1. Bring Back the Six-Sided Ring – Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this particular ring, it certainly set TNA apart from other wrestling promotions, specifically WWE. If the company were to bring this back, I think company loyalists would be happy and new fans might try the product because it looks different.
2. Close The Over 50’s Club – PERMANENTLY! – As big a Hulkamaniac as I am, this company employ far too many on screen senior citizens. Sting, Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan together take up far too much TV time and unfortunately no longer add anything to the product. Sting deserves credit for constantly trying to help the younger talent but since TNA will always treat these older stars as superior, the only way for the promotion to move forward is for this team of legends to leave the sport and let the tradition live on with younger wrestlers.
3. Book Kurt Angle as a Part Time Special Attraction – It’s no secret that over the past few years, Kurt Angle has been pretty banged up and has started to look a shell of his former self, looking almost gaunt. In order to maximise the matches Angle has with his injuries and age, it only makes sense that Angle be used sporadically throughout the year in semi to main event matches to help the younger talent and utilise the Olympic Gold Medalist in the best way possible at this stage of his career.
4. Send Garrett Bischoff back to College – I have nothing against Garrett and truth be told, he’s not completely awful on the mic. WWE managed to strike gold with Shane McMahon ten years ago who was decent in the ring and able to handle upper mid card to main event feuds with stars like The Rock and Steve Austin on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Garrett doesn’t have that spark we saw from Shane. It will take a lot more than Hogan’s ‘blessing’ for fans to accept him. Simple fact is Garrett hasn’t paid his dues and doesn’t deserve his spot, something the fans will not forget. So with all due respect TNA lets focus on building someone who can sell PPVs for the company and not an Exec’s son.
5. Don’t book former WWE Talent as Superiors to TNA Veterans – Far too many times have we seen TNA bring in former WWE stars like Nash, Nasty Boys, Val Venis, RVD and they are booked to be better than the roster because they used to wrestle in WWE. It makes no sense. TNA have some great talent from AJ and Samoa Joe to MCMG and Bobby Roode. The sad reality is these guys are booked as being inferior to the former Stamford alumni and this is an area TNA really has to look at, if it plans to grow the brand.
6. Get Behind a Main Event Babyface and Stick With It -As flawed as WCW was in the day and WWE is now, there’s always a clear hero that is fighting for the company in the main events. In WWE it’s John Cena, in WCW it was Sting then Goldberg. TNA have…….well nobody. Jeff Hardy isn’t booked as a main eventer even though he should and they’ve killed off any buzz that Styles or Joe have ever had. TNA need to pick a guy whether it’s Storm, Anderson, Hardy, Joe….whoever it is and stick to it. TNA needs a hero and it’s not Hulk Hogan.
7. Take Impact Wrestling AWAY from Universal Studios – I know TNA struck a deal where they can pack the Impact Zone every week and be guaranteed a full house because they’re in a theme park, but frankly it’s impossible in 2012, to gauge how a fanbase feels about angles when you record in a theme park where instead of going on the Indian Jones ride they stumble into wrestling and just cheer and boo what they want. Obviously there are hardcore TNA fans at the shows but overall a change of scenery would do the product the world of good. What TNA need to realise is they can’t fill out 10,000 seater arenas. So why not play up to that and go and do Impact in smaller arenas where rabid fans can come to the shows and you can make a unique product for the literally, millions of wrestling fans who don’t watch or go to WWE shows. There’s a huge market out there for wrestling, TNA just has to go out into the US and find it.
8. Make the deal with Paul Heyman and give him FULL creative control. – It’s widely known that Paul Heyman came close to signing with the Nashville group on the condition that he had full creative control and he planned to only keep one legend on the roster. Dixie Carter’s figurative monumental erection for Hogan and Flair stopped this from becoming a reality. The fact is she made a mistake. Heyman’s downfall was as a businessman, never in creativity. So the chance for him to be in charge of creative and have none of the business dealings fall on his head would be a great fit.
9. Cut back to 5 Pay Per Views a Year – Although the pay per view model can be very successful in wrestling, based on the findings that of the 1 million people that watch Impact only 8,000 people buy their pay per view events, it’s clearly not a profitable venture for TNA. But there’s no reason they have to stick to one pay per view a month. For this group to get successful, they could build great rivalries over 2-3 months and then make fans fork out their money to see the match.
10. No More Reunions, No More WWE Has Beens – TNA has to look forward not backwards. We don’t want them to re-create Hogan/Sting or 90’s ECW. From now on, the company should brand themselves on being the future of pro wrestling. They’ve proven with their rankings system and open fight night that when they put their mind to it, they can be original. When WWE releases talent, TNA shouldn’t automatically sign them. Only sign wrestlers if they’re worth the price tag and could make a positive change to your product.
I hope you’ve found this column as enjoyable as I found writing it. If TNA implemented even half these changes, I truly believe their show would be much better and they’d be on the road to becoming a long term, successful promotion. We can only hope……