Pruett's Blog: Looking on the bright side of TNA's 24/7 concept and the challenge in front of them
By Will Pruett
When I first heard about TNA's plan to introduce new content branded "24/7" I scoffed. In fact, I openly questioned how they could produce 168 hours of compelling content in a week when they clearly have issues doing so with two hours. I still find these concerns to be valid. They have creative issues. Thinking more about the 24/7 idea, I see more than just another failed concept, but a chance to revolutionize the presentation of professional wrestling.
Wrestling is stale. It has been a long time since there has been a major change. Watch Raw next week, then pop in a Raw tape from ten years ago (or look one up on YouTube), what's the difference? Go back a little further to 15 years ago. Same big screen. Same lighting rig. Same show format. Nothing has changed. WWE is content in their formula and TNA, in the last 11 years, has done nothing but try to match their presentation. Obviously, WWE is at the top of the class. Why would they change?
TNA, on the other hand has suffered defeat after defeat over the last few years. They have tried and failed to go live (to be more like WWE), to go on the road (to be more like WWE), and to produce stories in the same style and format as WWE. There has been very little original thought and presentation. Impact Wrestling is formatted the same way Raw and Smackdown are. Emulating WWE obviously isn't working.
As I thought more about the 24/7 concept, I began thinking of a completely new way to present wrestling television. Every other field of television has advanced and changed in the last ten years. We are living out a televised revolution in quality. Wrestling, during this revolution, has stayed the same. No attention has been paid to continuity or character consistency. The rules change. Some of the players change. Only the picture quality has improved.
The idea of taping in one place sounds depressing at first. TNA is scaling back. They also have the chance to unleash a little creativity on the wrestling genre. Simple tropes in wrestling, like the in-ring confrontation, can now occur backstage with the 24/7 concept. Wrestling can become more of a reality-based medium. Instead of obviously staged moments pretending to be real, we could see well-acted and thoughtfully produced segments.
Wrestling has always had an interesting way of telling its stories, but the interest is dying. Something in wrestling has to change. I'm not sold on this being the solution, but it is a different thought being introduced into the genre. When was the last time anything different happened in wrestling?
I am all for criticizing TNA given their recent creative effort. I am also an enter all optimist who loves wrestling, but sees how the genre can change. TNA has an opportunity to change things up and improve the wrestling industry. Let's see if they can rise to the challenge.
Will Pruett writes about wrestling. He likes it. You should too. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow him and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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