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  1. #1
    The Brain
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    Classic TNA Thread

    Surprised we don't have a catch all thread for the company, so I thought I'd at least start one for people to talk about the older stuff. Just rewatched the brilliant '05 triple threat with AJ, Joe, and Daniels, and it definitely held up, probably the best ever match in that style. They had a lot of great stuff over the years, though they supplemented it with plenty of crap as well. Any particular memories or stories about this long troubled company before they reset into what they've now become?

  2. #2
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I was really into it from 2010 until... I guess 2013, it would have been. For parts in there it's probably the most I've been into wrestling since the turn of the millennium.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #3
    The Brain
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    I do think they hit their peak TV from 2011-13, though it seems if you ask the core original talent they much preferred the earlier years when Jarrett was in charge. I imagine at that time the Panda Energy money was flowing freely at that time, which no doubt helped a lot with that inside perception!

  4. #4
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    I consider impact now and TNA with Dixie and Jarrett as entirely different companies at this point.. so i'm glad there's a TNA thread.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    That was my thinking as well, they're so radically different now than even a few years back. Really glad they dropped Jarrett and a lot of the other people who first tried to make the transition last year, that was very rough for a while but the seem to have come out looking much better these days.

  6. #6
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    The most enjoyable TNA ever was for me was the summer/fall of 2009 and March 2013 to July 2013. Vince Russo is rightfully shit on for many things but there was a brief moment in time where he finally did get things right during that 2009 period; there was a beautiful sort of chaos to everything going on, the Main Event Mafia peaked as a stable, the wonderful (and all too brief) World Elite stable was formed with Eric Young as its leader and most importantly TNA finally went all in on AJ Styles and made him the top guy. They really turned a corner during that time...and then decided to bring in Hogan and Bischoff, who promptly reset everything (Styles went from champ to putting over Rob Van Dam and becoming just another dude in Ric Flair's Four Horsemen rip off) and set the promotion back with WWE retreads and terrible nWO rehash (among other things). Granted Russo probably would've fucked it up anyway but he at least had something before those two came and nuked it.

    The 2013 period was even better and an even bigger missed opportunity to me. When people shit all over the Aces and Eights stuff they have a tendency to focus too much on the beginning and end while completely ignoring the middle. If they didn't they'd realize the middle portion of the angle wasn't just good, it was phenomenal. TNA completely got it right in revealing Bully Ray as the leader of Aces and Eights (a perfect example of how a reveal sometimes can work when it's the most obvious choice instead of a swerve for the sake of it), 100% nailed his explanation for how the group was formed and their motivations and set up a legitimate group of challengers to try and take them down. I remember doing a mega column with several people in this forum (including mizfan) where we made legitimate arguments for AJ Styles (who TNA set up as the 1997 Sting during this period), Matt Morgan (who was trying to prove to Hogan he had overlooked him) and several others to be the one who could topple Bully and Aces and Eights and they were all plausible. Even with Aces and Eights not having the greatest group of workers, they got it right.

    And then they completely and totally screwed it up by pushing Chris Sabin over Bully Ray at the wrong time. I think Sabin is a really good worker and at one point he was definitely deserving of a TNA Heavyweight title run; unfortunately TNA picked a time where he was cooled off to try and make him the 1997 Lex Luger to Bully's Hollywood Hogan. It all came off as flat, it stalled Aces and Eights momentum (not to mention all the other guys who could've beaten Bully) and Sabin never got close to getting over. Even worse was TNA reverted back to the old TNA from that point forward; suddenly Tito Ortiz was running around, matches were declared no contests right before commercial breaks and then were started up right after with no explanation and by the time Styles finally beat Bully at Bound for Glory the whole thing had turned into "AJ vs. Dixie" (which was awful because Dixie was a terrible onscreen heel). And that's just the stuff off the top of my head.

    Sadly that's been TNA/Impact's problem since the dawn of time. There will be interesting, even compelling stories, here and there, but before long something or someone will come along and it'll revert back to destroying your hopes and dreams (much like WWE ironically enough). I'm thrilled at the work Don Callis and Scott D'Amore have done to bring some consistency to Impact these days but even they've slipped up a bit; I'm completely baffled at how Impact went from what looked to be Eddie Edwards vs. Austin Aries at Bound for Glory to an out of nowhere Johnny Impact-Aries match.


  7. #7
    The Brain
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    Really good breakdown there of how good the Aces stuff was at it's peak, and how quickly and badly it went wrong.

  8. #8
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    After a post in the other thread I've got really into looking into what went wrong for TNA in the UK. It's well known that their ratings held up pretty well here for a year or so after they lost their Spike TV deal, and we were actually a better market for them for a while.

    It makes for really interesting reading because they go from being one of the best shows for Challenge, who showed their stuff, to not even ranking amongst their best shows almost overnight. When I tell you that most of the rest of their programming was repeats of old quiz shows, that tells you how far they fell.

    Drew Galloway was the champion at the time that things went wrong and the ratings went off a cliff. But what was really interesting is that it tracks, almost precisely, to the start of the Broken Matt angle in May 2016. Obviously I'm not blaming that angle as the sole cause or anything because Impact had plenty of problems in 2014-2016, and the trend had been downwards, but it is really interesting to see a big, divisive angle like that and the bottom dropping out of the ratings all at the same time.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #9
    The Brain
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    As I recall things didn't really get wacky in that angle until around July, but if that was a factor it would certainly be in favor of your theory that outside the box stuff isn't a good draw. Though I believe the same angle created a spike of interest in the US, so it could be a question of different markets wanting different things.

  10. #10
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Well, my theory is that a spike of interest isn't a good thing unless you can sustain it. If it's just people looking and going 'get a load of this crap', it does more harm than good.

    To be honest, I don't think this was a cause, but the timing is too coincidental not to factor at all. My best guess is that you had a lot of people on the outs anyway and Matt Hardy starting to do a silly fake voice was just the last straw.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #11
    The Brain
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    The best counter I have to that is that I think the spike continued (or at least decreased very slowly) as long as the Hardy's stayed around, and things dipped after they left. I don't have the hard numbers on that though so it could be selective memory on my part.

  12. #12
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Not to contradict, but they seem to have lost all the audience that they gained within a month and that by the end of August the ratings were lower than they had been prior to the angle. It seems like the angle probably spiked interest temporarily but when you can't follow that up, the novelty wore off and those fans didn't stick around in any great number.

    But I think the more pertinent point is that they did a better job of holding the mainstream crowd here - 200,000 in a country of 70m is a broader coalition than 350,000 in a country of 300m. So you can spike your viewership with niche fans in the US while running off your mainstream crowd in the UK, maybe.

    One thing is sure - they have never recovered here despite being on free TV.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #13
    The Brain
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    I suppose it was inevitable, there's only so much any audience can take. I'm still staggered by how bad the initial Anthem takeover was, for all the crap Dixie gets that what finally convinced me to give up on them, and even though I know they've improved a lot in the years since then I still really haven't gotten back into them.

  14. #14
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    A bit more detail - so the UK ratings fall in May. Before that they are hovering around 150,000 or thereabouts, so less than at the peak but still one of the top shows for Challenge. It would be October before they'd do that kind of rating again and that looks like a one-off, an outlier.

    In the US you do get the spike for the Final Deletion - it's the most popular show of the year for them in the US. 50k of those boosted viewers never came back. But it does look like the other couple of hundred thousand did stick around a bit longer than I first thought. What they weren't is consistent. They'd come and go some weeks and so you get little patterns where a couple of weeks there are few extra viewers and a couple of weeks they look like they are back where they were before it started.

    For me, the issue is two-fold - one, it sort of bumped interest but not in any long-term sustainable way, which is always the real problem with this sort of thing (how do you follow nonsense?), and two, to be honest, other than the Final Deletion, the changes one way or another just aren't big enough to really be that significant.

    So it feels in hindsight like a promotion that was circling the drain desperately throwing shit at the wall to see if any of it will stick, maybe getting a little bit out of it, but nowhere near enough to make a real difference to them. But the reason that kind of thing wasn't done desperately in the past is because if it doesn't work you can't really justify the ripple effects that it has on the rest of the industry, on how much harder you make it for other people. The gap, I suppose, between being worried about your business and being worried about the business.


    EDIT: As this has all been negative so far, I thought I'd chip in with the positive. The peak of the UK audience seems to be around Destination X 2012. That show itself didn't do a great number (and weirdly more people watched Impact than watched the PPVs even though they were given away for free, possibly because the time and place was more regular) there were routinely 300,000 people watching across the two showings of Impact through much of 2012. At the time Impact were routinely doing over 1m in the US, too.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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