Since the year 2008 there has been reports and rumours circling the internet that either one of the two mainstream American Wrestling franchises; those being the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and TNA (Total Non-Stop Action) would be setting up a UK or a European territory. Of course all these have ever been are rumours with no real evidence to prove that these theories could be real… until recently.
One of the hottest topics to hit the British Professional Wrestling scene recently is the announcement of the second season of TNA’s British Boot Camp. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of British Boot Camp or if you didn’t watch the first season, the programme documented the careers of ‘The Rockstar’ Spud, Marty Scurll, as well as Hannah and Holly Blossom who collectively form the tag team ‘The Blossom Twins’. The four British Professional wrestlers all competed against each other with the winner being given a contract with the American professional wrestling promotion – TNA.
Currently announced to audition for Series Two of the show are ‘The Mexican Sensation’ El Ligero, ‘The Bastard’ Dave Mastiff, Kris Travis, Joseph Connors, Mark Andrews, RJ Singh, Sebastian Radclaw and many, many others. With this news, it’s apparent that the format to the show has truly changed since season one and you can’t help but wonder why… The first series of British Boot Camp was extremely successful, pulling in record breaking ratings for Challenge TV as the first non-game show commissioned by Sky for Challenge TV. So we have to ask the question… why the change?
In December 2011 India saw the birth of TNA backed wrestling promotion ‘Ring Ka King’. This was TNA’s first chance at creating a territory outside of the USA on an international level. Jeff Jarrett was in charge of the promotion, working alongside Dave Lagana, Sonjay Dutt and Jeremy Borash and collectively they filmed and aired a total of 26 episodes on The Colors Network before the Network pulled the plug on the product, meaning Ring Ka King only lasted four months with the product officially running from the 28th January to the 22nd April – 2012. This isn’t the only cancelation the company has seen, with TNA only very recently losing its Television deal with America’s Spike TV network. It’s with this that no one is truly sure what the future holds for Total Non-Stop Action wrestling; all we can do is speculate.
With the recent cancelation of the show on Spike TV, we’ve quickly seen more and more recognisable British Professional wrestling names being drawn to take part in TNA’s second season of British Boot Camp. Could this be the start of a new UK territory from TNA? Perhaps it does make sense for the company to tackle their second biggest profitable market. And with their connection with Challenge TV and the success of promotions such as Southside and more importantly Preston City Wrestling; a company built on a foundation of imported American wrestlers and the best of British, perhaps the idea of a new UK territory isn’t too farfetched of an idea…
A man that hasn’t been afraid to voice his opinion and raise discussion and debate on TNA’s British Boot Camp is retired British Professional wrestler Preston City Wrestling ‘general manager’, Lionheart. Through a recent discussion I was able to get his opinion on why he believes the Ring Ka King product failed the way it did and the possibility of TNA running a new UK territory: ‘I do know that a UK territory is something several key people in TNA have lobbied for quite some time [with] Borash being one of them… I’m by no means in the know, but what I do know is that the UK is a very big chunk of their market. Slowly but surely they’ve tested the water on different things here with house shows, TV tapings and more recently a PPV. I think it’s certainly something that’s on their radar. That said; they cannot survive financially without a major US TV deal’ says Lionheart, and I guess he wouldn’t be wrong. ‘The reason Ring Ka King wasn’t successful is because they used mainly American guys which (as you can imagine) was a massive cost on top of their production over there. [The difference] with boot camp is that the talent cost is minimal, as is production because it’s all very intimate and the only real cost to them is taking the final six to America for the finals; which they’ll see as simply an investment because they will all end up on the European tour and that will sell additional tickets.’ He doesn’t doubt that UK is profitable for TNA, but he doesn’t believe a UK territory is possible because the market would obviously have the same problems that India’s Ring Ka King once had. The promotion would have to be able to afford US talent costs because using talent from just the UK wouldn’t draw the number that they need, ‘tickets would need to be ridiculously priced which fans won’t pay because they can see most of these guys every weekend [everywhere else] for a tenner’ but even with this, TNA long survived on fans being given free entry to the shows at the Universal Studio’s in Florida and being funded strictly from advertising and sponsors. Could the promotion of learnt from its mistakes from Ring Ka King in India and have a new business and marketing strategy up their sleeve?
Whilst Lionheart may not believe that a UK territory is in the works, we want to hear from you! What do you believe? And what are your opinions on the upcoming second series of TNA’s British Boot Camp? Leave your comments in the comment box below