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WRESTLING COLUMNS

TNA Should Innovate, Not Imitate
October 1, 2005 by Joe M.


Hello to everyone here at Online World of Wrestling.com! My name is Joe, and I run twf-net.com I have been an avid viewer of the website for a while now, and I think it's time I submitted one of my columns. Enjoy!

In just one week, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling 'IMPACT!' will be returning to our television screens on Spike TV, the network that we once called home to Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment programming [which is moving back to the USA Network, their original home]. This will mark the first time TNA Wrestling has been on television since June, when their deal with FOX Sports Net ended and they were forced to broadcast their shows on their Internet website.

Now that TNA have a new television deal, they need to start thinking about what they will do to make the masses want to watch their show every week, which will be broadcast on 11pm each and every Saturday night. In my opinion, the only way TNA can go is to create a definite separation between their product and that of WWE's product. What WWE tends to do is concentrate on their 'entertainment' aspect of their show such as the talking and action, and not really the in-ring technical wrestling aspect of it. The in-ring wrestling part is something TNA has down to a 'T', as the roster boasts such talent as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Petey Williams, and others who are all great wrestlers.

What TNA would need to do first, though, is to get rid of the talent that are not going to pull their weight, and bring in talent that are going to make the product better. I think releasing A1, Apolo, Cassidy Riley, Mikey Batts, Sonny Siaki, Sonjay Dutt, David Young and Zach Gowen can make room for the newer and more talented wrestlers on the roster, like Austin Aries and Roderick Strong. Remember that TNA have only one hour a week to play around with and promote Pay-Per-Views, and they can't go filling it with things that contribute nothing to the product. Also, what TNA can start thing about doing is phasing out the older ex-WWF and WCW wrestlers over time, like Kevin Nash, BG James, Kip James and Sean Waltman. All are good talents, but it feels like we have seen it all before, which in a sense, we have. This is where the wrestlers that are not recognized by the 'casual' fan need to step up, grab the ball and run with it.

An important thing TNA needs to do is to review their championship divisions and see what needs to be added to them, and taken away. As I said, they only have one hour a week, so they need to promote all their championship belts in that amount of time.

I think a TNA Women's Championship is needed, as TNA are bringing in such women as Gail Kim and Jazz, as well as a few others. All are great women wrestlers, and the women's division could be a big selling point for females, as the talent they have would portray women in a 'positive' light for sure, instead of just being 'tits-and-ass'. Apart from a TNA Women's Championship, I don't think any more belts are needed. They don't have enough talent for a mid-card division just yet, and they also have the X-Division to promote.

What could be done though, is to make all belts 'TNA', meaning that they get rid of the 'NWA' of their names [such as the 'NWA' World Championship, and the 'NWA' Tag Team Championship]. The belts would also have brand new designs for the debut on Spike TV, and having 'TNA' World Champions and Tag Team Champions would be much, much better. Again, it's something that contributes to the product. Going back to what I said about the X-Division, I think that they really need to promote this. High-flying wrestling is something TNA have over WWE, where their 'Cruiserweights' have never really been a big part of the show. In fact, the last time Cruiserweights were a big part of shows was on WCW Nitro, and TNA have a whole new set of fans to appeal to now. Having these matches with people such as Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe is something that I feel could really broaden their audience, and bring in fans WWE has never really been able to achieve because they don't really want to promote that style of wrestling, and that is WWE's decision. Another division TNA could make a selling point is their tag team division, as both of WWE's tag team divisions are dead in the water. TNA have some excellent teams such as The Naturals, America's Most Wanted and Team Canada, but that could be improved by adding new teams such as 'Diamonds in the Rough' [Simon Diamond and Elix Skipper] and the 'New Age Outlaws' [BG James and Kip James, even though they won't be allowed to use the team name]. Again, this is something that could appeal to the 'casual' fan, as they have one instantly recognizable team in the New Age Outlaws, and great new teams such as AMW and The Naturals.

We now come to the 'cream of the crop', the TNA World Heavyweight Championship division. This is where TNA could make most of their money, if they book it right. For a start, they really need to get Jeff Jarrett out of there, and maybe put him in a tag team or something. Put back in AJ Styles, as he is "Mr. TNA" after all. This would make the division look somewhat like this;

AJ Styles
Raven
Jeff Hardy
Sabu
Lance Hoyt
Abyss
Rhino
Monty Brown

I think that with that sort of line-up, TNA have a great division they can work with for a while, not forgetting that they can promote new stars along the way and build it up even further. As I said, this division is something they can work with, and promote to their full ability.

So, there we have it. I don't really have that much else to say, except that TNA should try and build their show to appeal to a different sort of wrestling fan, the likes of who haven't really been seen since WCW and ECW were around. This would give them a distance edge over WWE, and hopefully force WWE to create a better overall product like they were forced to do in the late 1990's. Remember, TNA should innovate, not imitate.

by Joe M...


John Suarez wrote:
I enjoyed your article, you made a lot of great points but there are a points that, while they may appeal to the hardcore wrestling fans, TNA can not do. 1st while I dread seeing Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash and the WWF/E & WCW retreads taking up precious airtime they are a necessary evil~ more people know who Kevin Nash is than know who AJ Styles is. You mentioned that TNA should drop any reference to NWA~ I agree...sort of. The name TNA is nothing more than a cute play on words, TNA / T&A get it" Drop the name TNA and stick with NWA or go in a different direction~ change the name all together.
Christopher Gilmartin wrote:
My name is Christopher MRFNBALLS Gilmartin, call me Balls (if Vince will let you LOL)

I agree with you 95%. TNA needs the NWA, because of the simple reason they can't pay talent like Vince does. The NWA titles are defended at any NWA events that a promoter requests, (BTW that is how Jarrett and AMW pulled a Screw Job on Raven) so TNA can't compete on a dollar scale that Vince does, but their Talent can earn more by working NWA shows to subsidize what if any money they are losing. Also I like the NWA Heavyweight Title getting some prestige like back when it was on Flair's waist. (Shane Douglas, You can kiss my ass, and I'm an ECW fan LOL)

Anyway I'm looking forward to the "James Gang" reforming so I can see a dream match of mine against Team 3-D. Am I the only one who sees another boring ass grudge match between AMW and Team Canada" Come on AMW was insinuating that Jarrett was gonna help them get the tag belts back and D'Amore comes down and says Jarrett owes him big. (Golly Gee I wonder if he was wanting a Tag Team Title shot for Team Canada")

Also I'm confused" WTF did Nash do to get a title shot" Don't get me wrong I like Nash, but he shouldn't come back from vacation to that, put him in a feud with Lance Hoyt or something. Why isn't Raven getting a Rematch" It isn't like he pulled a Hardy or Waltman, can I get some kind of answer" I'M A FAN DAMN IT!

PS I'M GONNA CHECK OUT YOUR WEBSITE RIGHT NOW! Great Article keep up the good work.
Gino Elias wrote:
I just read your article, and I, on a whole, agree, but a few separate points bother me. When you wrote your list of who should be let go from TNA, I couldn't believe you included the name Sonjay Dutt. This guy is one of the reasons I tune in, and although on the mic he's lacking, he's got that Rey Mysterio quality about him in that although he's half the size of some of his competitors, you still give him a reasonable doubt to win. As for the WWE/WCW veterans that TNA bring in, I wouldn't include BG James in that list because I feel like him and 3LK have made enough of name for themselves as TNA stars that I don't even really associate them with WWE or WCW anymore. Otherwise, excellent article.
Adam J. Stone wrote:
I have just read the article about NWA:TNA and I have to disagree with it. I think that TNA need to avoid the huge mistake that WCW did by turning it's back on the NWA history. The NWA is the only wrestling organisation that really means something. WWE is worthless and the smaller promotions will only ever be feeders for the bigger promotions.

In my opinion, TNA needs to do as much as possible to recapture the NWA of the late 1980s. That was in my opinion the greatest wrestling ever seen. The matches with Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, Midnight Express, Freebirds, Pillman & Z-Man, the list is endless, were simply amazing. Even when they are viewed now on old video tape they still outshine any wrestling of today. I know it is a different era, but TNA really needs to make the most of it's NWA affiliation. The NWA title is the only legitimate world title. It means something. Outside of the US the NWA means a hell of a lot. Any Japanese wrestler would give 10 IWGP titles for 1 NWA world title. TNA needs to use that. I think that if WCW had kept the same formula of the NWA rather than try and copy the WWF too much, it might still be around now. TNA does not so much have to innovate as to simply have a show that is about wrestling and not the crappy storylines and vignettes. In his prime Ric Flair would have 1 hour long matches. Now we are lucky to get a match over 5 minutes, and even then they are awful (I am talking WWE by the way).

TNA stands for Jeff Jarrett. NWA stands for Flair, Race, Steamboat, Funk, Sting, Road Warriors (not the watered down WWF version), Midnight Express, War Games, etc.

TNA should not only keep the NWA titles, it should bring back some of the old ones like US, TV & US Tag Titles. They are all titles that mean something and that have rich histories. Forget the WCW titles with the same names, just continue their lineage from 1990 being the last time and 2005 being the next time. Please TNA, embrace the NWA heritage, don't abandon it like Ted Turner did. Real wrestling fans want something akin to what they all love and remember, and that is good ol' NWA wrestling, not WWF glitz, glamour and awful wrestling.
Simeon Hubbard wrote:
Well you know something: I LOVE TNA, but I think that the NWA World Heavyweight Championship SHOULD not be focused on Jeff Jarrett all the time, even though I love to hate him sometimes, but Jeff Jarrett is NOT the next Ric Flair, also TNA should be just TNA and not WCW or that awful WWE.

I mean WWE has turned its organization into a comedy, soap opera, and a freakfest.

WWE has destroyed everything, from having 2 brands, (w/RAW having the Original WWE Titles and SD! having the old WCW TItles) to firing REAL talent w/useless talents, having the Heavyweight Division focused on Triple H, JBL, and John Cena all the time, to destroying their Tag Team Division, the CW Division is getting boring as of late, and even the Women's Division has become a disgrace w/The Diva Search, to Trish Stratus becoming the Female Triple H holding the belt 6x, and Candice Michelle getting a title shot.

TNA SHOULD keep the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as well as the NWA World Tag Team Championship and the X Division Championship, and I also agree that TNA SHOULD bring back the old titles like the U.S., TV, U.S. Tag Team, as well as a 6-Man Tag Team, the only thing that they need to bring back is the Women's Division as well as the World Women's Title and perhaps bring back the Women's Tag Team Titles.

I mean WCW was better than the WWE until it got bad, and the NWA was the best wrestling there is, so TNA does need the NWA, NWA also stands for Flair, Luger, Steamboat, Luger, Steiners, Road Warriors, as well as Wargames.

Well I hope that TNA will continue to rise and I hope that TNA does not become the next WCW or WWE, b/c TNA is all about the fans, yet WWE is all about money, and TNA delivered the best PPV's such as Bound for Glory, Genesis, Turning Point, and even my FAVORITE TNA PPV of all time Lockdown.

Well after Slammiversary, I hope that TNA will dominate the World of Professional Wrestling and SHOW Vince McMahon how wrestling is suppose to be.
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