Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to Defend Yourself.....

I've been going on and on and on about the long list of complaints I have for WWE and even a few with TNA. While the list is insurmountably long for WWE, I don't know that I have properly and extensively defended my favorite promotion. SO, I've decided to put together my most compelling WWE vs. TNA column to date using some of my best it goes....

The differences between WWE and TNA could not be more drastic from where they get their talents (which I will cover, trust me) all the way to their use of nostalgia. Exploring further....

In regards to talent, TNA goes indy. Seriously, they roll onto the independent circuit and sign some of the best the scene has to offer. Additionally, they scour the reels for major talents that Vince has wasted....Matt Morgan, anyone? Though they have needed to ability to grow their own talents in the past, they now have a training facility to truly fine tune talents who need it.

WWE goes indy too. Would you believe it? But they don't buy in to showcasing indy talents as they are...not in the least. They are put through training in their style. WWE's main event style is something very foreign to up and coming independent talents and, if the training on the independent scene has been complete enough, WWE requires COMPLETE re-training. There is a formula they operate by and nothing, NOTHING is more important than adhering to that style.

Writing Staff:
 This one is my personal favorite.  TNA goes indy here too, but even more than that, they have picked up a great deal of former WWE writers who had success during the Attitude Era. That's right. They hire WRESTLING people.

WWE doesn't go independent. In fact, as of the past few years, Vince has hired SOAP OPERA writers to do work on RAW and Smackdown. The few, the remnant of writers from the old regime is small and has very little say in the comings and goings of the creative process, with an exception being Michael Hayes, who remains a top contributor to the Smackdown Creative Team.

Women's Division:
This one is so important to be separated from the pack as far as talents are concerned because WWE doesn't, for the most part, go to the independent circuit to pick up talents as Divas. Instead, they shop through catalogues and eyeball Hawaiian Tropic and Hooters swimsuit competitions, giving them an edge in Diva Search campaigns and NXT auditions. Look up the past 10 to 15 Divas and find out where they got their start. You won't find them, for the most part having worked for Ring of Honor. I'm just saying.

There is a reason TNA has more than 10 Knockouts who are ranked in the PWI Top 50 Female Wrestlers list. The indies bring up a LOT of tremendous talents and going there first is the smartest thing to do to give young, talented, beautiful performers a chance to shine on one of TNA's showcase divisions. TNA goes indy. Why? Because that's how you build a decent division. If it isn't broken, you don't fix it.

Debuting Legends:
TNA has used legends of the ring rather sparingly in recent years, but they have, on occasion, brought in former WCW and WWF talents to make a finer point. Lex Luger, Rick Steiner, Tatanka, Animal from LOD, Buff Bagwell....the list goes on, but the point is that they aren't asked to perform, for the most part. They have a good reason too. Most of these guys aren't able to move the way they used to and so they are used to put over talents without getting into the ring. Looking at the time when Jeff Jarrett had Scott Steiner as his enforcer and forced Sting to choose a partner....TNA brought in about 5 former WCW performers to make the point that Sting wanted to use a young upstart to bring down the regime, choosing Samoa Joe as his partner ultimately.

WWE uses legends to either get a young guy over or has them performing in squash matches to solidify crowd heat on a heel. They used to use Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, and guys like that to put a face pop together for guys like John Cena or Eugene, but they also used them to build heel heat for teams like La Resistance or guys like Alberto Del Rio. I'm not saying a legend was used for Del Rio, of course, but I am saying that guys like him are built on that template.

How about that? The fans of TNA and WWE are SO different. I'm being general on purpose here, so do let me explain. WWE's target audience is younger, just as they were before the Monday Night War began. They run from about 5 or so up. This explains the purchases of John Cena merchandise and leads WWE to have to explain history about the nWo when Kevin Nash is cutting promos and listing off The Rock's accomplishments because they are quite simply too young to know who these people are.

TNA's fans know more history. Simple as that. You don't have to list off the accolades of Hulk Hogan or Kevin Nash, when he was there. The target audience is in the mid to late teens and up. With the kind of programming pushing the envelope of censors and such, TNA's fanbase will always run higher. Now, with that being said. There is a portion of the fanbase who serve as the X Factor....the Attitude Era fans.

I don't use the term lightly either. Talk to people who USED to watch wrestling and ask them when they stopped. Most will tell you they stopped when Steve Austin and The Rock weren't around anymore. Ever wonder why that is? With TNA doing all the pushing of envelopes, those very same fans may have a reason to tune back in, this time with Vince's competition.

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