Contains Unaired Spoilers
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article here where I offered my observations and recommendations as possible solutions for TNA Wrestling to continue growing their brand. The article was simply offering constructive criticism from an outsider (with a trained eye) looking in. Granted, the article had ZERO impact (full pun intended), because no one in TNA Wrestling even knows that the article exists…and if they did, it would only be considered as another asshole sharing his public opinion. Maybe the powers that be in the TNA offices weren’t listening, but sure as hell looks like the wrestling Gods were.
I had given props to TNA for their execution of the Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy Final Deletion storyline. The follow-through wasn’t as good as the initial build up, but you still have to credit them with taking a chance on something new. Admittedly, I am NOT an avid watcher of Impact Wrestling product on POP TV – as matters of fact, I rarely EVER watch it. TNA has left nothing but bitter and nasty taste in my mouth for 15 years. It’s like going down on a girl in the dark: you’re intention was to feast on a juicy fur-burger, but when you turn the lights on, you realize your tongue was in the wrong hole.
Last week, news broke that Billy Corgan was named as TNA’s new President, and that Dixie Carter would now be recognized as Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer. My immediate reaction was that this was either a storyline, or TNA was finally trying to get the Dixie “stank” off of its image.
With all due respect to Dixie Carter, the TNA brand needs to distance itself from her. I’m sure her heart was in the right place, but it’s hard to forget the fifteen years of dissatisfaction and failures while on her watch. Her downgrade to Chairman was a smart move, but the caveat of also being named Chief Strategy Officer still makes me cringe. How can you take on the role of Chief Strategy Officer if your strategic track record is full of failure? This basically means that while she is not necessarily recognized as President, she will still have input and influence in the direction of the company. The bottom line is that no matter whose name is on top as acting President, all decisions will still trickle down and be filtered through Dixie. And while the attempt to publicly reconcile their image is greatly appreciated, it means absolutely nothing if no REAL change is intended.
In no way, shape or form am I trying to sabotage their momentum out of the gate – but at the same time, don’t try slapping a fresh coat of paint on an old jalopy and try to sell it to me as new.
On the flip-side of the coin, Corgan’s influence seems to be helping TNA steer itself in the right direction. The Final Deletion angle was a high risk that paid off nicely. The faction of Decay has been unique and disturbingly entertaining. And while the attempt to turn Drew Galloway into a top draw was D.O.A., their constant fall back on Bobby Lashley seems to be finally paying off, as he currently holds three championships. Lashley is one of those rare cases where he has the look and tools, but when the trigger is pulled, for some unknown reason, it fails to connect with the audience. While in WWE, he was easily lost in the shuffle of an over-saturated and far more experienced roster. In TNA, he has the opportunity to be a stand-out star…if only the “IT “ factor could be identified.
TNA struggled for a long time to get Lashley over with the fans and to legitimize him as a main eventer. You have to credit TNA for their persistence, because the moon and the stars are beginning to align, and all of the work and patience is now being recognized. Unfortunately for Lashley, the weight of TNA’s world will be thrust upon his shoulders; the pressure of being the top face to sell the company’s image is dropped on his lap; and the fate of his own success and acceptance with the fans is now solely in his own hands. It seems like an uphill battle, but I now have the confidence that Lashley is seasoned enough to make a change for the better.
Billy Corgan also announced the retirement of the King of The Mountain championship – which in my opinion, was long overdue. Let’s face the facts, the only reason that title was created was because TNA made the executive decision to finally take the world title off of Jeff Jarrett, and they needed to pacify him with another meaningless belt. Like Dixie Carter’s downgrade and removal from the spotlight, the King of The Mountain title was the last remnant of the Jeff Jarrett era, which also needed to be distanced from TNA brand.
Yet as one title relocates to the dusty shelf, a new one emerges from the velvet bag – this time under the moniker of the TNA Grand Championship. While I feel that TNA is has too many championship options, the introduction of this title is somewhat intriguing. Apparently, matches for this championship will be determined under MMA style rules. What that means in the pre-determined aka FAKE world of pro wrestling is beyond me. Is TNA sanctioning shoot fights? I seriously doubt it; Will the matches be broken up into rounds? I’d be interested in the concept, but going back to the choreography of the match, it may be difficult to build the drama in such short periods of time. With “judges” involved in the event of a time limit draw, exactly how many draws are we anticipating just to have some sort of participation and involvement from the judges, rather than making them absolutely insignificant?
I’ll reserve my judgment until I see it, only because there are ways to make this concept work and be successful. To be honest, the concept could prove to be a groundbreaking way to change the business forever…if done correctly.
Regardless of the outcomes, you have to tip your hat to TNA. They are fully aware that after fifteen years, they are still far from hitting the mark they had in their sights, but you have to admire their fighting spirit and how they have picked themselves off the floor and proceeded to try again. From one DieHard to another, TNA has always earned my respect, and I look forward to seeing the improved results of their tireless efforts.
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