Here was the big news on Monday: “TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announces that they are entering into an exclusive relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), effective immediately, as the official training and developmental facility for TNA’s current and future stars of TNA IMPACT WRESLTING. Former wrestling star and OVW owner Danny Davis will work closely with TNA SVP of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard in the development of the talent through training, live events, and weekly television production allowing talent to explore every aspect of the business. “OVW is the best of the best as far as training and nurturing potential superstars. Their track record speaks for itself. Whether looking to develop brand new talent or to fine tune existing talent, OVW has the talent and program to fit our needs.” says TNA’s Prichard. “TNA is providing developmental talent the opportunity to hone their craft in an environment that will allow them to grow and prosper.” TNA talent will be arriving soon at the facility to begin an extensive training program with the industry’s leading experts. The program is akin to a college scholarship program where talent is provided a scholarship style agreement with TNA to learn the craft. The talent to attend the program is selected by TNA’s Prichard and TNA officials who will be monitoring the progress of each wrestler at camp and the live events.”
So what does this mean? First, Bruce Prichard is already paying dividends for the company. I know that Terry Taylor values talent development but he didn’t get this deal done when he was in the same position. No slight to Terry… he was focused on talent acquisition on orders from above. Bruce was able to sell ownership on the benefits of talent development and TNA has chosen the best possible place to be.
Second, the company is done in Orlando. Recently, TNA has begun to take TV on the road and now they are positioning their talent development facility right up I-65 from the office in Nashville. They burnt the town with free tickets for six years and now it’s time to get into other markets. Let’s hope they don’t kill those towns too.
Third, this fixes one of the core issues that have plagued the company since day 1 and that is always feeling they have to sign free agents to compete in the company. Fact is, virtually all the ”names” that possibly could have value have been brought in already or are deemed as too far gone. Any team can win in the short-term with free agents but the way to build a dynasty is through talent development.
That dynasty must also have a consistent winning philosophy throughout the organization, something that very few franchises in sports possess. It’s a thread, a link to the past, a key to the future. The Pittsburgh Steelers have that thread with the Rooney family. Stable, respected ownership. Can TNA become a dynasty?
Finally, a word to TNA officials. Christmas has come early for you because the shelves are stocked with great home-grown talent in OVW. When the WWE first partnered with OVW, names such as Nick Dinsmore, Doug Basham, Damaja and Flash Flanagan were part of a crew that helped with getting guys like Randy Orton, John Cena and many others ready for the next level. Currently, Ohio Valley Wrestling has many talented athletes and lots of students being groomed already.
But as I wrote on Twitter right after the TNA press release came out, the Pittsburgh Pirates have tons of great prospects in their farm system but haven’t won in 20 years. Talent must be cultivated, developed and ultimately paired with great leadership. This isn’t the end of the race but it’s a step in the right direction.