01 May 2015

TNA Friday Randomania - May 1, 2015

- This week began with the news that Billy Corgan would be joining TNA as Senior Producer of Creative and Talent Development, and what followed was quite remarkable. The sort of mainstream media exposure that Corgan's arrival brought to TNA on Monday is unparalleled in the company's history. The signing of Hulk Hogan came close but the news that an iconic rock star would be joining a wrestling promotion was something several major publications and sites all over the world simply could not resist. It began with Variety and it concluded with a fantastic piece by Esquire, and in between there were articles by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, FOX Sports, Wall Street Journal, Pitchfork, Alternative Press, Paste Magazine, and many others. This sort of exposure is invaluable to a company like TNA because it targeted groups of individuals who may not be familiar with the TNA brand such as music lovers, and specifically the Smashing Pumpkins' legion of fans. Whether it will attract new viewers or fans of the product remains to be seen but at the very least, if this week's media coverage showed us something real, it was that TNA can create mainstream buzz the likes of which only one other wrestling company in this country can, the WWE.

- Although I expressed how happy I was about the Billy Corgan news before today, I didn't quite go into specifics as to why. Putting aside my obsession with the Smashing Pumpkins in the late 80's and early 90's, I think from a wrestling standpoint, this is the sort of the progressive move that I've been hoping TNA would make for quite some time. Corgan brings with him a fresh new perspective and philosophy that's based on his personal beliefs but also his enthusiasm and love of pro wrestling at its core. And more importantly, his respect for pro wrestling history and its traditions. This is a man who takes pro wrestling seriously and has decided to work for a wrestling company, not because he needs the money, but because he loves the business and he truly believes that he can make a difference. And TNA gives him the best opportunity to do so.

- I won't pretend to know how Billy Corgan will affect the TNA product but I do know that his impact will be much bigger than some think. I assure you, he did not agree to come to TNA simply to be a consultant or a writer. And Dixie Carter did not hire him to be just another voice in meetings. He came to TNA to "reframe the company's flagship program, Impact Wrestling, with a Learian eye", as the author of the article in Esquire claimed this week.  What exactly does that mean? I believe it means that Corgan will bring a refinement and sophistication to TNA's product that induces the fusion of the best elements of pro wrestling's past and current societal trends and issues. It's certainly a risk to incorporate issues that have divided a nation in recent years but like many other industries that have shown a willingness to evolve in order to better fit the needs and desires of a demographic that has changed drastically in the last decade, pro wrestling will have to as well. Otherwise, it risks being a niche product and industry until it eventually simply ceases to be. The problem with this is pro wrestling is not a regional product anymore, relying on a specific demo to thrive, and it hasn't been for years. Pro Wrestling is a global phenomenon that needs to attract millions of fans across the world and when the television product does not reflect that, the likelihood of growth is slim. TNA needs to attract more fans and if Billy Corgan has his way, they will do so by showing mainstream audiences that pro wrestling is as relevant a platform as any TV show or movie, and can be just as relatable. And thought-provoking. And entertaining. And yes, even cool.

- In final, I truly believe that we will be looking back on Billy Corgan's arrival years from now as the turning point for TNA. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen. But I've followed Corgan's career since the late 80's and he's got a knack for making things happen. Some will argue that his arrival will have no effect and to those people I say: you obviously don't know who Billy Corgan is.  It's easier for those who experienced the Smashing Pumpkins furor firsthand in the early 90's to understand the significance of a Billy Corgan in TNA Creative. But for those who didn't, I'll say this: if Billy Corgan's goal is to create his pro wrestling legacy in TNA like he created his music legacy over 20 years ago, you are in for the ride of your life. It will be unlike anything you've ever experienced as a pro wrestling fan. And as someone who took that ride in 1993 while listening to Siamese Dream every day for months, I can't wait to get back on. It's going to be exciting, folks.

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