24 November 2014

A Fresh Beginning To Start Anew

Disclaimer: Life would have been so much easier for TNA fans if this column and its content could've been written a month earlier as TNA's TV Deal announcement went right down to the wire with the final episode on Spike TV as they say. TNA fans endured a lot of crap from the people spewing "THE END IS NEAR FOR TNA FINALLY" (Now it's LOL TNA Lives but on a crappy network nobody watches so you should watch that Lucha Underground show, it is amazing) to our own doubts creeping into our heads that there is no TV deal coming but now that issue is all behind us and it is time to look to the future. A future for TNA that has not been this clear in three years in my humble opinion so let's get to it.

Leaving Spike Is The Best Decision TNA (Perhaps By Way of UTA) Ever Made

     Sometimes relationships need to simply end so both parties can move on to better things. It's not because both sides hate each other anymore and want the other one to die, it is just the realization that each side went as far as they can with the other and the relationship is just going to continue to go in the wrong direction. Spike TV for a period of time was the greatest thing that ever happened to TNA as TNA had left Fox Sports and had nothing going for them television wise until Spike took them on. From there it was all gangbusters for TNA and Spike as TNA started bringing in bigger names (Sting, Angle, Christian etc.) to add star power to the roster just as many indy standout wrestlers started making a name for themselves on a national stage with TNA on Spike TV. The shows were good and the ratings kept growing and growing despite TNA making some bad decisions like wasting their money on the likes of Mick Foley, Booker T, an uninterested Bobby Lashley, Black Reign etc. However things started to go downhill when Spike and TNA together (or TNA forced it on Spike or vice versa) thought bringing in Hogan, Bischoff  and their friends were best for business and just left TNA as is and spent all their time developing and promoting other shows. While bringing in Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson was a good idea, bringing in the likes of Orlando Jordan, "No Job" Rob Van Dam, Val Venis, Ric Flair, The Nasty Boys, Scott Hall, X-Pac, Bubba "The Love" Sponge etc. were just a complete and utter waste of money. Ratings still were strong but the roll TNA was on with Spike was ratings wise was coming to an end as the wrong people started gaining more power. The apex of the Spike/TNA relationship occurred on the Impact after Bound for Glory 2011 when TNA Impact reached two million viewers for I believe the only time in their history on Thursday nights.

     The decision to put Bruce Pritchard in charge of booking and talent relations sent the TNA/Spike TV relationship flying into the concrete. His booking of the shows were shit outside of a small four month window in 2012 (It kinda sucks that he was in charge of both jobs for 23 months). Ratings started going down by the thousands and at that point, the writing was on the wall that Spike was going to lowball TNA at the next contract unless things massively changed. From September 2013 to November of 2014, everything about TNA changed drastically except the look of the show and the ratings. The roster has been transformed from old, stale and expensive to younger and infinitely fresher. The direction of the product has changed from hostile takeover storylines to wanting to be champions and the best in the world at what they do (Boom and there is daily Chris Jericho reference in a TNAMecca column). TNA is riding a wave of momentum from a television product standpoint but the viewership numbers were going nowhere positive or negative really, they were just there. If TNA stayed on Spike, nothing would change and that's a problem. It's an existence but not an exciting one or a challenging one. It would basically be like someone working in the same job for 30 years with minimal pay wage increases and the only way for your pay scale to change is if you win the lottery or something (Which in wrestling would be stumbling on the next Stone Cold Steve Austin character that can change the business by him-fucking-self). There was simply nothing left for TNA on Spike TV.

Destination America: It's Not The TV Deal We Wanted, But It's The TV Deal We Needed (Yep I am Quoting The Dark Knight)

      Is TNA going to take a step back on viewership with this new network at the start? Most likely, yes they will. Should that really matter so long as the quality of the shows stay the same? No it does not. And for the people who are obsessed with this ratings stuff; if you want to mock TNA for its ratings going down that is your business. However if you have that incredibly short sided view on things, then that applies to everything not just TNA because if it only applied to TNA then that would make you a full of shit hypocrite whose opinion is worthless. If you are this person mocking TNA for going to a smaller network with less viewers then you MUST also think that: NCIS is the best drama on TV, The Big Bang Theory is the best comedy program on television (and three times better then the greatest sitcom post Seinfeld in my humble opinion: Arrested Development), NXT is at least ten times worse then Monday Night Raw, Lucha Underground is a joke of a promotion, ROH has been dogshit for ten years because their viewership is so miniscule that it doesnt even register a nielsen rating or gets tabulated by TVbytheNumbers, PWG sucks ass because they aren't even on TV and NJPW is the worst promotion ever because they have never been on televison in America. Yeah its not so fun when you handicap yourself in an argument to the point that you can't praise your favorite indy fed because you use ratings as an argument to trash TNA at every turn unless of course you want to be a full of shit hypocrite.

(Now that little diatribe is out of the way, back to TNA on Destination America)

     This move to Destination America gives TNA something they desperately needed, a fresh start. Every "reboot" TNA has ever done on Spike TV was basically a fresh coat of paint on a house that was getting ready to collapse. To complete the analogy: TNA simply needed to move into a different house (A perk that ECW or WCW never got when they needed a fresh start in late 2000/early 2001). Destination America is that new house. It's not as big as the house they had on Spike TV (in terms of viewership outreach) but it appears this house is fully equipped with more perks then the house TNA had with Spike TV. (Wow I got a nice amount of mileage out of that house analogy) This channel seems to be offering TNA the promotional coverage that Spike refused to provide for them for reasons that only made sense to Spike TV execs (I mean the TNA ratings my god were super-good for Spike TV for a long while which according to the ratings obsessers is all that matters) who were too busy pushing Bellator or Strikeforce or Bar Rescue or whatever else airs on that network besides COPS and Impact. Destination America also seems willing to allow TNA to have additional shows on their network (Unless the fucking press release is one massive lie and we should hire Jesse Ventura to look into the case for us) or one of their sister networks like say Xplosion on that Velocity channel. We might also be looking at an American version of British Bootcamp, some Clash of the Champions-esque TV specials, Impact replays over the Discovery family of networks and I have my fingers crossed for a "Hunt for Willow" reality series. Simply put: TNA went from the unwanted adopted kid on Spike TV to potentially the favorite child (the centerpiece show) of Destination America which as Bart Simpson would say: "That Ain't Not Bad".

These Next Six Weeks Before The Relaunch Is The Biggest Six Weeks Ever For TNA Wrestling

     Am I laying it on a bit thick here? Probably but the initial steps taken in a reboot is vital to the success of the brand going forward. TNA has a lot of decisons to make in terms of their marketing strategy (Don't laugh) to promote the change of station, the new look of the show as the whole set design of the show needs an overhaul and most importantly the construction of the re-tooled roster. TNA had a lot of success this year with a core roster of about 30-35 talents with some part time talent sprinkled in for taping loops so re-signing every expiring contract and adding 5-10 talents isn't the wisest of ideas in my humble opinion. What I would do is re-sign all the expiring contracts outside of Samoa Joe as I would let him go and replace him with a top flight indy star (Or bring in El Patron and his personal ring announcer), let Velvet go with Bully Ray and bring in two or three Knockouts (Besides Cheerleader Melissa aka Alissa Flash and Shanna, my knowledge of independent Women wrestlers is nil) to complete that roster.

      This is a very critical time for TNA Wrestling. They got the TV deal, they got the certainty of a future on television but the hard part is about to begin. Every step they take from this point on is critcal as they prepare to begin life in their new "house" (You knew I would bring that analogy back as I force feed it to you like the WWE forces Cena down our throats) known as Destination America. The future is bright but the future begins RIGHT NOW.

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