It's been 2 years now since WWE adopted their PG format. It's also been 2 years since TNA began the Hogan/ Bischoff Era. Today, I want to talk about how each era is fairing in the school of public opinion. To grade each on their effectiveness, I will use 4 categories: Divisions, Champions, storyline, and forum. Division will determine how well each company uses the titles in their respective brands. For every title, there is a division, or a set group of challengers who contend for whatever title is on the docket. Champions determines how well each champion is used and how strong they allowed to be featured both on the card and on each show. Storyline is dependent upon three things: consistency, depth, and entertainment value. And last, but not least, forum- or the way each company is talked about by columnists like myself. Now that I have covered each category, let's explore......
WWE......Picking WWE was an easy first choice to talk about because there is so much to cover. So far as I can tell, there is very little rhyme or reason as to who will be vying for secondary titles, namely the Intercontinental and United States Titles. The Diva's Title isn't much better. With only a VERY small handful of women who could carry a match, let alone wear the title, those who can still cater to those who can't. In fact, the only title scene that is making any improvements whatsoever is the Tag Team Division, that are now featuring 4 teams, making this the only time in the past 2 years that a Tag Team Title looks like it belongs in the organization.
TNA.....TNA's title scene is also a simple topic, but with higher highs. The World Title has 5 people vying for position to headline Bound for Glory this year. The Tag Team Division in TNA has always been good. Why? Because even when there are few teams to challenge for the belts, the challengers make the belts look important because the story behind it is almost always good. The Knockouts Division, though weakened by the loss of 2 of their better workers, is still among the better women's divisions on the national circuit. The only true dim spots in TNA right now are the TV Title and the Knockouts Tag Divisions. And I'll leave it at that.....for now.
WWE.....Ahhh....WWE. Never in my life have I been so bored with the lineup of champions and potential champions on their roster. John Cena, CM Punk (whom I am a fan of), Daniel Bryan, the Big Show, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, and the occasional run in waiting of Randy Orton. Yawn. The problem? Unless John Cena is in the top seat, very rarely will you ever see a WWE Title or a World Heavyweight Title match at the top of a WWE PPV.
TNA.....Every. Single. Month. That's how often you'll see the champion of the World Heavyweight Title defend his belt. It doesn't even matter who the champ is. What does this do? It makes the headlining act look like what he's supposed to be.....a big deal.
WWE.....Brock Lesnar for a couple of months, Triple H has "retired", A.J. Lee is in charge, Daniel Bryan is still pissed at the world. I think that about covers it. Did I forget Ryback? Nope. I left him off because he's an afterthought....a copy of a time long gone.....a knockoff of a man synonymous with the word dominant. My problem with the storylines? Lack of depth. Writers in WWE are writing in a box....a two lettered box in all caps that means parents can relax because they know a story can only go so far.
TNA.....No such box. In fact, the current storylines involve a gang war. Who's in charge? Who knows? THAT is what makes the story deeper. Why do they want control of TNA? Do they want control? Why maim the champion? Are you seeing the levels of the questions? Fans keep guessing and no one knows how far TNA is willing to take things. That's how I like it.....unpredictable, but it never stops me from guessing.
WWE......This one is very tricky. With a company as old and as renowned as WWE, the fans are loyal, despite the shortcomings of the product they know and love. A great deal are frustrated with how their favorite players are being pushed (or not pushed in some cases), a lack of continuity in the storylines from week to week, and the sheer amount of talk and recaps in each 2 hour program. Does it change their viewing habits? I've seen quite a few people make claims that they haven't watched WWE programs in weeks, months in some cases. I've also encountered fans who will remain vigilant until such time as their programming doses will improve.
TNA......Critics are very quick to be cautious of TNA's newfound improvements to their weekly show and not without good reason. Admittedly, TNA has been a bit dodgy in terms of fulfilling their promises with their storylines and the like and, for that reason, people are hesitant to believe the hype that some columnists like myself put out about them. But those same fans who have been steering clear of WWE for weeks and months? They have crossed the line and aren't looking back. Where does that leave outside opinion?