Over the last ten-plus years, a lot of people have given up on pro wrestling’s little engine that could. From the Nashville Fairgrounds, to Fox Sports Channel, to a drugged-up Jeff Hardy main-eventing a pay-per-view, to Dixieland, the fine folks at Total Nonstop Action have given fans many reasons to tap out. And to be honest, I’ve rolled my eyes many times at folks who cry “this is the last time I’m ever watching TNA.” Now I think I’m one of them.
I just can’t bring myself to watch TNA any longer. I can’t, and I won’t. Here’s why.
What happened to the roster?
Years ago, TNA’s roster felt STACKED. You had your obligatory former main eventers from WWE and WCW, you had some of the best tag teams in wrestling, and you had the incredibly innovative X-division. Each division was absolutely loaded with top-notch talent, enough so that each segment could be represented on the show every week, without seeing the same talent every week. That’s important. That’s gone.
How many tag teams does TNA have these days? Bad Influence. Aby—err, Joseph Park and Eric Young. And there’s the NUMBER ONE TAG TEAM IN THE COMPANY, your tag team champions, the Bro-Mans.
The X-Division title has been traded back-and-forth between Chris Sabin and Austin Aries. Kenny King and TJ Per—err, Suici—err, Manik are probably still under contract, but they haven’t been seen in ages. No one else is left.
Gail Kim, LeiD tapa, ODB, Velvet Sky and Madison Rain. The once-amazing Knockouts Division is dead and buried, brother.
Long-term booking is out the window.
The only real clear instance of “long-term booking’ in TNA is the 18-month (!!!) story of Abyss playing the role of his own brother, and searching for himself. You can make an argument for the slow build of EC3 as a talented pretty-boy who dodges real competition, but that’s it. Everything else is a week-to-week clusterfluffle that ultimately serves no purpose. Like building AJ Styles as the face of the company, the fans’ champion…only to let his contract expire for real, and have him walk away. Are you kidding me?
False advertising, right down to the name.
The name of the company is TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION. At least a third of the show consists of Dixie Carter promos. ACTION, including the first 20 minutes or so, every week. More on that later.
The name of the show is IMPACT. When’s the last time ANYTHING on the show made an impact? When’s the last time a TNA promise lived up to the hype.
TNA gave up on being “the alternative”
TNA was once a true alternative. The X-division was unlike anything ever seen in WWE. The Knockouts division put Kelly Kelly and the divas to shame. And there were guys who were just undeniable stars-in-the-making, all of whom were hungry for their shot , and doing their best to deliver.
All of that is gone. TNA is pulling everything it can from WWE. AJ Styles returns as the “real” champion after leaving the company with the title, to confront the winner of a tournament to replace him? Sounds just like the summer of Punk. Dixie is a power-hungry owner obsessed with HER SHOW, surrounding herself with yes-men and fictional board members? Rockstar Spud, meet Kane and Brad Maddox. The list goes on.
The company is making the wrong budget cuts
The roster is small, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But TNA has decided against spending the money to bring in enough guys to properly book a two hour show. So instead of bringing in (arguably cheap) talent like Rubix (CHIKARA’s Jigsaw), DGUSA/Evolve star Anthony Nese, Joey Ryan, Sonjay Dutt… we get Dixie. LOTS of Dixie. I understand she’s the money mark, but she’s not a wrestler. You promised me Total Nonstop Action, but gave me two hours of Dixie Carter. I know a mark when I see one, and Dixie is nothing but a mark.
It’s not about changing the ring, leaving or returning to the Impact Zone, hiring WWE castaways or indy flavors-of-the-month. Spending big money on guys like Hogan has proven detrimental. But the biggest problem with TNA, the reason why I’m done watching, is the way the company is run as a whole. The only consistency is in the undying inconsistency, and haphazard way each and every decision seems to be made. The show could be a true alternative, and draw fans as a result. Instead, it’s a bad copycat, run by a money mark, compared to the marketing geniuses behind WWE.
It’s not worth watching anymore.
Perhaps the proof is in TNA’s founding fathers, AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett, jumping ship. I sincerely hope the rumors are true, and Jeff Jarrett is teaming up with Toby Keith to form a new promotion. I hope it’s a polar opposite from what we see on Monday nights. I hope it’s full of country stars and unique styles and personalities. I hope it gets mainstream attention, thanks to Keith’s participation.
A true alternative is best for business.
Promising to make an impact by delivering total nonstop action, and taking the fans on a two-hour cruise of Dixieland instead?
Are you giving up on TNA, too? Did you give up a long time ago? Or are you still, somehow, stomachin this show? Let me know @AndyMillerJMS.