Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TNA: Righting the Ship

Don't worry this isn't going to involve any fantasy booking just the dumb shit TNA is doing in the name of saving money when there are much better ways to save money. I think one of the problems with TNA is that they came into existence to fill the void of WCW as competition, but really they were the new ECW, but have always assumed they are WCW and as big as WWE which just isn't the case. They didn't worry about building a model for their business. Once they got tv they just started running monthly PPVs because that's what wrestling companies did so they have to as well, which wasn't the right way to do things. They don't really build up their PPVs well and they can't get away with it like WWE, because they never earned fan loyalty they just kind of assumed that the casual wrestling audience that was there for the Monday Night Wars still exists and would start buying TNA PPVs with wrestlers they've built up, but never spotlight anywhere, and ex-WWE and WCW guys.

The first two steps have to be running in smaller buildings that they are going to fill up instead of huge buildings and getting rid of the huge entrance they have. Pare it down to something that you can fit in a semi with the rest of the cameras and equipment like that. It doesn't have to be that fancy. It might come across as a jarring transition on tv, but they don't need big time production stuff like WWE does, because they're not WWE. Something functional that looks good and still has the screen above it for replays and pretapes will look fine on tv, and when you cut out that huge entrance area you can fit more people into smaller venues as well so it's good all around.

Then they have to deal with the idea of roster cuts in a smarter way than what they are doing now. Right now they are getting rid of guys with small contracts that they don't feature on the show, which I guess saves money, but really they need to shed the big contracts for people that don't do anything for the company and the show. The first step in that is ending the Aces & 8s because that is a repository for nobodies, who being ex-WWE guys probably make too much money. This is the only fantasy booking part to get rid of their major storyline. Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & 8s in a 6v6 elimination match losing team disbands. Aces & 8s lose and all of those guys get released except Bully Ray, because he's awesome now. So that gets rid of Devon, Anderson, Knox, Brisco, and Bischoff all of whom are getting paid too much money for what they provide.

They keep Sting until his contract ends, but don't resign him. Brooke Hogan has got to go, she is awful. Eric Bischoff and Hogan can get tossed as well, even if Spike pays for their contracts. I feel like those guys are stuck in a mindset that doesn't work for TNA. Mickey James can be let go as well. I think she'd be better off having to wrestle in Shimmer or Japan again and then maybe bring her back. Chavo, Hernandez, Gunner, Robbie E, Rob Terry can all go as well and TNA can get rid of the TV Title which they've already seem to have done. Christy Hemme can go, she probably gets a good pay day and isn't even good at her job. I'd let Borash do ring announcing and replace Tenay on commentary as well so you get rid of his paycheck as well.

The key thing is then going to be bringing in Indy guys to fill up some spots and being able to pay them less than those other guys. The thing is going to be building up divisions and making them important.

Remaining: Gail Kim, Taryn Terrell, Velvet Sky
That shit is pretty light, although they may have other Knockouts signed I just haven't seen in forever. So they need to do what WWE is doing and raid Shimmer for talent. Mia Yim is number one on my list of people to pick up. Cheerleader Melissa is the second and then they can cherry pick other people from Shimmer. But with the core of those five the Knockout Division will be strong again and worthy of main events.

Tag Team
Remaining: Bad Influence, Aries & Roode
Fuck that Aries and Roode team, those guys are going to the World Title scene in my mind so we have no tag teams now, but that ain't a problem because the indies are full of great tag teams. Young Bucks, SSB, and American Wolves is the new base of this division. It's a lot of contracts to take on, but I think it's still going to be cheaper than what they are paying a lot of guys already so it makes sense. You can make all three of the new tag teams with a 3-way ladder match for #1 contender, or make it a four way ladder match for the belts. It doesn't matter these guys are all awesome wrestlers and a focus on that will get them all over.

Remaining: TJ Perkins, Kenny King, I don't know who has real contracts and just shows up for the matches.
Right off the bat stop making every X-Division match a three way match. That's not helping anybody. Sonjay Dutt, Jigsaw, Petey Williams all get real contracts. I'd also try and sign any American that works for Dragongate, preferably Ricochet.

World Title
Remaining: Samoa Joe, Bully Ray, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, Kurt Angle
A division where they don't need to pick anybody up and should be the strongest thing the company has. Bully Ray will be awesome again because Aces & 8s are gone and can just be the asshole he was before that whole thing started. Everybody in that list is capable of awesome matches and a commitment to wrestling and these guys would make the company really strong and show how good wrestling can be and how they really are the alternative to WWE.

TNA has to remember they need to build a fan base and focus on being the alternative to WWE again. Now every episode of Impact is treated like a PPV. Every belt has to be defended once a month, they'll have four titles and four shows a year. A title match headlines every tv show and you showcase that and make it important. They should also take a lesson from Japan here and start booking lots of six man or eight man tags on tv so that everybody is on tv and can get over with their wrestling without blowing big matches without promotion. You can have a #1 contender's match for the title defended on the next show as the semi main event, or the main event if TNA doesn't feel strongly about letting the Knockouts main event a tv show.

All of my ideas having been laid out on the table, I actually have no knowledge of anything TNA pays people or if this stuff will save money, but I think it will, and I know it will make for a better product that has a chance to get people excited and make them buy PPVs instead of just being WWE lite.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

NJPW Kizuna Road Akito 7-20-13 Impressions

I tried to watch the NJPW PPV last night, but it was late and I feel asleep after the preshow match, but I did watch the replay this morning so good enough. It was the best quality wrestling stream I've watched and worth the price especially for an over four hour show.

The opening eight man tag is a fun match without a lot of substance to it, but it's does what it's supposed to do which is open the show and get you excited. KUSHIDA does some cool stuff. Jado or Gedo I don't remember which, and I'm not good at telling those two apart to start with, does a much quicker version of the rope drape DDT than Orton that looked super smooth. The crowd loved Nakanishi so he hit his trademark moves and gets the win.

Forever Hooligans vs. Taka Michinoku and Taichi was a great match and Taka and Taichi were cheating dicks in the best way throughout the match. They started it off well by letting Koslov sing the Russian anthem then start singing the Japanese anthem and jump the Hooligans halfway through. Everybody gets to look good in this match and when Koslov is isolated, Taka and Taichi do a great job of ruining hot tags by pulling Romero off the apron. The Forever Hooligans' finisher is a thing of beauty and I'm glad they keep the belts here.

Ishii vs. Suzuki is the kind of match people envision when they think of Japanese wrestling two guys hitting each other as hard as they can and dropping each other on their heads occasionally. At one point Ishii backs Suzuki into the corner and then delivers a violence party that lasts for at least half a minute. Suzuki gets the win, but his mouth is bleeding and his cheek is cut so you know it was hard fought. I really enjoyed this match.

TenKoji vs. Yano & Iizuka was a well planned out match. TenKoji is winning when it's a straight up wrestling match and they can do their thing, but when Yano and Iizuka do their crazy person thing and have all the weapons they want they get the advantage, but that can't last forever and Kojima wrecks both of them with lariats then uses Yano's handcuffs to lock him up in the corner and they Tenzan hits a moonsault for the win.

Tanaka vs. Naito is another good match with Tanaka bullying the smaller man for a lot of the match and of course it back fires on him and Naito puts on a good performance for falling. Naito took a sick kendo stick shot straight to the head at the beginning before Tanaka splashed him through a table. The match goes back and forth after that until Tanaka dumps him on his head with a german suplex and then with a lariat. It takes two diving lariats to the seated Naito to finish him off.

La Sombra vs. Nakamura is my favorite match of the show. Hard hitting action, high flying, and Nakamura being Nakamura. Best spot of the match was Sombra climbing the metal framework that holds up the lighting structure at least as high as the ring post and does a moonsault onto Nakamura and lands on his feet. Nakamura also pulled out a spinning Pescado which I didn't know he did, it was awesome. Nakamura's charging knee to finish the match was fucking brutal.

Bullet Club vs. Tanahashi, Makabe, Liger and Captain  New Japan was solid but nothing more. It had it's moments, but it had a lot of big guys hitting their big spots and then some semblance of faces in perils and hot tags, but it lets all the good guys get one over on Bullet Club and with Tanahashi pinning Terrible, who isn't really a member of Bullet Club, they don't really lose too much of their heat.

Goto vs. Shibata was another one of the hard hitting, head dropping matches and they are going at it from the word go with lots of back drop drivers and hard hitting. I wasn't a huge fan of this match and it ending with a double KO after a headbutt didn't do a lot for me. I think they had a match earlier in the year that also had a double KO finish so I assume they're building to something, but it's still kind of blah. Unless you like watching people hit each other really hard, which I occasionally do. Ishii/Suzuki did this better in the night for my tastes.

Nagata vs. Sakuraba is another match I wasn't a fan of, but more because it's not my style. It's a worked MMA fight essentially and the two men can both do that. I like MMA, but when it's worked there's so much that goes against how fighting works in MMA and wrestling that it drives me crazy. They do good submission scrambles and Nagata has some slick throws in the match as well.

Okada vs. Devitt is the main event and it feels like it. Devitt plays the dastardly cheater in this match and does it well. Bullet Club gets involved in the match, but not to too great of a degree and I think it works well in the match. Loved how important the exposed corner becomes especially as I forgot about it after the first spot into it. The crowd was booing Devitt well and cheering very loudly for Okada most of the match which was awesome. Devitt got a bunch of near falls after countering a tombstone into one of his own and then delivering a double stomp with a chair on Okada. Devitt also countered the Rainmaker a bunch of times before Okada hit him with a tombstone and then connected with the rainmaker for the win. A good match that I'll probably like better when I rewatch it without crazy high expectations I had going into it.

The show kind of dragged for me after the intermission until the main event, but I can see those matches working well for people who like that style more. I really enjoyed everything before the intermission and the main event felt like the big match it was so overall I was happy. Definitely a show worth checking out.