“The story of TNA has become one of the most depressing tales in wrestling history. A company viewed as the last chance of a viable threat to WWE with the hopes of filling the void left without WCW and ECW is now irrelevant. TNA is still alive and kicking but they are in a lame duck situation with a tiny fan base and very little momentum. The hopes of being able to thrive as the main competitor to WWE are not only dead but been buried deep. Many poor decisions and culprits have contributed to TNA’s fall from grace.” ~ The Sportster.
Unfortunately there are a lot of mean spirited people on the Internet who are miserable with themselves or a brand that they have watched for years so it makes them feel good about themselves to say mean and cruel things about you and/or TNA Impact Wrestling. I happen to not be one of those people. In fact, I love TNA Wrestling, maybe a little too much at times. In fact my fantasy dream job would be to become the head booker for TNA Wrestling since becoming the GM of the San Francisco 49ers is even more far-fetched than booking TNA.
I am writing this open letter out of love for TNA, concern about the company, and to provide honest and open criticism in hopes that you will read this and listen to my advice. The fact is I want nothing more than for TNA to succeed and grow a whole lot more than what we’ve seen happen since 2010, especially since 2014. I’ve honestly had my days ruined, and lost sleep about the lack of progress on a handful of nights. I interact and also contribute to a website called TNAsylum.net that truthfully houses your most honest, your smartest, and your most loyal group of fans.
However, when news broke that both Eric Young and Bobby Roode were both leaving TNA, I have never felt so low about TNA myself nor have I seen the morale of the other loyal fans hit so low either. I saw regular members say that they were going to stop watching Impact from here on out, and these people have not been back around since.
I understand that you lost Spike TV money and ad revenue, and that a lot of us do not know what your wrestlers make, or what goes on behind the scenes, etc. It’s understandable that the roster was reduced in size but the problems are now very complex due to the number of talents that are gone, the lack of number of replacements, the quality of the replacements, the lack of depth on the roster, and most importantly the talents that have left that cannot be easily replaced if at all. Truthfully as bad as things have been since 2010, October 2013 is really when the biggest downfall occurred and continues to lead.
This sounds very brief and that I’m only looking at one small example but it’s really not. Quite simply when someone says that they see more in the Bro Mans than they do in Bad Influence, the complete truth is that this person isn’t the right fit for the job. Bad Influence was easily one of if not the very best and hottest acts on your show at this time, they hadn’t ran stale despite being booked poorly and losing to teams like Chavo & Hernandez who had no business defeating them. Age may have been a factor but the fact is neither guy was slowing down or performing worse. Quite honestly two guys who were at least considered for main event or world title pushes but never really had the character to get there both had the character nailed down. Starting October 2013 the rug was pulled out from one of the hottest acts in the country for no apparent reason and then AJ Styles left.
The thing is, I understand AJ Styles leaving. It stung and as much as most of us wanted him back, it was tolerable because we still had most of the top talents left. Plus, Austin Aries was an extremely over act, and in a lot of ways was the only guy who could replace AJ but also had the potential to actually surpass Styles. The other thing is that Sting needed to go. As much as we all love Sting, he was in his mid-50’s and anyone who watched his matches knew he couldn’t even perform at a mediocre level at all. It’s how everything was portrayed on TV and what happened after all of this that was so hard to stomach.
It was awful seeing you on TV holding on to the leg of the man who every single fan realized had damaged your company and brand begging him not to leave in Hulk Hogan towards the end of 2013. What was so much worse is that everyone knew he was going to be on WWE TV within a couple of months, which made TNA look even worse. The AJ Styles farewell match was also a blunder that could be seen a mile away and should have been vetoed on TV. I have to assume that the thought was that AJ Styles would be resigned but when you literally use half of your heel roster at that time to interfere and help your newly crowned champion defeat someone who would very likely end up on WWE or ROH TV shortly after that only damages your product and its image. Things would have been different had AJ Styles had put pen to paper and was taken off of TV for a little while.
What was executed the worst was the Sting departure. Now only two or three months before Sting’s last appearance in TNA, he put Magnus over clean at Bound For Glory in what was supposed to make Magnus. The first problem was that Sting was in his mid-50’s and despite his best efforts was out of shape and could not perform well enough to really execute the intended plan the way it needed to happen. Then Magnus became the guy, and was the first new champion of a new era. Magnus had a very good match against Jeff Hardy and despite the cheating victory still looked strong against the biggest name and baby face in your company.
But what happened next was the beginning of the biggest downfall imaginable. Your newest up and coming star EC3 is wrestling Sting. While Sting is too old to perform at the highest level, his name value still helps build and escalate the young star in EC3 but the way the match ended did Ethan no favors in his victory. Then Sting wrestles your new face of the new era in his final match, and then your new champion and star needs almost every heel on your roster to assist him in order to defeat a man close to becoming a senior citizen that he just beat clean three months prior, but also one that everyone in the wrestling world knew was going right over to WWE at the end of his TNA contract, which made TNA look that much worse than WWE.
What happened the entire Genesis 2014 event and the next six months were the worst of all on TV but sadly wasn’t the worst off screen. Starting with Genesis 2014 we were all promised a new era in TNA. This was your shot to say we realize the Hogan regime was a mistake, and we will go back to the things that made TNA so great before them and fix the small things prior to 2010. It was a way to get back the fans who left the Impact Zone and a large number of viewers who quit watching. What we got was the worst wrestling product in the history of the entire industry for six months and all faith or potential to gain fans back was ruined and so was the potential of TNA ever being a legitimate alternative option for talents and it still fails to be a real alternative to WWE on screen to this day.
The quality of wrestling hit an all time low and matches were extremely short, and seemed to end right as they started to pick up and get good. What was the worst were the usage of 2/3 falls matches that were an insult to all 2/3 matches throughout the entire history of pro-wrestling.
Storylines were not only terrible but they were extremely rushed to no pay off at all, yet were still the vast majority of the show. Characters like Samuel Shaw started off decent but within a couple of months it was obvious the writing team was so clueless they took the character so far in so little time that it would be impossible to ever rebound nor make sense for the character to do anything other than obsess over Christy Hemme.
The other thing that was highly common was to focus on a character heavily, get them over really big and then never use them again until their contract ran out. James Storm was wasted putting Gunner over as a major threat just to have Gunner sit around until his contract ran out. During this period we saw TNA legends Bad Influence get jobbed out and not allowed to do what made them great and your product great. Chris Sabin was ran out with no intent to resign him despite winning the world title only seven or eight months before he was released. Possibly the hottest star and act with the most potential to break out and carry the company to new heights was Austin Aries who could do everything AJ Styles did, and also do it better. Aries was buried, derailed, held down, deflated, yet somehow always managed to be the most over guy in every match but was always held down by Gaburick causing TNA to prevent its growth.
This chapter finally ended but how did you still feel he was the right person for the job?
As mentioned, 2014 was salvaged on screen because Slammiversary provided a reset button and it almost resembled what we expected the product to look like but it was too late. John Gaburick took over to fix an easy fix and instead went in an opposite direction and did so much damage that most remaining fans left and never tuned back in. Russo takes a lot of blame for leaving Spike but it sounds more like Gaburick running Bischoff out ruined things for Spike, and him running Jarrett away wrecked the product so bad that it still is yet to recover.
But, 2014 was still a bad sign of what to see in the future despite the turnaround. To begin with the build for PPV was an embarrassment. Again, anyone who has done any analysis on the business and where WCW failed can also see and more importantly be told on numerous occasions how WCW did a terrible job of promoting to PPV, building to PPV’s and announcing PPV matches or cards during the Russo era. Yet since Gaburick has been in charge of TNA this has been the case with just about every single PPV. The most glaring was Sacrifice 2014 where I honestly shouldn’t have to waste my time telling you how awful the build was, and insulting the actual PPV card itself was.
2014 also saw long time mainstay Abyss become the ultimate jobber. Magnus faded into obscurity from world champion to not seen on TV other than Xplosion for months. A promising new star in Bram was highly promising but then was booked to put over an old and leaving D-Von Dudley and Tommy Dreamer. We then saw TNA desperately bury their own company in an attempt to put over an extinct ECW. But, the two worst things to come carry on as trends that are somehow not fixed today. Bound For Glory, TNA’s WrestleMania was the most irrelevant and worst built event all year to basically help out another organization that in return did no favors for TNA. The worst was the trend that Bruce Pritchard started but Gaburick has taken to new levels: letting contracts expire without renewing the talent and letting them leave (usually mid storyline). The big angle of 2014 was Bully Ray putting you through a table. Now, for one, nobody should have to tell you that an angle involving a table being the main focus of your company for a year is beyond stupid because you have learned the lesson right? However, the pay off was great…except Bully Ray was leaving TNA when it happened. Now, it may have been him the entire time but the rub could have went elsewhere. The Dudleyz could have ended up beaten up by King Mo or EC3, then someone like The Wolves could have ran in and done it and gotten them over. Team 3D left shortly after that and on the day they were honored in the HOF went in to business for themselves and called out talents from other companies on a TNA PPV. For some reason you continued to want at least one of them back, and have allowed talents you employ to disgrace you and the company since then.
Shit happens, mistakes are made, people learn…but the thing is it seems nothing has been learned from these mistakes.
2015 was a breath of fresh air because TNA had a new home and the company was not cancelled.
Bruce Pritchard did so much damage to TNA it was as if nothing could be worse, yet Gaburick has been in his position and has somehow been a lot worse. Pritchard screwed up by letting talents of the future in Jay Lethal, Alex Shelley and Joey Ryan leave; a major mistake made was choosing Lei’D Tapa over Ivelisse Velez which also still lingers on as lasting damage like the previous three names mentioned. Pritchard also used talents for a while to only let them sit on the sidelines for months without use, and even worse let multiple talents leave after an expiring contract in the middle of storylines. So, it was easy to expect that wouldn’t happen with his replacement but it’s been incredibly worse and nothing was fixed or learned by Gaburick or even yourself.
I understand that losing the Spike deal hurt a lot financially. But, when ROH, and even Lucha Underground who is apparently losing a lot of money can make better offers and afford better talents than TNA then something is extremely wrong, and something has to change. Some talent had to leave, and the once most talented roster possibly in wrestling history dwindled down which was understandable. However, the problem is this: give or take a few, Gaburick has let around fifty talents leave and being generous to even make him sound better has signed or brought back around 30. The roster is now so thing at minimum eight more acts are needed immediately and five were just signed three weeks ago.
What’s hardest to swallow is that many of the talents are not replaceable. Worse than that is that the number of talents that left have hardly been replaced as it is. The majority of the replacements are bargain bin talent with nowhere else to go while Gaburick has had numerous game changers in TNA buildings and did not sign anyone of significance since 2015 other than Mike Bennett and a little known Rosemary. Not even counting AJ Styles, TNA has allowed these names to leave: James Storm (who came back somehow), Bad Influence, Sting, Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Taryn Terrell, and Kurt Angle. Not one of these talents can be replaced. But the names signed were not even close to satisfying. It’s like taking away filet mignon and replacing it with a steaming pile of shit.
Other great talents like: Chris Sabin, MVP, Low-Ki, Kenny King, Havok, Sanada, Gunner, the possible LAX reunion, Brooke Tessmacher, Manik and Mr. Anderson. These are still highly damaging and they top talents continue to leave TNA and they continue to not even have their roster spots replaced. It’s a wonder that as many viewers have stuck around as they have.
Now, Gaburick has honestly had some very good signings that are still here that I will not complain about like EC3, Mike Bennett, and The Wolves. Lashley has improved greatly, Galloway is good but not world champion material right now but he is anyways. Two extremely bright stars are Eli Drake and Bram but they have been booked terribly. Two potential stars are wasting away as we speak.
Perhaps the worst thing about all of the roster departures (which is the worst thing in TNA and this entire regime by far, even worse than what we had to sit through for the first half of 2014) is the talent that was actually in a TNA building but was never sign. These talents cannot take care of the non-replaceable talents that left TNA but they could have made the blows hurt less and replaced a lot of the other great talents. Not even mentioning Dalton Castle turning TNA down for ROH (I hope you realize how sad that is to have fallen this far) or the Young Bucks saying no, but these talents were not signed: Brian Cage, Tomasso Ciampa, Trent Baretta, Rubix, Shynron (most insulting tryout in history by the way), Candice LeRae, Veda Scott, Will Ospreay, Jimmy Havoc, and Allysin Kay…and we also know Shelton Benjamin was missed out on as well.
Had you signed those talents above then TNA would be a lot better off and attract more fans. What we have got instead is the definition of insulting, we got all those talents and more to leave TNA but we have to suffer through Chris Melendez, Mahabali Shera, Raquel (greener than green) and Grado, plus Velvet Sky remains employed. These wrestlers have no business being on TNA TV, the Indy’s drawing 50 people tops is where those talents belong. It’s sad that you have the one free agents out there that would make a world of difference in the Killer Elite Squad who want to actually come to TNA yet have not been signed. This is how and why the audience does not grow at the number it should.
We also got the great Hernandez debacle of 2015. The bottom line is that Hernandez can say or think whatever he wants to. It is Gaburick’s job to do the work and the research to make sure that his contractual obligations elsewhere are over with, he didn’t and then TNA was screwed. The fact that MVP was the scapegoat for his wrong doing, and even worse allowed to be the scapegoat was disgusting. Even worse is that when MVP quit, Kenny King was going to pay? How do you allow this to happen in your company?
I’ve never seen TNA fan morale as low as it was the day that we learned Eric Young and Bobby Roode left TNA. If the rumors are true, for one, Bobby Roode without a contract for a second time is an indescribable feeling of disappointment. What is worse is that if there were two people in the company who were not only as loyal as it gets but also deserved a raise it was Eric Young and Bobby Roode. You also just lost Kurt Angle, Awesome Kong, Manik, and Ken Anderson’s contracts. You clearly did not invest that extra money into marketing or advertising so there is no excuse to not offer them a bit of a raise. Plus, the five new talents signed don’t even make up for the losses already in 2016 not counting Roode, EY or Angle. It’s insulting as a fan and hard to continue supporting despite my loyalty and desire for TNA to succeed. In fact every day that passes and obvious signings like Killer Elite Squad and Shynron are not in TNA just frustrate me and other fans that much more, and pushes us away even further. Too many roster losses have added up, and the small amount we have got in replacement are a slap in the face.
The image of the company continues to be tarnished by your own staff as well. For one, anuntalented Knockout who cannot wrestle a good match and has actually declined in the ring named Velvet Sky continues to push the WWE to hire you as does her boyfriend Bully Ray. Yet she remains employed and not punished. Velvet contributes nothing yet still slaps you and TNA in the face any time she gets asked about WWE on social media. But, loyal employees and great talents continue to not be resigned.
The worst of it all has been the handling of Matt Hardy. The booking of one man has literally degraded the entire history of the TNA brand and roster. Matt Hardy is not only past his prime but looks greatly out of shape. Matt Hardy is not Jeff Hardy. Jeff is a legend and mega star, Matt is a mid-carder. Matt Hardy was not only a mid-carder in the WWE but also in the number three company, ROH. In 2015, Matt Hardy got clean victories over the remaining TNA originals and legends, and former champions James Storm, Abyss, and then Bobby Roode. To kick off 2016 he beat the last in Eric Young. I was so angry to watch these matches happen and see TNA’s greats get buried down to look second to WWE’s middle at best, it was that much worse than it took place in TNA and not WWE.
In 2015, TNA did the unthinkable and gave him the world title for a couple days. It was something we could live with because it was so short, the title was degraded and disgraced but short enough to forget, or pretend that we forgot about it. Yet, in 2016 he not only won it a second time but became the person to finally really defeat EC3 and the best thing TNA had going which was his streak. It was not only ended by Matt Hardy but it wasn’t even at a big event with a big payoff like Slammiversary or BFG. The streak should have only been ended by a big name and established superstar like Jeff Hardy or an up and coming wrestler to get a huge rub. A flabby, mid-card Matt Hardy ending the streak was the worst.
Since then Matt Hardy has gotten the most TV time of anyone, he is now the heel TNA decides to latch on to and over-expose. Each time it’s happened it’s been the wrong heel, nor has it ever been EC3 who is about the only person who couldn’t grow old in that role. He now has a stable that is being insulted because they don’t even have a name they are called the Matt stalker than Matt Hardy could ever be. Matt Hardy sucked the life out of the small rating TNA was pulling as champion, and even after losing the belt is still the focus of the show. Matt Hardy, not Jeff Hardy, is the main focus of the show not Jeff, EC3, the champion Drew Galloway, The Wolves, The Decay, James Storm, Eli Drake, Lashley or the other handful of wrestlers that are better and more deserving. You have got to realize that Gaburick is not the answer.
Dixie, I understand that the WWE is king. It’s easy to see that the WWE has around 3 million viewers each Monday night and want to do what they do in hopes that you can attract the same number in due time or even half of that. But, I feel you are looking at this the wrong way. The way it should be viewed is that in their peak the WWE was averaging around 6 million viewers. That means that half of their viewers felt that WWE sucked and is no longer worth watching. That should mean that there are a potential other 3 million viewers and more that you can attract by putting out an alternative product. An alternative product was something you had most of the years TNA has been in business, which is sadly now closer to half its existence. It’s no surprise that your company got far more viewers back then than it has since 2013 and even longer.
Trying to reach WWE viewers is a good start but being so similar to WWE is not going to bring many of them over because they already have the WWE. Being an alternative and letting the world know about it could bring current WWE viewers and a good portion of those fans who stopped watching WWE over to TNA. TNA has become WWE-Lite over the past five or six years instead of being TNA again.
The WWE sucks on-screen because they are PG; they all have the exact same style of match; the booking and storylines are horrible; too many hours of TV each week; every match has almost the exact same layout and finish; they refuse to acknowledge the word ‘wrestling;’ every feud has so many matches and gimmick matches to it that no match feels special or important; the big fight feel no longer exists; promos are written by shitty writers and not from the wrestlers minds or hearts which makes them sound canned and generic; storylines are rushed and feel like they are in dog years; I could go on some more but I think you get it.
The worst thing TNA and this booking team is that they have also been rushing storylines and angles. A lot of feuds have way too many matches to feel big anymore (i.e.: Roode vs EY), and with these most recent tapings it seems like way too much is being done way too soon, and also not being pushed or built to on Slammiversary, or like WWE does to their fans, we will be asked to order a card full of rematches we’ve seen multiple times on free TV on PPV.
Another concerning thing is the large amount of talents being signed in TNA that came from the WWE development system. The WWE style of match and WWE way is predictable and looks the same almost every match. It feels like we are getting very close to a roster consisting of nothing but WWE cast offs who only know the WWE way and that will only alienate more fans. We also continue to see the former WWE names get pushed harder than the actual TNA guys and gals which is only damaging to the entire TNA brand, see Matt Hardy for the most extreme example. Just because WWE is associated with the wrestler it doesn’t mean that it’s a better choice or option for TNA.
I speak for the majority of your loyal fans and also likely for all of the former TNA fans who are yet to return, but go back to being more like TNA than being like WWE. Doing that will get your business success to look more like WWE which is what everyone wants it to be.
WHAT TNA REALLY MEANS AND ITS REAL IDENTITY
The fact of the matter is that the old TNA that ended in 2009 brought in way more viewers than what we have today, and the network argument does not matter because ratings were low on Spike before you left the network anyways. The old TNA got more viewers because it was a lot better than this TNA, it was an alternative and it had an actual identity. The identity was the diversity TNA had but no longer has. What added to the identity was the unmatched quality of wrestling that TNA provided especially in the X Division. John Gaburick and yourself brought back the six sided ring but what you don’t realize was that was only 1/5 of TNA’s identity. Unfortunately, John Gaburick seems to think the six sided ring is and was TNA’s identity when it wasn’t. Honestly, of the five things that made up your identity, it was the least important.
At the end of 2009 TNA was ready to take that next step up, and Hogan and Bischoff coming in made sense when it was announced, but what was unfortunate was that at the end of 2009 TNA was about as close to flawless as the product could ever be. Resetting the product or making drastic changes was unnecessary. Nobody can blame you for expecting the product to be so good after you signed Hogan and Bischoff but some of their ideas could and should have been vetoed. But, let me speak on behalf of all current long time loyal fans, and the fans that have left and not returned and explain exactly what TNA’s identity is/was, and what everyone wants back and what can bring them back:
1. The X Division: This was the backbone of your company and what made TNA what it is more than anything else ever did. It always provided great wrestling, and when everything else was failing the X Division saved your company. It was also what WWE didn’t have and could never duplicate. Yet, since 2010 it has declined every year and you have allowed it to fade into obscurity. Now WWE is trying to capitalize on what made TNA great because TNA could care less about it. Even the current X Division matches do not even look like the X Division anymore. You have had Jigsaw, Anthony Nese, Trent Baretta, and Shynron in your grasp and failed to sign them. Those four could have literally salvaged the division and made it great again. Even just Shynron and Jigsaw right now in 2016 would make a world of difference. You even had a huge chance will Will Ospreay and let him go to NJPW because your head of talent relations never makes these deals happen and half asses it. As of 4/6/16 I don’t know if Tigre Uno or the highly under-utilized and underrated mark Andrews will be back in TNA full time again either. Enough is enough, this division should be revised. The harsh truth is that you and your management team should be ashamed of yourselves for letting the X Division become what it is right now. UNACCEPTABLE.
2. Tag Team wrestling: Unfortunately because your initials are not WWE or owned by the WWE, TNA will never get the recognition they deserve on this. But, TNA had one of if not the best tag team division of all time. WWE had basically made tag team wrestling extinct, but it was thriving in TNA. Not only that but Beer Money, AMW, LA, Motor City Machineguns, Bad Influence and others were so damn amazing, and best of all they were TNA made, and not made elsewhere. This division has been a joke since about 2012 and has not improved at all.
Luckily you have one of, if not the very best team in the entire business in The Wolves. Sadly, it’s hard for them to prove it in TNA. Since 2014 when they came in, you’ve gave them close to no teams to wrestle. It’s been a waste of their talent, and have also failed to push them as the singles stars that they both are on top of it. It’s honestly baffling that they haven’t left or gotten angry due to the lack of talent worth a damn or just lack of other tag teams period. The majority of 2015 saw them be the only tag team on your entire roster. If it weren’t for GFW they wouldn’t have even had anyone to defend against. Again, I write “what’s worse” is that these are a name of teams TNA had the chance to feud with and/or wrestle The Wolves in big feuds but never did: Bad Influence (biggest failure in TNA tag team history that this never happened other than one ONO show with no relevance), Bram & Magnus, TJ Perkins & DJ Z, LAX, MVP & Kenny King, Sanada & Manik, heck even The Menagerie could have wrestled them once or twice, now add Bram & Eric Young too.
Finally in 2016, TNA had a revived tag team division…but then you and Gaburick allowed your two best homegrown and loyal talents in Bobby Roode and Eric Young leave, and two of those teams are now gone. At one point I thought TNA was a little bit away from having a division as good as in ROH but clearly better than WWE. Then I realized ROH has about 14-15 teams and TNA is still far off but if they actually signed talents all the building blocks are there, especially when TNA capitalizes on Killer Elite Squad. A couple of days later and back to the worst tag division in the business. Decay and The Wolves are the only teams worth a shit on the roster. The Legionarres are WWE rejects with nowhere to go who couldn’t get TV time on NXT but maybe we will get something out of them. Grado & Shera don’t belong on TV either solo or as a team, and a team with potential in Jesse Godderz & Eli Drake who could be a part time team was recently split up to reunite the worst tag team champions in company history not involving Pacman Jones for reasons unknown. What is the insult of all insults to your fans is that the Killer Elite Squad wants to come to TNA and they are not signed to TNA. They not only add credibility, but have a good following, and truthfully make up for the fact that TNA lost out on Gallows and Anderson. Hell, both members of KES are better wrestlers than Anderson and Gallows. Killer Elite Squad needs to be signed to TNA before you finish reading this sentence, no exceptions period. They are worth whatever they ask and will bring you more revenue.
3. Knockouts: Until TNA started the Knockout’s division women’s wrestling was a joke. It was not respected for a reason. There had been some great women’s wrestlers but they were rare and the rest of the division or their competition still made it laughable. But, TNA did something much different; they had beautiful ladies who could also wrestle exceptionally well. The Knockouts were no joke; they were nothing to laugh at, the division from top to bottom was damn good at almost all times. They were can’t miss TV. However, while TNA has Gail Kim, Jade, Rosemary, Cherry Bomb, and even Madison Rayne but over the years TNA has something that resembles the joke and disgrace known as the WWE’s Divas division. Angelina Love is one of the girls who can wrestle well but was just allowed to leave. Velvet Sky is terrible in the ring, continues to petition online for a job with the WWE which continually slaps your company in the face but you keep her on the roster and degrade the Knockout’s roster on the show each time she wrestles. Rebel is very likeable but likely better as a valet. Ivelisse Velez was passed up for Lei’D Tapa in the previous regime but Velez should have been signed after that regardless, she’d make a huge difference today, the same goes for Shanna. Candice LeRae and Allysin Kay are out there and improve the roster instantly.
4. The best crowd in wrestling: Until early 2010 TNA had by far the best crowds in the entire business, the best wrestling crowd since the original ECW, and it happened in the Impact Zone. You allowed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to run your most loyal regular fans out of the Impact Zone, it lost its liveliness slowly over the years, and now the Impact Zone is flat out dead silent at times. Sometimes the product is ruined because the crowd is so silent. The Impact Zone doesn’t deserve TNA. TNA now has the worst crowds in wrestling by far after having the best crowd in wrestling by far. It doesn’t even seem like you are trying to get those loyal fans back in the building that helped the shows so much. You may get those loyal, paying fans back if you actually made the show look like TNA again.
5. Six Sided Ring: This made TNA different but it was easily the least important factor of the things that made TNA an alternative product. You could have kept the X Division, tag team and Knockouts divisions the same, and changed the ring to a four sided ring and not kicked out the best regular fans the fans would have stayed there and remained as is. It makes TNA unique but that’s all that makes TNA unique anymore.
The only things that damaged TNA back then were Jeff Jarrett hogging the world title and pulling the rug out from everyone that became champion to keep it on himself (Christian Cage being the absolute worst example of Jarrett damaging TNA by taking the belt back) but even after Kurt Angle came around Jeff Jarrett was no longer the mainstay as champion. The other flaw was the stupidity that Vince Russo put on the air. Russo did a lot of good in the business and for TNA, but his gimmicks for wrestlers, storylines, awful ideas for new matches dampened the product too frequently. For some reason he has proven he is not the answer time and time again but you frequently kept milking the Vince Russo cow dry. Former WWE mainstays half-assing their time in TNA, and stupid investments in people like Adam Jones, and some guy from Survivor, and whoever Jenna Morasca is were also damaging but that was really it. It was a simple fix.
I think you need to realize that in 2010 it really only needed to eliminate some very small things, at the end of 2013 all that needed done was to go back to the formula of 2009, but now the product needs helped in so many ways. On the surface John Gaburick seems like a cancer to the product.
We’re all human, and the truth is you’re not the first, only or last person that will make the mistake of hitting send before double checking an email twice. Things worked out, so moving forward, it still makes no sense why and how TNA cannot grow from here. It makes one wonder if you are even trying when so many blatantly obvious things are ignored or not capitalized on.
There has been no marketing at all other than Twitter. It’s literally introductory level business to market your product. Whether it’s on you or on Pop TV both have failed to do anything. If it’s on Pop then you should be doing this yourself to help salvage and keep TNA on the air. There were apparently commercials on RAW for 1-2 weeks and that was it. For Christ sake why does Lucha Underground have the brains to advertise on RAW but not the number two company? If it’s money then how in the hell does LU have the money to advertise and not TNA? There needs to be more than just commercials on RAW though; like I said there is a huge number of potential viewers that don’t watch RAW. Spike, Destination America, other wrestling shows, the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL networks, ESPN networks & Fox Sports 1 & 2, during UFC and Bellator events, Walking Dead, etc. The fact is not all casual fans have ever heard of TNA, people who have never watched wrestling but may find an interest have likely never seen or heard of TNA. Former viewers may not even know what channel, date or time your product is on, it’s embarrassing.
The other things that are hard to believe is the complete lack of merchandise made by TNA. DVD release dates are almost non-existent, and there has not been one single TNA Blu-Ray ever. Low budget Independent wrestling companies put out Blu-Rays. It takes almost half of a year to get PPV shows if not longer. Not even all ONO shows get released on DVD, and the amount of compilations that can be made but are not is disappointing to say the least. So many good matches happened on Impact in 2015 that fans would love to get on DVD, there are no solo wrestler DVD compilations made unless that wrestler goes to the WWE. Do you not grasp how ridiculous and terrible that is? It makes your company look second rate, and it also admits you only care about your talent when the WWE cares. Your fans would love to get compilations on The Wolves, Beer Money, EY, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Austin Aries, EC3, another Kurt Angle collection and more. Yet nothing will ever happen unless someone leaves and goes to WWE and not NXT. It’s bush league and prevents a profit; a profit that you can give your talents as incentive and bonuses so Mr. Gaburick won’t let all your top stars leave the company and wreck the product.
The entire month of March just passed and ONO Jokers Wild was not mentioned once on your TV show. All you have to do is have The Pope or Josh Matthews mention it on air, it’s free advertising to gain revenue and you don’t even capitalize on this. What in the hell is missing here? Anyone can tell you this. Not only is Jokers Wild one of your better ONO shows each year but it also was the first pairing of The Decay who happens to be one of your hottest acts. The ONO shows also could easily tie in with the product, but not once has that been done other than one match from ONO Live. Taking ONO events and making them relevant to storylines on TV is very simple to do and then it also entices your fanbase to want to see the show even more. That is, assuming that they even know there actually is a PPV airing that month. These shows are cheap too. But, while the ONO show was not mentioned once in the month it actually aired which features the current talents working for TNA every single week the TNA DVD that is on WWE Superstar AJ Styles got plugged every single week. Now it should be plugged each month but so should your PPV shows. However, this is still putting just as much focus on the WWE if not more than your own product.
Not only is ONO never mentioned, not important or incorporated into storylines, there is an embarrassing lack of PPV’s for TNA anymore. There are now only two PPV’s, which are not even built to properly nor do they feel big. Rule number one in wrestling is to build up to a big payoff and have big matches on big shows. Twelve live PPV’s each year is too much for importance, but two is embarrassingly low. Four or five max should be perfect. I mentioned earlier that for two straight years Bound For Glory, which is your WrestleMania, has been unimportant, extremely poorly promoted, and built to even less. 2014 was literally a wasted event with no relevance. The build to your BFG show in 2015 was done in a week or two, and featured life time WWE and ROH mid-carder Matt Hardy bury the TNA rosters history by winning the world title.
Sadly, as much as GFW needed TNA last year, TNA needed GFW just as badly. A mass exodus of talent in 2015 left the roster at an all time low, one that would end up even worse in early 2016. Your company not only needed the influx of their fresh talent, but a merger between the two with a consistent talent exchange would have benefited both organizations. It would have also helped your company get your talents paid extra money. Plus, Jeff Jarrett and Scott D’Amore did your company a whole lot better than Gaburick and your current agents ever did. Either of them could have really helped out, at least in a mentor role. GFW alone could have revived your tag team and X Divisions.
In 2010, you had one person who could have been a household name made by TNA, but management screwed him over for reasons unknown. When I say household name, I only mean a small number. Household name is that a family or household where pro wrestling has never once been on the TV screen can hear the name and know exactly who the wrestler is: Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Goldberg, Ric Flair, John Cena, Andre The Giant, and maybe The Macho Man or The Ultimate Warrior. Plenty of legends and the biggest names in the history of wrestling are not even household names. That man now resides in the commentary booth on your program for about a year now.
The Pope has to get out of the booth and in to the ring, he needs the mic time that you give Matt Hardy and then you’d get better ratings each week. Had the rug not been pulled out from under him in 2010, that household name alone would have provided you with bigger ratings alone each year, and that would then catapult EC3 to also being the household name that he should be right now and in the future. With all of the talents you’ve let walk and the funds available; you can offer the Pope more money and get him back in the ring full time. Somehow, he got a return match this year and while he didn’t need or have to go over against a top guy in Lashley, your booking team essentially allowed Pope to get squashed and gave him no favors at all.
You’ve let all the big names leave your company, shown no gratitude for the originals that built TNA and remained loyal. The roster is paper thing and not very good from top to bottom anymore. Truthfully, it’s getting harder to remain invested in a good show because of the leaving talent, the off screen problems, the lack of tag teams, and even worse lack of the X Division. Truthfully as loyal as a fan as I have been, if EC3 leaves TNA then I am for sure done with both Aries and Roode gone. But sadly, if Jeff Hardy, Davey Richards, or James Storm were to leave then I would possibly stop watching as well. Things have to change. You have to learn from mistakes or sell the majority of the ownership.
Dixie, I remember watching a special on the UFC a couple of years back. It was when the Zuffa corporation purchased by the UFC. They made it a different product than the original UFC and improved it. Dana said that they discussed changing the name of the organization. But, Dana White vetoed the change and said that he always felt that three letters can mean a lot, and can still appeal to people and gain revenue, and those letters were U-F-C. No sexual pun or innuendo intended but I feel that the letters T-N-A can do the same. The original TNA prior to 2010 was different and better than the WWE product at that time a lot of the times, and truthfully since 2007 were the actual better product, but it was different and an alternative. Just not being named or titled the WWE does not mean that it’s an alternative. The product must change. The TNA brand is only damaged to some that obsess over wrestling on the Internet or those who will hate anything not named WWE. The casual fans and potential viewers who have never watched wrestling before don’t see it as damaged.
Something different must be done, and the X Division must be revived and tag team division must improve. The WWE may have a division that rivals what the Knockouts used to be but TNA can still match them with the five girls you have now and then build off it with the likes of Allysin Kay. Advertising off of Twitter may be too expensive but something else has to be done. The word has to be spread, and your lost loyal fan base must be informed that the product is no longer like what they saw in 2010 and again in 2014. I really feel that the X Division and the tag team division focus and improvements is your best chance to get them back.
The other thing that has to be done is to upgrade some talent. I’m sorry but when you planned on bringing in AJ Styles, Bullet Club, James Storm, Mike and Maria Bennett, Raquel and Rosemary at once…then lose the contracts of Kong, Taryn, Angle, Anderson, Roode, and Eric Young then there is no reason why such talents have not been signed. The amount of talent lost plus the quality lost has been insulting by the quality of the vast majority of replacements since 2015. Here are the free agents that you HAVE to sign and your company improves and so do your ratings: Killer Elite Squad, Veda Scott, Shynron, Jigsaw and Allysin Kay. You also have to get The Pope back full time and give Eli Drake more time. Getting EC3, The Pope, Mike Bennett, and Eli Drake on TV with talk time is a license to improve your product. The five acts listed above spark a huge improvement and increase in ratings. Please take my advice.
Please realize that this is passion and not personal. I may want TNA to succeed more than you do. I just know things can be done better and so do you. There are mistakes that were seen miles away from the outside looking in that caused this huge downfall that never should have happened. You also have to keep your top talents and stop allowing Gaburick to let them all leave. Truthfully, I have plenty of ideas. I wrote out a fifteen page proposal for an alternative product that has never been done in wrestling before which is stuff you promised when you debuted on Pop TV and nothing of that essence has happened. I have written fantasy booking shows using only the current talent on your roster and have gotten incredible feedback from your big time fans, even some of these fans do not necessarily get along with me have praised it. I would work for likely so much cheaper than a lot of those in your company right now.
But, the truth is you have plenty of fresh minds out there other than me. TNAsylum.net is a website that doesn’t kiss up to every decision, it offers passionate fans with honest constructive criticism, and also non-stop enjoyment, love and passion for TNA who all watch each week and love the show and things being done at time also. There is a lot of brilliant minds and ideas there. Your company could benefit a lot just from brainstorming based off of suggestions on that site alone. I hope you realize that I’m only trying to help, and not only do I pray that you actually read this somehow but I also pray you take my advice because I speak for a lot of your fans, and also for a lot of your former fans who would still give TNA another chance if things changed.
Thank you for your time,