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Destination Downward: The story of TNA in 2014 and beyond?

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With TNA Impact's rumored move to Destination America, we speculate about what this means for the struggling wrestling promotion heading into 2015.

Symbolic of TNA's fate in 2014 and beyond?
Symbolic of TNA's fate in 2014 and beyond?

It's now official, Spike TV will indeed be out of the TNA Wrestling business by the time 2014 comes to a close, something both sides have unofficially been preparing for since the end of July.

The expectation is that Dixie Carter will announce a new television deal with Destination America later this week. Dave Meltzer indicated this in his daily news update yesterday:

"Here's an update on the TNA television situation. On Wednesday, sources at Destination America believed they had a deal with TNA and those in the TNA office believed an announcement was being made on Thursday. It is possible they will wait until after Wednesday's show to make the announcement so they don't come across as lame duck on Spike, which was nice enough to keep them on the air past the contract expiration to allow them to not disappear off the radar before a deal is made."

What this deal would likely mean is that TNA's destination downward, the story of the company in 2014, will continue next year too.

Other than allowing Miss Dixie to save some face, which seems to be the raison d'être of the promotion nowadays, the forced move spells disaster for TNA's future, as Destination America is available in about 40 million less homes in the United States than Spike TV and consequently their shows draw much fewer eyeballs, making it significantly harder for TNA to create new fans, yet alone maintain their existing fan base.

TNA Impact would also make a very strange addition to their programming line-up, as Destination America mainly features documentaries on a wide range of subjects from the paranormal to extreme wildlife. On the bright side, at least Eric Young should feel at home on the new station!

Moreover, by virtue of signing with a lower profile network, whilst having little negotiating leverage, the TV rights fees for the opportunity to air Impact will surely be significantly lower than what TNA were used to. Other business streams, like ticket sales, merchandising and pay-per-view buys, will inevitably be negatively impacted by the drop in viewership too.

Less money coming in means further spending cuts, leading to more talent losses, which will make drawing ratings and turning around their business even harder. Those performers that don't have better options elsewhere will be forced to accept savage pay cuts to keep their jobs, adding financial injury to the insult of being misled for months over TNA's prospects of re-signing with Spike TV.

Now, more than ever, TNA will have to depend upon their own star making skills and their ability to create compelling feuds to generate an underground buzz for their product. The problem here is that TNA's track record has been appalling in this regard. In their 12 years of existence, they've botched the push of every talented young act that's come their way, so that every one of them has become tarnished by the tainted TNA brand. By and large, their major storylines have been derivative ripoffs of memorable angles from the past.

TNA clearly needs a fresh and innovative new direction, so they don't simply become an even more low rent and laughable version of WWE-Lite. Given that TNA's creative team is currently led by former WWE producer John Gaburick and the scripts are written by former WWE writer Dave Lagana and Vince Russo disciple Matt Conway, that necessary change seems unlikely to come.

TNA's descent downward thus sadly seems set to continue, and that will hurt everyone involved in this struggling promotion, well, other than Dixie Carter and the rest of her family, who will remain astonishingly rich regardless of the fortunes of their wrestling side project.

All I can say in conclusion then is that I feel sorry for the wrestling business that TNA will still be run by the person whose actions put them in this fine mess. After all, what loving father with big bucks in the bank would ever dream of firing their doe-eyed daughter?