Saturday 18 February 2012

Russo Out, Lagana In

There's a reason I don't talk about TNA that often on this blog. It's because I don't feel I keep up with their product enough. I'll follow their title changes, read taping and PPV results and take note of face and heel turns, but ultimately that's part of the problem. I know just from reading about the promotion that there's too much going on for the amount of airtime available.
I gave up even attempting to watch iMPACT (or whatever name it was going under at the time) last summer. My feeling at the time was that if TNA wasn’t capable of using their talent properly it wasn’t worth spending my time watching.
Things may be about to change though. It was reported last weekend that Vince Russo was not backstage at the Against All Odds pay-per-view in Orlando's IMPACT Zone, sparking rumours that he had split from the company. This was confirmed on Tuesday in a tweet from company president Dixie Carter, who wrote the following:
TNA and Vince Russo have mutually parted ways as of this week. The separation is amicable and professional. We are glad for the opportunity to have worked together and wish each other nothing but good luck and success in the future.
Adding to the good news is that Dave Lagana, former SmackDown, WWECW and Ring of Honor writer and current head if TNA’s Ring Ka King project in India, has replaced Russo on the creative team. Following years of Russo’s anarchic, often counterproductive approach Lagana’s logical, well-paced booking should be a refreshing change to the TNA product in 2012.

Vince Russo: gone but not forgotten!

With the confirmation that Russo is no longer involved in TNA creative on any level fans who were driven away by his idiocy may be encouraged to give IMPACT a try again. The best way TNA can encourage people to tune in is to tighten up their focus and book with long term goals in mind.
The Bobby Roode heel turn on James Storm is a perfect example of how long term booking went disastrously wrong under Russo. Had that story been teased out over months it could have been the promotion's lead storyline before progressing into the lead feud. Booked correctly it could have made genuine stars of both Storm and Roode, something that should be a top priority for the company that has been known for using former WWE stars for so long. Had ‘The Cowboy’ been permitted a lengthier title run before dropping the championship to Roode he would have stood a far better chance of establishing himself at the top of the card. Instead the turn and the title switch all took place within a month and nothing made the impact (no pun intended) it should have.

Wasteful is the word you’re looking for.
This is the perfect chance to change the writing process the company currently has in place. At the moment a script is drawn up by the writing team and handed to Bruce Prichard, who notes whatever changes he feels are necessary before handing it on to Eric Bischoff, who does the same.
One or both of the note makers need to be taken out of the process, in order to speed things up and allow the writing team to get on with planning a compelling television product. Y’know, like they’re supposed to? Ideally Bischoff would get the boot. After two and a half years with the company it's clear he's incapable of doing anything in the wrestling business without pots of someone else's money to utilise.

Bringing Lagana into TNA proper is a promising sign. I hope TNA allows him and the rest of the team the chance to sort the creative process out. It's been slapdash for far too long. The company's wrestlers and fans deserve better.

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