Tuesday, January 19, 2016

POP is good for TNA, but is it enough?

Drew Galloway is just one of several stars with a huge upside for TNA, but
only if TNA spends the time to book them as the hot young talent they are.
The first two episodes of Impact Wrestling on POP TV offered solid wrestling entertainment with some solid talents whether it be from veteran Kurt Angle, journeyman Drew Galloway or TNA originals like Bobby Roode and James Storm (now reunited as Beer Money.) The company seems to be forming a talent pool that will support them moving forward, framed around Ethan Carter III, the former Derrick Bateman who has become a true superstar since his move to the closest thing WWE has to a competitor.

But despite strong matches from the above plus the likes of the Beautiful People, The Dollhouse, The Wolves, Tigre Uno and more, the company still seems scared of innovation. The focus in the main event continues to be a younger homegrown star versus an industry veteran, even when that veteran is as past his prime as Matt Hardy.

And because of their lack of innovation with their cast, it often feels like much of their talent isn't all that important. Sure EC3, the Hardys and Angle are huge stars, but everyone else ends up feeling like they're just filler for the stuff TNA management cares about. An excessive focus on the main event picture has been a problem in WWE sometimes as well, but two weeks into the new show, every thing not involving the four men above just seems thrown together.

The sad part is that it doesn't have to be this way. They've got Dave Lagana on the writing staff alongside Billy Corgan. He has a history of crafting solid scripted television, the kind of clever writing that Lucha Underground has every week. While the title holders may not even be featured on every episode, the writers behind Lucha Underground understand that making sure every feud they develop feels important, whether it belongs at the bottom of the card or at the top. They fill the rest of the show with multi-talent matches or create random challenges thrown out by owner Dario Cueto to keep the progression moving. It's simple booking, but when the focus is quality weekly serialized television, it helps Lucha Underground surpass Raw and Impact Wrestling in quality almost every week.

I'm not saying that TNA can ape that style perfectly, but restoring the focus on simple storytelling surrounding great in ring action won't hurt the company. Coupled with a few smart moves in who to push and TNA could rise from the ashes yet again. The balls in their court.

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