I feel like I’m slow for just figuring this out, but after watching Against All Odds last Sunday, I noticed that this seemed to be the main TNA formula since the “Immortal Regime” was founded.
PPV: Stuff happens.
Week 1: Characters talk about what happened at the PPV, actual wrestling is replaced with promos, more promos, short matches that end in interference and/or are squashes, Eric Bischoff hypes a date*.
Week 2: Bischoff continues to hype the date and what may (or may not) happen at that date, more storyline build up and promos in exchange for a lack of wrestling.
Week 3: See Week 2 (although we may get one actual wrestling match if we’re lucky)
Week 4: Possible semi-culmination for build up to a PPV that you didn’t know was happening till Week 4.
PPV: Oh boy, we get some decent wrestling matches! Also, we get some interesting type of pay off for your time watching TNA for the past four weeks in terms of the storyline.
However, when we return to the Impact Zone, we get more of the same storyline hype topped with dull wrestling matches that leave you wanting more because you just know that the TNA talent is better than what you see on TV.
Honestly, I don’t feel like this formula is any good, but somehow, I come back week after week.
For me, I can honestly say that in some weird way, I’m hooked. Maybe it’s because I have this hope that I might see a wrestling match**. Maybe it’s because I do, in fact, think that the story presented here has some merit. Maybe it’s because of the Knockouts. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I continue to watch TNA week after week except for the fact that I am a fan.
I don’t see this formula bringing in new fans, though. When I started watching TNA, I continued to watch it because even though the matches were short during a one hour program, I found that the matches were entertaining, and that’s what made me interested in the stories behind the characters. It was the contrast from WWE’s slower wrestling style and dull storylines that appealed to me, but the more I watch TNA, the more I don’t see much difference between the WWE and TNA, blood and language aside.
Now I don’t think that TNA will be able to pick up the viewers that claim they’ll watch wrestling now that the Rock is back, but if the Rock can really make watching wrestling “cool” to the general public again, TNA could definitely ride the coattails of this by marketing themselves as a “cool” alternative, as opposed to bashing WWE every chance they get, and pick up more than a few viewers. If TNA wants to pick up some new viewers, however, they need to add quality wrestling to their weekly show.
* This date doesn’t necessarily have to be a PPV. I remember thinking that February 3 was an actual PPV, but in reality, it was just another Impact. Now they’re hyping up March 3. And I’m willing to bet that if 10/10/10 was a Thursday, “They” would have been revealed on Impact.
** Hernandez vs. Doug Williams last week was a match that I thought was going to be amazing, but instead turned out to be a squash. I get that TNA’s trying to build Hernandez to be a monster, and I get that Williams was supposed to lose, but I find no reason for that match to not be as good as it looks on paper. Stop wasting talent TNA.