In a story originally broke by the New York Post, Billy Corgan is in talks to become the majority owner of TNA Wrestling. The Smashing Pumpkins’ front man has had a stake in the company ever since coming on board in early 2015. However, it was another piece of the Times’ article that left many in a state of bewilderment. Apparently, WWE (along with Ring of Honor’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting) have put in a bid to purchase TNA Wrestling. While some think that this is an exciting piece of sports news, I look upon it with a sense of dread.
Yes, it has been fifteen years since Vince McMahon purchase World Championship Wrestling for four million dollars (after Eric Bischoff assembled investors and put in an original bid of nearly $65 mil and the people running the show at WCW refused this deal, yet sold to McMahon for only $4 mil is a suspicious story for another date) and many feel that this is a different Vince McMahon. They feel that he will see the value in the talent in front of and behind the camera. These people cite examples of the success of NXT, or the rise in prominence of superstars such as Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan or CM Punk, or the Divas division getting a complete revamp through the Women’s Revolution, allowing the women the time and serious storylines to be treated with the same level of respect as the men. I can understand how one would see these things and feel that this is a new WWE, one in which the purchase of TNA would go down completely different than the purchase of WCW did in March of 2001. I do not have such faith.
Much of World Wrestling Entertainment’s change in philosophy in recent years is due to several factors other than McMahon. Stephanie McMahon was the one who pressed for the change in philosophy towards women’s wrestling. Triple H is the ‘godfather’ of NXT and has treated the developmental promotion with the tender loving care it so deserved. This also led to several pushes of Hunter’s “pet projects” from NXT like Rollins, Ambrose, Balor, Sasha Banks, etc. The success of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, however, was IN SPITE OF WWE upper management. Every attempt by WWE to push one of their golden boys like Cena, Orton, Batista or Roman Reigns, there was pushback by the audience. This is an audience who no longer will buy WWE Network subscriptions or tickets to live events just because a performer is tall or muscular. This fact seems to be known by everyone in WWE except for Vince McMahon and his Executive Producer, Kevin Dunn. If Vince really got with the times, we wouldn’t see the pushes of people that it’s painfully obvious weren’t ready (Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, Big Cass, Nia Jax…). The writing of SmackDown seems to have improved since the brand split, but Monday Night Raw, shortly after the draft, started falling back to its boring and dated shtick. The same predictable storylines, the same lame jokes that no one in touch with the zeitgeist would actually find funny, the same feeding of lines to the announcers to make certain favored talent look way better than the rest of the roster, the same old stuff.
Taking all of this into consideration, I find it incredibly laughable that anyone would believe that Vince McMahon would actually do the right thing if he purchased TNA. I envision him purchasing it for an incredibly low amount, closing the doors of the promotion, all just to get the rights to their tape library so he can add that content to the WWE Network. If Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn were no longer in the picture, leaving Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in full control of World Wrestling Entertainment, I would have more faith that a purchase of TNA would be a good thing.
Coke is a better product because it has Pepsi to compete with it. McDonald’s may not be as good if it didn’t have Burger King, Wendy’s and others in competition with it. Yes, WWE leads the pack by a country mile, but less competition in the United States is not a good thing in my opinion. Losing TNA is not what’s best for business.