13 April 2016

Memo to TNA: You're Not the Only Wrestling Company for Me

Let me preface this by saying that I've been a TNA fan since 2005 so I've experienced the highs and the lows that come with being a diehard. I vividly recall the moments that made me mark out such as the debut of Kurt Angle and his feud with Samoa Joe, the X Division at its peak, the Beer Money/Motor City Machine Guns best of five series, etc. But there's also that foul residue that still lives in my memory to this very day due to the disasters that were Immortal and the Aces & 8's, the inexplicable push for Garett Bischoff, the overuse of wrestling cliches such as factions and heel authority figures, and so many more examples. Through it all, I stood by the company not because of blind loyalty but because I truly felt that at its best, TNA still had the ability to make me love pro wrestling, and do so in a way that other promotions couldn't. But sadly, as I sit here writing this POV, I worry about TNA because, truth be told, I don't know that they can make me feel that way again. The sad reality is this, I'm slowly coming to the realization that those days might very well be behind me.

But I'll even go one step further and admit that it's never been more difficult being a TNA fan than it is right now. As a fan, I've endured for years the anti-TNA sentiment that came from dirtsheets or the constant rumors that were often spun in a negative way in order to cater to a certain demographic. I did so because I truly believed in TNA's ability to produce a quality wrestling show. How does one, however, endure all that, the rumors and not so positive reports that persist to this day, when one is slowly losing faith in TNA?

Neither the dirtsheets nor the anti-TNA crowd could turn me against TNA, and they never will. I'm typically not one who can be swayed easily simply because I'm quite capable of forming my own opinion based on facts and tangible evidence. In other words, I watch the shows. To me, the onus has always been on TNA to produce quality television and as long as they did, I was perfectly content to support the company and continue to watch the shows. This onus, however, they increasingly fail to discharge and it's for this reason I'm losing interest in TNA.

I've been quite critical of TNA lately and, in particular, their inability to tap into an excitement that exists within the wrestling community for every promotion not named TNA. Some will lazily dismiss this as simply TNA being a tarnished brand but I believe Dixie Carter and her team had two opportunities to restore their status within the wrestling landscape by capitalizing on this recent boom period - once, before their debut on Destination America, and again before their debut on Pop. Instead, they continued to churn out the same television product that became stale in 2013 with the same philosophy that emphasizes characters and storylines over in-ring action. I'm not against the use of characters and their stories but it's a philosophy that does not work when you ignore the one component that current wrestling fans desire the most: a great in-ring product. And that's something that TNA simply can not offer right now, while other promotions can - a fact never more evident than this week on RAW when AJ Styles and Sami Zayn battled in a fantastic match.

This is the hard truth, my fellow TNA fans...while other promotions, including the WWE, seem to be catering to and successfully attracting current wrestling fans by focusing on a superior wrestling product, TNA seems to be catering to an audience that I'm not sure even exists anymore. And that leads me to believe that those in charge at TNA are out of touch with everything that is exciting about wrestling in 2016. I strongly urge TNA to finally begin the process of restructuring their roster by properly scouting, recruiting, and signing only those talents who exhibit above average in-ring skills, and grooming them to be the next top TNA stars the way they did so effectively a decade ago.

As for me, I'm willing to continue to support TNA and watch the shows if I see an improvement in the type of talent that TNA signs or features as well as the type of wrestling they present. In fact, they have to...because every other wrestling show I've watched in recent weeks has made me love pro wrestling, and do so in a way only TNA the past.

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