I will start this off by stating this will be a strong opinion piece in what I find to be a remarkably bad move on the part of Impact Wrestling to let certain talents leave. It will be completely biased and fueled by a level of anger I have toward the company I’ve spent years defending and being a die hard fan of. So with that being said, I will keep this as professional as possible, but I’m sure my tone will be unmistakable.
For weeks, we’ve heard constant promotion, a lot of it in the form of Pope antagonizing Josh Matthews on commentary, about new management and new ownership and a new direction for the company. Jeff Jarrett has been tweeting about important meetings he’s been having lately in the UK and recently, India. Impact is no longer under the control of Dixie Carter, the one who has been the topic of blame for many of TNA’s woes over the past several years. Naturally, this would be viewed as good news, right? New management, a few good characters and gimmicks in place, and the start of some very interesting feuds. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, let’s start with some of the bad trends. Decay, who is over with Impact fans, have been relegated to jobbers after breathing much needed life into a comatose tag team division. Save for Rosemary, who is still the Knockouts Champion and hopefully will remain for a long time, Decay has played virtually no part on Impact TV since Bound For Glory and the Great War. Sure, they participated in Apocalypto, and made it to the finals but suffered the same fate as they have the previous three times they faced the Hardys. Now, they’re nothing, again, except for Rosemary but for how long can we expect that to last? DCC, who just three weeks ago took out EC3, Eli Drake, and Tyrus and cut an awesome promo about being an unstoppable force and will kick everyone’s ass, and is currently 0-2 against……..Jesse Godderz. Let that sink in for a second. They take out arguably the top two talents in the company, and then can’t beat Jesse Godderz. I’m a fan of Jesse Godderz. I think he has talent and has improved dramatically in the last year. But this isn’t the direction to go with DCC if you plan on doing anything noteworthy with them. Mike Bennett hasn’t wrestled in over a month and has been used in this Braxton/Allie/Maria storyline that got way too much television time. The wedding was enjoyable and I haven’t heard the Impact Zone crowd that vocal in a long time, but the storyline should’ve culminated at Bound For Glory, not 4 months later. And of course, the entire year of tapings scheduled in the Impact Zone, a soul sucking, energy draining venue that hasn’t been good to them. That’s a lot of bad trends.
Then the big news that came out Sunday and Monday. Impact is losing three big time talents in Drew Galloway and the Broken Hardys. They can throw out every excuse they want about management turnover and all that, but letting them walk is inexcusable. But, from a business standpoint, which TNA hasn’t seemed to have any kind of grasp on, you can’t sign top talent for what they’re asking if you’re constantly running shows in the Impact Zone and not pulling any gate money. I mean, where is TNA or Impact Wrestling as it’s now called, making any money at all? There’s no way the ad share deal with POP TV is enough to even cover payroll, let alone other costs with broadcasting an episodic TV show each week.
So now that we talked about the bad trends, let’s look at the blown opportunity. As a company, you have one of the best things going in wrestling with Matt Hardy and his Broken gimmick. When the Dudley Boys gave their retirement speech on RAW, they mentioned the Hardys and thousands of WWE fans broke out into a DELETE chant. That right there is a huge sign that you’ve got a big time commodity in this busines. When the biggest company in the industry, the company everyone strives to get to, has a monster fan base and many of them react favorably to the gimmick of one of your top stars, don’t you capitalize on that? How can you not have the business sense to give this guy an audience? When you’re a company like TNA and you’ve gone through so much adversity and lost so many assets like AJ Styles, Daniels and Kazarian, Samoa Joe, Eric Young, and Bobby Roode, how do you let an opportunity like this just breeze by? These opportunities don’t fall out of the sky and land in your lap too often. Striking while the iron is hot is how a business finds success. It’s how they break into the next level. It’s how a company can go from indy promotion that just happens to be on TV, to accelerating past the other indy promotions and separating yourself from the rest. But they failed. They failed miserably.
In the end, as much of a die hard defender of TNA as I have been, I can only say this. The Hardys and Drew were right to leave, and Impact Wrestling deserves what happens as a result. My level of confidence in Jeff Jarrett is currently in the negative. It’s less than zero because I’ve seen what the “next greatest thing in wrestling”, GFW, has done. He pulled in about 75 fans into minor league baseball stadiums one year and nothing since. So I have no confidence in Jeff Jarrett and currently, my confidence is very low in Anthem.
Is there one more stroke of luck awaiting Impact Wrestling? Will they be presented with any other opportunities like what they had with Broken Matt Hardy and if so, will they actually capitalize on them? Or can we expect to see a tweet from EC3 in a couple of months, thanking Impact Wrestling for the opportunity and thanking the fans for our support? As it stands now, I would expect the latter and THAT, would be the death blow.
Thanks for reading. I’m going to tune in on Thursday and see what Impact has to offer now that three of their main players are gone. Have a good week and be safe everyone.