SMARK COUNTRY: A Savior Discovers Impact Wrestling
The “Internet Wrestling Community” has been relatively mum about the few weeks old news of Impact Wrestling finding a new home with Destination America. This could be a bad sign, as with pro wrestling in general, the worst reaction you could possibly have with the audience is no reaction.
I think this has less to do with the fact that people have completely written off TNA and more to do with the fact that fans are befuddled with the company’s new destination and what kind of reception this network will give the little engine that could that is the number two promotion in the United States.
With TNA’s existing deal with Spike TV, who has been the home of TNA wrestling for the past nine years, showing no positive signs on the renegotiations front, TNA President Dixie Carter left no stone unturned and was able to get a deal brokered with Discovery Communications, the parent company of Destination America. In her press release, Carter assuaged fans that may think this was just a stopgap and that TNA has no long term strategy.
“We are very excited about Destination America being the new network for IMPACT WRESTLING and the partnership with Discovery Communications both domestically and across the globe. Their commitment to promote and grow our brand in innovative and compelling ways was instrumental in knowing we had found the right home,” TNA President Dixie Carter said in a press release announcing the deal. “Together we will create an experience that takes our fans on a new journey that will push the envelope of technology, including where we take our cameras, going deeper into our superstars’ lives and showing the reality of what it takes to create a weekly professional wrestling show, all while showcasing the very best male and female athletes in the world.”
This announcement is good news for the men and women in the locker room that were perhaps hesitant with signing long term deals with the company that they might not see a dime of if the company folded. It is also good for wrestling fans who can continue to get their weekly wrestling fix here and perhaps feel that the alternatives either can’t get on a visible timeslot (Ring of Honor) or provide a satisfying product week in/week out (World Wrestling Entertainment).
But several questions loom. What exactly do they have planned as far as promoting the company across the entire Discovery Communications line? Will it keep its existing time slot? And most importantly, how involved in the day to day operations will Destination America be? The product has always been a TV14/PG-13 rated show, but there is a strong feeling that because of their new network, that TNA will likely change to a more family friendly product, much like the WWE did several years ago. This could be a dilemma as the one aspect that did cause viewers to stray from the WWE product was fans looking for something that, for lack of a better term, didn’t insult their intelligence. They beat World Wrestling Entertainment in the one category that WWE couldn’t win. But the most important question, will Destination America tolerate the shenanigans that went on in booking, creative and upper management, which led to Spike TV opting to not re-up their deal.
I believe it was Robert Redford who once said ‘When you get older, you learn certain life lessons. You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a new lease on this thing. So let’s go.’ Do you feel that the higher ups in TNA have learned from their mistakes and have earned this new lease on life?