FK9: As we've seen with WWE RAW, the transition from 2 to 3 hours can be pretty rocky, but this would hardly be the same situation. WWE has way too much TV time and not enough interesting content and talented performers to fill it. The problem TNA faces is that they have a bloated roster full of people who deserve to be featured, but not enough TV time to accommodate them all. How many times have PPV matches suffered from a lack of build up due to there not being enough TV time available to hype them? How often are storylines hurt by not being featured regularly because they have to sit the show out for a week here or two weeks there so something else can get that TV time instead? In TNA's case, I think moving to 3 hours would actually solve a lot of problems. It would allow them to feature more of their roster, push storylines more consistently, hype PPVs more effectively, not to mention it would get them that 10-11 hour back, which they're probably missing since the 8-9 hour hasn't been very kind to them.
To be honest, I'm really not seeing that many negatives in this situation. People can point to all the filler on RAW these days and give the "quality over quantity" argument, but with WWE having to fill something like 7 or 8 hours of programming a week (that's including Superstars and NXT), the same rules really don't apply. The lack of quantity is what's hurting TNA right now; they've grown to the point where 2 hours is simply not enough.
I want to see feuds and angles followed up on every week. I don't want to have to wait 2 weeks or more to find out what's going on with Samoa Joe/Magnus or the X-division title feud because there just isn't enough time on the show for that stuff right now. With another hour they could feature those things and more. Yes, the better solution would be a second weekly show, but if I could make iMPACT 3 hours, I'm pretty sure I would.
Talon: TNA definitely needs more programming. They only have a 2-hour show to feature their massive roster. They currently have six different championships and a roster of over 40 people. While it has been worse in the past, the roster is still not lean enough. There are two solutions to this problem: add programming or cut down the roster.
If TNA were to add programming, I wouldn't want it to be a 3-hour show. While occasionally it is fine, a weekly 3-hour show would begin to feel like a marathon for many fans. You always want to leave your fans wanting more and not less of your programming. While TNA has the roster to make the show possible, I believe the show would become watered down over time.
Will Cross: The pros to Impact going to 3 hours is that it would make the shows less chaotic and rushed as it would give TNA more time to tell their stories, it would give matches more time and it’ll give TNA an extra hour to devote to other less used talents. (Here is looking at you Zema Ion, Kenny King and Sonjay Dutt)
The cons to Impact going 3 hours is that it’s simply too long a show. I find my attention to Impact drifts these days on a two hour show; I can’t possibly foresee myself not losing interest in a 3 hour Impact. As an episodic show, you want to leave your viewers wanting more and with a 3 hour show I can see myself wanting less of Impact. An extra hour of Impact can lead to Hogan and Garrett Bischoff getting additional screen time and we don’t want that. (Well most of us don’t want that) The final con I can think of is that the stories TNA would be trying to tell might be stalled due to TNA having fill extra time or stories are being rushed because they have extra time to fill
I got into a debate with someone (I think VicVenom) on the site about this topic awhile back and my position is TNA needs to stay away from a 3hr Impact. 3 hour TV shows do not work as WCW failed with it in the late 90s and the WWE is failing miserably with it today (Raw isn’t necessarily bad but it’s just SO boring and WWE doesn’t have a clue as to how to fill in that time). TNA would be better off getting a separate show maybe on Sundays similarly to Sunday Night Heat back in the day (which was a Crossfire column in July 2011) where TNA showcases its undercard talent and reminds the folks watching what the big stories on Impact are.
Out of King of the Mountain, Steel Asylum or the Six Sided Ring; which would you most like to see return? (Charlie Groenewegen)
Talon: I don't see any of these three matches making a return. The argument for King of the Mountain is that it is too complicated. If TNA were to alter it and make it a multi-man Ladder Match, whiny critics would call it a Knockoff of the Money in the Bank Match. I personally would like to see some simpler form of the match so TNA has something else to call their own but I don't see that happening.
Fans need to realize that the TNA of 2004-2009 is gone. The Six Sided Ring, the King of the Mountain, the Steel Asylum Match are all gone. Its a different day with a different creative vision, a different company. The X Division is now a cruiserweight division. In the place of these past concepts are Gutcheck, Open Fight Night, Championship Thursdays and the Bound For Glory Series. Like it or not, unless another major creative change happens, these concepts are gone.
Will Cross: I don’t even remember what the Steel Asylum was so I can’t pick that. The Six Sided ring added nothing to the product in my humble opinion and internet folks didn’t seem to care about the ring until that evil bastards Hogan and Bischoff got rid of it and now it’s a whole thing. (Bringing back the six sided ring) I’m not even a fan of King of the Mountain match but that would be my choice in this question because I like the King of the Mountain match over the other choices. It is a unique concept that TNA can call all its own. Again though no one on the internet seemed to like it until those evil bastards Hogan and Bischoff got rid of it in 2010.
FK9: King of the Mountain. If you'd asked me that in February 2010 I would've said the 6-sided ring, but I've made my peace with that one even though the way Hogan/Bischoff got rid of it still really bothers me. The Steel Asylum was a fun concept, but if they don't even have enough bodies to fill out an X-division roster, it's sort of pointless. Plus, it's probably not a safe bet as a crowd-pleaser if the participants can't reliably escape the cage (thanks a lot, Homicide).
On the other hand, King of the Mountain was the one concept of these three for which the rationale for doing away with it never made any sense to me and still doesn't. With the other two I can sort of understand it, but not with this one. Yes, the gimmick probably needed to be simplified, so why not just do that? There was no reason to eliminate the match altogether when it had been an annual tradition for years and the match that made Slammiversary distinct from every other PPV TNA puts on. I looked forward to KOTM every year, and frankly, it just doesn't feel like Slammiversary without it.
Do you feel switching networks would help TNA's ratings and why? (Ben)
Will Cross: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, a million times Yes! TNA needs to switch networks as they have peaked and outgrown Spike TV. Spike TV is a 3rd rate cable station these days as 95% of their shows (Both Spike TV created shows and syndication shows) don’t even sniff a 1.0 Nielsen Rating. Considering that most of the commercials for Impact airs on Spike TV, TNA Impact advertising isn’t reaching that many homes. Basically TNA’s viewership is made up of TNA fans only and they don’t get an extra bump from people who routinely watch Spike TV. Here is an example of what I am trying to say: I started watching the show Rizzoli and Isles because I was watching a Law and Order marathon on TNT which led me to Rizzoli and Isles episode which I decided to watch since it was already on my TV, I liked it and now I watch it every week. If I didn’t watch Law and Order on Tuesday nights back in 2010, I wouldn’t be an avid Rizzoli and Isles fan today.
If TNA can find its way to FX, TNA would be in direct competition with WWE Smackdown in terms of viewership within months simply because it’s a bigger network. Within 2 years of being on FX, TNA would be getting Raw viewership numbers. The biggest reason why WCW overtook WWE in the ratings is because WCW was on an A network just like WWE. Today TNA is on a C network while WWE is on an A network and you simply can’t gain viewers that way.
FK9: Possibly, if the new network was willing to advertise the show, which SPIKE TV doesn't seem to want to do very much. But SPIKE has been a great partner for TNA aside from that issue and they've been very patient with the company when other more competitive networks probably would've demanded better results or else. The upside of being on a channel like SPIKE is that they don't have to get huge viewership to be valuable to the network. This allows them some breathing room with the ratings situation, which (let's be honest) they kind of need. Personally, I'd rather they stay on SPIKE than move to a different channel, only for network officials to get frustrated with the ratings if they don't improve quickly. TNA have a good relationship with SPIKE; I don't think they want to screw that up.
Talon: Changing networks would be the ultimate risk-vs-reward scenario. As Will mentioned above, TNA would be introduced to a new audience. Other visitors of the network who never heard of TNA would actually see their programming. Best case scenario, TNA gets a boost in the audience because of all of those fresh faces.
Here's the problem: if TNA jumped networks, they would be completely out of their comfort zone and would be risking the long-term viability of their company. While Spike is a much smaller network than others, it has also been a committed and supportive partner for TNA. For around seven years, Spike has been one of TNA's main sources of income. It has paid the contracts of many of TNA's top stars and it has helped foot the bill for things like going on the road and keeping your show live. I believe if TNA plays its cards right, they will have a TV outlet and a partner for life.
What TNA's needs to consider in this case is what kind of company do they want to be. If they want to beat WWE in the ratings and become the biggest wrestling company in the world, it takes ultimate risk; which is what this will be. However, if TNA wants to survive over the long run and is fine with slowly growing their audience over the next decade, then staying on Spike is the safe choice.
While Spike is a smaller network, TNA doesn't have as much competition which means they can take more chances with their programming. Spike is just now building strong alternative programming to TNA which I feel will help the company. While I don't think TNA will be seeing big bounces in their viewership over the next few years, in a decade they could be at a much higher number than they are now.
People keep saying that TNA Needs to (Fill in the Blank) to get to the "next level" or be successful. What is this "next level" people talk about and why don't people consider TNA successful? (QJT)
FK9: I don't think "the next level" even exists. It's just some verbiage Hogan spouts when he's making inspirational speeches. It could mean anything really -- a second weekly show, taking iMPACT on the road, etc. Though most people seem to equate "the next level" to higher ratings, and I think the reason they don't consider TNA successful is because they simply haven't achieved those ratings yet. Viewership has been largely stagnant for a long time and they take this as a sign that the company is making no progress. The thing is they are, but you have to look closely to see it. The TV tapings in London, going live for the rest of 2012, even the British Bootcamp show are all signs that the company is growing. So they are making progress, albeit slowly.
Some fans just don't understand that getting to "the next level" can't be done just like that *snaps fingers*. Well, it can't, and they'd best get over it. The landscape is completely different since WWE changed their fortunes for the better in the span of about 2 years back in the '90s. There's no magic wand you can wave and transform TNA into something fans with flock to overnight. That fact is this is going to take time and some fans just aren't patient enough to accept that, so they say the company isn't successful because their progress isn't more noticeable. My advise to these people is to take a step back and calm down. TNA might not be winning any races, but they're moving in the right direction and that's what counts.
Talon: A company can be successful without being the #1 company in the world. If a business owner started a small burger restaurant and provided quality food to his customers in his town, making a profit in the meantime, wouldn't that mean he is successful. Even though this burger joint isn't the size of a McDonald's, it provides a service to its customers, it provides employment to its workers and it provides a revenue for its owner.
TNA is in the same boat. While doesn't have the ratings or presence of WWE, it has a worldwide audience of over 2 million fans; to which is provides a product for them to enjoy every week. It provides some of the strongest ratings for its partner network in Spike. It provides work for its employees. As for a profit, we don't know because we don't have that insider information.
That next level people are talking about sounds like competing with the WWE. They want TNA to elevate the WWE product and therefore elevate the wrestling business. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. TNA is a business first and they have to worry about keeping their business alive. While it would be wonderful to see them Live on the road every week and for every PPV, right now it just costs too much for TNA.
TNA is a success! They have survived for over a decade and have grown in production values, roster quality, audience and scope. They keep growing in many new markets and entertain their growing fanbase on a weekly basis. They will evolve and improve over time but they don't have the infrastructure nor the budget to do that yet.
Will Cross: TNA has all the tools to get to the next level; all they really need is a TV deal with a better network. Simply put the next level is a getting on a better TV network.
I can’t possibly believe people are so stupid as to not label TNA a success. 10 years ago TNA was nothing, absolutely nothing. They were living day by day and week to week with the likes of K-Kwik main eventing shows. Fast forward to today and TNA is a global company. I can have a chat with a guy in New Zealand who watches Impact every week just like I do. TNA does house shows all over the United States and go to certain places outside the country. TNA is a profitable company these days regardless of what Davey Meltzer wants to claim because every day TNA stays is another day that Davey Boy looks bad since he predicted death upon TNA in ……………….. let’s see TNA started in June 2002 so by August 2002 Davey already predicted that TNA would die very shortly.
The other reason why TNA isn’t a “success” in people’s eyes is because of TNA falling short of the insane expectations people have on them. In 2009 people were claiming that TNA was supposed to be legit competition to WWE in terms of ratings, attendance etc. A 7 year old company is supposed to compete with a 50+ year old corporate juggernaut in these people’s eyes. TNA is a success and for anyone to claim otherwise is just a blind fool.
How do you feel TNA should handle the Knockouts Tag Team Title situation? (JBanks)
Talon: I was one of those fans who felt that TNA shouldn't have created the Knockouts Tag Team Titles in the first place. While the titles have seen some good champions, they have probably meant less than the Television Title; which is hard to believe.
There are only two hours of TNA Programming a week. The roster is much too large to spend any dedicated time on the tag team titles. The Knockouts Roster is thin right now and unfortunately because of the lack of TV Time, probably shouldn't get much bigger.
I have said this before and I will say it again. The feature roster should be getting the majority of the TV Time. I would say they should be getting around 70% of it as they are what the product is based around. The Knockouts Division and X Division are a focal part of the company but until TNA gets more TV time, they are secondary. Having a Knockouts Tag Team Championship at this point makes absolutely no sense and therefore should be scrapped.
FK9: Shit or get off the pot. Either sign/create some actual Knockout tag teams and pay them some real attention or just eliminate the titles. For whatever reason, TNA have just never been able to execute this idea properly. I don't know what's been so hard for them to figure out; just treat it with the same respect you give the men's tag team division -- that's all they had to do. Unfortunately, something like 6 months after the titles were created TNA just gave up on them. Hence we now have ODB & Eric Young just sitting on the belts as if they don't exist.
I would hate to see the titles go because it was and is a good idea, and I still think a Knockout tag team division could work if it were done right, but if they don't have enough women or enough TV time to feature them, and if they don't seem to care enough to do anything meaningful with it, then what's the point?
Will Cross: Get rid of it since it is as dead as Chris Harris’s wrestling career. (Sorry Chris) There is simply no solution to this problem. TNA doesn’t have the time or Knockout roster depth to keep these titles afloat. Sorry it’s such a short answer.
What is the greatest PPV in TNA history and why? (Charlie Groenewegen)
Will Cross: Victory Road 2009 easily I mean Sharmell vs the Survivor chick, how is that not awesome ……………………… just kidding. It’s a tough question but my answer is Turning Point 2009. You had Styles vs. Daniels vs. a motivated Samoa Joe in a rematch of the greatest match in TNA history only now it’s for the TNA World Title and they delivered big time. Then you have Wolfe vs. Angle in an amazing hard hitting technically sound match. Two amazing matches coupled with a great undercard equals the greatest ppv in my eyes.
FK9: I don't know if I could choose their greatest PPV, but I could pick one that has always stood out to me. I think Victory Road 2008 was horribly underrated. To this day, it remains one of, if not the only PPV produced by this company since they debuted on SPIKE TV where every single match on the card had great hype, every match meant something, every match delivered and there was almost no filler whatsoever. If you forget about the incredibly stupid way the main event ended, I can't recall a TNA PPV that I've enjoyed more in its entirety than that one.
Talon: Many people have heard me say this before, but my favorite PPV in TNA history is Bound For Glory 2006. Not only was this the first TNA PPV on the road but this was the first PPV that had that special Wrestlemania-type feel. The presentation was off the charts, the buildup was excellent, the crowd was energetic and the wrestling was top-notch.
In Detroit that night, LAX and AJ Styles/Christopher Daniels battled inside a Steel Cage, Christian Cage fought Rhino in a Street Fight, Senshi faced Chris Sabin in an excellent X Division Match and Sting ended his long-term rivalry with Jeff Jarrett (with Kurt Angle as referee) to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
There were many events after that had better cards but BFG 2006 felt like an epic event. The show was a culmination of the booking regime preceding Vince Russo's and a time that I became a hardcore TNA fan. The direction of the company changed after this event and in my opinion, was never replicated.
This year has the potential to be that show. Like 2006, we have seen some of the better shows this past Summer that TNA has ever delivered. Bruce Pritchard made Slammiversarry feel special this year and I am hopeful that he can do the same with BFG. While there does need to be more buildup and hype, we still have a few weeks left to do that.