As many begin eulogizing TNA in the wake of the reported decision by Spike TV not to renew the wrestling federation’s TV contract, it would be wise to hold the phone on that talk for a bit. While this news certainly isn’t good for TNA, it does offer an opportunity. TNA isn’t in the greatest of negotiating positions, but it now has the ability to farm itself out and find what perhaps will be a better home for its product.
Throughout much of the recent past, Impact Wrestling has been nothing more than a two-hour pregame show for Bellator MMA, to the point where MMA stars such as Rampage Jackson and King Moh were (and still are, based on last week’s episode) crossing over from real to scripted fighting. This really did nothing to help TNA, and the federation needs to find a cable outlet where it can stand on its own a little bit better.
There has never been a time where more possible outlets were available. There are stations up and down your cable and satellite systems right now that are starved for programming. TNA president Dixie Carter should look at this opportunity with an open mind, and if TNA ends up on a somewhat non-traditional channel for wrestling, so be it.
One suggestion would even be to work out a deal with ESPN3, and move the product straight to online for a while. ESPN has a history of airing wrestling, and ESPN3 content has the potential to reach tens of millions of people at any hour of the day or night. One idea is to perhaps reduce Impact to one hour, cut out the backstage garbage, and concentrate on the wrestling.
Fortunately, TNA has been moving in that direction of late with Kurt Angle serving as the on-screen general manager. While not every match has been great, good efforts have been put in, storylines have been advanced, and the show has delivered several memorable spots over the last couple of weeks. If the pattern were to continue, it would be more of a shame to see Impact leave TV for good, not to mention how many decent wrestling performers would be out of work for at least a while.
Perhaps a new network and new time slot wouldn’t be ideal at first. Ring of Honor is thriving despite showing up in my local market at 9 p.m. on Saturdays, a time when fewer people watch TV nationally than any other time of the week. But TNA shouldn’t be picky here. In order to keep the company above water, the federation must think outside the box, find a TV outlet to call home, and consider trimming the fat in the content.
With some smart planning and quick movement, there’s no reason why Spike’s decision should come as the death of TNA. All Spike is going to show in TNA’s place is Sharknado or TornadoMosquito II or HurricaneCheetah. It’s not like Spike is classing the joint up at all. TNA can find a better home, and hopefully the powers that be in the company will hit the ground running toward that goal. Carter owes that to her current talent.
It would be a shame to see it not work out given the improved product the federation has been producing of late.