Over the past few years, Impact Wrestling has been bouncing from networks, aiming to simply stay on a television screen. During the heyday of Total Nonstop Action, the company was aired on Spike TV, which reaches over 93 million homes according to Zap2It. After starting the company with weekly pay-per-views, the TNA landed a spot briefly on FOX Sports before securing a television slot on Spike in 2005.
The opportunity of competing for Spike TV not only gave TNA Impact Wrestling much more exposure, but it also increased the confidence of executives to feel like a legitimate number two promotion that can compete with the WWE. In 2010, under the leadership of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, TNA decided to go head-to-head with WWE. Although credible names such as Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and Rob Van Dam were leading the pack, ratings still were nowhere near WWE. In fact, WWE did about three-and-a-half times better than TNA.
If Impact Wrestling has any possibility to gain more people engaged, especially the ones that no longer watch, regaining the relationship with Spike would be one of the most important objectives. Recently, there have been rumors that this relationship could be sparking up again. However, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer debunked them, stating, “Hadn’t heard that, last time I talked with Spike people they told me they weren’t looking at wrestling right now.”
After the relationship with Spike ended, TNA went on to be aired on Destination America. This channel is in a little more than 57 million homes, which is an over 35 million home drop. In a time where Impact Wrestling needed exposure to keep people interested, this move was very damaging for the company as a whole. Unfortunately, this partnership only lasted a year before Impact moved to Pop TV. Thankfully, Pop TV airs in over 18 million more homes than Destination America.
During the legal battle between TNA and former president Billy Corgan, much was revealed regarding both the dissension as well as the overall chaos that Impact Wrestling had backstage. According to 411Mania the company was running out of cashflow and had to make a quick decision to stay on television.
“The affidavits in question were filed by both Dixie Carter and Impact Ventures CFO Dean Broadhead, and both admitted that the deal was such a barter arrangement. The response motion noted that TNA ‘began experiencing cash flow deficits as a result of moving Impact’s television show lirom Destination America to Pop TV’ and that they were ‘expected and required to transition the brand from a license model to a barter sales contract tied to advertising sales.’ The response claimed that this change was needed ‘in order to secure the company’s valuable digital rights, full sponsorship/advertising rights and non-exclusivity rights, all of which are critical to the long-term growth and success of the brand.'”
If Spike was able to regain the partnership with Impact Wrestling, it would indeed be a move in the right direction. For fans, having competition is much better than having one company rule the entire wrestling business. Not only does this limit the level of diversity regarding wrestling style, but it also lowers the pressure that WWE has of writing good quality television. When the Monday Night Wars was hot and heavy, neither WWE nor WCW could afford to have a bad week, because they were fighting to retain their current viewers and snatch the viewers of WWE. Now, this level of competition no longer exists, and it hurts the fans more than anyone else.
As of now, Impact Wrestling will not be moving back to Spike TV. However, that does not mean that it will not happen in the future, and with new management, get back to the successful days of before.
[Featured Image by Impact Wrestling]