The USA Network has until tomorrow to offer the WWE a new television contract. If Valentine’s Day passes and no deal has been made, USA Network will forfeit their right to exclusively negotiate with WWE. In other words, WWE will be able to negotiate with any network they wish.
The USA Network does have interest in retaining the rights to broadcast Monday Night Raw, but money may be an issue here. WWE will be a hot commodity once they launch the WWE Network, and they will assuredly be asking for a healthy sum.
With the deadline very near and no offer reportedly made, it would appear the WWE has interest in testing the marketplace. Who is the most logical suitor? There are multiple networks with interest, but the most likely destination would be Spike TV. Of course, this will all depend on whether or not the USA Network makes a significant offer for the WWE’s television rights.
If Monday Night Raw returns to Spike TV, it will likely spell the end for TNA. TNA’s television deal with Spike on Thursday nights is the only monetary source keeping the company alive. With few road tapings and only a couple of pay-per-views a year, there is almost no way TNA will be able to survive unless they land a marketable deal with another station. TNA is under contract with Spike TV until the fall.
Does the WWE want to kill their competition? For one thing, TNA is hardly considered competition by the higher-ups in the company. Furthermore, WWE didn’t hesitate to buy (destroy) World Championship Wrestling when the opportunity arose in early 2001. Perhaps this is a chance to corner the entire marketplace once and for all.
There are other implications as well. Spike TV targets a more mature audience, and their programming is edgier than most offerings on the USA Network. Should the WWE land a deal with Spike, it would be interesting to see if their TV-PG format reverts back to TV-14.
TNA is hoping the WWE stays put with the USA Network and for all we know, that may wind up being the case. Like anything else, it’s going to come down to years and money. Whoever offers up the biggest deal will likely be WWE’s new home, and we might just have our answer on Valentine’s Day.