Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TNA Rumored to Be Changing: How That Change Can Be Effective

Not exactly young, but...
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If you believe Honky Tonk Man, Dixie Carter is stepping down as the head of TNA and her mother Janice (HAW HAW HAW INSIDE JOKE NAME OF ABYSS' SPIKY THING HAR HAR HAR kill me) is assuming control. The edict apparently will include the pushing of younger wrestlers. Excuse me while I guffaw, seeing I've heard that a million times with every TNA reboot. It's part of a sweeping rebranding that may include changing the name of the company.

None of the changes will take hold as long as the triumvirate of Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo are still there. That's concrete fact. The men who murdered WCW cannot be in charge of the death of another company, even one that seems as lost as TNA is right now. But that's a common theme on this blog, and as much as I like to beat dead horses, well, this horse has turned into horse paste from how much I've whaled on it.

So, let's assume that Janice Carter has more of a brain than her daughter has. What problems remain that she could fix that isn't just some blanket promise to "push younger guys", including AJ Styles, who, let's be real, is in his 30s and is a five-or-so time Champion in the fed. Well, there are three big problems that I see with the company:

1. Presentation
2. Roster Size
3. Direction

Basically, the product is presented like a mish-mash, the roster's too bloated and it has NO direction. Presentation is the most important. You tune into Impact each week and you get low rent production values, terrible theme music, announcers who have no idea what's going on, shaky-cam backstage segments that get flat-out ignored by the announcers, the idea that no one knows who's in charge. There's no structure. For one, all the cosmetics have to change. The theme songs need to be distinct. The lighting has to be better. It has to be presented as a real TV show where actual money is spent to make it look good. The announcers have to know what's going on. What they're describing has to make sense, and I'm not just talking about the backstage stuff.

Can anyone objectively tell me what the X-Division is, or what sets it apart from anything else? It's described as having "no limits"... okay, what the shit does that mean other than act as a corporate buzzword copout description of something they have no idea what it should be? That's something that's been in place LONG BEFORE the current shitshow of backstage terrors came aboard. It proves that that the people in charge had a predilection to being snowed over by those they hired to run the company.

It's probably the reason why the roster has gotten so bloated. Seriously, I counted at least 60 people on their roster page, which is like 20-30 people too many. There isn't enough time in the week that they're on air to support the size of that roster. They need to pare. If they were really serious about pushing the "younger" guys, they need to show it by making hard cuts. Most of the veterans have to go, or at least be segued into backstage roles if they're deemed valuable enough to stick around. I'd keep Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray and Scott Steiner around. Angle has worth as a performer. Jarrett has been with the company for a long time, and the longtime TNA fans seem to like him. Gotta have some room for loyalty to the guys who deserve it. Bully Ray is hitting his stride as a singles character. Steiner is a locker room guy and a vet who's entertaining. After that, I'd start dropping the blade and sending guys on their way. The Hardys and Shannon Moore? Peace. I don't need your drama. Rob Van Dam and Ken Anderson? Get the fuck out. I don't need you botching the shit out of every match you're in. Ric Flair, Tommy Dreamer, Sting and D-Von? You guys have roles elsewhere, but not in the ring. I hope you understand. Abyss and Orlando Jordan? Have fun on the indie circuit.

Forty people - 30 men and 10 women - is pushing it, and probably could even be less bloated with the limited amount of television time. I'd go with something like this:

AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Pope D'Angelo Dinero, Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Hernandez, Matt Morgan, Scott Steiner, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Kazarian, James Storm, Robert Roode, Christopher Daniels, Crimson, Doug Williams, Gunner, Murphy, Jay Lethal, Robbie E, Magnus, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Mike Knox, Sarita, Rosita, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Mickie James, Tara, Madison Rayne, Cookie, Winter, Sara del Rey

There, thirty-five people. Note a lot of the current people lopped off and a few key signees to help inject some new life into the program. Again, that might even be too much, but at the same time, it's good to have people under contract for the house show business, Xplosion/other overseas TV commitments and as insurance against push flops, injuries etc.

But you could have all the time in the world and a roster of limitless resources and if you don't have direction, you're failing before you begin. The worst thing that can happen is to be 100% reactive. Granted in a business like pro wrestling, being 100% proactive would be disastrous as well, but it doesn't take ages of planning to have a direction. It seems like TNA is going a different direction every other month, and it wrecks the continuity of the fed as well as any semblance of storytelling. To have an overarching idea of where you want to go is not a bad idea. To fly by the seat of your pants is good for spikes in business, but it's not conducive to growth.

Once those things are settled, then they can get into the idea of what PPV plan to go to and all those other trappings. That is, if Janice Carter were smart. Hopefully, she is and hopefully, she sees that TNA has more wrong with it than just not pushing "young" guys.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!