The pro wrestling world has been talking with Destination America’s recent agreement with Ring of Honor that came as a surprise to everyone, including ROH talent. ROH has already been airing on the Sinclair station in my market, but now I have two opportunities to DVR ROH.
What Destination America is doing with airing two different wrestling promotions is not new. Back in the day (1980’s), the CW affiliate in my market was an independent station that aired Saturday Nights beginning at 10:00pm local time – WWF Superstars, NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) World Wide Wrestling, American Wrestling Alliance (AWA), followed by Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), so what Destination America is doing is not new in airing two different promotions back to back.
I have the same questions as others do – will ROH end up being the sole wrestling show on Destination America this September. Yes, the ratings for debut show for ROH at 167,000 viewers was low, but you must consider that the announcement that was posted on social media only came days before ROH the debut show on Destination America which already aired on Sinclair stations (including the station in my market), the Friday before. IMPACT’s ratings were half of what they were on a Friday night airing.
Something that you have to consider is that Destination America is a newer network under Discovery Communications. Most, including myself, had never heard of Destination America until it was announced that IMPACT was moving to the network. I had to search through my cable guide to locate the network.
Destination America, if they can get influence both ROH and TNA, can do some innovative stuff. I recall listening to Dixie Carter on Jim Ross’ Ross Report podcast a few months back asking Dixie what the chances would be if ROH and TNA management could sit down, put egos aside – see each other as potential partners, not enemies and have lunch on how the two companies could maybe work together and have a talent swap and maybe some dream matches for die-hard fans.
I am not trying to be an ‘arm chair booker’, but as a wrestling fan since 1986, and with what the now defunct World Championship Wrestling did with the New World Order invasion storyline, Destination America has a potential gold mine if they could get ROH and TNA to work a program together that would create a buzz in the wrestling world that has been in a slump since World Wrestling Entertainment purchased WCW in 2001. This could bring back the fans that gave up on wrestling after the demise of Nitro and Thunder and even could possible generate interest in the casual fans. With ROH being owned by Sinclair Broadcasting they understand as does Destination America is that you need to be different and attractive in order to generate ratings which in turn generates revenue and everyone from the fans to the networks, to the advertisers benefit.
There are two big differences between each company. On one side you have ROH, which is more of the old school sports feel and IMPACT which is still stuck in the WWF late 1990’s attitude era, with each show every week not getting any better. I think in order for both companies to do a successful program together, TNA needs to change their product to a more sports feel and look. Even if the two sides never work a program, which would be a missed opportunity, IMPACT still needs a huge overall, and it seems obvious that Billy Corgan isn’t changing things for the better.
However, with that said as above, If Destination America wants to become the new face for professional wrestling, they need to call a meeting between the two companies and make waves in order to get more people talking and bring the fans to their network on Wednesday nights.
When Spike moved IMPACT from Thursday to Wednesday, it was the beginning of the end from the company on the network. Time will only tell if this is the same with Destination America. It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks and months to come.