Ever since Vince McMahon prospered in turning the WWE into a global empire, there has been a bevy of competitors vying to knock him off his perch. In the 80's countless regional outfits tried to compete with the WWE (then WWF) on a national level. These companies contained the Bill Watts owned UWF, Verne Gagnes AWA and the renowned NWA. None of which had the resources nor the business acumen to match McMahon. In the 90's, the Turner owned enterprise World Championship Wrestling, fathered a viable foe to the WWE. During its peak, WCW was outdrawing the WWE at house shows and conquering them every week in the Monday Night War ratings. However, as the 90's closed, so did WCW. Spear-headed by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock, the WWE once again triumphed. In 2002, former WCW Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett, alongside his father, long time promoter Jerry Jarrett, the two started Total ...view middle of the document...
But after four years, Hogan did very little to move the needle for TNA's ratings. Hulkamania ran mild at best during his TNA career. In 2012, Hulk Hogan, along with Eric Bischoff, parted ways with TNA. But that's not the only top star who has defected from the company. Jeff Jarrett, founding father of TNA, recently left the company. More surprising, AJ Styles, who is a multi-time Heavyweight Champion for the company, and was the poster boy for the company for the last decade, left the company after a new contract was unable to be procured. The mass exodus of stars is similar to what WCW saw between 1999 and 2001.
Rumors of Sale
Before the actual sale of WCW to WWE back in 2001, there were rumors of a sale. These rumors started a year before a purchase was actually made. Similarly, there have been a lot of rumbling about Panda Energy shopping TNA around to prospective buyers. Rumored buyers include Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and country superstar Toby Keith. Although rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, one cannot deny that this could be a tell tale sign of the direction of TNA.
At its zenith, WCW was drawing close to 10 million television viewers each week. However, as the company began to hemorrhage money, the viewership decline heavily.When the business closed in 2001, they were barely visible on the national wrestling scene. Although TNA was never a ratings juggernaut like WCW, the company has seen a decline in viewership for their flagship show TNA Impact. Additionally, unlike WCW Nitro, TNA Impact goes unopposed against any other wrestling program on Thursday evening. This is important. It means that TNA fans are losing interest in the venture and its wrestlers.
TNA may not be in imminent danger. The odds of the company closing tomorrow is very slim. However, the writing on the wall is there and it cannot be ignored.1998 was a very successful year for WCW, but things went down hill fast in 1999. TNA was holding steady last year, but this year, it has looked eerily similar to WCW circa 1999. If the ship doesn't right itself, TNA could close its doors in less than two years.