Hogan has dollars on his mind – Source: http://www.ringsidenews.com
I’ve never been hugely into TNA wrestling, but I have gone through various stages of fluctuating interest in the product over the last seven or eight years. I’ve been recently watching a lot of their old stuff on YouTube. The Truth, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle and even Sting without a t-shirt. I have to admit, there was a lot to like back then. Then you had the unique and combustible X-Division and it’s hugely talented cast of combatants. Pair the two together and you had an array of reasons to keep watching. Emerging young stars like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were given a chance to shine as part of something that mattered, instead of languishing in the endless mid-card of guys that aren’t at the very, very top.
The original match concepts were also an excellent selling point for TNA back then. The six sided ring made every match something different, and offered a genuinely alternative product to WWE. Stipulation matches like King of the Mountain, Ultimate X and Lethal Lockdown were matches like you’d never imagined before. These matches still exist now, but they don’t carry the same element of surprise. I suppose that could go the same for any stipulation. The more it’s done, the less excited you are.
The first time I discovered the company was when I caught them on The Wrestling Channel on Sky Sports. I really miss that awesome channel. You got crazy wrestling from Japan, old World of Sport re-runs from England and TNA Wrestling from the United States. Great viewing. This would be my go-to channel if there was nothing else good on at the time. Sadly it’s no longer around. This was when I was around sixteen and had fallen off of WWE for a few years. After that I had a couple of years when I watched no wrestling at all. When I returned to my love at the age of around nineteen, I was at university. I checked out WWE and TNA. I stuck with one of them, and it wasn’t the latter. I first saw ECW on Sci-Fi on a late Tuesday night after getting wasted at a club. Christian was the boss on that show, and that got me to watch Raw and Smackdown again.
The insane action of the Ultimate X match – Source: http://www.wrestleenigma.com
When I checked TNA out again, I was very disappointed. The six sided ring had gone. Some of those great X-Division guys had gone on to good things (e.g. AJ Styles) but a lot of them were languishing. Meanwhile guys like Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan were playing a pivotal role in every broadcast. I’ve since checked it out again recently on Challenge and it still feels that way. They seem to hide all of the great positives, and accentuate the things that just don’t work. That’s why the ratings won’t change. They create storylines that don’t make sense. They fail at building characters into superstars. They don’t highlight the great wrestling ability at their disposal. Yes, WWE can often be guilty of all these things. However, they have a hardcore, global fan-base and an almost impossible to extinguish brand. They have done a lot of things right for decades, so they don’t have to worry as much. The same can’t be said for TNA.
Obviously I’ve never really been a regular viewer of the product so I don’t have license to criticise too much. This is purely opinion based on my observations, as limited as they may be. From what I hear from the people I know who do watch the shows regularly, my views seem to be fairly accurate. Things have gone downhill. For some reason, they shy away from doing the obvious things that would be positive and choose to go in more of a WCW inspired direction. You can only speculate as to why the emphasis is put on people like Hogan. Over recent years, people like Nash, Steiner and Hall have also been around sucking the teet and providing nothing for the future of the business.
Every so often I hear that it’s improving from talk shows and friends, but when I check it out and give it a chance, it quickly seems to decline. I don’t want to hate on TNA. I would love it if they could get to a higher level and provide some genuine competition. That would only be good for the business. Everyone knows that. I just don’t see that happening with people like Hogan and Bischoff around getting all they can. But who knows really?
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