ABOUT WADEEMAIL WADEFACEBOOKTWITTERPODCASTFREE IPHONE APPRSSJUMP TO VIP BLOGVIP LOG-IN VIP SIGN-UPGO TO PWTORCH.COM



PWTORCH.COM
JUMP BACK TO PWTORCH.COM

Listen to the PWTorch Livecast Mon-Fri Listen live or subscribe via iTunes

 


WK EDITORIAL 6/30: Spike TV rebranding and refocusing - how this could be good news for TNA

Jun 30, 2011 - 4:04:15 PM


Bookmark us!

StaffKeller08_120_32.jpg
BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR

The Attitude Era is over. TNA seems to be living in a time warp, though, trying to go back in time and recreate that. Last Thursday's Impact, particularly the first hour, shows that TNA is still trying to relive the past. The Attitude Era worked because of:

-Steve Austin's unique breakout character, and what a contrast it was to Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart before him.

-The Mr. McMahon character, after decades being the straight-laced announcer and the unstated leader of the company, shocked people with is 180 degree turn into the mad boss.

-Degeneration X being a younger, more cool version of the rapidly over-expanded, growing-tired NWO group. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn were younger, fresher, and more in-your-face than the NWO was. Their skits going after WCW at the Georgia HQs sent a message that WCW didn't have the market cornered on edgy factions with star power.

-The fact that for decades before the Attitude Era, wrestling was very different, much more conservative, much more PG - especially the Hulk Hogan-to-Bret Hart years of the WWF, therefore the Attitude Era felt new and fresh, unlike anything that mid-'90s to late-'90s audience had grown up watching.

TNA isn't breaking new ground with their raunchy, tawdry language and angles and close-ups of women's crotches as they enter the ring. They just look pathetic and desperate to be cool, and that's just not going to happen with the creep-factor of Mike Tenay acting all turned on by the women and Eric Bischoff informing us of when he "took a leak" last week.

TNA's excuse for taking this approach has been that Spike TV is targeted primarily toward men 25-49. They figure if they themselves pigs, all men are pigs, so let's cater to their sleazy tendencies to want all things raunchy and lewd and sexist.

===
(Here's my blog from last Thursday night listing the tawdry aspects of just the first hour of Impact Wrestling last week: WK QUICK BLOG 6/24: In the first hour of TNA Impact last night, we heard this... - http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/wadekellerdotcom/51012.shtml)
===

The problem is no man 25-49 wants to spend two hours on Thursday nights with programming that seems to be written on a laptop by some sad, lonely, miserable woman-hating writer in a dank, dark corner of the trashiest, sleaziest strip club on the outskirts of town. That's how TNA comes across too often.

People have seen the Attitude Era, and it worked because of DX, Steve Austin, Mr. McMahon, along with The Rock and Mick Foley and a dose of contemporary athleticism unlike anything in WWE previously with the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian.

Mr. Bischoff is no Mr. McMahon, and even if he was, it'd feel like a weak derivative to those who had seen the real thing. Mr. Anderson is no Stone Cold, and even if he was, it'd feel like a rerun to those who had seen the real thing.

If Spike TV begins selling advertisers on a wider demo that includes younger men, teens, and especially women - which is sounds like they're aiming to do this year - that is good news for TNA. It will be that outside impetus for them to shift away from this tired, tawdry formula and move toward entertaining people with a product that is more upbeat, less derivative, and certainly less sexist. They can be sexy without being sexist. They can be titillating without being sleazy. They can even be horny without being creepy. They can present women as strong, independent athletes who just happen, in many cases to be attractive rather than "skanks and sluts who can't get along."

TNA Impact drives away women. It's not just because they're on Spike TV. Sure, WWE is on a woman-friendly network, so that explains to a degree why Raw does around a 1.1/1.2 rating for women compared to Smackdown doing only a 0.5/0.6 on SyFy. But Impact on Spike is 0.2 or less - not even ranking in the top 50 in any female demographic for its night on television.

UFC is also on Spike. It's men really hitting each other and bleeding. It's violent. There are no female characters on the show other than the "ring girls." You'd think Impact would do better than UFC on the same network, right? Wrong. UFC draws 0.5/0.6 ratings among that women demo, more than double or triple TNA Impact's female demo audience.

If TNA portrayed women with respect and even reverence, and if they didn't celebrate the "male pig" as the epitome of manliness, maybe they could expand that overall audience from the 1.1, give or take, they've been stuck at for years, despite massive increases in payroll and (aging) star power, expensive billboards in Times Square, the expansion of social media helping good products catch fire quickly, and the additional years to in build on their base audience.

Changing the tone and the theme of their show doesn't mean it can't be edgy. It just shouldn't be tawdry and pathetic and sad and dirty and sexist and excessively violent. And Impact Wrestling, more often than those in charge realize, comes across that way. This change wouldn't solve everything, as they still have to shore up the efficiency of the booking and the lack of admirable heros and despicable villains battling each other in situations where there's a clear reason to root for one over the other.

If they clean up their show, they might not only attract more women over the course of the next year, but more men who want to watch it now will be able to watch it in the same room as their girlfriend or wife. Whether the woman in the room is actually watching or is instead surfing the internet next to their boyfriend, they will at least be able to tolerate being in the room when Impact is on (you know, like UFC and Smackdown).

Not only that, but if they cut back on the valuable TV time given to the 50+ crowd (Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Sting) and the 40+ crowd (Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam) and focus more on younger wrestlers that their younger viewers can relate to, they might draw back some of those teen viewers that Bischoff and Hogan have turned away in the last year.

Five months ago, Impact was drawing nearly triple the male teens they're drawing now. Those are Impact Wrestling's future 18-34 year olds and 25-54 year olds. Earning their loyal viewing now can pay off as they age into the relevant advertising demographics. Close ups of Bischoff's gray hair and aging angry face, both in the ring and in his office, segment after segment, talking about "taking a leak" and brow-beating the younger "bad ass" wrestlers into retreating out of his office with their heads hanging isn't appealing to male teens or women.

So if Spike TV changes direction, it could be the impetus for change that TNA should have made a long time ago. Quit narrowly focusing on viewers who either like the "male pig" sexist aspects of the show or at are willing to at least plug their noses and tolerate it while waiting around for some good wrestling and hope that younger characters will some day become the centerpiece. TNA has the roster right now to build exclusively around wrestlers and characters under 40, and with good booking the talent they have is sufficient to improve on the 1.1 they currently are drawing.

Is there a place for Sting? Yes, as a once or twice a year special mystery partner a young babyface brings in to help him fend off a faction of heels. Is there a role for Hulk Hogan? Perhaps, as a babyface "law and order" enforcing commissioner who appears once every 2-3 weeks in a special circumstances that commands everyone's attention because when he appears on TV, something big is about to be announced.

I understand Bischoff and Hogan are positioning themselves as central characters so that they stay relevant and seem indispensable and thus remain on Panda Energy payroll as on-air characters, but I think TNA would be better off with a sharp turn away from their well-earned reputation as a landing pad for WWE rejects and older wrestlers ready to cash in on their star power and coast for a while, earning their last money in pro wrestling.

Here's our original story on this, including details from a cable analyst who attended the conference and filed a report for us. This is very much worth reading...

LINK: TNA News: Spike TV formally discusses re-branding, promotes shows other than Impact at media presentation, what the re-branding means for TNA

Web visitors, comment below. App users, email your thoughts to kellerwade@gmail.com or visit the "desktop version" of my blog to read and contribute reader comments: www.wadekeller.com.


Please Recommend or Like This Article on Twitter or Facebook


CLICK HERE to return to Wade Keller Blog home page

CLICK HERE to jump to PWTorch.com's main page

MORE RECENT WK BLOG ARTICLES...
KELLER BLOG: Paul Heyman alliance with C.M. Punk - where does it go from here?
KELLER'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV BLOG: Results and analysis throughout the show including Lesnar vs. Triple H, Cena vs. Punk vs. Show
KELLER: C.M. Punk is not best utilized as a tweener, despite a recent reader poll; he should be all out heel

Comment on this Article Below


THE TORCH AND USA TODAY PRESENT THIS EXCLUSIVE UFC VIDEO FEATURE


GO VIP - GET ENHANCED BLOG + MORE!

PWTorch VIP Members get an ad-free enhanced version of this blog including a reader comment area with Wade Keller's conversation with readers after each blog. Sign up for a VIP membership and get 60+ VIP Audio Shows, New PWTorch Weekly Newsletter Digital Edition, 100s of PWTorch Newsletter Back Issues, Ad-Free Access to Entire PWTorch Site, PWTorch VIP Forum, Many Special Archive Features, and More! SIGN UP HERE

LATEST PWTORCH ARTICLES
NEWS REPORTS
MEGA-WEDNESDAY LINE-UP: Big Impact with Angle-ECIII for TNA Title, Joe & Balor vs. Owens & Rhyno on NXT, Daivari & Hernandez on Lucha, ROH vs. New Japan continues
WWE NETWORK: Wednesday, July 1 Schedule - NXT, more
WWE NEWS: Smackdown SPOILERS 7/2 - full results from Tuesday night's TV taping featuring Shield Trio and split crew
WWE NEWS: Smackdown Non-Spoilers - matches for Thursday
WWE NEWS: Main Event SPOILERS - results from SD TV taping, plus Dark Matches
WWE NEWS: Second contestant cut from Tough Enough
WWE NEWS: What aired on Tuesday's condensed Raw? - three matches cut on pre-Tough Enough version
WWE REPORT: Raw TV Ratings First-Half Report Card - Raw down 9% through first 26 weeks, plus nine-year break down
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Monday's show falls to year-low
TV WRESTLING VIEWERSHIP - Week of June 22: Full Break Down of last week's Raw, Smackdown, Tough Enough, Impact & ROH
TNA NEWS: Eric Young issues apology following Slammiversary outburst
ROCK NEWS: Week 2 of "Ballers" holds up in TV Viewership
PPV REPORTS
TNA PPV NEWS: Jarrett returns for King of the Mountain, TNA sets up Impact-GFW follow-through, X Title match, Aries-Davey, Magnus loses blow-off, no TNA Champ, more
CALDWELL'S TNA SLAMMIVERSARY PPV RESULTS 6/28: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live PPV from Orlando - King of the Mountain match, Storm vs. Magnus, more
RADICAN'S ROH Best in the World 2015 PPV Blog 6/19 - Lethal-Briscoe, Bullet Club-Kingdom, Addiction-ReDRagon
ROH PPV NEWS: New ROH World champion, ROH Title match set for next iPPV, New Japan stars returning to the U.S., Tag Titles, Bullet Club vs. Kingdom, double turn, more
CALDWELL'S ROH BITW PPV REPORT 6/19: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Briscoe vs. Lethal Title vs. Title, Bullet Club vs. The Kingdom, ROH Tag Title match, more
CALDWELL'S WWE MITB PPV RESULTS 6/14: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Dusty Rhodes 10-bell salute, WWE Title match, MITB match, Cena vs. Owens II, more
CALDWELL'S MITB PPV RESULTS 6/14 (pre-show): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Dusty Rhodes tributes, Barrett vs. Truth
CALDWELL'S NJPW BEST OF SUPER JRS. FINALS REPORT 6/7: O'Reilly vs. KUSHIDA epic tournament conclusion
RADICAN'S "EVOLVE 43" iPPV REPORT 5/30 - Hero-Lee MOTYC, debut of Speedball, Galloway-Busick main event
MCNEILL'S PPV BLOG 5/31: Live Blog for WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 - ongoing thoughts & observations
CALDWELL'S WWE E. CHAMBER PPV REPORT 5/31: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of WWE Title match, Cena vs. Owens, two Elimination Chamber matches, more
CALDWELL'S E. CHAMBER PPV REPORT 5/31 (pre-show): Complete coverage of Daniel Bryan's TV return on Miz TV, more
TV REPORTS
METZGER'S ROH TV REPORT 6/28 & 7/1: ROH vs. New Japan continues with Styles vs. Cole main event, ROH tag champs vs. Okada & Gedo, more; Overall Reax
CALDWELL'S WWE TOUGH ENOUGH REPORT 6/30 - Week 2: This week's Bottom 3, swimming with gators, Hogan calls folks out, more
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 6/29: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - The Shield trio in big tag match, Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge, Dolph/Lana, more
PARKS'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/25: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Thursday show, including Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
DEHNEL'S LUCHA UNDERGROUND REPORT 6/24: Mil Muertes becomes #1 contender to Lucha Title, Hernandez on the show, Four-Way for Medallion, more
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT 6/24: Jeff Jarrett makes surprise return with Karen and is added to Slammiversary, plus Matt Morgan, Vader & Hernandez return, final hype for PPV & next week's TNA Title main event
JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 6/24 - Week 167: Dusty Rhodes tribute, Balor vs. Rhyno main event, Itami returns to TV, Video Series on Balor continues, more; Overall Reax
METZGER'S ROH TV REPORT 6/21 & 6/24: Huge showcase of ROH/New Japan including Bullet Club vs. CHAOS main event, Nakamura-Strong, soft Best in the World follow-up
CALDWELL'S WWE TOUGH ENOUGH REPORT 6/23: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Week 1 on USA Network
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 6/22: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - WWE book-ends Raw with "apologies," Brock Lesnar appears, John Cena returns, more
PARKS'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/18: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Thursday show, including Kane & Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns
CALDWELL'S WWE TOUGH ENOUGH AUDITIONS REPORT: Review of WWE Network special introducing Final 13, plus Rankings
OPINION & ANALYSIS
RAW POLLS 6/29: Vote 0-10 & select Best Match on Raw
TNA PPV POLLS: Vote 0-10 & select Best Match at Slammiversary
RADICAN'S "Timeline: The History of ECW As Told By RVD" - Heyman keeping the belief strong, ECW gets cable deal, Bubba and Taz backstage, more
Trouble (Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble): McNEILL previews TNA Slammiversary 2015 (w/ Wrestling History Lesson)!
RADICAN'S "Ivan Koloff: The Russian Bear" DVD review - working the territories, beating Sammartino, life after wrestling
TNA PPV POLL: What should be on the line at King of the Mountain?
MCNEILL LIVECAST POLL: Who will win Tough Enough?
RAW POLLS 6/22: Vote 0-10 & select Best Match on Raw
RADICAN'S ROH Best in the World 2015 PPV Blog 6/19 - Lethal-Briscoe, Bullet Club-Kingdom, Addiction-ReDRagon
ROH PPV POLLS: Vote 0-10 & Select Best Match of the BITW PPV
Battle Of The Belts: McNEILL previews ROH's Best In The World 2015!
RADICAN: Full Preview for ROH's Best in the World PPV - Briscoe vs. Lethal, Tag Title match, Verdict on whether to order
THE SPECIALISTS
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Exclusive Interview - Figures Toy Co.’s DePetrillo Discusses New Legends Line - Who Will Be Included?
VALLEY: RIP to the Third Nature Boy - Remembering Buddy Landel
6/22 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Lesnar Apologizes, Cena - Owens, Kane vs. Ambrose, The Authority, Wyatt's Creepy Locker Room, more
TUCKER'S INSTANT REACTION - Tough Enough: Why the first episode did not click
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: One Year Later - Checking in on the Value of Ultimate Warrior Collectibles (w/Chart)
TUCKER'S INSTANT REACTION - Raw: The conundrum that is fitting Brock Lesnar into WWE's full-time main event scene
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Action Figure Spotlight - New Horsemen Figures
6/15 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Rollins, Ambrose-Sheamus, Owens-Ziggler, Lesnar
VALLEY: Don't look now, but everyone is trying to bring back the '90s
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Dusty Rhodes Collectibles - Sales of Dusty's Memorabilia Surge After his Death
DONOFRIO'S FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE: Live, In-person Report on NXT Live from Pittsburgh - set-up, venue, crowd reactions, Overall Grade, more (w/Pics)
6/8 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Owens - Cena, Owens vs. Neville, Miz TV, J&J Security, Reigns vs. Kingston
PWTORCH EXCLUSIVES
RAW RETRO - C.M. Punk cashes in MITB & defends Hvt. Title on same show
MSG FLASHBACK: Taker vs. Hogan & Flair vs. Lesnar 13 yrs. ago at MSG, plus McNeill's Ringside Report from previous night
RADICAN'S "Timeline: The History of ECW As Told By RVD" - Heyman keeping the belief strong, ECW gets cable deal, Bubba and Taz backstage, more
WWE FLASHBACK: Kane wins only WWE Title 17 yrs. ago today, holds title for one day
RAW RETRO: Hogan & Michaels & Cena in Raw main event 10 yrs. ago today, plus Flair vs. Angle on Raw, more
RADICAN'S "Ivan Koloff: The Russian Bear" DVD review - working the territories, beating Sammartino, life after wrestling
WWE PPV FLASHBACK - Angle wins King of the Ring 15 yrs. ago, plus Rock & Taker & Kane vs. McMahon Family
PPV FLASHBACK - Infamously dangerous KOTR PPV 14 yrs. ago today - multiple injuries, Shane McMahon stunt match, more (includes Keller Cover Story on need for change)
WWE PPV FLASHBACK: Brock Lesnar wins King of the Ring 13 yrs. ago today, plus Taker vs. Triple H main event, Angle vs. Hogan, more
RAW RETRO - 5 yrs. ago: McMahon introduces Mystery GM, Cena vs. Sheamus WWE Title match, show ends with "NXT" chants
MONDAY NIGHT WAR: Taker-Hunter on Raw vs. Sting-Sid on WCW Nitro from the Superdome 16 yrs. ago today
RADICAN'S ROH Best in the World 2015 PPV Blog 6/19 - Lethal-Briscoe, Bullet Club-Kingdom, Addiction-ReDRagon
REFERENCE
WWE REPORT: Raw TV Ratings First-Half Report Card - Raw down 9% through first 26 weeks, plus nine-year break down
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Monday's show falls to year-low
TV WRESTLING VIEWERSHIP - Week of June 22: Full Break Down of last week's Raw, Smackdown, Tough Enough, Impact & ROH
ROCK NEWS: Week 2 of "Ballers" holds up in TV Viewership
TITLES & CHAMPS: Ongoing list of 2015 Titleholders
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in - flat ending to June
TV RATINGS: Viewership for ROH & Impact Week 4 on D. America - big night for ROH; Impact even with last week
WWE NEWS: Tough Enough ratings are in - modest premiere topped by follow-up shows, plus Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Monday's show falters week after Brock's return
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in - The Thursday show lacks momentum
TV RATINGS: Viewership for ROH & TNA Impact Week 3 on Dest. America
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - how did Monday's post-PPV episode fare?
PWTorch Free Podcast
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (6/30) available on-demand - Bruce Mitchell & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (6/29) available on-demand - Raw post-game show w/James Caldwell
LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (6/26) available on-demand - ECC's Travis Bryant w/live callers
LIVECAST AUDIO: Thursday PWTorch Livecast (6/25) available on-demand - Taz Live Interview w/Wade Keller
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (6/24) available on-demand - Pat McNeill w/live callers & Kizarny (Sinn Bodhi)
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (6/23) available on-demand - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (6/22) available on-demand - Raw post-game show with James Caldwell & Pat McNeill
FREE LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (6/19) available on-demand - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant talk with live callers
LIVECAST AUDIO: Thursday PWTorch Livecast (6/18) available on-demand - Wade Keller talks live w/Howard Brody
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (6/17) available on-demand - McNeill talks live w/Melina & Friends
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (6/16) available on-demand - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (6/15) available on-demand - Raw post-game show w/James Caldwell & Pat McNeill
VIP Exclusive Features
VIP - 06/30 - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: What’s really going on in TNA with all of the departures and is an invasion angle planned with GFW? What does that low Raw rating mean and how bad is it? (27 min.)
VIP - 06/30 PWTorch Livecast VIP Aftershow: Mitchell & Powell discuss Tough Enough’s new season, TNA loses “World Title status,” does TNA “deserve to survive,” the Owens interference in Cesaro-Cena match (24 min.)
VIP - 06/30 PWTorch Livecast AD-FREE: Mitchell & Powell discuss with live callers last night’s Raw, the awful rating, is Seth Rollins too weak of a heel champion, what’s ahead of Brock Lesnar, more with live callers and emails (88 min.)
VIP - 06/29 - Wade Keller Hotline - WWE Raw: In-depth review and analysis of top segments of the show including great Cena-Cesaro match, Ambrose & Reigns vs. Kane & Seth, Ziggler-Lana-Summer-Rusev, more (36 min.)
VIP - 06/29 PWTorch Livecast: Raw Post-Game show w/James Caldwell - Instant Reaction to Raw with live calls & lots of emails, more! (63 min.)
VIP - 06/28 - Wade Keller Hotline - TNA Slammiversary: Full rundown of results and analysis of an emotional night for some, King of the Mountain main event with returning Jeff Jarrett, audio problems (37 min.)
VIP - 06/28 McNeill & Valley's "Wayback Playback" Audio Show (ep. #41): Into the SNME Time Machine - Warrior-Rude for WWF Title, Demolition-Rockers from July 1990! (78 min.)
VIP - 06/27 - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: Finally The Rock has returned to Boston, Cena vs. Owens house show main event, more on Jarrett-TNA situation, more TNA departures (12 min.)
VIP - 06/27 Bruce Mitchell Audio Show w/Britt Whitmire: Starrcade '85 in-depth discussion - Flair-Rhodes after "Hard Times" promo, Buddy Landel, Magnum-Tully, more! (154 min.)
VIP - 06/27 Vintage 1990s Wrestling Radio - Pro Wrestling Spotlight #118 from July 21, 1991: Audio of Vince McMahon’s press conference announcing first steroid policy, analysis from Alex Marvez and host John Arezzi (99 min.)
VIP - 06/27 Audio Flashback - Real Deal w/Pat McNeill (06-11-2005): Hot Five Stories including ROH in NYC, Craft Lottery, ECW One Night Stand, TNA TV situation plus Indy Line-up of the Week, Hardcore Homecoming (18 min.)
VIP - 06/27 Audio Flashback - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: Breakdown in TNA negotiations with TV station and TNA locker room morale, Heyman’s approach to promoting ECW, Smackdown reax, ratings (32 min.)
© 1999-2011 TDH Communications Inc. • All rights reserved. -- PRIVACY POLICY