lost a few major names lately (Hogan, AJ, Sting) Impact still offers fans a heavy does of star power. TNA has Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, ECW Alumni that draw in more casual fans certainly more so than ROH. They can mix them in with their own stars in order to help build the roster. While the star power has diminished over the last year or so, it's still heavier than ROH.

- Dixie Carter
Some are going to scoff at this but you have to admit that there isn't anybody more dedicated to TNA and their survival than Dixie Carter. Without her the company would've folded 12 years ago. She has been the face of the promotion and seems to be really good at making people believe in the product. ROH doesn't have a representative quite like Dixie. Anyone questioning her dedication to the company needs to watch when "#ItHappens".

-Overseas presence
TNA has television in UK, Japan, among other countries. ROH has not been outside of North America in many years. While ROH has a following in the U.K and a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, this is still nothing compared to TNA's presence with all their television deals.

ROH Advantages:

ROH has developed a very strong following among the internet wrestling community and the fans are very passionate about the product. They are constantly spreading the word about the greatness of ROH on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This has given ROH the reputation of being "the best wrestling product" a rep that one could argue, they've earned. That same fanbase can also be alienating at times, more on that later.

ROH has branded themselves as the hub of technical wrestling and where you find the best up and comers. Branded very well in terms of look as well. While the production not the best it works for the brand they are pushing. It was smart marketing as the founders of ROH knew that most die hard fans were in Attitude Era hangover and were tired of rapid fire angles and wild and crazy gimmicks, so they presented good old fashion athletic wrestling, but with a modern style.

-SBG owning them
Being owned by a TV company means they will never lose television and have whatever resources SBG has at their disposal. Some would say that SBG is a disadvantage but like the Carters with TNA, ROH probably wonuldn't be around if Sinclair didn't come along.

TNA Disadvantages

-Bad rep among "IWC"
I touched on the ROH crowd trashing TNA a lot ("F -TNA" chants are still heard on ROH events), but nothing compares to the rep that TNA has among most wrestling websites and the "dirtsheets". Some sites and newsletters only get the rep of hating TNA because they print bad news about TNA's financials; while others seem have a bias. When someone who doesn't watch TNA regularly goes on a site and hears how "bad" TNA is, they aren't likely to watch. I'm not saying that TNA hasn't earned that rep at times, but it certainly doesn't help when ROH is constantly praised and TNA is bashed.

-Spike TV still uncertain
As of this writing there is no deal announced with Spike TV which is TNA's main source of revenue and their biggest asset. Rumours are rampant about Spike canceling Impact and there has yet to be any kind of announcement to tell us otherwise besides Dixie saying they are still negotiating. Trust me, if TNA loses television, ROH becomes number 2 in the U.S by default.

- Reliance on star power
When Sting, Hogan, RVD, etc. left, the ratings for Impact did take a hit. TNA needs star power to keep a certain portion of their audience as fanbase divided among TNA original fans and casuals who want star power. While this is being addressed with the return of the Hardys, Team 3D and some of the ECW alumni; ROH is not reliant on star power as much, which gives them an edge as their fanbase tends to be more a hardcore/indy type of crowd.

ROH Disadvantages

Some would say that ROH's low budget feel is part of the company's charm, it certainly gives them a look all their own. Others say the lower budget gives the show a "cheap" feel. Most casuals find TNA more digestible in terms of look because it is closer to WWE than ROH is. There were many complaints about production of ROH's Best in the World PPV. Not to mention their past IPPV disasters really hurt fans' faith in ROH's production. 

-Feeder system for WWE
A lot of current WWE stars are ROH alumni and most are having a lot of success there. This can be a problem for ROH as their best and brightest are being cherry picked by the big "E". Plus, the  creating excellence tagline seems to indicate that they build future stars for the major promotions as opposes to being the destination for the big wrestling stars. WWE even did an article on their website talking about the ROH influence in WWE. Any stars that get over get picked up by WWE, while TNA stars seem to get ignored, which could be bad news for the wrestlers but good news for TNA.

I really believe that the vocal ROH following can stunt their growth at times. Certain stars that come in get crapped on by the crowds, look nor further than Jeff Hardy's appearance back in the day. The ROH faithful hated Matt Hardy being in the promotion, although it worked for him as a heel. It seems like anybody who was in WWE or TNA that wasn't in ROH previously or doesn't have "internet credibility" gets crapped on by some of the ROH crowds. It doesn't seem to stop there either, if they don't know a guy well, whether he is good or not, they can turn on them. Example: Karl Anderson getting "Gilberg" chants in NYC last year. This can be a problem if a wrestler who could potentially help ROH grow comes in a certain crowd craps on them, they may never get booked again. Sounds strange but the passion can be too much at times.

Who Wins?
So what to make of all this? I, myself am a big fan of both promotions, so for me I feel like the only winner would be the fans. If both companies are trying to out do each other, then folks like myself who watch both products will get the best of both worlds. I miss the days of WWF and WCW trying to outdo each other every week on Monday nights. While this little war may be on a smaller scale, it can be a lot of fun. The danger however, is what if one cancels out the other, then we're left with one less company to watch instead of WWE. With the TNA television situation, I think this "Quiet War" will be a cold one, so I think it's safe to climb down off the cage and wait it out for now.

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