TNA wrestling has taken the first step on what is to be the long, arduous journey to revitalizing their product and changing it’s imagine. The newly dubbed “Impact Wrestling” came out with new sets, new mission statements and, what many hoped would be, new creative or at a minimum some important tweaking. The question which looms now is whether or not this change is truly the beginning of reconstructing the entire organization or just another good intention which fails to live up to expectations. Devout TNA fans believe in the change and foresee bright things in the future of the company while the casual view has difficulty accepting this.
TNA (for the sake of sanity I will continue to refer to them as TNA for the rest of this article) has come forward with their apparent new statement: “Wrestling matters.” Unfortunately this statement came under fire this past week on twitter when Karen Jarrett began responding to fans comments during last weeks airing of iMPACT. She made the following tweets in regard to “Wrestling matters:”
“Seriously people the “Wrestling Matters” campaign isn’t JUST about physically wrestling…it is
about HOW DOES WRESTLING MATTER TO U…”
“How does Wrestling Matter 2 u? What do you think of when u hear “WRESTLING”?1st, I think
of growing up watching wrestling w/ my grandfather.”
Perhaps Karen Jarrett isn’t the best spokesperson for TNA but regardless of that fact one can’t go and ignore the statements which seem to call into question the intention behind “wrestling matters” all together. Fans in general, myself included, believed this to be more about the creative direction and the time used on the show. “Wrestling matters” sounded like a rallying cry to take a step away from the crazy storylines, the long succession of promo after promo and the extension of televised matches. Unfortunately wrestling fans these days have grown use to televised matches failing to break the ten minute mark frequently but if “wrestling matters” then, well, wrestling should matter, right?
In light of discussion regarding Karen’s statements, and the “wrestling matters” motto in general, one has to begin wondering what exactly do they mean by this? Is it truly something which is going to revolutionize the current standing of TNA and lead us down a road filled with more exciting matches and rivalries or is it just another company line that will fail to deliver and leave fans wondering what the hell happened? This remains to be seen, and one can’t make that kind of judgment without seeing the ultimate outcome. TNA is flush with talented wrestlers and could certainly make this work and make wrestling the most important thing about their show. If you truly want to be different from WWE then making wrestling more important is certainly a positive direction to head in.
At the moment there is some chaos going on in TNA. From the strange Sting / Ken Anderson angle involving the old school Sting look and interviews with the Disco Inferno to Mick Foley and “The network” against Hulk, Bischoff and the rest of Immortal, the strange incidents between Velvet Sky, Angelina Love and Winter and of course that which falls in between. There is no doubt in my mind that if TNA chooses to turn up the head, put the emphasis heavily on their wrestling and allow the promos, backstage antics and storylines play in the background and work more toward amping up their matches rather than appearing more important then they could certainly cash in on the overabundance of incredible performers they have working for them.
Storylines are necessary, and we like to see where things are heading. The big reveal or surprise twist can be used to captivate the fans or they can be used poorly, or overused, in which case you alienate the fan. Often times it seems like TNA craves to draw in the fan and that their goal is to captivate the watcher but sometimes what matters, what is supposed to be important, gets buried in a sea of gimmicks, angles and twists. However, when you look at the roster and see great performers like AJ Styles, Robert Roode, Rob Van Dam, Ken Anderson and the list goes on and on, you have to imagine a lot this stuff could write itself. This isn’t rocket science, this is art, this is athleticism. Then again, it’s always easier to be an armchair quarterback isn’t it?
One has to wonder if TNA will finally begin going in a direction which will make it a true competitor for the fans, to give it the power and the draw to make WWE look their direction. Although, it is arguable that TNA should even be remotely concerned with what direction WWE is looking and rather be more concerned with what way the fans are looking. TNA does face a lot of scrutiny and fans often complain that WWE gets the benefit of the doubt but the bigger picture here is not about WWE, it is about wrestling fans so passionate about what they love that they want to see TNA turn the corner and do what they’ve been begging WWE to do for years: make wrestling matter again. My criticism for TNA is not about my dislike for their product, it is about how difficult it can be to watch a promising company throw an opportunity away. Maybe this time they’ll finally swing for the fences.