Perhaps this thread would be better placed in the "Site Bashing" forum, or perhaps in the more general "Wrestling" forum. However, since this post was inspired by a paragraph from CRZ's recap, I thought it may best be placed here. If either (or both) administrators disagree, then please move it to whichever forum you feel it truly belongs (but please, not "Banished"!).
Before I get to my main point, allow me to compliment CRZ on his recap of NWA-TNA's July 10 PPV, as he did his usual excellent job. High marks also to Guru Zim for his TNA Alternate Perspective, a column that I personally hope to see more often.
Quoting from CRZ's recap:
Well, ultimately, even after four shows, this still boils down to "it's a ten dollar 'Thunder.'" Guys, we had over three years of FREE "Thunder" and if THAT company couldn't make it - how can this one survive? I'm moving my official stance to "enjoy it while you can."
So there's the paragraph that prompted this post, and begs the question: Can this promotion survive? Now, this isn't going to be the kind of post where I pretend I've got Jerry Jarrett's ear and I'm going to tell him how to run his business. My only involvement in professional wrestling has been as a fan; if I were to share all I know about actually running a wrestling promotion, it would take less than a nano-second. Neither am I going to write a post where I do fantasy booking with the NWA-TNA roster. To be honest, IMHO those types of posts are rarely interesting (though occasionally unintentionally amusing). Besides, any comments I have regarding the in-ring action I've already made in the weekly posts I write after each show. Rather, I'd like to point to two signs visable even to this amateur's eye why this promotion, though only in its infancy, is already in deep trouble.
First, of course, is the excellent point made by CRZ, not just in the excerpt, but in his recap of the very first NWA-TNA broadcast, where he said, "Hey guys, "Thunder" is back. Do YOU want to pay $9.95 to watch it?" Granted, there have been times in television history where the remains of a failed show were adjusted just enough to produce a hit porgram. For example, "Sirota's Court" was a failed sitcom about a night-court judge in a large metropolitan city that lasted only a few months on NBC's schedule after debuting in December of 1976. However, "Night Court" was a hit sitcom about a night-court judge in a large metropolitan city that debuted on NBC's schedule in January of 1984 and was still there well into the 1990's. See also "Ellery Queen" vs. "Murder She Wrote" for another example. So it is possible to take a failed show, make the necessary adjustments, and turn it into a hit. However, is it possible to take a failed program, duplicate it exactly without any significant improvements, and expect it to be successful? IMHO, the answer is no. It's a matter of numbers, and I just don't see a large number of viewers paying to see a program that they've already passed on for free in the very recent past.
The second sign comes from the official web site for NWA-TNA. No, I'm not going to critique its lay-out, or graphics, or other such features; I'll leave that to others. What I want to point out is NWA-TNA's Merchandise page. If you haven't been there already, you can Click Here to see what merchandise the promotion has for sale. Did you check it out? Now, this may change from the time I write this post to the time you read it, but for the past several weeks the only thing on that page is a message stating "Page Under Construction, please check back at a later time". After four PPV broadcasts (not to mention the months prior to the first broadcast during which the promotion was setting itself up) there is STILL no NWA-TNA merchandise to be bought! None. Nada. No t-shirts, no hats, no posters, no visors, no pens, no, well, you get the idea. I may not be an expert businessman, but even I know that no merchandise for sale means no merchandise money coming in. Does anyone reading this who is an expert businessman (or at least fancies himself as one) want to make an estimate as to how much lost revenue this represents (not to mention the incoming cash flow which I'm sure is always welcome in any start-up business)?
Please understand my purpose for making this post. I'm not trying to destroy NWA-TNA, nor am I trying to undermine those who are running NWA-TNA in anyone's eyes. I am also not wishing an early demise to this promotion, as I personally have to this point enjoyed what I've seen on my TV screen (at least enough to keep coming back for more). My only purpose in writing is to address what I believe is a legitimate question in many fans' minds, that being "Can this promotion survive?", and to give my own personal opinion on the subject. And my own personal opinion, based on the two points above, is "No". Not without significant improvents to the program to establish it as a truly "new" promotion, rather than a repeat of a failed one. Not without taking advantage of the mother of all cash cows, merchandise sales. Not without doing both these things as quickly as possible. Because very soon it will be too late.
And, I'm sure the whole thing comes off as "who are these guys?" and/or "these guys were useless in WCW, why the hell should I pay for them now?" to a lot of people. It'd be stupid to deny that.
However, I can't write NWA off entirely, because I think it has a big point in its favor. - It's not trying to be a generic WWE-lite product. I think that is very smart. It's trying to appeal to a specific crowd, namely, the Southern traditionalist wrestling crowd. AND, the important thing about that is that, - That specific group of people is very similar to the group of people who supported WCW and stopped watching wrestling when it was bought out.
So, at least NWA is trying to appeal to a group of people who 1) have been sufficient to support a wrestling promotion before, and 2) whose wrestling preferences are not being met by what WWE is giving them for free.
Whether those people want to see Ken Shamrock and Jerry Lynn rather than Ric Flair and Sting, I can't really say. Whether they want to spend $10 a week for their wrestling fix, I can't really say. (I would LOVE to know the exact buyrate). But, I do think that the point I described is sufficient reason not to rule the possibility out entirely.
I think a big part of it is simply going to be how long they can hang in there -- how much $ they have socked away, and whether they're getting 10% of the buyrates they need to turn a profit, or 50%. DirecTV does have a lot of incentive to do what they can to make them as successful as possible, so that might help.
I doubt they make it, but I think the chance is significantly above 0%.
gonna build a giant drill and bore straight into hell releasing ancient demons from their sleep-forever spell so they can walk upon the earth and get recituated and run the diet pill pyramid that MC Pee Pants has created
“The function of a good teacher is to discourage film as a course of study for the non-avid. There are film societies and cinemas galore for the serious non-film student.” – Robert Steele, “Film Scholars at the New York Film Festival,” FILM COMMENT 2, Fall 1964, p. 41, as quoted in It’s Only a Movie, by Raymond J. Haberski Jr.
I guess that's the problem - They could sell JJ stuff but then it looks like NWA's all about Jarrett lookin' good. Plus, I'd guess most of the other guys aren't exactly on long-term contracts. Pretty tough to do merchandise for a guy who may be gone next week.