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The (Reported) Death of TNA Impact, And How Its Cancellation Could Affect Pro Wrestling and MMA

(*single tear* [via @SoDuTw])

By Seth Falvo

The inevitable has finally occurred: TMZ is reporting that Spike TV  has cancelled TNA Impact Wrestling after nine less than spectacular years. It is unclear when the final edition of Impact will air, but TMZ says that TNA’s deal with Spike runs through October. Neither Spike TV nor TNA have released official statements at this time.

So why are we covering the death of a minor-league professional wrestling outfit that did everything it possibly could to run itself out of business on Because this is the same promotion that partnered with Bellator to bring us King Mo’s (unintentionally hilarious) wrestling career and Tito Ortiz slugging Rampage Jackson with a hammer. It goes without saying that the Bellator/TNA partnership is about to dissolve, but what can we expect Spike TV to replace TNA Impact with? Will this bring more MMA to Spike TV, or will Spike just find another indie wrestling organization to fill in TNA’s shoes? Your guess is as good as anyone’s at this point, so let’s recklessly speculate for a while.

Isn’t it a little premature to write that TNA Impact Wrestling has been cancelled, considering that TNA could still renew with Spike TV/find a different network?

Sure, Spike TV could still renew TNA Impact, just like someone hypothetically could hold the UFC flyweight and heavyweight titles simultaneously. Not that it matters, but rumor has it that Spike TV executives cancelled Impact because they learned that TNA president Dixie Carter hired Vince Russo as a consultant, even though Spike specifically told her not to give him a job. If that’s true, that’s an oddly appropriate note for a company so hellbent on running itself into the ground to go out on.

As for another network picking up TNA Impact? Take it away, Razor…

What are the odds that Vince McMahon buys TNA Wrestling?

This may sound crazy, but I doubt Vince McMahon wants to acquire TNA; frankly, he’s far more interested in what the UFC is doing than anything TNA has ever done. TNA has never been any sort of legitimate threat to his business, and without a television contract, buying them out just means buying a few wrestler contracts and a video library filled mostly with guys he doesn’t want in the first place. As awesome as early AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe matches were, there’s no point in making them a part of the WWE video library when none of those guys are ever going to be relevant WWE wrestlers.

Enough wrasslin’ talk, what does this mean for Bellator?

At the very least, it means no more awkward plugs for TNA Impact during Bellator events, and no more Bellator fighters stumbling through cheesy professional wrestling storylines in crossover appearances. That alone is a gigantic plus in my book.

Unfortunately for Bellator, I’m tempted to say not much else. There’s no way that an MMA promotion could pump out enough events to fill in for a professional wrestling show, so let’s not even entertain the idea of Bellator getting a weekly segment on Spike. Even if they could, MMA simply wouldn’t bring in the ratings that professional wrestling brings in; despite being on its deathbed, TNA Impact is averaging more viewers than Bellator’s most-watched event brought in, period. Professional wrestling is cheap content that can bring in decent ratings, even when it’s complete garbage.

So Viacom is going to bring in Ring of Honor/Chikara/Some other indie wrestling promotion, then?

Not necessarily — I wouldn’t be surprised if Viacom was refusing to renew the television deal in order to outright purchase TNA Wrestling. Right now, the Spike TV deal is TNA’s primary source of income. Without that, they’re worth next to nothing (both ECW and WCW were bought out for peanuts when they lost their television deals). As for why Viacom would want to buy the promotion, it’s because the problem with TNA isn’t a lack of talent on the roster, it’s how completely clueless everyone running the company is. In other words, Viacom recognizes that a new, more competent regime would easily lead to better ratings.

Should I donate to that campaign to purchase TNA Wrestling?

I’m going to say that this is an awful idea for several reasons, but it’s your money, so sure, why not.

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