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09 November 2015

Welcome to the Off-Season


It's been a while since you've heard from me.  I won't make any apologies for my absence because some of it was out of my control (without boring you with unnecessary details).  Some of it, however, was within my control and, like I mentioned recently in the comments section, I simply have not been inspired enough by TNA to write a column.  We are in the middle of a long, drawn-out World Title Series that was taped back in July of this year.  When you have 5 months of programming in the can that has been slowly released week after week, emanating from the same old Impact Zone, it does naturally cause some apathy from the loyal fan base.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  I'm not going to bullshit you because that is not my style.  We are now in the pro-wrestling version of an off-season for Impact Wrestling.  Yes, there are new episodes being shown on a weekly basis.  Yes, in some ways this big tourney is innovative and showcases good to above average wrestling matches.  That being said, you can't honestly tell me that TNA is in a great spot right now.  The future is promising for days ahead when the India and U.K. shows are filmed, but right now this is a low-point that I have not personally witnessed as a TNA fan.  Some of you will bristle as you read those words but welcome to reality.  You can't just make up some fictitious parallel universe about the current affairs of TNA that would paint the picture that everything is rainbows, sunshine and puppy dogs.  Like I said, there are much better times to come but for the first time in a long time, watching Impact has slid down on my priority list of entertainment options.

Now, don't misinterpret that.  Of course I want TNA to succeed and regain momentum and generate buzz and return to creating compelling shows.  If you don't think that I have paid my dues as a fan of TNA and maybe you are perhaps feeling repulsed about me speaking my honest feelings, then click that little x in the corner of the screen and walk away.  Chris and I both love TNA.  We have flown the flag of TNA fandom for many years and put in a lot of time running this site.  We both want them to flourish, but facts are facts.  For Impact Wrestling to be in this familiar position at the end of 2015 where their TV deal is uncertain after just putting their fans through the same scenario last year, it is simply not good business.  It's taxing and exhausting for us.  I can only imagine what the talent and management are going through because it's their livelihood and careers that end up being put in peril.  At least that is the common perception of the current state of affairs.  I don't pretend to know the financial workings and behind-the-scenes management decisions like some other douchebags out there.  Those little sneaky snake-like rumor mongers post lies and conjecture for the sole purpose of scooping up coins from the bottom of wishing wells that their disciples toss in.  Most of them have some unwarranted ill will towards TNA.  Don't misconstrue our constructive criticism and concern that we have shown in recent months as anything even close to what these ass-hats bring to the table.  We desire for this company to get back on track while the bottom feeder dirtsheets simply yearn for them to go out of business.

If you aren't familiar with the mythology of the phoenix, you should take a few minutes and enlighten yourself.  I know that TNA has "reinvented" itself and "rebooted" several times over the last few years.  It feels like a normal occurrence at this point for them to go through down times and then return to the consistency of presenting a better product.  It's a cycle that has become commonplace for TNA fans to witness.  There are signs that are pointing again to this company rising from the ashes with new life.  The flames and combustion representing a good chunk of the events of 2015 are nearing conclusion.  New life will begin in 2016.  TNAMecca has been through some changes in recent months also and we are excited about our plans for 2016.  We are not just throwing in the towel for the next 2 months though.  We will still provide a troll-free venue to discuss TNA and pro-wrestling and that is not going to change.  We have some exciting changes in store that will be implemented in time.  The title of this column really explains everything.  All major sports have an off-season.  In my opinion, TNA is in theirs now.  Instead of new storylines, we are getting clips and matches (some with wrestlers who no longer work for TNA) now that are preparing us for the following year.  Even the way Impact is being presented with the virtual reality studio, it comes across like we are being shown SportsCenter highlights.  If you are already 100% satisfied with the current state of TNA (which I'd find hard to believe), imagine how much happier you'll be with things when we actually get better shows and international tapings.  TNA is reloading and TNAMecca is following suit.  

What would be different and new for TNA moving forward?  I'd like to see them become that truly international company that it appears they may be gravitating towards.  I've been beating that drum for a long time.  The more episodes that they can tape in front of international fans that actually seem engaged with the show, the better and more distinctive it will be for TNA.  The typical U.S. wrestling fan is very difficult to figure out and please.  What works and what doesn't work?  Who knows.  It seems that the U.S. pro-wrestling fan is extremely hard to satisfy though.  The appeal of pro-wrestling in the United States has really dwindled in the last 10-15 years.  So why cater to the American fan?  It makes less sense as time goes on to tailor Impact to a U.S. audience.  We've all heard from TNA officials that their business outside of the United States is very strong.  If TNA can somehow provide an on-screen product that really stands out and has a unique feel/draw then I think their future can be more secure.  The monotonous string of months worth of Impact Zone episodes taped far in advance is not special or attractive, no matter how hard the wrestlers busts their butts inside that ring.  They need an infusion of new, young talent.  They need to leave the Impact Zone behind, at least for an extended period of time.  They need a U.S. TV network that provides stability and longevity and supports them properly.  Those are a lot of needs.  Thankfully they have an off-season to figure it all out and start over again.    

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