TNA Wrestling and SpikeTV 2005-2014: A Lookback

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As we look forward to TNA Wrestling’s relaunch under their new home, Destination America, we look back on their 9 years with SpikeTV. In 2005, TNA has left Fox Sports Network for SpikeTV. This was on the heels of SpikeTV parting ways with WWE and ECW, so TNA had to follow them. In the beginning, Spike promoted TNA as part of their network and TNA was happy at first.

When TNA debuted for Spike, they were on Saturday Nights for 1 hour. With the ratings success, they jumped to 2 hours and moved to Thursday nights where their ratings would reach 1 million to 2 million. Many of wrestling’s biggest names have jumped to TNA during their time in SpikeTV such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Booker T, Christian Cage, Kurt Angle, and Dudley Boyz among others.

Spike would help pay for the salaries of some of these names while TNA did their end as well. However, during the course of their relationship the promotion for TNA became non-existent and their brand awareness was low. This has caused many fans to not realize that TNA exists nor do they know that their favorite wrestlers are on TNA. Both TNA and Spike were at fault for not promoting, hyping, and marketing Impact. Spike would promote their shows, except for one and that’s TNA. They used TNA to promote their shows such as Bellator and even went so far as to have MMA stars appear on Impact such as Tito Ortiz, King Mo, Rampage Jackson, and Bobby Lashley. Out of those guys, only Bobby Lashley came through to be TNA World Champion.

Vince Russo summed the relationship between TNA and SpikeTV – the blind leading the blind as neither have concrete knowledge of the wrestling business and neither had a clue on what draws and what doesn’t. Ironic that Russo has been in the wrestling business far longer than both TNA and SpikeTV. In 2010, both Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff came to TNA and had them being moved to Monday Nights. The result was a ratings disaster as TNA was not ready to compete with WWE nor did they have the resources to do so. They would move back to Thursdays.

Towards the end to this year, things got really worse between TNA and Spike as TMZ broke the story of Spike cancelling Impact and would TNA less money while still having the same deal – no promotion and no additional programming. Combine with the departures of Sting AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Hulk Hogan, and Eric Bischoff, one could see this as a bleak period for TNA. In all of TNA’s 9 years with Spike, there was never any additional programming for TNA, not even Xplosion. Without warning, Spike moves TNA to Wednesday nights without any warning and caused TNA to lose some of their viewers.

TNA was treated like a redheaded stepchild despite giving Spike their highest ratings. The light was at the end of the tunnel when TNA signed a new deal with a new network called Destination America, who already has promoted TNA a lot faster and better than Spike ever did in their 9 years. Whereas Spike treated them as unimportant, Destination America has made them a cornerstone flagship. One chapter has ended for TNA, but a new one has begun and it’s very bright for both TNA and the wrestling business.

TNA Wrestling Signs With Destination America

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After 9 years with SpikeTV, TNA Wrestling has decide to part ways with them and sign with a new network called Destination America, which is under the Discovery umbrella of networks. It marks the end of speculation concerning TNA’s TV deal situation. This results in TNA trending in both Yahoo and Twitter and gaining mainstream coverage of their new deal. Already Destination America has begun promoting TNA in their sites a lot faster than Spike ever did in their 9 years together. Spike has 90 million households while Destination America has around 60 million households so that gap isn’t that far off.

The details about this deal would be that Impact will continue to be 2 hours either on Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Additional programming will be included and this is something that TNA wanted for years and Spike wouldn’t give it to them. A second show is badly needed with the roster they have. They can’t fit everyone on Impact. TNA will be treated as important and being a flagship for Destination America. It’s something they never got with Spike.

TNA has had  talks with Spike, WGN America, Fox, and CMT. The passed on them for the following reasons. With Spike, it would be the same as before but with less money. No promotion or additional programming. That was the final straw for TNA as they put an end to it right then and there. They passed on WGN because TNA would not air until the second quarter of 2015, along with pre-emptions for baseball, and TNA could not risk being off the air for too long. With Fox, it was about ownership and it’s out of the question as long as Dixie Carter remains President of TNA. It’s unknown about the dealings with CMT at this point, but it’s likely about them being under the Viacom umbrella like Spike.

Now that the TV deal is behind them, TNA has a lot of work to do in relaunching for Destination America. They will be re-focusing on their creative direction as well as rethinking their business model inside out after a disastrous year. Live events touring will be limited going forward since they do not make money. Josh Matthews will be overhauling TNA’s website. Talent deals will now be made and they need to re-sign Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Gail Kim, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, and Bully Ray as well as bringing in new talent they can afford.

The haters of TNA have already rushed into judgment that this would be a bad deal just because TNA moved to a smaller network yet failed to see the perks that go with the new deal. Too bad as TNA lives on. Where are the critics who wrote TNA’s demise at?

I thought so and TNA’s future is now bright that we have to wear new shades!!

Arrow – Draw Back Your Bow review

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We have an episode that deals with a villainous female archer named Carrie Cutter aka Cupid who kills for her love of Green Arrow. Obviously we have the theme of obsession and stalking that runs rampant throughout the episode that resonates with both Ray Palmer and Cupid.

Cupid is a comics character in DC’s New 52 created by one of the Arrow’s showrunners and they brought her in to the TV show. She is both obsessed and psychotic when not dealing with rejection well from Arrow himself that results in a fight.

Meanwhile, all this stuff with Felicity Smoak and Ray Palmer is nauseating and a triangle with Oliver would have some credibility and believability. Unfortunately, Palmer comes across as obsessed and creepy. See the pattern there? Now we know what he was working and it’s a special suit. I wonder how they will pull this off. I don’t see Felicity staying in Starling City for long and I see her jump ship to Central City instead. 

The flashbacks with Katana are the highlight for me as we get to see her in action at last and this is what I hope will happen if they bring her into the present. I want her based on  the New 52 version. I want to see her join Oliver’s group or Birds of Prey.

After last week’s episode, no Dinah Laurel in this one and we have Captain Boomerang in the end. An okay episode that’s unfortunately filler for most part.

The Flash – The Flash Is Born review

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The Flash takes on a villain that has a connection to him when they go back in elementary school where young Barry was bullied by him. I wished they’d have delve more into this instead of this thing with Iris, who has nothing to do with the villain other than her blog about the Flash. There was nothing else about the villain as he came across as one dimensional or why he’s doing the things he’s doing.

Barry finds out that his speed doesn’t have an effect on someone who is made of iron. So it’s up to Cisqo and Caitlin to figure out how to deal with Girder. Apparently they come up with a super sonic boom where Barry would have to run over 800 mph and 5 miles to land a hit. Why in the world did Barry revealed his identity to Girder?

The chemistry between Joe West and Harrison Wells is touching as we get to know Wells more such as what he was doing before Central City, along with the chemistry between Barry and Eddie Thawne, whom they’re now developing. Nice to see Barry and Eddie becoming close friends as I didn’t want another Clark Kent/ Whitney Fordman rivalry.

Iris should have said the name Flash out loud with Barry and should have felt like a big moment more since he wasn’t called by The Flash until this point. Nice to see Iris narrating the episode instead of Barry for a change. It makes sense since she’s a journalist.

The writers need to write Barry consistently as they’re able to tap into his intelligence as a crime lab scientist yet they didn’t translate that when he’s in superhero mode as the Flash. Instead they write him as idiotic when it comes to his powers and how to defeat a metahuman like Girder.

Not the best episode and not the worst either out of all the episodes so far.

Star Wars Rebels – Empire Day

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Empire Day is the first of a two-parter and I think it’s a midseason finale. This episode focuses on Ezra Bridger’s past as well as the Imperials celebrating Empire Day on Lothal. What’s revealing is that Empire Day happens to be Ezra’s birthday. The Rebels were on a mission to seek a Rodian that the Imperials were searching and Ezra knows where he is.

Ezra is not opening up to Kanan thus causing the tension between the two during Jedi training. Matter of fact, he’s not revealing to anyone in the Ghost crew and it reminds me of Hera from last episode when it comes to revealing her sources. I think it’s clear that there are trust issues among the rebels.

The focus was on Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine when they’re in action taking the Rodian and dealing with the Imperials. Plus, Zeb has a score to settle with General Kallus since Droids In Distress as Zeb kind of got even with him.

The episode ends in a cliffhanger when the Rodian knows what happens to Ezra’s parents. Much better episode than last week’s and looking forward to the conclusion next week.

Gotham – Penguin’s Umbrella review

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If there was an episode that was going to move things forward, it was this one as we see Jim Gordon making a stand against Falcone and the Underworld and paying the consequences of sparing Oswald Cobblepot’s life. It also affected his partnership with Harvey Bullock, who wasn’t in the majority of the episode. For once, the episode focuses on Gordon as it should be, but it also focused on Cobblepot as well.

We are seeing things that will foreshadow Jim Gordon being future commissioner of Gotham City police such as bringing the light to a corrupt city like Gotham City. No one is on his side, except eventually Bullock. He should have known that Barbara was not going to leave Gotham and we never saw her being captured. This episode saw a side of Gordon we never saw before.

Cobblepot is revealed to play everyone, including Fish Mooney, who really wants to torture him. I see Fish’s days being numbered because she doesn’t understand the realm she’s in and Penguin took out one of Sal Maroni’s men. Penguin is showing why he’s one of Batman’s top villains along with Joker. He is becoming ruthless and calculating. When he killed Maroni’s henchman, he was displaying echoes of the Joker from the Dark Knight movie.

What moved forward was seeing Renee Montoya and Crispis Allen now seeing the truth about Gordon and Cobblepot, along with a funny moment involving Alfred Pennyworth. The scene between Gordon and Bruce Wayne was very touching and I wonder if Bruce saw what Alfred did that he would want Alfred to train him down the line.

No Selina Kyle again and I wonder if the producers and writers have any direction for her in the series.

Victor Szasz is one of the best written antagonists and the way he came across was threatening, precise, and calculating. I can see him sticking around down the line as well.

One of the best episodes since the pilot.

Arrow – Guilty review

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The end of last episode saw Roy having dreams of killing Sarah. In this one, they amped it up as they had Felicity do test results and made us think he killed Sarah, but Oliver refuses to accept as he applied the lessons taught to him by Katana by meditation. Now Roy learns that he has killed an officer while he was on Mirakuru last season. This could come to haunt him while it may change things with he and Oliver.

We learn that Ted Grant was a vigilante before Oliver and the things he went through that were similar. Oliver should have sympathized with Ted, but instead makes him out to be a bad guy as this put Oliver at odds with Dinah Laurel. In the end, Dinah Laurel was right but Oliver wants Ted Grant to stay away from her. We know it’s not going to happen. If this is the first meeting between Oliver and Ted, it sure didn’t start off too well. Love the fight between Oliver and Ted as well as the Boxing Glove Arrow.

In the flashbacks, Oliver had to learn meditation to see what he missed out. Katana wants him out of their lives yet we still don’t know why she wants him gone. I wish they would explore this more. I hope Katana arrives in the present.

Oliver came across as a hypocrite in this one. No Thea and Malcolm or Ray Palmer in this episode. The end sees the appearance of Cupid and I don’t know if she’s based in the comics or is a made-for-tv character.