Last week news emerged that Spike TV would NOT be renewing their contract with TNA Wrestling. It always seems that whenever TNA is in the news it’s only for bad reasons. Missing paychecks, releasing talent, saying goodbye to the faces of the company (aka: AJ Styles). The only thing TNA had currently still going for them was a national TV deal. Now that’s about to drift away also. How far and fast they have fallen.
Just a few years ago, the company was hitting it’s peak. Throwing money left and right, reminiscent of WCW in their good days. Seemingly mainstream talent would leave WWE. Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Ken Kennedy were making a jump to TNA, as soon as their hold-out clauses with WWE expired. TNA was the place to be at one point. Don’t get me wrong, a place to be for veteran talent that was tired of the WWE road schedule. Still, TNA was seen as a legitimate company where exposure was good and money was made. Big name WWE talent weren’t the only ones to come aboard. Legends such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, were suddenly members of the TNA roster. It was wrestling craziness, as they would tease and announce a new signing on a weekly basis. They were riding the wave.
After the failure that saw them switch back to their regular Thursday night IMPACT, after going head-to-head with Monday Nigh RAW, things still remained positive for TNA. They were knocked down, but still got back up. The Robin, trying to unsettle Batman. High hopes and good morale used to flow in TNA. They incorporated the fans as their own. A fan friendly company, who catered to the fans, with solid PR and fan fests galore. How could this young, thriving wrestling company not succeed?
Over-ambition bit them in the rear end. The Panda Group, run by the Carters (Dixie’s parents) started believing in their daughters own hype. In order to endear herself as a boss everyone wants to work for, she gave the boys all the power. It’s not a bad thing to concede the daily wrestling related work to someone who knows the business. Those qualified and seemingly available were Jim Ross and Paul Heyman. Nope, instead Dixie put all her proverbial eggs in one basket. The Bischoff-Hogan basket. A basket that more like a burning oven. Hogan and Bischoff are widely known to go into business for their own personal needs. In comes Garett Bischoff, Brooke Hogan, and family friends. To quote the McMahon’s “It’s what’s best for business!”. Only that it turned out to be the WORST thing for business. Instead of clever storylines, mixing established named talent with TNA home-grown talent, and developing young stars; all that was thrown on the back-burner. It was all about the family. Bischoff-Hogan family that is. Instead of the uber-talented Bobby Roode closing out the show, Brooke Hogan would get that spotlight. The show became a weekly parody.
You can’t hide self-interest in wrestling. It translates to on-screen innately. We were subject to about 10 vignettes of Hogan in a two hour show. Not to mention the 5 minute delays of having him walk up to the ring on two bad hips. Garett Bischoff in main even storylines? In what wrestling universe will that bring in ratings? The decade of building and laying foundations were being shattered on a weekly basis. Soon, Dixie followed Hogan’s route and went into business for herself. At that point the writing was on the wall, the demise was in full-swing.
I won’t be mistaken to say that I know how a network runs, but the Spike executives must be no dummies to see what kind of a mess TNA wrestling had turned into. It seems they realized that before the ship started to sink, as they manged to enforce Dixie to feature MMA talent as their centerpiece, and pump Bellator MMA. What does that say for your company when the executives are pimping out their other shows on your program, treating you as a two hour advertising space?
At this moment, TNA is barely treading above water, drowning in front of our eyes. Gone are the days of trying to compete with WWE. Gone are the days of taking IMPACT on the road. They have two months to live, and not many options beyond. So is this the final chapter of a once promising company? Not exactly.
Granted, Spike has all but moved on, however, TNA can still live. In order for them to survive, first thing that needs to happen is a quick sale of the company. The Carter’s seem completely done with the wrestling biz, time to sell it on the low while there is any potential return on it. This is the time for a Jim Ross to assemble a team of buyers who will buy TNA on less than it’s worth. Next, Jim Ross needs to start shopping for TV deals. Harder said than done, but there is still some interest in networks to carry wrestling. Getting a network might be easier than getting all the right people behind the scenes. With Jim Ross at the helm, anyone involved would know they have the ideal man for the job. His decades of expertise in the business, and the numerous connections he has are priceless. Some people just have the mind for the wrestling business, Ross and Heyman are two that immediately come to mind.
The only thing TNA really has going for them at this point is the talent on the roster. Although, lots of performers have left in the past year, they still have guys like James Storm, Bobby Roode, and Jeff Hardy to name a few. That is more than enough for Ross to work with. To sell the performers, there is no better person to be the announcer than Ross. Few, if any can sell talent and stories as he can.
Finding a location to house TNA might be a tough task also. Will they travel? Stay at a single location? Is Orlando still an option? Those questions would have to be answered. Marketing the company will need some boost. Surprisingly they are a popular brand overseas. Maybe focusing on the overseas market is the best way to get a jump start?
The next two months will be crucial in deciding the fate of the company. Either they will go off the air and never be heard from again? Or, some drastic changed occur in the short span and the company resurrects. This is a tough task to handle, no question. If anyone is capable of resurrecting TNA it’s Jim Ross. Dixie tired, but failed and gave up. Not having a deeply rooted passion for the business can be detrimental in the long-term status of maintaining a company. Dixie never lived and died wrestling. When it comes to passion, Jim Ross is married to wrestling. I’m not trying to make this all about Ross, but name me someone else more qualified to resurrect a dying wrestling company? Jeff Jarrett? Toby Keith? The dude from Smashing Pumpkins? Yeah, exactly. I’d love to say enjoy the possible final months of TNA, but I’d be lying. The product is that bad. I could think of 50 other things I’d rather do on a Thursday night. Lets hope there is someone out there to give me a reason to change my mind.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.