Thursday, May 18, 2017

TNA Magazine...Italian Style!

I always felt that Total Nonstop Action Wrestling should have had an official magazine. They had exciting stars, beautiful "Knockouts," and plenty of stories to put into print. Heck, I even thought that I could be a dang good contributor to the effort. Nonetheless the magazine industry just isn't what it once was, even a few years ago. Although I never saw it myself, then-owner Dixie Carter pooh-poohed the idea somewhere in print. As nice as a lady as she always was to me, there honestly didn't seem to be many ideas that she turned down, for better or worse. However, the fact is that there was indeed an official TNA Magazine. In Italy. For three issues.

In 2007 an Italian publisher produced three issues of the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling Official Magazine. If there are more than three, I have yet to see them surface anywhere. Though my mastering of the Italian language is a bit rusty (aka non-existent), it isn't hard to figure out what's going on in the many sections of the magazine. There are features on the monthly pay-per-views, profiles on individual stars, and even "Top Ten" looks at the then-current goings on in the company.

There's a particular emphasis on the aforementioned TNA Knockouts, and why not? That's how you sell magazines. The ladies are featured with the superb Lee South photography that found its way onto the many trading cards and promotional photos that saw wide release, in addition to the Knockouts-branded items that were sold at live events and Shop TNA. Leticia Cline, Gail Kim, and Christy Hemme all make the cover, but SoCal Val and Traci Brooks see features as well. Speaking of Brooks, the legendary action figure that never ended up seeing the light of day is briefly mentioned in a list of upcoming figures.

Samoa Joe, Sting, and "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels are the cover stars of the three respective issues. Each issue is all-color and all-slick with high-gloss covers. All three editions also feature a double-sided poster showcasing the cover superstar and Knockout, although the poster with Gail Kim also features SoCal Val. I'm not complaining. And as nice as the photography of the females appears, the action shots from matches are great as well. It's truly amazing the level of talent that was in the company at that point, a fact that often goes overlooked.

It's also cool to see so much of that talent getting press in an actual physical magazine. I often point out that it's a shame that so little of today's wrestling stars will get an actual magazine cover. Aside from Pro Wrestling Illustrated, the occasional WWE "special" release, or the scattered overseas publications, it's an opportunity that largely no longer exists. It's great to see the Christopher Daniels cover as well as talent such as Team Canada (including Bobby Roode and Eric Young), Chris Sabin, LAX, and Abyss see photo features in an age where that is basically extinct. You can argue that wrestlers get much more coverage online these days, but where are those features going to be found in ten to twenty years? For many stars, there will be little tangible to show the grandkids.

Oh what could have been. A publication like this would have done great for sale at TNA live events where anything that could be signed was be scooped up by autograph-hungry fans. Don West would have been plugging these nonstop. Personally, I regret that I was unaware of these in the days of the TNA "Interaction" events where every cover (and most of the insides) could have been fully signed. Regardless, it's fun to know that a TNA Magazine even existed at all. As much flack as the company has received at times, often rightfully so, these publications highlight many of the things that TNA did right.

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