January 01, 2011

TNAsylum Spin Cycle 12/31/10

Welcome everyone to the final Spin Cycle of 2010. The theme of this Spin Cycle Roundtable Column is to reflect on 2010 and predict what will happen in 2011. This is a supersized Spin Cycle as we have more contributors than ever before. Meet the writers:

Irish Yid- The UK Kid and regular writer for the site.
FK9- Writer for Straight Shooting and very controversial human being.
Michael Sangregorio- Writer of By the Book. Our very own booker, Michael!
Pause Menu Not Wanted- Another controversial figure and one who is also very notorious.
Hyde Hill- Intelligent and regular reader and commenter.

1) What were your thoughts on TNA in 2010? The Hogan/Bischoff regime? The year as a whole for the company?

Irish Yid- 2010 felt almost like a step backwards for me. This may have been partially because I only really started watching TNA religiously in the latter half of 2009, and so I caught some very good matches and storylines from TNA. There has been some very good stuff in 2010, but is outweighed by the bad. I'd say there has only been about half a dozen great iMPACT!s this year, which has been rather disappointing.

Overall, I'd much rather Hogan and Bischoff hadn't joined as I feel TNA have taken a step backwards.

PSNW- I believe that 2010 has been a bad year for TNA. The Hogan & Bischoff Regime did not work out well and many decisions made under that era failed to do much. The Monday Night Massacre turned out horribly for TNA, at one point receiving a 0.5 rating. The focus of TNA went to former WWE talent that came into TNA instead of those who have been with the company for a longer time. That's not to say that there haven't been any good signings, because for example, Mr. Anderson has become a welcome addition to the huge TNA roster and whilst he is old, Ric Flair has entered the company with the intention to push the younger talent. Still, the start of 2010 was a nightmare and whilst the worst issues are no longer present, some still remain which can affect the company. Giving the World Heavyweight title to someone with charges of drug offenses is something which you shouldn't do.

Hyde Hill-Well it’s been a real rollercoaster of a ride for TNA this year. There have been some great signings like RVD, Hardy and Anderson and some really bad ones like the Nasty Boys. The year started off with a lot of hope but the booking following the Jan 4th event combined with the Monday Night Skirmish made TNA lose all momentum it gained from it overall rating’s wise. There have been a lot of very good matches but the general booking has let it down as it seems that the combination of Hogan, Bisch, Russo, Dixie has not been able to find the right balance yet. The flow of Impact has improved though because they cut down from eleven to nine segments and the production values are up, plus the addition of Reaction and the docu style segments has been really good. With a little luck TNA’s brand awareness and engagement has also increased but seeing as the first is immeasurable and the second is hard to gauge given the lack of information its hard to say if that is actually the case.

FK9- Frankly, 2010 has been a pretty depressing year for this company when you think about all the potential that's gone to waste. When I first heard that Hogan & Bischoff were coming to TNA, I had a cold, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and my mind was immediately flooded by memories of WCW horrible enough to turn your hair white. Am I exaggerating? Kind of. But you get the idea.

It's been one year since these men showed up on TNA's doorstep and everything I was afraid would happen has happened, and more.

-Booking -- even worse than before.
-Hogan's buddies -- many of them got jobs they didn't deserve.
-Knockout division -- destroyed.
-X-division -- practically non-existent.
-Ratings -- lower than they were before Hogan & Bischoff showed up.

Read that last part again. That's not a misprint. The ratings are LOWER than they were a year ago. These men were brought in to take TNA to the next level, and it seems like all they've accomplished is driving the expenses up and the ratings down. They did attract some legit stars to the company, but in a lot of cases (re. Anderson, Hardy), those people were already on their way before Hogan & Bischoff signed on the dotted line. And Bischoff can throw out all the excuses he wants about increased merchandise sales or whatever, but merch sales aren't going to keep SpikeTV happy. Spike wants ratings and the ratings are down. Even with all the additional star power, the ratings are DOWN. Clearly this is a sign that Hogan/Bischoff have failed in the key issue they were brought in to address.

About the only positive in all this was Bischoff's brainchild, ReAction, which I thought was a very good, compelling show, and actually better than iMPACT a lot of the time. But ReAction was just cancelled, so that doesn't really mean much anymore, now does it?

Remember a year ago, when Hogan said that he would walk away from TNA if he couldn't turn the company around? I guess because he can't walk now, he's using that as an excuse to go back on his word (oh yeah, I went there).

Michael S- 2010 had to have been the toughest year for TNA to find an identity for itself as well as one of the most harshest years to come under criticism. The Monday Night move experiment was an unfortunate premature risk but the only way of finding out whether it would work or not. Many questionable creative decisions were made and a lot of blame shifting went on when Hogan and Bischoff were asked if they were responsible for any of it. With them came many of the talents from the Hulkamania tour including Ric Flair and Mr. Anderson. Some have worked out (i.e. the former), some fell flat (the Nasty Boys) and some are still around for whatever reason (Orlando Jordan). I do think there is a way to use Hogan and Bischoff, but not as full time on-air characters. Hogan should be out there promoting the product and speaking on behalf of TNA. Bischoff should be doing the authority character he does so well. Neither have to be a real big force in the show's direction. Hopefully they learned that for the new year.

2) What was your favorite event (match, feud, backstage story, moment) in 2010?

FK9-Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money. Not only was this TNA's best feud of the year, but it culminated in TNA's best match of the year with the final match of the best of 5 series. But it wasn't just the feud or the match that made this special -- it was that it was beginning of the rise of the Machine Guns. After being overlooked and underpushed for 4 years, Sabin & Shelley FINALLY captured the tag team titles, and have since gone on to have what has been, IMHO, the best title reign anyone has had in this company in as long as I can remember. For the last 6 months, they've stolen the show at every PPV they've been on, had several more MOTY contenders, had a great feud with Generation Me, ended Team 3D's run as a tag team and now lay claim to being the best tag team in the world with not many people disagreeing. It's very rare in TNA that we see well-booked title reigns that wrestlers are actually elevated by in a legit way. This has been one of those reigns, and it all started with the Beer Money feud.

Honorable mention goes to the MCMG vs. GenMe empty arena brawl. Damn, that match was cool as hell...

Irish Yid- Absolutely anything involving the Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money, Inc. From the Public Service Announcement, to the Fandimonium DVD to the Best of Five series. The six matches these guys had against each other were great, including what I feel was the match of the year; the 2 out of 3 falls match at The Whole F'n Show.
BTW, anybody who hasn't seen the DVD, go out and get it. It's a nice look at the two best tag teams in the world today.
Michael S- I actually thought the Immortal build up was the most thought out storyline that TNA has ever had because it always had the fans asking questions about who it would turn out to be. Who was going to be the one to turn against us all and betray us? When it turned out to be Jeff Hardy I was definitely at first thinking that it was a mistake to turn your number one face into the number one heel, but so far, he's been doing a good job of taking the ball and running with it.

Hyde Hill- Pretty much a tie between Anderson vs. Angle feud which was a real showcase for how good TNA can be when they keep a feud clear. And of course the Guns title win and defences which have really helped put Tag Team wrestling on the map again on a mainstream level.

PSNW- The Best of 5 Series between the Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money was one of the best things happening in 2010. A special mention goes to Kurt Angle performing a moonsault on top of the cage at Lockdown 2010. Definitely a “holy shit” moment.

3) What was your least favorite event?

Michael S- Like I mentioned before, with Hogan arriving, so did the Hulkamania tour roster. Mr. Anderson was welcomed, but wrestlers like the Nasty Boys and Orlando Jordan were not. The Nasty Boys feel to me like an out of place tag team on a fresh faced roster. Orlando Jordan decided to exploit his bisexuality to get himself over, which as an LGBT supporter, I find offensive. Whatever a person's sexuality may be should not be what you base your judgement on a person for, especially if their job is to be a bad guy and get beat up, only to fuel the fire of those in the crowd who want to see someone like that get beat up but need an excuse so it doesn't look like a hate crime.

Hyde Hill- The actual unveiling of “They” apart from the Jeff Hardy heel turn which is/was interesting it was a real letdown imho. And although they got a high rating for the week after BFG none of those people seemed to come back as they just were not interested in this group.

Irish Yid- Hearing that Awesome Kong, Christopher Daniels and Consequences Creed had been released. Now, I know they came around at different times, but I thought I'd lump them all in together. And it isn't just these three. There has been other releases that have angered me such as Hamada, Taylor Wilde, Traci Brooks and Alissa Flash. It is sad to see these wrestlers either quit or get released in favour of people like Syxx Pac, Scott Hall, Val Venis, Orlando Jordan, The Nasty Boys, Bubba The Fat Piece Of S**t Sponge, etc. Especially as these are the wrestlers who have worked so f***ing hard to make TNA what it is.

PSNW- Abyssamania, aka the “Hall of Fame Rings Storyline”. One of the worst things to happen this year. Also, let's not forget that time when Orlando Jordan was squeezing that bottle with white liquid. Just because, holding their biggest PPV one hour away from the Impact Zone was just stupid and it didn't work well for them either, having to heavily paper that show to get 3,500 in the venue.

FK9- Hardcore Justice. Dixie said the fans told her that they love extreme, hardcore wrestling. So, because TNA gives the fans what they want (cough), her response was to bring in a bunch of fat, middle-aged alcoholics from a company that went out of business over a decade ago, and give them their own PPV. This might have been forgivable if the PPV had been good... but it wasn't.

In a year in which TNA delivered some really questionable PPVs, this was far and away the worst of the pack. Terrible matches, out of shape wrestlers, inexplicably bizarre booking involving a fake lightsaber duel, a flaming table spot and a bunch of hugs all in the same match. In between matches, we were treated to ECW alumni talking about how awesome ECW was, after which, we would go back to the ring where these same people would deliver performances they would have been embarrassed by 10 years ago.

Only a handful of these guys were actually in good ring shape, and the only really compelling match on the card was called off at the last minute when Jerry Lynn went down with a back injury. The cherry on the cake came at the end of the night when Tommy Dreamer, the mastermind behind this shitstorm, actually had the balls to cut a promo, saying, "That was one hell of an F'n PPV." No, Tommy, it wasn't. It really wasn't.

Have I mentioned that WWE owns ECW now?

But the worst part came a few weeks later when, after these men had assaulted the fans' eyeballs and stolen their money, Dixie proudly announced that she had signed many of them to contracts. Why? I don't know. For the life of me, I do not know. Thankfully, most of them didn't last long. But Tommy Dreamer is still there, and yes, that was him pinning AJ Styles at Bound For Glory. I didn't think they could possibly come up with a worse idea than Christopher Daniels jobbing to Val Venis at Genesis, but damn it, they found one.

Fuck that PPV.

4) What major event/happening do you predict will take place in 2011?

PSNW-The question is, when will Hogan and Bischoff leave TNA? Clearly things haven't worked out well and they need to realise that they would be better off our TV screens. In addition, the Impact Zone contract expires at some point in 2011 and there has been discussion about making the move to going on the road and holding tapings in arenas, which would be much better than the boring look of the Cast Members. Also, will we finally get the creative change that many have demanded for years? Probably not.

Irish Yid- I can see a lot of big names leaving TNA for one reason or another.
1) Jeff Hardy. He broke the law and so deserves to go to prison. Nobody is above the law, not even the always high Jeff Hardy.
2) Kurt Angle. I could see Kurt going back to the WWE for one more Wrestlemania match and a Hall Of Fame place, before retiring to concentrate on movies and Angle Foods.
3) Hogan and Bischoff. I think these two have had enough with TNA, and will leave when their contracts are up. Bischoff will concentrate on Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment; while Hogan will go back to Vince if he needs the money.
4) Mick Foley. Mick said recently that he doesn't believe at the moment that he'll sign a contract extension, so Mick may leave to focus on his work with R.A.I.N.N.
5) Sting. Sting may finally step foot in WWE as I believe they are willing to other him a HOF place and maybe even a Mania match against the Undertaker.
6) Kevin Nash. Hopefully, he's already gone from TNA, but if not, then he leaves at the conclusion of the Immortal angle.

FK9- For lack of a more eloquent term, Dixie Carter is going to have to shit or get off the pot. I don't see how she can avoid it anymore at this point. She brought in tons of new star power, 2 men who are supposed to have incredible minds for the business according to her, and arguably the biggest draw in wrestling history, and the ratings haven't budged. IMO, this can all be traced back to poor marketing, lack of advertising and a horrible creative team, but how long have we heard that story? How long have we been saying that Ms. Carter needs to make changes, only to be met by stubborn refusal on her end, not counting lame excuses and vague tweets about huge, sweeping changes that never occur.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of TNA's excuses. I've heard them all countless times. Enough is enough. The fact of the matter is that TNA's current business model is inherently flawed. It might be enough to keep them in business, but it's not going to grow their business. If it was, it would have happened by now.

Maybe Janice Carter can talk some sense into her daughter; I don't know. But either way, I think 2011 is going to be a make-or-break year for this company. Either they get to that ever-elusive "next level" that Hogan is always ranting and raving about or they stay right where they are and have to accept that that's where they'll always be until someone with the guts to actually make the changes that need to happen steps in to save this company from itself.

Michael S- Heyman takes over! Just kidding. That ship has long sailed. What I predict however is different from what I want to happen. I do predict that the older talent who cost too much will be phased out. I also predict that TNA will have special Impact broadcasts from outside of the Impact zone much like they did with the Las Vegas show. If all goes well, TNA will go on the road to intimate venues like that for their tapings and may soon end up in places like the Hammerstein Ballroom. They don't need to sell out arenas right off the bat but they do need to expand their fanbase and that's one way to do it. I also predict that somewhere along the line, the financial backers of TNA are going to start seeing a dip in revenue due to poor ratings and not meeting their goals and give management the ultimatum of "If you don't get out ratings up by this certain time, we're replacing you with people who can." I'm sorry, that was my Christmas wish, not a prediction.

Hyde Hill-Fortune splitting away from Immortal as a whole and defeating them storyline wise. Also hope that TNA finally finds the right balance and brand identity it needs to grow beyond the size they are now, as they have enough brand names as wrestlers now its really the marketing and the total product that is keeping them down. On the business side I hope that the money saved from Nash, Sting etc contracts gets put into marketing or they save it up to make a war chest to eventually try and go on the road combined with a marketing budget that allows that to be a success.

I want to thank all of our writers for joining us. I wish everyone a happy new year and think it should be a very interesting 2011 for TNA!

Source: TNAsylum

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