WWE Limiting Gimmick Matches, Shrinking The Main Event Scene With One Title, Crowd To Blame For Adam Rose?, Latest On Daniel Bryan's Neck Injury; Concern Within WWE & Future Of WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Looking At The Current State Of TNA & Why There's More Than Enough Cause For Concern

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Welcome to Ask WNW on steroids... the 341st installment of the WNW Premium Mailbag. This installment features questions that were sent from Tuesday, May 6, 2014 to Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

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  • david

    The decision TNA made to bring in Hogan and Bischoff when they did seemed at the time that it made a lot of sense. What they had the potential to do was what TNA invested in. TNA had some issues prior to that but it was very watchable. The knockouts started leaving because they didn’t get paid enough and that was a mistake on TNA’s part. They had a lot of great talent that was doing well (Jay Lethal, Samoa Joe, Beer Money, etc.). Look back at the week they came in and did the special against Raw – it was pretty decent and seemed like it could have been a game changer for TNA. They brought in talent like Jeff Hardy and later RVD. The problems began soon after that period. I felt like TNA was watchable and enjoyable prior to that point. However they immediately made questionable decisions with bringing in talent (Nasty Boys, Bubba the Love Sponge, etc.). Instead of keeping the momentum that TNA worked on to try and differentiate themselves they went in different directions that ended up leading to an erosion of their audience.

    They made a ton of mistakes and put talent in uncomfortable positions. Then decisions were made like trying to go against Raw so quickly on Monday nights. Their ratings weren’t great prior to Hogan and Bischoff came in but they really started to stay the same or get worse. Putting Brooke Hogan on TV and eventually Eric Bischoff’s son as a wrestler with Hogan tweeting that he’s got something was just ridiculous and nobody wanted to see it. They ended up alienating the people who were watching TNA – which is okay if you replace them with new viewers. But the crap that they ended up doing (Aces and Eight’s I’m looking at you!) along with no marketing support so people even knew what TNA was just killed it. I remember reading an RVD interview about coming back to WWE where he said people were excited he was coming back and wanting to know where he had been? The answer was TNA! Maybe if they marketed it some of those people would have tuned in and watched him. But they threw money at talent like RVD and Jeff Hardy (ulitmately Hardy was a HUGE mistake with his drug issues) without marketing them and taking advantage of them. Hardy headlined Summerslam 4 months before he came to TNA. That should have been a big deal but it wasn’t.

    I think Hogan and Bischoff didn’t know what TNA was or what to do with it. Hogan mentioned similarities to WCW when he came in (filmed in a studio like WCW did at MGM for example). WCW was a large company (and even though they lost money) with a huge legacy with legitimate big stars like Flair and Sting and a ton of history. For him to comment on TNA being similar just wasn’t accurate.

    Overall TNA is going to die and it’s a shame. I used to really like the product and it was enjoyable. It’s not the case anymore. I don’t know what GFW will be and if it even has a shot at being a viable alternative. It certainly won’t be if JJ decides to make himself front and center. If he can take it back and make it what TNA had built to prior to Hogan/Bischoff then maybe he’ll have something. But who knows? Can a wrestling company even really be successful now? I think that it can but it will need a HUGE financial backing – one that could only come with a media conglomerate supporting it until it’s profitable. I don’t know if anyone is willing to do that.

    I don’t blame Hogan and Bischoff for TNA. TNA is simply mismanaged and was before they got there. If there was somebody to say NO to stupid decisions (going against RAW, going on the road on an ongoing basis) then maybe TNA would have had a shot. But it is what it is. TNA won’t be missed – maybe the Carter family can get a decent price on selling their library to WWE. I’m sure once Kurt Angle comes back they might want to release a dvd set or something. I just wish that TNA could have kept it’s momentum and built on it instead of stopping it dead in it’s tracks.

  • Mike McCarthy

    We need more podcasts of Richard reflecting on what’s trending in the wrestling world!

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I’ve thought about doing a podcast. We’ll see!

  • AB

    Echoing my comments from a recent Ask WNW post, I understand the benefits of having two world belts, but I don’t think it’s necessary. For many years, throughout the 80s boom and the Attitude Era in the mid to late 90s, one world belt and one secondary title, and the company had some great workers and main event talents on the roster during those eras. As long as the main event workers are in compelling angles and getting occasional world title shots to keep main event title matches fresh, the main event scene is being properly handled.

    Having two belts made sense during the brand split, but when that dissolved, having two world champions in one organisation felt a bit silly, in my opinion. Take this year’s NBA Playoffs: the West is a lot more competitive than the East, so does that mean we should cut out the NBA Finals and just be content with a Western Conference Champion and the Miami Heat? Yes, wrestling is obviously scripted, contrived, however you want to put it, but WWE’s product still presents itself as legitimate competition on television for the purposes of kayfabe, so a solitary, top champion makes sense.

    Having two world belts has created some opportunities for certain workers, but mainly it’s allowed people like John Cena and Randy Orton to come close to Ric Flair’s number of reigns in about a third of the time. When you have two world belts that you can just hand out like candy, it dilutes their importance and makes it less special when a rising star finally reaches the top…partially because they don’t stand alone atop the mountain. And if the same guys are getting all the reigns anyway, then it really isn’t creating quality opportunities for anyone else.

    If the worker makes the belt and not the other away around, as has been said so often, then it’s a contradiction to say that WWE needs a second world belt to push main event talent. True main eventers and all-time greats will make their mark and be held in high esteem regardless of whether they’re holding a title or not. Look at The Undertaker, look at Andre the Giant…look at Jake Roberts, who didn’t hold any type of gold in WWE. If a worker needs a second world title belt to get over – especially if the “worker makes the belt” – then maybe they’re not bonafide main event material, after all.

    Since workers do make the championship, the opportunity is there to unify the IC/US belts and restore prestige to whichever one they keep, by giving it to a main eventer (or an upper mid-card worker on the rise), having them defend it and involve it in interesting angles. Then you’ve got that secondary belt that means something, and a world title that really means something, because it’s the only big belt up for grabs and a select few competitors that are presented as the elite competition in WWE will be vying for it.

    That’s what I’d prefer, at any rate. Like I said, it worked out fine in the past, and I believe it can work again moving forward.