Perhaps the biggest black mark on the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff reign of power in TNA over the last couple of years is how their star power and creative input hasn't boosted the company's pay-per-view business. In fact, they've had quite the opposite effect, as TNA's PPV buying audience has significantly contracted under their watch.
However, in January there was a positive sign for once, as Genesis drew between 10,000-12,000 buys, better than usual, thanks to Jeff Hardy challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight title against Robert Roode. So was this the start of a turnaround or just a momentary blip? The booking of the event suggested it would be the latter, as they had one of the cheapest finishes to a PPV in recent memory when Hardy lost by disqualification after Roode kicked the referee in the balls. Moreover, TNA in their infinite wisdom then decided to give away the rematch for free on Impact at the first available opportunity. Fans must have been left wondering why they bought Genesis in the first place when the show was just used to set up the next edition of Impact.
Courtesy of Dave Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the numbers for TNA's March PPV, Victory Road, are now in and they matched the intuition that TNA had gained no momentum on PPV from the above average buy rate for Genesis:
Based on cable estimates, TNA's Victory Road bombed on PPV doing an estimated 7,000 buys, with the Bobby Roode vs. Sting match. It was less than half of what last year's show with the aborted Sting vs. Jeff Hardy match did. With the exception of Bound for Glory, built around Hulk Hogan, the only time they've even moved the needle slightly on PPV was Roode vs. Jeff Hardy.
Given that Sting wrestles so rarely nowadays and thus every time he steps into the ring should make the PPV event he appears on special, this is an abysmal number and suggests that TNA may be beyond hope, despite just this week extending their existing television deal with Spike TV for another couple of years. Most people now expect Lockdown this month to draw much less than 20,000 buys, despite it being their second biggest PPV of the year and never before dropping below that mark. Sadly, it seems guaranteed that this PPV business slump will continue until TNA undergoes a much needed management shakeup.