I hate to be the type of guy to say, “I told you so” …BUT… I told you so.
The news broke late Sunday night that Spike TV and TNA Wrestling have decided not to renew their cable television agreement. Both sides are claiming that they are the uninterested party in renewing the deal, however most are of the opinion that Spike TV simply doesn’t want TNA programming on their channel any longer.
If the news is true, this basically means TNA is in the same position that the original ECW was in back in 2001 when Spike TV, at the time known as TNN, decided they were going to drop ECW programming in favor of acquiring WWE’s weekly television content.
As everyone knows, the ECW-TNN situation resulted in ECW going out of business and WWE buying out their library, resulting in the demise of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Fast-forward to 2014, TNA is looking at pretty much the exact same scenario. The way they got there might be different from the ECW-TNN situation, however the consequences are the same. If TNA doesn’t find a new cable television home — they won’t make it.
I’ve heard tons of theories floating around the internet wrestling community since the news dropped. Maybe they’ll go to a new channel. Maybe they’ll switch to an outside distributor, such as Netflix. Maybe they’ll go back to weekly pay-per-views. The bottom line is this — without a new cable television deal, one that pays a pretty penny, mind you, TNA will be either looking to sell again, or folding up shop altogether.
If TNA does go out of business, the wrestling industry will take its’ biggest blow since 2001, when ECW and WCW both tanked and were ultimately bought out by WWE. If TNA goes under and you’re a professional wrestler in 2014, you only have one place to work. You can always pursue your dream and actually step inside a ring at a Ring Of Honor or independent show, but if you’re looking at pro wrestling as a way of living, your options just became extremely limited overnight.
I’ve been saying for over a year now that TNA will not see 2015, or if they do, it will likely be their last year and they will struggle to maintain as long as they can, but will eventually be forced to throw in the towel, ending a 12-year run as the “number two” professional wrestling promotion in North America. Unfortunately, it looks as though my prediction was right on the money.
I’m not claiming to be Nostradamus or anything like that, as anyone who studies the landscape of professional wrestling had to of seen this one coming. TNA’s live attendance has been laughable this year and their television ratings haven’t exactly been anything to brag about. Considering the fact that the company lives and dies on their television revenue stream, without a strong cable home that pays a considerable amount in rights fees, TNA as a business would not have the proper structure to move forward.
The writing has been on the wall for several months now. There have been a lot of rumors about a possible TNA sale, as well as an extreme amount of cuts that have resulted in the departure of such talents as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles and others.
The biggest joke coming out of this whole story, to me personally, are the rumors that Vince Russo played a major role in Spike TV’s decision not to renew TNA. While I have no actual facts to back me up on this one, it just seems ridiculous to me that Spike TV in the big picture of things, would end a multi-year, multi-million dollar business arrangement with a company over one guy being part of the staff.
My heart is with the talent and behind-the-curtain employees of the company, as well as any up-and-coming wrestlers who are devoting their lives to try and make it on a big stage one day. For the current employees, they now have to scramble to find a job to keep food on the table for their families. For the up-and-coming wrestlers with dreams of performing on a big stage, there is only one true “big stage” left now and there are only so many available spots on that roster, one that itself has been seeing a tremendous amount of talent cuts in recent weeks/months.
All we can do now is hold out hope that the reports aren’t true. The die-hard TNA fans, who will no doubt come at me with a vengeance in the “Comments” section below, probably won’t believe this news until it is official. For them, it’s not true until they turn on their television sets on a Thursday night and no longer see Impact Wrestling on their screens.
There is a tiny glimmer of hope remaining, as Dixie Carter, along with additional executives, have come out on Twitter and claimed that negotiations between both sides are still ongoing. For me, I’ve been expecting this for quite a while now and have been very vocal about it. I’ve seen enough evidence already and have heard enough details from friends and co-workers about the situation to know that at best, TNA’s chances of survival are very slim.
What do you guys think? Is TNA going to survive? Will they remain on Spike TV? If they don’t, can the company hang on and survive without it? Leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR and/or follow me on Twitter @MBoone420.