Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

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Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by crippledtart on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 8:56 pm

This week on the the podcast we looked ahead to TNA Impact's debut episode on Destination America and talked about how we would book the show. Sadly, some idiot hadn't pressed the record button, so the ridicule I endured for suggesting Impact open with Jeremy Borash in the ring will never enter the public domain.

I've decided to go further and put together my idea for the whole show. I am only going to use people signed to TNA with one exception, as I do not know what their recruitment plans are, and I think this could quickly lose credibility if I magic CM Punk, Jim Ross and Michael Elgin onto the roster. The exception is Alberto Del Rio, who is strongly tipped to join TNA. This show could easily be rewritten to exclude Del Rio if he does not sign.

I would very much hope that between now and the debut on Destination America TNA fleshes out its Tag Team and Knockouts divisions, which are particularly poor at the moment. Hopefully I haven't included anybody who will not be on TNA's roster in the new year, but it's not always the easiest thing to keep track of.

My aim is that everything should be short and sharp. accentuating larger-than-life personalities and the pomp of a wrestling show that takes itself seriously and exists within a consistent narrative. Matches need to serve a purpose other than passing ten minutes of TV time for the sake of it, and there should be no long rambling promos. TNA needs to live up to its name of Total Nonstop Action by making the promos short, punchy and memorable. Bring back the 80s style promo where a wrestler gets thirty seconds alone in front of a camera to get over his character and motivations. Matches should also be action-packed and hard-hitting, not highspot-oriented but fast-paced and athletic, without long restholds. Make it look like the wrestlers are in a fight, and really hurting each other.

I'll break up the show into four sections, each roughly thirty minutes (the third section will be slightly shorter and the fourth slightly longer). Obviously commercial breaks can be inserted where necessary, but only between segments, and never in the middle of a match.

Borash plays the lead announcer role with an emphasis on getting over characters and storylines. Mike Tenay is the analyst who talks in more depth about the wrestling itself. There is no heel colour commentator; I would like to introduce Taz later on as a manager, so I have removed him from commentary. Borash and Tenay subtly encourage fair play and sportsmanship; when somebody cheats or acts without class, they condemn it. Christy Hemme does the backstage interviews.

SECTION ONE:

Start with Jeremy Borash in the ring. He talks excitedly about the things that differentiate TNA -  this isn't the place where people stand around in the ring talking for 20 minutes, this is where you will find wrestlers, not sports entertainers, this is total nonstop action, with the most exciting athleticism anywhere, great tag team wrestling and women who can actually wrestle. He quickly runs down the main plans for the show - an X Division number one contender match between Kenny King and Austin Aries, a Tag Team Championship match with James Storm and Abyss defending against the American Wolves, Jeff Hardy will be in action, plus we will hear from the TNA World Champion Bobby Roode.

King's music plays and he comes out for the number one contender match. He tells Borash to get out of the ring unless he wants to get hurt. and cuts a short arrogant promo to establish himself as the heel. Aries' music interrupts him. The commentators stress the history of the X Division, and talk about former champions and classic matches, acknowledging that both of these wrestlers are ex-champions. King wins a back-and-forth, hard-hitting, all-action athletic contest clean in 15 minutes. Afterwards, Aries and the announcers are surprised by the result and King celebrates his victory obnoxiously.

At ringside, the announcers briefly talk about King's victory and announce the title match is in two weeks right here on Impact. and next week Borash will host a face-to-face promo with King and Low Ki.

SECTION TWO:

30 second pretaped Samoa Joe promo.

The two tag teams are interviewed backstage by Christy Hemme to build up their title match. Focus on the unfair way Storm and Abyss won the belts. Storm insults the Wolves, things get heated but not quite physical, and the Wolves vow to regain the titles. Maximum two minutes for the entire segment.

Bram's ring entrance begins. The announcers are shown talking about Jeff Hardy's history in TNA, leading to a short video package. When we return, Bram is in the ring and Hardy gets his full ring intro. Hardy beats Bram clean in the typical Hardy formula match in around 7-8 minutes.

The announcers hype that the World Champion will be here next.

Short video package on the Knockouts, focusing mainly on Taryn Terrell. The announcers reveal that next week she will be live on Impact.

Bobby Roode comes out for his full ring entrance. He talks about the importance of the world title and invites Lashley to come out and face him like a man. Magnus walks out instead, and tells Roode that he should be more worried about him. Magnus quickly runs down his credentials as a former champion. Roode tells Magnus that if he wants the belt he will have to earn a shot. Magnus vows to go through whomever it takes. The whole segment goes around five minutes.

SECTION THREE:

60-second montage of classic TNA moments. This should not focus on aging stars. Pick out the best moments from the likes of Styles/Joe/Roode/Storm/Daniels/Magnus and show Angle and Sting when they looked much younger.

The announcers briefly discuss the Roode-Magnus exchange, and list other potential challengers to the world title. They announce that TNA will be holding a number one contender tournament featuring eight top stars, starting next week with a Quarter Final singles match of Samoa Joe vs MVP. Meanwhile the other six contenders will meet in a tag team match, as Jeff Hardy, Mr Anderson and a mystery partner face Lashley, Magnus and Ethan Carter.

30-second Beautiful People promo.

Ethan Carter (with Tyrus) has a full ring entrance; his opponent, already in the ring, is jobber Norv Fernum. The match goes under five minutes and is almost a complete squash. When Fernum does briefly rally, Tyrus interferes from the outside. After the match, Carter and Tyrus beat on Fernum some more until Jeff Hardy comes out to make the save. The heels flee and Fernum is helped to the back while Hardy stands alone in the ring.

30-second Austin Aries promo, talking about how King got lucky tonight but he will face him again any time and prove he is the better man.

SECTION FOUR

The main event gets full ring introductions and a 60-second montage video on the history of the TNA tag titles. In the main event, the American Wolves win clean to regain the belts. Again this should not be a plodding match; it should be all-action and hard-hitting, with Sanada and Manik getting involved to help the champions, and the Wolves showing that they are athletic, resourceful and tenacious in overcoming the odds. The aim should be to give it an epic feel, get the Wolves over as strong babyfaces and tell a 20-minute back-and-forth story. Afterwards, the babyfaces celebration is the focus.

The announcers remind us of the main points for next week, with on-screen graphics: the number one contender tournament begins with Joe vs MVP, Low Ki and Kenny King go face-to-face, Knockouts champion Taryn Terrell will be live in the arena for an interview, and six of the top world title contenders meet in the six man tag team match.

Mr Anderson walks down to the ring and demands to know who the mystery man in the tournament is. Alberto Del Rio walks out on to the stage. The announcers react with shock as Anderson stares in shock at Del Rio, who cuts a very short mission statement promo. The announcers hype the ramifications of Del Rio being in TNA as the show ends.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 9:44 pm

Jesus christ, you make wrestling sound so boring. Its not that what youve done is wrong, its just so...urgh. Formulaic, dry, plain

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by crippledtart on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 10:05 pm

Could you maybe jazz it up a bit for me?

Keep the same general ideas but make it sound a tad more bombastic, like.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Hero on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 10:52 pm

Needs more dwarves.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Kay Fabe on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 11:10 pm

If Del Rio does land in TNA then I hope they just let him be more himself, he comes across as far more likeable, the problem I had with TNA signing established WWE guys wasn't that they were WWE guys but it was that they just let them continue the character that the WWE had already realised had ran its course.

Del Rio was as dull as mud, bringing him in and using that idea would be rancid

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Crimey on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 11:18 pm

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:Jesus christ, you make wrestling sound so boring. Its not that what youve done is wrong, its just so...urgh. Formulaic, dry, plain

I think that's the point isn't it? TNA have spent years being a mess with nonsensical storylines and poor short-term booking. Their first show should be them getting back to basics, using tried and tested methods and putting on a reasonably entertaining show and one that is enticing to new fans while not alienating the old fans.

I don't think formulaic necessarily means boring and I think if TNA (or WWE for that matter) want to do something more complicated, something more shocking or using a different structure they need to make sure they get the simple stuff right beforehand, otherwise the impact of those more complex storylines is lost.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 2:18 am

There is a flair in language and presentation. Its what mainstream needs to make the basics seem new and fresh, even as it in fact calls back to much "simpler" times

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by crippledtart on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 7:45 am

I totally agree and i would want it to have that flair. I'm not sure why you think otherwise. I have deliberately not used over-the-top language in my description of the show; I'm not trying to sell you on how imaginative and original I am, but suggesting a format that would appeal to hardcore and casual fans alike.

Flair in language and presentation are crucial. That's why I want the passion of Borash on commentary rather than the bored and self-satisfied pairing of Taz and Tenay. It's why I suggested short, punchy and outlandish promos. I'm not sure why you think I have this philosophy that wrestling should be bland and understated. Completely the opposite.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Adam D on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 9:00 am

Good article Crips but I would disagree with saying that the Knockout division is poor:

3 main stars are Taryn, Havok and Gail who can all put on excellent matches.

They also have a good understudy of Angelina Love, Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky, Brittany and Rebel. Also likely to add Kay Lee Ray and Reby Sky at some point. That is a fantastic division that doesnt get much time at the moment.

Tag team isnt that poor either:

The Wolves
The Hardys
The Bromans
Storm and Abyss
The Menagerie

Not that much depth but they do only have a 2 hour show!

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by crippledtart on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 11:00 am

Fot some reason I thought Gail had left. You're right with Gail and Havok and a couple of others it's a strong enough division.

I do think the tag division needs an overhaul though. The only one of those teams I'd keep is Bro mans, and they are a lower card act. Matt Hardy could be paired with someone else though.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 12:55 pm

You'd have to keep the Wolves.

And I think these things because you're a bland and understated man.

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by DrDeath on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 2:02 pm

What ever happened to ODB?

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Prometheus on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 2:06 pm

I've not listed to the podcast yet, but an interesting article. I have some thoughts as I read through it, but my big question is "does it matter, is it already too late for TNA?".

Let's face it they have been ditched. They are moving to a channel that has a much shallower and narrower reach. Chances are that people who were already into their product and can easily receive it will follow them, like they did when they changed days on Spike. But this doesn't sound like a chance IMO to hit a whole new market.

Anyway, I'll set aside my reservations and follow your blue skies thinking:

crippledtart wrote:

SECTION ONE:

Start with Jeremy Borash in the ring. He talks excitedly about the things that differentiate TNA -  this isn't the place where people stand around in the ring talking for 20 minutes, this is where you will find wrestlers, not sports entertainers, this is total nonstop action, with the most exciting athleticism anywhere, great tag team wrestling and women who can actually wrestle. He quickly runs down the main plans for the show - an X Division number one contender match between Kenny King and Austin Aries, a Tag Team Championship match with James Storm and Abyss defending against the American Wolves, Jeff Hardy will be in action, plus we will hear from the TNA World Champion Bobby Roode.

King's music plays and he comes out for the number one contender match. He tells Borash to get out of the ring unless he wants to get hurt. and cuts a short arrogant promo to establish himself as the heel. Aries' music interrupts him. The commentators stress the history of the X Division, and talk about former champions and classic matches, acknowledging that both of these wrestlers are ex-champions. King wins a back-and-forth, hard-hitting, all-action athletic contest clean in 15 minutes. Afterwards, Aries and the announcers are surprised by the result and King celebrates his victory obnoxiously.

At ringside, the announcers briefly talk about King's victory and announce the title match is in two weeks right here on Impact. and next week Borash will host a face-to-face promo with King and Low Ki.

I absolutely agree that they need to set out their stall. I kind of think of WWE as mostly being about attractions, e.g. Bray Wyatt, The Big Show. I think this harks back to Vince being a promoter who needed to sell out house shows, and then started events like Wrestlemania. Character sells. But sometimes these guys don't make for the best TV show, and that is a different sales proposition and you can't be WWE-lite.

IMO neither people who already know TNA or just happen to have that channel on are interested in their manifesto. I know advertising is different in the States, but IMO saying "we are not this" when you refer to the competition doesn't work, you are selling the competition. So lose the "no 20 minute promos" bit, at least its kind of ironic that you are stood in a ring doing a promo taking up wrestling time to say you don't take up wrestling time. But yeah if you want to say, we are about x, y, z and that's what we believe wrestling fans want, go for it.

I agree that what you want is a wrestling match to set things out. We could argue that 15 minutes is too long, but that's pedantic. Jim Ross has said a number of times in his pods, bring back the time limit. It's another finish. And I get that. I get your idea about TNA and non-stop action, but I think you also have to give wrestlers chance to sell and the commentators to do that too. Plus the audience needs time to let bits sink in. But work tight. And unless you are at the culmination of a big feud then IMO someone hits their finisher, that is the finish.

After the win, I'd also say get Borash with 30s with the winner, especially for the winner of your #1 contender fight. Let them tell the fans what it means for them to win, what they will do to the opponent in the next match, let your wrestler sell it.


SECTION TWO:

30 second pretaped Samoa Joe promo.

The two tag teams are interviewed backstage by Christy Hemme to build up their title match. Focus on the unfair way Storm and Abyss won the belts. Storm insults the Wolves, things get heated but not quite physical, and the Wolves vow to regain the titles. Maximum two minutes for the entire segment.

Bram's ring entrance begins. The announcers are shown talking about Jeff Hardy's history in TNA, leading to a short video package. When we return, Bram is in the ring and Hardy gets his full ring intro. Hardy beats Bram clean in the typical Hardy formula match in around 7-8 minutes.

The announcers hype that the World Champion will be here next.

Short video package on the Knockouts, focusing mainly on Taryn Terrell. The announcers reveal that next week she will be live on Impact.

Bobby Roode comes out for his full ring entrance. He talks about the importance of the world title and invites Lashley to come out and face him like a man. Magnus walks out instead, and tells Roode that he should be more worried about him. Magnus quickly runs down his credentials as a former champion. Roode tells Magnus that if he wants the belt he will have to earn a shot. Magnus vows to go through whomever it takes. The whole segment goes around five minutes.
If I'm new to this, I'm likely to get confused of why a Samoa Joe promo, then a backstage interview with the tag team.

Bram vs Hardy sounds good. Sounds like the route is going to be really pushing Hardy over the weeks. With a Hardy history and video package there is no reason for me to think Bram has a chance. And that is fine, it might even be used. E.g. if Bram really puts in a great performance and does everything, but it is Hardy's experience or just being that bit better than the rest that wins this.

IMO again, if you are pitching this to new people, you run the risk of confusing them if there is talk of Lashley and Magnus comes out. But sure, bigging up the champ and title is a no-brainer. If you want to plant the seed of a difference to WWE then have a stip that the title must be defended every month or something that makes it sound like they have a resident fighting champ, not a part-timer.


SECTION THREE:

60-second montage of classic TNA moments. This should not focus on aging stars. Pick out the best moments from the likes of Styles/Joe/Roode/Storm/Daniels/Magnus and show Angle and Sting when they looked much younger.

The announcers briefly discuss the Roode-Magnus exchange, and list other potential challengers to the world title. They announce that TNA will be holding a number one contender tournament featuring eight top stars, starting next week with a Quarter Final singles match of Samoa Joe vs MVP. Meanwhile the other six contenders will meet in a tag team match, as Jeff Hardy, Mr Anderson and a mystery partner face Lashley, Magnus and Ethan Carter.

30-second Beautiful People promo.

Ethan Carter (with Tyrus) has a full ring entrance; his opponent, already in the ring, is jobber Norv Fernum. The match goes under five minutes and is almost a complete squash. When Fernum does briefly rally, Tyrus interferes from the outside. After the match, Carter and Tyrus beat on Fernum some more until Jeff Hardy comes out to make the save. The heels flee and Fernum is helped to the back while Hardy stands alone in the ring.

30-second Austin Aries promo, talking about how King got lucky tonight but he will face him again any time and prove he is the better man.
Don't understand the montage of classic moments. Sounds like it would be better opening the show. Plus how many stars are you showing who won't be in TNA?

#1 contender, excellent idea. Getting a shot at the title should already be a big deal, not something given out randomly or because you are in a clique with the GM.

To my thinking, too many of these promos introducing too many people. I'd be using these promos in each segment to build to the main event. Pre-recorded interviews, shots backstage of them getting ready, etc.


SECTION FOUR

The main event gets full ring introductions and a 60-second montage video on the history of the TNA tag titles. In the main event, the American Wolves win clean to regain the belts. Again this should not be a plodding match; it should be all-action and hard-hitting, with Sanada and Manik getting involved to help the champions, and the Wolves showing that they are athletic, resourceful and tenacious in overcoming the odds. The aim should be to give it an epic feel, get the Wolves over as strong babyfaces and tell a 20-minute back-and-forth story. Afterwards, the babyfaces celebration is the focus.

The announcers remind us of the main points for next week, with on-screen graphics: the number one contender tournament begins with Joe vs MVP, Low Ki and Kenny King go face-to-face, Knockouts champion Taryn Terrell will be live in the arena for an interview, and six of the top world title contenders meet in the six man tag team match.

Mr Anderson walks down to the ring and demands to know who the mystery man in the tournament is. Alberto Del Rio walks out on to the stage. The announcers react with shock as Anderson stares in shock at Del Rio, who cuts a very short mission statement promo. The announcers hype the ramifications of Del Rio being in TNA as the show ends.

Yeah, a belt change in your opening show is a talking point and going out on a babyface win is good.

I think you've got 3 endings and I kind of think you have to choose 1, at most 2. So you can end with a babyface celebration and the titles. You can end with a next week on... and you can end on your Easternders dum dum dum moment. My thinking is lose ADR. Do I think he can do a job for TNA, absolutely. But anyone who recognises him it will be that guy who wasn't so great in WWE. I get the argument that WWE didn't use him right and he can really be an asset, but I personally don't think he brings that much just by showing his face here.

Personally I'd save ADR to next week. Hype up that there will be a big signing that fans won't want to miss. A former wrestling champ, a person who's won x,y and z. Hell push ADR's MMA past and let some kid think that Lesnar might be joining. Have ADR next week sign his TNA contract on the show. And have him cut a promo that does something to relaunch ADR as he can be.
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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by Adam D on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 2:06 pm

She was either released or a contract wasnt renewed - she is no longer with the company

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Re: Booking TNA's first show on Destination America

Post by dyrewolfe on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 2:53 pm

Adam D wrote:She was either released or a contract wasnt renewed - she is no longer with the company

Really? I thought she was just busy looking after EY Junior? devil

Shame - she was a good character.


Some good ideas about booking the first show. I like the idea of keeping the talky bits short and to the point...but perhaps for a first show a bit more background might be a good idea to help newcomers understand where they're coming from?

Upping the pace of the heavyweight matches would help as the sluggishness often kills the ringside atmosphere.

Also like the idea of a titantron (if they can afford one) - but only if the X Division guys are allowed to jump off it! Wink


Also agree that a new commentary team is also called for.
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