Thursday, May 28, 2015
ROH Finds A Destination To Expand Which Could Spell Doom For TNA
When wrestling was at its peak was during the Monday Night Wars with WWE and WCW battling for viewers on a weekly basis. This is not news to anyone that is a wrestling fan. It has been talked about for 14 years since WCW went belly-up and purchased for an insane bargain price by Vince McMahon’s WWE.
The events of Wednesday are not exactly the start of the new Wednesday Night Wars. However, the fact that ROH has landed on the same network as TNA wrestling is quite amazing. Destination America and their displeasure with the relationship with TNA has been front-page news on most wrestling websites. It started with a report by Dave Meltzer saying that TNA will be losing their deal with Destination America in September. This led to a story about Dixie Carter sending out an angry email that she sent to the president of the network by mistake. This was quite similar to how TNA burned bridges with Spike by accidentally letting the fact Vince Russo was still working for company fall into the hands of a wrestling website. Spike wanted no part of Russo and while it was not likely, the main reason Spike said good-bye to TNA but perhaps a final straw.
Now enter ROH the main rival for second place in the wrestling business in North America into the mix. It appears Destination America approached ROH about a deal to air ROH on their channel. It seems like a move designed to stick it to TNA. When you consider it from ROH’s point of view it doubles their reach to somewhere around 100 million homes that ROH will reach starting June 3, 2015. You add the close to 50 million ROH already had with the 57 million Destination America has. It also gets ROH into key markets like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, which had long been a knock against the promotion. This is a huge deal for ROH regardless of what it means for TNA.
The deal is for 28 weeks that would extend beyond the cancellation date for TNA. Well the non-renewal of TNA as they prefer it be said but it amounts to the same thing.
It comes at a key time for ROH just weeks prior to their Pay-Per-View from New York Best in the World. It also comes as they just have a launched a line of action figures that is a result of a toy deal they signed last year. There is nothing but upside in this deal for ROH that it appears fell right in their lap. There was talk NESN was going to pick-up ROH that on its own would have been a big deal. Now with this deal it makes it unclear where that leaves the NESN deal. Probably kills it but regardless of if it does or does not this is a much larger scope deal for ROH.
In terms of TNA the company, that has had its obit or death notice written many times this seems like it could spell the end. TNA has been trying to spin this by welcoming ROH to the family on their now shared network. It was stated by MVP that talent knew nothing about the latest news that is par for the course for TNA. I would suspect TNA management knew nothing of this as well. It would be as if on a larger scale having the McDonalds being forced to work side by side with Burger King.
TNA was already trying to put out fires from their reported but demise on the network and now be hit with this. I have no idea of who the head of Destination America is, but I have to believe Vince McMahon would chuckle at how he handled this sticking it to TNA.
Triple H had talked about not feeling NXT was in competition with ROH by the recent touring of the brand. Well they now will share a television night much as they did the city of Philadelphia recently. Technically, they will run in direct competition with both airing at 8pm on Wednesday. Still with the on demand eliminate of the WWE Network this should not (pardon the pun) Impact on ROH to much. It might on the night of NXT Specials but on a week-to-week basis likely not. Even if it did there is still around 55-56 million people without the WWE Network as a potential audience for ROH.
This makes ROH the only wrestling company including WWE to be on both traditional over the air broadcast television and cable. WWE has not had that since Smackdown left the CW. Not that WWE is concerned, as Smackdown will be moving to USA in 2016.
Have we seen the final chapter in the Death of TNA book written? It sure seems that way based on this move by Destination America and no other network really interested in having wrestling at the moment. Isn’t that right Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling?
Perhaps on of the biggest days in ROH History is at the same time perhaps the final nail in the TNA coffin. Which as much as we hate to admit it was part of the appeal of the Monday Night Wars. It was about two companies going head to head trying to destroy each other directly or indirectly. This will not be a war with ROH and TNA as much as an awkward couple of months they find themselves being neighbors.
This was a mind-blowing story that was almost to amazing to believe. John Pollock and Court Bauer in provide some great follow-up on this about a 25-minute podcast. Court had worked with ROH as an advisory role up until March of this year. I recommend you give it a listen on MLW Radio or The Law.