Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) is an American professional wrestling promotion founded by Jeff Jarrett and his father Jerry Jarrett in May 2002. The current majority share owner is Panda Energy International. The company, which trades as TNA Entertainment, LLC, operates out of Nashville, Tennessee, with an office in Orlando, Florida.
TNA was originally a member of the National Wrestling Alliance, with the company known as NWA-TNA, but withdrew from them in 2004, in the process acquiring the rights to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and the NWA World Tag Team Championship until 2014.
TNA is the first American promotion to exclusively use a hexagonal ring as opposed to the more conventional four-sided ring. The organization also employs the unconventional rule that a title can change hands as the result of a disqualification. In addition, two separate entrance ramps are used for heels and faces.
Since World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) purchased World Championship Wrestling, it has become the largest and most influential professional wrestling company in the United States and this prompted Jerry Jarrett and his son Jeff Jarrett to start a new wrestling company, JSports and Entertainment, in May 2002 in conjunction with the National Wrestling Alliance and with HealthSouth as their financing partner. In October 2002, Panda Energy International bought Jerry Jarrett's controlling interest in the project and replaced HealthSouth after they pulled out due to financial problems. The company was renamed TNA Entertainment.
The original TNA business model was different from that employed by WWE in several key ways. By not touring like other major federations have done, TNA was able to keep costs down. Until the introduction of the syndicated show, TNA Xplosion, in late 2002, TNA's system of programming comprised of weekly two-hour cable pay-per-views, with that being their main source of revenue, in place of monthly pay-per-views used by other promotions. These shows started on June 19, 2002 and mostly at the Nashville Fairgrounds, lowering production costs. The weekly TNA pay-per-views were not only priced at much less than the monthly WWE pay-per-views but also had low buy rates. After 27 months, TNA felt that they had a fanbase that would support three-hour pay-per-views and ceased their weekly pay-per-views on September 8, 2004. TNA held its first three-hour monthly pay-per-view, Victory Road, on November 7, 2004 but still achieved low buys.
TNA began airing TNA iMPACT! on June 4, 2004 on Fox Sports Net and kept the weekly pay-per-view earnings being their main source of revenue. The contract was not renewed one year later with the show getting consistent low ratings. This left TNA with no television deal other than the monthly pay-per-views, so on July 1, 2005, TNA turned to broadcasting iMPACT! from their official website, through BitTorrent and RealNetworks, while seeking a new television outlet. TNA would finally secure a deal with Spike TV and air its first episode on October 1, 2005. Since the move, iMPACT! achieved considerably higher ratings and was moved twice, now having a primetime slot on Thursdays.
Apart from their weekly shows, TNA started running house shows on March 17, 2006 and in October, TNA held their first monthly pay-per-view outside of their central filming location with Bound for Glory 2006 being the first. TNA has also expanded into other areas with the development of a video game with Midway Games, tentatively titled TNA iMPACT!, scheduled for release in 2008. In April 2006, TNA announced a partnership with YouTube that would see TNA supply YouTube with exclusive video content in exchange for hosting, leading to the debut of the internet show TNA Global iMPACT!. In January 2007, TNA's mobile content deal with New Motion, Inc. added mobile fan voting into their shows.
The high-flying, high risk style of wrestling had been one of the features of WCW and ECW. 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. There is no upper weight limit on the X Division or its title, though in practice, most of the wrestlers in this division have been cruiserweights. To further emphasize this point, the slogan "It's not about weight limits, it's about no limits" is used to describe the division. Although it was de-emphasized throughout 2004, the X Division is generally regarded as one of the key attractions of TNA and was replicated in several independent promotions.
All TNA television shows are booked by Dutch Mantell with Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett, President and Vice President of TNA Entertainment respectively, having veto power over any decision. Prior to this, booking power was typically vested in the hands of a small number of people. Jeff and Jerry Jarrett were initially responsible for booking, followed by Russo, and then by Dusty Rhodes. At times, the position of booker has been coterminous with the on-screen position of Director of Authority.
When TNA first launched, the on-air authority figure was billed as a representative appointed by the National Wrestling Alliance, however this was done for storyline purposes only and the actual "representatives" already worked in some capacity for TNA.
From February 19, 2003, TNA had no active authority figure until July 23, 2003 when Erik Watts made his return to TNA as the Director of Authority. Watts started feuding with Don Callis who was billed as TNA Management Consultant in which ended with Watts forced to quit. On February 18, 2004, TNA named Vince Russo the new Directory of Authority, a position he would hold until November 07, 2004 when he was defeated and replaced by Dusty Rhodes.
The NWA Championship Committee, established in 2004, was a group of wrestling veterans who acted as arbitrators, determining a winner in the event of a time limit draw. The committee consisted of Harley Race, Larry Zbyszko and Terry Funk, with Funk later being replaced by Roddy Piper without ever having appeared on TNA television. After Race and Piper left TNA, the Committee essentially ceased to exist as a physical on-screen body, although Zbyszko continued to be referred to as a member of the committee.
In October 2005, Larry Zbyszko began repeatedly referencing an ambiguous authority within TNA known only as "TNA Management". "TNA Management" has in the past been represented by "special referee" Earl Hebner, "consultant" Dave Hebner and "messenger" Christy Hemme. The newest face of "TNA Management" was revealed at Slammiversary 2006 as Jim Cornette, who has been called the "Management Director" in press releases following that pay-per-view.
TNA recognizes the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships as their top titles. Traditionally, NWA world champions regularly defended their titles against local contenders in the various NWA territories. This has rarely been the case since TNA began using the titles in 2002. As TNA has leased the titles from the NWA until 2014, these obligations have been removed from the champion. The X Division Championship is the only championship created and owned exclusively by TNA. Wrestlers who win all three titles are said to have won the TNA Triple Crown.