For the benefit of every TNA fan, it seems clear to me that we should do some exploring. And by exploring, I mean a look into the timeline TNA has been on in their development. Why? Because it might help to determine where their next move might be. So without any further ado, let's jump right in....
June 19, 2002- TNA debuts their first show. The concept for TNA began as a suggestion of a company that didn't require a weekly television deal to reach a core audience. Rather than utilize a television network, TNA went straight to PPV each week. PPVs ran 10 dollars (depending on your region) and ran 2 hours.
September 8, 2004- TNA broadcasts their final weekly PPV. After 110 PPVs covering a span of 27 months, TNA made the decision to break away from that format and work into a network deal.
While TNA had negotiated and secured a television slot with Fox Sports Net as early as June of 2004, the deal was short-lived and TNA would be relegated to airing their product from their website in streaming form.
October 1, 2005- TNA makes their first real television debut on Spike TV. The one hour long format was expanded two years later into a second hour, making their current running 2 hour format.
November 2006- TNA began holding select PPVs outside of the Impact Zone.
March 8, 2010- May 3, 2010- TNA moves to Monday Nights in an attempt to garner fan interest. Initially, the move was an experiment, intended to find out just how successful a Monday Night appearance would be running against WWE for the first time. After a couple of months, however, Spike and TNA officials determined that in the name of cost and the viewing public, a move back to Thursday would be a wiser course of action.
November 7, 2011- TNA reaches a deal with Ohio Valley Wrestling, which had served as a developmental territory for WWE up until 2008. OVW, as it was also known, turned out an impressive crop of current and former WWE talents including Christian, Edge, The Hardy Boyz, Kurt Angle, Test, John Cena, and Randy Orton, among over 100 other on-air and off-air enhancement talents.
All of this brings us to our present day. TNA, over the course of 10 years, has grown from a weekly PPV entity to a weekly cable network entity, airing 12 monthly PPVs in addition. Is it possible TNA could jump from their place as the number 2 company in the land to number 1? My logic states that if they can jump that far in 10 years, I see no reason why they couldn't become the single most dominant brand on television and under the negotiation tactics of Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett, I believe they are in the best possible form they can be.
So where do they go from here? I have a few ideas. From a business perspective, launching into the traveling show atmosphere is too costly, requiring AT LEAST two set up and tear down crews to travel from their home base. TNA would have to utilize one crew to set up from their first location, while another crew moves ahead to the next town on the schedule. Once the current show has finished wrapping, the talent roster and equipment crews move to the next town in line, already in place, while the previous show crew tears the rest down and leap frogs over to the next town and so forth. A third crew would HAVE to be hired to replace certain members of each crew to cut down on the amount of burnout taking place on the travel schedule. The costs are astronomical and attention to detail has to be done to the letter. PPV events would require a team effort of BOTH crews and even members from the third crew to ensure stage elements are in place once the show is ready to go live.
Do you see my point? TNA is still operating within their means, which is responsible and wise. It is, however, possible that we will see a traveling format one day, but as for when? That is another subject for another time. What I will pose to you is the possibility of expanding their current programming into a larger venue WITHIN the context of their current location, namely moving into a larger soundstage in Universal Studios' grounds. More seating and the potential for a greater live attendance would create a larger feel to the product while ensuring the integrity. Also, this move may introduce a second show, which I have been predicting for quite some time.
The second show could even be a single hour long program, serving as an outlet for fringe storylines that can't be incorporated in every episode of Impact, which would allow more of their current talent roster to be featured on television. This show would NOT be a recap show, but rather a secondary weekly broadcast featuring approximately 4 matches with backstage segments, promos, and a possible recap of current Impact storyline points, leading into matchmaking for upcoming PPVs, thus ensuring that no one is surprised as to what matches will be on the PPV card. No more surprise matches.
Another development that may help move the product along is phasing out just one PPV each quarter, replacing it with a 3 hour television broadcast instead. In one archive column, I even put together an outline as to how this would work. The column was entitled, "Exploring a New Schedule" and featured how I would rethink the PPV landscape. Storylines could run as long as you wanted, but the pattern could roll into 4 different lengths, a 3, 6, 9 , or 12 month rotation of storylines, with the turning points being incorporated into the big 4 PPVs on the schedule. Give it a look sometime.