Remember when we told you guys on Sunday that Bellator is going through some hard times before its (extremely misguided) inaugural PPV? Well, with a brand new episode of TNA Impact scheduled to air tonight, we decided to look into how Viacom’s other promotion is doing. Try not to act too surprised, but here’s the short version of the story:
Believe it or not, the professional wrestling outfit that’s been repackaged as an infomercial for an MMA PPV that no one cares about is in some pretty dire straights. Over the course of the past year, TNA Impact has been making some drastic budget cuts, which have included firing numerous young prospects and veteran wrestlers alike (leading to some hilarious satirical stories from Kayfabe News). Okay, no problem with trimming the fat, right? Well, once main players in the company start getting cut, it’s not exactly a good sign.
Two weeks ago, TNA Impact actually had to fire Hulk Hogan as a cost cutting measure. On the surface, Hogan’s dismissal from the company has been long overdue — he’s an overpaid sixty year old being used as an on-air authority figure because he physically can’t wrestle anymore. But for TNA Impact to finally part ways with the guy? Brother, that’d be like Dana White firing Chuck Liddell from his vaguely-defined job; even though it would make sense financially, it would never happen unless the company was circling the drain.
To make matters worse, the promotion’s first show without Hulk Hogan since 2009 only managed to bring in only 1.08 million viewers last Thursday, which is nearly an all-time low for the promotion. To put that into perspective, more people watched a midnight rerun of Pawn Stars than TNA Impact. But they did manage to pull in a few more viewers than an American Dad rerun that aired at 1:30 in the morning, so that’s a plus, I guess.
Jim Cornette recently said that he’d “hang up quickly and take three Xanax” if Dixie Carter called him asking for his help, and it isn’t hard to see why he said that. TNA’s insistence on signing the WWE’s ancient leftovers and pushing them down their viewers’ throats has made it pretty hard for viewers to take them seriously. So has their habit of burying their promising young talent; by all means stop me if any of this sounds familiar. And let’s not get started on the terrible storylines that TNA Impact has been producing. The promotion won The Gooker Award — the professional wrestling equivalent of a Golden Raspberry — twice in the past three years, and something tells me that they’re going to extend the streak this year with the Rampage vs. Tito storyline.
I’m not writing that the situation is hopeless, but I am writing that it may very well be hopeless if Bellator’s pay-per-view flops. Viacom has invested the futures of both promotions into this card. If it doesn’t end well, it’ll take more than Tim Sylvia to fix the ensuing fiasco.