TMZ is reporting that Nashville-based TNA Wrestling has been informed by Spike TV that its premiere show, Impact, will not be renewed when its contract is up in October.
A Spike spokesman told Post Sports "we don't comment on ongoing negotiations," which at least insinuates that it's not necessarily a done deal (or that it's a deal not ready for public consumption). TNA did not return a request for comment.
Spike has aired Impact since 2005 and while the promotion has had some success — it averages about 1 million viewers per week — it's failed to make much of dent in industry leader WWE. (TNA is reasonably popular and even competitive with the WWE in certain overseas markets, though, particularly in Europe and south Asia.)
Despite rising new competition from former TNA impresario Jeff Jarrett, who launched his own Global Force Wrestling this spring and already has partnerships with some of the top overseas promotions (such as New Japan and Mexico's AAA), TNA is still regarded as the clear No. 2 wrestling promotion in the U.S. (Of course, you could drive a billion Andre the Giants in the hole between 1 and 2.)
From recently retired WWE announcer (and hopefully future Fox Soccer play-by-play man) Jim Ross:
Obviously, this is a blow to TNA but they have a weekly audience of approximately 1M viewers which will interest some cable networks. The question is can TNA negotiate a deal that will financially keep them in business in today's entertainment world with this quick turnaround?
WWE got less of a rights fee from NBC/Universal to stay on the USA Network than many predicted so one could assume another cable entity might not be willing to pay top dollar for TNA with the current perception that broadcasters apparently have regarding the genre.
One would assume/hope TNA finds a new cable home and they move their fan base with them. If not, Viacom's Spike Network is in the same position TBS was in when Jim Crockett Promotions found themselves in financial duress. TBS bought out JCP and WCW aired on TBS & TNT for years. The question is does Viacom want to own a pro wrestling franchise to go with their newly acquired MMA franchise Bellator?
Professional wrestler Scott Steiner is again suing Total Nonstop Action Entertainment, this time saying its top executives — including Hulk Hogan — endangered his health and career by letting fellow competitor Jeff Hardy to enter the ring drunk "and/or under the influence of a controlled substance" at a Michigan event last year. He wants $750,000 in damages from Cummins Station-based TNA.
According to the lawsuit filed in Davidson County Circuit Court, Steiner suffered nerve damage in his shoulder and neck as well as a bicep injury due to what he called Hardy’s reckless, drunken wrestling.
Cummins Station-based wrestling company TNA Entertainment has launched a second high-profile lawsuit a month after accusing rival WWE of interfering with its business. This time, TNA officials are after Scott Steiner, a wrestler who has been on their roster since late 2010. They say Steiner is breaching his contract by making disparaging Twitter remarks about fellow wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan, and the TNA organization as a whole.
SEE ALSO: Details of TNA's beef with WWE
Nashville-based TNA Entertainment, the promoter of the Total Nonstop Action wrestling series, says its business is in serious jeopardy after a former employee took with him to rival promoter WWE contract details and other trade secrets. As a result, TNA execs say, star wrestler Ric Flair recently backed out of appearances and wants out of his deal.
A WWE official notified TNA on May 7 about Wittenstein’s breach, but the lawsuit claims WWE waited three weeks before telling TNA. WWE fired Wittenstein after they learned what he did, according to the lawsuit.
Two days later, Flair attempted to terminate his TNA contract. He also failed to show up for TNA events from May 10-15, including a pay-per-view show. TNA now believes that Flair may be headed for WWE, the timing of which, it claims, is “suspect.”
The television shows produced by Cummins Station-based TNA Entertainment now reach 100 countries and have been a big driver in the company's 10-year growth curve and graduation from "a tin shed in the middle of the city." In this week's City Paper, Lucas Hendrickson steps into the ring to tell the story of a plucky start-up that has become the No. 2 wrestling promoter in the country.
“We had two or three Indian companies contact us over the past several years with different kinds of ideas, but it was almost more of a consultancy,” Jarrett said. “Endemol was a completely different story, and a great tag-team partner. They came and said, ‘You’re the experts in wrestling, we’re the experts in the country, the culture, the contacts, production elements, all that.’ We sat down and played to each other’s strengths and got out of the way of the other stuff.”
SEE ALSO: Our 2010 Fast 50 magazine profile of TNA [Subscribers only]
Nashville-based TNA Entertainment and Sky Deutschland have extended their agreement to carry the wrestling company's pay-per-view events in 2012 and added a Web and mobile platform component. The broadcaster's Sky Sports network also will carry TNA's weekly profile show.
Downtown-based TNA Entertainment has hooked up with Ohio Valley Wrestling to develop its next generation of stars. The two companies have inked a deal, effective immediately, to have Louisville-based OVW — which has in the past been affiliated with wrestling titan WWE — school TNA athletes.