Reality Of The TNA Spike TV Soap Opera & WWE Taking Its Biggest Gamble

Justin LaBar

I write a wrestling column every Monday and Friday for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The latest column looks at the historic week in wrestling it was with TNA Spike TV soap opera and WWE taking its biggest gamble. The following is an excerpt:

It’s been a week to remember in the wrestling world with the future of WWE and TNA penning critical chapters.

The week started with TMZ, and other outlets reporting Spike TV is done with TNA Impact Wrestling once the contract expires in October.

TNA had been using Vince Russo in secret as a creative consultant. Every so often, TNA would fly the controversial and longtime creative writer to the company headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., for his services.

Spike TV doesn’t like Russo and reportedly this was the straw that broke the TNA camel’s back. If Russo was the straw, Dixie Carter is the haystack.

I believe Spike and/or TNA is using Russo as a scapegoat. Spike is using him to get out of the money-bleeding relationship with the wrestling company or to have Carter and TNA to save face that it wasn’t their fault.

TNA does get a million viewers, which is valuable in the television world. The problem is the ends aren’t justifying the means. Spike isn’t making back the money it costs to have TNA. The attendance for TNA continues to decrease, showing no signs of the brand growing.

The latest update is supposedly negotiations are technically still going on, but I don’t see how the two stay together. If Spike does another contract with TNA, it will be for less money and TNA’s already having trouble making ends meet. If TNA gets a new deal with a new network, it has no leverage to get more money than it could from Spike. Either way, the inevitable is being delayed.

TNA and Russo officially have parted ways.

By the way, I’d take Vince Russo over Dixie Carter to run my wrestling company any day of the week. Russo can succeed if given the proper supporting cast and situation. Carter can’t.

Everybody loves Dixie as a person. She’s a good looking, friendly woman. A lot of wrestlers go on the record saying how sweet she can be. They talk about how she builds a relationship with them and their families. That’s all great for the Christmas party, but you never see a quote about her ability to successfully run a wrestling brand while being as involved as she is.

Unfortunately for Russo, his legend outshines his creative talent. He’s a strong personality and has proven he shouldn’t be in a dictatorship. But, as I said, given the right team and players, he can be an asset.

I’ve spoke to several former or current prominent TNA wrestlers, and all agree with my point of Russo being a scapegoat. A few of them offered me stories of Russo being a good guy to work with from a talent standpoint. They pinpointed some of the best string of ratings TNA’s ever had being when Russo was the most involved and the content was at its peak.

In Nashville, they’re trying to keep a home; up in New York, they’re trying to brand a new home.

CLICK HERE for the gamble WWE is going to make with the Network.

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