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Is tonight TNA's last meaningful episode of Impact Wrestling?

Despite a run of straightforward storytelling and pretty good wrestling, it might be too little, too late for TNA and Impact Wrestling.

Yesterday's report that Kurt Angle will be staying with Dixie Carter's company seems like good news, but it's mostly more in a steady stream of smoke that the wrestling public has been receiving since the bombshell dropped that Spike TV was "cancelling" Impact (later revised to Viacom-owned Spike not renewing it's contract with TNA and ceasing to broadcast the show when that deal expires at the end of 2014).

There has been no formal announcement from Angle or the Nashville, Tennessee-based wrestling company.  Just like there has been no announcement on a new television deal or new investment partners, despite rumors of both being in the air - and allegedly delivered by Carter and Creative head John Gaburick to talent - for the past month.

Which is neither necessarily good or bad news, but the longer we go with no news, it's only natural to for fans to worry.  And for observers to lose interest.

And that's a bit of a shame, because there are still talented men and women who've worked hard to produce the episodes of Impact that have been airing on Wednesday nights at 9PM Eastern over the past several weeks.  The episode airing tonight, October 29th, is a particularly intriguing one.  TNA World Heavyweight Champ Bobby Lashley faces Bobby Roode, the man with the longest title reign in company history, for the second time in recent months tonight.

Spoilers are out there for tonight's show, which is made up of matches taped in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania last month.  While nothing definite has been announced (sense a theme?), it is not expected that the content filmed on September 16 - 18 at these tapings will fill out the year, and Spike will end up running out the string with clip and highlight shows.

There are no other tapings planned, and the only "Events" listed as upcoming on TNA's website are three shows in The United Kingdom in late January, 2015.

It's entirely possible that negotiations with a new television partner are taking longer than expected and that Dixie Carter will announce a new deal and the Angle signing in early November.  It's also possible that we could be seeing the last nationally broadcast episodes of Impact ever over the coming weeks.

If the latter is true, tonight might be a heck of a way to go out.

Former WWE employee Lashley has been champ since mid-June, and has impressed in title defenses against former titleholders Roode, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries and Eric Young.  In that time, he has also been fighting in Viacom's mixed martial arts promotion Bellator, and racked up submission and stoppage victories.  Bellator isn't the UFC and his opponents weren't world beaters, but he's establishing himself as a name in MMA and could transition into the sport full-time if he should leave TNA, or should it cease to exist.

You'd be hard pressed to find a more consummate professional wrestler than Bobby Roode.  The It Factor has been with TNA since almost its inception.  He's worked as a babyface and a heel, as a solo act and as part of two great tag teams (Beer Money, Inc. with James Storm and The Dirty Heels with Aries).  WWE probably wouldn't have interest in the Canadian, more due to his age (37) than his affiliation with Jeff Jarrett's old promotion, but Roode won't have any problem earning the same kind of international, cross-promotional living that AJ Styles now makes with Ring of Honor (ROH), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and other independents.

Lashley is affiliated with MVP and Kenny King, but this match and most of the current champ's run has been gloriously free of the kind of authority figure intervention or double-crossing faction warfare that drove so many fans away from TNA over the years.

Ex-WWE guys were also a large part of TNA's downfall, but Lashley was out of the game when he signed with Carter and has used Impact as a platform to re-establish himself, unlike past veterans who coasted in the company's then-home in Florida for a paycheck and one last pop.

Roode has been through it all, and through it all has remained over, relevant and (mostly) unsullied by the LOL reputation his employer got with the masses.  The booking of his epic 2011 - 2013 title run was not without its issues, but Bobby persevered without ever once letting it seem to affect the product he delivered to fans.

It's unclear what the future holds for TNA, and the many talented wrestlers in its employ, with or without a new U.S. television contract.

But if it is going, tonight's episode, featuring talents like Samoa Joe, Low Ki, Ethan Carter III, the Hardy Brothers, Taryn Terrell AND the headliners, may be one you want to remember it by.

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