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The Impact! Of TNA Wrestling (Total Non Stop Action)
TNA Wrestling has been criticised for not having the power or attraction of WWE. However, it must be doing something right as it has been going for eight years now, outliving many other companies set up around the same time such as the World Wrestling All-Stars, and is as popular as ever.
Here I hope to shed some light on its success.
TNA Wrestling (Total Non-stop Action) was formed by father and son team Jerry and Jeff Jarrett in 2002 after the closing of wrestling firms ECW and WCW in the previous year. The aim was to get World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett back into the wrestling spotlight.
The first match was on Pay per View TV, and featured the X-Division. The X-Division set the TNA Wrestling apart from every other wrestling network. It was a six man tag team matc between the Flying Elvis's (Jimmy Yang, Jorge Estrada and Sonny Siaki) and current TNA champion AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn and Lowki. It was set in a six-sided ring and made for a much more exciting show which was fast paced and entertaining.
The X-Division Championship was then set up and has been extremely popular. It does not set weight guidelines like other championships, instead allowing anyone to take part. Despite this, most competitors are cruiserweights. The slogan for X-Division was "Its not about weight limits, it's about no-limits".
The other major unique selling point that TNA had was that the Championship could change hands due to a disqualification or count out. This eliminated the champions' advantage and made for a fairer playing field. This rule is now slowly being phased out.
Despite this, TNA Wrestling had a very quiet debut but with such big talent supporting them, they were set for bigger things. PPVs were arranged for weekly showings from Tennessee and the TNA made no plans to tour in order to save money.
Many fans were disappointed with this decision as they were unhappy having to pay regularly to watch our favourite wrestling stars. However, tours have recently been successful for the TNA and more are planned including one in June this year at Universal Studios in Florida.
Things took a downward turn quickly as the company got into financial troubles. They sold 71% of the shares to Panda Energy, a power plant company. Dixie Carter took over as president of the company, with Jeff Jarrett as Vice President, and Carter quickly implemented a few changes.
The studios moved to Florida and instead of weekly PPVs with low viewing figures, matches were shown monthly and figures rose. They also started a weekly program on the Fox Network called TNA: Impact! They were charged $30,000 a week to air. This lasted a year when the show was then only broadcast over the internet.
Then, in October 2005 the show moved to Spike TV and is still there today. Rather than charging TNA Wrestling to show their program, Spike TV takes all advertising revenue, so the TNA has very low costs.
Jeff Jarrett became one of the TNA's biggest stars and competed in more wrestling matches than anyone else in the first few years. So the company did an excellent job of raising his profile.
This was until 2007 when he stopped wrestling to concentrate on his Vice Presidential duties. Since then he has been in and out of the ring on numerous occasions and his popularity has waned.
For a while, the TNA was a part of the NWA and the titles the wrestlers were competing for were all NWA ones. TNA withdrew from the NWA in 2004 but continued to use NWA Championship titles until 2007.
All titles are now TNA. The first wrestler to win an award under TNA Wrestling was Ken Shamrock in June 2002. He proudly held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship trophy and then went on to lose it to Ron Killings in August 2002. He left the TNA shortly after, despite signing a one year contract. Jeff Jarrett has claimed the title six times, although it has been a while since his last win due to his arguments with president Dixie Carter. These arguments have led to him leaving the TNA and returning several times and in the meantime, losing his authority in the company.
Other TNA championships include the X-Division Championship, Global Championship, Tag Team Championship, Knockouts Women's Championship and Knockouts Women's Tag Team Championship. The Women's Championships only started in 2007 with Gail Kim being the first to lift a trophy.
A computer game was brought onto the market in 2008 called TNA: Impact! and is available on the PS3, Xbox360 and the WII.
Computer games are a major source of revenue for wrestling companies and this has done much to raise the profile of the TNA. A second computer game is planned for February of this year, 2010, called TNA Impact: Cross the Line. TNA Impact: Dual Slam is scheduled for March. TNA also now supplies YouTube with exclusive footage of fights in exchange for free hosting and there are a few DVDs available documenting the history of TNA.
TNA Wrestling now has over 60 wrestling stars on its books, including the recently signed Hulk Hogan. A feud between Hulk Hogan and Jeff Jarrett has recently begun and it remains to be seen whether Jarrett will be allowed to keep his wrestling role in the company. Hogan is now involved in all backstage activities-taking over where Jarrett used to be.
The return of The Hulk confronting Jeff Jarrett was aired on Spike TV on January 4th 2010. It went head to head with one of WWE's biggest shows, Raw. When viewing figures were released, WWE had higher figures. Critics slammed TNA's constant use of gimmicky shows to get good viewing figures.
Fans of TNA responded that the WWE had become boring. It seems these two wrestling companies have their own feud which shows no sign of abating.
Despite losing the latest match with WWE, TNA remains strong. Its unique fighting technique coupled with well known wrestling stars and recent tours, computer games and DVDs have ensured the companies future for a while yet.
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