An oft asked question amongst wrestling fans is whether Vince McMahon will purchase Dixie Carter’s Tennessee based Total Nonstop Action (TNA/Impact Wrestling) promotion.
Established in 2002 by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett, the promotion is the biggest and only real major alternative to the WWE. Sections of the wrestling fanbase have been clamouring for Vince to buy the promotion and incorporate it into the WWE behemoth. For the life of me, I can’t understand why people would want that. Over the next 1,000 words or so, I’m going to attempt to explain to anyone in favour why it would be a horrendously bad idea.
TNA’s existence is essential for the wrestling landscape. As I’ve said before, TNA is the only real competition to the WWE. With all due respect to Ring of Honor and CHIKARA, they’re not even competition for TNA, never mind the WWE. The fact that one of ROH’s tag champions walked out just for an opportunity with TNA speaks volumes. The bigger TNA get and the more they grow, it’s best for everyone involved. It’s better for the talent because there are 2 companies that they can negotiate between and if there are 2 companies, they’d ideally push each other on to bigger and better things.
There is precedent for this. It’s absolutely no coincidence that wrestling was at its zenith in the late 90s when there were 2 promotions of (roughly) equal size trying to do outdo one and other. That’s the holy land for wrestling fans, and should TNA grow to the size where they can put serious pressure on the WWE (for the first time in 13 years), then I think that’s the only chance we’ll have to return to those days. My only hope is that TNA doesn’t go the same way as its spiritual predecessor. Combine that with the fact that the benefits of buying TNA right now are pretty much minimal.
There are 2 scenarios that WWE could look at when buying TNA. The 1st would be to run a major invasion angle. The problem with that is that would anyone from the current WWE audience be able to buy an invasion type angle where the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Austin Aries are going up against CM Punk, Kane et al? The point being that an invasion angle can only be successful if the threat is seen as a threat. As much as I love the likes of Joe and Styles, I don’t see how they could be seen to be invaders of the WWE to casual fans.
The other scenario is to incorporate the TNA roster into the WWE’s. The only guy who could come in and enter at the top of the card instantly is Kurt Angle. Hogan could come in and have an impact on TV undoubtedly, although whether Vince takes his contract up is another subject for debate. Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Mr Anderson/Kennedy could maybe be re-debuted near the top of the card as well.
As much as I love Sting, I have my doubts over whether anyone will remember him in the direction that the WWE has gone. Bret Hart’s return was underwhelming to say the least when he returned to the WWE. Even Jericho’s recent return – before he left again – was met by an almost casual indifference from the live crowd, and he’d only left in 2010! If you want to bring Sting in to main-event, I think there’s a real fear that his debut would be met by massive indifference to the casual WWE crowd, even if we’d all be marking out at home, especially if, as John Cena claims, the average age of a WWE viewer is 9 years old.
The likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and James Storm would have come in to the midcard, which would be a huge waste of their talent by the WWE creative system. I suppose you could put Beer Money back together in an attempt to add a serious team into the tag-team division in the hopes of rebuilding it, but without any competition, they’d get pretty boring, pretty quickly. Having all of those guys lost in the WWE midcard would be a travesty, although no doubt having AJ Styles feud with someone other than Christopher Daniels would be a definite plus point.
Regardless of your stance on TNA and what your philosophy is on what should be done with the promotion when it’s absorbed, the reality of situation is pretty simple. As long as the Carter family choose to invest in TNA, the company is secure. I know that there are similarities with the situation between WCW and Ted Turner, but the difference is that TNA’s outgoings are nowhere near what WCW’s were. The burden on the Carter family isn’t massive, as by all accounts the promotion is wiping its face. In other words, it isn’t losing money and, in fact, is turning a modest profit. Until it becomes financially unstable, or the Carters decide to get rid of it (which isn’t looking likely given that the company’s finances are far more stable than they were a few years ago), the promotion will remain independent of Vince McMahon’s juggernaut.
And thank God for that.
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