…is not because of Kurt Angle. And you don’t have Hulk Hogan to kick around (for now).

The only reason anyone would buy TNA is because it is a turn-key operation with a Spike TV contract. That’s the only redeeming quality that the Carter empire has at this point.

It’s not a big money-maker. It’s TV ratings always stay static. The company struggles to promote profitable live events and has to retreat back to Orlando to save money. When you are a company that is more concerned about cost savings rather than earning power, you know you are on the wrong side of the curve. WWE can worry about both savings & earning power because they have demonstrated an ability to manage both factors well. TNA has not figured out what earning power is, yet.

The one way to earn money, however, for the Panda Energy empire is by selling the company. Cash out and see if you can recover any money previously lost. Ah ha, but what if the reports are true that the Carters will sell part of the operation? There’s no point in purchasing the company if you are an outsider to their inner circle, then. A report claims that they would only consider selling to someone in their inner radar and that they don’t want a bidding frenzy involving outsiders. Translation: we’re committed to selling but we’re just not committed enough to getting out of the limelight. This is what happens when money marks become intoxicated with putting themselves over on television. Dixie Carter should heed the tale of the late Herb Abrams.

So, TNA has unloaded contracts of stars like Hulk Hogan & Mickie James. AJ Styles remains in a tenuous position. Makes the balance sheet look better if you wanted to flip the company. The problem is that if the Carters, who laughingly (reportedly) don’t want people to know that they’re considering selling TNA, want to flip TNA then perhaps their markish friends might be star-gazers who want the Hogans of the world under contract. Never mind the fact that the rumor mill claims Hogan wants one more run in WWE and never mind the fact that Eric Bischoff apparently is working from home. Great paid gig if you can get it.

What the reports about the Carters only willing to sell part of the company remind me of is an axiom that too many people learn the hard way in the wrestling business: even rich people hate losing money. When they start losing money, they become delusional. They start putting themselves over on television. They try to convince themselves that maybe they can sell off a piece of their nirvana and maintain some ownership so they can keep some power. Then they lose more money and realize that the jig is up and they enter into a fire sale with no leverage. Much like the collapse of WCW (assets sold to WWE), PRIDE (assets sold to UFC), and New Japan (assets sold by Inoki to Yukes who then sold to Bushiroad), TNA is headed down the same path.

So why would someone buy TNA simply for the Spike television contract? Because the death of WCW scared away so many major television executives from ever investing in wrestling again that it’s become harder & harder for upstart promotions to cut TV deals where the networks have a stake in the company’s success. TV networks will gladly take your money if you’ll buy the time (like TNA had to with Fox Sports Net) but they are not believers any more in wrestling if you’re not named WWE. Ring of Honor is gaining clearance in more markets because Sinclair Broadcasting is involved in ownership. It’s what makes ROH a fascinating experiment to watch in the future. Reticence from television executives who see pro-wrestling as a low rent product with a highly liberal, but poor (and young) demographic makes the television contract that TNA has with Spike all the more valuable in terms of a fire sale.

Right now, we’re witnessing the internal conflict that a money mark has to deal with when their dream is costing them severely. Dixie Carter brags about making other people money on television when she can’t make money with her own company. The question is who she sells to and what happens to TNA next. One intriguing option would be Sinclair Broadcasting buying TNA and obtaining the Spike TV contract to integrate TNA into the Ring of Honor fold (or vice versa). It actually would make the most sense in terms of consolidation. If such a possibility was to arise, WWE would have to jump in and make an offer. Would they kill TNA? Probably. They would either make TNA another farm property or else replace TNA entirely with NXT.

WWE buying out TNA would kill the company. Sinclair Broadcasting buying out TNA would create a merger with ROH that would give us a real alternative to Stamford. A Carter family friend buying TNA but letting Dixie hang out would simply prolong the inevitable, which is TNA’s death and eventually the death of the Spike TV contract.

The one situation Dixie Carter would find dreamy is selling off a majority stake in the company to… Spike TV. Why? She would convince herself that Viacom would allow her to continue her charade as being a power broker both on and off camera. Kind of like how Bjorn Rebney envisioned himself as a kingmaker when Viacom purchased Bellator. We’ve seen how that situation has turned out.

The clock is ticking.

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