Since 2002, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling has been a competitor to WWE in the professional wrestling circuit. Although the competition has been one-sided virtually the entire time, TNA has presented some spurts where they were interesting to watch. The company was initially defined by two specific brands; the “Knockouts” Women’s Division and the X Division of the cruiserweights. In their formative years, stars such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Abyss, Gail Kim, and Awesome Kong propelled the company to be more than just an indy show that people can take or leave. When established competitors caught wind of the ground-up success TNA created, reestablishing themselves or jumping ship from another company became a more heightened interest. Names such as Sting, Kurt Angle, Christian, Rhino, and Jeff Hardy added a helpful dynamic to the cornerstones of the company.
Matches such as Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles at TNA Unbreakable in 2005 and Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe at TNA Lockdown 2008 were instant classics and allowed the company to maintain the much-needed exposure as a competitor.
Despite the success of these matches, TNA started to have a decline in morale. Many attributed this shift to the leadership of Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, who lead TNA from 2010 to 2012. Although ratings were still higher than average during that time, viewers watched the foundational competitors and divisions fall by the wayside. Moreover, the brand of TNA started to acquire an unpleasant stench, due to backstage politics. Even with these changes, TNA loyals such as Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Eric Young, AJ Styles, and James Storm still held on to their devotion to the company, in hopes that it could rebound and achieve great heights.
Interestingly, all of the aforementioned devotees are now gone from the company, with all but one (James Storm) wrestling under the WWE umbrella. Storm even made a quick stint for the NXT brand, before returning to TNA and possibly leaving once again, according to Sportskeeda.
With the mass exodus that has occurred in TNA over the past two years, names such as Bobby Lashley, Ethan Carter III (EC3), Drew Galloway, and Mike Bennett, as well as former WWE star Aron Rex (Damien Sandow) and former ROH star Moose are doing their best to keep the company afloat. TNA just signed Cody Rhodes to a freelance contract in hopes to revive the brand from a mainstream standpoint as well. However, the valiant effort may not last much longer.
According to a recent report from WrestlingINC, TNA has canceled all the flights for the set of Impact Wrestling tapings scheduled for next week. Their premier pay per view of the year, Bound for Glory, is also laced with doubts from top talent, unsure if they will even compete in the event. To make matters worse, TopRopePress reported that a phone call to TNA offices potentially drew a conclusion that the flagship pay per view may be pulled altogether, due to the severe financial decline that the company is in.
What is sad about this whole thing is that people’s livelihood are at stake if the company closes down for good. Granted, 14 years is a good achievement for any wrestling company to have, because many come and go. However, with no plan B, it could leave many jobless and struggling to acquire any work outside of wrestling. Some current TNA talent could be signed to WWE, NXT, ROH, or New Japan, but only a selected number of people can be confident that they will not be harmed by the closure. If Vince McMahon does end up buying the company, most of the current TNA roster members might as well look for employment elsewhere, because the tape library and a few wrestlers may be all that comes out of the deal.
[Featured Image by TNA Wrestling]