I was going to write about the unconfirmed rumors reported on Wrestlezone.com that Spike TV is done with TNA/Impact Wrestling when their contract is up. But I decided not to post the story Sunday night opting to wait for Monday morning. Jeremy had the opening to write about the confirmed news that Spike TV is indeed done with TNA/Impact Wrestling. That leaves me scrambling for a column except Jeremy did the predictable thing and said how bad this is going to be to wrestling. (Editor’s note: The truth isn’t predictable jackass. -J) (Writer’s Note: Claiming the loss of TNA as the extinction of wrestling is predictable. People have been writing that column since WCW was bought in 2001. There’s still wrestling despite there being no WCW. – Kevin)
TNA has been around since 2002. In the dozen years since, TNA has never been to the point that they were threatening the WWE for wrestling supremacy. If they’re gone, we, the wrestling audience, somehow don’t have a threat any more. TNA wasn’t, isn’t and won’t be a threat to the WWE. Ever. Why are people pretending it was a threat then? Or that it was somehow keeping the WWE honest? I can only think of one thing that TNA did recently that would challenge the way the WWE works. The WWE loves to have people vote online for predictable match stipulations and the like. TNA held a vote to determine the shape of the ring. Did the WWE copy them? Or even think about going to a six sided ring? No, they didn’t. I would argue that TNA actually gave power to their fans with this vote. The WWE has yet to give the WWE fans a vote that would impact the in ring product as much as TNA did. TNA may not be keeping the WWE honest but I do have a theory on why not to fear TNA losing their TV contract even though Dixie Carter & Spike TV are now saying they’re still negotiating to stay partners.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was championing Pro Wrestling Ohio and then the renamed Prime Wrestling as the second best promotion that I was watching. Even though PWO/Prime is now defunct, I think it’s that type of promotion that will get the WWE to rethink how they run things. I can compare this to what I’ve been imbibing in my spare time, craft beer. Budweiser, Miller and Coors won’t be tackled off their pedestal unless they decide to take themselves out of the equation. The WWE is exactly the same way. Though persons like me are chipping away at the big name’s market, the big beer companies still have 78% of the market in the US. If I go by the numbers used in the beer article, 14% of beer consumed is imported. That 14% would be both ROH & TNA in the wrestling market. That leaves 8% for local craft beers. It’s good news that the market has gone from 2.6% to 8% from ’98 until ’13. Now I’m not sure if the wrestling market is swinging the same way as the beer market. I think what needs to happen is something similar. People who have small promotions around them need to pimp them more. Are any of my local Columbus brewers the best in the country? I’ve got no clue. Do I still think they’re good brewers? Yes. Were there things wrong with PWO/Prime? Sure. Was it worth watching? Yes. It’d be a bit easier if I lived closer to Cleveland because that is where Absolutely Intense Wrestling tapes. They do air on YouTube though.
Most wrestling fans don’t like the fact that the only wrestling system in the US could come down to the WWE style. I share this fear. I don’t like just one style of beer. Just like the craft breweries, the independent wrestling promotions could be a good breeding ground for different styles. Here in Columbus, the brewers concentrate one certain types of beers. Zauber uses more traditional German and Belgian beers and don’t stray much from the beaten path. Seventh Son has more IPAs and Stouts along with some funky flavors. Four String is a mix of traditional beers from all over the country because of the owner’s travels in a band. The independent wrestling landscape could be the same way. One style gets taught in Ohio while another style is practiced in California.
I don’t think the best way to beat the WWE is to have another promotion the same size knock it off. I don’t think even if TNA stays on Spike TV that they can get big enough to do that. The best that can happen is to have a bunch of smaller promotions all over the country be strong just like the craft beer movement. I already drink locally. I need to start watching wrestling locally too. Time to search for AIW’s latest post. – Kevin