Back in April, Hulk Hogan was quoted as saying 75-percent of Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling's problems would be solved simply by getting away from the taped format and going live. It was a ludicrous statement at the time but after the company has experimented with just that in the still ongoing so called "Summer Series," it appears Hogan's words may hold some weight.
At least with the executives at Spike TV.
Indeed, the Wrestling Observer brings word that Impact may be moving to a live format on a permanent basis:
Nothing is official but there are serious talks regarding making Thursday live tapings permanent. As of right now, the last live taping is 8/30. However, with the No Surrender show set for 9/9, there is talk of doing a 9/6 live taping, as the alternative would be to tape two shows on 8/30 and 8/31. Right now they are scheduled to tape 9/10 and 9/11 in Orlando for the shows on 9/13 and 9/20. There is talk of then going live again on 9/27 and regularly from there, but those decisions have not been finalized.
It's still too early to tell if going live has made much of a difference on ratings or buyrates as the sample size is simply too small. At the current pace, the ratings haven't experienced much growth at all and the same can be said for PPV numbers. But there's little doubting the product has looked fresher than it did before. That, combined with a few changes to the creative team and TNA has been putting on solid show for weeks now.
Sure, they've had their problems, like the Crackhead Claire storyline devolving into glorifying date rape, but overall, they've done well. Austin Aries has risen to the top while Bobby Roode and James Storm look as good as ever. The Bound for Glory Series has also been far less confusing than last year.
Still, going live permanently is costly and it's somewhat surprising Spike would foot the bill for such a thing. Unless, of course, they're seeing something we are not. Either way, things are looking up for TNA.