July 24, 2013

Direct Kick: Is TNA in trouble, and if so, what (or who) can save them?

By Denis House
Sports Editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I haven’t written much about professional wrestling lately so I thought this week I would take some time and examine the state of TNA wrestling.

If you believe the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) the organization is in trouble and could be on its last legs. Word has it that talent is not paid on time, among other things.

TNA has let some talent go recently, which is nothing new for a wrestling company to do. Tara, D-Lo Brown, Bruce Prichard, DOC (the former Luke Gallows), Christian York, Joey Ryan, Madison Rayne, Doug Williams and Taeler Hendrix, to name just a few. Plus they parted ways with Matt Morgan and Rob Van Dam, who recently showed back up in the WWE.

Ever since the promotion started over 10 years ago, their demise has been predicted by the IWC. Why wrestling fans would want a promotion to fail is beyond me. If you like wrestling you want to watch as much as you can. Plus, competition is good for the sport. If the WWE is the lone dog, the product suffers (as it has steadily since WCW and ECW were bought by Vince McMahon).

Dr. Tom Prichard, the brother of Bruce Prichard, recently blogged with his thoughts on TNA’s problems and his own dealings with the promotion. He basically said that TNA should start at the very top and look at what the real issues are.

That means you, Dixie Carter. It starts at the top.

Now Carter has no background in wrestling like Vince McMahon does. McMahon grew up around the sport as his father was a promoter and the original owner of the then WWWF. Carter started working for TNA in marketing then convinced her parents to buy the promotion, and when they did, she became president.

Nothing wrong with that as long as you surround yourself with people who know wrestling.

At first she had the likes of Jeff Jarrett, Dutch Mantell and Jim Cornette. Jarrett was soon gone from any type of authority position. Mantell was let go from the booking department and has recently shown up in the WWE as Zeb Colter. Cornette has probably the greatest professional wrestling mind on the planet. Unfortunately Cornette isn’t in the business right now.

TNA also had a chance to sign Paul Heyman but let that slip by. Another mistake. They brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and in many people’s opinion, two more mistakes.

Right now TNA reminds me of WCW in its dying days. And that’s sad, because I do believe that they have, from top to bottom, a stronger roster than the WWE has. They just need to learn how to use it correctly.

Prichard also noted that he was once contacted by TNA to help with the developmental system in OVW. But he said there was never any follow up and he never got a straight answer or a courtesy call explaining why a representative of the company called and initiated talks and promised an answer “by Monday.” He said Monday has yet to come.

I believe this. I have had my own dealings with TNA and ran into this same problem.

I won’t go into too much detail, but it happened a couple of years ago when they had a show in Corbin. I had interviewed Christopher Daniels and was looking forward to meeting him. But the person I was dealing with at TNA never got back to me on whether or not I would get credentials to the event, which they had given me before. Repeated emails were never answered. No phone calls returned. I did finally hear from them after the event apologizing for not answering me and offering to make it up to me, but I never responded to them.

If I were Dixie Carter, I would try my best to lure Cornette back into wrestling and give him free reign to book the promotion. I mean free reign. The man has worked for WCW, WWE, Ring of Honor, and ran his own promotion, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, which had some of the best and most compelling storylines in the sport at the time.

I don’t want to see TNA fail. Carter recently addressed the TNA talent and told them everything was fine. I hope so. It’s also being reported that, which the departure of Prichard, no one has been named head of creative, but it appears, for the time being at least, Bischoff will assume that role.

Here is your chance, Dixie. Give Cornette a call. I’m begging you.

If something isn’t done soon, I’m afraid TNA will be no more. And that’s something that I don’t want to see.