I remember when WCW and ECW went out of business leaving WWE as the sole wrestling organization left standing (in the U.S.). Around 2002 Jeff Jarrett and his father founded TNA to serve as an alternative to the WWE. To be honest I really did not start watching TNA until 2004 because at first there was not much about TNA that interested me. In 2004 Dixie Carter had her teeth sunken into the company after securing a substantial investment from her father guaranteeing the survival of the upstart organization. Overtime the company began to grow getting a TV deal with Spike while growing their ratings. It seemed as though TNA was poised to start directly competing with WWE by the time 2010 came around, however things were not as they seemed in Dixieland.
In the spring of 2010 Impact was moved to Mondays and went head-to-head with Raw marking the first time in almost ten years that the two top wrestling promotions in the United States would air their flagship programs at the same time. Unfortunately for those in Dixieland they were quickly humbled as their ratings declined as a result of the move and they were forced to return to their Thursday night program. From 2010-2014 TNA went through numerous re-starts and “new eras” none of which effectively caught on and around 2013 TNA’s ratings began to decline. By 2014 they lost their TV deal with Spike and moved to a smaller network. Their problems continued on Destination America when it was rumored in May that TNA would have to find a new home. Fortunately they would end up on a network with a larger reach than Destination America.
The internet has been abuzz as to why TNA fell so far so quickly from bad booking, bad business decisions, Vince Russo, Dixie Carter, Hulk Hogan, etc. etc. The armchair bookers and Monday morning quarter backs salivated at the thought of writing their opinion piece about TNA’s pending death. Fortunately so far they have been wrong TNA has been the best it has ever been. They are slowly reclaiming their audience and it appears as though Impact will remain on Pop TV for the foreseeable future. So this leaves one nagging question, why did TNA fall so far? Well it is simple really, TNA was a house built on sand! The WWE, WCW, and hell even ECW have one thing in common they all had a franchise name that they could build their company around. The WWE had Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Rock, and John Cena. WCW had Sting, Goldberg, and to a lesser extent Booker T. While ECW had Rob Van Dam, The Dudleys, and Tommy Dreamer. Each of these organizations had franchise players who were center pieces of their respective company. Unfortunately for TNA they didn’t really have that franchise player to build their company around. Sure they had AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe however I would argue that those guys were never given a fair chance to shine. Those guys struggled to get airtime against guys like Sting, Rob Van Dam, Hulk Hogan, etc. Now TNA has EC3, Drew Galloway, Mike Bennett, and Lashley to build around. They have a plethora of talent to build their company on talent that is young and very highly skilled. As TNA approaches their 14th anniversary they should continue to build on their foundation, leave the house of sand behind, and forge ahead to the future. The house of TNA may have crumbled, but the house of Impact has a solid foundation and can only grow from here.