A Mark's View #7 – The Casual Fan

Joe pretty much covered everything there is to say about how the TNA haters of the IWC will watch TNA despite the fact that they supposedly hate the program so much. Scott pretty much covered the idea that TNA needs to leave the Impact Zone. There really hasn’t been too much of a buzz for TNA as of lately. They have just been putting on some solid shows lately, and in the end, that’s all I can ask for.

There is the concept of the perception that TNA is trying to “re-brand” itself as “iMPACT! Wrestling.” At least they’re acknowledging the wrestling in their product, which is a good sign in my opinion. There have definitely been a number of changes between pre-Hogan and modern, and it’s possible that some form of re-branding will help TNA identify its new self better. Then maybe it can be start of a growing process, where TNA markets itself better, Impact can get into more arenas, and Xplosion can find TV time somewhere. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

I do feel that TNA needs to market itself better. I know that times are different from when wrestling was “cool,” but I’m sure that there isn’t much reason that Impact can’t pull numbers similar, equal to, or greater than Smackdown. Kevin Nash made a statement in an interview a few months ago about how fans came up to him and asked him if he’d ever wrestle again, even though he had been wrestling for the past 4-5 years in TNA. One could blame Kevin Nash for not being able to draw his fans, but on the other hand, there is something to realize about the “casual fan.” The casual fan doesn’t go in depth into what they’re casually a fan of. Either it’s a buzz or its not. And I’m not sure how much any given wrestler in any given promotion can promote themselves to their casual fans, who aren’t really looking into whether or not a given wrestler is wrestling, but would be rather interested if they heard, “Oh wow, Kevin Nash is wrestling in TNA,” and would decide to check it out.

I’m not arguing for or against Kevin Nash. I simply don’t think that RVD, Anderson, the Hardys, the Dudleys, even Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, and whomever else came into TNA from a prominent WWE career of any form can reach their casual fans because they don’t go in depth with wrestling like the hardcore fans and the IWC do. If a casual fan that actually remembers Kevin Nash (meaning, they’re not necessarily a part of the PG demographic that WWE targets) doesn’t know that Kevin Nash had been wrestling in TNA, I’m sure that there are casual fans that don’t know that the Dudleys are still wrestling, that RVD is still wrestling, that Ric Flair didn’t actually retire and still shows up on TNA, etc.

I feel like this is TNA’s job. Whether the talent is doing the best they can in order to reach out to as many people as possible is up for argument, but I have a feeling that TNA is definitely not doing all that they can to earn more fans. They draw 1.5 million people a week, and they keep them coming back each week for the most part, which is good. They can jump into bigger and better things all they want, but unless they start reaching out better, they’re still going to pull the same 1.5 million a week for Impact and two to four thousand people in house shows. I’m sure there are more than a few WWE fans that would like to watch an alternative to their programming and simply don’t know that an alternative actually exists.

  • http://www.tnastars.com/ Joe

    Wonderful column as always, Mark. I would only add that not only does TNA Wrestling have an obligation to spread the word and reach out to as many people as possible regarding their product, but Spike TV – as the sole source of TNA Wrestling on American television – should help out with some promotion as well.

    If both WWE and TNA are contractually restricted to airing their programming on certain channels, then there should be an obligation on those channels to offer a certain type/cost of promotion for the show.