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TNA Impact Wrestling’s Destination America Debut: The Good and the Bad

January 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s on a third-tier American cable channel that half of the country doesn’t get. They’re coming off a six-week fresh program layoff, and hadn’t recorded new material in nearly four months (not counting Bound For Glory, which is still three months old). By the estimates of anyone who knows Impact Wrestling inside and out (read: anyone with a Twitter account, not to mention fingers), the company should be dead by now.
Yet TNA managed to secure a new cable home, Discovery offshoot Destination America, just before Thanksgiving, and has re-signed pretty much every performer of relevance save for Bully Ray. Tapings continued this week, beginning with a live broadcast Wednesday night from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
If you like omens, the literal ECW held its final pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged, on January 7, 2001, precisely fourteen years earlier in the same building. It’s worth noting that the ECW influence that TNA appropriated over the summer was completely absent. For once, the default number two promotion in North America stood mostly on its own two feet.
There was plenty of good to be had from the Destination America premiere of Impact, and a share of bad as well. Here’s a primer on where the company sits after one show on its new home.
GOOD: Things were happening in the opening, and they were good things!
For once, TNA felt like a happening place to be! A stylized intro saw the entire roster making their way toward the venue, mentally preparing themselves for the night ahead. That’s a nice touch, given how often TNA has devalued its own product to kneel at the altar of someone like Hulk Hogan or Kurt Angle or Sting or whatever aging former World Champion shows up this month. Bobby Roode, the reigning champion, drew the most focus along with the Hardy Boyz, Gail Kim, and MVP’s crew. Not a bad start, especially from a production standpoint. The video was on par with anything WWE or UFC would do for hype, and probably emptied Dixie’s pocket a bit. Worth the coins, I think.
To conclude the video, both sides of the roster erupted in a brawl just outside the Ballroom and then, in real time, the fight spilled into the actual arena! Samoa Joe pounded DJ Zema in the front row while a host of other wrestlers battled in the Ballroom’s balcony. Even the Knockouts were involved in the skirmish. Why were they fighting? Who cares? I’d rather a horde of endorphin-spiking wrestlers brawl at the drop of a hat than see a handful of top babyfaces get fired by the evil boss and just stand there like a sad mannequin. If the criticism against Raw is the lack of action, then Impact at least delivered in that regard. A tremendous ten minutes to open the night.
BAD: Richard Dreyfus should help the censor find the beat
Someone should clue in the censors at Destination America, who are apparently more hyper-sensitive than an eyeball to a chisel lodged in it, that sometimes wrestling crowds will chant naughty, naughty things. In the opening bit, a chant of “SHUT THE F–K UP” directed at MVP was partially censored by some lifeless drone timing the mutes with the F-bombs. The mutes were excessive to the point that MVP’s promo sounded like an airing of Pulp Fiction on ABC Family. Tell em to relax their asses a tad.
GOOD: New life in the booth
I figured even Michael Cole with a mouthful of Good-n-Plentys would be an upgrade over Mike Tenay, who for twelve years ranged from “trying to parlay the wrestling historian shtick unsuccessfully into a lead role” to “poor man’s Jim Ross” to “disinterested to the point where Taz could probably draw on him with a Sharpie during most broadcasts.” Tenay needed to be removed from the booth, I opined, and I figured Taz as well.
Replacing Tenay is Josh Mathews, a man 26 years younger, with over a decade experience in WWE on headset (mostly B-shows). Mathews appeared earnest in his first TNA outing, and never grated on the ears. Sometimes his enthusiasm didn’t exactly sell the magnitude of what was happening (a criticism of most announcers, really), but at least he was focused on the action at hand. That’s another criticism against WWE that TNA, at least for one night, avoided falling into.
While I didn’t get my wish of Matt Striker to upgrade the color commentator’s chair, Taz was a pleasant surprise. It seems like it’s been forever since I heard the “Human Suplex Machine” so lively, on-point, and knowledgeable in his call. Either the time off sharpened his focus, or Mathews is his ideal partner, or both. Whatever the case is, I found the call to be enjoyable.
BAD: Quick, onto something else!
While the change in announcing will go a little ways in extinguishing the mustiness of TNA’s worst days, the TV production needs to break some old habits. Austin Aries had barely celebrated with the X Division Title before the cameras cut to the next bit TNA wanted to get across. One thing WWE has infinitely done better is let moments sink in before going to commercial or fading to black. Tenay’s scream of “TO THE BACK” was like a twist and a turn on a roller coaster you don’t remember getting on. I realize TNA has some limitations on time (we’ll get to that later), but if they feel what they’re presenting is important, they need to let the dust settle before moving on.
BAD: Everything you remember, minus disembodied Jason Hervey
The great production piece to open the show, as I said, probably was a hit to TNA’s wallet. To off-set that a smidge, the low-quality backstage vignettes still exist. Here’s MVP and Kenny King conspiring with the graininess of a 1992 America’s Funniest Videos entry. Whatever happened to a good-old-fashioned one-question interview in front of a set-piece?
GOOD: Inquiring professor
Mike Tenay, as I mentioned, was ill-equipped to try and be TNA’s Jim Ross, given the highness of his voice and lack of authorative gravitas. In spite of the qualities the he, not to mention you and I and billions of others, lack, he’s still a well-schooled historian in the art and history of wrestling.
Tenay vacated the commentary chair to take a new role, a bit of an invesigative journalist for a secondary program called Impact Wrestling: Unlocked that will air on Saturdays on Destination America. In a preview, we got Tenay interviewing James “Bray? Who’s Bray?” Storm in a character-building piece. I’m okay with all this; as I mentioned, a big TNA knock from two points ago is that nothing sinks in. Needing a weekend show to explain everything that should be sinking in during prime time might be excessive, but it’s a leap forward, and a suitable role for Tenay.
As a side note, I think Tenay would be fine as the one-question interviewer from the last point, since Tenay’s skeptical grimace is hard to duplicate. Wouldn’t you wanna see Tenay scrunch his face up while Robbie E claims he’s the one that dumped Brooke? I know, me too.
BAD: Watermarking out
The Destination America logo bug on the right hand of the screen could double as a to-scale replica of Comiskey Park. If it were any more distracting to the viewer, the viewer would be oblivious to any and all outside interference behind him. Get a trimmer and shave that thing down.
GOOD: Keep the screwjobs simple, stupid
If you don’t count Jessie Godderz jumping on the apron in the Knockouts battle royal, then three of the five matches Wednesday night went without interference. That’s a 60 percent clean rate! Are we sure this is TNA?
Of the two matches that *did* feature screwy outcomes, one was pretty excessive (more on this later), while the other was in the Tag Team Title match. James “Why yes, I guess I am a little Husky” Storm and Abyss defended against The Wolves in a decent little match that ended with a Storm pin on Eddie Edwards, following a miscue from Jeff Hardy. Hardy was at ringside with brother Matt, and headed off interference from Storm’s other lackeys Sanada and Manik.
At least it wasn’t convoluted, right? The Wolves and Hardys (Hardyz? Is the extreme-Z still a thing?) face off on next week’s Impact, so the plan is either just a simple feud with the two teams, or a three-way rivalry for the belts. The ending didn’t make anyone look pitifully stupid and given TNA’s track record, this counts as progress.
BAD: An unfortunate lull
Ethan Carter III has come a long way from being secondary-show chum in WWE as Derrick Bateman. The character is wonderfully self-absorbed and smarmy, and is one of the better examples of TNA taking a WWE write-off and actually getting good mileage out of him. Paired with bodyguard Tyrus (a non-dancing Brodus Clay) and the act is a sustainable heel bit.
EC3’s use on Wednesday was to beat down diminutive former toady Rockstar Spud, and then go after Jeremy Borash (conducting the in-ring bit) for intervening. Carter shaved off part of Borash’s hair to punctuate the angle. A feud between Carter and Borash has no desirable payoff, unless the idea is to have Carter continuously bully ‘little’ people until someone puts him in his place. Then alright.
Beyond that, Carter struggled a bit with his live promo, and it ended up one of the lower points of the night. He’s done far better, but judging the angle as a standalone, it didn’t click.
GOOD: This IS Awesome
The January 4, 2010 Impact was derided for the debut/return of a million has-beens. Five years later, there was only one notable return on the Impact reboot: Awesome Kong, well removed from her blink-and-you-missed-it WWE stay as Kharma. The New York fans freaked out as the monstrous former Knockouts Champion stared down Havok, with the lure of Monster Female vs. Monster Female looking rather enticing.
BAD: Commercial break, or infomercial break?
One major gripe against Destination America, aside from the aforementioned lot: commercials feel like they’re WAY too long. If the breaks are shorter than four minutes, I’d be surprised. I’ve seen enough “Kate Plus Eight” and “Treehouse Masters” commercials in two hours hate everyone involved. Now I know how John Gosselin feels.
GOOD: Austin Aries as X-Division Champion
Aries regained the X Division Title over Low Ki in a fairly brisk (seven or eight minute) match that hit all of the important notes, and gives us a fresh champion for the reboot. To my way of thinking, Aries is one of the closest things in wrestling to CM Punk: a credible performer capable of working various styles and match-types, with an authentic swagger, and he carries himself like a main eventer.
If any TNA performer could be air-lifted and dropped into WWE’s upper card scene today, without being unwelcome or looking out of place, it’s Aries. He was the right man three years ago to halt Bobby Roode’s endless run as TNA World Champion (in a near five-star match to boot), and he’s a great keystone for rebuilding the company. He’s not a WWE reject, he’s not an aging has-been, and his body of work speaks for itself. Aries is the best they have.
BAD: Same old ending
The World Title match, hyped throughout the night as Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley, Part III, ends with runs ins from a heel brigade of MVP, Kenny King, Samoa Joe (who initially interfered in disguise), Low Ki (ditto), and a heel-turning Eric Young. It’s a lot to digest in the 60-second span that this all happened in.
Heel stables and sudden turns have been played out by the company, one that’s had difficulty establishing who their faces and heels actually are. I suppose with a reboot, it’s a bit more permissible to re-establish everyone, but just don’t overdo the specialness of turns and groups as you’ve done in the past. The phrase, “the match was great until the ending” is a staple of TNA’s troubled history, and it emphatically ended the first show in the new home. It’s also ammo for the fans that want to ignore anything good that TNA does, with one glaringly bad/annoying instance to rip apart.
GOOD: The energy was there
While most Raws these days feel like vacant-stared death marches into oblivion, Impact actually brough feistiness and and excitement to the table, with as noted a lot of good and a lot of bad. At this point, given a choice, I’ll check out the show that actually tries.
They may be pulling out of the same old worn bag of tricks, but eh, at least they’re fumbling for the gimmicks with actual vigor.

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TNA Wrestling: Looking to Make an IMPACT With New TV Contract

November 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

While it appears TNA’s Impact Wrestling has been revived from life support with a new television deal, can it save the product that needs some refreshing as well?

Taken straight from the press release, which was made public this week, it looks like Discovery Communications had enough faith in the product to throw their hat in the ring and make the fledgling promotion its latest find.

Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States.

Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015. The series features some of the biggest names in professional wrestling, including Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley and Gail Kim.

The partnership includes the U.S. premieres of additional TNA WRESTLING series and specials and provides Discovery Communications with international broadcasting rights in select regions, to be announced at a later date.

“Our partnership in this uniquely entertaining franchise with TNA IMPACT WRESTLING provides a significant addition to Destination America’s programming strategy,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Destination America, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Fit & Health and Discovery Family Channel. “The enduring, cross-generational enthusiasm of pro wrestling is felt by millions of fans around the country, from coast-to-coast and throughout the heartland. We are delighted to bring this beloved American pastime to the one and only network dedicated to celebrating the unique spirit of the U.S., Destination America.”

Now that the niceties have been issued and there is a new hope for TNA, how will Dixie Carter and the creative team work to make not only the promotion stick, but can the script flip and more depth added to the overall concept of programming?

  • The Bobby Roode/Lashley angle works. Start with that and look to find other contenders instead of reused champions.
  • Find a way to make Kenny King the lead heel of the company.
  • Look to ROH and released WWE roster members to show new changes.
  • Change the camera angles and work to make the arenas bigger so it does not look as if the ring overtakes the entire television screen.
  • Go back to old school NWA announcing with an announcer’s table a la Gordon Solie and CWF.

Make tag teams important again. Find new teams to bring in. Also, find managers to promote wrestlers. I would love to see James Mitchell back in the fold.

While the brand appears to be a cross over at times of TNA and ECW, why not bring back a Hardcore Title so fans can see table, ladders and household appliances on a weekly basis.

TNA has a habit of using great storylines and burying them in the dirt because there is a lack of creativity. The company has also lost great talent over the years like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Crimson, Matt Morgan and Kharma.

The corporate partnership with TNA is based mostly on the state of professional wrestling and its fans, who tend to be loyal, even with the issues that the business has experienced over the past few months. Both TNA and WWE have had issues with storylines, wrestling angles and keeping fans interested with superstars who are basically retreads without growing or bringing in newer talent to change things up and revive stagnation.

Since the company will not move over to the new network until January, the next six weeks could be the start of something new or the end of the ill-fated programming the fans have come to tolerate, but do not appear to be fond of.

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New TV Home for Impact Wrestling Gives TNA a Fresh Start

November 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Wednesday November 19, the professional wrestling world was buzzing when Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling announced its flagship program Impact Wrestling will begin airing on Discovery Communications Network Destination America in January 2015 ending their 9 year run with Spike TV.

It’s no secret TNA’s ratings on Spike TV have been less than stellar and it was evident over the past several months that Spike TV was looking for an out with TNA. I knew that when Spike moved Impact Wrestling to Wednesday night’s to avoid competing with NFL Football the ratings would change, thus giving Spike more leverage to in their case to cancel Impact Wrestling from their line-up. I really can’t blame Spike, as TNA’s product the last several years has been less than stellar.

While Destination America is a much smaller network (seen in roughly 60 million homes vs. Spike TV at 98 million), it gives Destination America an opportunity to gain a new audience and it keeps Impact Wrestling in business. The only disadvantage is that with most cable and satellite providers Destination America is offered on a more expensive channel package. However, I do have one of the lower cost expensive packages and located the Destination America channel on my line-up.

This new opportunity can be huge for both Discovery Communications and Impact Wrestling. Various reports are saying TNA will not only have its flagship show on the Destination America, but other new Impact Wrestling programming which is a win-win for both parties. Between now and the time TNA holds their first television taping, they should re-examine their roster, look at their overall creative plans and basically start fresh on the new network in January.

If I was in charge, I would take the rest of November and all of December and turn Impact Wrestling upside down with an entire brand new set, brand new logo, brand new opening introduction – basically start all over again from scratch, not concerned about what World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or Ring of Honor (ROH) is doing on their television shows or what potentially Global Force Wrestling may look like. TNA should not be distracted by the other companies. I am not saying TNA shouldn’t act like they don’t exist, just don’t make it a main focus to attempt to copy or semi-copy storylines from WWE or ROH and get caught up in what is or isn’t working with your competition.

What I found interesting is that the press release didn’t indicate what night of the week or what time Impact Wrestling with air on Destination America beginning in January. With RAW on Monday nights at 8:00pm, SmackDown moving to Thursday’s at 8:00pm and Lucha Underground Wednesday’s at 8:00pm on the El Rey network, Destination America and TNA have several viable options that could work.

The idea night of the week for Impact Wrestling would be Sunday night’s at 8:00pm. However, with some cable outlets still carrying WWE Pay-Per View events and now ROH Pay-Per View events, Sunday night’s may not be an option legally. Tuesday or Wednesday’s would be the only other viable choices for a week night timeslot.

I am excited for Impact Wrestling and the wrestling business. Once a day and time is announced for Impact Wrestling, I will be setting my DVR to record Impact Wrestling in hopes that I will be watching a whole new and fresh TNA product.

I have always liked TNA overall. Whenever there has been a house show in my market, I would attend their event and enjoyed the interaction with meeting the wrestlers before and after each show. I want TNA to succeed. As Triple H would say – “it’s what’s best for business.”

Destination America should, and I suspect they will based on reading the press release, take advantage of every opportunity to promote Impact Wrestling on their network as much as possible, which is something, so it seemed, Spike TV did not do the last few years.

This new partnership with Discovery Communications should be seen as a fresh new start for Impact Wrestling. TNA should bring an entire new look and feel to the show and most of all have a complete creative overhaul of the product with a new focus.

With a new network and hopefully a renewed focus, TNA will give me a reason to start watching their show again in 2015.

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TNA Wrestling Stars Celebrate New TV Deal On Twitter

November 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wresting have found Impact Wrestling a new home. The new television deal will land Impact on Destination America. The available audience may be cut but that isn’t stopping the TNA superstars from celebrating!

News broke on Wednesday that Impact Wrestling will start airing on Destination America in January. TNA will move from Spike which has an 85.50% clearance of homes to Destination America which reaches only 52.20%. It should also be mentioned that of that 52%, some viewers require a tiered package to watch D.A. unlike Spike which was available to all. So let’s celebrate say the TNA superstars!

“Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States.  Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015.”

I was scrolling through Twitter and a plethora of tweets from excited TNA superstars took over my Twitter feed. The budget is cut, there are no house shows on the schedule, TNA will be in less homes, but these cats are all excited about their new endeavor while others offered congratulations on their new deal.

Jesse Godderz - “SO EXCITED that @IMPACTWRESTLING has a NEW Destination Bro… @DestAmerica #BOOM @CBSBigBrother @CBS #BB16 @ESPN @ESPN2 @ESPNU @TMZ @MTV” – https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular

Tommy Dreamer -“Congrats @IMPACTWRESTLING on new TV deal w/ @DestAmerica America F*CK YEAH #DestinationIMPACT http://bit.ly/1qsJhpC ” – https://twitter.com/THETOMMYDREAMER

Abyss -” Here we go!!! The @IMPACTWRESTLING family joins @DestAmerica” – https://twitter.com/TherealAbyss

Matt Hardy - “The future looks pretty damn good from where I’m standing. http://fb.me/3CkTFxSvg” – https://twitter.com/MATTHARDYBRAND (Does it really Matt?)

Gunner - “Looks like @DestAmerica just added a Modern Day Viking to their network. Good move. @IMPACTWRESTLING has a new home in January – https://twitter.com/TNA_GUNNER

Taryn Terrell - “So excited about @IMPACTWRESTLING moving to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheTarynTerrell

Sam Shaw - “Excited that @IMPACTWRESTLING moves to @DestAmerica in January. Lots of #Creepy shows like #GhostAsylum & #AHaunting #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheSamuelShaw/status/535137848622854144

Kurt Angle - “Good for the Wrestling Biz! Starting January 2015, @IMPACTWrestling moves to its new home: @DestAmerica! #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/RealKurtAngle/

Dixie Carter - “Proud to join the @Discovery family! @IMPACTWRESTLING comes to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TNADixie

Hey listen, at the end of the day it is a good thing that TNA got a new television deal and found a home for Impact. Unfortunately the new move will come less viewers and a reduced budget. It’s great that got a deal but celebrating this as if it is some kind of a better move is just ridiculous.

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TNA Wrestling Has Some Life Left

September 12, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I applaud TNA for trying to add new life into its niche wrestling program by bringing back former ECW stars to its roster. The added excitement of hardcore rules, the chance to see great tag team action and another opportunity to save TNA from falling off the cliff just may work – for a short amount of time.

Since the WWE has moved away from the old Attitude Era and won’t even consider Bully Ray or AJ Styles, but will bring in a veteran like Sting, the thought of Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno and the Dudley’s makes my temperature rise ever so slightly. Anything that brings back the past in a positive way in professional wrestling works for me.

This – this new lease on life, so to speak – works for me. I happen to like TNA for its NWA style, its ECW antics and more realistic – if that is such a word – wrestling angles. In this case, wrestling does matter, even moving to New York gives this outfit a better chance of sticking around.

But for the most part, the tag team wrestling of late, the hardcore rules matches and the better than average angles is what is keeping me glued to the screen.

In a way, maybe TNA has Paul Heyman to thank for his conception of ECW and the hardcore style we see today.

ECW was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon. ECW closed when then owner Paul Heyman declared bankruptcy in April 2001. After purchasing the assets of ECW, World Wrestling Entertainment relaunched the Extreme Championship Wrestling franchise as a WWE brand from June 2006 until February 2010 to complement their existing Raw and SmackDown brands. The promotion showcased various international styles of professional wrestling, ranging from lucha libre to puroresu and hardcore wrestling.

ECW had its origins in 1989 under the banner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance owned by Joel Goodhart. In 1992, Goodhart sold his share of the company to his partner, Tod Gordon, who in return renamed the promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling. When Eastern Championship Wrestling was founded, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). At the time, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert was the lead booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gilbert, after a falling out with Tod Gordon, was replaced in September 1993 by Paul Heyman. Heyman, known on television as Paul E. Dangerously, had just left World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and was looking for a new challenge.

It is a program that has its place in wrestling today and fits the TNA profile for more conventional “sport”. Fans up north are familiar with the programming of ECW and TNA’s bring has brought back the brand and changed venues to make it more accessible and popular to the fan base.

I love it.

If TNA is going to continue to show improvements it must continue down this path. The tag team division is red hot with Team 3-D, The Hardys and The American Wolves leading the way. The X-Division is solid (welcome to the club, Tajiri). Bobby Roode is again on the side of good instead of evil. The Knockouts are top notch (better than the WWE) and of course, there is actual wrestling on the card when we watch every Wednesday (which was also a good move by the Board of Directors to have more of a following in the middle of the week.

Everything adds up. But now comes the hard part of sustaining the success. Like it was said before earlier this week, this is the start of something big or the first nail in the coffin. I tend to think the latter not the former. If that is the case, then TNA just took old school and made it new again.

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Is IMPACT Wrestling’s move a new start or the nail in the coffin?

August 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Total Non-Stop Action recently announced with only a one week notice its viewers that its flagship show Impact Wrestling is moving from its long running Thursday  to Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM citing that basically the move to Wednesday’s won’t allow for viewers to choose between the NFL and Wrestling.

I remember during the dying days of World Championship Wrestling when the company’s Thursday night show Thunder moved to Wednesdays due to SmackDown during that time becoming the new number one wrestling show on Thursday nights.

TNA is touting that Impact Wrestling has seen ratings increases over the summer.  However, the show still has a week or two where the ratings see a decline, then an increase.  Either Spike TV is experimenting to see if the ratings will increase now that Impact Wrestling won’t be going head-to-head with the NFL, or they are looking for a night where the show’s ratings will tank completely and give Dixie and Company a viable reason that they (Spike) have a solid justifiable case not to renew the show, or is this move due to the rumors that Vince McMahon is moving SmackDown back to Thursday nights and Spike and TNA recall how bad they (TNA) was beat during its very short Monday night run against Monday Night Raw.

I have watched some of Impact Wrestling and have noticed some difference increased in ring action, but TNA still struggles with standing out as different.  I recently listened to an interview with Bully Ray on the Ross Report.  Ray suggested that TNA should be a cross between the 1980’s Georgia Championship Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance and the current New Japan for in ring action with very little other storylines – let the story be told in the ring.  Jim Ross went on to say that TNA tends be a WWE lite at times.

TNA should spend less time trying to look like World Wrestling Entertainment from attitude era and focus on doing something different and innovative that will turn heads and get viewers talking.  Yes, there have been some that say TNA is heading in the right direction with a reboot or refocus on more in ring action.  Bringing back the six-sided ring isn’t really the answer.  You can have a six-sided ring, and eight sided ring, but if your product stinks, it won’t matter what your ring looks like or how many former pay-per view shows you give away for free.

So there is still one big mystery that neither Dixie Carter or Spike TV are talking in depth about which is Impact Wrestling remaining on Spike TV.  The other question is Dixie secretly shopping around Impact Wrestling to other networks.  When Dixie commented on the “ongoing negotiations…” she did state that there are other networks that have expressed interest in Impact Wrestling.  I have never been in the television industry, but did spend some time in the radio industry and know that in some cases when there specific negotiations, depending on what is being discussed in can be proprietary until the final deal is ready to be made public.

If Dixie is smart, which I know she is, is talking with other networks in the event all rumors are indeed true that Spike is not renewing Impact Wrestling.  Several wrestling websites are reporting that TNA is taping shows through the end of the current Spike TV deal.  In addition, TNA has cancelled house shows for September and into October.  Bound for Glory in Japan is the only television they have on the books.

I want to see TNA succeed.  It is good for the business.  Without a television deal, TNA won’t succeed.  TNA needs cable TV, but the question remains, does Spike TV need TNA.  Spike will answer that question very soon I’m sure of it.

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Dixie Carter Comments On Spike Not Renewing Impact Reports

August 13, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dixie Carter is living in a land of delusion off of the river of denial. Carter recently made her first public comments about Spike cancelling Impact. Let’s just say it appears that Dixie never got the memo or read the news on TMZ.com.

For someone with a background in public relations, Dixie is one of the absolute worst promoters I have ever seen with the media. Dixie rarely shoots straight and gives the impression she is living in an extremely isolated world away from the realities of TNA Wrestling. Regardless, these interviews are gifts to blogs like mine so keep them coming.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Spike TV will not be renewing their deal with TNA Wrestling. Their deal runs out in October and TNA are allegedly fighting hard to find a new home for Impact. Anything short of a new deal will either sink the company or necessitate drastic changes which will change the look and feel of TNA from top to bottom. You’d think an owner in that predicament would be worried right? Not Dixie!

Dixie was a recent guest of Ring Rust Radio and they asked her point blank about the reports and what kind of other options TNA has come October.

“Dixie Carter: Every two years I go through this. This is just the first public negotiation I’ve ever had. I think social media has really changed this kind of thing. I’m used to every two years negotiating with Spike and negotiating with other networks. This time is absolutely not any different. We’re still talking with them, but there are other people, thank God, that are interested in our product. I want to grow this brand; I want to grow it domestically. I want us to be able to start having the kind of success domestically that we’re having internationally. I’m not going to stop and none of us are going to stop until we get there. I’m real excited to see and I think we’ll know sooner than later what’s going to happen.”

Are there really other people? If I had a television show that was up this fall and I didn’t have a deal in August, I’d be petrified! At this point the fall schedules are all but set for most networks, the big ones anyway. Sure she could get a new deal but getting on a good slot for the fall at this point is almost impossible. I think when you have credible reports from multiple sources citing that your television show is not being renewed, you need to address them instead of blow them off as some kind of social media thing. It’s not fair to your fans and most importantly your employees.

A new report has shed some light on the failed Spike TV and TNA negotiations. A new report claims that Viacom wanted 10% ownership in TNA as part of a new deal. Dixie said no and Spike walked. This new report does shoot down some theories about Spike walking due to Vince Russo’s return to the company. It would also make a lot of sense as TNA does bring in decent ratings for Spike on that night. Passing on a renewal really didn’t make much sense until now. Keep in mind that Viacom bought into Bellator MMA as part of their negotiations so this does seem completely logical to me.

I can’t blame either side at this point. Viacom has all of the leverage here and it doesn’t take an accountant to see how poorly TNA has been run at times. I could certainly see them taking a shot and at the same time I can see Dixie not wanting to get bullied into selling. That said, Dixie also has to understand the stakes here and without a BATNA she has no other choice but to sell partial ownership or continue the company with a drastic reduction in revenue.

Either way things are going to get very interesting here between now and October. That’s something I haven’t been able to say about TNA in years!

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The Brilliance of The Hardys vs. The Wolves

August 02, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

I saw greatness on Thursday night. On Thursday night, I saw what tag team wrestling was all about.

If you watched the TNA Impact wrestling match between the Hardys and The Wolves, you saw the passing of the torch of one great combination to another.

I am not a huge fan of the current state of tag teams in the business because of the continual changes and thrown together teams we see night after night. But watching these two teams in the ring, you could sense there was something special on the screen and possibly the finest hour of the Hardy’s in some time. Even on the losing end of the match, Matt and Jeff showed us vintage moves, cohesion and an intensity we remember all too well from the team’s time in the WWE.

The Wolves may be the best tag team in the business today (a match with the Usos would end speculation).

The brothers started They first began teaming together in 1993 in independent promotions in North Carolina, winning the NWA 2000 Tag Team Championship in NWA 2000, and founded the Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts, where they held the OMEGA Tag Team Championship. They both signed contracts with the WWF in 1998, and were given Michael Hayes as their manager.

After dumping Hayes, they had a quick stint with Gangrel, and then Terri, before gaining a permanent manager in their real-life friend Lita. The addition of Lita led to them being renamed “Team Xtreme”.

They split as a team in 2002, but reunited in 2006 to feud with MNM, before focusing on their singles careers again in 2007, although they occasionally teamed together.

Following a scripted feud between the two brothers in early 2009, Jeff left WWE in August, with Matt departing in late 2010. The Hardys reunited in TNA in January 2011 as members of the Immortal stable. In August 2011, Matt was released from his contract with TNA.

The Hardy Boyz gained fame for their participation in ladder matches and Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. Overall in WWE they are seven-time tag team champions, having won the World Tag Team Championship six times and the WCW World Tag Team Championship once. Both brothers also won singles championships during their run as a tag team.

Over the course of their careers in the ring, Jeff has been the more successful of the two, having won multiple world titles.

While the match between the two teams was potentially the tag team match of the year, it cannot bring back the days of when I was younger and could watch The Briscos battle Funks or Mike and Eddie Graham lock horns with Pak Song or see Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernoodle tangle with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. For every high-flying move made by the foursome in the ring Thursday night, the arm locks, drop kicks and cross body blocks proved to be the “real deal” in terms of Kayfabe wrestling and was a favorite of mine from the days of the NWA and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

The Wild Samoans may have ruled the northern part of the United States in the WWF, but I would take A Youngblood Indian chop over a head butt any day of the week.

The Wolves are the reigning two-time TNA World Tag Team Champions. They have previously wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH), where they are two-time ROH World Tag Team Champions.

The two started out as members of Larry Sweeney’s alliance Sweet N’ Sour Inc., but forged a tag team on their own. As well as being a tag team unit, the two wrestlers have had strong singles careers, with Edwards being ROH’s first World Television Champion and the first to complete the Triple Crown Championship after winning the ROH World Championship, which he then went on to drop to Richards.

They were originally managed by Shane Hagadorn when they portrayed villainous characters, but later abandoned him to become fan favorites. They left ROH in 2013, and debuted for TNA in January 2014, winning the TNA World Tag Team Championship a month later.

No matter who you root for and how far back you go in wrestling history, watching these four in the ring the other night proves “wrestling” is alive and well. And as long as there are teams like The Wolves and The Hardy’s fans old and young will be treated the business – the way it they are supposed to be.

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Rampage Jackson Says TNA Had No Idea What They Were Doing

August 01, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

While most of the pro wrestling community was surprised to learn that TNA Wrestling would not be renewed by Spike TV, one former TNA star was not. Rampage Jackson says he saw the writing on the wall which is why we won’t ever be seeing him in TNA again.

Rampage was the first major MMA star to agree to work with TNA and earned TNA some much needed publicity when he came over. Many were skeptical but a hot confrontation between he and Kurt Angle created enough buzz to quiet any doubters. Fortunately for those doubters TNA immediately dropped the able creating frustration among fans and the former Pride FC champion.

Rampage recently appeared on The Fight Nerd and talked about his frustrating tenure in TNA. Jackson opened up for the first time about his frustrations and the lost opportunity between him and Angle.

To be honest with you, you haven’t seen me in a while. I soon as I saw the operation, there were no plans for me to go back. They had a lot of momentum with me when I came out with Kurt Angle…I was supposed to wrestle Kurt Angle. They lost all momentum. They didn’t utilize me. I gave them a couple of ideas on how to utilize me. They wanted me to wrestle professional fighters in pro wrestling. They had no idea what they were doing in my opinion so no you won’t see me in TNA ever again.

That is just absolutely amazing to me. I know TNA has its defenders but those plans are indefensible. According to Jackson they were going to book him to wrestle MMA fighters because you know, fans would rather pay to watch the same two guys go through a worked wrestling match as opposed to a real fight. That is just ludicrous to me! If that is the case and I have no reason to doubt him, he is right. They had no idea what they were doing and it’s a damned shame because for one week they had something special with Jackson and Angle. To be fair to the current creative team, Rampage’s creative was handled by the Hogan and Bischoff regime.

Jackson also tells the interviewed that he “saw the writing on the wall” in regards to TNA’s current instability. It’s fascinating in the sense that this guy, who has never worked in pro wrestling, knew how to book his angle better than the actual pro wrestling company.

Check out the interview and more on Rampage’s brief tenure in TNA below.

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Dixie Carter Has Nobody to Blame but Herself

July 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

When I work at six in the morning, I’m usually in bed at about seven at night and up around four in the morning. I pop on the coffee, pop on America This Morning have a bowl of Special K Chocolately Delight and hit the internet for a while. I check my e-mail to see what our death match overlord’s reaction to my latest article is (Most of it “You know they’re gonna kill you right?). I have the sites I check while trying to down my less than perfect coffee: Facebook, CCB, The Real TSM, Cageside Seats, Spoony Experiment Forum, Twitter, and ProFootballTalk. This morning, I woke up to news that Spike had made the decision to not renew TNA. Apparently, the revelation that TNA was keeping Vince Russo on staff as an announcing consultant despite Spike saying that they didn’t want Russo on staff was the last straw.

The big question is why Dixie? What does Vince frigging Russo know about announcing that makes him so special to have him give his opinion over announcing? You want somebody to tell you that the announcing duo of Mike Tenay and Taz is godawful? I’ll do it and I’m probably cheaper to pay than Vince Russo. Or, if you really want somebody who knows something about wrestling, try and bring in Jim Ross to critique the announcing. There’s nobody better at calling the action than Jim Ross and he could probably point out some key problems with the announcing. Probably the biggest one being the fact that you employ an announce team consisting of Mike Tenay and Taz.

The biggest problem is that Dixie Carter made the very stupid decision to bite the last hand that fed the company.

What source of revenue does TNA have left besides television?

PPV? They have no presence of PPV with the exception of a few events that the average wrestling fan is more inclined to stream than to pay $39.95 for. If they don’t stream, there is a very good chance that TNA is going to do the rematch of the big main event the next night or book a title change a few weeks later, nullifying any reason to buy the card in the first place. They’ve tried to make up for it by booking One Night Only cards, except the big problem is that they tape a bunch of them and don’t air them for about five or six months and people read the results and declare they have no interest in paying for them. Or, they wait until a place like /woootube/ streams it for free or it’s get upload onto Youtube/Daily Motion. They thought they would get more money by doing less PPV’s and building them well, but they forgot to do the second part.

Live events? TNA could make some money by charging people money to write jokes about the crowds. Heck, it’d probably make more money than the gate of a live event. Instead of deciding to reboot their live event plan, the company has continued to run events at minor league baseball stadiums in-front of a few hundred people. It seems a bit more logical than running a 7,500 seat arena for the first time and then wondering why only 300 people showed up.

Merchandising? Those Mr. Anderson shirts, plastic Eric Young beards and masks, and that 250 dollar Lockdown turnbuckle are flying off the shelves, aren’t they? They don’t have a DVD deal with any big box outlets so you have to buy through the TNA site, no shirts are for sale at any clothing stores or retail stores and TNA’s toy deal with Jakks Pacific (Another great example of Dixie Carter star-f***cking anything associated with the WWE) did nothing for them. My local Wal-Greens had a Crimson figure sit on their shelves for about two years, if you marked it down to 99 cents, people would complain that it would still cost too much to buy a Crimson figure. My nephew actually has some TNA figures: Hogan, Sting, Angle, and Nash mostly because Uncle Robert won’t people 65 bucks to some asshat on e-Bay for an Angle figure.

While TNA still has television overseas, the Spike TV deal has kept them running at this point. If Spike dumps them and let’s face it, this is the company that thought staging a kiss between Velvet Sky and Tayrn Terell at this year’s Guy Choice would help their cause, what network takes them? They can’t get anywhere close to Universal (Goodbye Esquire, NBC Awful Attempt at Countering ESPN and G4), ESPN would laugh at them, and I don’t think WGN/ION don’t want to deal with wrestling after their dealings with Vince. The one network that I could see having some interest would be Fox, they need something content for Fox Sports One or Fox Sports Two. With Professional Crazy Old Person Rupert Murdoch preparing to launch an all-out war against an all war against ESPN by trying to buy Time Warner, he might need some wrassling on his schedule. If not, could also go with Jeff Jarrett’s GFW group (I’m waiting for the database to turn heel) if it’s cheaper to produce their show than TNA’s.

If I’m Bob Carter, I seriously and I mean seriously ponder whether or not the decision to insist that Jeff Jarrett/King of Mexico/Best Dad Ever/MMA Enthusiast and Suplex Enthusiast Toby Keith to keep his daughter in a position of power was either super stupid or supercalifragilisticexpialidociously stupid. Maybe he put’s in a call to Vince tomorrow morning selling the prospect of buying TNA on “Hey, you need some content for that Network of yours and I’ll sell cheap!”

Dixie, I hope Vince Russo was worth it.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

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