Hello everybody, I’m Scott Sumner, and I’m here with week 3 of “TN-Analysis”. I’m going to start off this weeks column with an email that I receieved from a guy named DJ Jazzy Jeff (I wonder if Will Smith is a wrestling fan too?).
“Quote- ‘It just makes them seem like a small time promotion.’
TNA is a small time promotion… “
Well…That was a pretty small, and to-the-point email. He’s referring to my first column where I said that TNA running all their shows in the same place makes them look like a small time promotion. Well compared to the WWE, you’re right, TNA is a small promotion. On the other hand, compare TNA to all the other non-WWE promotions in North America and tell me that TNA is a small thing. TNA has had national PPV exposure since 2002, and now has a weekly cable slot. That is NOT a small time wrestling promotion, my friend, that is pretty damn impressive for a company that’s only been in existence for less than 3 years. I do see where you’re coming from however, but EVEN IF TNA is a small promotion, shouldn’t they do everything in their power to hide that? On the “Rise and Fall of ECW” DVD, Paul Heyman explained how ECW hid their negatives, and exploited the positives. That leads me into this weeks column.
When I started writing this, I went into detail on why TNA could learn alot from ECW, but after getting about 4 paragraph’s written, I realized that I was completley wrong. See, as awesome as ECW was, it can’t be duplicated by another promotion. TNA is NOT ECW. TNA is their own thing, and ECW was it’s own thing. A few years ago, XPW tried to become the “new ECW” and failed miserably, TNA has much more to risk than XPW did, so trying to be like ECW is the worst thing they can do. Besides, they want to be something new and exciting, so this week I’m going to run down what I think they should do, to keep the fans coming in.
First off, I’m going to get the obvious out of the way. They need to focus on the X-Division. Not just the X-Title, but they need to focus on having feuds within the X-Division that aren’t necessarily for the title. I’ll refer to WCW’s strongest asset here. WCW had an awesome cruiserweight division, and had several feuds within it, that didn’t necessarily involve the championship. Even better, they had awesome non-title, non-feud, cruiserweight matches, just for the sake of having a good opener on Nitro. THAT is what TNA should be doing with the X-Division. You want the casual fan to buy your ppv? What better way than to have an awesome 15 minute X-Division match when they happen to see Impact? Which brings me to….
Get rid of the stupid time limit on Impact. Yes, wrestling matches should have a time limit, but give them more than 10 minutes, please! I’m sick of seeing 6 matches on Impact, that last for less than 3 minutes, when we could be seeing 2 or 3 awesome matches that are 10 + minutes. I’ll use the WWE as an example here. They usually have about 3 matches on Velocity, but I never watch. Well, a few weeks ago, I read some Velocity spoilers and saw that Paul London and (I believe) Funaki, had a match that was around 13 minutes long. I actually wanted to see WWE’s crappy B-Show (Well C-Show if you consider Smackdown to be the B-Show like many people do.) just for that one match. Imagine if you read the Impact spoilers, b/c you know you’re not gonna actually see the show, and you read that AJ Styles and Elix Skipper had a 15 minute match as the main event? I know that I for one, would make damn sure that I got to see that show. With this damn 10 minute time limit however, that idea is impossible. They rarely even have a match that gets close to the 10 minute limit, b/c they cram the show with squash matches.
I want to see longer feuds. I can’t think of many feuds that have lasted for longer than a month lately…What happened to the feuds like Raven Vs. Sabu? Jeff Jarrett and AJ Styles feuded for a while, but it was similar to HHH vs. HBK in that the feud was there, but it seemed to be used only when they both needed something to do. I’d like to see a long bulidup of something…The Monty Brown title rematch could be great, if they play off the story of him trying to get that shot again for a few months, then have him win the match…I believe alot of people would buy into it.
I want Jeff Hardy vs. Sabu when Sabu gets healthy. I want that match, and I want it with ladders. I don’t give a damn if it’s a spotfest or not, Jeff Hardy needs to be useful somehow, and having him in the ring with Sabu will either show everybody how bad he is for someone with his style, or will force him to step his game up…Both of those would be interesting to see.
TNA needs some more unique match types. The Ultimate X match is a good start, but we need something more complex. The 6 sides of steel match is awesome, but it’s basically a cage match with 6 sides…not very original of an idea. The Metal Mayhem match or whatever the hell it was, is just plain sad…Unfortunately, I can’t think of any match ideas, but other people should put some thought into this. You know…if it’s acceptable for other federations to use the ladder match, do you think TNA could make their own Hell In A Cell match? I imagine that they have several workers that wouldn’t mind outdoing Foley’s HIAC bumps…
You know what else would make TNA more exciting? Some suprises, and suspense! Remember when they swerved the net by saying that Abyss was gone from the company, and then he showed up on PPV to destroy Jeff Hardy? That was great stuff! Unfortunately, suprises don’t draw ratings, they just have the ability to make the viewers enjoy the show. Suspense can draw ratings. Nobody watches a TNA PPV for the outcome of the matches, people watch to see the matches themself. TNA needs to focus on making people care about the outcome of feuds. What if they did some of those “big surprise for the ppv” angles? That may draw some attention, as long as it’s a surprise that people will care about.
With a few small changes, I really think that TNA could grab the attention of more fans, and eventually compete head to head with the WWE one day. However, at this rate TNA will stay at a distant 2nd for a long, long time.