30 October 2013

What if TNA is Sold!

Once again the internet is all a flutter with rumors and I'm not talking about the Fleetwood Mac album (comment if you know what I mean). According to "reports" TNA is up for sale, or at least the Carters are willing to sell for "the right price." This has led to comparisons to the late WCW and ECW; both of those companies had rumors of being sold just before they went out of business and some are assuming the same fate for TNA. What is the truth? Only time will tell and here at TNAMecca we don't report rumors as fact. However, this is Mann in the Cage and since there are no rules in the cage, let's get crazy! I'm going to assume that TNA is being sold, but to whom? Again, rumors are afloat so let's indulge them shall we! The cage is now a portal to alternate universes, all of which have a door, beyond each door a different buyer has purchased TNA. I'm going to walk through each door and tell you what would happen if TNA Wrestling was sold to each of these new owners.

Door #1- WWE buys TNA

This is my least favorite of the scenarios, so I'll start with this one. WWE marks would wet their pants if VKM (no not the Voodoo Kin Mafia) bought TNA Wrestling. Imagine the Twitter feeds: #VinceownsTNA, #BoundforVince, #TotalNonStopEntertainment. I think most would assume that WWE would just cherry pick the wrestlers they want, use the video archive for DVD releases and website content and basically ignore the the brand altogether. However, that is not what I see behind door number one. TNA has several television deals in place, not only with Spike TV but internationally as well and one would assume that those deals are based on them wanting TNA content. Not WWE. Plus, TNA has proven to be a more viable brand than WWE in the U.K. It may not be so easy to dump out of these deals. Sure, they might be able to just show "best of" type of content until the deals run out but would that be wise when an opportunity exists on a network like Spike TV where there is a built in audience of a million or so viewers? The best case scenario for a WWE owned TNA would be to run it as a separate brand at least to fulfill commitments. I can see a similar situation to that of when UFC/Zuffa bought Strikeforce. They kept it going for a little while, but eventually Strikeforce disappeared and UFC took the best fighters as part of their own brand. TNA fans would have a TNA for a while but it would be Vince's version of TNA and we saw what he did to ECW, so it doesn't look good. I'm very depressed leaving door number one and hope to never see it in reality.

Door #2- Viacom buys TNA

To my knowledge, outside of reruns of older hit shows and Bar Rescue, Spike TV doesn't have a lot of hit shows; especially when it comes to original content. Impact Wrestling may in fact be Spike's highest rated show. Would they really want that to go away? I've heard some fans say things like "Well if TNA goes out of business ROH or New Japan will get on Spike." That's not the way it works folks and sure that could happen; WWE left Spike and they took on TNA, UFC left Spike and they took on Bellator. The difference is that TNA would draw better ratings than both those promotions mentioned because they already have a built in audience who want to watch TNA. The critics may tell you different, but fans tune in every Thursday to see TNA, not just wrestling and I don't know that Spike would be able to afford losing the show. That's where I think Viacom could make a play and purchase TNA, or at least a share in it. They can make sure that it stays afloat and can have more of a hand in the decision making process (although it would seem they already do). So this sounds good right? Well, one has to look no further than Ring of Honor being purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group back in 2011. The initial excitement wore off after many changes were made to the product that die hard ROH fans did not like. While I think ROH has recovered (at least creatively) for the most part, the changes did some damage as SBG cut costs wherever they could leading to some talent leaving and some unhappy ROHBots. Could TNA see the same if Spike were to buy in? Plus, Viacom may only be concerned with the television show, eliminating pay per view and live event business which wouldn't be good for fans or talent. Less shows, less work for talent and less opportunity for fans to see the product live.  Some would argue that some of this already happened, so what more harm could be done right...I leave door number two disoriented and unsure.

Door #3- Jeff Jarrett buys back TNA

This may be a little far fetched, but I have read this online somewhere and like I always say: "If it's on the internet, it MUST be true." Double J seems to be pretty savvy at finding investors and running a wrestling promotion on the cheap. Look at what he did in 2002: he got the Carters to invest in a wrestling company that was on pay per view only and making no money doing so. Now you have television deals all over the world, big name talent and a track record of at some point, turning a profit. In 2007/2008, TNA was reportedly in the black. This was a result of Jarrett running a low payroll and increasing revenue with house shows and more television deals. So investors may see an opportunity with Jarrett to make money because he has done it before.  I like this idea (although it may be the most far fetched) because Jarrett founded TNA and had a good grasp on what he wanted TNA to be: an alternative. TNA was TNA when the King of the Mountain was in charge as it was his vision from the beginning. Maybe we need to go back to the past to save the future. I leave door number three optimistic and carrying a wicked break away guitar.

So let's close the cage door and get back to reality. IF TNA is going to be sold and that is a big IF right now, I think a buyer will come along that will keep the company in tact, at least for the most part anyway. There is one big difference between TNA and WCW or ECW at the time of their demise: TNA still has television. Time Warner was selling WCW WITHOUT the television rights, and ECW's deal with TNN was going belly up and being taken away by WWF. Critics say that TNA has never had success, but I point to a stable million or so viewers who watch Impact every week on Spike TV. I look at the success of the television show in the U.K. where the ratings are very high. Having a hit TV show still carries weight in this day and age and I think that could be TNA's advantage in being sold and staying alive. Plus, these "reports" are coming from sources who were quoted as saying "they think the Carters want out." Maybe we need to say something like "I think TNAMecca is going to buy TNA" on a podcast and let's see if we can get that rumor started, I'm sure it will be all over the place within hours of it being said. The first order of business for a TNAMecca run TNA would be for EC3 to beat a jobber named "Smark Boy." 'Till next time...

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