Apparently the word going around the TNA offices right now is that the company is worried about how negotiations with Viacom with play out later this year. The company’s current television deal with Spike TV is set to expire this Fall, although negotiations tend to begin approximately six months before an existing deal expires. Basically, both sides will be talking soon if they aren’t already.
The concern within TNA comes from the fact that the contracts for WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown will be expiring in 2014 as well. For those who have been pro wrestling fans for a while, you may remember that TNN, which is what Spike TV used to be called, actually had a similar situation back in the early 2000s.
The original ECW was still alive, but just barely hanging on and depending largely on their television deal with TNN. WWE and USA Network were coming to the end of their agreement, and WWE was looking to secure a larger rights fee for their RAW television property.
How did that situation play out? TNN basically used ECW to test the wrestling waters with their cable audience, and when they saw the opportunity to acquire WWE television programming, they jumped all over it. ECW, as a result, ended up folding and Paul Heyman jumped off his own sinking ship in favor of taking a role as an on-air character with WWE.
While I don’t expect to see Dixie Carter in the RAW commentary booth anytime in the near future, I have said for months now, long before the TNA sale rumors, that I feel 2014 isn’t going to be a great year for the company. This is just further evidence that things in TNA are falling apart, and in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before the company goes under. There is a chance that Viacom will buy out the company altogether to retain the television programming for their Spike TV cable outlet, however if WWE becomes a legitimate option, and more importantly a financial feasible option, then I’m pretty sure we can all guess which direction they will go.
For the sake of the talent and employees currently working for TNA right now, I really hope Jeff Jarrett is able to do it all over again. As we’ve been reporting on eWN recently, Jarrett, who originally founded TNA in 2002 when there were no alternatives to the WWE product, is working on a business plan that would see him start another pro wrestling promotion. There are rumors that Jarrett may already have a television deal with CMT secured, and if he’s able to cross all of the T’s and dot all of the I’s, it looks like history is going to repeat itself all over again.
Imagine, Spike TV dumps TNA in favor of WWE, just like TNN dumped ECW in favor of WWE. Imagine TNA goes out of business as a result, which is exactly what happened to ECW. And finally, imagine if Jeff Jarrett comes along and starts a new company from scratch to provide an alternative to WWE, which is exactly what he did with TNA in 2002. They say the wrestling business is cyclical, and if things play out in the aforementioned fashion, that is true now more than ever.
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