By Big Dawg
Follow Me on Twitter @BigDawg801
Follow Me on Twitter @BigDawg801
When you consider the future of TNA, it has become more and more evident that going LIVE as long as possible is in the company’s best interest. The LIVE SUMMER BASH has been extended to the end of September. This is great, but right now we don’t know much past that. In trying to figure out the possibilities of how long TNA will go LIVE and what it all would mean to the company, I have come up with 3 main possible scenarios regarding how things may play out. You have the BEST CASE SCENARIO, WORST CASE SCENARIO and one MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO (somewhere in the middle). Sure, there may be other possibilities that would branch off of what I will outline below. As always, I encourage conversation and debate and would love to hear readers’ thoughts.
Worst Case Scenario:
The elements involved in this scenario would be very deflating and depressing for TNA fans and their wrestlers. If the end of the LIVE IMPACTS happens after the final Thursday in September, (which is all that has been announced/guaranteed up to this point) then the company would simply be in trouble. It would be a huge failure and a GIGANTIC step backwards. When Dixie and Spike TV made the quick and unexpected announcement of going LIVE all summer, it was a step that made it extremely difficult to go back to tapings. I don’t think we realized how big the gap was between IMPACT LIVE and IMPACT taping 2 or 3 shows at that time. It has been proven, however, that the shows are tangibly better and different.
The likelihood of finding out spoilers online, even without seeking them out, is very high. Hence, tapings take away the surprise factor and freshness that the LIVE show provides. Tapings are like having a rum and coke without the rum……..like watching a rerun of American Idol when you already know who was eliminated……..like expecting the Chicago Cubs to win a world series…….. like WWE RAW is right now, even when they are LIVE.
Stopping the LIVE IMPACTS just screams failure. It also would prove the nay-sayers to be right. They're the ones who constantly rip TNA over everything that they do, even when TNA does actually get things right. It possibly could also indicate that Spike TV would view the LIVE experiment as a waste of money and to pull back on the reigns financially even more than before May 31, 2012. Nothing good would come out of this scenario except the company still basically existing. Beyond that, it would stunt TNA’s growth to the point where they would be treading water and delay their progress significantly. Let’s hope this damage doesn’t occur.
Best Case Scenario
How positive and optimistic can we be? Let your imaginations run wild! (without being too much of a fan boy of course). In this scenario, TNA would continue its momentum and break through the glass ceiling that has been holding them back. The things that could happen if all the moons aligned perfectly would really start to turn heads and change minds. First, Dixie would announce that IMPACT will be going LIVE indefinitely. This means no length of time announced, just a permanent plan of doing all IMPACTS LIVE going forward (minus the UK tapings of course). Second, TNA would start taking IMPACT on the road once a month for the remainder of 2012 also as a LIVE show. There are markets out there that TNA does very well in for their house shows that would translate well to these LIVE road IMPACTS. Hell, if TNA promoted it well and fans knew that they would be on national TV LIVE, they would be able to do 3,000 to 5,000 fans consistently for these LIVE IMPACTS. It would be a financial risk and require a more expensive crew and travel cost, but the payoff could be HUGE for the company.
Third, TNA would make the LIVE monthly OPEN FIGHT NIGHT a 3 hour PPV quality-type show. I DO NOT believe that IMPACT should be a 3 hour show for all its shows. However, once a month for OPEN FIGHT NIGHT would be a win-win situation. It would allow that monthly show to breathe and not feel so rushed and let things develop more naturally. An additional hour would allow the storylines to get enough time and do the PPV build-up more justice. It would also allow more time to use more of the semi-bloated roster. Doing this kind of BIGGER, once-a-month show would have WCW Clash of the Champions type feel that would make it more important than normal IMPACTS. Yes TNA would give it away for free but the effect on casual fans or WWE fans tuning in would increase a lot. The formula is already there, just extend it one hour and give it the promotion it needs with GUTCHECK and the element of surprise with OPEN FIGHT NIGHT.
Finally, the pipe dream of how good TNA could and would do under this best case scenario would be getting the average rating over a 1.5 and/or viewership average to 2 to 2.5 million. The skeptic would say that it is not possible, and it’s true that it probably won’t happen right away, but if everything worked out perfectly and TNA played their cards correctly IT IS POSSIBLE eventually. Now, will that be in 6 months, a year or by 2014? Nobody knows that for sure. But at some point IT WILL HAPPEN and TNA will continue to climb that ladder of success. The WWE product is not as good as TNA’s product and eventually the mindless sheep will start to realize this and slowly make the shift to the better show or at least start watching both products more consistently.
Most Realistic Scenario:
OK, ok, ok……let’s find a middle ground. Chances are neither of the above scenarios are reality in the immediate plans (or at least in 2012). What can we realistically expect to happen regarding LIVE IMPACTS and their subsequent effect from this point into the foreseeable future? I can see Dixie announcing that IMPACT will stay LIVE through 2012 in probably the next couple of weeks. I am 99 % sure of this as the schedule laid out for LIVE events leaves Thursdays open or they have 2 events scheduled simultaneously and will run with 2 separate crews. Also, doesn’t it just FEEL like this will happen? As much as the true CORE TNA FANS want this to be the case, it just feels right and that it time for this to happen. It is part of a more sure and steady progression. The fans voices have been heard and part of that is due to the #KeepImpactLive Twitter campaign (which is awesome in that the fans have a real voice in what happens as TNA shapes and molds its future).
Honestly, I believe the decision has already been made and it’s just a matter of timing with Dixie announcing it. The fact that the September extension was announced was just an appetizer of things to come. The Slammiversary PPV this year was a turning point for the company and TNA has enjoyed steady momentum since that time. It is essential that they keep that train on the tracks and keep growing. Going back to tapings would halt that momentum and leave them at a plateau. If Spike TV and Dixie have any guts and common sense right now they will #KeepImpactLive. If you are reading this and haven’t tweeted and retweeted #KeepImpactLive to @TNADixie and @SpikeTV ………..what are you waiting for? Even the biggest critic of TNA has to agree that keeping IMPACT LIVE is the right move. We have a voice as fans, and I suggest using it and helping to force their hand as much as possible. Let me know your thoughts!