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What really grinds my gears? Episode 14 - If it's not broken

Rating: 6 votes, 4.17 average.
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Episode 14 - If it's not broke, don't fix it!

Peter and Homer walk into a bar. After a few beers, Peter gets onto the subject of wrestling.

Peter: Hey Homer, you know what really grinds my gears??
Homer: Celebrities?
Peter: Of course, but I was going to say Impact Wrestling.
Homer: Oh, what's that?
Peter: It's kinda like WWE, but not as good.
Homer: Why is that?
Peter: They brought in washed up wrestlers and MMA fighters. Before that it was pretty good.
Homer: Oh .. so it's like WCW then?
Peter: No! Not like WCW! TNA was cool!
Homer: (sarcastic tone) Oooo, look at me! I'm Peter Griffin, I cry over a wrestling program, boo hoo.
Peter: Why do I even bother talking to you?

It feels like a long time ago, but there was a point in time where TNA Wrestling was cool. It had a cult status, it had a loyal fan base, and even with the introduction of former WWE wrestlers like Kurt Angle and Christian Cage, TNA Wrestling stuck true to what it was about .. Total Nonstop Action.

It was all about competition. Whether it was for the World, X-Division, Knockouts or Tag Team titles, there was a balance about TNA wrestling. The Knockouts were a huge part of the show, the X-Divison title was as important as the World title, and TNA had some great tag teams.

AJ Styles cut a promo on this weeks Impact Wrestling, referring to the Golden Era. Men like Jerry Lynn, Jay Lethal, Alex Shelly and Low-Ki were mentioned. I remember being in college and overhearing a guy telling his friends about TNA and AJ Styles, and how awesome it was. I can't imagine that now, I could only imagine those who still watch, to keep it mostly to themselves.

So what was it about the Golden Era of TNA?? What made it so great??

TNA Wrestling was great because they were fighting for survival. In the beginning, they had no television deal and could only show their product through online PPVs. They didn't get a television deal until 2004 and only had that deal for one year. TNA was off television again until Spike TV gave them a chance in 2005.

TNA from 2002-2009 showcased their wrestling like a sport. Competition was fierce, and this produced some very memorable matches and moments. AJ Styles was the face of the company for the majority of that time, although Jeff Jarrett had also taken a lot of the spotlight.

The X-Division helped to put TNA on the map, with wrestlers such as:
AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki, Chris Sabin, Kazarian, Petey Williams, Christopher Daniels, Jay Lethal, Alex Shelley, Suicide and Amazing Red.

There are many more, but the above names, aside from Jerry Lynn, made a name for themselves in the industry mostly through TNA (and ROH) and the X-Division. Not only that, but the Knockouts had women such as:
Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Roxxi, Taylor Wilde, Sarita, Traci Brooks and Jackie Moore.

Aside from Jackie Moore (Jacqueline in WWF), the rest of this talent once agan, made a name for themselves because of TNA Wrestling. The Knockouts division was far more competitive then the WWE Divas division had ever been.

I could go onto the World title and tag team scene, but you should be getting the picture by now. TNA Impact, with guys like Jim Cornette, Vince Russo and Jeff Jarrett calling the shots, was a much more entertaining product.

Not only that, but TNA was not afraid of cross promotion. They had tournaments suich as the World X Cup, and allowed their wrestlers to fight in Japan for NJPW. The IWGP titles were defended on numerous occasions, and it was refreshing to see TNA working with other wrestling companies.

Fast forward to 2010, and the change occured. Dixie Carter had "stars in her eyes" as Hulk Hogan expressed interest in the product. At the time, I was mildly worried, I couldn't be sure whether it was good thing or a bad thing, but all I could feel in my gut was ... TNA will never be the same if he comes in.

Before Hogan came in, TNA was running rampant with stables. The World Elite (led by Eric Young) and The Main Event Mafia. They were feuding over the titles, and Eric Young had become an important part of the show. However, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff came in, and these stables disappeared very quickly. One by one, certain wrestlers disappeared, Homicide, Kiyoshi, Magnus, Bashir and many others were fired or taken off tv. Douglas Williams, although never classed as an X-Divison wrestler, defeated Amazing Red for the X-Division title.

This was the beginning of the downfall of the X-Division, as Douglas Williams continued to bury the X-Division stars, and wrestled at his own pace. The X-Divison no longer had any honour, no respect, and none of the stars who had made it great were featured.

Not only that, but Hogan and Bischoff announced the six sided ring would be scrapped in favour of the traditional four sided ring. Although TNA had began with a four sided ring, the fans had grown to enjoy the unique nature of the six sided ring, and they continue to plead with TNA for it to return.

Some fans cannot understand what was so special about the six sided ring, but really, if they cannot understand, the likelihood is that they never watched the X-Division in its prime. The six sided ring allowed space for more high flying spots. Also it made matches more unpredictable, as there were six turnbuckles a wrestler could climb and jump off of. Also there was tons of space on the outside for suicide dives.

Once the four sided ring came back, they pushed the audience much closer to the ring, and formed a high ramp that was level to the ring. This created a huge restriction on high flying moves to the outside, which overall limited the excitement the wrestlers could generate with the fans.

With Hogan and Bischoff coming in, they wanted more control over the fans too. The fans were incredibly vocal pre-2010 and were never afraid to show their respect or displeasure for something they had seen. "TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA! was a very common chant on shows, however, the network executives began telling the audience to tone it down.

They wanted to be able to "tell the stories" without major disruption from the crowd, so the people at home could hear the wrestlers during promos. This was very bad for TNA, the Impact Zone died. The whole atmosphere of the Impact zone was shattered from then on. What made it even worse??


Immortal was a complete mess of a stable. With Hogan, Bischoff and Flair leading the way, guys like AJ Styles, Beer Money and other TNA originals were used to put over and protect Jeff Hardy. It was incredibly cringing to watch, and I can strongly say, as a TNA fan, 2010 was the worst year in the companies history.

They brought in Sean Morley (Val Venis), The Nasty Boyz and other washed up wrestlers who had no business being in TNA. Instead of TNA continuing to push wrestling like a sport, they began referring to wrestlers as "Superstars", and ultimately destroyed the identitiy of TNA Wrestling.

They even went as far to ban the use of the initials "TNA", because apparently it was bad for business and sounded too much like a porn company.

In 2011. TNA did something right, they pushed Bobby Roode as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Once again, the emphasis was back on a TNA original, and he made the World title feel important once again.

However, TNA has never fully recovered since 2010, and many underlying problems have shadowed the company until just recently. With Hogan possibly leaving soon, and AJ Styles cutting promos on how TNA has not moved forward one bit since all the changes, it makes you wonder if they are going to revert back to the old formula.

TNA was never broken, it never needed to change, it never needed to be fixed, but Hogan and Bischoff felt that TNA was ready for the next step when it clearly was not.

So where does TNA go from here?? As much as I want to see the golden era of TNA back in full swing, it cannot happen unless many things change.

- Six sided ring needs to return full time.
- Revert Impact Wrestling back into TNA Impact with red ring ropes.
- Dump the current X Division title for the previous belt.
- Release Hulk Hogan, Garrett Bischoff, Chavo Guerrero, Jessie Godderz and Knux.
- Never show or reference Dixie Carter or Eric Bischoff on television
- Bring back Jeff Jarrett as the authority figure and rarely as a wrestler, otherwise bring back Jerry Lynn or Jim Cornette as the authority figure. If none of those are available, then no authority figure whatsoever.
- Use Sting as a manager for an upcoming talent, and very rarely used as a wrestler.
- X-Divison requires no rules and no weight limits.
- Bring back X-Divison wrestlers and good female talent for the Knockouts, not WWE castoffs.
- Bring back Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns and Generation Me for the Tag Team Division.
- Dump the Joseph Park gimmick, bring back Abyss and other hardcore wrestlers for Monsters Ball matches.
- Bring back King of the Mountain, World X Cup, and other innovative concepts.
- Retire the TNA Television title, it is worthless.
- Push Eric Young. So underrated it hurts.

And that's just the start! What do you think TNA could do to bring back its identity? Does it grind your gears that TNA has come this far with little progress? Should TNA just go back to the Impact zone?

TNA needs to be fixed, and hopefully AJ Styles will lead the way to recovery.

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Updated 09-22-2013 at 10:17 PM by kylos

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Comments

  1. Kajmere's Avatar
    I agree that TNA has worsened in the last couple of years, and I also agree that there are many reasons/people to blame. However, did I expect it to get better and better and better as time went on? No way. Look at WWE from Summer 2012 to WM 29, some of the worst stuff IMO that I've ever seen, but it's managed to get way better.

    I feel like all I'm reading lately in the forums and blogs is the same stuff about TNA. I'm not telling people what to do (and don't get me wrong I liked this blog), but it's like the whole "we're sick of Cena" thing: a futile attempt to vent our frustrations. Don't worry, it will either A: eventually improve in quality again or B: deteriorate to the point where they go out of business and we won't have to worry about it anymore. Probably choice A.


    Either way, I think TNA, as it is right now, is still a very watchable program. I find it very close to the same level as RAW and easily better than SD. The last few TV ppvs contained better matches than I've seen on WWE TV in years. Besides the Cena Punk match before WM, there is almost no other memorable TV match this year that comes to mind from WWE, but I could list a dozen from TNA. Also, their actual ppvs are worth watching as well, and often better than those of WWE. Just sayin... but hey, maybe the next commenter will disagree.
  2. kylos's Avatar
    Oh, by no means do I believe that TNA has been completely unwatchable (although in parts of 2010 it was), as they still have some very good matches on TV and PPV, just that the product used to be even better and "cool". Now I see so much negativity towards TNA because of the mistakes they have made, and hopefully they just go back to basics and make the product as good as it used to be or better.
  3. Speezy88's Avatar
    Dude I totally agree with you. Especially the idea of bringing back the six-sided ring as well as thier innovative concepts like the King Of The Mountain match and World X Cup. Honestly I was highly disappointed in the Bound For Glory Series. That went over worse than previous years that I've seen it. Honestly, I wish they would find these guys like Sonjay Dutt, Brian Kendrick, and others who would randomly show up for ROH and bring them back to TNA. Imagine a guy like Paul London in TNA doing the X-Division. Man the days of guys like Elix Skipper doing the cage walk hurricanrana, AJ Styles vs Chis Daniels vs Samoa Joe, and tag teams like America's Most Wanted, Team Canada, Motor City Machine Guns, and Lethal Consequences are gone. It's really sad.
  4. weems's Avatar
    Great blog. Best blog I have read on this site in months. I have a few comments to make:

    First, you ask if TNA should go back to the Impact Zone. Absolutely not. Don't get me wrong, I could care less if TNA stays on the road or not. However, if they are going to pick an arena as their "home base" it sure as hell does not need to be the one in Orlando. Sorry Floridians, but the fans in Orlando do not add anything to the show. TNA needs to go to a wrestling city where they attract the same 3,000 fans every week. For example, the same 2,000 or so fans showed up every week at the ECW arena. These fans created an atmosphere that helped elevate the product. I would love for this to happen with TNA.

    Second, TNA claims to be an alternative product to WWE. At one time it was a true alternative because WWE did not have a 6 sided ring, X Division, quality women wrestling, quality tag-team wrestling or a roster composed of guys primarily in their 20's. Unfortunately, all of these things that defined TNA as an alternative are now gone. As a result, TNA has just become a carbon copy of WWE's product, but significantly worse. There is nothing "alternative" about TNA anymore.

    Third, I will disagree with you regarding TNA still being watchable based on last week's promo with Dixie Carter and AJ Styles. As the owner of the company, Dixie comes out and tells AJ that he no longer has 5 star matches (apparently she doesn't follow the product or know what a 5 star match looks like), describes AJ as marginal (even though he just won the bound for glory series) and that he would be in a trailer park if it wasn't for her (as if he couldn't earn money in another promotion). While Dixie is attempting to be the evil heel, I think that once again, she came off as a dumb bitch that has no idea about anything in the wrestling business.

  5. DK Wrestling Savior's Avatar
    As someone who hasn't had the privilege of watching TNA in it's glory days, therefore, I cannot relate to many of the things you talk about in this blog.

    However, as a fan for the last 2 years, I will say it's very curious. Things seem unplanned and rushed, storylines aren't developing. I'm not sure who to blame is. It's easy to blame Hogan and Bischoff but honestly, none of us really know.

    As for reverting back to the old ways, I do like how AJ is "Pipebombing". but in defense of TNA...you can't blame them for taking what made them successful in a minor way from the mid-2000's, and trying to grow that and keep with the trend of the wrestling business. I don't think the move to bring in Hogan and Bischoff was a bad thing. However, it was an experiment that has clearly failed, and they kept going for far too long.

    I hope it's the end of Hogan. I don't know what more he can do for the company, if he's done anything at all. But I can't fault TNA for making that move and at least giving it a try.

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