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The Sad Road to TNA's Bound For Glory

Here at Smark Henry, we try to be as enthusiastic as we can over any promotion in this wacky cartoon world of wrestling, and we still haven't quite given up on TNA just yet.

But we've been seeing pictures of some recent house shows as part of TNA's build-up to Bound For Glory, and they've been rather uninspiring, at best.

Let's start off with last Thursday's kick-off house show at York, Pennsylvania, which was TNA's first live event in quite some time.

$15 for a show leading up to TNA's usual massive year-ender featuring multi-time former World Champion Jeff Hardy as a special attraction? That's gonna do gangbusters!

...okay, we've seen more people at a Forever 21 sale. But let's be fair, that was a photo taken at the start of the event; maybe more people would come trickling in later.

At least not a lot of people got to see reigning TNA Heavyweight Champion EC3 get driven through a table.

All in all, various estimates place the crowd somewhere between 350-500, which isn't terrible, but certainly doesn't sound like a prestigious number for what used to be the biggest national threat to the WWE.

Maybe the next night's show at Morgantown, West Virginia would do better.

A TNA World Title match and a King of the Mountain Title match, plus matches from the Wolves, Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, and Tommy Dreamer? Come on, guys. That's PPV-quality there.

A photo posted by Keena Knoll (@keenaknoll) on

Damn, so we're doing bingo halls now, are we? All told, we hear this particular show drew between 250-350 people in total, which, in fairness, seems alright for a show with what appears to have just a single layer of floor seats available.

A photo posted by Keena Knoll (@keenaknoll) on

So maybe York and Morgantown aren't exactly hotbeds of wrestling fandom, but you would hope that a show at Kurt Angle's old stomping grounds at Pittsburgh would do some decent numbers, especially with a special appearance by the hometown Olympic hero being trumpeted for the homer crowd.

That's sure to draw a massive house! TNA! TNA! TNA!

...wait, what?

We get that Dixie Carter herself admits that the biggest challenge to TNA's success is building a strong brand presence in the United States. They do, after all, have a strong base in the international market, but it seems there's even more bad news brewing.

Hot off the recent news of TNA's contract with Discovery America only running up until the end of this year or early 2016, depending on your sources, we hear that Impact Wrestling is also being pulled from Discovery en Espanol, Discovery Romania, Eurosports Finland, and DMAX in Austria and Germany, which are all owned and operated by Discovery.

We remain hopeful for the boys and girls over at TNA; we've seen true greatness from them in the past, and you can't fault them for not putting in the effort. But we do have to wonder, with these saddening scenes from over the last few days, are we seeing them make their last stand?

TNA official Bob Ryder spoke up on his Disqus account to address some of these numbers.

"Just dropping by for a quick hello. No questions, been a long weekend of house shows and I have an early flight. We had three good shows. Everybody worked hard and fans were entertained. First night we had 850, 500 in Morgantown, and 750 in Belle Vernon. For our return to the road after several months we were happy with the turnout and hope to build on those numbers with shows in Beckley, Salem, Thibodaux, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Biloxi.
Been reading some of the comments and some of you guys need to turn those frowns upside down! :) We may not be announcing things on a time line you want us to, but we have some good things coming and will make announcements once we have finalized the things we are working on. 
We are working on everything from how and where we promote house shows, to how we handle merchandise and photo opportunities at the shows, to looking at new talent, etc etc.
Don't join the doom & gloomers who find joy in constantly predicting our demise. We're not going anywhere anytime soon, and we are still a strong number 2 in the United States - nobody else is close.
If you will be in the Charlotte area please join us for BFG. If not, please watch the PPV.
Thanks for your continued passionate support of TNA. Good things are going to happen soon."

We're not sure if the photos listed above necessarily match the numbers Ryder is reporting, but he does have access to numbers the wrestling public doesn't.

What would you do to help turn TNA around over the last three months of 2015? Are there any particular talents you'd like to see them sign, or strategic partnerships you think they should pursue? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

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