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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a new network and hopefully a renewed focus, TNA will give me a reason to start watching their show again in 2015.
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!
“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.
Sam Shaw - “Excited that @IMPACTWRESTLING moves to @DestAmerica in January. Lots of #Creepy shows like #GhostAsylum & #AHaunting #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheSamuelShaw/status/535137848622854144
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I saw greatness on Thursday night. On Thursday night, I saw what tag team wrestling was all about.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.