This year TNA celebrates its 10 year anniversary. A company that perhaps nobody thought would make it past the first year. When TNA started, WWE had acquired WCW and ECW and at the time must have seemed unstoppable. But what set TNA aside from other wrestling promotions or companies was the fact that TNA danced to the beat of their own drum.
Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling was founded on May 10th of 2002. In 2004 TNA was the first promotion in America to use a six sided ring, something that would set them apart from the competition.
What really set TNA apart from other promotions were some of the original and interesting concepts the promotion had. TNA had a very interesting twist to a Gauntlet match. It would have two participants start the match, at regular intervals another would enter. At any time a superstar could be eliminated by going over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor. TNA would put a twist to the end of the match. Once the match comes down to two participants the match must end by pinfall or submission.
TNA still continues to use some of their traditional matches, for example the Lethal Lockdown match, the Ultimate X match and their Steel Cage match are also still used. But some concepts have fallen by the wayside.
One concept that TNA uses today which I find so original and has somewhat of a prestigious feel to it, is the Bound for Glory Series Tournament. A tournament that operates on a point system, with points awarded differently for different situations such as pinfalls, submissions, etc. This concept is something unique and has the merit to determine the number one contender to the TNA World’s Heavyweight Championship at the company’s largest event. It’s something that WWE could have used and would have provided them with a great level of success. To my knowledge, and I could be wrong here, this tournament was mostly the brainchild of Bruce Prichard, who also lent his expertise to WWE for a long time.
Recently we saw more WWE made famous match types. Like the falls count anywhere, ladder and tables matches. Now, while these matches are not exclusive to WWE, it has had a great deal success for WWE. What got me and some other fans a little unhappy was the fact that TNA took this Bound for Glory concept and made the superstars take it to a hardcore level, and with that a upgrade in the point system. While in theory it sounds fine, the reality is that Bound for Glory chances are it will be a traditional wrestling match. Not some hardcore stocking stuffer TNA throughout to fill a hardcore themed pay-per-view. This, mind you, is another TNA copy of WWE’s themed shows, like Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, etc. Where the shows main event matches are contested within the match type of the same name as the actual event.
So, why has TNA abandoned some of their creations, especially the ones which actually hold merit and are entertaining to watch?
AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Austin Arries, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Christopher Daniels, etc are all men created by TNA. TNA originals if you will.
Recently TNA aquired the services of former WWE Diva, and I use the term loosely, Taryn Tarrell. While in WWE, she did nothing for me, she is an absolutely stunning looking woman. However, I want my wrestlers to be able to; A. Wrestle and B. Cut a good freaking promo. Even as the General Manager of ECW I thought she sucked, her promos were bad, she had no emotion in her voice, it just sounded so one toned and flat.
So I ask you, why was she brought into TNA, clearly she isn’t worth the money they will be spending on her. Why do I say that? As fans, we make certain decisions. We decide whether or not something will make us want to watch, or change the channel. With Taryn on TNA, there is no reason I can even attempt to come up with which would make me want to see her. Was Taryn brought in due to her time with WWE?
And this isn’t the first time TNA has done this, while guys like Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, etc are big names who can go at anytime. Shouldn’t TNA be more concentrated on building their own talents, like the ones I mentioned earlier? This even rains true on the announce team, a guy like Jeremy Borash, who as a play-by-play announcer does in my mind a good job. This was clearly seen at the TNA Destination X pay-per-view earlier this year. Yet, TNA would rather go with former WWE Announcer, Taz. When it comes to Taz, I just feel that he doesn’t always do a good job of capturing the moment. I would rather have Taz call the smaller shows, and spend the extra time on helping to bring the next generation of wrestlers into their own.
We have often said that TNA needs to be original and different. And it would appear that everybody but TNA thinks that.
Having dished out all my criticisms on the company, I do believe that the product has improved tenfold since TNA replaced some members of their creative team. One worry that I have though, is that TNA gives their talent too much freedom on what to do and say out there. While this is not a bad move, I think that these things should be a joined production of the talent and the writers to ensure that all the points are touched and that it stays on point.
Let’s hope TNA comes to the conclusion that they have the power to create a stimulating, yet original product that fans can look forward to. While keeping the legends who have passed their in ring prime in suitable roles. Like a GM, or a in the role of a Gut Check Judge, etc.
Because if they do this, I have no doubt TNA will grow to be one of the most successful wrestling promotions in the world. But in order to do so, TNA needs to step out of WWE’s shadow and continue to do what brought them to the dance.
Well, these are some of my views…I would love to hear some of yours. Hit me up on Twitter, follow @supercraz3 and join in the conversation…Nah, I am only kidding. But do follow me on twitter, that’s once again @supercraz3 and I am on facebook as well. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Paul/316986281650883, so hit me up on their.
Next column will take a look back, love taking look backs, funny as how I hated history in school. But I will take a look at the career and life of the first ever TNA Hall of Famer, the Icon, Sting.
Until next time, I am the voice of Xtreme Entertainment
— Mr. Paul