Editorial Note: With the mass amount of information that is floating around regarding TNA Impact Wrestling, I felt it better to write this as an “editorial” style piece than a news piece. It’s hard to get a handle on what is fact and what is fiction right this second, but we are watching it. Factual information is properly cited to its sources as best as is possible.
If you’re a die-hard fan of TNA Impact, you have to be asking yourself right now “What else can go wrong?”
The company has been on a roll of sorts in 2016. You’ve listened to me and Drew talk it up, saying that while they’re not blowing the doors off the wrestling world they have substantially improved from their past behavior. Their premiere event, Bound for Glory, was well done. But now, it seems like it has all come to a head – and not in the wrestling ring.
At the core of all of this is corporate mismanagement. None of the issues with the company, at least in this context, are related to talent and booking. This falls on the head of Dixie Carter and company management, without question. Let’s dissect it piece by piece.
The Tax Man Cometh:
Today, a story surfaced via SEScoops.com that noted the company is in tax debt to the state of Tennessee. The state had filed a tax lien document against TNA Entertainment, LLC on September 8 for unpaid tax. Online public record searches that I did on my lunch break back this up, but there is no specified dollar figure in any of those searches so the amount of the unpaid debt is not clear.
What this means to the company is that the state has the right to seize assets if the debt is not paid. Some might say that the company had restructured to Impact Ventures, LLC earlier this year and should not be vulnerable to this but that is not the case under Tennessee tax laws. Successor companies are covered under state tax law and while the distance from the original debt is increased the state does have the right to go after it.
My Take: As we’ve noted on the site before, there are suitors out there looking to buy the company. Whether it’s Billy Corgan, WWE, Sinclair Broadcasting, or someone whose name we haven’t heard in the mix, they will inherit this debt. It definitely makes the company less attractive to suitors as it puts them at risk of being subject to tax collection. It will be up to that buyer to decide if that’s a risk they wish to take, or if they have the capital to settle the debt at purchase time.
Music Rights Issues:
I had the chance to see last night’s show, and I noted that there were two entrances in particular that there was no music for but instead just dubbed in crowd noise. Mike Bennett and DJ Z were the two that did not get music. There are a lot of rumors floating around that Pop TV was close to not airing that broadcast due to these musical issues.
Part of the speculation is that it was related to music written by Billy Corgan, but his TNA theme aired as usual. As noted in audio and by other credible news sources, there has been a lot of friction especially of late between Corgan and Dixie Carter. Speculation definitely has roots in these issues, as Corgan had filed a restraining order and injunction against the company.
Researching some online listings it appears that the music that was pulled was written by Dale Oliver, who has written music for TNA since 2002. As the songs for Bennett and DJ Z are newer songs, it appears that the issues are with entrance music written by Oliver as recently as this year.
My Take: It’s total speculation and should not be considered as fact, but one has to wonder with all the other unpaid talent if Oliver is among them and told the company to pull the plug on his tunes.
Speaking of that episode last night, ShowBuzzDaily.com is reporting that it drew only 284,000 viewers, down from last week’s 305,000. While viewership numbers fluctuate week to week based on what else is on television and generally are not cause for alarm, with everything else going on in the company it can’t feel good. This is a two week declining trend, down 81,000 viewers over that span.
And then of course, the Lawsuits:
The first reports of lawsuits started Wednesday as I mentioned in Around the Ring. TNA President Billy Corgan filed documents in Chancery Court of Nashville, Tennessee against TNA management. The original reports came from PWInsider.com, who detailed out the documents available. The suit names Dixie Carter, her husband Serg Salinas, TNA’s Chief Financial Officer Dean Broadhead, the company itself and its parent company, Impact Ventures, LLC.
Also, there has been a restraining order bond and an application for a temporary injunction filed against the company. Corgan has asked for a six person jury to hear the case, and that hearing will take place on October 20. The details of both lawsuits are under seal, so there isn’t much information available on either one. You can see the public record of the filing on NashvilleChanceryInfo.org.
Corgan and Dixie Carter had a falling out to the point that they wouldn’t appear together nor would Corgan attend the talent meeting with Dixie. According to some experts, the legal filings are a business move by Corgan to prevent the company from making transactions more than anything else. Corgan has been making plays to buy the company, but those moves have been held off to this point.
Adding to the mix, TNA’s former production company, Audience of One Productions, LLC, filed a suit in Eastern District court in Virginia as well looking for $223,000 and interest against TNA, Impact Ventures, Aroluxe LLC, Dean Broadhead and Ron Harris. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, violations of Virginia code, and tortuous interference on behalf of Aroluxe LLC. This dates back all the way back to Bound for Glory 2015.
According to public records, the lawsuit also claims that Aroluxe was handling TNA’s production and administering accounts payable because Aroluxe was keeping TNA afloat. They also allege that Broadhead and Harris were also responsible for dragging payment out with false promises of future work in order to get Audience of One to agree to a repayment plan that TNA did not maintain.
So, with all of this news, one has to really wonder what the future of the company really is at this point. TNA has always been of the mindset that “we’re survivors” and have come back from some bad situations in their past – even with only a year under their belt at one point. But all of this coming together in a perfect storm of sorts begs the question if they can even rally past this.
It would be a shame if the company did fold altogether. The talent has improved as has the product and the wrestling business is always better when guys have places to work. But in the end, Dixie Carter’s ineptitude has gotten them into a very deep hole that they may or may not be able to get out of.
This is a story that journalists and fans will be continuing to follow for days to come.