There will always be the worry among TNA fans on whether one of the top stars could be tempted away by WWE. It’s true that losing someone like Drew Galloway, Lashley, or EC3 would be a big blow for TNA. However, with a creative team that has been rolling out quality storylines and interesting characters for months, TNA’s ability to rebuild cannot be underestimated. There are multiple wrestlers on the roster, which with the right support from creative, could be main eventing episodes of Impact and holding the World title. Just look at the names that have left TNA in the last few years. TNA has had to rebuild, and Impact is arguably a stronger show after rebuilding. This is of course down to the talents themselves, but also the way the transition has been handled by the creative team.
One piece of praise that could certainly be given to Impact, over the past few months, would be the fantastic character development we’ve seen week to week on Tuesday nights. The Storylines have been pretty fantastic, but much of it is far simpler than that. Call it character development, or simply marketing, TNA has made a point of making its characters memorable.
For a TV show attempting to grow its weekly viewership, it’s important to create characters that fans know and can differentiate between. Allowing fans to develop an opinion on each wrestler. It has been noticeable over the past year that many of the characters on Impact have a nickname, or a catchphrase, or both. EC3 is “the ass kicker”; Drew Galloway is “The Captain”, Eli Drake calls people “dummies” and informs us all what is “simply a fact of life”. Those are just a few examples, these phrases and nicknames are designed to stick in the mind of the viewer, make them remember which character is which, and who they are meant to root for.
There is no better example of character development in TNA than EC3. Ethan has gone from being the biggest heel in TNA, to being arguably the top baby face of Impact. The creative team, with the help of some fantastic talents, managed to pull off a double turn of Matt Hardy and EC3, not an easy task. EC3 is a fantastic talent and is obviously capable of a lot, but this face turn has only benefited from a creative team that has given EC3 excellent material to work with. Ethan was kept off TV for a few weeks. Then returning, firstly with an interview from his home, followed by the in ring return in the UK which was excellent. EC3 in part thanks to storylines he has been equipped with by the creative team has been one of the many fascinating characters on Impact this year.
You cannot speak of the success of the TNA creative team as of late without mentioning Decay. Again, a fantastic combination of efforts by both the creative team, and some excellent talents. The vision of the creative team to see the benefit of putting Steve and Abyss together, and recruiting Rosemary to join them is admirable. Decay has become one of the most talked about things in TNA, and bar the angle with the Hardys’ a few weeks ago; it’s probably the part of TNA I’ve seen credited the most with interesting none TNA fans, into watching the product. Decay presents something truly different to the fans of Impact, yet I could see the group meshing so well with multiple different members of the Impact roster. You just have to look at their match with the Bro mans at Slammiversay to see Decay’s ability; they can mesh with very different types of characters. The wrestling dynamic of Abyss and Steve, with the addition of some fantastic music, ample TV time and excellent music videos have created a large fandom of Decay.
There is a large amount of praise that could be heaped upon TNA’s creative team as of late. The real test is if this good work continues, and consistency can be shown. If this creative team can continue to deal with what is thrown at it, be it injuries or stars leaving which leads to a rebuilding process, it could prove to truly be the most valuable asset available to TNA. EC3, Drew Galloway and Mike Bennett are already proof that this creative team can take in new stars, and give them material that works. If newer acts such as The Tribunal, Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett and Braxton Sutter can become similarly valuable to TNA, it could prove that the creative team is in fact TNA’s biggest asset.