In what can only be described as the biggest news TNA related in some time, there is doubt that TNA’s flagship show Impact Wrestling will be picked up this Fall by Spike TV. TNA has had lower ratings for the last while, and their parent company Panda Energy has forced cutbacks, leading to many talent departures due to low contract offers. Spike TV normally gives their renewals to shows well before this point.
It is said that TNA’s TV deal is up this October, which would mean that if TNA is not picked up, they will struggle to survive. What the company makes on TV alone is what helps them stay afloat. While Panda Energy helps to pay many expenses for TNA, they cannot sustain a roster without Spike’s deal.
Dave Meltzer said on The Wrestling Observer Radio Podcast that it would be a newsworthy week. When Brian Alvarez was asked by a fan on the show about the future of TNA on Spike, he said:
“My opinion is that we shall wait and see and this may be a very newsworthy week as Dave noted. But again, let’s just wait and see. Is that cryptic enough for everyone?”
While Brian’s comments usually hold merit, as he keeps his ear close to the ground along with Melzer, the problem is that nothing is for sure when it comes to TNA and Spike.
The comments hold even more merit after WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross commented on the ordeal via his blog, saying:
“It’s curious that Spike hasn’t renewed Impact Wrestling as of yet for the new, fall season. That’s not a great sign and I hope that they do renew their relationship. Spike doesn’t have an overabundance of shows that draw a million viewers in prime time each week. That number could be escalated easily over time.”
He again commented via Twitter on Sunday, cryptically saying:
“This could well be a blockbuster week in the wrestling business….@WWE financials….@SpikeTV @IMPACTWRESTLING relationship..stay tuned.
“Rampant rumors out of NYC re: Spike/TNA relationship being very much in jeopardy. Hope scuttlebutt is wrong. Pulling for @IMPACTWRESTLING.”
Ross is known for having connections with men and women throughout the wrestling industry, and he never goes public with information either inside or not unless it is either guaranteed or a major story.
Many knew when Spike delayed offering TNA a new deal, it seemed fishy as it made no sense for them not to offer a contract to them if they planned to keep them. TNA’s last TV deal was signed a year in advance of the other expiring. So, it goes to show that TNA clearly was looking good at the time, but is not so much today in the eyes of Spike TV officials.
TNA President Dixie Carter met with officials on Thursday about the TNA renewal and rumor has it that she held a meeting with people on Saturday claiming that Spike TV would not be renewing. That obviously would mean the end of the Impact Wrestling show, and there are no current prospects of major value that TNA has in mind to pick them up. Certainly, there isn’t any network or cable channel that would pick them up quickly. Their ratings have suffered and their current roster has either aging stars or those who are not well known enough to draw.
That has led to years of 1.0 to 1.8 ratings(averaging 1.3), which WWE more than doubled in their time on Spike; proving that even with their current viewership, wrestling can do well on the network. The issue is TNA has never been able to gain popularity, and Spike could possibly put a new show on the network to get better views on the same night.
The real fun in all of this is that Jim Ross spoke of WWE financials. Imagine the possibilities if WWE buys TNA. Vince McMahon and company would absorb everything TNA has including many wrestler contracts(outside of those who signed through Panda Energy). TNA’s price would also drop dramatically with little to no leverage, and TNA would be sold for pennies on the dollar if WWE were interested.
The WWE Network does need more footage and TNA’s library would be of use. Also, having another show on the Network would be interesting to fans and draw a lot. The problem is that the Carter Family would not want to sell for a small sum after the millions they put in and lost. WWE would not buy the company at a major price, and if they are the only suitors, TNA would have no choice but to sell for whatever they are offered.
While Ross could have been putting out his tweet as a way to get fans interested in the idea and trying to start rumors, the Spike TV-TNA drama is very real and very much a concern. Stay tuned to IQ for more as we know it.
TNA is said to still have their international TV deals, however they are not nearly as much as what Spike was giving them. Plus with TNA being an American company and not on an American network, they will have issues continuing. There is also word that Spike was very upset when they found out Vince Russo was still with the company and it could have led to the decision to drop TNA programming from the network.
[Image Via TMZ, Google]