In a new blog post fired off quickly after hearing the news that Spike TV has decided to cancel TNA Impact Wrestling, Jim Ross wonders aloud about Dixie Carter's company finding a new national television home:
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.
Many are working under the belief that TNA will need a new TV deal in order to survive, so if Ross is right about it being difficult to get a new deal in short order - and a financially viable deal one at that - we suddenly could find ourselves in a world where WWE is the only national player in the pro wrestling/sports entertainment game.
And with his former employer scheduled to hold their quarterly financial conference call later this week, JR is worried about the industry as a whole. Vince McMahon and team are scheduled to release the latest subscriber figures for the over-the-top distribution initiative WWE Network on that call, and speculation about the number of paying customers has not been optimistic.
If WWE's scheduled financial, conference call doesn't go well later this week especially as it relates to the number if subscribers currently paying for the WWE Network this will be one of the most news worthy and potentially negative weeks the business has experienced in years.
While it sounds like he expects bad news on both fronts, he believes there could be a silver lining for wrestling fans - that turmoil might force change and development:
I'm hoping the wrestling fans win at the end of the day and that there will be competition within the timeless genre that has apparently come to another crossroads that will necessitate change which might actually be a good thing.
Ross' hope for change seems to hinge, right now, on Spike/Viacom deciding to buy out Carter for TNA or on a third party stepping up to become a nationally distributed competitor to WWE. He, and many others, are expecting a rocky period before that happens, though.