It’s a strange time indeed to be a fan of TNA, Impact Wrestling, or the company’s pay-per-views. As the company goes through myriad problems, not the least of these being the ongoing legal war between chairwoman Dixie Carter and president Billy Corgan, financial issues are another big worry for the troubled promotion. Television deals are also a cause for concern, but in a rather weird twist, the company is claiming Impact Wrestling spoilers as the reason why it will no longer be on U.K. television by the start of 2017.
Since 2011, television network Challenge TV had been the United Kingdom’s home of TNA, including Impact Wrestling, Xplosion, British Bootcamp, and its pay-per-views. The promotion had also hosted the Maximum Impact U.K. tour every year since 2008, solidifying its status among its British fans. But in a statement issued on Tuesday morning, Challenge TV confirmed that it will no longer be offering TNA programming by January of 2017. SEScoops posted the network’s official statement, which doesn’t mention the reason behind the move, but wishes TNA the standard best in its future endeavors.
“TNA has been a huge and important part of Challenge’s story over the years and we will treasure some great moments like the British Bootcamp and U.K. tours. We have been proud to bring U.K. viewers coverage of TNA and have huge respect for the company and its fans. TNA is packed with great talent and we know they will continue to do great things – we wish them all the best.”
While Challenge TV understandably skirted around the details of why TNA Impact Wrestling and the company’s other programs will no longer be aired in the U.K., TNA decided not to pull any punches. In its own statement, the company placed the blame on Impact Wrestling spoilers, which are a reality for many U.K. fans who watch the show a few days after it first airs in the United States.
“We are proud to have had such a great relationship with Challenge, and appreciate how the channel brought Impact Wrestling to our avid viewers through the years. In today’s world, spoilers are inevitable. We’ve heard from the amazing fans in the U.K. and know you do not want to wait 3-5 days to watch the program after it airs in the U.S.”
TNA added that Impact Wrestling will still air on Challenge every Sunday night at 9 p.m., while the highlight recap Xplosion and pay-per-views will also be shown on the network until the television deal expires. The company is currently looking for a new network that can air Impact Wrestling closer to its American air date.
The loss of a U.K. television deal is a crushing one for TNA, far beyond the loss that will be felt by its British fans if it doesn’t find a new network. A report from PWInsider stated some of the key ramifications of the new development, including Challenge’s status as TNA’s consistent number two licensee behind India’s Sony Six. Thanks to TNA Impact Wrestling airing on Challenge, the company usually had its biggest week of the year during its U.K. tour. But that tour won’t be taking place as usual, as TNA will be bypassing Great Britain in January of 2017.
These days, it’s very easy for fans to check out spoilers for taped wrestling shows — the internet is inundated with wrestling sites that faithfully recap the results right after taping is concluded. That’s even truer when a show’s broadcast in a certain country is delayed by several hours or a few days; fans need only do a quick Google search and they’ve got instant access to the results before the program airs. In short, spoilers cannot be avoided these days — they exist for movies, popular TV series, and professional wrestling shows as well.
But is it still sufficient that TNA uses Impact Wrestling spoilers as a scapegoat for the fact it’s losing its U.K. TV deal? Given what we’ve seen from the company in recent months, there may be more to the story than meets the eye.