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Breaking The Barrier: Decline of the WWE and the direction of TNA
Before I get started on the topic beforehand, a little about me, I have been a wrestling fan for 20+ years, I remember going to the local video store with my father and my younger brother to pick up wrestling videos. Back then, the only wrestling videos around at that time were WWF, as there were no AWA, NWA or WCW videos down here in Tasmania.
Anyway, like a lot of wrestling fans, I too have lost a lot of interest of the product over the years and I don't know but it's just hit me, but I think one of the key reasons why WWE fans are slowly losing interest with WWE is the fact that so many top names have left the company in a matter of time. I don't believe for a second that because the product went PG is a good enough reason, I think people say "PG is why wrestling sucks" is just a lazy excuse. Let’s be honest here, WWE was, before the Attitude Era, a PG show throughout the 1980’s and the early to mid-1990’s, wrestling was a PG program. I think with the lack of talented top names are more the reason as to why people are slowly tuning out.
Since 2003, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, JBL, Booker T and Edge all retired from active wrestling, Chris Jericho and Batista have somewhat left the business to do other things, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson all left for TNA, Undertaker, Triple H and Rey Mysterio are rarely there; Undertaker and Rey’s bodies are no longer able to take a full schedule. The Rock, though he is part-time now, has found success in making movies and he too, isn’t getting any younger. Christian, Mark Henry, Big Show and Kane are all getting older, Kane no doubt will be around for a while yet but Christian, Henry & Big Show are all slowing down and are also succumbing to injuries and we can’t forget as well, the untimely deaths of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.
Then there is Brock Lesnar, he quit in 2004 due to hating the schedule and the fact that he was more interested in trying to succeed as an NFL player, unfortunately that failed but his next success came in the field of MMA and with the UFC where he became a UFC World Heavyweight champion. He may have signed on but Brock’s rarely there as it is today and really it wouldn’t surprise me if he does decide to not sign on.
It just feels like, WWE has had the trouble of replacing all of these guys that have left the company and really when you think about it, it's like they left all in one big lot. I don't think WWE were ever prepared for all of these top names in leaving.
Which leaves me to wonder, with CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus all getting older as time goes by, who’s going to replace them? Looking at what is going on down in NXT, I think the future may look bright but the question really goes to Vince McMahon and whether or not he has the patience to keep pushing talent without giving up on them too early like he has done with Tensai and Brodus Clay as well as others.
The Rock and Brock Lesnar are short term fixes in my honest opinion, as really, they’re only there once/twice per year if not a tad little more, so really even though these two can bring in the interest, it still doesn’t fix them long term and I think that’s where WWE has struggled, they haven’t been able to fix the amount of talented superstars who have left the company in the past 10 years. I really believe if TNA had their act together, with the amount of talent that company has, they could catch up to WWE.
Now the one reason I can think of as to why TNA hasn’t had as much success is more or less, the direction of the company, which really lies on Dixie Carter. Not taking anything away from Dixie, she sounds like a very nice person but in saying that, I don’t think she knows what she’s doing and really, having Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in her ear on a daily basis isn’t really a good thing. She’s been in charge of TNA since late 2003 and yet, you would think by now, TNA would have some success especially with whom it has been able to pick up over the years – Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Sting, the Dudley Boys, Mr Anderson and the like. Dixie’s knowledge of wrestling, I believe is minimal, even if she has been in charge of a company for 10 years, she’s had people in her ear – first Jeff Jarrett, then Kurt Angle and now Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, who’s main priorities are all ego led.
TNA has some great talent within its grasp, a lot of exciting young talented wrestlers who can go out there and put on a show as well as a good Knockout’s division that has somewhat gone deflated since Hogan and friends have come into the company, thus why I feel one of the reasons TNA hasn’t gone as far as it has is due to management and the direction of the company. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but in all, I really wonder – what if, Dixie Carter wasn’t in charge of TNA? I guess it could be worse, it could be Hulk Hogan leading them and we all know where TNA would end up if Hogan had his egotistic hands all over it.
TNA stood for “Total Nonstop Action” and truth be told, back in there early years (2002-2009), they were all about action with an exciting X-Division, a damn good tag team division and though there top division was lacking, the X-Division and tag team division fixed that with what the name says = total nonstop action.
TNA’s Knockout division (2005-2009) was also one of the most exciting things about TNA, as they allowed there women to go out there and give the fans solid performances, but then it seems as soon as they allowed Hulk Hogan to enter, everything looked like it was going down the toilet – the X-Division took a huge fall and was near out of existence – though it’s slowly rebuilding itself, the Knockouts have and still are slowly being pushed out of the company, the tag team division is all but dead and the main event scene is crap; yes talent like Robert Roode, James Storm and Austin Aries have had a chance to shine but are all being overshadowed by Jeff Hardy, which is stupid especially when for the long haul TNA should be concentrating on building for the future and not relying on old names to carry them over the line.
TNA should offer the total opposite of what WWE offers; WWE is all about “entertainment”, TNA should offer “action”, “wrestling” and exciting matches like they use to do in there early years.
WWE’s decline may one day be an uprising especially with young stars such as Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett, The Shield, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes all possibly giving us a glimpse of what’s to come in the near future, who knows, WWE may be giving us a new generation or that of some new ruthless aggression that we haven’t seen for so many years.
One plus I have to say with WWE is, they always deliver in there developmental leagues whether it was with Heartland Wrestling Association (alumni includes D’Lo Brown), Memphis Championship Wrestling (alumni includes Daniel Bryan, Bryan Kendrick, Victoria, Lance Cade), International Wrestling Association, Ohio Valley Wrestling (alumni includes Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista), Deep South Wrestling (alumni includes The Miz, Brodus Clay, Jack Swagger, Michelle McCool) or Florida Championship Wrestling/NXT (alumni Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins).
TNA’s direction will always hurt them, solely because they have a promoter (Dixie Carter) who hasn’t got a clue and who is too nice to just say no and the fact that they have allowed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff some control within the company; like a friend once said and I hate to reference something as bad as this, but when it comes to Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, they’re like a tumour, if you don’t keep them under control, they will wind up killing the company slowly; like they did with WCW. (Even though, they weren’t the sole reason as to why WCW collapsed, I do believe though that they had a big hand in helping it fall).
Anyway I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it.
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