10 February 2016

Memo to TNA: Wrestling has Evolved, You Should Too


Let me preface this by saying that I believe the current Impact Wrestling product is fairly decent to very good, at times, and has been since its debut on January 5th. By no means do I feel that TNA are putting out a poor product. However, I think it's important that as loyal and diehard TNA fans, we need to finally acknowledge the elephant in the room...and that's the fact that at a time when the wrestling industry has evolved in such a significant way, just in the last year, TNA seems content to push the same product and philosophy they have for years. And the sad truth is it's a product and philosophy that is simply out of step with a majority of the current wrestling community. 

This frustrates me because there's a real movement going on in the wrestling community right now that's created so much excitement and energy but TNA for whatever reason have been unwilling or unable to tap into it. What's more frustrating is the fact that WWE has, and it's called NXT. Even other promotions such as Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Underground, EVOLVE and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla have taken advantage of it. So why hasn't TNA?

There is a tangible grass roots movement within the wrestling community and it's based on a widespread philosophy that what happens in the ring matters. It's a desire to watch only the best young athletes and fighters putting it all on the line for championships or bragging rights. Wrestling fans want to be stimulated and they want to experience real emotions like they do when they watch sports. While WWE has been able to accomplish this with NXT as well as other promotions and especially Lucha Underground, TNA continues to focus on old school wrestling cliches that provoke very little emotion or enthusiasm.

Where TNA has truly faltered, in my opinion, is their wrestling style. What was once hard-hitting and high-flying has slowly become uninspiring choreographed simulations of wrestling matches that have been inundated by overly obvious fake punches and kicks. At a time where promotions are increasingly incorporating more of a strong style, TNA has watered down their style so much so that it doesn't even resemble their own from a decade ago. The reality is that so many in the wrestling community, including many TNA fans, feel that the wrestling on Impact is subpar. Many feel that it's inferior to almost every top promotion with a television deal, and they are absolutely right.

I'll say it again...at a time when there's so much excitement for a wrestling industry that has evolved by cultivating a culture that focuses on athleticism and strong style, and less on soap operas and old school cliches, TNA is the only promotion that hasn't tapped into it. It makes you wonder what evidence TNA management are looking at that leads them to believe that there's an audience for soap operas and cliches because it's certainly not their current viewership numbers.

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