Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Input/Output.....Part 1.

I have every intention of making this open invitation a standing one. If you have ideas, questions, or comments...I say bring 'em all. The TNA Nation is hard at work, looking for new ways and old to make TNA into the company for the fans they began as. You guys have no idea how awesome it's been seeing the response to this invitation. Some of these ideas really could be their own column and choosing some is, in no way, devaluing another in my eyes.

I believe the toughest part of this inaugural column is just where to begin. I suppose the best place to begin is with the extremes. But do I go with a selection that believes TNA needs to fix everything or nothing? If you will bear with me, I think the best way to begin is to kick this one off with BOTH. If I'm to do this, I will reveal only first names as this blog reaches a larger audience that that simply on Facebook, where updates are given daily. SO...let's jump right in with the most basic of alterations by a gentleman I'll simply call David.....

The only way your gonna make TNA better is bring in good bookers who know what they are doing. Eric Bischoff, Dixie Carter, Bruce Prichard, and Hulk Hogan do not know how to run or book the business properly. If Bischoff did WCW would still be in business. If Carter did TNA wouldn't be having financial woes every now and then. If Prichard did he would never have needed Vince McMahon. Hogan should just stay away from the booking office period. Dixie dropped the ball by not bringing in someone like a Paul Heyman. Paul has his faults but he was/is good at what he does. Why not bring in Kevin Sullivan or ask Jim Cornette to come back in? Or better yet bring young, new blood to the table. Steve it's not about beating the WWE, it's all about bringing TNA to a new level, that it has yet to experience. You all had better wake up down there before TNA ends up in the WWE video library. Steve you know everything you all are doing isn't working. 

From Eric Bischoff to Paul Heyman is a far chasm to jump, considering BOTH men have "Rise and Fall" titles in WWE's video archive. Few would question Paul Heyman's storyline genius, but in spite of his wrestling storyline and booking prowess, his notions of how to "SAVE" TNA would have crippled them for a time. He wanted to fire everyone over 40. For some on TNA's roster, this could be a good thing, but when you consider that Christopher Daniels is 42 and can still go for miles in the ring, his notions concern me, to say the least. Shawn Michaels was 45 when he retired from WWE and could still perform circles around some of the younger talents there at the time. Would he fire Sting or Daniels in favor of seeing a Shawn Michaels on the card? Count on it.

Denying credit due to Eric Bischoff is a disservice to his stint in the opening days of the Monday Night War. Granted, his decision making as things wore on undid some of the progress made, but to say he wasn't instrumental is simply a poor understanding of the history. A man like Dusty Rhodes or Kevin Sullivan calling him a "Visionary" for "Being willing to listen" doesn't sound like the same man you have been referring to. NOW, had he not allowed Kevin Nash to book talents near the apex of WCW's run or had the new executives in charge when the Time/Warner/AOL merger happened been wrestling fans or had the nWo been allowed to die down and run their course, we may be looking at WCW owning WWE in THEIR library. Bischoff took his eye off the prize and it cost the WCW brand dearly.

That said, Jim Cornette has had countless chances to make something happen in his stints in OVW, WCW, WWE, TNA, and Ring of Honor and has made NO progress on ANY of these fronts. Am I saying that he wasn't entertaining? Not at all. He was. HOWEVER, his inability to work cooperatively with the top brass vision of each organization and give his all to see the progression through was his undoing. I happen to be a fan of Cornette, but if you can't play well with others, you have no place booking for a growing wrestling entity like TNA.

To confront criticisms concerning Bruce Pritchard, who I happen to respect in spite of his misgivings about the Knockouts Division, he doesn't ultimately make the decisions regarding that division. Does he have input? Yes. But those decisions travel further up the totem than he ranks. SO, if you want to see more of the Knockouts, write to TNA directly as I have done. Bruce Pritchard was Vince McMahon's right hand man for 22 years. From 2002 or so all the way to 2009, he did a great deal of the decision making that made Smackdown the success it was, from Brock Lesnar's stint there all the way into John Cena's rise to Superstardom. I'll be the first to say that Cena's act is old, but it wasn't the decision of Pritchard to push Cena as the unstoppable force.

In all of your assessment, we agree on one thing. Beating WWE doesn't solve the problem. Raising the bar does. TNA DOES need a few changes made and I concede that point, but those changes need not come at the booking side of things, save for the Knockouts Division. The fact is, right now TNA is on PWI's radar, which is a hard thing to accomplish. The reason is because of their more stable booking of the current product, which has been attributed to Bruce Pritchard, as it turns out.

I'd like to move on without necessarily giving a name or even a snippet of a comment, but rather to address something concerning the X Division. Right now, TNA has been experiencing some challenges with the division. Namely with injuries. Jesse Sorenson, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt and others have fallen victim to the very pitfall that comes with the style of wrestling the X Division employs. By moving performers around and bringing in outside talents in to try and fill the space, they made SOME progress, but the void is certainly felt, as many of you communicated. I'd ask you all to send your thoughts and prayers to the performers working through injuries as well as those who are on injured reserve from the division. This is NOT TNA's wish to deny the fans of a fan favorite division, hence Destination X each year. There is progress to be made on that front, no doubt about that, but to do so, every man needs to be in their pinnacle of health.

I'd like to conclude this column for the day with some encouraging thoughts. A big thank you to AnneMarie for these thoughts....

hi :) great blog posts as always!
I'm not sure how relevant anything I'm saying is, but here is my opinion on TNA & the PG or No PG argument in response to your latest status!

I don't think TNA is broken, however, I would say that there is always room for improvement. TNA isn't as large of a production as WWE. But, TNA has better MARKETING. Just like any company or t.v. program, it's a business. They have a great product that appeals to a wide fan base. This is because they have good advertising, merch, deals, and VERY fan-friendly live events. I don't think they can rely solely on their live events though, but in reality I think that's how they're going to make their money. I think TNA needs to "step it up" in terms of their roster. They should stop "getting rid of" talent. There are top notch stars on the roster that the fans see on and off. Sometimes, not at all. They become phased out completely and then the fans are left wondering. That's one thing about TNA that I would fix. Give more push to the wrestlers that deserve the attention, especially the x-division. They should do away with poor storylines that lack the humor they're looking for, and push more storylines about rivalries. I do like that they have brought in Open Fight Night, and Title Thursdays, I think those are the most exciting to watch in my opinion. Those nights out of each month are definitely bringing in more ratings. 
As for the PG or No PG thing, I have 2 arguments. 
1. the night that Sting was attacked by the Aces & 8s. "Fake" or "Real", "Acting" or "Not Acting" .. the attack was pretty brutal when I saw it. The hammer thing to me came off as violent to watch, especially if there are small children in the audience or watching from home. The other side of this would then say that it's up to the parents then either not to bring them to see wrestling or restrict them from watching it on t.v. ... but that is just a matter of personal preference. Sure, wrestling is going to be a little violent every now and then, but that doesn't mean that it has to be distasteful. I don't think TNA is distasteful, but they should think more about what sorts of "images" are being projected to their audience. 
2. TNA is on the Spike network. It's geared primarily towards men. I would assume between adolescent age to older adults. The network has to gear their programming towards the target market that is watching. (Although, I'm a 21 yr old girl and I watch wrestling on that channel, as I'm sure other women do as well. So, the audience is mixed.)

From a business perspective, if the network wants to appeal to various audiences, keep it PG - that way it's pretty much generalized where everyone can watch at any age group or gender. Just because a show is PG doesn't mean it has to be super violent or raunchy, but at the same time it doesn't have to be super limited either. 
While I can't say much about WWE, I think TNA has been doing very well as of late with their show and brand. Despite rumors of whose coming and going, contracts, disputes, etc. those things are expected with any business. One thing that TNA has is a loyal fan base, as I'm sure WWE has as well. But I think TNA appeals to their fans in better ways. It's not just about the t.v. aspect (the product), it's about the fans (the consumer). If you gear the product towards your target consumers, you're not going to have a problem. That's TNA's strength. They care about what the fans think. If they focused on their brand too much, I don't think it would go anywhere.

~ AnneMarie Graham, Brooklyn, NY.

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