The concept of TNA originated shortly after World Championship Wrestling (WCW) ended in 2001. Bob Ryder, Jeff Jarrett, and Jerry Jarrett went on a fishing trip and contemplated their futures in the professional wrestling business. Only one wrestling product remained on United States national television: the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Ryder felt that this situation led many television stations to regard wrestling as bad for business, so he suggested a company not reliant on television, but rather one going straight to pay-per-view.
The Jarretts found the financial backing they needed, and the company put on its first show on June 19, 2002. That night, however, in a dark match just before they went on the air, a 450 lb wrestler named Cheex hit the ropes with so much force that one of them broke. The estimated repair time was 30–60 minutes, which they did not have because the schedule called for them to go live in a few minutes, whether the ring was ready or not. Backstage, the producers shuffled the schedule so that some non-wrestling segments went first to give the ring crew some more time, but they did not have many of them. The ring crew fixed the rope with the help of Ron Harris and Don Harris, and everyone went live hoping for the best.
Initially, TNA's weekly pay-per-view show operated as the company's main source of revenue, in place of monthly pay-per-view events used by other promotions. These shows started on June 19, 2002, and took place mostly at the Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, nicknamed the TNA Asylum. After 27 months and 111 PPVs, TNA began holding a weekly television show and monthly three-hour pay-per-views. The last weekly PPV took place on September 8, 2004. TNA Xplosion launched on November 27, 2002 as TNA's first regular cable show and featured exclusive matches from the TNA Asylum as well as exclusive interviews with TNA Wrestlers. On November 18, 2004, the show became a recap show of the previous week's Impact! in light of alterations in the taping schedule. Xplosion resumed airing exclusive matches (billed as "Xplosion Xclusives") once more on October 7, 2005 in addition to recapping Impact!. The "Xplosion Xclusives" also aired on the now-ceased TNA Global Impact! internet show. Airing of Xplosion in the United States ceased at the end of 2006, although some of the exclusive matches can be seen on TNA Today and on TNA's Youtube Channel.
In May 2004, TNA Wrestling introduced a television program, TNA iMPACT!, produced at Soundstage 21 at Universal Studios Florida and broadcast on Fox Sports. The transition included the use of a six-sided wrestling ring, the implementation of the "Fox Box" displaying competitors and timekeeping for the match, and a generally more sports-like style than the sports entertainment style exemplified by the WWE.
With the switch to cable television, TNA discontinued their weekly pay-per-view shows in favor of a monthly 3-hour pay-per-view format as previously utilized by WCW and ECW and as currently used by WWE. In November 2004, TNA held the first of these pay-per-views, TNA Victory Road 2004, beginning the pattern of pay-per-view shows that continued until 2013.
The television contract with Fox Sports expired in May 2005 and was not renegotiated, leaving TNA without television exposure. This prompted TNA to air iMPACT! via webcasts – originally made available via BitTorrent and eventually via RealPlayer – and on Urban America Television replacing Xplosion. During this time TNA continued pursuing a profitable television deal for regular broadcasting. TNA later secured a deal with Spike TV and aired its first episode on October 1, 2005.
In October 2006, TNA began holding select pay-per-views outside of its central filming location, the TNA Impact! Zone in Orlando, Florida, with TNA Bound for Glory 2006. In April 2006, TNA began a partnership with YouTube, under which TNA supplied YouTube with exclusive video-content in exchange for hosting, leading to the production of internet shows. In January 2007, TNA's mobile-content deal with New Motion, Inc. led to the introduction of TNA Mobile and mobile fan-voting. TNA has also launched "TNA U TV"; podcasts aired through YouTube to help promote the company. Impact! expanded to a two-hour format on October 4, 2007. On June 21, 2009, TNA launched an online video-vault subscription-service where subscribers could watch past pay-per-views by choosing one of three payment options.
On October 23, 2008, TNA made the transition to HD and since then all programming has been broadcast in high-definition. In addition, TNA introduced a new HD set that included new lighting and several large high-resolution screens.
In 2010, TNA hired professional wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and former WCW President Eric Bischoff. Both obtained a position behind the screen (Bischoff was part of creative and Hogan a consultant) and made some changes. They also hired many high-profile ex-WWE wrestlers, including Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy, while returning to a four sided ring. On February 15, 2010, TNA made a new deal with Spike TV, which moved Impact! to Monday nights, directly opposite of Raw (Although the network kept the Thursday night slot open for repeats of the Monday night shows). The first episode took place March 8, 2010.
On May 3, 2010, TNA moved Impact! back to Thursday nights, re-branded as "TNA Thursdays". At the same time Spike also picked up TNA Reaction (stylized as "TNA ReAction" or, alternatively, as "TNA ReACTION"), which became a regular one-hour docu-series on June 24, 2010. "ReAction" focused on the stories and characters of TNA Wrestling and previewed the upcoming episode of "TNA iMPACT!" On February 24, 2011 TNA began holding Impact! tapings at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina. On May 3, 2011, TNA Impact! was re-branded Impact Wrestling.
On November 7, 2011, TNA revealed that Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) would become TNA's official developmental territory. In December 2011, TNA debuted their new India-based subsidiary promotion Ring Ka King. On May 31, 2012, Impact Wrestling began airing live at a new start time of 8pm EST on Thursday nights. The live schedule would continue throughout 2012. On July 11, DirecTV, the carrier of Spike, blocked all Viacom stations affecting TNA viewership from DirecTV subscribers. After DirectTV and Viacom reached agreement, the removed channels were added back on July 20. In March 2013, TNA began taping Impact from different venues around the United States and terminated its lease with Universal Studios. On March 14, 2013, TNA introduced a new universal HD stage which would be used for all weekly programming. On November 2, 2013, TNA ended its relationship with OVW.
TNA formed a relationship with Japanese promotion Wrestle-1 beginning in July 2013 with a meeting between TNA founder Jeff Jarrett and Wrestle-1 head Keiji Mutoh. It was arranged for Jarrett to wrestle for Wrestle-1 in October 2013. In November, A.J. Styles successfully defended his TNA World Heavyweight Championship at a Wrestle-1 show in Japan.
From the period of 2013 to 2014, many well-known names or veterans of the company left TNA. Hulk Hogan's contract with TNA expired in October 2013, and he returned to WWE in early 2014. In December 2013, A.J. Styles left TNA after his contract expired. Styles later said that he could not accept TNA's new contract offer which would see him take a 60% cut in pay. Also in December 2013, TNA founder Jeff Jarrett "resigned" from the company. TNA accepted his resignation but clarified that Jarrett was still an "investor" in TNA. In spite of his investor status, in 2014, Jarrett revealed plans to start a new professional wrestling promotion, Global Force Wrestling. The departures did not stop in 2014, with TNA veterans Sting, Chris Sabin, Hernandez, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian all leaving the company in that year, and the contracts of TNA Hall of Famers Bully Ray and Devon reportedly expired in October 2014, with TNA moving them to the alumni section of their roster in January 2015.
In late July, the TMZ website reported that Spike TV was not renewing Impact Wrestling beyond October. In response, TNA refuted the report, stating that negotiations were still ongoing. On August 14, TNA moved Impact Wrestling from its Thursday timeslot to Wednesday nights. On August 20, TNA signed an extension with Spike TV until the end of 2014.
The 2014 Bound for Glory pay-per-view was held in collaboration with Wrestle-1 in Tokyo, Japan on October 12; the TNA World Heavyweight and the TNA World Tag Team titles were not defended at the event, which featured TNA wrestlers James Storm and The Great Sanada against Wrestle-1's The Great Muta and Tajiri in the main event. After Bound for Glory 2014, TNA effectively went into hiatus due to Impact Wrestling ending their contract with Spike TV and its subsequent move to Destination America. The show ceased airing new televised events after the November 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, with the final episodes of 2014 being dedicated to Best of TNA clip shows, before resuming events on January 7, 2015 with a live show from The Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom in New York City.
As revealed on November 19, 2014, TNA ended its relationship with Spike and instead partnered with Discovery Communications to distribute its programming beginning in January 2015. In the United States, TNA programs, including Impact Wrestling, moved to Destination America. Discovery also held rights in selected international markets. Spike's outreach at the time was estimated to be more than 97 million homes while Destination America was estimated to reach 59 million households. Destination America is, however, one of the fastest growing cable networks
Impact Wrestling premiered on Destination America on Wednesday, January 7 at 9:00 pm. TNA also started two new shows: Impact Wrestling: Unlocked, hosted by Mike Tenay, and TNA Wrestling's Greatest Matches, a series presenting the best matches in the company's history. From December 2014 to March 2015, several employees re-signed with TNA, including Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Gail Kim, Mr. Anderson, Abyss and Matt Hardy. Awesome Kong also re-joined the company following several years of absence. During this period veteran Samoa Joe and commentator Tazz left the company by mutual consent
Destination America gained over 41.94 million viewers over the course of 2015's first quarter, making this the channel's best first quarter ever, followed by their best May ever in primetime. In both cases Discovery Communications touted Impact Wrestling as one of the reasons for the increase in viewers. Despite this success, Discovery Communications dropped Unlocked and Greatest Matches from their programming in May 2015.
On November 19, 2015, TNA signed a deal with Pop to air Impact Wrestling, where it premiered on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 in a live special held at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. With this move to Pop, Impact Wrestling introduced a new HD set, graphics and theme music. This show saw the semi-finals and finals of the World Title Series, which was won by Ethan Carter III. Husband and wife team Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis would debut soon after. Subsequent shows would include episodes taped during a tour of England, which would be the last TNA appearances for Kurt Angle. TNA began taping Impact Wrestling from the "Impact Zone" at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida beginning with a live Impact Wrestling on March 15, 2016. On March 19, longtime TNA wrestlers Eric Young and Bobby Roode left the promotion after 12 years. On April 22, 2016, Velvet Sky, another longtime TNA wrestler, left the company.
On August 12, 2016, Billy Corgan became the promotion's new President, while Dixie Carter became Chairwoman and Chief Strategy Officer. On October 13, 2016, Billy Corgan sued TNA Wrestling due to an unpaid debt which Corgan claims TNA Wrestling has defaulted on. The state of Tennessee has also put a lien on TNA Wrestling for unpaid taxes. Fight Network has since offered to help TNA Wrestling and repay Corgan for the loans. They have also offered additional financial assistance to TNA Wrestling to help keep them from filing for bankruptcy. On October 31, 2016, Billy Corgan lost his injunction that kept TNA from selling the company, but TNA is required to pay Billy Corgan back by November 1, 2016. It is possible that one of the other minority owners could pay Billy Corgan, effectively making them the majority owner of TNA. On November 3, 2016, the company revealed that Anthem Sports & Entertainment provided a credit facility to fund operations for TNA, and that Billy Corgan was no longer with the company as President. However, Corgan himself has recently stated that neither TNA nor Anthem Sports & Entertainment has yet repaid the $2.7 million debt that is owed to him by TNA and, as such, he is considering suing, as well as converting the debt into a 36% stake. As the result of a settlement between Corgan & TNA, Anthem Sports & Entertainment had acquired the loans Corgan made to Dixie.
In January 2017 CBS Corporation, which owns the Pop cable channel, joined Hulu's new live stream service to broadcast TNA. Anthem Sports and Entertainment purchased an 85% majority stake of TNA, re-incorporating TNA's parent company; Dixie Carter retained a 5% minority stake in the company, but resigned as Chairwoman after fourteen years with the company, and joined Fight Media Group's advisory board. Anthem's Executive Vice President, Ed Nordholm, became President of TNA's new parent company. On January 5, 2017, Jeff Jarrett was brought back by Anthem to serve as a consultant.
From June 2004 to March 2013, TNA taped its flagship show, TNA Impact / Impact Wrestling as well as its secondary show TNA Xplosion from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios' Soundstage 21. They also aired their monthly pay-per-view in company history from that location until TNA Bound for Glory 2006 was broadcast from the Compuware Arena in Detroit.
TNA started running house shows on March 17, 2006. In 2007, TNA Wrestling first toured Europe, hosting two shows at Porto and Lisbon in Portugal. In 2008, TNA wrestlers appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 2 in Japan. Later on in 2008, TNA conducted its first tour of the UK, with most shows selling out. The promotion first toured Germany in 2009, France and the United Arab Emirates in 2010 and Belgium in 2012.
In August 2007, live-events coordinator Craig Jenkins stated that TNA intended to stage eight pay-per-views and 96 house shows outside Orlando, Florida in 2008.
In 2009, on TNA's UK tour, a house show at Wembley Arena in London broke TNA attendance records. On July 2, 2010, MCU Park hosted a live TNA house show, which also broke the TNA domestic attendance record at the time and is currently the most attended live TNA house show in the USA, with a capacity crowd of 5,550.
On January 31, 2013, TNA Wrestling announced that they would tape their weekly show Impact Wrestling in different venues around the United States, with the first live show being held on March 14, 2013, in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois (a Chicago suburb).
On November 21, 2013, TNA returned to Universal Studios due to rising costs of taping Impact Wrestling from different venues. TNA began holding tapings at Soundstage 19 instead of returning to the original TNA Impact Zone, Soundstage 21, due to it being occupied by another tenant. On March 13, 2014, TNA began filming Impact Wrestling from another Universal Studios soundstage, Soundstage 20. Soundstage 19 was only a temporary venue for the tapings.
From June 19, 2014, to January 29, 2015, TNA taped Impact Wrestling from The Sands Casino Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom in New York City. In late January 2015, TNA taped Impact Wrestling at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, The Manchester Arena in Manchester, England and Wembley Arena in London, England as part of their annual Maximum Impact tour, before returning to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. During this time TNA also stepped away from the Impact Zone moniker for the venue.
Throughout its history, TNA has worked with several international wrestling promotions, with championships from those promotions sometimes having been defended at TNA events. Among the organizations TNA has worked with are Mexico's Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), Japan's Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Wrestle-1 (W-1), and America's Evolve Wrestling. TNA's relationship with NJPW lasted from 2008 to 2011, and included TNA sending wrestlers to participate in NJPW's annual Wrestle Kingdom event, as well as NJPW sending future IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada on a training excursion to TNA; however, the relationship soured in 2011, when IWGP Tag Team Champions Team 3D were held off of a New Japan tour in favor of appearing on Impact Wrestling and Okada was given a Green Hornet-inspired gimmick while being cast as Samoa Joe's sidekick.
On March 2, 2014, TNA collaborated with Wrestle-1 in producing the Kaisen: Outbreak supershow in Tokyo, Japan where three TNA championships were defended. In May 2015, it was reported that the relationship between TNA and Wrestle-1 had ended.
TNA also had a working agreement with Mexico's Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion (AAA).
TNA has also worked with American independent promotions in various collaborative efforts, such as Global Force Wrestling (also founded by Jeff Jarrett) and OMEGA Championship Wrestling (owned by TNA wrestlers Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Gregory Helms).
Since its origin, TNA has featured a high-flying, high risk style of wrestling known as its X Division. Rather than emphasizing the fact that most wrestlers who perform this style are under 220 lb (100 kg) by calling it a cruiserweight division, TNA decided to emphasize the high risk nature of the moves that these wrestlers perform, removing all restraints on its wrestlers, allowing them to perform almost stunt like wrestling moves.
Originally, there was no weight limit on the X Division or its title, though in practice, most of the wrestlers in this division have been cruiserweights, with Samoa Joe, billed at 280 lb (130 kg), Kurt Angle, billed at 230 lb (100 kg), and Abyss, billed at 350 lb (160 kg), being notable exceptions. To further emphasize this point, the slogan "It's not about weight limits, it's about no limits" was used to describe the division. Although it was de-emphasized throughout 2007, the X Division is generally regarded as one of the key attractions of TNA and was replicated in several other promotions. In August 2011, a 225 lb (102 kg) weight limit was introduced. This was quietly repealed in March 2012. Changes introduced in March 2013, including a weight limit of 230 lbs. and making all matches triple threat matches, were repealed in August.
Six sided ring
From the promotion's first show in June 2002 until June 2004, TNA used a standard four-sided wrestling ring. In 2004, with the premier of Impact, TNA switched to a six-sided ring, as seen occasionally in the Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). TNA used the six-sided ring until 2010. A fan-voted poll to determine what type of ring the company would use was held June 17–25, 2014, favored the six-sided ring.
TNA wrestlers are forbidden by contract from working for other companies with televised wrestling shows, but are free to perform non-televised work for any other independent wrestling promotions, domestic or international, as well as televised events held by foreign promotions that TNA is linked to or has a working relationship with promotions such as Ring Ka King, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración. Many TNA wrestlers perform regularly for various promotions on the independent circuit in addition to TNA's weekly shows. In 2012, TNA changed policy, preventing its talent from appearing at any independent events that are later released on DVD. This, however, was later altered due to the lack of TNA shows in late 2014, and many TNA stars appeared at indy events, but were not allowed to appear on any TV or pay-per-view tapings. The top TNA stars have guaranteed contracts but the majority of TNA wrestlers are paid on a per appearance basis. TNA wrestlers are classified as independent contractors and are not entitled to form workers' unions or employer health coverage.
The TNA Hall of Fame was introduced on May 31, 2012. As part of the yearly process, selected inductees will be chosen based on their overall contributions to TNA's history. On June 10 at TNA Slammiversary 2012, Sting was revealed as the first inductee into the Hall of Fame. His formal induction took place at Bound for Glory in October 2012. On June 2, 2013 TNA president Dixie Carter revealed that the newest member of the TNA Hall of Fame was Kurt Angle. Angle was officially inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame on October 19, 2013. At TNA Slammiversary 2014, Angle revealed Team 3D as the next inductees to the TNA Hall of Fame. In 2015, Jeff Jarrett returned to the company and was inducted into the 2015 Hall Of Fame. TNA Official Earl Hebner was also inducted. At TNA Bound for Glory 2016, Gail Kim was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame.
Championships and accomplishments
TNA Recognized Champonships
- TNA World Heavyweight Championship
- Impact Grand Championship
- TNA World Tag Team Championship
- TNA X Division Championship
- TNA Knockouts Championship
- TNA World Beer Drinking Championship- Unsactioned championship
- TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship
- TNA King of the Mountain Championship / TNA Legends Championship / TNA Global Championship / TNA Television Championship
- Asistencia Asesoría y Administración Mega Championship - Billed as the Mexican Heavyweight Championship
- Inoki Genome Federation Heavyweight Championship
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship
- NWA World Tag Team Championship
- IWGP Tag Team Championship
- IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship
- Joker's Wild
- King of the Mountain
- Queen of the Knockouts
- TNA World Cup
- Race for the Case
- BFG Series Playoffs
- TNA Turkey Bowl