Let me preface this before I go any further: I’ve only been an Indy wrestler on and off over the last eight years with a brief stint as a referee along the way. I have no booking experience, so this is strictly the FAN in me wanting the landscape of professional wrestling to be as diverse and healthy as possible, so that I, as a FAN, have options. Also on top of that, I have had limited exposure to TNA over recent years, so I’m strictly going by what I’ve seen and heard, which isn’t a whole lot.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the one positive the company has going for it; its roster. We start at the top with their World Heavyweight Champion EC3. A guy, whom from the limited sample I’ve seen, has shown he has the look, great wrestling ability, and is good on the mic. He’s taken this chance at being “the guy” and has ran with it. His recent feud with Matt Hardy has had fans talking, for better or for worse. You have other pieces to have a healthy main event picture, such as former champions in Mr. Anderson, Lashley, Matt Hardy and other names like Drew Galloway. Their X Division, though lacking, was one of, if not, the main reason TNA was put on the map in the first place. The Tag Team division in TNA has always been exceptional. The current champions The Wolves, as well as the recently reunited Beer Money, at the top of the division are a good foundation to keep things going further. Lastly, as far as talent is concerned, there are the Knockouts. The Knockouts division, in my opinion, is what REALLY got the “Divas Revolution” started. Women like Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, ODB, Tara, and The Beautiful People of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are those who set the bar high. Then, with Brooke Tessmacher, Madison Rayne, Taryn Terrell, Jade, and Havok, among others, coming along the way, the division has been healthy ever since.
One last thing that could benefit as well is the deal with their new network POP. After their deal with Spike TV fell through, they struggled to find a network to take them and once they got one, they couldn’t be maintained. Destination America was a good network to be picked up by. Having a good financial backing from their parent network Discovery, it seemed as if TNA finally had something stable to keep going. Once THAT deal fell through, they were then picked up by POP. POP reaches a larger audience compared to Destination America. So in theory, this deal worked out for the better for TNA. Now with the goal being to get a viewing audience to the product, they should be in good shape.
Now…on to the negatives. First, it’s the finances. There have been several wrestlers who have said Dixie Carter, President of TNA, is nothing more than a money mark. With her family owning Panda Energy, you would think the money is well taken care of and wrestlers are making out well. Well, if you’re Hogan and Bischoff, yes. Look, I know that’s a very small sample, but in said interviews, as well as articles online, it’s been said that talent have also missed pay days. On a side note with this, James Storm, who just had a stint with NXT, returned to TNA’s One Night Only PPV from 1/8/16 to reunite Beer Money with Bobby Roode. When asked by Bill Apter about what made him decide to return, Storm replied, “I have unfinished business to attend to,” then followed that up with, “I was in contract negotiations with other places and Impact Wrestling gave me the best offer.” That’s a far cry from being in financial trouble if that TNA offered James Storm the best contract. Take that for what it is, but maybe we’ll see the bar being raised as far as money being distributed to talent across the board.
The two other things I can foresee needing change is their commentary and keep less hands out of the cookie jar. Cookie jar? Hands? What are you talking about? From my understanding, you got guys like Dave Lagana, who wrote for WWE, in the company, as well as many other writers from WWE, writing the programming for TNA, with not ONE person seemingly making a concrete decision one way or the other. This needs to be fixed. From what I’ve seen, I don’t mind talking, but I need to see some wrestling too. Out of the 120 minutes given, I see around 70 of those minutes with talking. There are other ways of getting your story over than just the talent talking.
Which now leads me to my last point: the commentary team needs a facelift. It went from Mike Tenay and Don West to Josh Matthews and D’Angelo Dinero, with Taz in between. I was the biggest fan of TNA commentary when it was Tenay and Taz, however not so much now. I wish I knew what management or the writers see in these two. Josh Matthews has always been a good complimentary guy at best. Furthermore, in my opinion, he needed others to carry him or at least a good talent for him to be fed from. I don’t know how they fix this, but something needs to be done in that department as well.
Despite the negatives, TNA, as of this writing, has a lot working for them that could make their company quite relevant. On top of that, I feel with the roster it has, it could legitimately give WWE some competition, if promoted properly and the roster is used the way it should be. The fans need to tune in and be open minded to see what is there, as well as what could be. Now is the time TNA to put your foot on the pedal and make one good run at cementing yourself as legitimate competition for WWE. I believe it can be done. Now is the time to prove me right (please?) and make things happen!