The television channel that’s been airing TNA Impact Wrestling in New Zealand for the past year – Sky TV’s “The Box” is dropping Impact Wrestling due to – in their words “poor ratings”. The Box was never as accommodating to Impact Wrestling as they have always been to the WWE shows (both WWE and TNA air on the same channel).
For example, Impact Wrestling was given a poor time slot on Saturday nights at 10:30 and a rescreening on Sunday the next morning. Who is going to be watching at those times? People are out on Saturday nights and are either sleeping in or at church on Sundays, and in the 13 months that Impact aired on The Box, I rarely saw an Impact Wrestling commercial air throughout the week. The Box have basically starved TNA of a decent time slot and advertising, thus preventing the TNA product in New Zealand from having the kind of successful following that it has in Australia and the United Kingdom.
The Box could have easily prevented the demise of TNA on our screens, the Box’s line up consists mainly of back to back outdated episodes of the Simpsons, CSI, Law & Order and 24. Other shows which regularly (and continuously) air on the Box were cancelled years ago, so there were many opportunities to put Impact in a more prominent time slot.
Unfortunately the WWE have put their weight into the Box occupying Friday night for Raw, and Sunday night for The Main Event and Smackdown (with the re-screenings playing throughout the weekend – in between the 10 Simpson episodes which air one after the other), so Friday and Sunday are no go for TNA. Ideally, Impact could have aired hours after being shown in the US (which would be Friday night in NZ), but alas, Raw has Friday nights …. well there was that short time when Raw aired briefly on the same night as it was shown in the US (Tuesday night NZ time) – ‘coincidentally it was around the same time Impact had gone live.
So with Raw on Tuesdays, this would’ve freed up Friday nights to show Impact in that convenient time slot. But Raw’s Tuesday time slot didn’t last because according to The Box, Raw wasn’t drawing on Tuesday nights, but I think it was a strategy (maybe by WWE’s part) to stop Impact from gaining momentum. Don’t be surprised, Vince McMahon managed to get Joe Blanchard’s Southwest Championship Wrestling driven off the USA Network so the WWF could be the only wrestling company on that network. However, I still hold The Box responsible for being spineless and starving TNA Wrestling of advertising.
Impact’s final episode in NZ will air in late April. Hopefully Impact will find another channel in NZ that will look after TNA programming and give the TNA product the platform to draw a strong Kiwi following.