DESTINATION AMERICA OR DESTINATION WRESTLING?


In what has been one of the biggest on-going professional wrestling news stories in quite some time, Destination America announced that TNA Impact would be moving nights starting June 3rd. Wrestling fans Immediately started to speculate about the future of TNA on Destination America.

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“They are moving the show in a last ditch effort to improve ratings because TNA lost so many viewers after leaving Spike!” seemed to be one of the biggest reactions I saw after the news broke.

It’s no secret that TNA’s audience has shrank from almost 1.5 million viewers a week on Spike TV to around 500,000 a week on Destination America. But it’s also no secret that Destination America is available in a lot less homes than Spike was and Impact Wrestling is still the networks #1 show, even with those numbers. So that knee-jerk reaction seems unlikely to me.

Maybe Destination America saw the same thing that SyFy saw when they looked at the Smackdown ratings on Friday nights before moving it back to Thursdays. People just don’t watch as much TV on Friday as they do every other night of the week. Plus with NXT and Lucha Underground already on Wednesdays, Destination America knows that people will watch wrestling on that day.

Then, just days later Destination America again threw a curve ball and announced that Ring of Honor would be coming to their network AND airing Wednesdays as the lead-in to Impact Wrestling’s new night! All of which seemed to be happening without the people at TNA knowing anything about it.

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Everyone has a different opinion about why Destination America signed ROH and why TNA was kept in the dark about it. Some people think that TNA is under-performing in the ratings for Destination America and that the network is looking for a new wrestling brand to replace them and hopefully pull in a bigger audience (I already mentioned why I dont think this is the case). Others think that ROH is going to be used as a way to fire TNA up and get them to produce better television (although I personally think that TNA has produced some of their best TV in years since Spike announced they wouldn’t be renewing the show). I personally have a different thought on the whole matter.

TNA is a show on Destination America. Why would the network even think to tell them if they want to also add ROH to the network (Besides the facet that it was a closed door negotiation between ROH and Destination America that didn’t involve TNA in any way)? Does NBC call up the producers of Law and Order everytime they think about adding a new cop show to the line-up? Does FOX call chef Gordon Ramsey for approval every time someone pitches them a new cooking show? Did E! call the Kardashians before they added Total Divas to their network? Why should it matter what other wrestling shows are on the network as long as they keep taking care of the ones they already have?

I think that the people running Destination America are just wrestling fans looking to have ROH and TNA back-to-back to create a great 3-hour night of wrestling on TV. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Underground or even Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore find a home on Destination America if the opportunity presented itself to the network. Why not let fans of each of those brands become fans of all of those brands and in the process, fans of Destination America!

WWE owns Monday night and there is no changing that but every other night is up for grabs. Why not combine forces with the number 2 and number 3 promotions in the US and see what they can do together? You may not be able to steal viewers away from the juggernaut that is RAW but what are those millions of fans doing on Wednesday night?

Instead of speculating and complaining why don’t wrestling fans just enjoy the crazy amount of wrestling there is on TV every week and hope that they can all succeed and grow.

ROH and TNA now share a network and a night. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to assume that eventually they may share a Pay-Per-View of even a live special on Destination America. Who wouldn’t want to watch an ROH vs TNA supercard on Live TV?

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That scenario would be a win-win for both companies but the real winners here would be the fans!

 

– Keith White Jr.

TWITTER: @KeefWhiteJr
keithwhitejr.com