It’s been a while since “TNA is on its last legs” stories were weekly or even daily features of sites like Cageside Seats.
The news yesterday that Jeff Jarrett would be taking an ‘indefinite leave of absence’ from his recently announced post as head of creative kicked started the rumor mill. Next came word that Anthem Entertainment, which just purchased the promotion formerly known as TNA earlier this year, had yet to finalize the merger with Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling - despite relabeling Impact Wrestling and elements of the show with the GFW name. The alleged issues between Jarrett and Ed Nordholm, the Anthem executive who’s running Impact, may have put the merger in jeopardy and could cause yet another rebranding.
That is, if Anthem still owns the promotion.
“GFW is hemorrhaging funds, and sources close to the situation have confirmed that Anthem is ready to withdraw itself from the wrestling industry and sell GFW. Anthem even needed to gut the Fight Network in order to finance GFW.”
A potential exit by Canada-based Anthem again brings up the question of potential buyers. Impact’s tape library, which includes matches and shows featuring names like Sting, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and others, is a valuable commodity which has reportedly drawn offers from WWE in the past. Barrasso’s piece also mentions that Impact producer John Gaburick is extremely close with Vince McMahon confidant, WWE Executive Vice-President of Television Production Kevin Dunn - insinuating they could facilitate a deal.
Other potential suitors include Ring of Honor, which would solidify their place as the second biggest U.S. wrestling company, or even Billy Corgan. The Smashing Pumpkins founder lost a battle to assume control of TNA in late 2016, and has since bought some rights to the National Wrestling Alliance name, but what exactly he owns and what he plans to do with it is not clear.
Unfortunately, the people most affected are talent and fans. Many of the wrestlers working on Impact just got out from under months of uncertainty, and while there are no reports of missed payments as there were under Dixie Carter’s ownership, there were said to be cost-cutting measures taken at the August tapings.
And viewers who’ve stuck with Impact through numerous reboots have to again be wondering if it’s worth investing more time following storylines which could change or end based on ownership.
At least we’ll seemingly always have the “TNA Death Watch”, a storyline that never ends.