Saturday, October 1, 2011

Top 7 Myths and Misconceptions About Impact Wrestling

by Brian Phelps

One thing I've noticed within the wrestling community is that there are a multitude of misconceptions about TNA Impact Wrestling. I've heard everything from TNA is just a bunch of has beens, to TNA is losing money to all sorts of myths within the Internet Wrestling Community... myths that are usually perpetuated or popular among the Anti-TNA WWE Fans (not to be confused with the casual WWE fans). I have come to you guys today to set the record straight on a number of urban myths about TNA Wrestling, and to debunk these misconceptions about TNA Wrestling.

1. Myth: TNA's ratings are horrible (1.0-1.3 average rating).
The Facts: TNA Wrestling does not get bad ratings. In fact, Impact is one of the highest rated shows on cable on Thursday nights. Of course, no one ever mentions that. Nor does anyone mention that Impact is normally the highest rated show on Spike TV (especially since UFC is inking a deal with FOX now and will presumably be leaving the network all together). Because WWE RAW is one of the highest rated tv shows on Cable for the entire week and averages a 3.0-3.3 rating... people think that Impacts ratings stink in comparison. The thing is, WWE Raw's ratings are the apex or peak of cable network ratings, so nearly everything else on Cable will have a significantly lower rating. Impact is one of the higher rated shows on Cable TV, just not near as high as RAW. Impacts ratings are highly respectable, seeings how its one of the higher rated cable shows on Thursday nights and consistently the highest rated show on Spike TV. It's easy to say RAW is one of the highest rated shows on cable, when it comes on the #1 Cable Network, not to mention WWE has 50 years of brand recognition. Spike TV isn't even a Top 25 Network half the time anymore. If Impact Wrestling came on the #1 Cable Network, It's logical to assume it would have an even higher rating because it would reach more homes and have much better lead in programming. Not to mention that USA network is a sister network to NBC and SyFy, which means from a business stand point... it has a lot more arms, money, and friends in high places. It's kind of the equivalent of the NFL. The WWE is playing for the New England Patriots (USA/NBC), while Impact Wrestling is playing for the Cleveland Browns (Spike TV). That's why Wrestlemania re-runs on NBC, and why WWE Saturday Night Main Event airs on NBC. WWE has friends in high places. Impact has had to scratch and claw for everything and it's still not properly promoted by Spike. However, to say that Impact gets awful ratings means you obviously have no understanding of ratings at all. Because RAW gets a 3.3 and Impact gets a 1.3 does not mean Impact gets bad ratings. That's like saying that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl which made over 650 million dollars world wide did awful at the box office because it didn't make as much as Avatar which made over 2 billion dollars world wide. That's the equivalent of what you are saying when you claim that TNA Impacts 1.1-1.3 ratings are awful based on the fact that RAW gets 3.0-3.3 ratings. Impact gets successful ratings, RAW just gets MORE successful ratings.

2. Myth: TNA is losing money.  
The Facts: The facts are none of us casual fans know how much TNA has made or lost because they haven't publicly released their financial record books. However, there are those that run around proclaiming that TNA is bleeding money or in the hole. What I can tell you is that I don't believe that TNA is losing money. Allow me to break down why. First, Impact earns money from advertisers for allowing them to air their commercials during the Impact broadcast. Impact has also released a couple of video games both for consoles and for cell phones. Impact also has toy deals inked with Jakks Pacific (the same toy line that WWE used to be with for years), and trading card deals with Tristar. Impact also makes money off of merchandise from dvd's to shirts to autographed plaques to selling their theme songs as mp3s online. I myself have found TNA DVDs at Wal-Mart, FYE and other major retailers. I've also found their t-shirts at FYE. TNA also earns major advertising revenue off of Youtube seeings how as of today they have over 372 Million views on their videos and over 13 million channel views. TNA also currently has advertising deals with Stacker2 and most currently Direct Auto Insurance which you will see on their ring. This is before you even count money earned from their House Show Tours, monthly Pay-Per-Views, and their video library. I would wager dollars to donuts that TNA is not losing money. Otherwise, if they were I'm sure Vince would've bought them out lol.

3. Myth: TNA is just a bunch of washed up old wrestlers that won't retire.  
The Facts: This is one of the most popular myths. I've heard of TNA being referred to as a retirement home for old wrestlers. I find this to be far from the truth. Yes, TNA has and continues to have some veterans. However, let's look at the facts. There are only 3 "old guys" currently on the TNA Roster (Flair, Hogan, Sting). The rest are no older than most of the WWE Roster. The only veteran that wrestles on a fairly regular basis currently is Sting. Hulk Hogan is just an authority figure on TNA, not a wrestler. He operates in the same on-air role as Vince McMahon. He has only wrestled one match in the almost 2 years he's been there. Ric Flair has wrestled a handful of matches in nearly 2 years in TNA... maybe 6 or 7 matches tops in almost 2 years. He's normally a manager (like he was with Fortune), or a figure head like he is in Immortal. It's not like they're fighting every week contrary to what some might have you believe. None of the "old" wrestlers are monopolizing the world title or anything either so I don't get it. The only "old" wrestler to be champion in the last 2 years is Sting. Other than him, it's been AJ Styles, RVD, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, and Mr. Anderson. For the most part, the "old" wrestlers have been putting over young talent. Flair has put over everyone from AJ Styles to Jay Lethal to Matt Morgan, you name it. Sting has done the same. Hogan has brought attention to guys like Abyss and Gunner when no one used to care about them. So, say what you will... but the veterans have brought a lot more main stream attention to TNA and have put over a lot of young stars. Where was Kaz before Ric Flair put him over in Fortune? Oh that's right, he wasn't doing anything on tv.

4. Myth: TNA is just a bunch of WWE Rejects.
The Facts: This is the most preposterous one of them all, and yet it runs rampant all over the Internet Wrestling Community. People will claim all sorts of stuff like all the guys who jumped ship were fired from WWE. The fact is, they weren't. Jeff Hardy was granted his release so that he could take time away from pro wrestling to heal injuries such as his neck and herniated discs in his back. Kurt Angle asked and was granted an early release for health reasons because he couldn't get time off, and he was working hurt all the time. Ric Flair wasn't fired either. Just because someone leaves one company for another doesn't mean that they were rejects. It could just be WWE's road schedule of wrestling over 300 days a year wears you down. TNA's schedule has you wrestling 1/3 of the dates that WWE does. Maybe they were tired of being misused. We don't call sports players rejects for trading teams, so why is there this WWE bias that if you wrestle for anyone else that you are a reject or washed up?

5. Myth: TNA is just another WCW.  
The Facts: TNA is not another WCW. This one always makes me laugh. Just because you have some of the guys that were in WCW, apparently that means you are trying to be WCW. That's like saying that the movie "Cowboys & Aliens" is just another "Indiana Jones" because Harrison Ford used to be in Indiana Jones. It's completely illogical reasoning, but that's what the Anti-TNA contingent as come up with. Because Hogan, Bischoff, Flair, Nash, Booker T, and Scott Steiner are either in TNA or were in TNA that means that TNA is just another WCW. However, that is completely illogical thinking because all those men were in WWE too... but no one says that WWE ever tried to be WCW. At one point, Vince Russo, Hogan, Nash, Hall, Bischoff, Booker T, Goldberg, Jericho and others were in WWE around the same time and NO ONE ever claimed WWE was becoming another WCW. So, I don't understand that logic.

6. Myth: Hogan and Flair are wrestling all the time.  
The Facts: Hulk Hogan has wrestled one match in nearly 2 years in TNA. Ric Flair has wrestled what... roughly 6 or 7 televised matches in TNA in almost 2 years? The fact is Bret Hart has wrestled nearly as many matches as Ric Flair has in the last almost 2 years and even won the US Title, yet no one ever mentions that fact.

7. Myth: TNA doesn't push their young talent.  
The Facts: Robert Roode is challenging Kurt Angle for the World Title at Bound For Glory (TNA's Wrestlemania), Crimson has an undefeated streak, Mr. Anderson just won his first World Title earlier this year, and it wasn't that long ago that AJ Styles had a 7 month long World Title reign. To say that TNA doesn't push their young talent is laugable. The tag team division has been ruled by Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns the last couple of years, while Doug Williams, Brian Kendrick and others have held the X Division Title. It's WWE that needs to re-examine itself as the WWE Championship has been dominated by the same guy for the last 6 years.

In closing, there is a serious double standard between WWE and TNA. It's ok for WWE to do something, but when TNA does it they get heckled by everyone. Anti-TNA WWE Die Hards would show no mercy if Ric Flair won a title on TNA, yet they cheered as Bret Hart won the US Title last year and cheered for Jerry Lawler to beat Miz for the WWE Title in the ladder match they had on RAW earlier this year. They call Nash a washed up hack in TNA, but mark out for him at the Royal Rumble and cheered him during his feud with CM Punk. They condemn TNA for Nash and Hall winning the tag titles last year but they were the same ones who cheered back when Piper and Flair won the tag titles in WWE a couple of years ago. They bash TNA for using older stars, but cheered as Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat returned for a 2 month feud with Chris Jericho. They booed the Band (Nash, Hall, X-Pac) on TNA, but cheered them at the WWE Hall of Fame. They bashed Flair for rolling with Fortune, but cheered Flair for rolling with Evolution. They bash Rob Terry claiming he can't wrestle, yet cheer the Great Khali who to my knowledge has never done a standard wrestling move such as a suplex. A lot of people hate on TNA Wrestling, and the vast majority of it is completely unwarranted. People judge it without giving it a real chance. A lot of it are these 15 year old wrestling fans that have only watched WWE and didn't grow up with two companies, that seem to think that WWE can do no wrong and that anything that is not WWE is crap. I'm just sick of the misconceptions and double standards. If you are going to hate on TNA, then hold WWE to the same standard. That's all I'm asking. You don't have to like TNA, but give it a fair shake first.

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