Big Bens Bigger Opinion 02/10/2013
No Icebergs in England……….
I must admit most of my concentration wrestling wise has been on WWE, NJPW and the British scene in recent months. I was a big fan of TNA’s product once upon a time and I do still find myself enjoying it when I do get around to watching it, it’s just what with running a wrestling news page, a T-shirt business and writing articles, as well as trying to have a life, I don’t have the time most weeks. However as a wrestling reporter I have kept up with the major storylines and backstage goings on. It’s sad to say things look troubling indeed.
TNA are obviously in some financial bother bought on by high wages and making the bold step of taking Impact on the road. Talent and backstage staff have been released to cut costs and in the last month huge changes are occurring. Big names such as Mickie James, Mr. Anderson and now even Hulk Hogan have (for the time being at least) parted ways with TNA. TNA’s official line is that negotiations are still on going with said talents but it is unlikely the names in question will take the required paycut needed for TNA to renew their deals. The company’s biggest homegrown star A.J. Styles signed a 3 month contract extension taking him up until December. If things haven’t stabilized by then “The Phenomenal One” may also decide to leave the safety of the pond for the shark infested waters of WWE.
With The Hulkster making his last appearance at this past Thursday’s Impact taping, rumours are circulating that TNA founder Jeff Jarrett is taking a more active role behind the scenes in an attempt to steady the ship he built from the ground up. While TNA President Dixie Carter is negotiating for a possible venue for Impact to call it’s new permanent home because staying on the road is now being seen as unsustainable. Las Vegas is being talked about as the favourite for a new Impact zone site. Things may be dire in TNA’s home country but not overseas. In the U.K. TNA is still incredibly popular and draws better ratings than WWE Smackdown. Sell out tours of London, Scotland and Birmingham have been hugely successful and were one of the main reason’s the decision was made to take Impact on the road in The States in an attempt to recreate the live atmosphere the product garners in the U.K. Also in Australia where wrestling in general is experiencing a boom period, TNA is drawing large television ratings and big box office on live tours. The question must be asked…..why do the U.K. and Australian markets appreciate TNA’s product more than the Americans? Is that we appreciate better wrestling? Or simply that we are not over exposed to the big budget live wrestling experience so lap it up when we do get a chance to see it in our back yards? Whatever the case TNA have big decisions to make. If they cut all their big names from their roster to cut costs (most of which don’t seem to effect TV ratings in The States) Business overseas will surely suffer. Like it or not Hogan, Sting and ex WWE talent are huge draws for TNA overseas. But if keeping said names and the high wages they demand means the death of the product in The States, well frankly no domestic business means no International business. So what should TNA do? How do they turn their ship around and avoid the Iceberg ahead? Did they get too big, too fast like ECW in the late ’90’s? What do they need to do to stabilize the ship? Maybe something radical and never before done?
As crazy as it sounds why don’t TNA admit defeat in the United States and relocate to it’s most profitable market the United Kingdom? A complete relocation to the U.K. could be a far-fetched possibility. The audience is here, the ratings are here, the venues are here. And there is no competition in the UK. The British Wrestling scene is growing and getting stronger everyday, but we have no nationally televised company in the UK. Why couldn’t TNA be it? It is already popular, if the talent were permanently relocated here they could be available for chat shows, radio interviews and a wealth of other media appearances to make the brand grow even bigger here. Sure many of TNA’s current talent, staff and their families may turn down the chance to relocate to rainy old England but for the ones that do it could be a huge opportunity to become genuine household names in Britain. And to replace the staff and talent who chose to stay in the U.S., the U.K. has a wealth of great talent and creative minds in the British Wrestling industry that could make TNA:U.K. a huge success.
A similar experiment called Ring Ka King had some level of success in India, but instead of a sister company like Ring Ka King, why not make the U.K. the main base of operations for TNA? Impact could be recorded here in front of a lively British crowd and aired both here and in The States and instead of touring the U.K. they could tour the United states once or twice a year instead. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, maybe America needs to let TNA leave and welcome them back once in a while. In my opinion a British based TNA would be great for the product on TV, it would be great for British Wrestling and it would be great for TNA in general. Obviously I’m not a financial wizard and I’m sure someone will tell me the logistics of such a relocation would be so costly it would defeat the whole object, but I can see it being a huge success. In closing in 1912 The Titanic sailed from the U.K. to The States and failed to change course, we all know what happened next. If Titanic TNA makes the opposite journey it may aviod the Iceberg all together, it may mean no more Impact as we know it, but we all know what an Impact did to the Titanic in 1912 don’t we????
I’m Big Ben and that was my Bigger Opinion…. Until next time, be good and if you can’t be good, be careful.