McMahon family aside, I believe that everything within the wrestling industry wants TNA to succeed as a company. First and foremost, its existence as a company gives jobs to wrestlers and plenty of people behind the scenes. Looking beyond that, it provides an alternative to fans seeking a different product than what WWE is offering.
Even if TNA does not have a great name as of this article’s writing, it did have plenty of notable storylines over the last 14 years and it was the home for many of the industry’s big names at some point.
Here are four things that TNA can do to improve its reputation and ultimately make itself less embarrassing:
1) Stop Denying Everything
For years it has been known publicly that TNA has been late with making payments to its contracted talent and vendors. It was also known long before its public announcement that Spike was getting rid of TNA. These are just two examples of things that everyone knew yet TNA would deny or dismiss as Internet hearsay.
There is no proven best way to handle rumors in the wrestling world, but there are ways proven to be destructive to all parties involved. When a company denies the rumors only to be found as lying on multiple occasions, this causes long-term damage. Like the old “boy who cried wolf” story, no one will ultimately believe you if you keep denying everything, even when you are finally telling the truth.
Instead, how about a public statement that is heavy on honesty and light on spin? Tell the fans that things have not been easy. Admit that there are financial and legal issues, that some of the current TV deals are expiring, and they know that a lot of the loyal fans are skeptical. The “spin” could come in the form of there being new TV deals worked out, the financial issues being almost wrapped up, that some new signings are in the works, and some exciting angles are planned for.
2) Dixie Carter Stepping Down As The Head Of The Company
I have never met Dixie Carter. Most of the people reading this have not met Dixie Carter. But when you hear former TNA employees and talent talking about Dixie Carter, you generally hear the same details. She is a nice, family-oriented person that is wonderful to have a meal with. The compliments never have to do with her understanding on wrestling psychology, nor do they have to do with her strengths and reliability as a businessperson. It is comparable to that musician friend of yours who you think of the world of, yet his music stinks, so you continually avoid addressing the facts so you can stay on great terms.
Understandably it is her family’s money that has kept TNA in business for years, but that does not mean that she should be leading the company. She comes from a public relations background, so maybe she could apply her publicity, marketing and branding experience. But if former TNA executives — including Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, Bruce Prichard, Billy Corgan and Eric Bischoff — will all go on-record to say that you are a joke as a leader whenever asked about such, and they are all different sorts of people, then maybe it is a sign that you are not an effective leader.
3) Promote The History Of The Company
At different points, TNA has been home to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Lex Luger, A.J. Styles, CM Punk, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Dusty Rhodes, Gail Kim, Samoa Joe, Booker T, Mick Foley…Big names from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and today. That itself can be a main marketing point of the company, showing that TNA was a place where major talent has worked for over a decade.
While the DVD market is not where it once was, the metaphorical tape library can be monetized, whether it is the form of creating “best of” programming for domestic and international networks, selling off that content to WWE for forthcoming specials, or simply licensing it to a Netflix, Hulu or similar on-demand content provider. As for DVDs, there are big box retailers that would take bargain bin titles on an exclusive basis; some money is better than no money, of course.
4) Take A Break
On a recent podcast, Eric Bischoff said that if he took over TNA, one thing that he would do is give the company a break from weekly programming. As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If TNA disappeared for a few months, diehard fans would miss it and maybe some TV revenue would go away. However, by going away for a bit, taking some time to fix the existing problems and having a big hyped return, a lot of people that had not been watching might give the company another chance.
That time could be used to create new meaningful storylines. It could be used to acquire new talent. It could be used to find more cost-effective vendors. It could be used to relaunch the touring business. It could be used to rebrand the company entirely…The sky is the limit.