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Monday, January 28, 2013

How the Decline of Print Media Can Benefit TNA

As of this year, "Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler" magazine will no longer be published. It was a print publication that focused more on the in-ring aspect of pro-wrestling than the backstage aspect. "Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler" is one of the many pro-wrestling magazines that have ceased to exist over the years, as readers go online to gain information for free via pro-wrestling news websites in ever-increasing numbers.

The problem with this is that most pro-wrestling news websites mainly focus on what is occurring backstage (in a tabloid journalism style, sensationalizing facts and providing gossip). A very valuable segment of the pro-wrestling audience is more interested in what is going on in the ring- especially the storylines. They are commonly referred to as "marks", people who love basically everything about pro-wrestling (as opposed to "smarks", who hate pro-wrestling yet think they know everything about it). Marks help keep the business alive. They are the fans who order all of the PPVs, attend the most events, buy the most merchandise, and go to pro-wrestling websites more than anyone else. With this segment of the audience losing a source of what they enjoy about pro-wrestling, an opportunity has become available to TNA.

In the past, TNA has featured columns on their website that looked at their company from storyline perspectives. Columns such as Bill Bank's, "Bank Shot" and Abyss', "Monster Blog". It would be beneficial to TNA to bring back this style of online media, since it would definitely draw fans who want to read about the entertainment side of the industry. Print media is basically their only source currently, and it's a source that is quickly fading.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spike Needs a Third Hour of TNA

Yesterday, Eric Bischoff tweeted a very interesting Yahoo! Sports article via his twitter account (@EBischoff): http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mma-cagewriter/bellator-ratings-spike-were-mixed-bag-203745464--mma.html

These are the quotes from the article that stood out to me:

"The average viewership of 938,000 made it the most-watched show in the promotion's four-year history, though it lost nearly half of its audience that was delivered by TNA Impact Wrestling."

"It had a strong lead-in from TNA Impact Wrestling, which averaged 1.82 million viewers, and failed to keep it."

Apparently, there is a problem in the world of Spike prime time. After having a huge amount of faith in the new Bellator show and giving it an excellent lead-in via, "IMPACT WRESTLING" (Spike's highest rated program, Bellator failed to maintain the viewership that TNA delivered them. Losing viewership is never a good thing. This is a problem that could easily be resolved however. TNA brings Spike ratings that the network is very satisfied with, and instead of losing ratings momentum at 10pm, they should keep it going by giving TNA a third hour.

It wouldn't be the first time. In 2010, "Reaction" was briefly added to Spike's Thursday night programming. Last year, Spike briefly added, "Rewind". Neither program was given much time to prove their worth, despite the fact that TNA has been a valuable asset to Spike for years. In fact, looking at TNA's past performances in the 10pm time slot shows that a third hour of TNA would be beneficial to the network- when TNA was in the 9pm-11pm time slot, they usually scored a higher rating during the 10pm-11pm time period.

TNA obviously has the resources and interest in giving Spike an additional hour, now it's up to Spike to utilize that. Although Bellator does have a place on Spike (their 1/17 program did have an average viewership of 938,000), TNA has proven that Thursday nights on the network belong to them.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Aces and Eights: How Big Will They Get?

In 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash arrived in WCW as outsiders of the company with the goal of taking over. The two men were soon joined by Hulk Hogan, and in time, the team grew to a huge faction known as the New World Order. The group became so dominant that they became as recognized as WCW itself (if not more so).

Over a decade later, history appears to be repeating itself in TNA. It started off with three masked men appearing and sneak attacking Sting in the middle of the ring while he was cutting a promo during the June 14, 2012 episode of, "IMPACT WRESTLING". For maximum impact, it was done during the last segment of the show.



In time, Aces and Eights has became a faction with a size comparable to the NWO when the New World Order was was at it highest point of popularity. And most recently, talents previously identified with the TNA roster have been "jumping ship" and becoming members of the Aces and Eights.



The NWO is considered by many to be one of the best pro-wrestling factions of all-time. Will Aces and Eights earn that distinction as well? Time will tell, but the ingredients are there. One of the elements of the NWO that made it so successful was that there was always an aura of mystery and suspense around them. It was never known when they were going to show up, and if it was obvious that they were going to show up, it was never certain regarding in what capacity it was going to happen. And of course, with WCW talent "crossing enemy lines" and joinning the NWO, it was never clear who was going to join next, or when. During a promo segment? During a match? The only way to find out was to keep watching, and the same situation is occurring with the Aces and Eights. After not being seen on, "IMPACT WRESTLING" for weeks, Mr. Anderson returned as an ally of the Aces and Eights. During a wedding segment, Taz went from being the best man to being revealed as the newest member of the Aces and Eights in the blink of an eye.




The one aspect of the Aces and Eights that can be improved upon is strengthening the brand. One way that would be accomplished is by the Aces and Eights having their own website, as the NWO did. The other way is by merchandising. Pro-wrestling fans wearing Aces and Eights branded merchandise at places other than wrestling events would expose the brand to new audiences. Brand relationship would also be improved- fans who are on the fence between supporting the group and thinking that they are a fad, would identify with the Aces and Eights better if they had Aces and Eights merchandise.

Remember, no one had any idea that the NWO would become as popular as it did. Excellent creativity gave the NWO appeal, but strong branding kept the appeal lasting- even today, wrestling fans wear NWO merchandise. How the Aces and Eights is branded now will make the difference between whether the faction will eventually fade into the past or will be remembered 10 years from now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Archive Interview: Jeanne Basone ("Hollywood" from GLOW)

At age 17, Jeanne Basone was working in Burbank as a medical assistant, until she auditioned for GLOW and was picked to play the role of Hollywood" half of the villainous Hollywood and Vine tag-team. In recent years, Basone has been focusing on working as a stuntwoman, actress, and model, but she also worked for Wrestlicious in 2010.

Below is a 2001 interview that I conducted with Jeanne Basone. It was originally published on a media website named Pro Wrestling Daily, which was one of the many websites that I was writing for around that time. In this interview, Basone discusses GLOW, WOW, wrestlers of the WWE, the Hollywood character, and her pro-wrestling career.

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: It was soo long ago, but I was good at what I did and wanted to learn more -- and I did!

Q: What was the best part about working for GLOW?

A: The wrestlers at GLOW and meeting & greeting the fans!

Q: What are your thoughts on the following former G.L.O.W. members:

A: VINE - A nice Canadian girl!

TINA FERRARI (now the WWF's Ivory) - I am very happy for her!

ASHLEY CARTIER - A babyface who was a great gal!

SALLY THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER - Another babyface trying to be a badgirl!

CHEYENNE CHER - Very sweet!

LIGHTNING - A great wrestler!

DAVID MCLANE - Interesting fellow.

Q: Which do you feel was your best match in GLOW?

A: The ones against the Farmer's Daughters.

Q: Which was your favorite match in GLOW?

A: The "Strip" match, the "Apartheid" match against Mt. Fiji, Lil Fiji, and Americana.

Q: Even though your wrestling career begin in GLOW, you have done a lot of wrestling since then. Did you gain the most valuable experience while you were in GLOW, or have you learned the most during the post-GLOW period of your career?

A: I learned my foundation there, but took classes with Gene Lebell for more grappling, self-defense material.

Q: Throughout the years, many female wrestling promotions have come and gone, but none of them made an impact like GLOW did. To this day, GLOW remains the all-time favorite of many women's wrestling fans. In your opinion, what was it about GLOW that has made it stand out from other female wrestling promotions?

A: Getting away with so much back then. It's different now!

Q: Were you a wrestling fan before you were involved with GLOW?

A: Nope!

Q: Comparing the view of female wrestling during the existence of GLOW to the view of female wrestling in the year 2001, do you feel that female wrestling is more respected? Also, do you feel that the quality of female wrestling has improved?

A: I feel it is respected somewhat and yes it has improved some!

Q: Are you at all interested in going to WOW, David McLane's newest female wrestling promotion?

A: I have not watched yet, I am not usually home on Saturday nights when it airs here!

Q: Do you think WOW has a bright future?

A: Same as GLOW had!

Q: Who is your favorite wrestler?

A: Rikishi.

Q: What do you like the most about being a pro-wrestler?

A: The power and knowledge.

Q: How much of JEANNE is a part of the Hollywood character? Or do you feel that Hollywood and Jeanne are like night and day?

A: They are pretty damn close, I just take Hollywood one step further.

Q: Who would you like to wrestle, that you have not yet done so?

A: Lita.

Q: You are multi-talented: actress, model, wrestler... Do you plan on continuing to wrestle for a long time to come or do plan on decreasing your involvement in wrestling and concentrating more on acting and modeling?

A: I am currently producing my own wrestling videos: "Hollywould Productions". I have 2 websites: www.webkitten.com and www.wrestlingbabe.com; I have modeled for several companies including Playboy 4 times. I will continue to wrestle for my companies as well as the others out there and touring for a while!

Q: What is your long-term goal?

A: Stay behind the camera and produce

Saturday, January 5, 2013

TNA Takes International Scouting to Another Level

Both WWE and TNA are no strangers to scouting internationally for new talent. WWE has tryouts outside of the United States, and they even have a division (WWE International) that is responsible for scouting globally. Meanwhile, TNA hosts, "Gut Check" seminars in Canada, where they observe potential new TNA talent.

However, TNA recently took their scouting one step further by starting a television show that focuses on scouting. "TNA British Boot Camp" is a Jeremy Borash-produced reality program based in the UK that premiered on January 1st, which features four UK-based talents competing for a TNA contract. The contestants are familiar faces to UK fans: Rockstar Spud (who was featured in one of my previous blog posts), The Blossom Twins, and Marty Scurll. PROGRESS Wrestling is also featured in an episode. To help the contestants along, two mentors are provided: Rollerball Rocco (who wrestled for 19 years all over the world) and Hulk Hogan (who knows what it takes to be a superstar both inside and outside the ring).

"TNA British Boot Camp" is a great concept, and I think it's safe to assume that although there are many talents in the UK who are making a living wrestling in their home country and are satisfied with that, the majority of them would jump at the opportunity to work for TNA. After all, pro-wrestling is a business, and the goal in any business is to make it to the top. In today's industry, WWE and TNA are the two companies that have that distinction.

With that said, it would benefit TNA to branch out beyond the UK's shores with this concept. Japan and Mexico bring styles to the pro-wrestling industry that are very unique and would be an asset to TNA. Puroresu and lucha libre have been utilized in TNA in the past, but only via various X Cup tournaments. The WCW cruiserweight division was a great example of how talent from Japan and Mexico can be used on a regular basis. They would wrestle talent that was already on the WCW roster, giving fans new, different, and exciting matches to watch.

TNA would need to bring in someone with knowledge of the Japan pro-wrestling scene in order to use this concept in Japan, but they already have someone who can aid in this concept being done in Mexico- Hernandez has 16 years of wrestling experience, has wrestled in Mexico, and also has promoting experience (which means he likely has an eye for talent).

"TNA British Boot Camp" can be just the beginning of a worldwide recruiting endeavor if TNA desires to go that route, with, "TNA Japanese Boot Camp" and, "TNA Mexican Boot Camp" shows. The potential is definitely there, and would benefit TNA long-term.

If you live in the United Kingdom, tune in to "TNA British Boot Camp" on Challenge TV on Tuesday nights, so that you can find out who will get a contract by TNA and have a chance to be a part of the TNA World Tour this month at London's Wembley Arena.