It seems as though every once and a while, the rumor mill will surface reports of a potential TNA shut down. Usually, there’s not much to them or the company finds a way to continue to produce events, but after some of the recent news, Total Nonstop Action might actually be in danger of going out of business. Originally, The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported that the company was being evicted from their Nashville headquarters and are moving the offices to the TNA shop warehouse. If it’s an actual eviction or just a planned move to cut costs, it’s not a good sign when an international company decides to work from a warehouse. Reportedly, Dixie Carter has continued to negotiate with potential investors in recent months and as of now, Aroluxe Marketing has funded some of the recent Impact tapings. Ron and Don Harris, who worked for TNA during its early years, work with Aroluxe Marketing and are said to be involved in talks for purchasing a share of the company. Supposedly, Dixie is resistant to selling a majority share of the group, but might be forced to do so in an effect to keep the organization afloat. Plus, reports have surfaced that Panda Energy, owned by Bob Carter, stopped funding TNA a few years ago, and the company is essentially out of money.
What exactly is the upside of investing in TNA?
The promotion has made too many mistakes for too long and as I’ve said before, it’s somewhat similar to the closing days of WCW when the brand was too tarnished to improve. Furthermore, at this point, if anyone is dumb enough to invest money into a product that Dixie Carter has control of decisions then they shouldn’t be surprised when their investment is wasted. This isn’t a personal jab at Dixie either, many former employees have said in interviews that she’s a nice lady, but with her track record, she proved that she’s inept at running a wrestling company so if TNA is going to be successful she should step away.
On the flip side, Aroluxe Marketing basically has all the leverage in the negotiations so if they can buy the company and manage costs, they could potentially make an eventual profit. This is where the situation gets murky and only those directly involved in the deal know the answers. If Aroluxe buys the promotion completely, Dixie is done as the owner and almost anything would be possible, depending on the direction the marketing group wants to take the product. However, that scenario brings up its own slew of questions, such as who will they hire to run the company? Who will they sign for TV? etc. In many ways, new ownership would be a real “fresh start” for TNA and might wash away the stain of the Carter era. At the same time, it’s really an uphill battle because the only real asset the company has aside from the roster is the TV slots. While the promotion has struggled to garner ratings in the United States, they have done reasonable well for the international markets. The TV slot shouldn’t be underestimated because it’s extremely difficult for a pro wrestling company to get a deal on a cable network, and Global Force Wrestling is proof of that, considering their TV tapings were held months ago, but they still haven’t been signed by a network. It’s 2016 and with more entertainment options and channels available now than any time before in history, along with the WWE as the undisputed top of the industry, it’s not easy for a wrestling show to land a major TV deal.
So, what happens if TNA folds?
First of all, it would be an indication that Dixie Carter failed as a business owner, considering that her father, Bob Carter bought the company for her and when Panda Energy stopped paying the bills, it shut down so obviously, Dixie couldn’t run a company unless her dad paid for it. A sale or takeover would also reiterate the “impact” of Dixie’s more infamous mistakes, which are too numerous to list. The ridiculous angled that Vince Russo booked, hiring Hogan to run the company, and the laundry list of other blunders will be highlighted again if/when her time as TNA president goes to a conclusion.
If a deal isn’t reached and TNA goes under, there is very little upside to it and any “fans” that are somehow looking forward to the potential shut down are extremely misguided. One of the very few benefits of the pro wrestling landscape without TNA is that it could potentially clear a spot for another company. One of the reasons that it’s difficult for pro wrestling to secure a cable deal is WWE is undoubtedly number one so why would a network want to sign a secondary product? At the same time, the pro wrestling audience has always garnered a solid rating so if a channel is looking for programming that will draw consistent viewership, the door might be open for a smaller group. However. There are several challenges for any organization trying to pitch a network show though, including the funding, the star power, the production costs, etc. Hopefully, some type of deal somewhere can be signed to keep a second pro wrestling company on national TV in the United States because there are many talented stars on the TNA roster that deserve a national stage. Ethan Carter, Abyss, Drew Galloway, Jade, etc. are talented competitors that have the skills to wrestle on national TV. Some might cite Ring Of Honor, which has done extremely well creating their own niche and adding a working agreement with New Japan, as a possible second national promotion, but realistically, Sinclair Broadcasting seems to be content with using the group to produce original programming for their syndicated networks. That’s not a criticism of Sinclair either, as they obviously know that competing with the WWE is an uphill battle, but at the same time, if they aren’t willing to invest major money to further expand ROH then the organization’s reach to a national audience would be somewhat limited. Again, selling a pro wrestling show to major cable networks in 2016 is a difficult task and it’s probably a wise decision for Sinclair to maintain ROH as a niche product.
What happens from here is anyone’s guess, but Aroluxe seems to be the only realistic option for the promotion and as mentioned, they have the leverage for the deal. TNA didn’t draw a crowd on the road so they don’t draw money for house shows, the PPV buy rates were so low that it didn’t justify the production costs of the live shows, and dismal ratings on a smaller network don’t generate major ad revenue. What other option does Dixie Carter have in this situation? There’s not much to pitch to potential investors other than the previously mentioned TV slot, which is definitely valuable, but TNA isn’t an established brand. If anything, Aroluxe might be better suited to buy the company to acquire the TV contracts and change the name to start a new company. It will be extremely interesting to see if/when TNA is sold and the effect it could have on the industry.
Until next week
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