Another week reviewing Impact Wrestling, another twist in the drama surrounding TNA. It now appears as though the parent company of the Fight Network has pledged money to essentially bail the company out. This would involve paying off debts not owed to people who intend to stay a part of TNA. So basically everyone apart from themselves and production company Aroluxe. It’s looking as though they’ll essentially pay off Billy Corgan, allowing Dixie Carter, Aroluxe and the Fight Network to continue to operate TNA next year.
This has many people scratching their heads, why put in some large sums of money to pay off debts to a company, just so you can have a stake in that company which has been losing money for years. Sometimes it makes sense to knowingly allow your business to make loses, although that’s normally in order to set it up to make profit later on – essentially what many expect to be WCPW’s business model. TNA though cannot promise any future profit in its current state, it’s not a new company that just needs to make people aware of its existence. I however have tried to rack my brain as to why anyone sees money and potential in this business. One theory I’ve managed to come up with is this; you’ve got a company with both online and regional TV presence, another who is a production company and finally TNA, who has wrestlers, a ring and a known (yet tarnished) brand in the wrestling business – however, do have an incredibly loyal fanbase. Many of the major components for a weekly wrestling show.
With TNA not preforming well in ratings in many of its markets, as well as being yet to fulfil its India TV deal it would not be a surprise to see one of two things come the expiration of these TV deals (As well as the pay per view deals) 1. The company are offered terrible deals, in which they must produce two hours of content weekly, at a level of production which costs far more than they could dream of making back 2. They aren’t offered new deals. This could be a major problem; unless of course you’re part owned by a business that has its own TV network in Canada and an online network available around the world. I wonder if it’s possible TNA will allow their contracts to run out, to then broadcast Impact exclusively on the Fight Network.
Now yes, initially that may seem like a bad idea to some. Raw and Smackdown aren’t on the WWE network because you will struggle to build an audience when your product is all behind a paywall. Who is going to pay for a product they have never seen? However, TNA isn’t growing an audience anyway; they’ve been rapidly losing it since they left Spike. Additionally, they might not have a TV contract to speak of anyway; it may be their only choice. This model would produce some positives though. When tied to a TV contract you must produce two hours of content every week at a quality the network demands. As part of the fight network, they could lessen production costs by scaling back – plus if Aroluxe have a stake in the business, that gives them more reason to offer cut prices on production. Additionally, with the Fight Network in control, you could even play about with the idea of seasons like Lucha Underground, or at least taking small breaks should they need to.
Right now TNA I believe sits around 300k viewers on Pop TV. With the addition of loyal fans around the world, you’ve got a small, yet loyal bunch of fans. Most of the viewers left are not casual viewers; they are for the most part seemingly TNA diehards. As viewers of traditional TV content, this number isn’t that appealing to TV networks, they aren’t paying subscriptions, and instead they are valued on their ability to be influenced by ads. TNA’s ad revenue is apparently terrible due to the fact that selling advertising for Impact is incredibly difficult. If you got just 50k of these loyal fans around the world to subscribe to the Fight Network, which I believe is around $15 a month, that’s an additional 750k a month. Of course I don’t know how TNA’s cash flow works. However, if you pair that number with far better merchandising efforts, you could be allowing Impact to make far more than it sounds like it is making with Pop TV. Pair this with scaling back on production costs, disbanding TNA’s offices and moving them to either one of, or splitting between those of Aroluxe and the Fight Network, operating on a justintime merchandising model, possibly moving venues of TV tapings (somewhere cheaper in possible, maybe even in Toronto where Fight is based) and replacing higher payed talent with cheaper but equally talented wrestlers from the indies when the likes of The Hardy’s and Lashley decide to call time on their TNA careers you could make something of TNA. Maybe they can even eventually even run houseshows again.
I don’t claim to be a financial expert, nor am I an expert on how TNA operates. My ideas might be totally impossible to see through, even possibly leaving TNA in a worse state. This is just from the outside looking in, with a bit of brainstorming, trying to find a way to justify a way in my head that a wrestling company I am passionate about can continue operations. I just hope all the hardworking people at TNA end up with jobs, be it in TNA or elsewhere and with the ability to support their families. However, my proposals, while some could be off base, seem like a possibility and keeping everything “in-house” with the companies who have stakes in TNA seems a safer way of operating. Yes this will restrict TNA’s ability to grow, but you must question how much ability to grow there even is elsewhere for TNA. It will never overtake WWE. A small loyal paying fanbase can be far more valuable than a bigger, but still small in the grand scheme of things, fanbase who advertisers won’t touch at all.
Lashley is probably the most protected wrestler on the Impact roster in the past year. Even more so than EC3 was once upon a time. That isn’t a bad thing either, if you’ve got a jacked, legit MMA fighter, you’d make him look like a badass too. Interestingly, Eddie Edwards has been pretty much the only guy to get one over on Lashley for months. After Lashley defeated Moose to become number 1 contender this week, he may end up doing it again. That is unless they have Edwards lose the title already. I’m hoping they won’t do that as I’m holding out a for a feud between Edwards and his tag team partner in the Wolves, Davey Richards, for the World title once Richards returns. It will be interesting if they choose to have Edwards beat Lashley again, to see how they do it, leaving Lashley once again looking like a threat.
In terms of the Knockouts Division, hopefully they don’t have this Allie thing go ages and ages before finally paying off with Allie really snapping on Maria. With these types of builds, it’s important not to overstay your welcome. Otherwise you risk your audience losing interest in seeing the payoff. At the moment though, many Impact fans are still desperate to see Allie turn on her boss Maria and really start to begin to show what ability the former Chery Bomb has in the ring. Allie is always thoroughly entertaining and although I’ve seen some doubt Maria’s skills, at least in the ring, I think she is also a very strong part of the Knockouts roster.
As far as we know, it does seem as though Cody Rhodes stay in TNA, at least for the moment, will be brief. Many experts don’t believe he will continue to work for TNA, past when he begins his work with Ring of Honor. Of course it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cody in an Impact ring again one, however, for the time being it seems the one taping he attended is as much as he will do. So it is smart of TNA to try and no have him spent too long on a single feud – like with Mike Bennett. Plus using Cody in a world title match with Eddie Edwards, with Edwards getting the win works, as neither came off badly in this exchange. I am very much desperate to see Cody continue with TNA. Although as a big fan of his, I suppose I should get up to date with ROH again, as I very much do intend on seeing Cody wrestle more often than whenever he appears of Impact.
As TNA’s future remains cloudy and uncertain, we’ve still got the luxury to expect a very easy two hours each Thursday night. The show continues to be above average and of course way above average in the grand scheme of Impact Wrestling over the past 5-6 years.
Tags: Cody Rhodes, dixie carter, EC3, Eddie Edwards, Fight Network, Impact Wrestling, lashley, Lewis Michie, TNA