The purpose of this article is not to bury Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling, nor is it to praise it.

    TNA Wrestling, Impact Wrestling – whichever, is still in my rotation of weekly wrestling I make sure to watch each and every week to feed my grappling addiction, and I do feel it gets an unfair review from many. Sure, it does churn out the occasional god-awful moment now and again, but the in ring is usually decent and is a watchable two hour programme. So, how have they got themselves into a position where their viewership is dwindling and they could be homeless for the second time in a year? The issue is a catalogue of missed opportunities and wrong turns that have lead them down the path they are currently treading.

    Let’s start with the woman in charge, Dixie Carter. At first, she was very hands off and let the Jarrett family run the show, but then she kept being lead one way and another by three names that aren’t exactly linked with great wrestling writing in the 00’s – Russo, Hogan and Bischoff. The show got dragged one way to another, nothing ever really flowed and it was often a parade of former WWE stars that no one really cared about, whilst alienating the TNA originals or top wrestling talent. An upcoming ROH event has AJ Styles and Samoa Joe vs Kazarian and Daniels. AJ Styles was messed around, put in stupid situations like being Kurt Angle and Christian Cage’s respective bitchboy and being in MMA fights with a guy no one’s heard of, Joe was misused the second Kurt Angle came into the company and somehow and Kazarian and Daniels were let go when they were the most over team in the company. TNA’s main event now has a perma-injured Kurt Angle (who is still incredible but it’s hard to watch sometimes), MVP and Lashley all at the top of the card. They’ve replaced their main eventers with WWE’s mid-00’s upper card, and it just kills their credibility.

    They turned down Paul Heyman because of Dixie’s loyalty to Nash, Hogan, Flair et al at the time, and whilst they have Billy Corgan in the team now; who is known for his Heyman-esque booking style – just think what could have been. Dixie has a lot to answer for, and her response is usually “I don’t really care, people keep saying we’re down and out but I’ll keep us going” (listen to her interview with Steve Austin, she has a HUGE chip on her shoulder) and that attitude will not let TNA grow.

    Also, the amount of potential talent from the independents they’ve passed over is incredible in the last few years. As I said, letting Samoa Joe, Daniels, Kazarian and Jay Lethal go – add to that Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, The Young Bucks, making Okada into a joke before New Japan turned him into a God, and that’s not all. They had a young Dean Ambrose in a dark match way back when and look at the talent they should be going for – Hero, Adam Cole, Trevor Lee, Ricochet, Drew Gulak – however they’ve messed around so many indie stars people like a Colt Cabana won’t touch them with a massive pole or they decide to sign former WWE talent instead.

    Although they’ve proven it can work.

    EC3 has been a big plus for them in the last two years, Bram has done really well and to get Drew Galloway is a big boon. But if they went in a different direction, like WWE have with NXT, they could have been viable competition. Instead WWE made their own alternative, pushing TNA to the side.

    Their identity has been the biggest issue with TNA for the longest time – because they don’t have one. They used to be the alternative with the X Division and a unique six-sided ring, until the raft of ex-WWE talent came in, and they bastardised the division so much, no one cares anymore. They then decided to highlight women’s wrestling with the Knockouts division, but they then stopped caring about that – pushing it to one side, bastardising it again to the point where no one cares…again. How many times? They’ve bastardised every division with silly booking, stupid matches, needless title changes to the point where everyone is the same, no one is higher or lower and it’s just….there.

    They even got rid of their trademark six-sided ring for an extended period of time. Granted it’s back now, but still.

    They now commit the biggest crime of all, blandness. To be competition they need to be different, and still they clamber to be WWE-lite. They seemingly have no interest in separating themselves from the competition and it is biting them in the arse over and over again.

    Now as I said, I’m not here to bury TNA, I’d say it’s definitely more interesting than SmackDown, which is just there in this day and age and it can pull out the occasional good match – but at the same time, I’m not praising it. With them looking down the barrel once again it begs people to wonder if Lagana, Corbin and Dixie have it in them to pull something out to get TNA to a new level or will Miss Carter continue to pump her families money in a stagnant product merely to prove the haters wrong?

    Now that Ring of Honor have seemingly been brought in to replace them on Destination America, TNA now more than ever need to get their act together.

    As wrestling fans, we all want them to succeed. I certainly do.

    Facebook Twitter Email