27 August 2014

TNA Wednesday Randomania - Aug 27, 2014

- This week, I'd like to begin with the latest on the TV deal.  Let me first remind everyone that the only announcement that came from TNA and SpikeTV is that the two sides have agreed to a deal that would keep Impact on the network through the end of the year.  Everything else is merely speculation and unsubstantiated rumors.  Although TNA fans were happy to hear about the extension, as was I, the reality is that the two sides can't seem to come together on a long term deal, which is troubling to me. TNA and SpikeTV have been partners for almost a decade and have negotiated several deals so what has changed? What is it that's different about these negotiations?  I don't believe for a second that SpikeTV no longer wants pro wrestling nor do I believe that they no longer want to work with TNA.  If this were the case, Viacom and SpikeTV would have simply not renewed Impact and moved on because that's what television networks do...they act in their own best financial interests.  I've read some ridiculous rumors in the last few weeks but one in particular is simply embarrassing: some have reported that SpikeTV is allowing Impact to air on their network until TNA can find another network to sign with.  Let's be real, folks, this is simply an attempt to downplay the fact that SpikeTV extended Impact for another three months.  In the dirtsheets' minds, it couldn't possibly mean that the two sides want to continue to negotiate.  Let's keep in mind, the same sites were reporting just a few weeks ago that SpikeTV will not be renewing Impact when their contract with TNA expires on October 1st, and we now know that it's not true.

- But getting back to my point, what exactly is the sticking point in the negotiations between TNA and SpikeTV?  Obviously, I'm not privy to any inside information so I can only speculate based on what I know but my gut tells me that it's one of two things: 1) UTA's involvement has essentially given TNA some leverage by enticing other networks to show interest, thus putting the company in a position to ask for more money from SpikeTV, which is something the cable network would like to avoid. Or 2) SpikeTV will only agree to a new deal if TNA agrees to sell all or part of the company to Viacom, which is obviously something the Carters would not agree to.  I would imagine that the latter is a deal breaker but what about the former? Would SpikeTV agree to pay more per hour for the rights fee to Impact?  If not, is TNA willing to end things and move to another network.  Judging by a recent Dixie Carter tweet, I believe the answer is yes.  For those who missed it, Joe Vincent from our affiliate IWHeadlines tweeted the following to Dixie last week: "Go to a different channel! Spike doesn't respect the product that you give them - so give it to someone else!" to which she responded, "Stay tuned."  This is telling because Dixie would have simply ignored the tweet if there was nothing in the works.  The fact that she responded leads me to believe that the likelihood of Impact moving to another network is strong.  I'll go out on a limb and predict that if TNA and SpikeTV do not agree to a long term deal by Thanksgiving, Impact will be on a new network come the new year.

- Until we hear something official from TNA, I think it's safe to assume that Bound for Glory will take place on October 12th in Tokyo, Japan.  With that in mind, TNA still has to tape two episodes of Impact before BFG (for October 1st and 8th). Interestingly enough, the company booked the Sands in Bethlehem for four nights (September 16-19) but they conceivably need only one night for two tapings.  So what exactly are the other three nights for?  From what I understand, TNA has taped all the One Night Only events they'll need to fulfill their PPV obligations for this year, and we recently learned that two future live events are now ONO tapings.  I realize this won't be well-received but I suspect that TNA will be taping post-BFG episodes of Impact before the PPV for logistical reasons.  Unless TNA can tape Impact in Japan the day(s) after Bound for Glory, it's nearly impossible to expect them to travel back to the US on Sunday or Monday and tape Impact before Wednesday night.  This can only work if they taped Impact live on Wednesday (or on tape delay) but I'm not getting the sense that this is the plan.  It's certainly unorthodox but taping post-BFG shows at the Bethlehem tapings will save the company a lot of hassle and most likely money.  It's a tough situation and ideally, I'd love to see TNA tape Impact in Japan after BFG but I can't be too hard on them simply because it's not my money.  I think ultimately it will not affect the ratings for the post-BFG shows, and as for the PPV, I suspect the fact that it's taped and not live will have more of an affect than anything else.

- And lastly, TNA is teasing the debut of the Great Sanada tonight.  I'm curious to see how exactly he's presented.  We already know he's sporting a new hairstyle, one that fits his current character more, but it'll be interesting to see what elements he steals from the Great Muta.  Sanada is scheduled to wrestle Austin Aries so hopefully this is the beginning of a feud between Aries and Sanada/James Storm.  In addition, Storm keeps promising a revolution, which leads me to believe that there could be others joining him and Sanada.  So that's definitely something to look for.  Incidentally, Sanada is one of the core wrestlers currently that TNA seems intent on making into stars.  The others, in my opinion, are Ethan Carter III, The Wolves, and Bram.  I can't remember the last time so many young talents were booked as strongly as these guys have been.  EC3 is a future world champion in the making.  The Wolves are arguably one of the TOP 3 tag teams in the world right now.  Sanada was personally handpicked by the Great Muta to be the next young Japanese superstar.  And Bram has the sort of presence and star potential that allows him to outshine his colleagues.   It's wonderful to see TNA finally create new stars and more importantly, their own stars.  No other promotion can claim these wrestlers.  They are part of the new era in TNA.  If you don't believe me, just ask them.  They won't hesitate to scream it from the rooftops that their heart belongs to TNA and its fans.  These guys are TNA.  The company has slowly but steady developed a roster of young men and women who are proud to be called TNA wrestlers.  And they're led by veterans who genuinely want to help TNA succeed.  There are no Booker Ts on this roster, folks.  For this reason, I couldn't be more excited about the company's future. Because let's be honest, the television product hasn't been this good in years.  If TNA can somehow find a way to overcome the behind the scenes disruptions, I'm telling you, we're in for quite a treat because I genuinely feel that Dixie Carter and Co. have found a formula that works for them.  Let's just hope there's a network out there that realizes this as well.

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