Today I am going to be focusing on what’s wrong with NWA: Total Nonstop Action and their current status. Think about this for a second: If WWE can draw more than 250,000 $39.95 PPV buys on a bad month, those fans plus fans turned off by WWE programming will certainly commit $39.80 a month to watch TNA, but they aren’t. I’m not saying TNA should have 250,000+ buys, but they certainly shouldn’t be drawing in the neighborhood of under 15,000.
People often ask: why doesn’t NWA:TNA look for a TV deal and try to compete with WWE. This is missing the point of what the TNA product is attempting to do, a combination of nostalgia for the Monday Night Wars and a simple misunderstanding of the product. Even if TNA decided that they would go down that avenue, the company has neither the resources nor the will to do so. The television industry has reached a point where it is no longer interested in this genre and the possibility that TNA would go out and say “we’re looking” and actually get a national time-slot on any network with a universe of over 70% household penetration and not to mention a good time-slot would be less than infinitesimal, on a good day. Plus, even with the dedication internally and financial backup that has kept them on their feet, TNA would be crushed without millions of dollars to throw away for several years before even coming to the point of being WCW circa 1994. Shows like Xplosion are just to get people interested enough to buy the PPVs, and that’s the final objective, getting people to buy PPVs every week. TNA shouldn’t be and isn’t looking into competition with WWE, what they do need to be worried about is being able to buoy themselves and break even.
I think there are a few big positives that TNA is using. One of the main things that will speed the path to success is selecting and marketing to a potentially extremely profitable group in the Southern middle class who are not marketed to by WWE and WCW lost its Southern flavor long before it shut down in 2001. There are no national alternatives, but anyone who is able to reach untapped audiences and create a product to rival WWE will have a shot at the big time more than any other start-up.
But no good booking or excellent business model will save TNA from a fate of death and I think on the most basic level, that is the bottom line. They will not be able to succeed with ten-dollar weekly PPVs and a motley group of promotions have gone before it and failed, even just doing the rare PPV but no national television to back it up. IGeneration did a PPV that drew a 0.0 buyrate and they are no longer in existence; Heroes of Wrestling did a PPV that also drew a 0.0 buyrate and was not profitable; AAA with and a good cult following drew a 0.2 buyrate in 1994; World Wrestling All-stars has failed miserably in the states; WOW drew a 0.0; ECW’s highest was a 1.0 but the average was around 0.2. Look at the fates of these companies and without TNA obtaining that highly elusive television deal that they don’t want, I highly doubt they will be profitable. Mike Tenay, legitimately (I hope), believes that TNA has an excellent product right now with a mix of styles and angles but TNA has yet to find its niche or a booking style that they will stick with for any meaningful amount of time. And that’s there only chance.
Link of the week: http://www.moodspins.com/pop041403.htm with a really good article on Triple H.
Two quotes of the week. The first is Teddy Long on RAW (4/14 – to Jonathan Coachman): “How does it feel that the white man had to quit before you made it to the big time? (no response) What’s the matter, Whitey got your tongue?” Then John Cena on Smackdown: “With a knife and a dictionary you still couldn’t cut a promo right.”
I found it funny that on WWE RAW (4/14), WWE totally made fools out of TNA when they showed Elliot Sadler, who is a much better driver than Hermie Sadler all things considered, considering how much time and money TNA is putting into Hermie.
Irony alert. Remember billionaire Ted and billionaire Vince? Now only a distant memory.
If you agree with or can defend this column, drop an email by my box at Thunnicutt@aol.com.
On that note, that’s it for today. Drop me a note with your name at Thunnicutt@aol.com with suggestions, comments, replies, corrections, and random rants.
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