By now, most of you have heard that Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is finally taking their flagship show, Impact Wrestling, on the road for the foreseeable future. This is a welcome, but long overdue move. No longer will Impact be taped in the same 900 seat soundstage in front of many of the same fans each week. They will at last be showcasing their wrestlers in front of a bonafide paying audience on a regular basis. The sight of Impact Wrestling in actual arenas really makes the company look major league, as evidenced by this month’s worth of shows taped in England. And in the short term, this will also likely be successful. In fact, as of this writing, the premiere show in Chicago er– Hoffman Estates has sold out of all except the cheapest seats.
This is also accompanied by the elimination of monthly Pay Per Views. I especially applaud the latter move, because the monthly PPV model has long grown tiresome. Especially in this day and age of so many high-profile matches being given away for free. All too often we see Wrestler A vs. Wrestler B just come out and have a match that’s usually over in five minutes, or is just there to set up a run-in or beatdown that is supposed to make you want to spend $35 on a PPV to see the result. The elimination of the Monthly PPV really has a chance to make Impact a more must-see show. TNA will no longer have to worry about making a show to sell you on a $35 PPV in a couple weeks. This means they can place their high profile matches out better, and hook you more for a “tune in next week” feel. Major matches “given away” can at least be done in a way that build intrigue. Wrestler A can challenge Wrestler B and it’s booked for the following week.
Also, while I have no problem believing that the company is profitable, I highly doubt that the monthly PPV model was. Live satellite time is very expensive. By eliminating so many live PPVs, TNA is probably saving hundreds of thousands of dollars
However, this move is not without risks. TNA will now need to showcase a product worthy of attracting thousands of paying fans on a regular basis. Once the honeymoon period is over, we’ll really see how much appeal their product has. It’s sink or swim time.