At ProRasslin.club, we’ve asked the question ‘What If‘ 18 times. Sometimes we’ve re-written wrestling history, other times we’ve made predictions for the future and sometimes we do a hybrid of both. Today’s edition is interesting because of every What If we’ve ever pondered, this one is imminent. TNA will be sold this week. It seemed like the Orlando based company would change hands last week as rumors of bankruptcy flooded the internet, but a mystery investor infused enough cash to make Bound for Glory happen. Because this is wrestling, the list of mystery investors (and potential buyers) is limited only by your imagination.
Anyone with money and/or an interest in pro wrestling has been discussed among fans. Was it Hulk Hogan with all that sweet Gawker cash? Did Broken Matt Hardy take out a second mortgage on his sprawling North Carolina compound? Is WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump going to Make TNA Great Again? With no real details surfacing regarding the mystery third party, you can’t rule anyone out just yet. So when TNA is finally sold, who is most likely to end up owning it? The safe bet remains Billy Corgan but it’s been reported by Forbes that the WWE remains a very real possibility in some capacity. So this week we ask, What if WWE buys TNA?
Why It Will Happen
For many fans (read: younger fans), WWE is pro wrestling. There is no alternative other than amateur wrestling. (Side note: Did every wrestling fan have at least one awkward moment in their childhood where they encountered amateur wrestling by accident or at the behest of a family member? The let down and confusion was palpable. I digress) WWE is pro wrestling to too many people. Not since the Monday Night War has there been two relevant wrestling companies in the mainstream. The long standing belief that TNA is the Number 2 wrestling company makes them nothing more than the tallest midget. The vocal portion of the IWC has lampooned them more than they’ve lauded them, as the IWC has opted for the likes of Ring of Honor or New Japan as their WWE alternatives. The casual fan is still pretty unaware of TNA. According to ratings, Impact draws around 300,000 viewers per week. That’s .1% of the United States or 1 in 1000 people.
So pop quiz: why would WWE bother acquiring a company that draws only 1/8th the viewership of Raw?
Below are your choices…
A) AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode
B) Former WWE Stars like The Hardys and Kurt Angle
C) Current Hall of Famers like Sting and Ric Flair
D) All of the Above
If you chose D, you’re right! The WWE has a bevy of former TNA talents on their roster currently and vice versa. If AJ Styles main events Wrestlemania 33 and continues to be a top tier talent for several more years, he’s destined for the Hall of Fame. A similar fate could await the red hot Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode. When WWE goes to do their career retrospective or compilation DVDs, they can’t ignore the decade each of those stars spent in TNA. Same goes for option B as The Hardys and Kurt Angle are locks for the WWE Hall of Fame someday. WWE would greatly benefit from owning the rights of TNA’s 14 year tape library. Knowing WWE’s stance on acknowledging other wrestling promotions, this purchase would only work if the company was to go out of business.
And that’s where WWE stands currently. They’re not interested in adding another brand, they’re interested in acquiring and utilizing TNA’s remaining assets as they see fit. Which brings us to the other side of the coin…
Why It Won’t Happen
80% of TNA’s current champions are former WWE superstars. Other than Mike Bennett and Moose, the WWE has had almost every top TNA star under contract at some point and opted not to retain or push them. The brand split has shown a certain weakness within the main roster, but an influx of
returning new talent isn’t the simple solution. WWE has issues in their creative and production departments that need to be rectified before the fall in ratings can be blamed solely on talent. If talent were the issue, they already have about 10 NXT stars who are main roster ready. So in no world will the WWE buy TNA the same way they bought WCW. There is no impending invasion. Cody Rhodes and Bobby Lashley will not show up in the Royal Rumble. Vince will not be simulcasted on PopTV.
The sum of TNA parts are worth more than their whole. They’ve accrued too much debt and experienced too much failure to be an asset to WWE. The most likely path for the company is Billy Corgan (or another individual or entity) purchasing everything. The debt, the contracts, the assets. If they chose to make major changes, especially if they change the name, the WWE might still remain interested in the library. In the end though, it might be best to let TNA die and let something new rise from the ashes. Whether it’s a Corgan-lead promotion or just contractual freedom for the talent, the name TNA has too much negative stigma to ever return to prominence. At that point, most of TNA’s assets will go to auction and you better believe WWE look to swoop in and pick up what’s left for pennies on the dollar.