About this time last year, fans anticipated the arrival of “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan to TNA Wrestling and what it would mean to professional wrestling. The name alone should have meant instant ratings boost, and an increase in pay-per-view buy-rates. Sure, the arrival of Hogan generated mild rating spikes during the first few weeks but it clearly did not bring in the expected new era of professional wrestling that Dixie Carter had promised, it only revived an old one.
One year since, fans are tuning away from TNA because its acronym no longer represents Total Nonstop Action. But what if we had the power to change TNA Wrestling? To find out what’s not working and get rid of it? TNA Wrestling would do well to heed the following suggestions:
Fire Hulk Hogan: Hulkamania did not run wild, only his ego
Instead of making TNA a better promotion by instilling his wrestling knowledge to elevate the younger talent, Hulk Hogan used his influence to give his dead-beat friends some jobs. Seriously, who in TNA Corporate honestly thought that signing Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, and The Nasty Boys was a good idea? After they pissed away TNA’s money, Hogan then tried making Abyss into the next top babyface since himself, by having him wear his WWE Hall of Fame ring, and lending him his entrance music. When that obviously didn’t work, Hogan put himself further in the forefront of TNA by going all Hollywood and forming the Immortal faction.
The reasons why The Hulkster should be fired are many, but the main points are: he has abused his position in TNA to hire his friends, and to put himself over in the product. Because when it comes to booking wrestling matches, more often than not, when the booker is a wrestler, they tend to put themselves over at the expense of the product, which is exactly what Hogan has done. Evidence to this statement rests in the reality that he has failed to elevate the younger talent, who were doing just fine carrying the show before he came along.
Fire Eric Bischoff: Controversy Creates Crap
If you were still wondering who could have possibly thought that signing guys like Hall and Waltman would be a stellar idea, then look no further than Eric Bischoff. The guy is notorious for opening up his check book (even if it’s not his) and sign any amount to get the top names in professional wrestling. So Sean Waltman and Scott Hall were big names, about fifteen years ago. Not to mention signing Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, and Mr. Anderson. Nothing against these three names, but names do no equal ratings. And names should not replace the main-event slots previously held by the homegrown talents who had actually earned those spots.
The reasons why Eric Bischoff should be fired are: (one) he knows nothing about running a wrestling company, evidence to this is WCW; (two) just like Hulk Hogan, he has placed himself as a major on-air talent. Who in the hell cares what he has to say, people watch wrestling for wrestling, not to hear him talk. And finally, his controversy ideas have created the crappiest wrestling storylines. Forcing Mr. Anderson to wrestle with a concussion or else he’s fired is the most disgusting on-going angle.
Fire Vince Russo: Yes, it is your fault
The yearning to fire Vince Russo took shape in a previous article that can be read here: “You know what really grinds my gears? Vince Russo”
Fire Jeff Jarrett: TNA is not MMA
Talk about an ego trip, Jeff Jarrett became a six-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion in his own promotion. Yet, fans should commend him for co-founding his own wrestling promotion. Not even “The Immortal” Hulkster was able to accomplish such a feat in his illustrious career. But that was a lifetime ago. When the Hogan and Bischoff Regime first invaded TNA, Jarrett was a babyface in a feud with Eric Bischoff. Yet, after Bound for Glory, Jarrett turned heel and picked up a MMA shoot-fighter gimmick.
The reason why Jarrett should be fired has nothing to do with his silly MMA gimmick, but with his personal grudge with Kurt Angle. In 2009, it was reported that Jeff Jarrett was romantically linked to Karen Angle, which forced Dixie Carter to suspend Jarrett. Instead of taken out his transgression against Kurt in a series of classic wrestling matches, similar to Edge and Matt Hardy, Jarrett took the opportunity to rush Angle, neck-first, into a wall as he was being restrained by TNA’s security officers on an episode of Impact. The act was so reprehensible that Taz got out of his seat to tell Jarrett that he went too far because he had a broken neck. And if the aforementioned was a work, then he should at least be questioned over his silly MMA gimmick that has not benefited or progressed his feuds with both Kurt and Samoa Joe. In reality, the 24-year veteran should stop putting himself in major storylines and fade away into obscurity so the younger talents can have their time to shine.
Send Jeff Hardy to ReHab: He needs it
Jeff Hardy has been on a path of self-destruction, as illustrated in the following article: “New “Despicable” Award Winner: Jeff Hardy.” Hardy was at his best in the WWE when he was clean, but impending drug charges, and continuous use of drugs, makes him liability to the company.
Keep Dixie Carter Out of the Impact Zone
Dixie Carter, a graduate from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Business Administration, does not know the first thing about running a professional wrestling company. If she did, she would have known not to hire the notorious duo that help end World Championship Wrestling: Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. History has already dictated what will happen to a wrestling company when those two are involved.
At least when Vince McMahon makes an appearance on his program, he knows what he’s talking about because professional wrestling and the business behind it is in his blood. Dixie Carter’s idea of breaking news is signing a bunch of broken down veterans in their 40s; something that McMahon did half a decade ago when they were at least in their mid-thirties.
Stop Quick-Fixing Problems: TNA Needs Long-Term Solutions
As you will notice in the following, TNA fails to develop long-term solutions that would steadily build their product, in favor of quick-fixes such as placing a championship on a top name like Rob Van Dam in hopes of instant success.
There is a serious problem when each high-profile storyline this year has lasted no more than a few months. First, Hogan and Bischoff feuded for power over TNA; while Ric Flair took then-TNA Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles under his wing. But then Rob Van Dam came along and shortly became the new TNA champion; thus, demoting AJ Styles back to the mid-card. As RVD was set to carry the promotion to the next level, his rival Sting spoke of deception within TNA’s political office. Then Hogan and Bischoff, somehow coming to an agreement, banished Sting from the Impact Zone around the same time Abyss (now heel) spoke of the ominous They. And if TNA was not already crowded, Dixie Carter signed a whole crop of ECW Originals to be featured in their own pay-per-view aptly entitled Hardcore Justice. After boasts from Tommy Dreamer that TNA, unlike WWE, would finally be home to the ECW veterans, they have been released one-by-one in series of matches against Ric Flair’s Fortune. Then, as it seemed that Fortune would become the greatest faction since The Four Horseman, Hogan, wanting some of the spotlight, formed Immortal with cohorts Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett, also to include Abyss, the current-TNA champion Jeff Hardy, and later on the members of Fortune. Not only that, after Creative realized that all the main-event stars were heels, Immortal/Fortune had to lose members in order to fill the fan-favorite voids. With all the nonsense that occurred this year, it is obvious that TNA does not have a vision for what they want their product to be.
Follow WWE’s Example: Create a Youth Movement in TNA
Former WCW-WWE-TNA 20-year veteran Kevin Nash bashed World Wrestling Entertainment for their decision of The Miz as WWE champion. Nash has stated in numerous tweets that veterans in professional wrestling mean more than a youth movement, and that “bad ass” sells more than “Men’s Fitness in trunks.” He also went on to brag about how he used to sell-out arenas because people wanted to see him. The key-phrase is used to, people use to come out to see him when he was young. Professional wrestling needs youth movements to keep the business alive, or else once these guys are gone there will be no one to step into the squared circle.
The business strategy of hiring ex-WWE wrestlers is a thing of the past, TNA has to focus on their young talent and their untapped potential. Guys likes Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels (now ROH bound) were the guys that gave fans five-star matches, and evolved into main-event stars. Why would they ruin that by releasing one, and placing the other two in mid-card limbo? Wrestling fans are tired of seeing the same old guys wrestling year-in and year-out, they want some fresh faces.
Create Competition, Not Entertainment
TNA does have the potential of being a true alternative to Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment, but they don’t have to do it alone. If the lower TNA talent pool can work in other promotions, why not have TNA exhibit some cross promotional work? Allow for a revolving door of talents from Japan’s top promotions, and the NWA territories to be featured on TNA’s national platform. This will allow wrestling fans to be immersed in the competition aspect of professional wrestling versus the entertainment side.
Final Thought: I want to see this version of TNA Wrestling, how about you?