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Pondering with Plumtree: Rotting at the Core: How Loyal Are TNA Fans?

Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.


loy·al - giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.
synonyms: faithful, true, devoted

Let me be quite frank from the very beginning - no cute introduction necessary - watching and following the TNA Wrestling product has been very tough ever since the tapings from Bethlehem, Pennsylania began to air. As Dustin Hall mentioned in a terrific article, it's not that these tapings are not compelling in any way, it's just that they, for the time being, until we all receive news of a new (and confirmed) television deal, are the final string of shows for the company. Yes, these are last shows until, you know, well...we don't know. And that remains part of the compounding fandom TNA fans are experiencing.

Beyond November 19th, we have no idea - zero - on what to expect. Hope can only sustain us as we wait to see if the light of the end of this tunnel is in fact new life for the company, or the impending on-coming train many have been predicting since the start of the company.

The fact of the matter is this, no matter how entertaining and streamlined in content and focus the show has looked and felt in a very long time, these remaining shows feel (at least me they do) like a an eliminated team playing out the schedule with no hopes of making the playoffs. Each show brings about a hint of joy, with a sour aftertaste of it seeming as one added piece to a procession of shows leading to TNA's uncertainty.

TNA can have Bobby Roode and Austin Aries go out and tear the house down for one full hour, and still, the true feeling among all of us die hard TNA fans would be - Wow, that was freakin' awesome! TNA! TNA! TNA!...any new updates on a TV deal? No? Damn. 

Yet, even as TNA "plays out the string", or whatever it currently is in the process of doing, regardless of its future television deal, it is during these times, these weeks, these upcoming months prior to 2015, where TNA's future will be determined. Obvious statement? Well, sure, but let's look beyond just TV. 

Regardless of whether you crunch ratings numbers, dissect quarter-hours, or even keep a spreadsheet to analyze live event attendance, it's still fair to say that TNA has a loyal fanbase. They are the supporters who seem to always be there no matter how many times the company changes directions, rings, focus, wrestlers, or even the night it airs IMPACT. It's those of us who continue to frequent sites like this one daily, sometimes periodically throughout the day, in hopes of today being the day the tops story reads, "TNA Signs New Television Deal". I'm very sure such a story will break whatever the current comments record is...right here at TNAsylum! Cheap pop? No? Moving on...

Nonetheless, even those of you who have voiced your displeasure with the product from time to time, still have deep-rooted interest in the company, pulling for it with loyalty and determined support.

However, again, during this time, this very confusing and complex time, is where the loyalty of this once super supportive group will be tested. For some, the mystery and uncertainty is enough for them to abandon ship and cut their emotional losses now before the ship sinks...or manages to stay afloat as a tiny life boat. To others who have been highly critical of the company during the now controversial "Hogan-Bischoff" years, these times are a big "told you so" moment, warranting enough proof to dictate abandoning as well. Will those folks leave?

And of course, there are many who feel they have already been loyal to a fault when it comes to TNA.

For others, it's the new hip alternatives in pro wrestling that feels fresh and has captured the interest of a few TNA former die hards. Or maybe they have turned their eye to the competition who they have ignored over the years out of loyalty to TNA. The new options remind them of the way TNA once made them feel - excited, renewed, pumped up about pro wrestling. 

Or maybe, it's the casual fan who sees the obvious decline in presentation and production of the show coupled with internet rumors, thus deciding to give up on the company due to an expected termination of the brand.

How about on the other end of the spectrum? If TNA were to sign on with a new television carrier at a reduced rate, say, the Velocity channel rumored (gotta love rumors, eh?) to be a safety net choice, and the product we have known in the past - production, presentation, budget, roster, etc.. -  is no more, will you abandon your ties? If TNA is not the same product in what we came to enjoy over the years, would you call it quits with TNA Wrestling?

To others, TNA is their last resort. They are riding out these few months with unbridled hope that TNA will overcome. Because if it doesn't, they are done - like, really - with pro wrestling.

While a confirmed TV deal is the main source of TNA's uncertainty during this harrowing time of fanhood, behind that problem is another, and that is the company's attempt to maintain the loyalty of it's core fanbase here in the United States. And being able to do so effectively to ensure trust in the brand, and ultimately through this critical stretch until a new television deal is announced. TNA needs foundation fan equity should it prosper to another stage in its existence for 2015.

Yet, admittedly, it is incredibly difficult to offer that same level of support and maintain that same amount of loyalty to the company right now. With each week of uncertainty, doubt continues to creep in, making a home within the fandom of TNA fans.

Bill Maher once quipped, "Men are only as loyal as their options."

How loyal are you to TNA Wrestling?

Random Rhetoric

Aren't the constant stories of hearing about TNA and a TV deal "within ten days" getting pretty tiresome?

And isn't it revealing a lot about what some know, and well, what they don't really know about these stories?

Anyone else hopes whether it is SPIKE or a new station, that TNA revamps it's look with a new color scheme, logo, and overall presentation?

How awesome is James Storm in his new role?

Speaking of new looks, Abyss is a good fit for the Revolution, but couldn't he stand for a new look as well since the others got one after their "awakening"?

Is it just me, or do you also laugh at the Mahabali Shera and Manik segements?

Afterall, who wouldn't befriend a new co-worker who wears a mask? I'm kidding...sort of.

Hasn't Kenny King been tremendous opposing Chris Melendez thus far?

When you passed all of the Menagerie stuff, isn't Knux really an impressively agile big man?

Doesn't Brittany a very interesting dynamic to the continuing depth of the Sam Shaw character?

But is the wedding ring on her finger throwing anyone else off as well?

How about the improvement in finisher move-calling and overall quality from Tenay and Taz as of late?

And finally...

This is beating a very much dead horse, but doesn't TNA deserve lots of credit for making Lashley more interesting and compelling than ever in his career - Wrestlemania 23 run included?

As always, feedback is appreciated (and encouraged!) Feel free to follow me over in Twitterland at @domepondering

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