The latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has shed some light on the ongoing situation between TNA Wrestling and Spike TV. Wrestlezone exclusively reported earlier this week that Spike had informed Dixie Carter that they did not want to renew their current contract with the wrestling promotion, which was confirmed today in the Observer’s report.
Spike may not want to renew Impact Wrestling, but their parent company Viacom will not comment on the situation because they don’t want to ruin what little leverage TNA still has. It’s being said that Spike is willing to help the transition go smoothly, unlike what happened almost a decade ago when WWE ended up returning to the USA Network. In that situation, Viacom came out publicly with the news that they had cancelled Monday Night Raw, and it ended up hurting WWE’s negotiating power in the midst of a deal, leaving a lot of professional bitterness on the table.
The two major factors being talked about are 1) how much Spike can realistically make off staying in business with TNA, and 2) the Vince Russo factor. The second is not as big a deal as people have made it out to be – although it did result in Russo officially leaving TNA earlier today – as at the end of the day it all comes down to money. Impact Wrestling is currently the top rated show on the network, doing more viewers consistently than any of their other programming. However, because of how much money they are putting into Impact, and the current costs of licensing and a lack of significant ad revenue, Spike could – at the very least – make up for their losses by airing cheaper programming with better advertising in those time slots. The same situation happened with WWE Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event, which were both drawing better than comparable shows on their respective networks, but ended up cancelled for the same reasons.
At this point, even if Spike did offer TNA a new deal, the offer they would have to accept is far too low to continue operating in their current form. TNA management has promised the roster some form of good news by the next set of Impact Wrestling tapings in two weeks time, so we should have a better grasp of the company’s future soon.