It’s been a long time coming for Ethan Carter III. One of the best performers on TNA’s diminishing roster, EC3 has gotten better and better each week. His social media presence, mic skills and look have solidified him as a breakout star. With that, TNA decided it was time to give the kid the strap. Carter pinned Kurt Angle on last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling to become the TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
TNA presents a special Destination X episode of Impact Wrestling tonight at 9pm ET on Destination America. Josh Mathews previews the card, which features three title matches, in the video above.
This year’s Destination X special is certainly a packed show. Following disappointing ratings from last week’s first run on Wednesday nights, the company and network are both looking for improved numbers. A stacked card like this along with a second week in the new timeslot should help.
Here is a rundown of the card:
TNA Heavyweight Championship Match
Rockstar Spud v. Kurt Angle
TNA Heavyweight Championship Match
Austin Aries v. Winner of Rockstar Spud/Kurt Angle match
TNA Knockouts Championship Match
Awesome Kong v. Taryn Terrell
X Division Championship Qualifying Matches
(Winners of each match will face each other in a Triple Threat for the X Division Championship at a later date)
Kenny King v. Grado v. Cruz
DJ Z v. Mandrews v. Tigre Uno
Low Ki v. Manik v. Crazy Steve
TNA has uploaded its weekly Impact in 60, highlighting all the happenings from the March 13, 2015 episode of Impact Wrestling on Destination America. The show featured Bobby Roode taking on Eric Young in a Last Man Standing match, a Hair v. Hair contest between Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud and Brooke taking on Robbie E.
TNA superstar Robbie E provided us with a look at the new Impact Wrestling logo for the company’s debut on Destination America. I personally really liked the current Impact Wrestling logo and this one feels a little “1990s Geocities” to me, but new is new.
TNA will begin taping episodes of Impact Wrestling for broadcast on Destination America in January, according to the company. The Manhattan Center will host three consecutive nights of television tapings on January 7th through the 9th.
TNA has found a nice home away from home in the Manhattan Center, where the crowds are undoubtedly better than those at the Impact Zone. According to Dixie Carter, it was a no-brainer to return to New York City for TNA’s debut episodes with new television partner Destination America. “With the explosive sold-out crowds in New York City this past summer, returning to the Manhattan Center for three huge events as IMPACT WRESTLING debuts on Destination America was an easy decision,” she said in the company’s press release announcing the news.
The final first-run episode of Impact Wrestling aired on Spike TV last Wednesday. Ahead of the company’s move to Destination America in 2015, TNA has released details on the final four episodes of Impact, which will be compilation specials airing on the usual night and time of Wednesdays at 9pm ET.
“Best of Impact Wrestling 2014″ will air on December 3rd and 10th and “Countdown to the All-Time Best TNA Moment” will air on December 17th and 24th.
Tomorrow’s episode of Impact, “Thanksgiving Throwdown,” will air exclusively on TNA’s YouTube channel and will also be available on-demand through Black Friday. According to the company, the special will feature “the best Turkey Bowl matches in TNA history and offers viewers ShopTNA Black Friday deals, including a free replica TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt for one lucky shopper.”
In a tweet this afternoon, Dixie Carter says TNA’s negotiations with Spike TV are ongoing.
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) July 28, 2014
Dixie Carter has been known to stretch the truth and not live up to expectations in the past, so take this with a grain of salt. The flip side, of course, is that TMZ may not be correct in their original report. Spike TV may have told Carter they do not intend to renew the Impact Wrestling deal as it currently stands, meaning a ratings boost or lower dollar figure could possibly sway them.
TMZ is reporting that Spike TV will not renew its deal with TNA and will no longer air Impact Wrestling when the current contract expires. According to their sources, the deal will run out in October, with no clear indication as to when the final episode of Impact Wrestling will air on Spike.
The news is obviously a huge blow to TNA and could not have come at a worse time. The figure WWE got for its television rights from NBC Universal was well below expectations, meaning TNA would almost certainly have to settle for a lesser deal than its current figure with Spike TV if it finds a new television partner.
This is a wake up call for TNA. The company’s only hope is to keep improving – the show has been better in recent weeks – until time runs out in October, with the idea that another network – large or small – will come calling, knowing that a viewership of one million a week is hard to find on cable. The only problem will be finding that network.
AMC recently agreed to a deal with Billy Corgan for a wrestling program. Spike and its parent network, Viacom, are out of play. NBC and Universal aren’t a fit since they have the rights to WWE. FOX and ABC could be interested, since they were in the hunt for WWE rights, but Raw and Smackdown bring in higher viewership numbers – and, by extension, advertising dollars – than Impact Wrestling.
TNA has time to figure something out but in the world of television, where deals are struck sometimes years in advance for new programming, it’ll be hard to find a solution in just a few months.
TNA once again loosely borrowed a page from WWE’s book on last night’s Impact Wrestling, with Eric Young winning a gauntlet match in the opener to earn a World Title shot later in the night, where he would go on to defeat Magnus to win the belt.
The night also saw the return of Dixie Carter in her “Triple H heel authority figure” role, with Bully Ray playing the role of Daniel Bryan, telling her that it’s all about what he fans want, not what she wants.
Magnus defeated Samoa Joe in a Falls Count Anywhere match and Bobby Roode defeated James Storm in a “Florida Death Match” after Gunner threw in the towel on last night’s Turning Point episode of Impact Wrestling.
Magnus advances to face Kurt Angle in the semifinals, while Roode will take on Jeff Hardy. The semifinal matches won’t take place on next week’s taped edition of Impact, though, as Dixie Carter announced during last night’s show that we’ll get a Team Angle v. Team Roode 4-on-4
Survivor Series elimination tag match.