TNA Wrestling taped its final scheduled shows from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios Orlando in March, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the positive working relationship between the two ended.
TNA Impact Wrestling (8 p.m. EST Thursdays, Spike TV) is no longer emanating from the Impact Zone as the company took the next step in its evolution, currently traveling to a different host city each week for its flagship broadcast.
Since 2004, the Impact Zone housed TNA television (live and taped). With locals and Universal Studios theme park visitors, TNA Wrestling built a solid fanbase, which produced a very strong following from the United Kingdom. Whether it was David Penzer or Jeremy Borash prepping the crowd before a taping, when either called out the UK, a roar erupted from the audience.
TNA made its own noise with its formation in 2002, airing weekly pay-per-views from the Asylum in Nashville. Quite the contrast for a start-up wrestling company, it’s Bizarro World approach garnered many detractors. Still, Jeff and Jerry Jarrett and Bob Ryder persevered, proving right and the naysayers wrong.
Bumps along the way existed, but each time the company maneuvered around or through it, surviving. Landing weekly television via FOX Sports Net, moving to Universal Studios Orlando, signing with Spike TV steadied its progress, but the biggest announcement occurred when Dixie Carter joined the organization.
With Carter’s background in marketing, promotions and entertainment coupled with the financial backing from the family business, she saved the company, and TNA continued its climb. When showing live on Monday nights did not work, Carter and Spike TV opted to take one step back over the short term, rather than stubbornly let ego and pride quicksand the company long term.
The addition of Hulk Hogan created quite a buzz, generating some mainstream appeal/publicity.
New stars emerged like AJ Styles, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Matt Morgan, Amazing Red, Abyss, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Established talent like Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson, Chavo Guerrero Jr., referee Earl Hebner and the Dudley Boys/Team 3D added credability. The emergence of the TNA Knockouts with Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, Tara, Mickie James, ODB, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love, Madison Rayne, Christy Hemme, So Cal Val and Sarita proved women can wrestle and draw ratings.
Brodcasters Mike Tenay, Jeremy Borash, Don West and Taz bridged the action from the ring (six-sided or four) to fans watching at home. The all-important creative mindset included Bruce Prichard, Terry Taylor, Dutch Mantel, Simon Diamond, Vince Russo, Al Snow and D-Lo Brown .
TNA is the second largest wrestling promotion in the world, reaching more than 1-million viewers in the United States and producing programming for more than 120 countries. TNA brought Impact Wrestling to the UK where it celebrated record-setting attendance and financial prosperity.
TNA’s roster showcases a diverse mix with veteran stars, those in their prime and talented up-n-comers. The TNA Knockouts Division proves girls can wrestle.
What’s next for TNA?
The sky is still the limit.
TNA spent three days at the Impact Zone at Universal Studios Orlando filming One Night Only pay-per-views, each representing its own theme. When the final match ended, and the combatants returned to the back, the company piped “Happy Trails” through the speakers as Jeremy Borash thanked fans and said good-bye