Shoot From The Hip: The return, the debacle, the mystery machine rolls on!

So here I am again, presenting a new Shoot From The Hip for you guys, as it has gone a few more months since the last one (my Wrestlemania debacle). I had originally planned on this being a piece about the Genesis that is about to unfold by the end of 2014 in the industry. However, there has been some intriguing news, and I mean INTRIGUING news. And of course, this has to do with that one thing that many people view in a negative manner, some just because they don’t like other companies, and some that don’t like them because they have a woman in charge. Of course, you know I am bringing this to be a TNA topic.

The news recently surfaced from TMZ, that Spike had “Cancelled” Impact. And of course, the immediate response from Smarks and the IWC is that of a negative connotation. Things like “This is who WWE needs to pick up”, “WWE needs to buy them out and put them out of their mistery”, “Another one dies a deserving death”….comments that just make one ashamed to be a passionate fan of the industry, and comments that make one realize who truly is a wrestling fan, and who just pays attention to what is said online without truly checking something out. There are plenty of ways to view this. Allow me to present to you, the new shoot….the TNA/Spike Debacle 2014.

Is This Report True???
Depending on who you hear it from, there are still plenty of ways to go about this. For starters, obviously Dixie Carter & Bob Ryder, a production crew member, both reported that the negotiations are still taking place and that nothing is concrete. Even a member of the production crew who is on my Facebook page, Jason Cook, posted that certain people will have “egg on their faces” once the truth does come out. So three different comments on the situation saying it still isn’t over just yet.

Throw in the fact that the source of the original information….TMZ, broke the news. Now I am not saying TMZ isn’t credible, but them breaking news of something & calling them a credible news source is like calling Cinemax After Dark the most hardcore porn you’ve ever seen, or calling FOX News credible….take them lightly with a grain of salt. Never heard them report on TNA before this “broke”, and chances are they won’t mention them again, they are always posting negative too and never anything in a good light.

If this is true, what does it mean for Spike TV?
What does it mean for Spike? Say what you want, but if TNA truly is dropped by Spike TV, it can go either way for the company. For starters, TNA IS/WAS that channel’s calling card. After WWE fled to go back to USA Network, TNA came aboard and was the highest-rated program that channel has seen, or ever had, since. As of this writing, they still ARE the highest rated program for that channel. All you see on there now are Action films and COPS reruns. Oh, and Bellator. How can we forget Bellator? All we SEE ON SPIKE IS BELLATOR COMMERCIALS!!!! Bellator is actually one of the lowest-rated programs on that channel, and yet when one tunes in to Spike, that is all we see.

Since Impact came aboard to Spike in 2005, one would tune in and maybe see a commercial once a day for TNA…but Bellator, A Thousand Ways To Die, Blue Mountain state (nothing against those shows that aired as I watched them, loved watching them), would be aired every break, sometimes twice. Unless we are talking about the WWE’s 2000-2005 run on TNN/Spike, they rarely promoted wrestling when they have had it on their station. Remember 1999 when they got ECW? Did we ever get promotion for it? Not really, it was always promoting RollerJam or other things. Spike claimed to be a fan of TNA, but think about it…not much promotion on their part, not much on their effort. I mean, come on…they were trying to lure WWE back, and why….so they can throw a program that kept them afloat for 10 years and have given them better ratings than 90% of their other programs, down the drain? A little known fact, the last 2 weeks of TV shows have been their highest vewership in over a year….1.4 million viewers plus, after the previous month of hovering around the million mark. It would make Spike look like crooks in a way for cutting off the legs of their commodity when it was starting to get momentum going.

I really don’t got much to say about Vince Russo and Spike TV’s disdain for him. He has some hairbrained ideas, and right now, all he is is just a “consultant”…nothing more, nothing less.

And if the rumors are true, what does this mean for Global Force Wrestling, Jeff Jarrett’s new promotion? As he is shopping for a TV deal, it has been said he couldn’t shop to Spike as long as TNA is there…will we see wrestling return to Spike if this is true or will we see them try to cancel it out all together?

But if on the other side of the coin, should the rumors be false and TNA is indeed still in negotiations, and they stay on Spike, will we see more promotion?

What does the future hold for TNA?
This obviously is the big question people are jumping the gun about. I can tell you as a Communications major, advertising is key as is promotion and public relations. TNA has always had some sort of issue here. If you want to talk house shows, obviously drawing 700 people to a 2,000 seat venue is a slight issue. BUT, let’s talk about the last month and a half of TV. The Slammiversary PPV had a really good turnout. The Bethlehem, PA tapings ALSO sold pretty damn good. And if you have been paying attention to the Manhattan Center tapings, all 3 nights SOLD OUT (the last time we could say that about TNA ISSSS……..?). But then again, comparing house show crowds to TV taping crowds is like comparing apples to oranges.

Should the rumors be true about the partnership ending, than people really shouldn’t worry much. The reason I say this is, think back to June 2005. They were just celebrating a year on FOX Sports Network when they got the news that they weren’t being renewed. Within 4 months, they were on Spike. That year on FOX Sports was pretty similar to Spike, but they never promoted Impact once in that timeframe from 2004-2005. The only difference was then, the viewership was three times less than what they had now. Spike would be letting go of a company that is slowly picking up the pieces and getting a slight momentum build, especially with the recent set of tapings. If TNA has to get a new TV deal, chances are they will have one in place by the end of the year/beginning of 2015. If not, they got the internet outlet. In between FOX Sports and Spike, they aired for 4 months online, so one could catch it there. HULU, Youtube, so many different ways to still get across without TV.

But IF the rumors are just merely that, and we are proven to be false with the information, we could be seeing a lot of people walking away, like my buddy Jason said, with egg on their faces. That is the bad thing about the internet, TMZ, and even so-called “unbiased” dirt sheet sites. 85% of the things you hear reported end up false on there.

My Thoughts
If you must know my opinion, the only way we will truly know is once the dust settles. As soon as we hear a confirmation from TNA front office or Spike officials, than we will know the true answer. Should they leave Spike, there can be plenty of ways to go. There is always a plan B. Should they leave Spike, it can be viewed in 2 ways. Good and bad. Good because they can find a network that would promote them like they should be (it shouldn’t be hard to find a new network if that is the case, the PPV/TV taping crowds and the recent viewership should be an indicator of interest). The bad is, the loss of sponsorship, the loss of revenue for the time being. The good for Spike, they can go on promoting Bellator and other programs that won’t even break a 1.0 (or a 0.6 for that matter as most shows on that station don’t even do that), and the bad is…well, they will lose viewers.

My point is this, Spike has a buisness plan, as does TNA. TNA is a side company owned by an Energy/Oil tycoon (a rich one at that, or as the Smarks call it “a tax write-off for an Energy company”), they got the money to continue to fund it, they know what they gotta do on both ends to make it survive. It won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and will fight for their rights, but the TV future is murky until we know the true details. TNA will stay around, but will it be on Spike still, or a new network, or via the internet?