TNA has lost its grip on what made it a quality promotion in the past few years. A lot of the changes in their product can be allegedly attributed to Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and other big names which have arrived in TNA in the past few years. The idea which once made TNA an entertaining and interesting product have mostly been swooped away in favor of a radically different philosophy, which in my opinion has really detracted from the overall appeal of TNA.
Before I go any further I would like to permit a little bit of a warning to readers. A large problem with the criticism of TNA is that is often compared to the WWE. The WWE is a separate entity from TNA, and what they do with their product really has no bearing on what TNA does. Just because WWE does something stupid, that does not make it ok or tolerable for TNA to do, and vice versa. The following article is not about World Wresting Entertainment, it is about Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Although it is obvious that TNA and the WWE are always going to be compared to each other and even influenced by each other, from an overall quality standpoint, they really have nothing to do with each other, and I ask all of you to keep that in mind while you are reading this.
What originally drew my eye to TNA was the speed and thrill of their matches. Wrestling that I had seen up until that point (WWE, WWF, WCW) had been mostly made up of slow-plotting workers who took minutes to work through a headlock. TNA was something that was totally different then all of that, something that was unique to a casual viewer, which is what I was at the time.
Whether the faster paced style was better or more preferable then the slower mat based style was irrelevant. The fact that it was different was what made TNA important. The word "alternative" is something that comes up a lot when thinking about TNA. By employing this type of in-ring action, TNA was supplying an alternative to most wrestling at the time.
The alternatively of TNA did not solely reside in the pacing of its matches, it also resided in the talent that it promoted. Wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Amazing Red, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and others could not get work in other companies because they were too different for a variety of reasons. TNA took what made those guys different and promoted the heck out of them, building the company around those differences.
The last piece of the puzzle was the structure of the company. Instead of employing the "soap-opera" type mentality for wrestling, TNA kept it nice and easy, with the majority of the storytelling taking place in the ring as opposed towards backstage promos and vignettes. The storylines were simple and easy to follow, because ideally they were just there to set up the matches, not for the matches to set up the storylines which seems to happen so often now.
It is that last point which really bugs me the most about TNA currently. While the WWE had long been the home for wacky and nonsensical ideas, TNA tried it's best to imitate them once Hogan and Bischoff came aboard. In the past few years TNA has seen a major boom in over-arching storylines, ridiculous segments and preposterous feuds. Instead of letting the wrestling settle it, TNA has ditched the classical explanations for more of a Hollywood styled product, causing it to lose a lot of its alternative appeal.
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