I have a friend who has appears to be suffering from a terminal illness.
At one time in my life, this friend was there for me when I needed it. My friend was full of life, vitality and made me happy most of the time. Though not always the best of friends, at times it has given me joy and happiness. Now the same friend appears to be sadly suffering and in need of urgent help. It’s not the same friend it once was, and it’s safe to say that said friend is currently a shadow of its former self. A lot of its other friends have abandoned it and it doesn’t look like my friend has the strength and courage to recover. My friend is TNA Wrestling.
As I mentioned in my previous articles, I’m primarily a WWE fan, or more realistically, I’m a zombie like viewer who will tune in regardless of the state of the show. I always make sure I keep up to date with WWE each and every week as it’s the show I’ve grown up with. On the flip side I try watch as much alternative as I can as well, though usually falling short as I get older.
However back in 2001 and being from Ireland, there weren’t many alternatives available that I was aware of. WCW and ECW had closed its doors and WWE was, just like the gimmick match, the last man standing. All I had was Vince’s product to feed my wrestling hunger and Powerslam magazine to keep me up to date with non WWE events.
Fast Forward to 2006/2007,watching WWE was a hard task in many ways. I felt without any real competition, WWE and it’s creative team had took their foot off the pedal slowly in 2001 and never got back into gear in the years that followed. I was falling out of love with wrestling and fast.
I had keep up to date with goings on in wrestling thanks to reading wrestling websites online as well as picking up Powerslam each week, so I was aware of alternatives but wasn’t aware of anyway to access them. Then by chance, on Demonoid* in 2007 I saw a torrent for TNA Slammiversary 06. I said why not and gave it a blast, adding it to my download list. It took forever to download and I didn’t watch it for about a week, but eventually I viewed my first bit of TNA.
Sure what harm could it do? Realistically it’s was never going to have my heart like WWE does as I stated previously that it’s engrained in me at this stage, but I would be a fool not to watch it considering how many good things I’ve read.
*(Demonoid was a torrent site back in the day)
Needless to say liked what I saw.
Sure seeing guys that I was familiar with drew me in initially Like Jarrett (who I always had a soft spot for), Sting and Christian, but it was other talents like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and mostly Samoa Joe that made me think Wow, ,I’m missing out. Sure the King of the Mountain match was a bit hard to follow at first, but I enjoyed watching something fresh for a change. TNA became by alternative.
It wasn’t easy following TNA back due to my location in Dublin, but I did what I could to at least give it a chance. I only had Demoind to download the TNA programming which was slow and time consuming and it wasn’t always uploaded and I wasn’t aware of any other means of watching it but I tried my best to follow the product. Sure it wasn’t as flashy as Raw and Smackdown and wasn’t the product I grew up with but it was something different for me when WWE was falling short.
Like I said I’m a WWE viewer first, and will watch most of what the have to offer each week but Ill never be WWE biased. Even though I grew up and watched their product religiously and continue to do so, I realise that their product can be absolutely dire in places and other companies have done things better than them in a lot of ways. TNA at the time when I began to notice them were doing plenty of things better.
Now I was no avid TNA viewer and I always watched WWE first, mostly because it was more accessible to me, but I watched what I could. TNA at the time gave me hope in professional wrestling when WWE were getting complacent with the quality of their product. They gave me something else to watch and also made me dream of another Monday Night War. They made wrestling fun again.
TNA wasn’t always great; it had its bad angles and sloppy matches too, but it was giving me more wrestling, which is what I craved most.
Like a lover who is in a sour relationship, if WWE had paid more attention to its product and made a better effort in the storyline department, then maybe I wouldn’t have looked elsewhere for another wrestling show to watch. Fact is I wasn’t entirely happy with their product and TNA was there in some way to pick up the pieces and keep my love of wrestling burning, and for that I will always think fondly of Total Nonstop Action.
TNA today though is a different story. They have been in a bad way for a long time and a lot of fans have already given up on them. WWE is more watchable today than it was 8 years ago and there are more alternatives available to me today than there was back then. TNAs product has suffered so much in the last 2/3 years, which is why I liken it to a friend on its death bed.
From the poor storylines in recent months, to the production values being lowered due to financial trouble, TNA is a different product in many ways to the one that grabbed my attention back in 2006. If you were a casual fan now, I can’t imagine much being on offer to draw you in week after week. With no real forward planning in some respects and a constant uncertainty hanging over the future of the company, some fans wonder if its worth there time tuning in at all any more.
But as a wrestling fan I won’t throw in the towel on them. While things aren’t great, I will always keep trying to catch Impact on Challenge each week (though some weeks I fail) and follow the product in hope that things can improve. They still have a roster capable of a great show and they are still able to create new stars, EC3 being a prime example.