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What realistically can TNA do to improve ratings?

Hi Scott,

What do you think TNA can do to improve ratings? 

-promote more
-advertise more
-sign a top talent i.e. CM Punk, Randy Orton, etc.
-put the belt on Hogan (somewhat serious)

I think they need to get off of Spike. Most people I know, which are few because I have no friends, don't even know that Spike is a channel. If TNA could somehow ink a deal with FX or some other FOX network, do you think that could help?

One more question, do you think TNA would still draw a 1.0 if they put AJ Styles out there sitting indian style in the ring reading a phone book for 2 hours each week?

Thanks Scott

I think the theory put forth by Meltzer might have some truth to it, in that dropping the monthly PPV format has really damaged the flow of the TV show because it's no longer building to anything.  As fans we're conditioned to build, build, build, payoff, fallout, build, build, build, etc.    Without a clear direction towards something, the show might be losing focus with the fanbase.  

It's hard to say that signing a top talent would improve things, because the booking can bring anyone down, and realistically Jeff Hardy is the biggest name available that can move numbers, and they've got him.  Maybe Matt as well, I dunno.  I think what they need to do is more basic, in that they need to use the established stars they do have (Chavo, Hardy, RVD in particular, and Angle) and start bringing the homegrown guys to the same level.  I think they're getting there with AJ, but they flinched with both Roode and Storm and I don't know that fans will buy them at that level now.   Either that or find someone totally new, ala Goldberg, and hope they catch fire.  

Spike's definitely not the problem.  UFC was on fire when they were on Spike and the ratings dropped a lot when they moved to FX.  The problem is just that wrestling is so damn cold right now and TNA can't capture the zeitgeist of anything.


  1. Having the show available on Demand the week it airs would be a nice start. as it stands I'm a week behind because it doesn't pop up on Comcast until the NEXT episode has already aired.

  2. What TNA is doing is fine. Make good compelling angles and people would come. They made Bully Ray into an effective main event wrestler. Aires & Roode are great as a tag team. The bound for glory series is great at making angles and new stars.

    #1 thing I would do is get rid of Sting and Hogan as focus of the show. Hogan is good as a figurehead but not involved with anything major where several segments revolve around him. Sting would be better served as a mentor role similar to what Flair was doing.

    I would get rid of D-Lo and Chavo who are way past their expiration date. Jeff Hardy is fine as a special attraction but not involved in anything major.

  3. AmericanWolves02May 7, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    It's not a question with a simple answer. I don't think there is a definite answer. It's just a random, sometimes surprising sequence of events that comes out of nowhere and causes it. When we look back we can point at things like Stone Cold's KOTR speech, Bret feud and stunning Vince as things that contributed to WWF's success but at the time they had no way of knowing.

  4. Putting the title on Hogan sounds like a solid idea....

  5. Throw every last dollar at Tim Tebow. He could honestly be biggest attraction since Tyson when it comes to the media. ESPN would be like a free all day informercial for TNA if Tebow was signed to wrestle, dude is an athlete, so Im sure he could adapt...

  6. Pro wrestling is so uncool and out of the mainstream at this point, that signing someone like Tebow would just drag him down to TNA's level, moreso than his name value would prop up TNA.

    I've always thought the name TNA was really dumb, and more of a hindrance than being edgy and cool like Russo intended.

  7. The other problem could be this...there is way too much WWE on TV than fans are not willing to tune in for more after investing a chunk of time watching it on Monday.

  8. Fuck that, they need to resign Pacman Jones.

  9. Not Tebow. Chael Sonnen. The fact that neither WWE nor TNA is throwing money at this man boggles my mind. He can't win a fight to save his life, but he gets insane press for every last fight. If either company could sign him to deal it would lead to a ton of coverage for that organization.

  10. how about putting out a product that consistently has really great wrestling?

  11. TNA was the name way before Russo got there. I do agree that it sounds terrible, low brow and second rate. Maybe they should negotiate with the World Wildlife Fund to be allowed to use WWF....

  12. I agree. The TNA name is terrible. Really they should have just went with Impact Wrestling as their company name.

  13. He is nowhere close to Tebow in the mainstream. Pretty much everybody in the world knows who Tebow is, I bet you ask 100 random people on the street who Sonnen is, maybe 7 people will know who he is.

    Tebow would bring instant recognition to the brand, what they did after that would make or break it...

  14. I'd reboot the whole company. It comes down to marketing at this point. TNA was a horrible name to begin with and now it's toxic. Casual fans associated TNA with crap. Or tits n ass.

    Also, to Scott's point, they need to get Spike to give them Clash of the Champions or something. If it were me, I'd run 8 free Clash-type shows on the same Sunday night as WWE ppvs. Talk about free publicity...

  15. I agree about the name and the Clash idea...

  16. Yeah, it's a very complicated situation I think. I don't think Hogan is any kind of long-term solution and in all honesty, he's probably not even a short term solution. The guy can't even do his low-impact match style without putting his health at risk, so at best he'd be limping around with the title. He's a great asset to have in the mix as a figurehead because he gives TNA credibility among the wrestling fans, but as a wrestler I don't think there are many resources to mine there. As far as signing talent -- that is probably their best bet to diversify their on-screen product and have a chance at appealing to more types of fans.

    As a first step, since the wrestling "pie" is pretty small to begin with right now, I think most of the potential gains they can get in the ratings without a game changing angle or interior growth is going to have to come from stealing some of WWE's viewers and splitting the audience a little. In essence that's what Nitro did in 1995, driving RAW down from the high 2s and low 3s to the mid and low 2s once they started running head to head. That's a pretty tough proposition though, because WCW had more of a following in September 1995 than TNA is getting right now.

    Honestly though, I think the next "wave" of widespread popularity for wrestling is going to take someone reinventing the rules of the genre again and I don't think it'll come from the WWE.

    In a way the 1990s boom siphoned off of the 1980s boom I think, as a lot of the excitement came from the deconstruction of the characters and styles of the 1980s product, through flipping the rules around or removing restraints. I think it was a sort of destructive process though and to really get back to that level of popularity I think wrestling will need to be re-envisioned as something fresh and new.

  17. Oh my god that's a wonderful idea!

  18. It's the wrong kind of recognition. People bust on Tebow for being a pussy. They'll look at the Tebow signing and scoff. The Sonnen signing, while not on the level of Mike Tyson at Wrestlemania XV, is still relevant to the industry because the guy is a fighter. And he can get some ESPN play for the company. The Tebow signing will be laughed at, mocked, and ignored within a few hours of it happening.

  19. Watching AWA on ESPN Classic right now and I cant really see a difference between AWA and TNA when it comes to production and commentary....

  20. I don't get that -- I don't see many issues at all with TNA's production style. The commentary could use a big upgrade though (but so could the WWE's for that matter).

  21. I totally disagree, Sonnen would do nothing to improve brand recognition. Tebow isnt busted on for being a pussy, he is busted on for not being a good QB. He wouldnt be throwing any footballs in TNA, he would be bringing eyeballs to the product...

    ....Sonnen hardly gets a mention on ESPN, TNA would get more pub from hiring Screech....

    ...Tebow would get mocked but it would continue to dominate ESPN day in and day out. He has dominated ESPN for years, and joining a second rate wrestling organization would be a step up from what my Jets put him through last season...

  22. Scream09_HartKillerMay 7, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    It's much easier said than done, but they need that one character, or angle that catches fire. TNA have had characters I got into and were worth watching but they don't seem to really go all the way with them and then eventually fall back into the pack. There just never seems to be anyone you can fully get behind. I like Jeff Hardy and all, but there's nothing new there. Although ironically enough one of those characters that was must-see for me was his heel character. They're just all over the place. Immortal. I'm pretty sure everyone was either a member or feuding with Immortal at one point. Ace's and 8's is just another gang, only it's comprised of the shittest collection of wrestlers to ever comprise a serious gang. I think they should look at WWE, and look at the characters that tend to get cheered over Cena. And go with that. If you want to be different actually be different. Take what's bad in WWE and make it good in TNA.

  23. I think JBL joining the team is the big upgrade it needed. Sadly Lawler is really mailing it in these days and is really a shell of his former self...

    ...I dont really care for TNA's production style, it looks second rate to WWE.

  24. What about it specifically do you not like? I think it looks really nice and slick personally and has improved a ton from just a few years ago.

  25. I don't get the love for JBL. He calls out Cole and Lawler for some of the egregious things they say, but for me he doesn't add anything to the show at all. Just because he is better than King doesn't mean he is any good...

  26. I have never been a JBL guy at all but I find the booth a bit more fun to listen to since he has joined in. If it were up to me, Id can all three and go with somebody else, anybody else...

  27. It has improved over the years but I just dont like the way things are lit, Im guessing the crowds have something to do with that...

  28. What about the crowds?

    May just be personal taste too. I prefer the TNA look to the WWE's current look, as I think it 'pops' more.

    TNA is lit in very heavy blue lights, including the spotlights above the ring to some extent, so it has a lot cooler of a picture than RAW, where the lights are much more neutral/yellow. Plus I think there is too much signage and stuff in the background on the RAW set personally, I like the more focused look of the TNA Impact set.

  29. I guess its just a matter of personal preference...

  30. Make consistent, compelling television that is well marketed. Pretty simple really.

  31. Not to bust your balls but They have made good compelling angles...

    The same people still watch and have not grown their fanbase since moving to Spike 5 years ago.

    Aries and Roode being a tag team is exactly whats WRONG with TNA. Just a year ago they were building to Roode/Storm blowoff at BFG and swerved us with the Aries title win leaving no heat for Roode/Storm.

    Now after a mini feud between Aries/Roode, they are tagging?

    And its not even a deep division. Its Daniels/Kaz and Chavo/Hernandez.

    Two heel teams and a babyface team that gets little heat.

    The BFG series is a good idea but way too convoluted for new fans to follow, thus it caters to the fan that has always been watching.

  32. its the marketing thats the problem.

    WWE doesnt make compelling TV, it is consistent though.

  33. They need a lead babyface. Not a semi... not a part timer. Not a once in a while they can bounce back and forth.

    They need a babyface that is

    -pleasing to look at

    -passable on the mic

    -charisma of some sort... either in-ring or promo

    and book him over every heel they have. Just run the gauntlet.

  34. A few ideas:

    Sorry guys, but fuck AJ, Joe, Daniels, and any member of the old guard that keeps getting pegged as TNA's savior. They're old news. These were guys we were clamoring for back in 2006. It's now 2013. They're not moving the needle. They're great in specific roles, mid-to-upper-midcard enhancement, but they're not the people you build your company around. AJ specifically is ill cast as the company's eventual savior in this entire Sting rehash. He hit his ceiling a few years ago back in 2010 when he was holding the belt just before Hogan and Bischoff came in. Joe's shipped sailed with his one and only World Title reign.

    Make a decision on how you're going to use Storm, Roode, and Aries. Commit, or don't; but, make a decision and stick with it. These are the guys you should ideally be building your main events around. Bubba's a great talker, yes, but he's godawful in the ring and I don't see there being much mileage in Bubba as champion post-Aces. Hardy brings attention, but he's wildly inconsistent. Sting wrestles a handful of times a year. So Storm, Roode, and Aries should be the core three you're building around, although, they don't necessarily have to be "the guy."

    Pick "a guy" and stick with him. And I mean as a face. TNA follows NWA/WCW logic of always building around a big heel with a strong faction behind him. And in a very similar fashion to the NWA and WCW, they tease that they're going to build up a face to carry the company but it never happens. Find someone NEW, a guy who hasn't been tainted by terrible booking or the WWE system, and push him to the top. It doesn't have to be immediate, it might even take a few years, but stick with it. It took the NWA/WCW two years to get Sting to the top. Goldberg took a little less. But the general sentiment holds true -- building someone up will take time, dedication, and careful planning.

    Stop rehiring talent you fire. I understand Dixie feels for these people, and I do too. I genuinely like Petey, and Sonjay, and Sabin. But you let them go for a reason. Either you didn't have anything for them, there was a logjam in the midcard, or whatever. Rehiring them isn't helping them, it's simply prolonging a mutually destructive relationship. They're not going anywhere, and you're not benefiting from rehiring them. And honestly can someone explain why ODB keeps getting resigned?

    Raid the indys before WWE does. WWE signed up Moxley, Tyler Black, Claudio, Chris Hero, PAC, and Generico within the last two years. TNA signed Kenny King and Joey Ryan. What is wrong with this picture? The indy circuit should be TNA's feeder system. I don't know if I'd look to ROH right now, because their roster is fucking awful at the moment, but there are a ton of guys TNA should be scouting. Uhaa Nation from DGUSA and Shaun Ricker from Championship Wrestling from Hollywood are two guys they should be looking at bringing in.

    Change your announce team completely. Kennely and Borash were amazing. I understand Borash doesn't want to do it full time. Force him. They were clear, professional, and entertaining. They made the show better instead of dragging it down like Tenay and Tazz do.
    Long-term, consistent planning. WWE didn't turn the tide in the '90s solely by throwing a ton of shit at the wall and waiting to see what stuck. It took all of 1996 and all of 1997 to pay off dividends in 1998 and beyond.

  35. Tim Tebow is cool? Maybe when he was winning football games. As a wrestler, he'd just be John Cena + Jesus - mic skills.

  36. Show it during the day. Change the name to The Eric Young and the Wrestle-less. The middle aged female demographic sky rockets.

  37. I noticed one interesting sentiment in here and given how fundamental it is to wrestling, I thought it'd be interesting to pose as a question:

    Can a wrestling organization be run optimally in the long term with a strong heel as the figurehead of the organization and a rotating cast of babyfaces as title contenders and occasional upseters?

  38. Honestly, not much. Wrestling is not in the zeitgeist as it was in the late 90's when shows/movies of rebellious natures (pro wrestling, South Park, Matrix, Fight Club) tapped into that generation. There's only one option for most people (ie: People outside the IWC) and that's the WWE, and if they're not watching WWE, they're not watching wrestling; they're not flipping to the competition on off-nights.

    I've said this before, too, but there's nothing wrong with what TNA is. If they are a sustainable company that draws a steady rating on television and offers a viable opportunity for wrestlers outside of WWE, then it's perfectly OK for doing that. It doesn't need to compete head-on with the WWE to be a success; if all TNA is is a good Thursday night alternative for wrestling, and it's finding a steady primetime home and making revenue, then what's wrong with being just that?

  39. They are showing Sommers/Rose winning tag titles from Hall/Hennig right now and Sommers/Rose came out to "Dress You Up" by Madonna?!

  40. Scream09_HartKillerMay 7, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Alex Shelley?

  41. No. US audiences demand happy endings. Companies that run with heels in the long term run the risk of killing audience enthusiasm, because eventually they become conditioned to wait for the floor to drop out on the babyface and lose interest. A strong heel is good in the short term (less than two years). NWA/WCW booking is the perfect example of this. Faces would only get momentary victories. They would quickly get killed by the big heel to return to the status quo, the cycle was then repeated to diminished returns with each new try, and things would just get worse and worse until the company stumbled into something new or was forced to change direction (see: Flair/Horsemen, Hogan/nWo, etc.).

  42. brocore said it better than I can so I'll just add on to his.

    Look at the top 100 movies by domestic box office. I found FIVE films where the protagonist doesn't 100% succeed: Star Wars Episode 3, Star Wars Episode 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I Am Legend, and Castaway. And even with that group, you have 3 sequels that are setting up other chapters (ultimately with "Happily Ever After" endings), a heroic sacrifice to save others, and a man escaping a deserted island (even if his wife is no longer his wife). Even films where the protagonist suffers a tremendous loss (Forrest Gump, Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean 2), they still win. Forrest gains a son and happiness, Rose lives to be an old woman and rejoins her true love when she dies, and Jack steals Davey Jones' heart. NONE of these stories told over 100 films (note that doesn't mean 100 stories) have an unhappy ending.

    You can produce tremendous storylines and matches with a long-term heel champion, but you won't make the same money you would with a long-term face champion. That's a big part of why Vince McMahon is still around and WCW is his property.

  43. In this climate for wrestling, just staying afloat is a noble enough endeavor for TNA. They should keep their ear to the ground in case an indie stumbles across the next big trend, like ECW in 1994, so they can seize on it faster than the lumbering giant up north, but other than that, what we're seeing now is more or less the best-case scenario for any non-WWE company in this era.

  44. Part of what WWE did to beat WCW was plant the idea that WCW wrestlers were washed up old timers while WWE had the new blood in wrestling, Austin, the Rock, Foley, HHH all more or less newly exposed. Take some subtle potshots at that "retirement home" in New York on twitter once in a while.

    TNA could try going in a renegade fashion. Fire all the ex-WWE talent except Kurt Angle, have him be "the last outlaw" and build the show around Angle, Storm, Roode, Aries etc.

    Eventually if the opportunity arises for a WWE name, bring him in and treat him as a midcarder, never as a main eventer. It will eventually give off the impression TNA is superior to WWE. That's not to say John Cena jumps ship and feuds with Chris Sabin, if they get a main eventer have him feud & lose to TNA home grown talent and shunt them down slowly to the midcard. Just like WWF would do with NWA guys in the 80s.

    Oh yeah the other thing get rid of the damn rematch clause it's the dumbest cliche in wrestling right now.

  45. As fans we're conditioned to build, build, build, payoff, fallout, build, build, build, etc.

    Then it's time to break that fucking cycle. Seriously, people need to just enjoy the ride. They've been building to big Impacts b/w PPV's, and those big Impacts have been good. The collective fanbase needs to get its head out of its ass. WWE isn't the be all/end all.

    /no elvy


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