Whilst deciding to write this piece, I had a back and forth in my mind of how to put explain my heading. IMPACT Wrestling has phenomenal talent, let me start there. It has some of the best competitors in the world from Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, Motor City Machine Guns, Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo just to name a few.
The storylines are also fantastic, with Rich Swan fighting the destructive Eric Young to fantastic storylines involving the wrestle house. The wrestle house was used during the pandemic as IMPACT’s social bubble. The house put matches on every week from instances happening within the house, it was brilliant.
So why do I think IMPACT wrestling will never become a huge promotion? It’s pretty simple, it’s down to the image of the name. IMPACT wrestling didn’t start that way, it actually started as a promotion called Total Non-stop Action or TNA to be exact. Now for those who like to be hip, TNA actually used to mean T*t’s ‘N’ Ass. This was the promotions way of being edgy and different to the huge corporation of WWE.
Apparently the name was actually given by Vince Russo, but there are conflicting reports on this. The company was set up to be independent and free of everyone. They started as part of YouTube and other sites brought the weekly iPPV to the wrestling fans. This didn’t last long however, as Fox agreed a deal to host the show completely whilst trying to challenge ESPN. Eventually they would land on SPIKE TV which gave them their best success.
The company began raising some brilliant stars such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and many, many more. They also used a six-sided ring which gave mixed thoughts between the loyal fan base. Eventually the company was bought by Dixie Carter, and the company flourished. They developed star after star, and they put on some top quality events. The problem is that Dixie eventually realised she had very little knowledge of wrestling, and therefore brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.
The problem with signing both Hogan and Bischoff, is that they decided to use the same formula that WCW used. They signed veterans for large sums of money. Men like Ric Flair, The Dudley Boyz, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Tazz, and others. These veterans were thrust into the Main Event picture, often overshadowing the thing that made TNA and Impact exciting, the young wrestlers.
Bischoff and Hogan stripped TNA from a company with its own identify of a six-sided ring, fantastic turn over of youth, and worst of all; they removed the focus off the X-Division. The ratings started to fall massively, and people stopped caring about the stories and the talent. With ratings dropping, money started to dwindle. As a result, the stars that TNA made like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and more left the company. With no money to pay, the talent needed to look elsewhere.
The company also changed from TNA to TNA – IMPACT Wrestling, and eventually IMPACT Wrestling. This is one of the major reasons why the company will never break the shackles of the past. At one point, IMPACT was on the verge of greatness. It had the potential to be a real competitor to WWE. The backstage politics, legal battles, switching of networks and loss of talent all got associated with the name TNA – IMPACT wrestling.
The company is now trying to reinvent itself, and it has some fantastic foundations to build on. Fans are still pushing for this organisation, and they remain loyal to the very end. The one thing IMPACT should have done is completely change the name of the company. I understand they might have felt like they could have lost their loyal fans, but by keeping the talent and changing the image, the company had a real chance of having the same image as AEW.
With AEW now in full swing, and WWE still having an extremely loyal fan base, it is very unlikely that IMPACT will ever hit the heights it once did. With memories such as Jeff Hardy not being able to compete, to the travesty of Bischoff and Hogan, the company is really struggling to remove that stigma. The name can define a company, and whilst it has some incredible talent, some amazing matches, and even better storylines, the name will not allow it to evolve.
Do you agree with the points I’ve raised, or do you think that IMPACT will once again become the force it was so close to being?
You can find me on Twitter @fazzasthoughts
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