The most controversial aspect of Spike TV's decision to cancel TNA Impact is how big a factor was the recent revelation that Vince Russo was back working for TNA as a creative consultant. Was it the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back or a mountain being made out of a molehill by parts of the wrestling media?
Dave Meltzer reported shortly before negotiations between Spike TV and TNA broke down that TNA had intentionally kept Spike in the dark about Russo's rehiring, who they hated, and his tone suggested that they were none too happy to find out that they had been misled by TNA. When the reports came out that Spike TV were not renewing Impact, Meltzer insisted that the deception over Russo had played a key role in that move, along with the weak advertising revenue Impact generates for Spike.
On the other hand, Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com, who broke the news of Russo's TNA consultancy work many months ago and whose colleague Mike Johnson forced Russo to come clean about his TNA employment status when he received an email from him meant for Mike Tenay, argued that as people from Spike TV regularly read their website that the news didn't come as a big surprise to them and thus it wasn't an issue.
Vince Russo has now issued an official statement regarding his situation with Spike TV and TNA where he claims that TNA Executive Vice President of Creative & Talent Relations John Gaburick told Spike about his involvement with TNA earlier this year:
"John Gaburick told me sometime in January/February that at a recent TV taping, he DID INDEED tell Spike representative Scott Fishman, that I was working with TNA as a consultant. He even went as far as to tell me that Scott "was cool" with it. Therefore, the story that Spike just found out about my involvement with TNA merely weeks ago, which caused them to not renew their TNA contract, is an ABSOLUTE MISTRUTH. Spike knew of my TNA presence some 6-plus months prior....There is much more to this story, but I choose to lay it out one step at a time due to the intricacies of the situation. I just feel it is VITAL at this time to, again, get this point across—if John Gaburick did indeed tell me the truth—that he informed Spike representative Scott Fishman of my working relationship with TNA back at the beginning of the year—then SPIKE TV HAD FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT I WAS WORKING WITH TNA OVER SIX MONTHS AGO."
The most likely explanation for all these conflicting stories is that Gaburick misled Fishman about the extent of Russo's involvement in the product. Initially, Russo just critiqued the shows after they had been written, but later that role grew to where he was involved with creative meetings and producing TNA's announcers. Gaburick may not have told Fishman about Russo's consultancy work evolving to where he had more and more influence over TNA's creative direction. Or else someone is lying or has been lied to here.
For those wondering what Russo's plans are now that he's left TNA again, other than writing for his website PyroAndBallyhoo.com, apparently he's in talks to further develop a script that he wrote with his son Will called Belle of the Brawl about a fictional wrestling company owned and operated by a woman. I wonder where on earth they found inspiration for that idea?
Russo also expects to write a third autobiography entitled Total Non-Stop Agony about his 10+ years working in TNA that he plans to release digitally through his own website.