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TNA Impact Wrestling Moves To Pop TV, Set For January Debut

In their thirteen year history, TNA Wrestling has always been the little company that wouldn’t die. From their start on weekly pay-per-view to their current home on the awful network that is Destination America, TNA has kept moving after almost near fatal mistakes which now have the company on its last legs (thanks Hulk Hogan). On Thursday, TNA might have gotten their last chance to make a first impression with wrestling fans and pundits alike.

It was announced that TNA’s Impact Wrestling program will be moving to Pop TV in 2016 with their first show on the network being a live two-hour broadcast on Tuesday January 5th. The news was well-known for days as many saw POP TV and WGN America as the likeliest landing spots for the show, which have had four different television homes since May 2004 (Fox Sports Net, Spike TV, Destination America and now Pop).

“Pop’s enthusiasm for our partnership and the network’s fan focus is a perfect fit for our company,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Wresting has always been at the forefront of pop culture with the most passionate, loyal fan base. We’re thrilled to be in business with Pop and to bring IMPACT WRESTLING to more than 80 million homes.”

The biggest issue seems to be what exactly Pop TV is. In early 2015, the former TV Guide channel flipped and tuned into Pop TV. The idea for the network is to expose the fandom of fans for anything entertainment and they do have some original content on the network but they mainly show re-runs of older shows such as “Beverly Hills 90210” and Dawson’s Creek”. What makes Pop a better home for TNA than Destination America is that Pop TV is seen in 80 million homes….over 20 million more homes Destination America is shown in.

“Wrestling has been a fan-fueled staple since the ’50s and continues to be some of the most watched, appointment-tune content in all of television today,” said Pop president Brad Schwartz. “The die-hard fandom and extraordinary passion surrounding Impact Wrestling captures the spirit of Pop as a network that celebrates fan driven entertainment and excitement.”

Let’s be honest, the TNA/Destination America relationship was a disaster. In the beginning, Impact Wrestling was on Friday nights and TNA actually had other programming on the network on Saturday mornings, including an expanded version of Impact. The numbers were not working for Destination America as that other programming disappeared and the network seemed to stop caring about TNA altogether. It was later announced that Impact Wrestling would be cancelled in October as the network exercised an opt-out clause in the deal, which showed bad business on TNA’s part for even allowing an opt-out clause in the deal after less than a year.

Destination America threw TNA a lifeline and decided to keep them on their air until the end of 2015. Instead the network decided to place their focus on ghost hunts and live exorcisms which should tell you where the network is headed and that is off the air very soon. According to PWInsider (via WrestleZone), many inside TNA believes that Destination America caused their demise in the end.

“The report also notes that there has been fear in TNA that ROH (Ring of Honor) might have been used by DA (Destination America) in order to prevent TNA from hitting certain viewership goals. This way of thinking might either be paranoia or legitimate, but some people in TNA feel ROH might have been added to DA in order to prevent TNA from securing its multi-year deal with the Network.

When TNA first signed its deal with Destination America, TNA had to hit a certain viewership goal in a certain amount of time in order for their first 2-3 year automatic renewal to kick in. The feeling is that as TNA got closer to hitting that goal, that’s when the stories of Impact’s cancellation on DA began, and that’s when DA made the move to bring in ROH. The feeling is the rumors of Impact’s imminent cancellation leads to viewers regarding TNA as a lame-duck product, and ROH’s presence on DA took away from TNA’s viewership and ultimately prevented them from hitting its viewership goal.”

The fact that TNA was able to get another TV deal was somewhat of a surprise considering how bad their run on Destination America has gone. Impact has been averaging anywhere from the high 200,000-low 300,000 rating since June and the numbers have been fluctuating during their entire stay on the Destination America. In comparison TNA received 1.-1.5 million viewers on Spike TV but that goes to the reach that Spike has and Destination America does not. There were reports of TNA paying for the airtime on Pop TV but that rumor has been squashed according to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet as TNA did sign a standard television deal with Pop.

Here’s to TNA and Pop TV. This network has a new television show to help fill time and for TNA, this is it. They have pushed their chips to the middle of the table and are going all in. If this doesn’t work, there will be no fifth network. There will be no more TNA.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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