Making an ‘iMPACT!’ #9

Hello TNA fans, welcome to Wrestling 101’s not so regular TNA column, Making An ‘iMPACT!’ In this week’s column I’ll be looking at TNA’s big house show in Detroit, my thoughts on Sting coming into TNA, plus much more…

Hello TNA fans, welcome to Wrestling 101’s not so regular TNA column, Making An ‘iMPACT!’ In this week’s column I’ll be looking at TNA’s big house show in Detroit, my thoughts on Sting coming into TNA, plus much more.

Let me start by apologising for my absence as of late, and the no show of my promised TNA Review of 2005. I’ve been going loggerheads with some sort of cold / flu virus that I haven’t been able to shake off. Don’t be alarmed (as if you were), it’s nothing serious, it’s just made me lazier than usual. Therefore, in an attempt not to get to way behind on the current TNA news front, I have decided to ditch my planned review of 2005, and concentrate on some of today’s major TNA related news items.

– Sting

It’s been no secret that since TNA Wrestling debuted on Spike TV they have come under increased pressure to sign some big name talents for their weekly TV show. In October, TNA signed Team 3D and Kevin Nash to the company, in November they signed former WWE superstar Christian Cage, and in December, they announced they were signing someone who would “Change the face of TNA Wrestling for 2006”. That signing turned out to be former World Heavyweight Champion and WCW Icon, Sting.

Sting has worked for TNA previously, but during those times, he wasn’t involved in any long running angles, nor was he under a written contract. Sting’s return to TNA marks the first time he has worked for a wrestling company with a national TV deal since the demise of WCW back in 2001. Sting’s return to TNA has of course come with a lot of criticism by TNA fans, and non-TNA fans.

The major concern for many people is the financial cost of having Sting work for TNA, the rumoured sum on his contract is a whopping $500,000. Now that is a hell of a lot of money for any company, but then when you consider that TNA have supposedly lost an incredible $20 Million since 2002 it really is understandable why people are concerned. But in TNA’s defence, it is being reported that Spike TV are paying a large percentage of Sting’s contract as it was Spike TV who wanted TNA to get “marquee” names. I do feel it’s a good indication that Spike TV are behind TNA if they are willing to pay a contribution to the signing of Sting, I’d be interested to find out what percentage they are paying. Regardless, $500,000 is still a lot of money.

Getting back to Sting joining TNA, another concern for many people is whether Sting will actually make a difference or not. The fact is, Sting has been a major wrestling star since 1990, but his drawing ability is somewhat questionable. In the early 90’s, WCW was a struggling company which got pretty dismal PPV buyrates and TV show ratings, Sting was one of the major stars of the company at this time. But then again, on the flipside of that, in 1997 when Sting fought Hulk Hogan at the Starrcade PPV, WCW achieved one of their biggest PPV buy rates ever. The Starrcade 1997 buyrate could be put down to many things, for one the under card of the show was quite strong with the debut of Bret Hart, also, I do think the actual match of Hogan vs. Sting drew in most of the buys, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Sting was the draw. Since announcing that Sting would be part of TNA, the TV ratings for ‘iMPACT!’ haven’t changed at all really, but it will really be impossible to tell whether Sting makes a difference or not until he actually appears on TV.

The fact is, Sting isn’t a draw on the levels of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock or Hulk Hogan, but I do think he is a draw when it comes to capturing the casual fans attention. TNA has no major draws on their roster, so you can see why they have signed Sting. The pool of major free agents isn’t exactly ample really, and TNA are in desperate need to get some major names, hence the signing on Sting.

Sting’s role in TNA is going to be interesting, in recent interviews, he has said the reason he has signed with TNA is to give back something to the business, so what does this mean? Does it mean Sting will be putting over new and up and coming stars? I’d like to think he will. Just going back to 1988, Sting was an up and coming wrestler, who hadn’t cracked the main event status, until he had one match with one man. At the first ever Clash of the Champions event in March 1988, Sting fought Ric Flair to a 45-minute draw for the NWA World Championship. The match wasn’t just an excellent showcase of both men’s ability, it also made Sting, and he went from a young rookie, to a wrestling main event superstar in that one match. I’d like to see Sting put over the young stars of TNA much like Flair did for him all those years ago. Many of TNA’s young stars like Abyss, AJ Styles, Monty Brown, Rhino and Christian Cage are great talents but haven’t really had the opportunity to face anyone on the level of Sting, and they haven’t proven themselves to reach that next level of superstardom. In an ideal situation for me, I’d like to see TNA book a programme with Sting and Christian Cage, with Cage eventually getting the big victory over the Stinger, and the feather in his cap of doing so.

I think the last thing we all want to see is Sting and Jeff Jarrett fighting on PPV after PPV for the NWA World Championship, we’ve seen it in WCW, and have actually seen it in TNA. Jarrett doesn’t need a victory over Sting, it would do nothing to further his career whatsoever, why waste the opportunity when you can use Sting to help the young future stars of the wrestling world.

The way TNA will use Sting is still unclear at the time of writing this article, I just hope TNA don’t make any mistakes, and I hope they use Sting as best as possible, to help the TNA product and put over the new up and coming stars of TNA Wrestling.

– TNA House Show

March 17th 2006 is the official date for the first ever TNA House show event which will emanate from the Compuware Arena in Detroit. This is huge news for TNA, it’s something which TNA have been planning for a long time, and it’s something they really need to be successful for the long-term success of TNA. If TNA want to turn a profit and establish themselves as a wrestling company that has long-term stability, then house shows are going to be key for pulling it financial revenue to keep the company afloat.

As long as TNA tape TV and Pay Per Views at Universal Studios, they are never going to make any sort of ticket revenue, so house shows will provide this revenue for them. In the US, house show ticket sales for the WWE have been down in recent years, with WWE struggling to sell out many arenas in some areas, this means that TNA have to select the areas they do live events very carefully.

Detroit might seem like a random place to hold the first TNA house show, but actually, it’s probably been thought about very carefully. Firstly, the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) are promoting the event on TNA’s behalf, from what I understand, they have experience of promoting live events in the Detroit area. The local knowledge and experience that ICP provide will be key to the success of the event, and hopefully they will be able to target the right audience and help promote the event as much as possible.

Secondly, the same weekend as TNA are in Detroit, there is another little known wrestling promotion running a live TV show not to far away, that being the WWE. When TNA first announced that they were running in Detroit on March 17th, WWE soon after started to promote their Saturday Night’s Main Event show in Detroit, leading to many TNA fans claiming that WWE was trying to sabotage TNA’s attempt at a house show. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, the fact is, the WWE have had their Saturday Night’s Main Event show booked for sometime now, and if anything, TNA have definitely planned a show in Detroit to feed of the buzz generated by the WWE. It really makes sense, if the biggest wrestling company in the world (the WWE) are in town, then there is bound to be an influx of wrestling fans, which will mean TNA have a better chance of selling tickets (I hope).

And finally, Detroit is home to a number of TNA’s top stars, including the “Man Beast” Rhino, Chris Sabin and Sabu, all of who are scheduled to appear on TNA’s house show. It should come as no surprise that in the scheduled main event of the show, Rhino will face Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Nothing gets a better reaction than a home town hero fighting in the main event, as thus far, TNA have used Rhino quite well, so he’s bound to get over, and hopefully he’ll be able to shift some tickets.

TNA have been very wise when it comes to ticket prices for the event, tickets prices range from $50 – $10, which means they are not to expensive at all, and early indications say that TNA have sold all of the $50 tickets and have nearly sold all of the $10 tickets, if they can sell out the 4,500 seat venue, it will be a huge success for TNA.

Another thing to consider is that TNA are advertising this house show without the likes of Team 3D, Christian Cage or Sting appearing on the card, if they can sell out the venue without these guys on the card, a event with these guys on the card would hopefully sell even better. Although TNA haven’t sold out tickets yet for the March 17th show, they seem to be well on their way, and I really hope they can pull in a decent crowd, and put on a hell of a show.

– More new faces to TNA

It seems TNA will be signing more talent in the next few weeks, including former WWE Diva Christy Hemme and Matt Morgan. These 2 potential signings come just a few weeks after TNA signed Shannon Moore, Homicide & Jay Lethal to the company. It certainly a busy time for TNA, and they seem dedicated to increasing their talent pool with some of the finest wrestling stars in the business today. Here are my thoughts of the latest TNA signings;

Shannon Moore – While many people feel Moore was underused in the WWE, I don’t actually agree. I think the WWE used him the best they could, but the WWE simply isn’t the place for guys like Moore. TNA is far better suited to him, the roster is smaller and most of the guys work the same style as Moore, meaning he has a better chance of getting a push. So far I’ve been very impressed with Moore in TNA, his new “Prince of Punk” gimmick works well, it makes him stand out as an individual in a division where there is quite a lot of bland wrestlers.

Jay Lethal – I haven’t seen a huge abundance of Jay Lethal’s work, but what I have seen, I’ve been impressed, and many other wrestling critics certainly rate him well. His TNA work hasn’t been great so far, by no means any fault of his own, just he’s been used as cannon fodder and hasn’t had the chance to prove himself. I’m looking forward to see Lethal at his best in TNA.

Homicide – Another ultra talented worker who has came into TNA in quite a good angle where he’s sure to get a good push as a member of L.A.X with Konnan and Apollo. Homicide has a natural charisma about him, which I think can separate him from a lot of the generic TNA workers.

Christy Hemme – The signing of Hemme hasn’t been confirmed or announced by any means yet, but if she does sign with TNA I think it will be a good signing. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t a fan of Hemme in the WWE when she first debuted, but her willingness to improve as a performer is admirable. If she was brought into TNA, she’d be a recognisable face to fans, and I believe she could help some of the lower card stars who lack charisma and individuality.

Matt Morgan – A student of OVW, Matt Morgan has unlimited potential, and all the tools to become one of wrestling’s biggest stars. When Morgan was released from his WWE contract in the summer of 2005 it came as a surprise to many, Morgan seemed to have everything going for him, size, ability and charisma, but WWE’s loss should be TNA’s gain. If Morgan does sign with TNA, he could be one of the company’s biggest stars, and would be a breath of fresh air into their main event division. I have my fingers crossed that if TNA make one signing in the next few months, it be Matt Morgan.

– Standing Out

I’d just like to mention how great Alex Shelly is, he’s such a versatile performer, and such a great in ring worker. As well as being a great in ring worker he has great charisma, and is one of the most entertaining members of the TNA roster. I really hope 2006 is the year where Alex Shelly can get into the next level in TNA.

– Keeping up to date

Remember people, don’t forget to regularly check Wrestling 101’s fantastic news board for all the major TNA news headlines, updated by Wrestling 101’s very own Devilish Angel. The US news board can be found here.

That’s all for now folks, until next time.