PR Buzz – TNA Goes RVD
It’s been a while since we chatted ‘rasslin’. Let’s change that, shall we.
Monday night, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) delivered probably one of their greatest shows ever.
Veteran fan favorites Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam faced off to decide the #1 contender to champion AJ Styles. Popular mainstay Samoa Joe returned from an unexplained absence due to abduction to help Team Hogan defeat Team Flair. Rob Terry was elevated to big-time status. The Knockouts looked great. The “crash TV” style was absent (and that’s a good thing).
And in the main event, RVD captured the TNA Champtionship from Styles in an epic match.
As a longtime fan of the pseudo-sport, it was fun to watch. As a PR pro, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Let me count the ways:
1 – No Promotion – If you control your product, as TNA does, you have the unique ability to tell people what’s going to happen. Of course, TNA wouldn’t say “Watch tonight – RVD will beat AJ!” However, if they spread this story over a few weeks, fans would be invested in the presentation and tune in. I understand the “anything can happen” atmosphere. However, with the top title on the line, wouldn’t you want at least a week to let the story build?
2 – TNA is a business, right??? – TV ratings are great. They are. But if your business is built around pay per view buys, why wouldn’t you put the big match on one of those shows? This show felt like it came out of nowhere. And that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
3 – RVD’s…ahem…lifestyle choices. RVD has been on the cover of “High Times” magazine (or so I’ve bee n told!). He is widely known as a marijuana user and pled guilty to possession in 2006. And, last I checked, it was illegal in most places. As a company trying to gain legitimacy, is RVD really the guy you want to push as “your guy?” I’m not saying he’s not a qualified performer, but the drug usage is hard to overlook.
4 – “Pop” a Rating – This is somewhat linked to #1. In the wrestling industry, the term “pop a rating” gets tossed around frequently to describe stunts to get viewers. If you don’t promote a show, it’s viewership isn’t indicative of THAT show, but rather the show from the previous week. So while TNA’s heart was in the right place, the execution was lacking. People will watch if you give them a reason to in advance.
So tell me – what did you think of RVD’s big night? Did TNA do the right thing…or miss a golden opportunity?
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