It’s been a while folks but Booth’s Eye View is back. I have suffered from burnout in recent months but now I’m charged and ready to give you guys the best columns I can put together. Here we go…
There’s a new direction in TNA that is presenting the fans with long term storylines that burn slowly over the course of a few months, or in the case of the Aces & 8s, over the course of a year and counting. This patient approach has allowed for stories to become layered, nuanced and powerful (Bully Ray’s unveiling as the president of the Aces & 8s for one). The majority of hardcore TNA fans seem to be sticking with the new product even when it misfires (Devon’s underwhelming unmasking at last year’s BFG). However a lot of casual fans seem to have switched off Impact Wrestling, lacking the desire to wait months for a payoff. The ratings decline/stagnation at 1.0 seems to testify to this fact.
The question therefore is do the writing team at TNA need another strategy to hook back the lost casual viewers and hopefully gain even more? If so, what would this new approach consist of?
One tactic I would employ would be to have some lighter storylines that only take a couple of weeks to come to a climax. The likes of Robbie E, Zema Ion and Eric Young could fit nicely into faster, less serious feuds that would entertain the casual fan yet help build the wrestlers into loved or loathed characters that the fans care about. I would even use these compact stories to recreate or repackage stale characters like Robbie E, who I feel would benefit from a tweaked character and a more varied move set. He has the natural ability to get over but is hindered by his Jersey Shore-Lite image.
Another strategy could be to bring back a stronger roster of Knockouts. The likes of Awesome Kong, Roxxi, Cheerleader Melissa (repackaged) and Taylor Wilde would add depth and more possibilities. The writing team could also spend more time creating meaningful feuds here over a title that the women in TNA fought hard to have created. A Gail Kim/Kong reunion would have many casuals and hardcore fans salivating, as well as rekindling the passion that I feel is lacking within the division at present. Sure Taryn Terrell is beautiful but I’ve yet to see her light up the ring. The Knockouts are about so much more than aesthetic value. The WWE Divas fill that role, so let’s give fans an alternative with Impact Wrestling.
The idea of Impact Wrestling being an alternative to WWE leads me to my next idea. In recent weeks the X-Division has been given somewhat of a push with it’s new three way concept and last week’s introduction of a ref cam (not a great idea in my book). The rehiring of Petey Williams is also a big positive. However I feel the X Division is TNA’s backbone and is what many casuals stayed to watch, owing to the dearth of cruiserweights over at Stamford. So let’s give the X-Division a main event slot once a month, with the title being up for grabs on that night. This tactic would require decent booking, better writing for the division and the hiring of more X wrestlers but I personally would look forward to such a main event. I believe the same would go for many other fans. The Aces and 8s dominating the end of the show week after week is getting old. Fast.
My last concept is to slowly build up a hero within Impact Wrestling to take on the Aces & 8s and eliminate the group at this year’s Bound for Glory . I am aware that AJ looks to be the man they are resting their hopes on and he would be a great pick for the role. I have serious misgiving though that Sting or even worse, Hulk Hogan will end up stealing the limelight. This would be a David Arquette moment for Impact Wrestling, especially if Hogan became champion. So if AJ turns heel then who do I suggest fills the hero position? Well I have two men in mind: Matt Morgan or Joseph Park/Abyss. Either of these two guys would provide fresh blood at the top of the mountain and lead TNA into its next phase. A Joseph Park success story would mirror the Mick Foley/Mankind moment that saw WWE overtake WCW. Now I’m not suggesting that such an event in Impact Wrestling would have the same effect. TNA is far smaller and less well known than WCW, but it would show fans that TNA is a company that pushes new talent and provides a viable rival to WWE.
Hope you guys enjoyed my return and I look forward to your thoughts.