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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Flooding the Market
About a decade ago, just having a successful women’s division in any company – be it WWE or the independent scene – was asking quite a lot. Those of us who enjoy women’s wrestling as something more than just a parade of models competing in pillow fights or lingerie battle royals, have often had to search long and hard to find a source of good, competitive women’s wrestling. Then along came TNA and in 2007, a serious women’s product was now available for us to watch on a weekly basis.
I'm of the opinion that one of the reasons why the Knockouts division was such a home run for TNA was because there was virtually no alternative. If you wanted to see competitive women’s wrestling between proper female athletes, TNA Impact was where you could find them. WWE? Forget about it. Independent scene? Almost nowehere to be found. Sure enough, there was Shimmer, an all-female promotion based out of Illinois but it was still very small time, catering to a very niche audience. And really, unless you knew about Shimmer already, chances were that you weren't just going to stumble upon it as your source of top rate female action. TNA was the only real place the masses could watch for their fix of good women’s wrestling. That's how it stayed for a while.
But that was five years ago and as is the case in wrestling and in life, success breeds imitators. In the past five years the independent scene has seen women’s promotions pop up all over the United States. While it would be foolish to suggest that this flooding of the market is responsible for the downturn in the TNA Knockouts product, there is something that sticks out about the parallel of interest in the TNA Knockouts division decreasing while the number of women’s promotions and divisions appearing has increased.
Almost every state now has a women’s division or a promotion passing through every month or so where you can find top notch female talent. Thursday nights are no longer must-see TV for fans of women’s wrestling; you can just go down to your local arena or gym and see it live. It even spread internationally, with the UK getting its own women’s promotion in Pro Wrestling Eve.
It could be argued that an independent scene so loaded with talented female wrestlers is a good thing for TNA, as it gives them more talent to choose from when signing new Knockouts. But I also have to point out that, what good is an independent scene of 100 really talented girls when TNA only has room for 10 of them? One area where independent women’s promotions have the advantage over TNA is the quantity of girls they can offer. TNA has to choose carefully which Knockouts to use and then try and fit them into a 15-20 minute portion of a 2 hour show.
For the likes of Shimmer or WSU, they can bring in 30 girls for a DVD taping and give the audience their fill of the girls they want to see. Why spend your Thursday night watching some girls you aren't that keen on when you can go to your local indy show and see who you like? Over exposure of any product waters it down in the end and the novelty of the Knockouts division being the division for serious women’s wrestling has worn off. You can now find a similar (maybe even better) women’s product in a lot of places.
But there is hope. For many, TNA is where they first saw really good women’s wrestling and if TNA management want to go back to making the Knockouts division the very best it can be, then it doesn't take a whole lot of effort. It just takes some attention. For me, and probably for most others, I would rather watch a really good Knockouts division as opposed to half a dozen good independent promotions. If the Knockouts division is the best it can be, then it won't matter how many other alternatives there are out there. People will watch TNA because it still offers the only major league women’s product available all over the world.
Has the flooding of the women’s wrestling market hurt the Knockouts division? Maybe a little. But ultimately, it has been TNA who have hurt the Knockouts division the most. If the ladies of TNA got a little more TLC from management, then the Knockouts division would make all those independent women’s promotions look small time like most of them are. And in the flooded market of women’s wrestling, the TNA Knockouts division would stand tall above them all.
Posted By JSO
Flooding the Market