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.