When TNA Impact Wrestling debuted in 2004, it was hailed as a savior for pro wrestling. At the time, the WWE monopolized the wrestling world, having bought out the competition in 2001. TNA Impact Wrestling heralded in an alternative to the sports entertainment type of wrestling that the WWE produced. But ten years later, and the forward momentum that TNA once harnessed, has all but expired. And recent news suggests that TNA may be in crippling financial jeopardy. Despite a decade in business, will 2014 be the year that TNA goes out of business?
At its pinnacle, TNA Impact Wrestling regularly attracted over two million viewers to its weekly cable television show. The company purchased the services of some of the biggest star attractions in wrestling history. This included Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle. In fact, expectations for success were so lofty that Dixie Carter and Panda Energy took TNA Impact Wrestling on the road, and even ran a few TV shows against competitor WWE Raw. However, when ratings refused to climb, TNA Impact Wrestling was forced to scale back. In 2012, during the initial financial scale back, TNA parted ways with big money acquisitions like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. They also moved their television tapings back to their studio home at Universal Studios. These minor downturns are unimpressive in comparison to what is happening today.
The last few months in TNA has looked less like a successful number two wrestling company, and more like the sinking of the Titanic. Loyal wrestlers such as A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels have left the company due to financial disagreements. The response by TNA is to hire less expensive and lesser known wrestlers, which will negatively affect the weekly television ratings. But the financial strain reaches beyond the wrestlers. At the last set of television tapings, the production crews were set to go on strike, due to a lack of payment. At the last minute, Panda Energy and TNA stepped in and paid the production crew their balance, but the situation speaks volumes. TNA is at in most unstable, and after the departure of A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels, nobody is safe from the chopping block.
Further evidence of a company in ruin is TNA’s inability to lock up a television arrangement with Spike TV. After years of doing business with one another, there seems to be some hesitance on the part of Spike TV to offer the wrestling company a contract. Their current contract ends in October.
Although nobody knows for sure if TNA will go out of business any time soon, the writing can be seen on the wall. If TNA does go out of business, it will leave the WWE as the only national player in the wrestling game. And fans worldwide will once again be begging for an alternative. An alternative that, unfortunately, TNA was unable to sustain.