It has been far too long since I last wrote this column. So much has happened with me personally and so much has happened with IMPACT Wrestling since that time. While my involvement with this dear site has been much smaller, my enjoyment of the IMPACT Wrestling product hasn't been greater.
New Owners, Same Problems
The big story recently has been the sale of IMPACT. Right now, it appears Billy Corgan is in the lead to buy the company. Dixie Carter has been holding out as long as possible to retain control of the company but her back is against the wall and her friend Corgan, could take the company that she has loved for so long. Other rumored names have been Aroluxe, Sinclair Broadcasting and even WWE. There is also a mystery buyer who would be a legitimate challenger in the wrestling world should they buy.
One of the big issues though is that IMPACT Wrestling doesn't have great revenue. Owners have been throwing money into the company for years and the belief is Corgan would have to do so as well. He says he can do it and I don't have any doubts about that. The question really is how does TNA monetize its product to offset the costs of running the promotion. I have some ideas:
#1) Revamp the PPV Model- Pay Per Views aren't what they used to be. WWE (the biggest brand) now has the WWE network which charges 10$ per month. It is very difficult to ask anyone to pay significantly more for a smaller brand.
Years ago, I thought One Night Only had potential but it hasn't lived up to it. One Night Only is like a dream. You may or may not enjoy it while you have it but you eventually will wake up and likely forget it. ONO doesn't have consequences which makes the shows irrelevant. While I haven't ordered any recently, reviews don't speak highly of these shows.
My idea is to return to monthly PPVs. Have Lockdown (February), Slammiversary (June) and BFG (October) be the big shows for 40-50$. Every other PPV would run at the current ONO price of 15$. The 15$ PPVs would be B-Show PPVs with less buildup but would actually have consequences. I personally miss the days of Genesis, Sacrifice, Destination X and shows of that nature. I would also transition some of the current ONO themes to the new structure (ex. World Cup, Night of Knockouts etc.).
Integrating these shows into the main product will give viewers a reason to buy these shows. They will have a much smaller price tag as well which makes it easier on the wallet.
#2) Monetize the video library- From all accounts, the TNA Video Library is one of the company's most valuable assets. I find it strange that this company hasn't done more with it. There are so many different things in the library from past PPVs, to forgotten matches to content highlighting many past talents. I feel like TNA needs to monetize it by finding a partner to air this content (like they are doing with Fight Network), doing it themselves (like the WWE Network) or leasing content while continuing to own it. Nonetheless, they shouldn't be sitting on it.
#3) Merchandise- Right now, ProWrestlingTees is selling TNA merch on their website. That is really one of the only ways to get TNA merchandise. This begs the question of why TNA doesn't find a way to sell merchandise of their own during IMPACT Tapings in Orlando. TNA has a hot product right now that their fans support. The problem is there are few ways for TNA fans to spend money on the company right now. Why aren't they looking at expanding their merch? Where is the Eli Drake Dummy Button, or a IMPACT Wrestling Mobile Game? These are wasted opportunities.
My State of IMPACT
I said above how much I have been enjoying the current product and I meant it. Mostly its because of the main event scene and how they are presented.
The main event scene consists of a long list of wrestlers such as EC3, Galloway, Lashley, Decay, Hardys, Miracle and Maria, Aron Rex, Moose and more. You can tell these are the focal points of the company as the creative team actually spends time on them, developing their characters through backstage segments on on-location segments. To me, the main event scene is one of the most intriguing in company history. You add recent names like Aron Rex, Moose and now Cody, things just get better.
The stuff between The Hardys and Decay has also been entertaining. If you are a wrestling traditionalist, you may be turned off by it but I feel the Final Deletion, Delete or Decay and similar segments are fun, which is how I would define this year in IMPACT Wrestling. These segments are bizarre at times but well-produced and offer memorable moments. They will likely go down as some of the things people don't forget about this year.
The X Division is really a singular entity. The wrestlers in it don't stand out but the division as a whole. The company just needs to brand it as a group of daredevils willing to risk it all to win. With WWE bringing in their Cruiserweight Division, the stars of the X Division don't stand out nearly as much.
While the Knockouts Division has had weird booking recently, I am loving the performances of Maria and Allie. Allie is so lovable that you want her to get her hands on Maria. I am guessing Allie gets involved at BFG leading to Gail defeating Maria.
From a business standpoint, I would say IMPACT is far from being a great company, however they are putting on a great product. What the company has really become is 54 shows a year with 8 marathon tapings. The wrestlers can get TV time while working elsewhere in the meantime. Fans get a weekly TV show that they can enjoy.
There are fans who want the company to return to touring, or who want a second show or who want more but the company isn't currently in that position. Ironically, the most stability of their TV show has been this year when that is all they have focused on.
I don't know what will happen from a business standpoint within the next few months but I suggest TNA continue to focus on their solid product. Take things slowly and rebuild from there. You are starting to get some momentum!
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope to be back soon with another article. I appreciate your continued support of the site. Enjoy Bound for Glory!