Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling is a privately held professional wrestling promotion founded by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett. In 2002, Panda Energy International purchased a controlling share in TNA, with Dixie Carter becoming the President of the company.
TNA headquarters is located in Nashville, Tennessee; its trading company, TNA Entertainment, LLC. Operates out of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, where the company has its weekly wrestling events. It does, on occasion go to other cities throughout the United States and selected overseas countries.
TNA broadcasts its events on television, with its primary television program, Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, and on the internet, fifty-two weeks a year, with approximately 1,100,000 weekly viewers.
TNA gains its revenues from live events, pay-per-views, product licensing, and direct product sales.
Shortly after the end of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), in 2001, Bob Ryder, Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Jarrett went on a fishing trip with the purpose of deciding their futures in the wrestling business. At the time, The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) remained at the time as the only wrestling product on the U.S. national television since the WWF had just purchased WCW in March of 2001, and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2001. Ryder felt that it would be better to have a wrestling company go straight to pay-per-view rather than on television. Jeff Jarrett took this discussion seriously while the other two thought of it as “just fish talk.”
Jeff Jarrett, with the help of his father, Jerry, found the financial help they need with HealthSouth Corporation, and the company put on its first show on June 19, 2002.
The show, under NWA Total Nonstop Action did not go well. In a dark match just before they went on the air, a 450-pound wrestler named Cheex hit the ropes with so much force that one section of the ropes collapsed. The estimated time to repair was 30-60 minutes, which they did not have because they were scheduled to live, on pay-per-view, in a few minutes, whether the ring was ready or not. The producers shuffled the schedule so that some non-wrestling segments went first to give the ring crew some more time, but they didn’t have a lot of crew members. The ring crew fixed the rope with the help of wrestlers Ron and Don Harris, and they went live.
In 2002, the president of Monterey Peninsula Talent contacted Dixie Carter and informed her that NWA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, required a marketing and publicity outlet. Carter then began working for TNA. Two months later, she was informed by Jeff Jarrett that HealthSouth Corporation was having financial problems and had withdrawn support of TNA, and that the wrestling company was in trouble.
Carter, seeing “the potential in a marketplace that had only one company with a $900 million dollar operation and no competitor”, contacted her parents, who are the owners of Panda Energy International, a Dallas-based energy company. In October 2002, Panda Energy purchased 71% of TNA from HealthSouth Corporation for $250,000. On October 31, 2002, TNA was renamed TNA Entertainment with Dixie Carter as President.
NWA Total Nonstop Wrestling was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). TNA was granted exclusive rights to both the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and the NWA World Tag Team Championship. TNA left the NWA in 2004, but was permitted to continue the use of the championships until the NWA canceled their contract agreement with TBA in May of 2007, after which TNA created its own championship titles.
TNA started showing their show as a weekly pay-per-view. The shows started on June 19, 2002 and were held mostly at the Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee. After 27 months and 111 PPV’s under their belt, TNA felt that they had enough of a fan base to begin holding a weekly television show and monthly three-hour pay-per-views. The last weekly PPV was held on September 8, 2004.
Wrestlers who starred for the company were in its infancy were, A.J Styles, K-Krush (R-Truth), Hermie Sadler (yep the NASCAR driver), Jerry Lynn, Samoa Joe and Sabu,
The first match of TNA history was Jerry Lynn versus AJ Styles.
Initially all of TNA’s shows were syndicated and distributed to various television stations throughout the United States. TNA Xplosion was launched on November 27, 2002 as the companies first regular cable show and featured exclusive matches from the TNA Asylum as well as exclusive interviews with TNA Superstars. On June 4, 2004, TNA began airing TNA Impact! On Fox Sports Net.
With moving over to Fox Sports Net, TNA moved their wrestling operations to Universal Studios, Soundstage 21, in May 2004. Since then most of their wrestling is originated from here. TNA also has approximately 98 shows outside of Orlando, Fl in the United States and Overseas.
On November 18, 2004, TNA Xplosion became a recap show of the previous week’s Impact!. Xplosion resumed airing exclusive matches, billed as “Xplosion Xclusives, starting on October 7, 2005, in addition to recapping Impact! Fox Sports Net did not renew its one-year contract with TNA, and the company was forced to broadcast Impact! From their official website, while seeking a new television deal. Spike TV came to the rescue as they secured a deal with TNA, and aired its first episode on October 1, 2005. At the end of 2006 Xplosion stopped airing shows in the United States, while still producing shows for overseas markets. Impact! Expanded to a two-hour format on October 4, 2007. On October 28, 2008, TNA made the transition to high definition on all its television and pay-per-view shows. On February 15, 2010, TNA reached a new deal with Spike TV which moved Impact! To Monday nights. The first episode took place March 8, 2010, and with the help of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and other former WWE Superstars, achieved its highest viewership ever, with over 2,200,000 viewing the show. Not bad, considering it went up against a live WWE Monday Night Raw. What help TNA was its started Impact! At 8pm where-as Monday Raw started at 9PM. Ratings went down for Impact! After its first Monday showing, so on May 30, 2010, TNA announced that Impact! Will be moved back to Thursday nights and re-branded TNA Thursdays. On May 3, 2011, TNA Impact! Was re-branded Impact Wrestling. TNA is broadcast in more than 120 countries all over the world.
On July 2, 2010, TNA set an attendance record of 5,500 fans at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, minor league team of the New York Mets.
On November 7, 2011, TNA reached a deal with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) to become TNA’s official training and development territory.
TNA Wrestlers are forbidden by contract from working for WWE, but are free to perform non-televised work for any other independent wrestling promotions, domestic or international. Many TNA wrestlers perform regularly for various independent wrestling circuits in addition to TNA’s weekly show. TNA wrestlers are independent contractors and are not entitled to form workers’ unions or employer health coverage.
The following is what originally made TNA unique:
It was the first American wrestling company to make exclusive use of a hexagonal wrestling ring, as opposed to the more conventional square ring. It was different and it made it more interesting because a wrestler can come at you from different, non-traditional, angles.
It’s X Division featured high-flying, high risk style of wrestling. TNA decided to emphasize high risk nature of the moves that wrestlers performed, removing all restraints on its wrestlers, allowing them to perform almost any stunt like wrestling moves. Even though the X Division was generally created for its cruiserweight wrestlers, some heavyweights like Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and Abyss wrestled in the X Division occasionally.
The company also employed the unconventional rule that a championship can change hands as the result of a disqualification or count out.
These all changed with the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to the TNA scene, as they took a more active role in how the organization was to be run. Dixie still ran the company, but Hogan and Bischoff “had her ear.” Wrestling, in TNA, changed to be more in-line with the conventional way the way of wrestling.