Before launching into this HUGE topic going on in terms of TNA's traveling future, I'd like to run down the news ticker of late.......
- Former Knockout SoCal Val was arrested recently for Driving Under the Influence and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Her blood alcohol level was at .15. This comes on the heels of her departure from TNA a week or so before.
- Mickie James is in the process of negotiating a new contract with TNA as her current one expired just this week. It was reported by other sources that she was not interested in negotiating with officials, but those rumors were dispelled.
- TNA is in talks to have Hulk Hogan sign an extended contract at a lower rate, but with Hogan possibly wanting to make another WWE run, there is no way to know which direction the wind will blow as the year comes to a close.
So here's the long and short of TNA's situation: TNA's travel expenses are beginning to wear on their budget. So officials are once again looking to set down roots in one spot again in order to regroup and recover some losses. There has been talk of either Las Vegas or a return to Orlando for the future moving forward.
Why? Because in spite of all the traveling and the money spent on production and talent and creative storylines, TNA isn't drawing anywhere near what they've hoped they would. I wish it weren't so, but it's not like I can blame upper management for not doing enough. To complicate this effort in finding a new home base, WWE has expressed interest in having a physical Hall of Fame at Universal Studios just to keep TNA from returning, but Universal Studios has two problems......
1. They are demanding for WWE to tape one of their shows there and WWE demands exclusivity.
2. Universal enjoyed their deal with TNA and having them in their park added a continuous source of income that bolstered their bottom line.
Universal Studios doesn't want to alienate TNA in any way and TNA is exploring the idea of a return with their management.
Here's my take on the situation, TNA has had a good run and being on the road IS good for business, but the demands on their finances if they wish to remain steady in terms of growth are only going to get tougher. If TNA wishes to leave Panda's financial tether behind, they need to become a bit stronger, which I'm not so sure they are just yet. This has been a great run, but I think they need to find a place to roost for a while before venturing from the nest for good. I truly wish it weren't so and it's really hard to not blame WWE loyalists for not understanding just how good TNA is for WWE's product quality. It only gets better when WWE has competition to strive against. WWE's demand for exclusivity from Universal, their repeated attempts to keep TNA out of larger markets by using contracts from venues, their pompous statements (mostly from Triple H) about WWE not needing anything TNA has in their talent pool.....all that only tells ME that WWE DOES think of TNA as competition and they are working their hardest to make sure TNA never becomes a threat as WCW did.
People will always look at TNA as the better alternative to Ring of Honor in terms of visibility and a way to keep themselves relevant to the wrestling landscape and no matter who tries to tell you that Spike isn't helping, WWE was there for 6 years and enjoyed far greater success than they are having now on USA. The network isn't the problem, the loyal TNA fanbase isn't the problem. Even Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff aren't the problem, as some old school TNA purists may try to say. So what IS the problem? That, folks, may be the question of the year and one for another time.