For years, TNA has been labelled as the “black sheep” of professional wrestling. While fans and critics have been predicting the demise of the company, somehow they managed to stay afloat. However, more recently, the voices have gotten stronger, and the foundations on which the company was built, have been crumbling under pressure.
Not too long ago, TNA was seen as an answer to WWE’s monotonous product- an organisation that could possibly end WWE’s monopoly in North America. Starting a wrestling company has always been a tricky proposition, but a decade ago, it seemed as if the pieces of the puzzle were coming together.
Under Jeff Jarrett, TNA wasn’t exactly thriving, but it was unquestionably growing. With an influx of some of the best and overlooked talents (such as Christian), TNA found itself behind WWE as the second-biggest North American promotion.
TNA had ended its deal with Ring of Honor and claimed the exclusive services of the likes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.
However, with Dixie Carter acquiring complete ownership (including the minority share of Jarrett), the company has seen a drastic decline in its ratings, as well as mismanagement which led to numerous influential figures walking away from the company.
But where did it all go wrong for TNA? Today, we put the events that unfolded under the microscope and see exactly when the walls started crumbling.
The early years - TNA makes all the right noises
The reason people started tuning into TNA programming, was because it offered an alternative to the fans, who were vexed with what WWE was putting out. One of the key requirements in any succesful business is healthy competition, and TNA offered a more “smarky” product, which when combined with the dwindling interest in WWE’s product, bode well for the company.
After getting exclusive rights of its performers, TNA, catered to the smart fans. TNA achieved cult status among the niche fan base, and they brought in big names to get more eyeballs to the product. TNA also signed deals with YouTube and New Motion, Inc. to reach a wider audience, while their association with Spike TV helped the company grow.
TNA understood its fan base, but also put on a product which attracted viewers of different demographics. TNA’s partnerships with AAA, NJPW and CMLL, also helped the company grow internationally while achieving their targets in North America.