By Chad Roberts

 

 

 

In recent weeks, the “little federation that could” called TNA, has been scrambling to concrete an inked deal for a new television home that was once relegated by Spike TV. Just recently, their efforts paid off when Destination America, a channel owned by Discovery Communications, signed them to a television deal and gave the brand a place to play once again. With that being said, TNA has to embrace some new changes if they don’t want this to happen to them again. Changes that include development of new talent, roster management at its best, and their financials should be handled by someone outside the company, since in my opinion that was probably the biggest failure that freed them up from their pesky television deal with Spike TV.  TNA has always been a federation with so much promise and hope, and yet it continued to find itself on the losing end of every small battle with everything from inundated former wrestling legends to the plethora of talent distancing themselves from the sinking brand. TNA now has a new light to shine on this frail promotion and with every best intention and all the hope in the world, I truly want nothing but success for them. Unfortunately, TNA will have a lot of mighty rivers to cross before they can hit that dry land paradise known as success and stability.

With TNA’s new TV deal with Destination America, they need to focus on what once made them a federation that people liked and wanted to watch. In my opinion, one of the biggest downfalls that TNA suffered is when they began to acquire “legends” of the wrestling industry. At the time, TNA signed some big names to their little promotion in hopes that it would pay off with a huge boost in their viewership audience. Momentarily, the “new” talent showing up on Spike TV did just that. The boost to viewership, however brief it may have been, gave TNA more professional clout within the wrestling business and tried to solidify them as a major player. Unfortunately their momentum didn’t last long as the fatal WCW syndrome took over and once again the patients were running the asylum. Storylines were being adjusted to fit the over swelled egos of their bigger names, and their own developed talent fell into obscurity and quickly was overshadowed by the more well-known competitors. TNA, no matter how unhappy you were with the changes, couldn’t be faulted for them. They were doing what most companies do to take them to their next phase of the business, getting the big name guys to come play in their backyard was going to be what boosted their following, but sadly for them, that wasn’t the outcome. The big egos, excuse me, I mean the big name guys were what started TNA on this path of dissolution from Spike TV. The newcomers to TNA were demanding in every aspect and accord. There wasn’t enough storylines or TV time to make these guys happy and they made sure TNA heard their grievances, right along with the rest of the world. Egos began pushing other egos around and it made for a lot of tension backstage for all the competitors involved. Not a fun place to be.

The biggest impact that TNA made (No puns intended) during their first big push through the well secured doors of legitimate wrestling promotions, was that TNA developed their own talent and clearly made most of them relevant in today’s rowdy world of wrestling. Names like AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Abyss and Eric Young were all major players in the TNA game and wrestling fans from all walks of life took to them. The talent that these guys exhibited not only matched their own needs to be at the top of their game but also the needs of TNA, by providing a format that could draw fans in. TNA came in with originality.  Fans from all over the world flocked to this new promotion because TNA was doing things right. Not only did we start seeing new male faces across that hypnotic box of light that we call a television, but also their female counterparts were getting recognized as well for their extraordinary talents. Names like Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and Angelina Love were all getting their public pushes through the mass audiences that loved to actually see women in a better, more competitive environment than it had been previously witness from the Diva generation. The Knockouts also became a solid foundation for TNA to grow and expand into markets and territories that weren’t always happy with the “Big Guy’s” product. The Knockouts division became so popular that TNA started having female wrestlers main event on live television cards, something that has never been seen or even talked about in WWE. TNA poured the concrete for a solid foundation, unfortunately when the “legends” started showing up, the beautifully laid foundation started to crack. And everyone knows when the foundation cracks the house eventually crumbles.

TNA has had some financial problems, and currently they still do, I assume. When the “big boys” came to play, TNA started writing “big boy” checks. They were spending money like they were the WWE with no solid business model in place to begin recouping funds. The majority of their money was spent on the acquisition of some major talent, which was an investment that didn’t pan out in the long term financial future for TNA. Though their talent costs raised immensely, it wasn’t the only financial snafu that TNA was facing. TNA had no real monetary structure in place, it seemed that the executives running things in the home office in Nashville were very aware and capable players in the wrestling industry, just not so much in the business industry. The first issue that I saw rising from the hot depths of debt hell was the fact that TNA didn’t really have ticket sales. TNA opted to find a home at Universal Studios in Orlando to do all Impact live shows and tapings from that central hub location. With that decision to remain at the theme park, visitors and theme park goers could get in without actually purchasing a ticket. At least that was my personal experience when I went to an Impact taping at Universal Studios. So where does the revenue come from? TNA’s former television deal with Spike TV allotted them some revenue, not nearly as much as the WWE due to it’s lowered viewership ratings. TNA also dealt with merchandising sales, paid appearances and the occasional travelling show. With all of those individual aspects added up, they still weren’t pulling a quarter of the revenue that the WWE was. Actually, because of the high cost of acquisition when referring to the over signing of the “legends”, TNA was losing money, and rapidly.  When all the smoke cleared and the dust had settle, the “legends” moved on and TNA was left to pick up the loose change.

The reality is that if TNA wants to return to a successful wrestling promotion, then they are going to have to go back, way back, back into time. They are going to have to do what made them successful in the first place. Start a development program that encourages young wrestlers to start somewhere other than the WWE. They need to believe in their roster and continue to push those who have stayed and built the brand up. Stop picking up wrestlers from the WWE. I know that may seem harsh in some sense, since some of their performers are really talented. But with a WWE price tag that follows that talent, it just doesn’t seem fiscally responsible for them at this point in their revamping. TNA needs a financial structure and they need someone in the home office to be aware of the business side of the brand. Touring can get very expensive, we are all very aware of that, but you can’t expect things to change with the same results, that would be the definition of insanity. The future of TNA and their new television deal with Destination America, relies solely on what direction this company is going to take. If they can create intriguing story lines, find the financial black line and develop their roster, I think success will come back home to this struggling promotion. Only time will tell what TNA will do, all we can do as fans is support the changes and roll with the punches, but hey that’s just my Chaotic Theory……

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.