***Before this column begins today, I need to make mention to the undeserved, incomprehensible, horrendous terrorist attacks on the innocent two years ago. There will never be any time when it’s not important to remember, reflect, and introspect.***
Greetings, thank you for joining me as we return during another vital turning point in the history of NWA:TNA. As always, send thought, comments, questions, and all other items pertaining to Headlines and Scrutiny to my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. All thoughts are appreciated. Before we begin today, I wanted to make another mention of last week’s issue of H&S with a lot of still-important news updates with regards to TNA, you can find that here.
While 1wrestling.com’s Buck Woodward carelessly described Wednesday’s show as on par with getting a one-night cable deal, the one-cent show that TNA presented as a way to attract and maintain viewers unwilling or unsatisfied or simply unaware prior, was extremely important for the company. Obviously, the idea is not only to satisfy viewers, but to provide them with programming that they won’t mind buying for $10 each week. Full commitment to the success of this will require a commitment shown to the future, as much as the present, and special attention given to utilizing the most fundamental elements of wrestling writing combined with talented athletes and the ability to create stars, as has been shown over the last few weeks executed brilliantly over a long period. And most importantly, the crap must go.
I was all over the Internet reading responses from new viewers and overall it was probably about 25% down 75% up with only a few in the middle. Both sides were very adamant about either loving the show or hating it. Eddie, a first time viewer who works for this site had mixed thoughts on the show. “If that’s the best TNA could offer, then it’s not all that good to be honest,” he wrote. “A bunch of young studs performing high spots with a mix of some grapplers who are past their prime.”
“It’s like ECW only cheaper in quality but not in price,” he added.
The majority of opinions, however, at least saw the show as something that showed them something they had no way of inferring themselves, that TNA is a solid product that’s worth their money.
“This is the second NWA-TNA PPV I have ordered and I will admit that I am amazed,” wrote Michael O’Shea on the Pro Wrestling Torch website. “That’s the only way to put it honestly. It’s such a different flavor from WWE that I am honestly pondering becoming a frequent viewer.”
Like in the beginning, and in any other number of times after this, maintaining such enthusiasm can only be done by creating weekly shows that receive positive shows, not on and off like WWE has the leisure of doing due to the product being presented for free each week. In the first year of TNA, they began developing a small fan base with an on and off product until the show fell into the dark ages with Russo fare. People were so perturbed by the SEX fare and Russo booking control, that many, including myself boycotted the product. In the future, the course of action will have to include courage in presenting the same type of product each week and making fans feel the product was worth your money, one step of which will be to cut down on screw job endings, a frequent complaint in feedback on the show.
The point of the one cent show was to grab viewers who would enjoy the product, who wouldn’t otherwise find out. Superficially and prematurely, it was very successful. The only unexamined criteria is how many people bought the show. Based on buying ads for the show in 44 main markets during RAW, they succeeded in that area, by how much we won’t know for weeks. In the future, the idea is to make them stick. Is TNA able to do that, keeping up the quality set over the past several weeks? Is any without the flexibility of TV? We’ll find out in the weeks and months to come.
Several weeks, a reader told me that their iNDemand affiliate was announcing the usual $9.95 price for the show Wednesday. I figured that the problem would be fixed by now but according to a report by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (email@example.com) cited several readers with Cox Communications, with 6,315,950 customers the sixth largest provider in the country, as not being able to purchase the show for any less than the normal price. Refunds will likely be granted retroactively, as ads advertised the show for one cent. 1wrestling.com is also reporting that many Time Warner customers were affected as well.
A news item came out this past week claiming that TNA wrestlers were upset that many champions in the company are not currently title holders with the three people being Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger (tag champs) and Michael Shane (X champ). I can not confirm the veracity of the story. Michael Shane has publicly, in an interview this past week with The Interactive Interview, said that he will be signing a contract with the company on Wednesday. On that subject, I have highlights. Shane says that his trainers were idol and relative Shawn Michaels, Rudy Gonzales, and Paul Diamond. That school has turned out a number of tremendous talents, Michael Shane being included in that list. He says that WWE offered him a contract twice in 2001 after purchasing WCW for a buck-fifty. He went to FMW in Japan which he called a learning experience. He gave props to Paul London, who he worked with in Ring of Honor, who is WWE bound. He likes Francine but he won’t leave MLW because her and TNA just won’t happen. Plus Shane Douglas just bought a gun. He praised the Ultimate X concept and said that ladder matches have been getting killed as of late. True. They’ve also gotten extremely clichÈ. He said he is happy with TNA, but that WWE is an option later. Of course it is. He says that in the long run, he can see being Shawn Michaels’ cousin hurting him. Well, these days it might help, except when that’s your gimmick. Then your almost as done for as Lance Storm. Talent or no talent. Shane says he’d like to have matches with Aj Styles and Raven in the future. A few weeks ago on MLW Underground, he was, but it was in a tag match, and they didn’t do much.
“I realize the days of Wrestling at the Chase (dated reference, if you don’t understand it) are long gone, but is it too much to ask to have the ring announcer dressed for the occasion? Borash actually has a pretty good delivery, but he looked like he walked into the ring right after getting off of the school bus. Would it kill him to put on a tie? If the promotion doesn’t take itself seriously, why would I care about it?” Good point from someone from the WO site. I decided to throw that in instead of the Rash this week. Actually he didn’t publish so whatever. The TNA contracts that will be signed as is, need to be done by this coming Wednesday at 2. We’ll see who objected by who stops being used. By signing, they do lose leverage and TNA becomes the person who everyone else has to go through to book people. As a result, according to the Observer, TNA asked the Ring of Honor promotion to book people the same way they are booked at the time in TNA. Yeah right. That’s what Ring of Honor said too. So MLW and ROH who have spent time building CM Punk up as this badass single heel are supposed to turn him into a face flunkey for Raven?
Sonjay Dutt may be hired by TNA soon, after management was said to be impressed by his performance on the Sept. 8 MLW Underground, according to the Pro Wrestling Torch. I saw the show today and I found that interesting because the he was only on there for a really brief 25-second promo. But it was good. Speaking of MLW, what’s it with all the shots at WWE, it makes them look really stupid. TNA to a great degree has eliminated that….Buyrates are up slightly, according to the latest numbers from DirecTV.
Thank you for reading, as always. Next week, as TNA returns back to normal, so will we, publishing on Friday with the show review as TNA goes back live with a few big matches and the return of Roddy Piper. Plus, all of the news that comes up during the week recounted with careful, scrutinizing analysis.
Matchmaker: Trevor Hunnicutt
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