The history of TNA delivers a polarizing response from fans that watched the product throughout the years. One thing you can’t call out TNA for was a lack of imagination. The company came up with some wild concepts from the match stipulations to show ideas to general presentation of the product. There was a mixed bag of results to come from the minds in TNA. Fans loved some of them while others were viewed as disasters.
WWE is currently trying to find new relevance with the new television deal for Smackdown on FOX and a new season of Raw starting on USA Network. The hope is that new ideas can help change things up. We will look at both the positive and negatives that WWE can learn from TNA. Find out what exactly they can find from another promotion moving forward. These are five concepts that WWE should steal from TNA along with five that should be avoided at all costs.
10 Steal: X-Division
WWE should not use the name of the X-Division, but they should transition away from the cruiserweight division. TNA had a division for primarily smaller wrestlers without a weight limit. It allowed them to make changes and adapt to the changes of the wrestlers in the division.
The struggle for WWE’s cruiserweight division is that the wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown like Seth Rollins and AJ Styles wrestle the same style as the smaller wrestlers but even better. TNA’s X-Division created a place where the underutilized wrestlers could have great matches without any limits.
9 Avoid: King of the Mountain match
TNA did have some awful ideas that ruined beloved concepts. The King of the Mountain match featured the reverse rules of a ladder match. Instead of climbing the ladder to grab the title, wrestlers climbed it to hang the title on the rung to win the match.
There were also strange new rules like wrestlers having to get a pin fall victory to earn entry to place the title on the rung. Losing wrestlers were forced to go into a penalty box for a minute after getting pinned. WWE would get ridiculed for anything like this taking place on their show.
8 Steal: Reaction
Eric Bischoff came up with one fascinating idea for TNA during his time in the company. The show called Reaction would air shortly after Impact with a different approach. There was almost no in-ring action as this looked at things behind the scenes.
It was scripted with the characters presenting a more real presentation of the feud. Wrestlers delivered quotes and promos stating why they had issues with their opponents. Rare matches did take place like the Young Bucks and Motor City Machine Guns having an empty arena match. WWE could benefit from a show like complimenting Raw or Smackdown.
7 Avoid: Gut Check
The Gut Check show for TNA provided a reality show element of non-contracted wrestlers trying to earn a contract. Aspiring TNA stars would wrestle a live match in front of the audience with three judges reacting to their performance. Al Snow, Tazz, Bruce Prichard, and D-Lo Brown were some of the judges involved.
Wrestlers like Al Snow, Taeler Hendrix, Sam Shaw, and many others participated in the concept. Gut Check came off awkwardly as TNA tried to walk the line between kayfabe and reality. No stars were made because of the concept and it ended after a few months of disappointment.
6 Steal: Smaller "one night only" PPVs
The WWE Network allowed WWE to experiment with many new shows to provide the best entertainment for fans. TNA started producing monthly “One Night Only” PPVs meant to serve as a secondary product that was not completely part of the weekly product.
WWE could have success with this bringing in new and old faces to interact with the current stars. One show could feature the NXT stars facing off against underrated main roster names like Johnny Gargano vs Cesaro. Other shows could see former names like Carlito return to test the waters if they’re able to do well enough for a return.
5 Avoid: Two different entrances
The early days of TNA Impact featured a unique design. There were two entrances on the opposite sides of the ring each week. TNA would have the faces come out of one side and the heels from the other. Fans got conditioned to expecting the good guys and villains from different sides of the venue.
This was an interesting idea that made fans believe that the faces and heels were in different locker rooms. TNA only kept this concept around for a short time as it led to confusion and took away seats. WWE would hurt their business stealing something like this from TNA.
4 Steal: Lockdown
The concept of Lockdown gave TNA one of their annual PPVs with the most importance. This show took place in April and was unofficially the second most important event of the year after Bound for Glory. Lockdown’s unique appeal was that every single match was inside of a steel cage.
The negative was that it could make the match stipulation less important, but it was fascinating to see a show with every match in a cage. WWE could make the Hell in a Cell show way more noteworthy after the past few years of disasters if all matches on the card was booked to take place in the cell.
3 Avoid: Steel Asylum
The Steel Asylum match may be the worst of all the concepts for new match stipulations from TNA. It featured a giant red structure with a large group of wrestlers competing inside of it. One wrestler would eventually climb all the way up and get through the top to win the match.
Fans at the live venue and watching at home struggled to keep up with the action given the horrible view from the outside. Wrestlers also hated it as the structure was hard to climb. Homicide had an embarrassing moment struggling to climb it on the first episode of the Hulk Hogan era.
2 Steal: Legends Championship
TNA experimented with quite a few different championship belts throughout the years. One of the more unique ones was the Legends Championship introduced by Booker T. Fellow legends like Kevin Nash and Mick Foley won it, but younger wrestlers like AJ Styles eventually won as well before it was changed to the Television Championship.
WWE could benefit from having a Legends Championship. The returning part-timers like Goldberg, Triple H, The Undertaker, Kane and Big Show could be the ones competing for it. Everyone would be happier if the full-time stars competed for the active titles while legends faced each other for their own titles.
1 Avoid: Six-sided ring
The six-sided ring drew an immediate polarizing reaction from fans watching TNA for the first time when they had the ring. TNA did this to set it apart from the other wrestling promotions since everyone else used the traditional four-sided ring.
The history of TNA would see the company phase the six-sided ring in and out at different points hoping it would make a difference. Fans didn’t care at the end of the day, as they just wanted a good product. Wrestlers have claimed the six-sided ring is more painful and difficult to work in. WWE would be fools to ever entertain bringing in this ring for any of their shows.