If you’ve been reading the last few viewership and ratings reports on the website, then you know that lately there are less people tuning in to iMPACT Wrestling each week. While I can’t offer any specific reason why there are less people watching the show, I do know from doing this online wrestling writing stuff for a number of years that there is an annual cycle to the ratings. Namely, when there are more hours of sunlight in the day and its gets warmer out, viewership ratings tend to dip a little bit. However, I’m unsure whether or not iMPACT Wrestling’s recent viewership and ratings dips are significant enough to be attributable to the “it’s nice outside” phenomenon.
If you look at the Ratings War area of this website, then you will see that the show has been below its 2011 average viewership (which was 1,612,500 viewers per week). By way of example, so far the April 2012 viewership average for iMPACT Wrestling is 1,393,333 while the March 2012 viewership average for iMPACT Wrestling was 1,406,800. In other words, the averages for March and April this year are about the same. And yet, this past week’s show brought in a somewhat disappointing 1,308,000 viewers.
I don’t get it.
However, while I don’t get it I know that the anti-TNA, anti-Bischoff, anti-Hogan hatred that fuels the typical dirt sheet opinion columnist’s weekly tirade about how to make the promotion better isn’t worth the time to read. The facts just prove their illogical hatred wrong. For example, everyone rails on and on about Garett Bischoff getting an undeserved push and being someone that the fans don’t care about. Well, that may be true for the small group of vocal smarks who attend the tapings in Orlando and that may be true for the “I hate just to hate” group of columnists that fester around the internet wrestling scene these days. But, when I check the search terms that bring people to this website “Garett Bischoff” is always among the top terms. Now granted, I don’t know why people are searching for him. Maybe they’re intrigued that Eric Bischoff’s son is in the wrestling business or maybe they’re just budding fans of the guy – who knows?
What I do know, though, is that people are searching for him and those searches are bringing them here. So if you believe the anti-TNA, anti-Bischoff hatred that you can read all over the internet and thus you’re not watching the show any more, then you’re missing the development of a young professional wrestler who is a bit green, but has potential. He’s got to do something about those sideburns, though. They’re out of control.
I also read a lot of hogwash about how Hulk Hogan takes up too much of the show with his talking and babbling. Well, I actually watch the show and I can tell you that this just isn’t true. He spends as much time (or less) on screen as any authority figure in WWE. Now if you want to have a conversation about how the “authority figure” in and of itself has been played out in all of the promotions, then I’ll jump on that bandwagon with you because I’m tired of General Managers, Executive Shareholders, Commissioners, etc.
However, if you’re not watching iMPACT Wrestling because you believe the anti-TNA, anti-Hogan hatred about the Immortal One taking up too much television time – you’ve been mislead. What you’re missing is the positioning of Hogan as a face General Manager who doesn’t want to get too tied up in the good guys versus bad guys stuff and, instead, is just making matches and promoting the show. In other words, you’re missing as minimalist an authority figure as we’ve seen in many years in any well-known professional wrestling promotion.
One of the older, recurring anti-TNA themes that I read on the internet is that iMPACT Wrestling is a place for “old, washed up WWE wrestlers.” Really? Well, if you’re not watching iMPACT Wrestling because you believe any of that crap, then let me give you a brief rundown of the major storylines that you’re missing out on.
- The TNA World Heavyweight Championship. World champion Bobby Roode has been feuding with James Storm on-and-off for the past six months over the promotion’s top championship. Neither man has ever been employed by WWE in a serious contract. Storm is 34 and Roode is 35 – neither are old or washed up and, in fact, they put on a very entertaining steel cage match at Lockdown.
- The TNA World Tag Team Championship. World champions Samoa Joe and Magnus have been running roughshod over the tag team division for a few months now. Neither man has ever been employed by WWE. Joe is 33 years old and Magnus is 25 – neither are old or washed up. They are in the midst of a feud with the Motor City Machine Guns – a tag team comprised of Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. Chris is 30 years old and has never worked for WWE. Alex is 28 years old and wrestled one match for WWE in 2005 on one of their international broadcasts. They are, without a doubt, the most skilled long-term tag team in professional wrestling today. If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to check them out on YouTube.
- The TNA Knockouts Championship. You know that butterfly looking Divas Championship in WWE? Did you know that it was introduced as a direct response to the success of TNA’s women’s championship being called the “Knockouts” title? The current champion is Gail Kim who, while a former WWE Women’s Champion, has spent most of her career on the independent circuit and wrestling for iMPACT Wrestling. She’s 35 years old. It’s hard to note one particular woman that she’s been feuding with because she’s been fighting with almost everyone on the roster. One of her most frequent interactions is with her “best friend” Madison Rayne. Madison is 26 years old, a former Knockouts Tag Team Champion and Knockouts Champion. She has never been employed by WWE and is one of the few women in wrestling that I actually love to hate. She’s a great heel that has been fully developed within iMPACT Wrestling.
- The TNA X-Division Championship. Austin Aries is now the longest reigning X-Division Champion in iMPACT Wrestling history. He is 34 years old and has never worked for WWE in the ring (he did, however, provide voiceover work for one of their video games). He is, by far, one of the most entertaining cruiserweight/lightweight wrestlers on the scene today. He’s been battling against a variety of wrestlers including a guy named Zema Ion (25 years old, never worked for WWE), Kid Kash (42 years old, worked for WWE for one year), Anthony Nese (not sure of his age, but it’s in the early 20’s, never worked for WWE), and Jesse Sorensen who is currently out with a serious injury (23 years old, never worked for WWE). To say that the competition in this division is comprised of old, washed up WWE guys is an abhorrent distortion of reality.
- The TNA Television Championship. The current Television Champion is Devon, better known as Brother Devon from Team 3D. Devon is the oldest champion in TNA right now at 39 years old and even though he worked for WWE for 6 years, he has spent the last 7 years in iMPACT Wrestling. The top competitors for the Television Championship are the former champion Robbie E. (28 years old, never worked for WWE) and Gunner (30 years old, never worked for WWE).
- The TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. For better or for worse, the current Knockouts Tag Team Champions are Eric Young (32 years old, has never seriously worked for WWE) and ODB (33 years old, never seriously worked for WWE). They are feuding over the titles with Mexican America’s Rosita (21 years old, never worked for WWE) and Sarita (33 years old, never worked for WWE).
After reading through that list, could you tell me where the old, washed up WWE wrestlers are in the various title pictures? Do Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, and Bully Ray all have an extensive history with WWE? Yes. Are they old? Not even a little bit. Are they washed up? Hardly! Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy would make a mockery out of any of the new breed of WWE talent (Swagger, Ryder, Kingston, etc), Bully Ray is the most easy to hate heel in the business right now, and Kurt Angle continues to be the best in-ring performer today now that Shawn Michaels is retired. Oh – and if you focus on the four former WWE guys listed above, then I guess you conveniently don’t pay attention when guys like Kazarian, AJ Styles, Crimson, or Daniels are on the show. Weird.
Some idiot out there is reading this and thinking, “Ric Flair is in TNA!” Well, if I’m not mistaken since Flair started with TNA he’s wrestled two matches (I could be mistaken – there was a tag match early on and then a match with Mick Foley; am I missing anything?). That’s two matches in two and a half years! Yeah, he’s really taking over the promotion and just can’t stay out of the ring… (sarcasm)
So who is it? Matt Morgan? Do the haters not like that he spent some time in WWE? Is it D’Angelo Dinero – a guy that we haven’t seen in months and is a bigger name in TNA than he ever was in WWE? Oh no. I have it! It must be that Taz is the color commentator. That’s got to be it. He had a wild career in the original ECW and then a solid career in WWE. So now that he calls matches in TNA, the promotion must be filled with old, washed up WWE guys. (continued sarcasm)
If you’re not watching iMPACT Wrestling because you believe the incredible amount of negative, anti-TNA hate on the internet, then you’re missing the genesis of a pretty interesting roster that has all of the potential in the world. If you’re not watching iMPACT Wrestling because you think that their storylines are stale or ripoffs from other promotions, then I challenge you to hold your opinion silent for the next 4 – 5 years and tell me that every single promotion on the planet (or at least the ones that you watch) don’t repeat the same storylines over and over again.
Most importantly, though, if you’re not watching iMPACT Wrestling because you do believe any of the anti-TNA bullshit that people with agendas spread around the internet, then it doesn’t really matter that you’re not watching the show. If you were once watching the show to mock the wrestlers and their efforts and now you’ve taken a self-righteous stand to not watch the show because you believe the lies or because you choose to take 2 – 3 minutes of a two hour show and craft your reality around those 2 – 3 minutes, then it doesn’t matter that you’re not watching anyway. You probably never bought a ticket to a live show, bought merchandise on ShopTNA.com, or provided the type of financial support that fans are expected to provide to their favorite promotions. So, if you’re one of those people, I don’t know why you’re on a TNA-themed website right now because you clearly don’t like the product. Go away.
But, if you’re one of the real iMPACT Wrestling fans who has fallen away from the show I’m interested in hearing from you. Why don’t you watch any more? What’s going on? What is it about the show that you just don’t like any more? Your opinion is the one that matters. What happened? Why are you missing out on the evolution of this promotion?
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com