Earlier this week, online media outlets reported World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) placed a bid to purchase its competitor, Impact Ventures, which produces Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). The reports came days after news broke that Billy Corgan, frontman of the rock group Smashing Pumpkins and minority shareholder of TNA was looking to purchase the company outright from majority shareholder, Dixie Carter. Carter, daughter of Panda Energy International owners Robert and Janice Carter, stepped down as President of TNA earlier this year.
TNA is set to produce it’s biggest wrestling event of the year, Bound for Glory, on Sunday — think of it along the lines of WWE’s WrestleMania — yet rumors continue to run wild as HulkaMania in the 80s that the cash-strapped wrestling promotion will have to cancel its annual event along with television tapings scheduled to film after the PPV. Should this happen, we could final see the final nail in the coffin being driven into the 14-year-old promotion. (Update: The New York Post reported that Impact Ventures was able to secure the funding needed for the PPV and the television tapings to follow.)
And if WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has his way, that’s exactly how he would want things to play out.
Should TNA fail to meet its financial obligation, the promotion would be forced to either sell at a dirt cheap price or file for bankruptcy. Both scenarios work in McMahon’s favor. If Dixie Carter sells TNA, Billy Corgan has a net worth of around $50 million. And while that’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s a literal drop in a bucket to Vince McMahon’s net worth hovers at approximately $1.2 billion. Sure, in an effort to 1-up McMahon, Carter could accept Corgan’s smaller offer; but the cliche holds in business, money talks. Ask World Championship Wrestling.
Alternatively, TNA could fold and file for bankruptcy like Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) did in 2001. By the time federal courts sort through everything, McMahon and company could sweep in a purchase TNA’s assets — namely the promotions video library that goes back over a decade — for literal pennies on the dollar. In fact, this is how McMahon acquired ECW in 2003.
If (should) TNA become the latest acquisition of the juggernaut that’s the WWE, the McMahon family would have a figure four leg lock on televised wrestling. Unfortunately, this means one less promotion for talent to work and less competition for WWE. Sure, there’s the independent circuit and work overseas, but the only major promotion left is Ring of Honor. And if history has taught us anything about Vince McMahon and the WWE, it is not a matter of if.
It’s a matter of when.
Photo by Al Pavangkanan