Mark for War: Manifest Destination
It was heavily rumored this week that television station Destination America was cancelling TNA Impact. I believed this rumor immediately, and found the timing to be almost symbolic, considering the Samoa Joe — arguably the heart and soul of TNA — recently made his debut with the WWE. Almost immediately after the report, counter reports surfaced. As of now, TNA Impact will still air on Destination America.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, May 27, Destination America announced that they have struck a deal with Ring of Honor and will be broadcasting their show weekly on Wednesday nights, as Impact’s lead in.
If you’re not familiar with the station, Destination America is under the umbrella of the Discovery Channel and TLC. Both have had a massive resurgence over the last five years due to reality TV. For example, TLC (The Learning Channel) teaches us about the lives American Gypsies through their show My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.
Whoever is responsible for programming for Destination America is dead-set on getting a consistent pro wrestling program. They obviously lack faith in TNA and are hedging their bet with the ROH signing.
I’m glad to see ROH back on “legit” TV. Prior to this, they’ve had horrible broadcasting reach. Frankly, I thought their associations with past stations hurt the company more than it helped. Their big events (online pay per views) seemed to go downhill in the midst of the TV push. They were giving away too many good matches via TV to an extremely small audience. Also, you never knew who was going to show up each week because of the revolving door of talent ROH has. Not to mention, the company often canned three to four TV episodes from a single ROH live event. Because of this, you’d often see one guy fight and not see him again for another month, until the next crop of shows were canned.
I’ve been to several of those ROH TV taping marathons. Holy shit! It’s fucking terrible. They’re constantly prodding you to pop for the camera. They tape the welcome intro four times in a single night. Which means, if you see them in Chicago, you will hear Bobby Cruz or whoever shout from mid-ring, “Good evening, CHICAGO!” four times in one night. The crowd obviously is expected to react each time. This format will more than likely not change with the Detestation American program, so be forewarned.
What Destination America is doing in this instance is smart, but extremely hacky. It seems like maybe they are trying to recreate the Monday Night Wars between the number two and three companies, while airing both programs. I guess it’s a win/win? If there’s a clear-cut winner down the line, one may get dropped. One thing is for damn sure, TNA has shot themselves in the foot so many times on TV over the years that I do not see how they can outshine the ROH product. ROH wont necessarily have better matches or talent, but their product is fresh, while TNA’s is stale.
There are two other things I could see happening.
An Invasion Angle
Much like the Monday Night Wars, there could be a back and forth between the two companies. This will more than likely happen if they both continue to be under the Destination America umbrella. Neither will have the balls to say “no” to the network if asked. By the way, invasion angles always come across as bad for the company doing the invading. It makes them seem bitter and like they’re fighting against a larger company for notoriety.
Can TNA and ROH merge somewhere down the line? TNA has access to money. They are owned by a multi-million-dollar company. ROH, ironically enough, has the better attended live shows and better fanbase. I think the TNA name is cancerous at this point, even though their talent is legit. The only way this would work is if TNA dropped the name, merged with ROH, and started pushing the ROH name (if not a new name altogether) to be a viable alternative option to WWE. Their goal would be to pacify all the WWE fans that wish the RAW/PPV product would be more like the NXT show. Plus, ROH hasn’t fallen flat on their face like TNA has in basically all aspects over the last decade. For example, ROH has their first line of action figures being released soon. Knowing ROH, they will under-produce them, thus making them a commodity. TNA started their action figure line many years ago, and overproduced heavily. The result is every toy store has TNA figures in the bargain bin with massive dents in the package.
I don’t see an ROH/TNA merger ever happening. I honestly see ROH gaining steam and eventually TNA losing all steam, and dying a slow death.
That said, this at least is an interesting development, and I for one am stoked to watch the premiere of the two-fer next Wednesday, June 3.
Match of The Week: Taz vs. Mikey Whipwreck , Monday Night Raw, 2.24.1997
This is the awesomely bad result of an invasion angle. You have Paul E. and Lawyer going at it on the commentary. One saying, “This rules.” One saying, “This sucks.” Ten fans in the crowd know what the hell is going on. Sabu botches a dive on to Team Taz. Whipwreck and Taz botch a suplex landing onto Sabu. I love two things about this video: Vince seems to be choking back laughter the whole time, and the mid-match Nation of Domination promo where Farooq says, “The Undertaker is going to need an Undertaker.”