The Crow's Nest - Is There Room for Another Big Wrestling Promotion?
By The Crow
Mar 26, 2014 - 11:47:07 PM
Is There Room for Another Big Wrestling Promotion? (03/26/14)
One of the most interesting stories over the past couple of months, to me at least, has got to be the developing story regarding Jeff Jarrett's new wrestling project. Aside from a few cryptic tweets and videos, as well as the ever-present rampant speculation, we really don't know a whole lot about what he and Karen have planned for us. On top of the Jarretts, country music superstar Toby Keith is involved as a financial backer, which is obviously an important role for any start-up company.
According to the dirt sheets, TNA was almost sold to Keith and Jarrett late last year, only for negotiations to fall through due to heavy conditional demands by the Carter family, including that Dixie stay onboard as the President of the company and be allowed to remain an important wrestling character. I'm assuming that it didn't take long after that deal fell through for Jarrett to decide he'd try his hand at founding a totally new company. He did it once before to reasonable success with TNA, so there's no reason he couldn't do it again, right?
Personally I'm really looking forward to this new project, both because I'm a huge Jarrett fan and because I'd love to see if he can make lightning strike twice, and also because I think the wrestling world could do with a bit of freshness right now. I think Jeff Jarrett will have learned from various mistakes during his run with TNA, and with someone he can trust bankrolling the start-up, he won't have to worry about selling out to another Dixie Carter. Not for now, at least.
The other rumour regarding this new promotion is that it's set to air on CMT, or Country Music Television, which according to Wikipedia is beamed to over 90 million homes in America alone. If this turns out to be true, having a major TV deal lined up at this very early stage is a huge deal. It may not be as big a channel as the USA Network or Spike, but it's certainly a big enough channel to reach what could become a core audience.
But the big question I have is this: is there really room for another big wrestling promotion on the scene? Can WWE, TNA and Jarrett's new promotion all survive in the same world?
TNA is reportedly having trouble securing a new TV deal with Spike TV as Viacom is making a bid for WWE programming. If that ever came about, it should be obvious that TNA would find itself without a home. I don't think WWE is going to be in danger of losing its TV deals any time soon, and with connections to CMT, I doubt Keith and Jarrett's promotion would be out of a deal either, so long as they prove that they'll be profitable.
But even taking the whole "TV deal" thing out of the argument, it boils down to this: most people aren't going to have time to watch all three wrestling promotions. I personally have a hard enough time watching WWE and TNA, and more often than not I watch the shows on my DVR or online a day or two after they've already aired. Add a third company into the mix? People are going to have to make a choice.
WWE is safe, so rather than even pretend, I'm going to go ahead and leave this as basically a discussion about TNA and Jeff Jarrett's new company.
TNA has the advantage of being already established, as well as a fairly successful 12-year history. TNA also has the disadvantage of having 12 years of criticism being lobbed its way with a pretty heavy reputation for screwing things up. Jarrett gets to start fresh, and I think he's done a pretty good job of building hype for the new project.
Now obviously my story of having not enough time to watch every wrestling show on TV doesn't apply to everybody. I know plenty of people that watch both WWE and TNA, plus a handful of indy shows. I don't think that that group represents a majority of fans though, so Jarrett's company is going to be directly competing with TNA as "the OTHER wrestling company".
And of course, there's the issue of the roster. Who is Jarrett going to sign? Will he sign new, young names from the indy scene? Will he sign some of the free agent veterans like Chris Masters, John Morrison, Carlito, etc.? Will talent from TNA jump ship to join Jarrett? That topic could probably fill a column of its own, but I think it deserves a brief mention here as well. Jarrett could have the best writing team in the world, but without some great wrestlers on his team, the scripts don't matter. For all of TNA's faults, they at least have some well known wrestlers on the roster, whereas Jarrett will essentially be starting from scratch. Thankfully there's more than enough talent in North America to go around, it's just a matter of finding it.
So to answer my original question, is there room for all three companies to exist? As a short answer, I'll risk saying yes, but only because I think that they may all exist on TV at the same time for a bit. If Jarrett does things right this time around, I see no reason why he couldn't realistically make his new company the new #2, pushing TNA even further towards irrelevancy.
I'm excited to see what this new project brings, and I believe in Jeff Jarrett's ability to make it succeed. It won't be an overnight success, and of course there will be the people who hate on it because that's what they think the cool thing to do is, but at the end of the day I think he has a pretty solid mind for the industry, backed by a guy with money who also happens to be a big wrestling fan. I don't think that it was an accident that Jarrett picked the day after Wrestlemania to make his first big official announcement regarding this project. Wrestlemania is the biggest show in the WWE calendar year, and Jarrett is touting this announcement as one of the biggest of his career.
I swear to God if this all just ends up being part of some twisted TNA storyline…
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