Thursday, 13 February 2014

2013 Year in Review Part Two: TNA

2013 Year in Review
Part Two: TNA

TNA had its most diabolical year to date. From a company that never turned a profit since its inception and the struggle to interest fans, critics and outside advertisers enough as a legitimate company, the future looks bleak.

Led by the most clueless lady on the wrestling planet, Dixie Carter has irked the industry more than she realises. Her naivety at running a wrestling entertainment company and assuming fan disinterest in her order of production is just 'heat' is one of wrestling's biggest absurdities. Worryingly, Carter shocked the audience tenfold by moving TNA into a gaggle of new disasters. In January she attempted to find a British wrestling star with Hulk Hogan featuring ignorant contestants in a pre-worked six part TV drama. She thought it was brilliant. It was a bumbling disaster. Not to mention ignoring warning signs and defiantly, or more so, stubbornly continuing with her brainless initiative on ideas, Carter hit rock bottom. With a lavish launch party overseas and flying British fans over to TNA studios with prize money, hotel stay and a flight, as  a competition winner flown over to the states for free was also plain ridiculous. In a time of financial crisis, Carter should have had more sense than that.

Continuing into the gallivance of Dixie, she chose to rename her company Impact Wrestling and more recently TNA Entertainment after falling with fans like a lead balloon.  Dixie copied WWE once again by attempting to go on the road with her travelling circus. For such extravagance, costs mounted high, and so, staff had to go. Dixie then culled a hoard of talent, being the operative word. The most humourous detail here was not Dixie's need to cost control. Fans realised Carter was out of her depth by releasing all the talented staff and keeping the useless ones taking huge pay packets instead. Her culls included scores of divas including Tara, rising up and comer Christian York and developing rookies Alex Silva and Crimson.

PR hungry Dix failed to act when lacklustre botch prone champion Bully Ray displayed insane levels of homophobia. The 'nicest female in wrestling' decided not to act and sweep it under the carpet, whilst keeping Ray as champion throughout most of the year in a lousy reign based on in-ring work alone. Ray famously sat himself on a table at ringside in a match, too. Carter swiftly reprimanded Austin Aries for throwing his crotch into ring announcer Christy Hemme's face mid year. After losing further respect, with the ridiculous #AskDixie chats on Twitter, Carter allowed useless staff in Joseph Park, Ray, Magnus and others to destroy the product from within. Now Hogan has finally left soaking up the purse, leaving Dixie completely dumbstruck, she even denied a possible attempt at selling the company off.

Now chasing the WWE dream, one last time.
The next option for Dixie may well be to sell, but the problem is who wants to buy an already tainted and debt swollen pothole? Carter should have found those people in wrestling who would be able to revamp the product with the talent available. She didn't and has thus failed. She even rejected a lucrative ownership deal from wrestling guru Paul Heyman at a time some few years ago when it really mattered.

In TNA, anyone can be its champion. Without any meaning to its lineage and the rate at which it packs off talent, TNA is more than troubled. Selecting tawdry and illogical choices as champions only further destroys the structure for growth. TNA's title also on its own merit, is rendered as a throwaway centrepiece.

So how can the company develop from all of its problems?

There is a way, but simply put, TNA do not deserve my input unless they wish to open talks and get me backstage. TNA's product has been stubborn, uneventful and outrageously abusive, and not in the correct sense. Jeff Jarrett bailed on the disaster after realising he didn't need that pitfall any longer. It is not needed, but is available if TNA move themselves. Of course, the offer must be high. This isn't essentially down to merely financial circumstances alone. That being said, TNA is a risk for any talent and is not a fully sound investment. I give it three years maximum as a turnaround period. That's being generous. I cannot foresee any sustainable talent on this roster apart from Jesse (Jessie Godderz) Jeff Hardy and to a lesser extent, Sting. Gail Kim and ODB are the only standout females. Kurt Angle will always add something to the product despite his next real-life drama. At least his heart is in wrestling, but such actions outside the ring with postmodern pop tarts for lame exposure makes the man lack credibility. Did such action help TNA's (or even Angle's) exposure?  

If all TNA can do is copy the national promotion and take from Wrestling Wonders to adapt storylines from ideas that cannot be implemented or performed well it doesn't deserve any respect. Once you respect the fans, product, industry and talent, the audience will support you. Until you do that, there is no value. Copying others will always cause anyone to get it wrong, because they simply cannot do what one other, who is simply, better at deliverance and guidance, than those unequipped with such understanding. TNA was adored for being its own space, granted slow, but grew on its own standing. Now, it is a spare pocket of mediocrity. If you can't think fast and get with the program, the program will be forever gone. The essence of this notion is apparent. Fans may still watch, but the former shell of what TNA was to fans has been evaporated. Fans have lost the respect and cannot support it any longer. That, is the worst possible response to any business model. 

©  Max Waltham 13th February 2014

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