TNA Wrestling yesterday delivered the news that it was reducing the number of its live Sunday night pay per views from 12 to just four a year. And while likely driven by financial realities, TNA nevertheless deserves credit for embracing a lost art in the pro wrestling business: leaving fans wanting more.
Sadly, generations of wrestling have come up in an environment where four-plus hours of original television featuring marquee match-ups leading up to monthly pay per view events is the norm. The result? It's harder than ever for any singular wrestling show--much less a singular wrestling match--to be memorable.
It wasn't always like this. Growing up, the model for a national wrestling promotion was to put on an hour or two of taped television shows on weekends that almost exclusively featured squash matches, combined with the occasional wrestling angle. Pay per view events were extremely rare and cherished event that took place just a few times a year.
That's why they felt special, and why pay per view brands like WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam still carry a certain cache. Today, with the possible exception of WrestleMania, it's hard for any wrestling show to stand out from the pack.
WWE has been a particularly bad offender. Over the last year, the company has added no less than two and a half hours or new, original television programming each week. And while the supply is up, the demand is down, as evidenced by falling ratings. WWE's answer: To provide even more content, including through the new WWE app and its planned cable network.
TNA, likely struggling to stay out of the red and reconciling seven-figure talent contracts with flat TV ratings, may have had little choice but to pull back its live pay per view offerings. But whatever the motivation, the result is a welcome one: Less quantity, and hopefully, more quality.