TNA making changes that fans can believe in
Things are looking up for the TNA faithful!
Before we get too far into this column, let me be the first to admit that I'm far from being one of TNA's biggest fans. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I consistently tuned into Impact on a weekly basis. I will say that the new Broken Hardy storyline has been quite entertaining, but even that isn't enough alone to reel me in.
Not that I'm anyone special, but I have a strong suspicion that many common wrestling fans share the same sentiment when it comes to TNA Wrestling.
A while back, I wrote an article which told the story of the time Impact Wrestling did a live taping from my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. In that article, I spoke of where I thought TNA failed in producing this particular show, which was marketing and promoting.
Verizon Arena, which is where the show was held, has a seating capacity for roughly 18,000 fans when the venue is configured for wrestling events. Unfortunately, TNA failed to sell 2,000 tickets. The problem was simple, no one knew they were here.
Wrestling fans in the south are very serious about supporting these types of shows. Had there been a minimal amount of money spent on advertising, this show could have drawn at least 10,000 fans. After all, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle were just a few of the names that were here.
Those are heavy hitters in the wrestling industry, even those who weren't TNA fans would have come to see Hogan and Sting. I also spoke of what was right with my experience that night, and there was a lot of positives. The overall experience was phenomenal.
The talent was very interactive with the fans, the tickets were very reasonably priced and the merchandise was dirt cheap; not to mention the action in the ring. The first show was the live show for TV, then there was an Impact taped for the following week, as well as an episode of Xplosion filmed to cap the night off.
The experience from a fan’s perspective was outstanding. It's just a shame that things weren't handled better from a corporate standpoint.
That night in Little Rock was a prime example of why TNA has struggled so much over the years. Most fans have always wanted to see them do well, but after years of poor management, the company has become almost laughable, and that's too bad.
TNA has an abundance of quality talent. If they were being led properly, by someone who actually knows and cares about the sport of professional wrestling, well, maybe...just maybe things would be different today. To be honest, when Panda Energy took control and demanded that Dixie Carter be the face of the franchise, the company took a nose-dive and never got control back.
That is until now. Something might have just occurred, which could potentially be a serious game-changer.
You may not believe this right now, but there was a time some folks believed that TNA had the potential to possibly rival Monday Night Raw. You see, back in 2002, profession wrestling was at a very odd time in the history of the industry. The Attitude Era wound to a close in May of 2002, leaving fans wondering what was next for the wrestling juggernaut.
The success of the Attitude Era was so significant, that anything else they tried to produce, would come across as either watered down or just cheesy. Following that era was something that Vince McMahon was absolutely not prepared for and even though the company would eventually rebound, things were stagnant for a few years.
This time period of uncertainty was one of the reasons Jeff Jarrett and his father decided to see what they could come up with.
In June of 2002, less than one month after the WWE ended the Attitude Era, Jeff Jarrett and his father started J Sports and Entertainment. With that company, they put together Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
In the early days of TNA, they went with a weekly pay-per-view format. This would eventually gain some momentum and as we all now know, TV deals would come, as well as top-tier wrestling talent. Things would get rocky between Double J and the folks at Panda Energy, once they came into the fold.
Jeff had one idea, while Panda had theirs. After years of bitterness, things would finally come to a head. Simply put, Jeff wanted Dixie off of TV, but her father just so happened to be the CEO of Panda Energy and he wanted Dixie to maintain her role as on-screen President of Impact Wrestling.
At the end of the day, it was a situation full of bad energy and Jeff Jarrett had to leave. Jarrett resigned and walked away.
In the few years since Jeff Jarrett's departure, things at TNA have only gotten worse. There have been allegations of poor practices involving payroll for the talent, as well as invoices from vendors. There have also been continuous rumours of the ultimate demise of the company, suggesting that TNA has been closer than ever to shutting its doors.
Fast forward to where we are now and you'll see that suddenly, there's hope in Nashville. TNA is now operated by Anthem Sports and Entertainment. Since Anthem became the majority stakeholder, there's been a feeling of relief, especially considering how deep their pockets are, as well as how relevant they are in the world of sports and entertainment.
One of the key changes with TNA in recent days is Dixie Carter and her role with the company. Now that she has been reduced to nothing more than a minority stakeholder, it's very unlikely that she will have action on camera anymore, which has been a huge complaint by many, including Jeff Jarrett.
In the past couple of days, it's been made official that Jeff Jarrett is back with TNA, as an executive consultant. While not much is known regarding the details of his new role, he is expected to have the keys to the ride, so to speak.
Jarrett will definitely have a lot of control when it comes to creativity and overall production. Not only that, but Jarrett also brings with him, Dutch Mantel, formerly known as Zeb Colter. Dutch will assume creative duties, as well as assist Jarrett with production backstage.
Along with these huge changes, TNA officials also unveiled a new logo at the latest Impact tapings in Orlando. In the logo, Anthem has incorporated their own company logo into the Impact imaging.
You may have your own views or opinions on Jeff Jarrett and how relevant you think he may be. However, the fact remains, Jeff Jarrett is the patriarch of TNA Wrestling. It is his idea, his dream and blood, his sweat and tears that got the company off the ground. If anyone knows how to right the wrongs within this company, it's Jeff Jarrett.
Not only that, but Jeff is bringing along with him, one of the greatest minds in professional wrestling in Dutch Mantel.
There are some fans who hate the idea of Jeff Jarrett being back in TNA. Personally, I've never been a huge fan of Jarrett myself, but that's as a wrestler. However, when it comes to his knowledge of the business, I have nothing but respect for him. TNA has been in shambles in recent years, that's just the reality of the situation.
Change was necessary and when making drastic changes, sometimes you just have to go back to the roots, or the foundation of what you're dealing with. Jeff Jarrett is the foundation of TNA Wrestling, period.
At one point, TNA had a promising future, but somewhere along the way things changed, and the company nearly derailed completely. This is a new beginning for TNA. Maybe Jarrett doesn't have the miracle cure for the company. Maybe he doesn't have the answer at all...But then again, maybe he does.
TNA fans, give it a chance. You have nothing to lose and an entirely new world to gain.
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