Being a wrestling fan who also happens to try his hand at critique, marketing theory, and a working knowledge of wrestling trends, one little perk of writing this column is the easy access to secondary perspectives from the vast library of others doing the same. Once such columnist gave me this question as I read his column just today.....
True or False......
TNA is just one wrestler away from being able to truly compete with WWE.
Road Warrior Animal
This list is just a few names from the top of my head of former WWE talents who have made appearances in TNA over the years. Some came in the early years during their time in the Asylum, while others only made their debut in their tapings at Universal Studios. No matter what the time frame, the result has always been the same....no visible change in the viewership.
TNA has tried pushing every envelope there is to push without crossing into sacrilege and the like and for all the technical wrestling talents (Kurt Angle), highlight reel talents (Jeff Hardy), rising names (Mr. KE-ANDERSON), and even legends (Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan), they have little to show for their efforts, which is troubling for some to digest.
But could it possibly be true? Could TNA catch lightning in a bottle by way of another acquisition? If TNA's track record is anything to go by, my answer is a loud, resounding, resolute NO. In spite of WWE's extensive roster numbers, there isn't any one member who could cross the line and make any bit of difference at all. If Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting couldn't bring the numbers up, not even the debut of The Undertaker or Kane would spark a spike (no pun intended) in the viewership in the long term.
TNA is the stronger company when it comes to long term planning, but right now, their exposure is so limited and WWE's fanbase is rabidly loyal. Going on the road has helped bring some name recognition to communities who may not have had the chance to catch a televised event in quite some time in their market. That much we can credit TNA officials for doing quite well....they know where they can draw and where they have trouble. I believe the numbers will come eventually, we TNA fans just need to be patient. Compared to WWE, TNA is a drop in the bucket in terms of life span. WCW was an entity long before they held those letters. TNA was not.