SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Impact Wrestling announced today plans to change back to their company name being TNA in January. Six years ago, Anthem Sports & Entertainment purchased the company from the Carter family and rebranded away from TNA to Impact Wrestling. Impact Wrestling had been the name of the flagship weekly TV series for more than ten years.
When TNA was being formed by Jerry & Jeff Jarrett, it was going to be known as “NWA Tuesday Night All-Stars,” or “NWA-TNA” for short. The Jarretts wanted to capitalize on the cache of the National Wrestling Alliance, which was the original governing body that eventually evolved into WCW. (WCW stood for World Championship Wrestling, and like Impact Wrestling, was the title of the flagship weekly series NWA World Championship Wrestling. When Ted Turner wanted a more global name to compete with the World Wrestling Federation, they shifted the name of the company from NWA to WCW.)
The Jarretts weren’t able to use “Tuesday Night All-Stars” as the name for their series, however. because WWE had a hold on Tuesday nights on the major pay-per-view distributors for their Coliseum Home Video nostalgia PPVs. The Jarretts had to move their weekly two-hour events to Wednesdays. The Jarretts along with their head booker Vince Russo were enamored with the letters TNA, with the hope being that the letters would draw fans into buying the show because it implied there’s be a more raunchy aspect to the show; the letters “TNA” are widely known to stand for “tits and ass” and imply nudity and sexual content. Jerry Jarrett expressly told me at the time TNA was being planned that he wanted fans ordering the PPVs to think the shows would have sexual content, and he believed the standards would be looser on PPV than the restrictions WWE faced on commercial-supported basic cable.
So when the weekly PPV series had to be moved to Wednesdays, they stuck with the letters TNA and came up with new words the acronym would be based on – Total Nonstop Action. They still wanted fans to think it’d be more raunchy than the more mainstream, PG WWE product they were aiming to differentiate themselves from, but they also wanted fans to think of the show as featuring two hours of “non-stop action” with less talk and more wrestling including the X Division built around more athletic cruiserweights such as the young, then little-known A.J. Styles, among others.
The name became a bit of an albatross because, well, it sounded so stupid to so many people; a pro wrestling company chose the letters for their company which were better known as standing for “tits and ass,” not to mention the clumsy “Total Nonstop Action” words that were a substitute for a more sensible original “Tuesday Night All-Stars” title for the series.
After 15 years of ridicule, Anthem made the decision to break clean from the TNA letters and, like Ted Turner nearly two decades earlier, change the company’s name to the title of the flagship TV show. Now they are switching back, in part to create a buzz among fans and raise awareness of the company, which has been stagnant in terms of TV ratings and lost in the increased clutter on prime time cable with AEW and NXT launching and exceeding their weekly viewership totals.
The TNA company name now has a nostalgia element for many fans who grew up watching the various incarnations of the company from the Jarretts early years to the Carter family ownership years to the Anthem years.
TNA will be rebranding the presentation of the shows in other ways yet to be specified, but apparently with an entirely new look and presentation from the location of tapings, the wrestling set, and the logos.