Pruett's Blog: Why TNA going live couldn't be coming at a better time. Is this company at their creative peak?
By Will Pruett
Wednesday, May - 5:00 P.M. (CT)
It's been a while since I've been able to heap praises on TNA. Week after week I've watched this show for about seven of the ten years it has existed. Before that seven year period began, I viewed TNA on the periphery, evaluating the creative direction of the company while only catching short clips on occasion. Basically, I've seen a lot of TNA. If we are discussing percentages, it is the wrestling company I have seen the largest percent of.
I have been routinely frustrated by TNA. Longtime readers or listeners of Dot Net know my frustrations with the product. I routinely say that they have all of the pieces, but they fail to put them in place. The roster that TNA has had assembled for the last five years has been spectacular. Even with some notable subtractions to it recently, the roster is still great. At a moment when the WWE roster appears especially thin, one can actually hold TNA's up to it and see how they are comparable.
Not only is TNA's roster comparable to WWE's at this moment, but it is very different. They are offering a new heel on top of the company who is finally hitting his stride. Bobby Roode is one of the best acts in wrestling today and, since Sacrifice, it actually seems like he is being used correctly. I was extremely down on the way Roode was handled coming out of Bound for Glory, but TNA seems to be correcting their errors in that department.
The one step that TNA must make to finish this correction comes tomorrow night on the live Impact. Sting is returning to face Bobby Roode. I do predict that shenanigans and run-ins will end this match, but it is my hope that Roode defeats Sting in as clean a way as possible. Roode will look like a legitimate champion at that point and Sting will lose nothing by taking the fall. It also sets up Roode for bigger matches down the line.
TNA's new direction at both its best and worst was on display in last week's opening segment. Each wrestler contending for a shot at the TNA World Championship was asked to state their case. Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, Jeff Hardy, and Bully Ray did just that and they did so very well. The segment, due to their performances, felt fresh, new, exciting, and like nothing we have seen from any company before. This was a case of TNA finding their identity outside of another company's past and using it well.
The worst part of this display was the discuss of the format sheet and acknowledging the scripted elements of the show. This was a long portion in the middle of the segment that really sucked some of the life out of it. All of the wrestlers are treating their current situation like it is real. They are saying that the title is important to them. Why can't that just be enough?
If the idea is to place more insider talk on the show, than TNA is going downhill fast. If the idea is to have new and interesting segments around and supporting great wrestling, than TNA is reaching a real creative peak. They have done a lot of good around their product and going live can only help enhance it.
TNA, please, for the sake of wrestling fans everywhere, stay on the same path. Don't waver if being live does not deliver the dividends you want right away. Don't hot-shot like you did on Monday nights because you feel pressure. Just produce a good wrestling show with a different product than WWE currently offers. If you do build that product, fans will show up and stay.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this blog and TNA! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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