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Jim Ross, Vince Russo and come out to defend / protect TNA

Jim Ross paints Destination America as the villain, Vince Russo uses the cancellation controversy to settle old scores, and fails to critically analyse the TNA spin that they're being fed.

Jim Ross thinks Destination America are the heels in the TNA cancellation story.
Jim Ross thinks Destination America are the heels in the TNA cancellation story.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Meltzer's report that Destination America has provisionally decided to cancel all TNA programming at the end of September 2015 continues to provoke intense discussion and debate online. Unfortunately, rather than being praised for publishing uncomfortable truths, Meltzer has been vilified as an irresponsible journalist and a liar by TNA's most loyal fans. For their part, TNA has fanned the flames of backlash against Meltzer by threatening litigation against the internet news sources that published false and defamatory statements about their company, executives and broadcasting partner.

In response to this negative reaction, Bryan Alvarez (Meltzer's business partner) read out on yesterday's Wrestling Observer Live radio show the exact wording from an internal Destination America memo that was written just under two weeks ago:

"Destination America is not renewing TNA Wrestling as of the end of the third quarter."

You can split hairs and argue that the term "cancel" wasn't explicitly used within the memo, but that would be intellectually dishonest as essentially that is what Destination America is doing colloquially.

Nevertheless, a variety of sources have come out to defend TNA in their own ways.

Jim Ross, in his latest blog post, has put the blame squarely on Destination America's shoulders for allowing the cancellation rumours to run wild by failing to publish an official statement on the matter that confirms or denies the story:

"The insanity that is Destination America is ongoing. As this is being written, the network still has yet to address the rumors that they are cancelling the TNA Impact Wrestling TV program in September. The same program that the network abruptly moved from Friday nights to Wednesday nights with little or no advance warning. Nothing official from the network with all the rumors that flying around isn't prudent in my opinion. Why an official statement can't be made is hard to fathom but even if they do it late today (Friday) the long, Memorial Day holiday will essentially engulf the information. I've talked to a few folks at TNA and they are as in the dark about this matter as TNA's fans are. It's insensitive and unprofessional to keep so many families of the wrestling company in the dark about their future.

I heard a rumor that Destination America wasn't too keen on TNA announcing that their shows emanated from the UK a few weeks ago which also makes no sense if true. Plus, an insider informed me that it was the network who essentially demanded that Kurt Angle be made TNA World Champion. If any of this is true it sounds like the network is lobbying to be the 'booker' of the company as Kurt doesn't need to work a full time in ring schedule that is often required of being a company's top title holder.

I am a wrestling fan and have been one for over half a century and hope that TNA and all wrestling companies for that matter remain on the air and are successful. The potential demise of TNA isn't cause for celebration of any true wrestling fan."

Certainly, an honest statement by Destination America on this matter should be welcomed, but equally TNA also deserves their fair share of criticism for issuing such a vague, terse and evasive response that it did nothing to convince their sceptics that there was no truth in Meltzer's detailed cancellation story.

I also think the criticism of Destination America demanding Kurt Angle to be made TNA World Heavyweight champion rings a little bit hollow, because TNA haven't run any house shows so far this year, so he's working less frequently than at any point in his career.

Meanwhile, Vince Russo has used the controversy as a self-serving opportunity to settle old scores and bash the wrestling media again in a column entitled "They’re Called "Dirt Sheets" For A Reason":

"Certain wrestling websites have just destroyed the fun in wrestling over the years. They aren’t there to entertain; they are there to cause total chaos by spinning whatever piece of gossip they can get their grubby little hands on—into what they think is a good story. It was a good story that Vince Russo was going to work for Lucha Underground. It certainly got their sheep to drag my defenceless body through the cowsh** for a few days. And, they thrived on that, they loved that. When it was proven that there was absolutely no truth to their fiction, there was no apology, no sorry—we were wrong, they just went on to their next tale . . . their next lie.

I’m sick of these irresponsible jack-offs, I really am. They talk trash about others who have achieved, and are achieving what they only wish they could have . . . but, weren’t good enough to. It’s called jealousy. It’s called dragging others down in a weak and feeble effort to build yourself up. It’s called having no class. Zero. None. Honestly, what’s going on inside of TNA is of no concern of mine, it’s none of my business, if Dixie Carter decides that she wants to let us all know―she will. Until then . . . I’m going to stick to my own business in an effort to "entertain" others . . . not destroy them."

Of course, Dave Meltzer never reported that "Vince Russo was going to work for Lucha Underground" in February, but that he was in talks to potentially work with the company, and the next week in his newsletter gave Russo's side of the story that the planned trip to their tapings was purely for material for his podcast. If you're going to call journalists "irresponsible jack-offs", then you'd better be accurate about what they have said about you in the past, otherwise you come off looking like a hypocrite.

It should also be noted that Russo earlier this year published an interview with Chyna where she accused Paul "Triple H" Levesque of hitting her during the breakdown of their relationship together. I believe that Russo has never apologised for publishing this interview, despite Levesque claiming that the accusations were false, reckless and a complete fabrication.

Meltzer's main competitor, Mike Johnson of, has given his own more favourable update on TNA's current status with Destination America. Here's my breakdown of his take on the situation:

  • Johnson argues that using the term cancellation was technically incorrect, because when a television series is cancelled, it is done and production is shut down. As I said before, I believe this is an intellectually dishonest argument to make. Moreover, it's wrong to compare wrestling, which produces 52 episodes a year and doesn't tape far in advance, to other TV series that typically run over a season of 26 weeks or less. Did production of Impact immediately shut down when Spike TV cancelled TNA last year? Clearly not!
  • People within TNA were "pretty furious" over the cancellation reports and were denying that Destination America had told them anything like that. Of course they would be, they wanted to keep it a secret!
  • It was claimed that representatives from Destination America were in Nashville this week working on future storylines with the TNA creative team for the rest of the year and even into early 2016. I'm not sure this really proves anything. Clearly, Destination America will want to be involved in TNA creative meetings while they are still airing Impact.
  • Apparently, the original plan was for Josh Mathews to film a sit down interview with Dixie Carter where she would respond to the cancellation reports, until they thought better of it and decided to issue the aforementioned statement instead.
  • Regarding the rumour reported by Joe Lanza and Rich Kraetsch of the highly recommended Voices Of Wrestling podcast that Dixie Carter had sent an email calling certain representatives of Destination America dummies and accidentally CC'd the President of DA into the email, Johnson confirmed that this story had been a topic of conversation amongst wrestlers for well over a week. However, his TNA management sources refused to confirm or deny whether this incident actually occurred, but one person did admit that relations between the two sides had become obviously strained at one point. The fact that they didn't shoot down the rumour is rather telling, in more ways than one.
  • Johnson claimed that he's heard that Discovery Communications plans to push Impact's move to Wednesday nights really hard on all their platforms over the next few weeks. This could merely be a good faith effort to give TNA the best opportunity to change their minds over the summer, rather than a sign of confidence in their product.

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