Destination America, the cable network that currently hosts TNA Impact Wrestling, has announced that it has acquired the TV rights to Ring of Honor Wrestling. The first episode of Ring of Honor on Destination America will air next Wednesday
TNA and Ring of Honor are the only two pro wrestling companies offering any legitimate competition to WWE. The only other company with consistent television coverage is Lucha Underground, on the El Rey Network. None of these companies really challenges WWE in scope, talent, or market share; they are more accurately in competition with each other for a distant no. 2.
This move is extremely interesting. There have been rumors for quite some time now that TNA Wrestling was on the verge of going broke. Lately the rumor mill has reported that Destination America was losing advertisers and was planning on dropping Impact Wrestling. While the first rumor might be true, it would be extremely unusual for a channel that was planning on canceling one wrestling show would go to the lengths to acquire a second show. Ring of Honor is not inherently better or more popular than TNA, though at times it might seem that way.
Ring of Honor will air on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 at 8pm (EDT). This will actually lead into Impact Wrestling at 9pm, currently airing on Fridays. Many commentators have remarked on the possible competition of one show leading into the next.
Pure speculation time: rather than competition, could this be the first sign of a potential partnership—or even merger—between Ring of Honor and TNA? Many of Ring of Honor’s stars are former TNA stars, and vice versa. Wrestlers often move freely between the two companies, in fact. (The two companies actually used to have a talent-sharing agreement.) With the growing threat of Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, might TNA and Ring of Honor decide to work together to increase their respective influence—and even offer WWE some real competition? In fact, given the reports about TNA’s financial status, could they use a partnership with Ring of Honor to stay afloat?
Though TNA only briefly—and Ring of Honor never—challenged WWE’s crown for supremacy in the wrestling business, many of the top and up-and-coming WWE stars from the past few years had stints in one or both of these two companies: Daniel Bryan (a Ring of Honor champion as Bryan Danielson), CM Punk, Seth Rollins (as Tyler Black), Luke Harper (as Brodie Lee), R-Truth (a TNA champion as Ron “The Truth” Killings), Sami Zayn (as El Generico), Kevin Owens (as Kevin Steen), etc. Samoa Joe, who dominated in both Ring of Honor and TNA, recently debuted in NXT and will likely immediately rise to top of WWE as soon as he joins the main roster. They may not have the dominant market share that WWE enjoys, but they clearly have an eye for talent.