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On Monday, TNA made a very important announcement, stating that they had a new "Senior Producer of Creative and Talent Development." Who was this new person? Why it was none other than Billy Corgan, the most well-known celebrity with ambitions to run a pro wrestling company. And make no mistake about it, it looks like Corgan really is going to be running TNA, at least from the creative side. Corgan is not going to be coming in and playing a small role in the company if the press release touting his arrival is be believed. Corgan is going to be the head honcho when it comes to creating and developing storylines for the company.
It is funny, even 10-15 years ago, 99% of wrestling fans wouldn't care one bit about who was running creative. But in 2015, as more of the business has been exposed through shoot interviews, podcasts, and guys writing books, a large percentage of fans understand just how important creative is to producing a quality wrestling product. The addition of a creative writer is arguably more important than the addition of a new wrestler, and the addition of new leader of creative is that much more impactful. Executives like Dixie Carter and John Gaburick have a greater influence over the totality of the company, but the person running creative probably have a greater impact on what the wrestling fan sees week to week.
So who is Billy Corgan? Most people know him as the frontman for the alternative rock group The Smashing Pumpkins. Like any other self-respecting musician, he has also gotten into a variety of other fields, including writing and producing television. Corgan has also displayed himself to be a huge fan of professional wrestling, even operating his own wrestling promotion, Resistance Pro Wrestling, where he served as Creative Director until parting ways with the company late last year. He was even rumored to be in the hunt to purchase TNA back in 2013, although obviously that never happened.
No one doubts that Corgan really likes wrestling, but a few big question marks loom over his prospective tenure in TNA. While he did work in creative for RPW, TNA is a whole new beast for him to tackle. RPW never ran TV or iPPV while Corgan was involved in the promotion, and it was very much like any local indie, running events about once a month. Going from that to working for a company that broadcasts globally every week is a huge adjustment, and while I'm sure Corgan is a very creative person, it surprised that TNA is willing to throw him right into the fire, as the head of creative, without that much experience involved.
Another interesting thing to note is that creatively, TNA has been doing pretty well. The consensus amongst most fans is that the product that is currently being produced has been much better that is has been over the last several years. TNA has gone through a lot of changes in recent years, shuffling in and out management types and overhauling the roster. Most notably they switched TV networks and have changed their event schedule quite a bit. That being said, TNA had a bit of a rhythm going and were beginning to win back some fans they may have lost during their lean 2010-2013 years. Bringing in a new person to run creative is going to mix things up a bit, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.
A possible explanation for bringing in a new creative writer, especially one with as much name value as Corgan, is what can be considered slumping ratings. No matter how it is spun, the hard fact is that the move to Destination America cut TNA's weekly audience roughly in half. Considering the fact that Destination America reaches far fewer homes than Spike TV did, the fact that Impact Wrestling is holding up around 500,000 viewers is pretty good, and the debut of Impact on Destination America did the best Wednesday night in network history, TNA is in much better shape that it possibly could have been in. Still, the loss of viewers after the move from Spike could be seen by some as a serious step backwards that needs to be corrected, and gambling on a move like bringing Corgan is worth the risk.
TNA has lost a fair amount of talent in the last few years, including mainstays like AJ Styles, Daniels, Kazarian, Samoa Joe and Sting, but the company still has a ton of talent and have recently begun really pushing it's younger talent in hopes of establishing a bright future, something that they had often neglected in the past. Nobody really knows how well Corgan is to do in his new role, but he certainly has some pretty solid tools to work with.
You can follow Jesse Collings on Twitter @JesseCollings