In recent years, the National Football League has garnered a reputation as the “No Fun League.” From banning excessive touchdown celebrations to cracking down on tailgating and drinking at games, the NFL has certainly earned that moniker. Total Nonstop Action wrestling earned themselves a similar name from the fans at their “Impact Zone” in Orlando, FL. A speech from TNA Director of Production Steve Small left some fans chanting “Totally No Fun” at a recent taping of TNA’s weekly television program, “TNA iMPACT!”
In his speech, Small referred to the TNA fans as “cast members” and advised them against cursing, “flipping birds” and throwing up gang signs. Small announced that anybody caught on camera making such gestures or holding up signs deemed offensive to the company will be moved elsewhere.
So, does Small’s speech make TNA just as bad as, or perhaps worse than, the NFL?
Referring to the fans as “cast members” – which earned a few screams of “pay us, then” and “where’s our checks?” – is certainly a little odd. At least the NFL hasn’t sunk to that level. While it stands to reason that the TNA fans are more a part of the show than NFL fans, they’re still there to have a good time and enjoy the show. The TNA fanbase have been an integral part of the show for the last 8 years, and to take away their ability to express themselves could hurt the product as a whole.
Apparently, the catalyst for this newfound censorship of the TNA audience was their live “iMPACT” broadcast on January 4, 2010 where fans chanted “bullshit” at the outcome of a match. The fans were audibly upset when TNA wrestler Homicide caused a hotly contested “Steel Asylum” match to end in a no contest when he used a weapon to try to take out his opponents. The audio was censored altogether on the program and only ended when popular wrestler Jeff Hardy emerged from the audience.
Will TNA’s censorship of it’s “cast members” in the audience result in a fan backlash against the product? I’m sure we’ll find out in time.
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