(Our good friend, and diehard wrestling fan, Gene has some insights as to the problems currently facing TNA wrestling. Welcome him to the site and, if you like this article, let us know. He might just turn up more often.)
We are less than a month removed from TNA Wrestling’s marquee pay-per-view event of the year, Bound for Glory. As I’ve watched Impact the past few Thursdays, I can’t shake the feeling that the new landscape for the next twelve months already feels eerily similar to the old landscape.
Sure, there have been changes, so I will give the Carter her due. A.J. Styles is the new heavyweight champion. The Aces & Eights faction is a hair away from imploding, and there’s trouble in paradise within the ranks of the Main Event Mafia. Seeds of the possible full-time return of the monster, Abyss, seem to have been planted. The problem is that none of this feels fresh or game changing.
When the dust has settled after the players have walked off the grandest stage of them all (that isn’t Wrestlemania), the audience should feel as if we’re watching opening game kickoff and the season premiere of your favorite primetime drama all rolled into one dynamite package. Instead, I feel as though I’ve seen last week’s episode of Impact three weeks ago. And eight more times before that throughout 2013. Being fair though, the WWE have also been guilty of this the past few years (especially since they discontinued the post-Wrestlemania draft lottery).
The solution is not some Herculean feat. The week prior to each pay-per-view event, upper management needs to get with creative and they all need to lock their asses away and do a better job planning. Not just to navigate the course of the next twelve months, but to make damn sure to not navigate the exact same course that we’ve just traversed. This doesn’t just go for Bound For Glory but EVERY one of your pay-per-view events in the future. That first episode of Impact right after had better be balls to the wall excitement. Also, there needs to be a yearlong building of momentum towards Bound For Glory. So those peaks and valleys need to intensify throughout the year. Meaning, don’t blow your load at Slammiversary or one of the less important pay-per-view events, then have a mediocre Bound For Glory. The WWE fails on several levels in the modern era (which I will happily expand upon in the near future), but they make sure the week’s prior to and coming off of a pay-per-view event feel special, but all pale in comparison to Wrestlemania.
New wrestlers that have been in developmental really need to be brought onto the tv program right around now as well. Yes, we don’t want it to be predictable every year when the talent debuts. But, once again, this is akin to the new season of NFL/NBA or the season premiere of a tv drama, so fresh new faces the first few months off of BFG would go a long way to making it feel fresh for the new year.
It is a given, for any wrestling promotion, that the first episode of your television programming after the pay-per-view needs to start that next monthly cycle with a bang. TNA’s biggest pay-per-view of the YEAR, instead, has been followed up by an uninspiring and unforgiveable whimper.