TNA has been through some crazy ups and downs over the years; I watched the first PPV broadcast in 2002 and felt it could truly be an alternative to WWE since the major stars that weren't in WWE were showing up in TNA. The company seemed to go back and forth over the years on whether they were pushing new talent or bringing in legends. When Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff arrived in TNA, it seemed like they were going to push things to the next level by going head to head with RAW and bringing back a bit of the old Nitro vibe - that didn't last too long, whether it be a clash of egos or lack of budget, the level of WCW couldn't be created without a Ted Turner checkbook.
In my opinion, Hogan leaving TNA lead to a slow downturn as other big stars left the company over time, and in the past year things have sunk to the level of unwatchable. Over the years TNA has had so many people in involved in their creative process - from Jeff Jarrett, Vince Russo, Bischoff and Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, Dutch Mantell, Bruce Prichard, and plenty of others, so many in fact that it's hard to say who was behind the company's most successful periods. Now due to the many shakeups behind the scenes, some of the previously mentioned names are returning to their former roles, including the founder of the company Jeff Jarrett.
You may remember months ago that Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins was suddenly on TV as the authority figure in TNA, well that somewhat true behind the scenes too as Corgan tried to buy the company from Dixie Carter. Carter ended up selling to Anthem Sports & Entertainment, whose logo you may have noticed on TNA broadcasts recently. Anthem seems to have a business plan for the company as one of their first moves was to meet with Jeff Jarrett, who is apparently now coming back to run the company behind the scenes.
With Jarrett's returns comes a major (and much needed) shakeup in the company that will see Dutch Mantell return as the head of creative, and Bruce Prichard return in an advisory role. Both of these veterans are major creative forces who have a long history working with successful wrestling companies, so their return sounds like a major improvement in my mind.
The casualties of this management shakeup are top talents like both Matt and Jeff Hardy along with Matt's wife Reby, Drew Galloway, Mike Bennett and his wife Maria Kanellis who have all announced their departures this week. The departures leave some MAJOR holes in the main event picture, but also opportunities for other talent to step up or bring in other names to freshen things up.
Another major question is where the Hardys will go; they have been the shining point of TNA TV lately and rumors of a WWE return have circulated for months. The question is, would the "broken" characters be brought to WWE? And if so, would they be handled properly or simply tossed away in favor of a return to the traditional "Hardy Boyz" that rose to fame in WWE? Without the same type of input they had in TNA, the new evolution of the Hardys that has gained so much attention could definitely be in question if it was brought to WWE......but oh the Hardy vs. Wyatt promo possibilities!
What can TNA do to fix things? It really seems like they need to find their identity - are they going to be the opposite of WWE? Are they going to be more old school? Will they be more edgy and do the things that WWE won't? Will they push their women as sexier than WWE's since WWE only pushes their women as equal superstars now? Any of these things are just points of contention that TNA could build from if they want to start making noise in wrestling again.
TNA has some great talent on its roster, but the show has just been uninspired, and downright boring for the most part to me. Replacing a company that used to be overflowing with stars like Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Sting, and countless others with guys that just seem nameless and faceless (even if it's due to not receiving a proper build) just doesn't work, but as an old school fan, I have high hopes that Jarrett, Mantell, Prichard etc. will have big plans to turn things around hopefully as soon as their first taping which is this week.