TNA Slammiversary | June 2 on PPV TNA celebrates its 11-Year Anniversary in Boston. On this night, Sting will challenge Bully Ray in a No Holds Barred Match for the World Title. If Sting loses he will never get a World Title shot again. Also AJ Styles vs Kurt Angle, the TV and World Tag Team Titles on the line, Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim, Ultimate X for the X Division Title and so much more. Join us in Boston!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Changing the Formula | Part 1
The model for wrestling in the last decade or so has heavily featured storylines, something that fans can sink their teeth into each and every week and tune in to see what the next big development is or what jaw dropping twist may ensue. Unfortunately, there are two problems with the long standing formula.
The world of television has become reality based and almost every storyline thinkable has been done to death, resulting in TNA's case, a carbon copy of the nWo (15 years after its original run) that featured a woman losing a court case where she had been conned out of her company on worldwide TV. Most recently, there was a storyline involving two men who were so jealous that they hired a crack whore to pretend she was pregnant and claim their former best friend was the father. Plus, there’s an ongoing storyline right now that involves a biker gang invading and attacking a wrestling show on a weekly basis, yet instead of TNA calling the police to investigate this gang and prosecuting them for trespassing, assault & battery and abduction (all on live TV by the way), they chose to risk the safety of their company as a wager in a tag match against two of these gang members.
Combined with the public being introduced to reality TV, the audience look at these shows that have over-the-top storylines as ridiculous, thus tuning out in favour of documentary style programs or serial programs that present realistic storylines. This means that wrestling has taken a hit and now they need to change something to attempt to regain the success the industry has once had. Wrestling needs a formula change so I, a wrestling fan/consumer, am going to examine some of the changes that I would make to the formula (relating to TNA) in an attempt to make the wrestling business successful in today's market.
The first step I would take is changing the style of storylines used. I would fade out the complex, far-fetched storylines that end up creating their own logic holes in favour of more basic yet realistic storylines that are customised to the characters involved. I'd have feuds mainly revolve around the battle for supremacy and the competition between two athletes for either championship gold or the next step in someone's quest for a title.
Now, I know that may sound quite bland and it seems like it would get repetitive, but that would just be the basis of match-ups. What would make the stories interesting and unique from the rest would be the participants involved. In the past, a feud would be set up by two guys facing off, with the face winning and then being beaten down by the heel after the match, or the heel cheating and the face going after him to get revenge and proving that he’s the better man. While that has worked for a long time, it still doesn’t inform the audience why the two faced off in the first place or why they took one loss so badly. Therefore, by using the simple basis of two men battling to continue their rise to the top it gives the viewer a clear reason as to why the two are coming into contact with one another and what importance/effect it will have on the future.
Another change that I would make to the typical formula of a storyline is the amount of times that wrestlers face one another in matches during a feud. What we usually expect in a feud is a match/angle to start the feud, followed by around three matches over the course of a few months taking place on a mixture of TV and PPV. That doesn’t seem so bad from a fan’s point of view, but try looking at it in the eyes of a consumer. Would you buy a new car having the knowledge that there is a very high chance that an updated version of the car will come out in the near future for the same price, and then not long after that the final version of the car will come out and will also be the same price?
The answer I’d think most people would say is no, so why would you pay $35 for a PPV where you know a top match will be repeated in a month’s time with more story behind it for the same price? And again, with more story behind it as well as being the blow off match for the same price.
Today's fan expects storylines to go just the way I stated above. Therefore, they don't usually invest into feuds until it gets to their climax. People claim that PPV is a dying business, but why are wrestling PPV buys going down and MMA PPV buys going up? One main reason could be that 8-10 times fights don't go to a rematch, making every fight seem important and can’t-miss because there’s a good chance it may never happen again. This is the reason I would limit the amount of certain match-ups to one, with that being the climax to their feud.
I’m not saying that every feud would only have one match, but I would make it the norm so when a rematch does happen (has to have a good reason why it’s happening like a screwy finish, highly competitive, etc.) it is treated like a big deal. The company being able to use the original match as a marketing tool would also give the match more anticipation from the fan's point of view and make them more likely to invest into the feud whether it be through buying a ticket or buying the PPV. This should result in an increase in PPV buys due to the consumer having several good, reassuring reasons as to why they should part with their money to buy the event.
Check out the second part of this column later on.....
Posted By JSO
Changing the Formula | Part 1