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NewsJeff Jarrett Reveals Challenges & Negative Fan Perception Surrounding TNA's Rebranding

Jeff Jarrett Reveals Challenges & Negative Fan Perception Surrounding TNA’s Rebranding

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On the latest episode of his “My World” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett discussed the challenges of rebranding TNA Wrestling into Impact Wrestling and addressed the negative perception from fans towards the promotion.

Jarrett opened up about the perception of fans towards Impact Wrestling, stating,

“This is obviously about subjective as possible. And I think I look at it through a different lens, but also lived it on a very micro situation from 2002 to essentially 2011. We’ll go to 2010, 2011. A brand was built called TNA Wrestling and it was called TNA Wrestling Presents Impact when the TV show came on on Fox Sports.net and then Spike. And then when it became Impact from day one, it was a six-sided ring. And when it changed to TNA going away and Impact Wrestling and ‘wrestling matters,’ that was 180 degrees different from what the brand had been built on. This is kind of my thought through the journey. Trying to think of an easy way to say this, but there’s not. But the [Hulk] Hogan as the centerpiece was everything that TNA wasn’t. TNA, an alternative brand, X-division, four different distinct division, six-sided ring and everything. Impact Wrestling Matters was Hogan — and he’s such a dominant figure in this industry, that’s what Impact became. And that was on Spike TV for two hours until 2014. But it was rebranded Impact.”

Elaborating on his thoughts about the brand’s tarnished image, Jarrett expressed,

“I believe the brand of Impact, that name is tainted forever. Hence, tying into this episode, that’s why when I sat down with Ed Nordam and I’m saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got Global Force and you’re calling me and what do you wanna do?’ I said, ‘I truly believe’ — and look, I was at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt when we got down to the nitty-gritty and they said, ‘We have to have the name of the television show at Fox Sports Nets. We’ve gotta start.’ Okay, guys, creative room, let’s all get together.’ We probably had 20, 30 names, whatever it may be. But I said, ‘Ed, I was there when Impact was named. So I’ve got an affinity to this. It’s not that I’m vehemently opposed. And on the flip side, yeah I’ve got money invested in Global Force Wrestling. But throw all that out the door’. Impact went through a terrible time from 2013 till 2016, 17. Lawsuits, not paying bills, the payables were a mess. AJ Styles is gone, all these different folks, and now this is kind of an entirely new roster as we’re talking about. [Alberto El] Patron and Bobby Lashley, and Eli Drake and Trevor Lee. We could go down this whole roster. I said, ‘We got a whole new roster. I think we need a name change. I believe that the brand is forever tainted. I don’t mean that outta disrespect, I don’t mean that [in] a ‘My way or the highway’ [way].’ I’m saying I believe Impact was a four letter word. Because the four letter word to TNA was X-division, AJ [Styles] and others, Kurt Angle. I mean, just whatever you wanna say in that brand. Then it went the other way, and I just think that entire fanbase it — I mean, look at the numbers. The death spiral happened, they spit in the face of every TNA fan. It eventually, had it not been for Anthem, it’d been out of business. So they bought an asset and I get it. and a huge library. But that brand, if you will, I believe [is] incredibly tainted. And that’s why I was so headstrong on, ‘Guys, we gotta rebrand. You gotta rename it.’ You know, car dealerships do it all the time. There are all kinds of things, people that do it, that when you get asset that’s tainted, you gotta give more than a fresh paint.”

Jeff Jarrett also responded to the notion that the name change didn’t matter, sharing,

“I will forever have — me and my old man founded the company. And with his passing even, there are more special times than I’ll look back on. But okay, let me ask you this. Throw my thoughts out the window… If me and you and 00 we can pick out a roll call, whoever you want in the room. And we had a whiteboard up front. The first thing I would do would be to rename it. The second thing I would do is put a marketing plan in place. And I’m not talking about advertising ‘We’ve got wrestling every so and so night from seven to nine.’ I would be talking about how do I distinguish my product differently from everything out there?… What I’m saying is, put it wherever you want. The marketing’s different.”

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