With all the negative press surrounding TNA’s recent financial cuts and subsequent releases, one might think the company is absolutely doomed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no sign that Bob Carter of Panda Energy is going to pull the plug, and Spike TV are more than happy with the consistent amount of viewers that Impact draws. With that in mind here are 5 awesome things about TNA that the pessimists may be overlooking.
1) It’s Not PG
Though WWE has seen somewhat of a creative revival over the last year and are more willing than ever to give younger wrestlers a chance in the spotlight, the fact remains that their PG product – driven by their corporate investors – is a limitation on the style most modern fans have become accustomed to. There are no such restraints on TNA and this is reflected with the use of more adult language and inclusion of weapon spots and plunder more regularly. It also means the women have a slight eye candy advantage.
Wrestling purists and feminists will say none of this matters and shouldn’t matter, but those of us who grew up in the attitude era are thankful that Bully Ray can still run his mouth, things can get brutally physical when they need to, and Velvet Sky can rub her nether regions on the ropes!
That’s not to say WWE doesn’t use weapons or promote eye candy, but when comparing the products it’s clear TNA go that step further on TV broadcasts more often than WWE. And lets not pretend wrestling isn’t low brow, and that this isn’t a selling point for an alternative to WWE.
2) TNA Have Evolved the ‘Backstage Segment’
I’m a stickler for logic and there is nothing more infuriating than WWE’s all seeing camera presentation. The camera is always backstage, conveniently filming private conversations as if nobody has even noticed. This wouldn’t be annoying if the announcers from time to time addressed it by saying something along the lines of “when our wrestlers sign their contracts they agree that there is nowhere off limits to our camera crew during show time”, but they don’t, and instead it comes across as some kind of weak quasi-soap opera.
TNA on the other hand utilize a roving reporter and camera man that usually approaches wrestlers backstage TMZ style, or at least sneaks around (coupled with shaky effect) to make things seem more realistic. If they do happen to chance on a private conversation, the camera is usually propped up against a window behind some blinds or in the corner of a doorway.
Recently when Chris Sabin was arguing with onscreen girlfriend Velvet Sky, it was in full view of the camera, but it was clearly handheld and not in the perfect filming position. Everything WWE does is impeccably produced, which actually takes away from the experience in my opinion.
3) Reality Show Elements
This may be moot because WWE actually has a reality show, but in terms of the wrestling product itself – under Eric Bischoff, TNA have taken on the contemporary elements of reality TV and logically fused them with the show. Gut Check has not always been executed effectively, but the concept itself and the style is a winner. It just needs to be fine tuned. Likewise it was TNA who pioneered the sit-down UFC style promos where wrestlers put things over like real people, instead of ranting hyperbolic mad men.
4) Women Get Adequate Time
Let’s not pretend TNA aren’t about promoting “Divas”, this isn’t 90s Japan, but the women they do use are usually given much more ring time and interesting matches than WWE. Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim in a Ladder match anybody? Not only would Taryn never have been given the chance to do something like that in WWE, the match probably would have lasted two minutes and any truly physical bumps would have been cut to protect them.
There is also something more traditional about the way TNA give their women promo time. Perhaps it’s a lack of over-scripting, but the recent heel run of Mickie James, with regular in ring promos has been far better than any awkward backstage segment with Kaitlyn.
5) The Top Stars Are Just As Good As WWE’s
In an era where nearly every WWE main event has been headlined by John Cena, fans cannot ignore the in-ring quality of TNA main eventers like Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and more recently Bobby Roode and Austin Aries. WWE will always have the bigger fight feel, simply because they have better overall production and bigger arenas. But from a pure in-ring workrate standpoint, TNA’s top talent have been just as good as WWE’s in recent years.
TNA may be going through some financial issues due to taking Impact on the road, but they have all the right tools to progress, if and when that big creative storyline comes along.