Playing the Long Game
Recently TNA announced that they would be changing their system with regards to Pay-Per-Views, moving to four per year instead of 12 to allow more time for story lines to develop and this a trend that has been reflected in the wrestling world in general. It is this subject that takes the attention of my blog this month.
Starting with TNA, the Aces ‘N Eights storyline has been under fire from some sections of their fan base for being too time consuming. I’ve had several conversations about the subject and the feedback seems to be broadly similar, although many problems also arise with the booking of the stable as well as the amount of time given to it. Taking a similar situation with the Shield in the WWE, which is clearly being done a lot better, although over a shorter space of time. WWE have succeeded where TNA have failed, the Shield look strong, organised and capable, in comparison the Aces ‘n Eights look like, and in reality are, a group of failed WWE wrestlers who were never really comfortable in the big leagues. They are frequently embarrassed and come across as weak and ultimately still have no real motive. The addition of Mr Anderson make them a potentially more interesting outfit, but more quality is needed, certainly Briscoe and Garrett are not it, Briscoe could be the deal but Garrett has yet to impress me, having been at TNA for a year and only ever doing the same two moves. Returning to the issue at hand however, the longer burning storyline was something that came to the forefront in 2012 and looks set to continue in 2013. I personally prefer a longer burning storyline appeals to me as the payoff is often far more captivating than those shorter angles.
So, did TNA make the right decision to switch to 4 Pay-Per-Views a year? Given the quality of their last few PPVs it would certainly seem so. Genesis excluded TNA have raised the bar on their offerings lately. A change is as good as a rest as the saying goes, maybe the decision to make the switch is to minimise the amount of possible air time without AJ Styles, as a fan favourite he is a valuable asset and a Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles match could certainly bring in decent numbers, and if done as an ultimate x match at Destination X or a steel cage match at Lockdown, although the latter is unlikely as he is frozen out of the WHC until the Bound For Glory Series, but the stipulation Austin Aries created last year, that being that the owner of the X Division title belt at Destination X can choose to trade it in at Ultimate X for a shot at the World Heavyweight Title. Utilising only 4 Pay-Per-Views a year is a bold strategy, but perhaps it will pay off for TNA.
The greater payoff for the greater time scale rule is not always true though, the Rock announced that he was going to challenge the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble in June of last year at RAW 1000, this gave nearly 6 months for WWE to build to this, however they faced difficulties. They could not sufficiently build up the angle because they could not do so without revealing who would be the Champion at the time of the Rumble. Perhaps then the angle at hand is not CM Punk vs. The Rock, but Punk’s historic 400-odd day reign as WWE champ. The end to Punk’s title reign was massively disappointing for me, there were too many interruptions and twists. I cannot see it as a classic in any way other than the closing scenes where truly, the Champ had returned to, to paraphrase The Lion King, take his rightful place in the circle of life.