Monday, January 05, 2015

Feeling Good

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me... and I'm feeling good."
- Feeling Good by Nina Simone

I've always been an organiser. Even as a kid I was the one who divided my friends and I into teams to play football, capture the flag or whatever we were playing at the time. Today, I'm still an organiser; I was able to find an office job that allowed me to transfer some of those skills and I spend most of my day organising and implementing procedures and programmes. As a lifelong wrestling fan, I've also discovered that my obsession with sorting things has infiltrated that interest as well. In fact, I vividly remember sitting on my bed at 8 years old, writing out lists of WWF wrestlers and organising them into categories – and in all fairness, I still do stuff like this (I just don't tell a lot of people about it).

Thankfully I'm not alone and through a Twitter conversation I had the other day, I found that someone agreed with an idea I had been organising for my own pleasure, namely, what to do with TNA's PPVs or PPV-type shows. As TNA prepares for what could be the freshest relaunch in its 12-year history, I figured I might as well break down the direction I think TNA should go with for these events.

First off, Impact is your bread and butter. This is your weekly show that, in my mind, should be story driven and propel everything that you do. The new Impact: Unlocked show with Mike Tenay could be a unique "scoop" type show that delves deeper into each week's Impact and sets up the following week's show. On top of this, if TNA can find a way to make Xplosion their secondary show with a few matches and different segments, then great. Now, onto the PPV events..

The first thing I would do is drop PPVs altogether – not the shows, just the concept of PPV. The market is too tough, the costs are too high, and I think TNA would benefit more from transferring their PPVs to free TV. Use WCW's "Clash of the Champions" model as your template. Destination America is the perfect partner to utilise this format and by transferring your PPVs – let's now call them TNA specials – over to free TV, Destination America becomes the definitive home for TNA in the United States.

For the length of these specials, they have to be three hours so they feel unique and separate from Impact. In terms of content, these specials should be the culmination for your weekly storylines that play out on Impact, with your biggest and best matches saved for the occasion. The next question, and this is where it was nice to see someone else think along the same lines, is, how many of these specials do you run? To me, once a month is too many; I prefer six per year. A bi-monthly special gives the storylines a chance to breath and build towards something with a big fight feel. Below is the type of schedule I'd like to see for these shows, along with the hook/theme for each one:

February: Lockdown
The all steel cage PPV with Lethal Lockdown as the main event.

April: Sacrifice
This is just a novel concept I came up with, but I'd like to see a King of the Ring style tournament on this show with the winner becoming the Television Champion. Rather than resurrect the TV title as an actual championship, I would use it as a literal title, a name. The wrestler who wins the tournament would be presented with a check and either a trophy or a decorative championship belt and would be referred to as the Television Champion for one full year. The idea is that the winner can brag about being the best wrestler on television, and is maybe guaranteed a future world title shot within the year.

June: Slammiversary
The anniversary show that must go back to having a King of the Mountain match as the main event.

August: Destination X
Where the X Division Champion, if he chooses, can use Option C to face the World Champion.

October: Bound For Glory
The biggest show of the year. Maybe bring back the Bound For Glory Series in a simple format leading up to the event.

December: Final Resolution
I would use this to bring back the Feast or Fired concept. A lot of TNA contracts seem to expire in January, so it could be a good way to write someone out by handing them the "Fired" case.

Although I've added some type of theme to each of the above, the important thing is that they are all carried by Impact and the weekly stories. This may not be not critical, but I feel these specials should air live on a Sunday night to retain that PPV feel.

So, what about the other six months of the year that don't have a TNA special? Well, three words: One Night Only. There are a lot of One Night Only concepts I like and some I don't like, but I think there are at least six great ones that could be used to fill the months without a TNA special. The ONO shows are basically stand-alone shows not connected to storylines, Impact or any of the six TNA specials.

One Night Only should be a night for fun, special guests, legends and uniquely entertaining concepts; nothing more, nothing less. These can be taped whenever as they have no outcome on storylines, but again they should be three hours long so they feel separate from Impact. Below are the shows and airing schedule I'd like to see:

January: Joker's Wild
TNA's tribute to WCW's zany Battlebowl would remain as it is now, a series of random tag matches culminating in a Battle Royal.

March: Xtravaganza
The X Division event that features past and present stars, as well as high flyers from the independent scene, to showcase the no-limits style that made TNA exciting.

May: Hardcore Justice
The show that combines gimmick matches, blood, and hardcore wrestling for one violent night.

July: World Cup of Wrestling
For this, TNA needs to forge or maintain relationships with Wrestle-1 and a British or Mexican company. Four teams from the USA, UK, Mexico and Japan compete for a World Cup trophy. As in previous tournaments, each team should consist of a heavyweight, a tag team, an X Division and a female wrestler. To spice things up, it would be cool if each year this show was taped in a different country; Wrestle-1 could probably accommodate that in Japan.

September: Gutcheck
A tournament where the top talents on the independent scene compete for a TNA contract.

November: Knockouts Knockdown
The showcase for my beloved Knockouts division that features past and present stars, as well as outside talents from other promotions such as Shimmer or Shine.

There you have it, my take on what I'd like to see TNA do going forward. Will it happen? Probably not, but I think a format like this can produce a cool, new direction for the company. Either way I'm as excited for TNA as I've been in a long time, and I'm hoping that 2015 is the start of a new dawn for TNA, a new day for Impact Wrestling, and a new life for us, the fans. I'm feeling good.