I’m sorry I’m a little late on getting this up, but I wanted to be sure to stop by and share some thoughts on Friday night’s live TNA event at MCU Park in Brooklyn. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best times I’ve had at a live wrestling event in years.
For all the criticisms TNA receives – and often rightfully so – about its creative direction, I’ve felt for years that the company offers one of the best live experiences for fans of any wrestling company. Stripped of some of the convoluted booking that sometimes gets in the way of their talent, TNA performers get an opportunity to do what they do best at live events – wrestle.
Friday night’s live show – one of the biggest in TNA’s history – was no exception. The ballpark – home to the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball franchise – was the perfect setting for the show, which appeared packed with at least 3,500 TNA fans. The vibe I got from many of the fans in attendance was that they were excited to attend a major league, live wrestling event promoted by somebody other than WWE.
TNA more than gave fans their money’s worth with a highly entertaining card that included a four-way X-Division thriller in the opening slot, a fun Knockouts match between Madison Rayne and Angelina Love, the wrestling clinic you would expect out of Kurt Angle and Desmond Wolfe (the match of the night), a wild Monster Ball between Jeff Hardy and Abyss, a tables match featuring Brooklyn’s own Team 3D, and a big time main event featuring Rob Van Dam defending his title against AJ Styles.
The show had something for everyone, and as is always the case, the TNA crew went out of its way to show its appreciation for fans. TNA founder Jeff Jarrett came out at one point to thank the crowd, and TNA talent signed autographs for fans throughout the night.
I heard some people complain about the show being too short (It started around 7:15 p.m. and was over around 9:30 – and it included a 20 minute intermission.) But with the number of small children in attendance and the craziness that is Coney Island on a Friday night in July, it was just as well that it rapped up a little early in the evening.
TNA has struggled in the past to get good attendance at shows outside of the Impact Zone in Orlando, and I thought this was a tremendous step in the right direction. Rather than book large arenas that will inevitable largely empty (as was the case with the Hard Justice pay per view in Trenton, NJ two years ago), venues like MCU Park combine to offer big league atmosphere and appropriate size to create an ideal, intimate venue.
TNA will take another big leap in breaking into the New York market (a WWE stronghold for half a century) when it returns to the area for its first ever event in Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday, September 23. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.
The Hammerstein is another perfect venue for TNA. The 2,500 seat theater has hosted pay per view events for ECW, ROH and even WWE (One Night Stand 2005 and 2006.) TNA should have no problem getting a respectable crowd in that building. If it does, it may open the door for the first ever TNA pay per view in New York City.