TNA Executive VP of Licensing and International Television Distribution Andy Barton was interviewed by IndianTelevision.com. Here are some highlights:
How they are competing with WWE: “Let me give you a global perspective; we at TNA play the long ball and this strategy relates to the entire world. If we look at the UK market – we have pushed ahead of WWE there and our show is watched more in comparison to WWE week in, week out. Ditto for Germany. In the US of course, it’s going to be tough to carve a space when there is already such an old and established brand and the same is with India.
“But looking at the history of the wrestling business, there have been a lot of brands that have come and perished like Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and obviously World Championship Wrestling (WCW), that was tremendously successful but it just boggles your mind that a company that was making that kind of money and was hugely popular went bust.
“There is healthy competition and WWE’s product is different from ours and it’s all going to come down to hard work and it is imperative that we sign on an Indian talent. We have earlier ties with India when we produced ‘Ring Ka King’ with Colors which gave us production capability in the country. We also opened a wrestling school in India. As far as professional wrestling in India is concerned, there isn’t a lot that is happening in this space. I think if we can help with the infrastructure and help the people in India who are interested in getting into professional wrestling.”
Wrestlers moving between WWE and TNA: “Well, it’s something that depends completely on the superstar, in Kurt [Angle]’s case – he has been with us for an equal amount of time that he was with WWE. Similarly, Gail Kim too was earlier with WWE, then made the shift to TNA, went back to WWE for a short stint, and has ever since been one of our leading superstars.
“Such movements don’t generally work for everyone, but if you take a look at our wrestlers compared to WWE, we are more on the road than them. So it is really encouraging for young talent that wants to be on the road for 300 days a year. And at the end of the day, it’s all about promoting young talent for the industry and keeping the roster fresh to keep the audience hooked to the show.
“That said, there comes a time in every wrestler’s time when he has fought everyone and there is no storyline left for him to play either the good guy or the bad guy. That’s when they plan to move across to other brands and refresh their own identity and again strike a chord with a newer set of viewers.”