TNA Wrestling: Branding Garbage

Photo by WWE

I recently received an email from a colleague that read, “ I ask you, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Translation,does anyone actually care about the upcoming TNA Victory Road? Sure, maybe you will watch it with a friend named Justin, but you likely laugh at him for throwing his money away in such a foolish manner. During an interview with Dave Meltzer, Paul Heyman discussed all of the problems with the current TNA product. His explanation was quite simple, branding is important, but not more important than a quality product. Presenting a product that is filled with great matches and believable storylines is the only way that branding will become effective. Without these elements, you are marketing garbage to anyone that will buy it. While Paul is spot on, there are other problems that TNA must overcome in order to attract fans that would be willing to pay for their product.

First, stop making reference to WWE and the events that have occurred in another company. Discussing another product is not something ever done on WWE television. TNA needs to take the hint and stop making their product look like a WWE copycat. Chris Jericho explained this best, if you do not believe in your product, the fans will not have any desire to watch. Perception is reality, looking to another company for guidance will only make your product inferior. Second, avoid the temptation to copy angles that were presented to the WWE universe. From the Screwjob to the 2-21-11 promo, TNA has copied many angles without any original concepts.

Third, invest some time into long-term planning and map out a direction for the company. Taking this approach would have avoided having Nash and Booker show up in the WWE. Additionally, there would be no constant switching of the title. Putting any belt on three different guys in the span of a few months does nothing for the credibility of any champion in the past or present. Fourth, stop the gimmick matches right away. If TNA would like their product to be an alternative to WWE, the focus should be on actual wresting instead of first blood matches. Fifth, eliminate some of the segments and offer more wrestling action on Impact. Talking is fine when the storylines make sense, WWE presents stories that people care about. However, the segments presented by TNA make very little sense, this is why fans stop watching Impact. Are there all of the problems with TNA? No, but following this list of small changes might actually help re-establish an interest in this dying wrestling company.


12 Responses to TNA Wrestling: Branding Garbage

  1. Great job, Rich!

    • Avatar richjones
      richjones says:

      Thanks Brady!

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  3. Avatar Matthew Fiorucci
    Matthew Fiorucci says:

    I started watching TNA when it first came on TV, and I liked it. They had a bunch of young guys like A J Styles, Eric Young, Petey Williams, Daniels, Samoa Joe, Robert Roode, James Storm, Jay Lethal,and Kazarian . And you can add some WWE

    • Avatar Matthew Fiorucci
      Matthew Fiorucci says:

      I wasn’t done yet. It was when Dixie Carter got Hulk Hogan and Eric Bishoff on the show it started to stink. Of all the people in the world you let them two run the company, they already sent one wrestling company into bankrupt why not another.
      It is WCW all over again where the wrestlers runs the show and not company. and everything being effected by it. Let go of the HAS BEEN , and let real talent, who’s been their from the day one show you how it is done. At least they took pride in the company they built .

      • Avatar richjones
        richjones says:

        I watched TNA when Sting first debuted, i stopped within a week. I started again during the “wars” and could not find any value to it. The product felt superior when Dutch Mantell was the creative mind. A look at the ratings would show that, they also need to focus on offering fans something, anything at all. Instead, they just push released WWE guys and 60 year old men. Booking for the future should never be overlooked, this was the downfall of WCW.

      • One minor disagreement… it’s not WCW all over again, because unlike WCW, TNA has never been the industry leader. TNA has always trailed WWE, but for a short span, they were closing the gap. Now, that gap is getting larger and larger.

        • Avatar richjones
          richjones says:

          I agree with that, but WCW took quite some time to accomplish that. Will TNA ? No, because they have the same minds that broke down the WCW house in the first place. A wrestling program can never be enjoyable with terrible booking, this is something TNA needs to learn. If you are unable to give viewers a reason to care, they will stop watching. The numbers indicate this, the Victory Road main event is probably the worst booking I have ever seen. Eventually people just stop caring when you feed them nothing to hold onto.

  4. Avatar VinceGillett
    VinceGillett says:

    Justins TV is crap.TNA is crap.That’s a lot of crap. Crap squared.

    I wish I still had the 2.0 debate podcast because that was the best thing to come out of Hogan turning up aside from Cornette going off on it. I gave up the second that news broke.

  5. Avatar Jason
    Jason says:

    TNA is in a very hard position because nobody goes head to head with the WWE and does well. Going back to their expansion they pretty much ate up anyone that tried to compete with them. They may have been beaten in areas, such as Crockett likely outdrawing them in the south and Watts in his territories in the south, but one those groups tried to compete nationally they could not. The only success that a company had was WCW in the mid 90s when they brought in a bunch of WWF stars and came up with a unique storyline that worked because the majority of fans never saw Hulk Hogan as a heel. Thats the problem. Even if it wasnt Bischoff running part of the show, its the fact that all of the guys in charge have only seen one model that works and that is the WCW success from 1996 thru 1999 before they imploded once they no longer had “the other company” to rely on.

    I popped in an old DVD or two this weekend during a break and one of the matches was the HHH vs Ric Flair match from 2003 where Ric had his last real shot at the title. You had a guy in his mid 50s at the time giving it one last shot, and while it would have been nice to have him win he didnt. The fans still loved it, but the company understood that the important thing was keeping their champion strong. When the broadcast went off the air Kevin Nash came out to set up his match with HHH, because that was the draw at the time. I forgot that even happened, but those were the money guys and they were promoted that way. Fast forward to TNA and the return of the 50 year old Sting and he beats the money guy. It just doesnt work.

    And I have to agree that the talking is way too much. Its not really the strong point of most of the guys there and when you have legendary promo guys like Flair, Hogan, and Foley running around through the years it just makes the guys that are going to draw long term viewers look terrible. You can not package a guy like Styles as mini-Flair and expect him to work when the real thing is there and still stylin and profilin. Thats not just a problem for TNA either. Look at what happened when Rock came back to the WWE. He blew the current crop of guys away. It was an eye opener at just how bad the stars are. Cena comes across lamer and lamer every week with his comebacks, but at least WWE doesnt have Rock on TV every week to basically bury the guys who will actually be there for the future.

    ECW had the right idea, they just didnt have the management or financing in place to make it work. They built a great regional brand doing things different than anyone else at the time. They played to their strengths and hid their weaknesses. Then they went national and if they had better management I think really would have lasted longer than they did. TNA had the financing and they have people that probably know how to run a company, but they never built anything special in their “regional” phase and opted to become a poorly produced carbon copy of the WWF circa 2000.

    • Avatar richjones
      richjones says:

      Your observations are correct, but TNA is no where close to competing with WWE. How many people even know what TNA is? They give out free tickets to the Impact Zone to people on vacation, sounds big time? TNA does not have to compete with the WWE, they can just be great at being number 2. However, at this point, people refuse to watch it because they are not WWE, nor are they doing a great job at being number two.

      ECW did not have the right idea, they were watched by a very small audience on the east coast. Not everyone is drawn to the blood and guts they presented. This is why they never made it big, seeing outlandish things all the time has very little shock value for a long term plan. That being said, I would never take my children (if I had any) to such a show. Paul could not pay his talent because he had no money coming in, no advertisers that liked his product, and very little revenue. He also took money from Vince and stole money through various other sources, all while guiding a sinking ship. Cream tends to rise to the top, the ECW product sank because it was not the right product. Nor would Paul be effective in helping TNA if he were to use the same approach today. In general, if something is counter-culture, there is a reason it is not profitable. With that aside, all TNA has is money, they also have a great roster, and nobody cares.. why is that? If they can not find an answer, then expect Vince on Impact this year.

  6. Avatar VinceGillett
    VinceGillett says:

    TNA are no where near what WCW or ECW were for various reasons and probably won’t ever be. I don’t think it is fair to say Heyman’s style was simply hardcore stuff. I think all he did is give people something they liked which was an alternative to what they had been seeing.If ROH style stuff was a popular (Had it existed) he would have done that. He jut exploited a gap in the market.

    It is easy to say ECW folded because Paul didn’t know what he was doing and it is true that on the business side of things he didn’t. On the other hand we know the product and ideas he had worked because WCW and WWE took them and had one of their most successful periods. With the right amount of money and the right people they made that style sell so clearly there was something to it.