The concept of TNA originated shortly after World Championship Wrestling (WCW) ended in 2001. Bob Ryder, Jeff Jarrett, and Jerry Jarrett went on a fishing trip and contemplated their futures in the professional wrestling business. Only one wrestling product remained on United States national television: the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Ryder felt that this situation led many television stations to regard wrestling as bad for business, so he suggested a company not reliant on television, but rather one going straight to pay-per-view.
The Jarretts found the financial backing they needed, and the company put on its first show on . That night, however, in a dark match just before they went on the air, a 450 lb wrestler named Cheex hit the ropes with so much force that one of them broke. The estimated repair time was 30–60 minutes, which they did not have because the schedule called for them to go live in a few minutes, whether the ring was ready or not. Backstage, the producers shuffled the schedule so that some non-wrestling segments went first to give the ring crew some more time, but they did not have many of them. The ring crew fixed the rope with the help of Ron Harris and Don Harris, and everyone went live hoping for the best.
Initially, TNA’s weekly pay-per-view show operated as the company’s main source of revenue, in place of monthly pay-per-view events used by other promotions. These shows started on , and took place mostly at the Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, nicknamed the TNA Asylum. After 27 months and 111 PPVs, TNA began holding a weekly television show and monthly three-hour pay-per-views. The last weekly PPV took place on as TNA’s first regular cable show and featured exclusive matches from the TNA Asylum as well as exclusive interviews with TNA Wrestlers. On e a recap show of the previous week’s Impact! in light of alterations in the taping schedule. Xplosion resumed airing exclusive matches (billed as “Xplosion Xclusives”) once more on in addition to recapping Impact!. The “Xplosion Xclusives” also aired on the now-ceased TNA Global Impact! internet show. Airing of Xplosion in the United States ceased at the end of 2006, although some of the additional info exclusive matches can be seen on TNA Today and on TNA’s Youtube Channel.
In , TNA iMPACT!, produced at Soundstage 21 at Universal Studios Florida and broadcast on Fox Sports. The transition included the use of a six-sided wrestling ring, the implementation of the “Fox Box” displaying competitors and timekeeping for the match, and a generally more sports-like style than the sports entertainment style exemplified by the WWE.
With the switch to cable television, TNA discontinued their weekly pay-per-view shows in favor of a monthly 3-hour pay-per-view format as previously utilized by WCW and ECW and as currently used by WWE. In , TNA held the first of these pay-per-views, TNA Victory Road 2004, beginning the pattern of pay-per-view shows that continued until 2013.
The television contract with Fox Sports expired in and was not renegotiated, leaving TNA without television exposure. This prompted TNA to air iMPACT! via webcasts – originally made available via BitTorrent and eventually via RealPlayer – and on Urban America Television replacing Xplosion. During this time TNA continued pursuing a profitable television deal for regular broadcasting. TNA later secured a deal with Spike TV and aired its first episode on .
In , TNA began holding select pay-per-views outside of its central filming location, the TNA Impact! Zone in Orlando, Florida, with TNA Bound for Glory 2006. In , TNA began a partnership with YouTube, under which TNA supplied YouTube with exclusive video-content in exchange for hosting, leading to the production of internet shows. In , TNA’s mobile-content deal with New Motion, Inc. led to the introduction of TNA Mobile and mobile fan-voting. TNA has also launched “TNA U TV”; podcasts aired through YouTube to help promote the company. Impact! expanded to a two-hour format on , TNA launched an online video-vault subscription-service where subscribers could watch past pay-per-views by choosing one of three payment options.