It seems lately that many people are writing TNA off as viable competition and that the general consensus is that the company with fall flat on its arse within the next year or two, following the route previously taken by WCW. Many didn’t know what the acquisition of Hogan and Bischoff meant for the smaller promotion and what to expect from the company as they try to take on the big dogs of WWE. Whilst many believe that the sudden increase in older stars is an indication of the company following the WCW path and that the product will eventually suffer because of said matter. In fairness, The Hogan Era of TNA has only just begun and already people are writing the company because it seems Hogan and Bischoff are recreating their hey-day with wrestlers that are past their prime. This isn’t to say that TNA won’t follow this path and that Hulk and Eric won’t kill the company, but I question everyone making said comments and ask why they don’t give it more time to see how the company prospers and if it does.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and TNA is not going to be able to challenge WWE after one night, it needs time to lay the foundations of the company that will eventually do so. Keep in mind that Hogan and Bischoff are not stupid, primarily they are business men and whilst they made some bad business choices towards the end of their WCW tenure, one can only assume that both have learnt from their mistakes and won’t make the same mistake again, especially when they are trying to once again challenge the much larger WWE. Tackling WWE today is going to be a much harder feat then it was at the start of the previous Monday Night Wars, simply because TNA now has a lot more to contend with. When WCW rose through the ranks, they only had Raw to compete with whereas today they need to challenge both Raw, Smackdown and to an extent ECW.
When the news of Hogan and Bischoff in TNA surfaced, many wondered whether we would see a repeat of WCW. The roster additions of Hall and Waltman has seemingly raised even more questions about whether Hulk and Eric are taking TNA down the road to ruin again, much like they did with WCW. Both men, who are supposedly very close with the new head honchos of TNA, are obviously past it. Hall it seems, is nothing but a shadow of his former self and Sean looking equally as bad. Now whilst the signing of these two may at first seem like Hogan and Bischoff giving their buddies another run with a major promotion, I beg to differ. As I mentioned before, neither Hogan and Bischoff are particularly stupid and to an extent, both would have expected Hall and Waltman to show up in the condition they did. Hulk in particular is not an idiot when it comes to keeping fit and staying in shape and whilst age has caught up with the icon, he is still in incredible shape for a man of his age – something that only a few men of the past can claim. So assuming that Hogan expected Hall and Waltman to show up in said condition, why bring them to TNA in the first place?
Now for me, it seems that Hulk and Eric are using the two stars to make a point. Hogan refusing to rejoin The Band is the first indication and what has been said by the Hulkster only seems to highlight this fact even more so. Hogan keeps reiterating that ‘times have changed’ and that he doesn’t want to repeat the past with his fellow band members. Whether Hall and Waltman know how they are being used remains to be seen but the questionable nature of TNA and its new heads needs to be clearly defined before TNA can truly move on and say ‘this is not WCW, this is TNA’ and to do so, they need to make a point by refusing to work with either Hall or Waltman on a long term basis. It is somewhat sad that two former stars have been reduced to being nothing more then pawns in the Hogan and Bischoff headed game but for wrestling fans around the world, this point needs to be made. The fact that Hall and Waltman have both been removed from the opening video suggests a lot too.
Reports do indicate that officials were expecting more of Waltman as this may be his last chance and whether he remained a constant fixture of TNA may never be known but as it stands, he has ruined his chances and now has been reduced to the same treatment as Hall and we can only assume that it’s a matter of time before he is given the bullet too. Of course, all this remains to be seen but what I’m suggesting to you all is to not jump the gun so fast and give TNA time to establish itself under new ownership. On a side note quickly, it’s a shame Nash has been reduced to the same level as the reappearing duo because he was going well with Eric Young and when he took over for Mick Foley last year as booker for the night, he was a pleasure to watch. Sadly this has demeaned his character so whether Big Sexy can turn this around and quickly distance himself from Hall and Waltman still remains to be seen. Personally, I don’t think it’ll be too bad if he worked closer with Hogan on screen as an assistant of sorts because he brings class to the show when needed. First things first though Sexy, get away from the train wreck and amateur porn star.
Before moving onto some of the other new faces in TNA can I just say that the reason Eric was successful in TNA is because he was different. A constant reoccurring storyline in WWE today is DX and whilst the general fans are lapping up The Game’s and HBK’s antics, many of us true fans are finding it awful, predictable and overly stale – so in fairness, do you honestly think Bischoff is going to make the same mistake by reforming the NWO? NWO and DX are long gone, whilst the WWE haven’t realized this yet (possibly because they’re blinded by dollar signs), I think Eric has more sense then to follow the same repetitive formula.
Moving on. Another new pair in TNA seem to be getting as much heat as the aforementioned, I am talking of course about The Nasty Boys. First and foremost, I’m actually enjoying the back and forth interaction between the pair and 3D so I don’t have any issue with the current feud. Like Hall and Waltman though, one has to question why they are in TNA to begin with. A close friendship with Hogan has undoubtedly assisted in their signing but with Hogan and Bischoff trying to reboot TNA, why do they feel the need to bring in Knobbs and Sags?
As TNA enter a new era where they’re trying to expand their fan base, they need stars that can appeal to a general wrestling fan. Sadly, the only tag team TNA have who are fairly well known are Team 3D. Pairing the two teams together in a feud that has been quite entertaining will appeal to some fans who are returning or have decided to check out the competition for the first time and whilst it may be turning some people off, it could possibly be interesting others as the new fans or returning fans may be asking, ‘What will The Nastys and 3D do to each other next?’. Also, with TNA still showcasing other teams on the show, it’s only a matter of time before both the Nasty Boys and 3D move on and start feuding with these teams and for newer viwers, this could be a successful approach as new fans will tune in to see who The Nastys and 3D are going to go after next and because they have been introduced to the other teams and may start liking them, the prospect of said feuds would intrigue them even more to stay tuned. In a year or so, The Nasty Boys can retreat from screen time but until then, TNA need to build their current teams to interest newer viewers into coming back.
On the same token, TNA need to find ways to interest new watchers and make sure that each one comes back again. Employing stars who the general fan may already know is a great way to do this, which brings me to Ric Flair. Flair is (as you know) a very well-known wrestler and his involvement will undoubtedly attract more viewers and newer viewers to return to watching the show. His role is perfect as the manager of AJ but the general consensus is that AJ doesn’t really suit the ‘nature boy’ gimmick. Now personally I would have had Flair rub Eric Young who I believe would have been more suited to a Ric Flair makeover, but in reality, AJ needs that rub now more then ever. As TNA are expanding their fan base, they need to cement AJ as a top tier player within this new general community who may sit back and argue Kennedy (I mean, Anderson) or Jeff Hardy are more deserving of the belt. AJ sadly, is NOT a big star. TNA has grown a lot in the last few years but its homegrown talent are nowhere near the level of other stars TNA need to pull in the new audience. However, by hooking AJ up with Flair shows newer fans that this kid may indeed be the real deal. It sounds like a wank and to an extent it is, but as you know, the general wrestling fan doesn’t have much of a brain when it comes to overall product. Look no further then WWE, a general member of the audience doesn’t look at Morrison or Christian and say, ‘these guys are great, give them a shot’, but rather ‘Cena is champion because he is the best’. For these viewers switching over to a new show, TNA need to cement their somewhat unknown star as the top of the food chain and with Flair on screen saying exactly what TNA want the new audience to think, AJ will be accepted by the now much larger audience like he has been by the TNA loyals. Personally, this AJ and Flair combination to me seems like a fantastic business ploy so hats off to whoever decided to pair the two.
Now. I must admit, I have been defending the signings of all the aforementioned names so I think it’s time to draw focus on a star that I cannot see the point of. Sean Morley. Granted Sean is a fair wrestler but he lost whatever fans he had due to years of jobbing and now for him to come in and defeat Daniels only demeans Daniels even more. Personally, Sean could have worked in another role or possibly another gimmick, but to carry on the stale playboy gimmick and have him seem better then the superior Daniels to me, seems like the worst signing of the Hogan/Bischoff era thus far.
Kendrick and Jordan are another couple of new faces gracing the land of TNA nowadays and I think this was a good move for both stars, especially Kendrick, who will hopefully be given the chance to really expand upon his arrogant character. As much as I would love to see London join him and the two together once again, I think Kendrick needs to remain a singles star, his come too far just to be wasted once again. As for Jordan, time will tell I guess.
Finally the two big signings of TNA (or should I say, one big signing and one possible signing). Anderson and Hardy. Both stars are big and will undoubtedly assist in the TNA in achieving their goal of challenging the WWE. Hardy especially is the key player as he is (as you know) huge in the wrestling world. TNA need to sign Hardy regardless of his court issues because he will be the figure needed if they wish to contend with Vince. I don’t think Anderson has enough pull (say like Hogan or Hardy) to truly make people switch, but I’m sure he will undoubtedly assist in the process, it all depends on how the man is used I suppose.
Everything I have said is all theory. TNA could fall flat. It could go under in time but until then I say, give it time. Like I said, Rome wasn’t built in a day and TNA isn’t going to turn things around over night. I could be completely wrong in regards to Hall, Waltman, The Nastys etc. but until I’m proven wrong and it is clear that Hogan and Bischoff are destroying the show, give them time and see how they run with it. You may find you change your tune in a few months.