In a press release last week, Impact Wrestling announced that the newly named parent company of TNA, Impact Ventures has a new president, Billy Corgan. Dixie Carter, who bought a majority share of TNA during its early years, was named the chairman of the group. While the announcement said that Corgan will run the “day-to-day operations,” it’s not clear, at least publicly, if the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins actually bought the company or not.
According to The Wrestling Observer, those that work for TNA were told that Corgan is running the company. But, even if that’s the case, it doesn’t mean that he owns the company. Keep in mind, at one point, Hulk Hogan was supposedly “running” (working Dixie Carter for every dime possible) the promotion, but he didn’t own a share of it. It was also reported that Corgan funded the most recent set of TV tapings that would give Pop TV episodes to air through next month so it’s safe to assume that he owns at least a share of the company. However, this further complicates an already complicated situation, as the Nashville-based Aroluxe Marketing paid for a taping session in April of this year and as a result, they were given a stake in the company as well.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, the combination of Aroluxe, Corgan, and presumably Dixie Carter have varying levels of ownership of Impact Wrestling.
It’s important to remember how TNA landed at this point before you consider how a Corgan-owned Impact would run today. Dixie Carter bought into the group after Jeff Jarrett and legendary promoter, Jerry Jarrett founded the company in 2002. The Jarretts put a million dollars each into the new project, a noble chance to take at the time, considering the landscape of the industry post-WCW. The weekly pay-per-view format was a new idea since it essentially provided eight hours of content for the same price of a three hour WWE PPV at that time, but there wasn’t an effective way to realistically promote the brand, and fans just weren’t going to pay to watch a show that they hadn’t heard of previously. Bob Carter, the owner of Panda Energy, essentially funded his daughter’s vanity project for nearly a decade. The laundry list of mistakes that led to TNA’s financial woes are too extensive to name in this column and it could quite easily provide enough material for an article of its own, but the turning point seems to the signing of Hulk Hogan in 2009.
Hogan made an appearance on the Howard Stern show and revealed that he was in major debt, which was prior to the TNA announcement so it’s obvious that he signed with TNA because the WWE wouldn’t sign him after his family became a tabloid circus. Hogan needed the money and he worked Dixie for major money, and he did nothing that actually advanced the company. When Impact went on the road every week to broadcast live, the production costs increased exponentially compared to the budget of taping multiple episodes in advance. Dixie, seemingly as a fan of the 80s era of pro wrestling, thought that Hulk would be a draw, but after all the media headlines he made for all the wrong reasons, fans didn’t but tickets just to see him talk on the mic. After Hulk made his money, he left TNA in a position where they didn’t have the funds to resign many of the performers that were considered the foundation of the company. In 2012, Panda energy stopped funding Impact, and with the money that was spent on Hogan, many TNA originals were asked to take a pay cut. Most of them, including AJ Styles, the competitor that was the franchise of the organization, decline the offer, deciding to work elsewhere. Getting canceled from Spike TV, the failed Destination America experiment, and the rumors of financial problems haven’t helped the perception of TNA in recent years.
The was a report as recent as just a few months ago that Impact Wrestling was basically out of money, which is why Aroluxe paid to produce a set of tapings while in negotiations about buying at least part of the company. As mentioned, Aroluxe has a stake, but Corgan funded the most recent tapings so it’s unclear who owns the majority stock. But, the question is, does it really matter? How exactly does Impact Wrestling draw any substantial revenue? If the ad revenue for the commercials during Impact had any major value, Dixie wouldn’t sell shares of the company to anyone that is willing to pay the tab to produce TV. TNA doesn’t run house shows any longer so there’s no money to be made on the road, and they rarely broadcast pay-per-views so what money is there to be made by investing into Impact Ventures? Don’t get me wrong, if TNA shuts down, it does nothing to help the wrestling business and any “fans” that are somehow looking forward to the company potentially closing are extremely misguided, but what exactly is there to buy when Corgan invested into TNA? Basically there’s no brand identity or profitable revenue stream so from a business prospective, what’s the upside of investing into TNA?
If Billy Corgan does own or is definitely running Impact Ventures, what does this translate to for the direction of the company?
It’s truly disappointing to have to say this, but a change in management probably means absolutely nothing for the direction of the product. Keep in mind, Corgan was signed as a consultant in April of last year so what concepts is he going to bring to the table now that he couldn’t have brought before? Corgan is without a doubt an extremely creative and talented performer, but there are many elements to producing a national wrestling company, and TNA is still struggling nearly a year and a half after his tenure started. The only difference might be that as a share holder, Corgan might be willing to invest the money for TNA to sign some established stars to get some buzz for the show. Rey Mysterio or some of the talent featured on Lucha Underground could be a possibility if Corgan can offer them a better deal than the El Rey network.
The main point here is, even if Billy Corgan is a majority owner of TNA, it’s doubtful that the company actually makes some major improvement to become legitimate competition in the industry. As mentioned, many of the problems that have plagued Impact for years still exist today, and as I’ve said before, the brand could be too damaged to improve. It’s a disappointing situation because TNA has some talented competitors on the roster, but on the national level, it takes more than just solid in ring performances. It should also be said that any company that involves Dixie Carter will not be successful and her track record proves that she doesn’t know how to run a wrestling company. Many of her former employees have said that Dixie is a nice person and she probably is a nice person, but that doesn’t mean that she knows how to run a success promotion. Too often, Dixie booked herself in storylines just to play TV star and more often than not, when an executive becomes a character on the show, it takes away from the business side of the company.
If nothing else, it’s a credit to Billy Corgan and his passion for the industry that he was willing to help fund TNA because that boost helps keep several talented people employed. Nobody, not even the WWE, benefits from a one company becoming a monopoly for the industry. Corgan’s efforts are noble, but realistically, there won’t be some major shift toward successful for the company.
Until next week
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