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History of Total Nonstop Action


History of Total Nonstop Action

Jeff Jarrett

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
The Business
After the collapse of WCW and ECW, the WWE had a monopoly on wrestling in the U.S. In May 2002, Jeff Jarrett and his father Jerry Jarrett (the former Memphis territory promoter that was responsible for the Andy Kauffman vs. Jerry Lawler feud) set out to change that. With the financial backing of HealthSouth Corp., NWA:TNA was formed. The company ran into financial difficulty quickly due to the accounting scandals at HealthSouth. In October, Panda Energy bought controlling interest in the company from Jerry Jarrett. Panda Energy holds a 71% stake in the company and Dixie Carter (no relation to the actress) is in charge of the company.

The business model of TNA was very different than any other wrestling company. They didn't tour. When the company started in 2002, they ran weekly pay-per-view events from Tennessee. When Panda took over, the PPV events were moved to a sound stage at Universal Studios in Florida. They stopped the weekly PPV concept in September 2004 and have had monthly pay-per-views since. From June 2004 until May 2005, they had a show on Fox Sports Network called TNA:iMPACT! that cost them $30,000 a week for the airtime. From May until September 2005 the show was broadcast over the Internet. In October 2005, their programming became available on Spike TV. Unlike the Fox Sports deal, they do not have to pay for airtime. Starting in 2006, the company started to have house shows.

The company started off as a member of the National Wrestling Alliance due to their name recognition. They withdrew from the NWA in 2004, but worked out a deal where they leased the NWA World Title and NWA World Tag Team Titles. That deal was set to expire in 2014. However, in 2007, the deal with the NWA ended and all the titles now bear the TNA name.

We Are Wrestling and Cross the Line
For the first few years, the main event of the company was dominated by Jeff Jarrett. As owner of the company, there was no fear of him leaving to sign with the WWE. What made the company different from the WWE was the X-division. The X-division featured a fast-paced, high-impact style that was not seen on WWE programming. In order to facilitate this action, the company featured a six-sided ring which allowed for a greater variety of moves.

Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff Take Over
In January 2010, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan made their televised debuts with the company and made some changes to the company. One of their first orders of business was bringing back the four-sided ring. They then moved TNA:iMPACT! to Monday nights and broadcast the show live every other week. This only lasted a few months before the show was moved back to Thursday nights.

In 2011, the company changed the name of their flagship show from TNA:iMPACT! to IMPACT WRESTLING. The following summer, they moved the show an hour earlier to start at 8:00 PM ET. For 12 weeks, the company will telecast the show live to take advantage of social media. The new format of the program promises to integrate more reality television aspects to it. In addition to being involved in the world of wrestling, Eric Bischoff has a lot of experience creating reality television programming as part of Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment.

Sources Include: Between the Ropes by Brian Fritz, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac, onlineworldofwrestling.com, and Yahoo Business

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