Late Sunday night, news broke that Spike TV has canceled TNA Impact Wrestling and will not be renewing their TV deal, which expires in October.
As noted earlier, TNA President Dixie Carter held a major company meeting on Friday and dropped the bombshell news on her staff. According to sources close to the situation, she attempted to spin the situation in her favor, saying that TNA decided to leave Spike TV because they failed to promote the company effectively. While she might have a point there, all indications are that Viacom and Spike TV made the decision to end their relationship with TNA for a variety of factors.
Spike’s decision to not renew TNA’s TV deal was made immediately after news of Vince Russo working for TNA became public. It was rumored for months that Russo was working as a consultant for the company, which he and TNA vehemently denied. Earlier this month, Vince Russo inadvertently CC’d Mike Johnson on an internal email intended for Taz and Mike Tenay, essentially confirming that he was in fact working for TNA.
There were many reasons that TNA did not want that knowledge made public. First, Russo’s reputation speaks for itself and the majority of wrestling fans would not have a lot of faith in TNA’s decision to rehire one of the most infamous and controversial writers in the industry. There was also an issue of TNA’s relationship with The Great Muta and his Japanese Wrestle-1 promotion, which currently has a partnership with TNA. Muta has very negative feelings about Vince Russo due to his negative portrayal of Japanese wrestlers over the years. It’s believed that he was assured Vince Russo was not working for TNA when he agreed to partner with TNA and host Bound For Glory in Japan later this year.
However, the main reason TNA did not want Russo’s involvement made public was because Spike TV executives despise him. There are a number of reasons Spike did not want anything to do with Russo, many of them related to the type of programming Russo presented during his previous run with the company.
TNA is obviously in a very bad spot right now. With just two months before Impact Wrestling is dropped from Spike TV, there is not a lot of time for them to find another cable network willing to pick them up. Additionally, it’s highly unlikely they will be able to negotiate a new contract that will earn them anything close to what they were getting from Spike. TNA’s current International TV deals are not lucrative enough to keep the company going and the company will have a very hard time doing live shows in the Untied States without a national TV clearance.