How I'd Book Impact

February 9, 2007

I figured with all of my complaining about how TNA is booked I could at least offer my two cents on what I would do if I were in charge. Iím not going to get into who I would push or not push and why, or even offer any specific angles Iím going to talk more about show structure and general direction than anything else, because that is one of the biggest problems I have with the current show.

We hear all the time the complaint that TNA needs to be 2-hours. I wonít dispute that the show could benefit greatly from an additional hour but they donít have it so there is no point complaining about it they need to make the best use of the hour they have. In a 1-hour TV program you have approximately 44-minutes of content and 16 minutes of commercial time. This weekís TNA show had approximately 6 Ĺ minutes of actual match time air on the show, which means that fans actually saw more than twice as many commercials minutes as they did wrestling minutes on a wrestling program. This to me is crazy and I would NEVER have less match time that commercial time on the program. I would aim for closer to 20 minutes of match time as a show minimum.

There are those out there that will say you canít build enough angles, or tell enough stories with so much of the show dedicated to matches but I disagree. I think the problem is they are currently trying to tell too many stories in one show, and over looking the fact that some stories can be told in the ring.

I would break the show into 4 10 to 12 minute segments. If commercial breaks require it, some segments would span commercial breaks, 3 of those segments will almost always feature matches. One of those segments each week would be devoted to the X-Division, and I would focus less on ďStory LinesĒ with the X-Division and give it more of a pure wrestling feel. You can book some angles along the way but predominantly it would be about competitive high-end action. I would also keep these finishes as clean as possible. I think most of the appeal to the X-Division is the action so by simplifying the angles here will allow for more story based stuff elsewhere. There are a lot of ďspot junkiesĒ out there, this will give them there fill, and by giving the X Guys 8-10 minutes of actual bell to bell ring time they will be able to get their personalities over more during matches.

The other main Segment each week would focus on the Heavy Weight Title. As far as Iím concerned if your Championship program isnít the focus of your show you have the title on the wrong guy. You make the NWA Title important by featuring that program. This segment may not always be a match but it needs to be strong and important. You also almost NEVER beat your champion, he needs to be strong, you cantí be Mr. Nice guy and try to protect all of his challengers. If you have a match for this segment give it serious time 12-15 minutes and trim minutes from the least important segment which wonít need to be a match segment anyway.

The 3rd segment would alternate each week, featuring your #2 and #3 angles, either the Tag Title picture or a featured non-title program. This should also feature a 6-10 minute match. I would avoid trying to get 2 or more angles over with one match, each segment would be more strictly focused on the one specific angle. I find when you book a match between 2 guys with unrelated angles just to have their respective angles run together to avoid a finish, both issues get watered down. You want to focus and paint vivid pictures for the audience to follow.

The 4th Segment would vary depending on the rest of the show. If the NWA Title segment featured a match, their extra minutes would come out of this segment and the minutes left could be evenly spread out on the show and would consist of the needed interviews, video packages, PPV plugs, angle re-cap, and DVD release information type stuff. The interviews and recaps would remind fans of the angles and talent not featured on this show. If there wasnít a match involved in the title segment, this segment could highlight a shorter strong win type match for someone needing a clean win on TV or involve a minor underneath angle, and still get the other recap and video stuff covered.

With this structure, there will be weeks where guys arenít on the show, but I think that will make when they are on the show mean more. This format will only be able to feature 4 strong angled matches for PPV purposes but I think if your top 4 angles arenít selling the show a weak 5th and 6th angle wonít do it either. You still announce and plug the other matches and when possible slide them into that variable 4th segment.

With the show set up this way we get 3 matches per show with an average length of 8-10 minutes, which would give fans 25 to 30 minutes of wrestling, and still allow 8 to 13 minutes for promos, angle recaps, etc. Before you math majors out there tell me that that only totals 38 minutes, Iím allowing for ring entrances etc, which take time as well. If there is a need once in a while for 2 strong talking, non-wrestling segments we are still left with 2 10-minute matches and more wrestling minutes than commercial minutes.

With this you still need to book all of the angles, but youíve got a structure and format that is easy to follow and gives 3 current programs time to focus each week. Fans need to care about and remember what they see; if you do too much it just all blends together and becomes forgotten. I think it far better to feature and get over 10 guys than cram 35 people on to one show and have most of those get forgotten in the shuffle.

Lance Storm.