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SLAM! Speaks: TNA's test
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff




Tomorrow, TNA iMPACT will officially launch on Spike TV in a move that, combined with UFC's programming on the US-based cable network, is being analyzed by some as the start of a new "Monday Night War".

Whether you want to believe that hype or not, the bottom line is that TNA now has more of a presence on television than it ever has, and the deal with Spike could see big things for the still-young company.

With this in mind, the question before the SLAM! staff this time 'round is if TNA is now a vialble threat to WWE's wrestling supremacy. Here's what our writers had to say.


Jason Clevett
It depends on Spike. As we saw with ECW, unless Spike TV gets behind the company, this will fail. It looks, however, like Spike is serious about giving TNA a chance at success, with ads (not just during their own show) that actually focus on the highlights TNA can offer.

The first Impact is booked perfectly with Jeff Hardy vs. Rhino, two former WWE stars to draw in the casual curious fan, who can then be awed by AJ Styles vs. Roddy Strong and Chris Sabin vs. Petey Williams vs. Alex Shelley. It is in the company's hands to continue to promote themselves as a enjoyable alternative and push the up and coming stars that build their company and keep fans interested. For the sake of the wrestlers in TNA and wrestling in general, lets hope it works out.

Ryan Nation
Yes, simply because the entertainment business is extremely cut-throat, especially wrestling. The usual mode of thinking is: someone is always aiming for your spot no matter what your position is; therefore, TNA does pose a potential threat. It's just a matter of how big of an impact (bad pun intended) they will have that remains to be seen.

Greg Oliver
It's their terrible timeslot that leaves this still a very open, unanswered question for me. At 11pm ET on a Saturday, I'm either out or asleep. I'm not watching TV. While I'll undoubtedly tape the show now that it's finally avaiable in Canada, the others like me who tape things don't get counted in the Nielsen numbers. So if ratings aren't what they expect, then will it survive? They have a year to establish themselves and a solid viewership. TNA has taken a lot of right steps, and a lot of wrong ones. Who's doing the leading from here?

Andy McNamara
I have been covering TNA Impact for the last few months, and although the overall in-ring work is often superior to that found in WWE rings, it is too early to tell whether being on Spike TV will make them major players.

This cable TV exposure is obviously much more desirable then showing the program off of its website; however, TNA is pegged to be a distant number two for some time to come. The X-Division and the different look of the six-sided ring I think will draw in some inital casual fans. The signing of The Dudleyz and other former WWE performers will give TNA some names to market as well.

TNA's pay-per-views on a pure wrestling format have been outstanding. The key difference between TNA and WWE are the promos. Being on Spike TV may actually expose to a grander audience the often poor interview skills of alot of the talent. Also, being after Ultimate Fighter and being a key element in the Saturday Night Fight Night format of Spike makes TNA seem special and will hopefully deliver strong ratings. I think by December we'll be able to see if TNA can cut it on a national stage, and maybe even be able to grab a Monday night spot one day.

Jon Waldman
As much as I'd like for TNA to be a threat right now, the reality is they aren't, and won't be for quite some time.

TNA is finally doing something right in the business. They are moving into a traditional wrestling time slot (don't forget how long WCW had Saturday Night going) and are marketing their stars. However, TNA still is not touring, and as a result are not making any real money aside from products. The company is losing a lot of money, and you have to wonder how much longer Panda will be investing in them.

Spike, at this point, is a bandaid solution. Yes it will give them temporary relief as being an outlet to reach out to new fans, but ultimately a bandaid cannot cure the huge gash that is being formed across the company's proverbial torso. To further the analogy, a full-out surgery is needed, and Spike cannot be that. Hopefully, someone will come in with enough resources to foot the bill (read: Turner, Ted), but if not, TNA may end up like ECW did on the former TNN - dead and buried after its contract expires.

Do you see TNA as a threat to WWE? Do you think the company will be able to survive and thrive with Spike TV? E-mail us with your thoughts. Results will be posted next week.

-- compiled by Jon Waldman