I haven’t been watching televised wrestling for quite awhile. As in months. Sure, I peruse some wrestling news stories daily (mostly just the headlines) and my TiVo faithfully records WWE Monday Night Raw, WWE Smackdown, and TNA Impact each week in the hopes that I’ll actually play one of them back some day. But the little guy just ends up disappointed.

So it really was news to me when I read a story about how TNA was going to start “…the most significant evolution in this genre in more than 15 years” last Thursday. I couldn’t find the specifics other than a press release posted on The Wrestling News Page (TWNP). Highlights from the press release are below, with my emphasis in bold:

NASHVILLE, TN (May 30, 2012) – TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announced today that the highly-rated weekly series will be making changes to its programming to include a hybrid of reality and explosive action each Thursday, live on SPIKE TV at 8:00pm/ ET. The reality elements and production technique represent the most significant evolution in this genre in more than 15 years.

“We took a step back to look at our product with fresh eyes,” says TNA IMPACT WRESTLING President Dixie Carter. “People watch TV differently today than before, and the wrestling format itself has become stale. What happens backstage, in the office and on the road is so entertaining that we decided it was time to pull the curtain way back and give viewers a peek at that world as well. Over the next few weeks and months, viewers will continue to see our show evolve as we expose more real aspects of our business that have always been sacred,” she continued…

…Cameras will be everywhere. Meetings will be shot in real time and unscripted as we capture moments; not produced segments. Access to conversations and vantage points that have never been seen before, such as production meetings, talent evaluations and post match critiques, will be revealed…

Given the changes described above, I thought last week’s show would be a good point to take a look and see what’s changed. From what I’ve seen so far, not too much.

In my absence, I do miss seeing guys like fellow wrestling camp graduate Austin Aries have great matches each week, but that’s maybe 10 minutes of two hours of your life you can’t get back (less without the commercials- thanks TiVo). The behind the scenes “exposure”, at least in the first week, was a critique of a match I didn’t see, and in a way that has already been done on the previous WWE Tough Enough programming. The cameras backstage caught some scripted “unscripted” moments from a couple of the wrestlers, but it was far from “pulling back the curtain.” At best the curtain rippled a bit like it would from a gentle breeze.

Looking back at the press release, I see that they called it an “evolution” rather than a “revolution”. I didn’t catch that the first time. Evolutions take around 100,000 years. I think I’ll check in on them in another 6 months and see if they’ve had any mutations.