Random Thoughts from the Office, September 10, 2010

WrestleCrap goes Hollywood? Now I've seen it all. The idea of the Midnight Rose and Katie Vick having intimate relations. If that doesn't win an Oscar then by God nothing will. Although it does make me wonder what would happen if Blah ever got an acting gig.....You know maybe somethings are better off as a mystery.
[...film. I'd be PERFECT as Sherlock Holmes I think. Are you a good doctor as well Clarence? - PB] [Not at the moment but I could easily learn. Are Hollywood Upstairs Medical College still taking students?]

For example we have TNA's current booking plans. [They have plans?] Look, it's clear that they're now focusing on the one real asset they have left; Impact, as No Surrender used the good old Hook-and-Drag technique to try and get people to tune into Impact to see just who out of Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle would face Mr Anderson at Bound for Glory, which is weird considering their next Impact is next week.

On face value the whole idea does seem a little ass-backwards. The only people buying TNA pay per views nowadays are hardcore TNA fans, the people who'll already be watching Impact anyway. So the idea of creating a new audience out of something they already have just doesn't seem like it's going to achieve anything. However in this case I actually think the idea has merit.

First the negative. If the plan is to create a new audience for Impact it will fail. Like I said only hardcore fans order the Pay Per Views and the people who don't are just going to find out on Impact or not watch like they usually do.

However, I think if TNA uses this as a catalyst to start scaling back their Pay Per Views, then they may have something. TNA is a television based product, always has been, they don't draw enough at house shows and Pay Per Views held outside the Impact Zone to make money, Pay Per Views are a huge expense, especially when you're only getting allegedly 8000 buys at a time...So unless each place has 150 people everyone watching Impact is not ordering the Pay Per View.

It's a problem TNA has always had and it's now a problem WWE is beginning to have. Both companies fail in the one aspect that's driven wrestling for the past 25 years: the build to get people to buy your Pay Per Views. WWE can partially get away with it because of Brand Recognition, as Wrestlemania is always going to draw a big number because it's Wrestlemania. But their shows outside of the Big 4 have gone consistently lower and lower, because they don't give people compelling reasons to watch. Look at Night of Champions. They're building the show around Kane vs The Undertaker, a match most wrestling fans didn't want to see the last time it went around at Wrestlemania XX let alone now, and don't get me started on the fucking storyline. "Oooooh, Kane's stolen The Undertaker's powers!" Since when did professional wrestling turn into the fucking X-Men? (And if it has why isn't Gail Kim dressed up as Jubilee?) The hottest story they have is one they're hardly giving attention to; The Miz and Daniel(son) Bryan for the US title and when the numbers come out they'll probably be shocked at why it's so low.

TNA's worse! They actually did one of the smartest build ups just a couple of years ago with the build up to the first Kurt Angle-Samoa Joe match. They knew that this match was their ace in the pack and for once they didn't fuck it up, they kept building it on Impact and building it till people couldn't wait to see them fight. The result of course was TNA's highest buyrate by far and a hopeful outlook for the future, but they didn't stick with it and the results now speak for themselves.

TNA shouldn't be doing 12 Pay Per Views a year, they're just not a big enough company anymore. Even if they don't get the rumored Spike TV specials they should still only be doing at the most one every two months. I think it should be four, once every three months but six will work. The next thing they have to do is stop giving away your money matches on Impact. I'm not saying that having Abyss face Rob Van Dam on Impact is wrong, but so many potential money drawing matches have been given away for free. Samoa Joe-Jeff Hardy, Jeff Hardy-Rob Van Dam, the Title switch to Rob Van Dam, it's all been given away for free in the quest for ratings. There was another company that did that..I think there was a C in their name..I wonder what happened to them?

Changing to a once every other month schedule will give time for storylines to develop and build to the point you want to see them. UFC does it now, they announce the main event and big money fights for their next three cards on their website and even that creates a buzz amongst the MMA community as they all speculate about what we're going to see; what will happen if Fighter X pulls off the upset or who'll the next challenger will be if Champion Y retains his belt.

I'm going to paint a highly hypothetical situation, one that will likely never happen and probably couldn't happen in this environment: What would happen if TNA announced next month Chris Jericho was going to appear at Final Resolution? Nothing's ever mentioned about what exactly he's going to do, just the fact he's going to be there. I realize TNA has done this sort of thing before, saying a "game-changer" was going to appear at a time and place, they did it with Christian and Kurt Angle; but they never announced those beforehand even if they were heavily rumored.

I'm saying what would happen if they came out and said for certain Chris Jericho would appear? With all due respect to Angle and Christian, this would be the first quote unquote "bankable" star to jump (Angle did create bank for the WWE but he wasn't bankable for them when he left). You add to the intrigue by having it as one of the big discussion points on Impact, Fortune wondering if they can get him to join them, EV2.0 preparing to welcome a former alum to the fold. You could even play it with a little of one Vince Russo's favorite terms "Shades of Grey" by having Hulk Hogan worry what would happen to him since he'd be no longer TNA's number one acquisition. Week by week, show by show you build this up, you get people talking, you generate buzz around the world and you do NOT put on Impact before hand or mention what he did after, you make it clear that the only way you're going to see what Chris Jericho is going to do is to order Final Resolution.

What happens from there is academic. It's the same principle that TNA has tried before with Hulk Hogan, a move that WORKED at the beginning. We can never forget that for all the complaints people have about TNA since Hogan came in, the highest rated Impact in the history of the company was the Impact Hulk Hogan made his first appearance in TNA. The problem with Hogan is the same problem you'd have if you got someone like Steve Austin or The Rock; they are huge names, but ultimately only names, it's not going to put over your product. Someone like Jericho will, if you use smart booking, build him up, get him huge through his promos and in ring work and then when the time is right, have one of your homegrown talent beats him. Instant elevation for your star and your brand.

By doing all of this you make Pay Per Views into must see events. And by giving them more time to build you can make epic events. After all: Without time to build there is nothing. With time to build there is the chance to have everything.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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