A story that hit the headlines in the wrestling world recently was that of the potential takeover of TNA. I don’t think I’ve ever written about the number 2 wrestling company, but maybe I’ve mentioned them in passing. There were reported to be several parties interested in purchasing TNA from the Carter family, but despite assurances from Janice Carter that they were not interested in selling, the reports refused to go away. There was even specuation that discussions were at an advanced stage, or else they wouldn’t have come to light in the first place. Naturally, this news immediately led some to believe that it was only a matter of time before WWE stepped in and took over their “competition”, much like WCW and ECW over a decade ago. I think WWE – or perhaps to be more accurate, Vince McMahon – should do exactly that: buy out the competition, buy TNA. Here’s why…
TNA as competition? Don’t make me laugh.
I can understand the idea that WWE monopolising the wrestling industry isn’t a good thing. I agree with that. And historically the company has been at it’s best and had it’s largest following when you had rival companies striving to be the best. But is TNA realistically competition to the WWE? Absolutely not. Financially they’re struggling, just look at the number of house shows they will have done between October and December 2013. They have had to cancel so many because they can’t afford to do them, they have ha to stop taking Impact on the road, they have had to release talent – arguably some of their best – in cost cutting measures. Sad though it may sound, money is absolutely crucial to a company in TNA’s position. And I don’t mean “their position” in that they are nearly broke, I mean attempting to survive and grow in an industry that is dominated by one company. They would need to be paying top dollar to keep the best talent that WWE doesn’t have, as well as luring away some of the talent they do. Even if they had the right talent (which in a lot of cases they do, more on that later) the booking needs to be better. TNA in recent times has been booked horribly. They have appeared disorganised both on and off camera, and they have come out of it looking distinctly amateur. In fact, that’s being too nice. They have come out of the last few years looking like a joke. To me, when I first heard about TNA, it was because that was where Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and Christian were. I discovered them as a WWE-lite, where I could see some of my favourite wrestlers after they left the big time. It stayed like that for a while. Then came January 2010. Or the Hogan and Bischoff era. You know, the one where they decimated everything that made TNA stand out from WWE. At the beginning I was optimistic – RVD debuted, Jeff Hardy came back, and I thought with these recognisable names working with the rest of the roster they would have a chance. They attempted to rekindle the Monday Night Wars by briefly moving to Monday nights. They have suffered ever since. In my eyes, TNA will never be a credible alternative to WWE, because their reputation has been ruined over the last 4 years. So if they will never be competition for the WWE anyway, it’s hardly taking the next step along the road to monopolisation is it? We’ve still got other, sometimes better independent promotions. Ring of Honor would be the obvious example, though they have had issues recently as well. If TNA suddenly disappeared, we wouldn’t be in too much of a different position than we are now, others would step up to be the biggest of the rest.
Wow. WWE have a lot of talent on their books, their problem is using them effectively, or pushing the wrong people. But imagine if you had the best from WWE and TNA’s rosters combined? The worst match of the night would still be good. Imagine if you got rid of The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Brodus Clay, Tensai, Sin Cara and Zack Ryder; and replaced them with Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Samoa Joe, Magnus – you could even put Kazarian or Abyss into that group too. That’s not even counting Sting finally appearing in the WWE, presumably for a one off match. And the Divas division too, while maybe still not at the strength it was a decade or so ago, could really benefit. A Divas division made up of AJ, Natalya, Gail Kim, Paige, Emma and Bailey would be brilliant, and then you’ve got the decent Kaitlyn and improving Brie Bella, Summer Rae, as well as ODB, to add to that list. For a long time it would be dream matches galore with the two rosters combined, though I don’t quite see another invasion angle. It wouldn’t quite have the same impact when TNA are nowhere near the stature WCW were at. There is so much talent out there right now, that getting them all in one place would be a dream come true.
That might seem like a far too big heading for a company that was only founded in 2002, but quite a large proportion of the WWE roster have spent time in TNA considering their comparative sizes. It would mean there wouldn’t be random gaps in packages looking at Angle, Christian, The Hardys or even Hulk Hogan. ROH have shown a willingness to work with WWE for the CM Punk DVD, I’d imagine they are likely to do the same for an eventual Daniel Bryan feature. That leaves TNA as the one outlet WWE can’t touch in their work. They own WCW or ECW clips, they bought out Stampede Wrestling’s collection, they can work something out with Ring of Honor, but not TNA. Being able to promote their DVDs as “complete” collections would be a great marketing strategy, and would surely make Vince a lot of money in the long run. If only for that factor, buying TNA would have to be appealing to Vince. Plus a lot of legends have turned up in TNA, even if only for short periods. The key one that comes to mind is Randy Savage, whose last wrestling appearances were in TNA. It would be able to give the WWE a sense of completion in the major history of wrestling like there has never been before, another notch to Vince McMahon’s empire.
Perhaps you can include the doofus son-in-law here too. My last point is the man himself, or rather his ego. When he bought out WCW back in 2001, he could have had something really special on his hands with the invasion angle, it could have changed the landscape of his company, the storyline could and should have lasted for years. Instead we got about 6 months of WCW’s midcard against WWE’s top dogs, being made to look completely inferior in the process. Why? The obvious answer is ego. Vince wanted to show that his company were truly superior, so he buried the competition as much as he could. If WWE bought TNA, to the general public, they really would rule the wrestling world. Obviously there would still be ROH, Japan, Mexico etc, but there would be nothing on TV in America that wasn’t WWE wrestling wise. Vince would then have the ability to proclaim himself King of wrestling, if he hasn’t already laid claim to that title. Plus, TNA have taken shots at WWE over and over again throughout the years, and I doubt those will have gone unnoticed. I doubt they particularly angered the mogul, he probably laughed at the upstart’s attempt to get some publicity. But I doubt he ignored them completely. It would be the ultimate revenge to quietly bury them, or if he’s an ironic kind of guy, become their “saviour”. The man who TNA publicly insulted and mocked on national TV, salvaging them from disappearing into nothingness. And laughing while he does so. Tell me that wouldn’t appeal to and enhance Vince’s ego. I dare you.
I suppose overall my first point will be the most important one: TNA have fallen too far to ever get back to a position where they can legitimately challenge the WWE, so why not put them out of their misery while there’s still some benefit to it? Personally, I want to see it happen. But it’s unlikely. I can also understand those who think it’s a horrible idea. Allegedly WWE are taking an interest in who buys TNA, without having any interest in actually doing so themselves. Who knows what the future holds though?
I suppose I should also apologise for the lack of content on this site. This is only the 9th non-predictions post this year, and that just isn’t good enough. I do have a couple of ideas that will hopefully see some more regular posts, so stay tuned. For now though, I can only say sorry for 2013, and hope we haven’t lost too much faith from you guys.
So, what are your thoughts on the whole TNA scenario? Have they fallen too far to be worth saving? Should WWE buy them? Let us know by the usual means, and as always tell your friends!