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Jeff Jarrett Returns To TNA Wrestling

June 25, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

In a bizarre scene for those who followed the tumultuous breakup of TNA Wrestling and Jeff Jarrett, Jeff and wife Karen returned to TNA on Wednesday night. Jeff announced his in-ring return in an angle that has created a lot of buzz for a lot of different reasons.

The return of Jeff Jarrett to TNA has brought TNA the kind of buzz they have been looking for over the last several months. While the interest lies with the out-of-ring fallout from Jeff’s return, the story has a lot of people talking. What this means for TNA, Global Force Wrestling, and Jeff are all questions people are asking.

There are multiple reports coming out of his return. Wade Keller at PWTorch.com reported that there is a lot of heat backstage between TNA wrestlers and management. TNA wrestlers were told that they were not allowed to appear on Jeff’s GFW shows and many of them had to cancel or pass up big paydays or face a breach of contract. Those wrestlers are reportedly not very happy that they missed out on the paydays while TNA does business with Jeff.

I have some personal experience with this kind of a situation and it sucks. I was doing announcing for both CZW and Ring of Honor back in 2002. For whatever reason, CZW had heat with ROH and implied that talent shouldn’t be working for both companies. Fans of this era may recall the Briscoes leaving CZW shortly thereafter. I made a choice and wound up staying with CZW (maybe the worst career move I ever made) and then a couple of years later CZW and ROH are working together on the invasion and CZW is bringing back some of those old wrestlers. I was angry and felt stabbed in the back having given up a great opportunity and money out of loyalty, yet CZW did business with ROH later when it was convenient. A much different situation admittedly but I can truly sympathize with those talents today.

Dave Meltzer on his F4Wonline.com podcast reported that the deal between Jarrett and TNA did not close until earlier in the afternoon. Meltzer speculated that it could lead to a Hall of Fame induction. Meltzer also speculated on what this all means for Global Force Wrestling. Meltzer speculated it could be anything from an invasion angle to a full out sale of the company to Jeff and Toby Keith. Again these were just speculations and not confirmed reports from Dave’s podcast.

Jarrett resigned from TNA in January 2014 after a failed attempt to buy the company. Jarrett created GFW later that year but didn’t start running his first shows until a few weeks ago. GFW has television scheduled to tape coming up but nothing has been announced regarding a home. Jeff has also appeared on a few New Japan shows this year.

In the ring, Jeff was pinned by Jeff Hardy in a cage match at Final Resolution which was supposed to end his career in the ring within TNA. This would be Jeff’s first match back in TNA since then. I know some that are crapping all over the angle but I will say this. Jeff was a far better worker in TNA than people give him credit for. His matches with Kurt Angle in particular were some of Angle’s best. He can still go. I just think that TNA hot-shotting an angle like this a few days before a PPV does nothing for anyone. As an example, Jeff’s return posted on TNA’s YouTube channel only has 22,000 views as of this writing. Casual fans don’t know the story and it is that backstage story that will sell this angle and make Jarrett a draw. I think TNA need to get out there and tell the story, with at least a few weeks of build to let it sink in and educate new fans that may not be aware of the backstage issues.

We’ll see what happens next with this whole invasion angle or sale. I think it is a lot to do about nothing. I think it could turn out to be Jeff coming back for a few matches, a Hall of Fame induction, and some open doors for Jeff and GFW to make a deal, possibly working with TNA to bump ROH off of Destination America. More to come for sure!

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Can Ring of Honor save TNA IMPACT Wrestling?

June 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The pro wrestling world has been talking with Destination America’s recent agreement with Ring of Honor that came as a surprise to everyone, including ROH talent. ROH has already been airing on the Sinclair station in my market, but now I have two opportunities to DVR ROH.

The other interesting part of ROH on Destination America is that it is a lead in to Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling’s IMPACT show on Wednesday night’s only several days after reports came out that Destination America was cancelling TNA from its line-up beginning in the fall.

What Destination America is doing with airing two different wrestling promotions is not new. Back in the day (1980’s), the CW affiliate in my market was an independent station that aired Saturday Nights beginning at 10:00pm local time – WWF Superstars, NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) World Wide Wrestling, American Wrestling Alliance (AWA), followed by Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), so what Destination America is doing is not new in airing two different promotions back to back.

I have the same questions as others do – will ROH end up being the sole wrestling show on Destination America this September. Yes, the ratings for debut show for ROH at 167,000 viewers was low, but you must consider that the announcement that was posted on social media only came days before ROH the debut show on Destination America which already aired on Sinclair stations (including the station in my market), the Friday before.   IMPACT’s ratings were half of what they were on a Friday night airing.

Something that you have to consider is that Destination America is a newer network under Discovery Communications. Most, including myself, had never heard of Destination America until it was announced that IMPACT was moving to the network. I had to search through my cable guide to locate the network.

Destination America, if they can get influence both ROH and TNA, can do some innovative stuff. I recall listening to Dixie Carter on Jim Ross’ Ross Report podcast a few months back asking Dixie what the chances would be if ROH and TNA management could sit down, put egos aside – see each other as potential partners, not enemies and have lunch on how the two companies could maybe work together and have a talent swap and maybe some dream matches for die-hard fans.

I am not trying to be an ‘arm chair booker’, but as a wrestling fan since 1986, and with what the now defunct World Championship Wrestling did with the New World Order invasion storyline, Destination America has a potential gold mine if they could get ROH and TNA to work a program together that would create a buzz in the wrestling world that has been in a slump since World Wrestling Entertainment purchased WCW in 2001. This could bring back the fans that gave up on wrestling after the demise of Nitro and Thunder and even could possible generate interest in the casual fans. With ROH being owned by Sinclair Broadcasting they understand as does Destination America is that you need to be different and attractive in order to generate ratings which in turn generates revenue and everyone from the fans to the networks, to the advertisers benefit.

There are two big differences between each company. On one side you have ROH, which is more of the old school sports feel and IMPACT which is still stuck in the WWF late 1990’s attitude era, with each show every week not getting any better. I think in order for both companies to do a successful program together, TNA needs to change their product to a more sports feel and look. Even if the two sides never work a program, which would be a missed opportunity, IMPACT still needs a huge overall, and it seems obvious that Billy Corgan isn’t changing things for the better.

ROH’s run on Destination America is only a trial run through the end of the year and really has nothing big to lose since they already air on Sinclair stations. The only loss would be the additional 57 million homes they would be seen in. However, TNA has a lot more to lose. Let’s say for the moment ROH and TNA never work a program and ROH ends up passing TNA in the ratings, would it be enough to save to IMPACT and cause Dixie (who is a smart individual based on interviews with her I have heard) to wake up and realize their company could end up on the chopping block.

However, with that said as above, If Destination America wants to become the new face for professional wrestling, they need to call a meeting between the two companies and make waves in order to get more people talking and bring the fans to their network on Wednesday nights.

When Spike moved IMPACT from Thursday to Wednesday, it was the beginning of the end from the company on the network. Time will only tell if this is the same with Destination America. It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks and months to come.

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TNA Wrestling Respond To Reports Of Destination America Cancellation

May 22, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are fighting back against reports that Impact Wrestling has been cancelled effective this September by Destination America. Unfortunately TNA are spending more time attacking and threatening the source as opposed to commenting on the actual story reported.

Dave Meltzer earlier this week reported in the current issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Destination America has exercised its option to cancel all TNA programming effective in September. While the word “cancel” is subjective, the essence of Dave’s report is that TNA is not being renewed.

TNA loyalists (fans) immediately shot back accusing Dave of being a “hater” and the report being another of Meltzer’s continuous “lies” about TNA Wrestling. As a subscriber of Dave’s since about 1988, the irony of those statements have not been lost. For starters, Dave’s reviews of Impact have been extremely positive since TNA went to Destination America. Thus the accusations of Dave being a hater are obviously being made by those who don’t read Dave nor listen to his podcasts. Furthermore, I am unfamiliar with these countless “lies” Dave has made about TNA. Would it be the lie Dave was accused of when he reported Impact was not being renewed by Spike? Would it be the lie that Dave was accused of when TNA waved the white flag on the Monday night venture? Was it the lie Dave was accused of when he reported that Vince Russo was still working for TNA? Was it a lie when Dave reported that TNA were in negotiations to sell the company to Toby Keith? Right, point being I don’t recall one report Dave has made about TNA in the last several years (or ever) that wasn’t eventually confirmed. Yet these TNA supporters (and boy are they completely oblivious to reality) continue to call Dave a liar yet continue to lie about Dave’s credibility. Ironic isn’t it?

This brings me back to TNA. TNA released a very short statement to ProWrestling.net somewhat denying Dave’s report with threats of legal action.

It has come to our attention that several internet news sources have falsely attributed statements to TNA, its executives and broadcasting partner. These false statements constitute defamation and if necessary we will seek all legal remedies available to us.

Let’s read into that for a second. For starters, TNA are not denying the reports of Destination America cancelling or not renewing TNA programming. Nowhere in this statement does TNA say that those reports are false. The only thing TNA is accusing the reporters of is attributing statements to TNA, executives, and broadcasting partner. Number two, the threat of legal action is an interesting bullying tactic. The problem here is that if TNA does seek legal action against Dave, Dave may have to reveal his sources and it could get extremely embarrassing for the company. Dave has been doing this for a long time and my hunch is that Dave is not reporting anything he can’t back up. Now as for other sites, that could be a problem depending upon the way they “report” the story.

Dave responding to a fan asking him on Twitter about TNA filing a defamation suit against him responded with the tweet…”@KevinGedert2 Why haven’t they threatened me is the question. Why haven’t they addressed one thing written?” This could turn into a very embarrassing game of chicken for TNA if they continue to make those threats towards Dave.

Ironically Dixie Carter has remained mum on the report. Dixie, who is very active on Twitter continues to tweet yet has ignored commenting on the story that her company’s television deal may be cancelled or not renewed.

New TNA booker Billy Corgan (who joins an esteemed creative team featuring Christy Hemme and John Gaburik among others) has questioned Dave’s credibility in a tweet. Meltzer responded on Twitter, “Sort of sad about Corgan, his words are almost identical to Russo about Mike Johnson when he did that story last year.”

I have to admit that I am enjoying this game of chicken. If the reactions from those within TNA and the company weren’t almost identical to reactions when reports of Spike dropping Impact I may be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately the biggest victims here are the talent. I don’t know what talent are being told but the company owes it to the talent to address this report with honesty and integrity. Anything less could damage the company’s integrity internally beyond repair.

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Destination America Reportedly Cancels TNA Wrestling Programming

May 20, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling is facing a familiar crisis. A new report suggests that Impact Wrestling may be homeless come this fall as Destination America has reportedly exercised its option to cancel Impact Wrestling programming by the end of September 2015.

Dave Meltzer is the first to break the story in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer’s story is somewhat cryptic in that he reports Destination America has cancelled the show yet closes his article by saying that the decision is not definite. Definite or not, the point here is that TNA Wrestling is in big trouble.

“Destination America made the decision to cancel TNA Wrestling, with the time frame given at the end of the third quarter (roughly the last week of September, when the current television season ends). Key people at the Discovery Channel network were informed of the decision at that point.
The word internally was that while they considered the ratings good, the ratings were not good enough to justify the cost of the programming. The other problem was that so many regular station advertisers specifically did not want to advertise on the show.

It should be noted that when the word was sent out, it was stated specifically that TNA would remain on Friday nights, with original episodes, until that point, and informing people for the fall season plans for Friday nights. Just days later, they were moved to Wednesday.”
Again, Meltzer ends the article suggesting that this news may not be definite.

“In the television industry, being canceled two straight years, which is still not a definite although those at the station have not been told anything new since official word was given of the cancellation, is not a good sign.”

Meltzer says the decision came down to ratings. According to the report the ratings just weren’t good enough to justify the costs to carry Impact Wrestling. Meltzer also reports that Destination America struggled to find advertisers for the program.

I, like many questioned the move to Friday nights when it was announced. While the idea to capture the SmackDown audience is nice, the reality is that Friday is a terrible night for a pro wrestling show. Several reports suggested that the decision to put the show on Fridays was Destination America’s when it happened.

No matter how you slice it, TNA is in dangerous territory right now. Dixie Carter and other TNA officials claimed they had multiple suitors for Impact last year although many were skeptical of those claims. TNA has scaled down a great deal over the last year, cutting many high-priced contracts and scaling back production. That could be looked at as a positive and a negative for a company searching for a new television deal.

I think it is fair to say that nothing is certain at this point, which could make running this company a total nightmare. Booking a pro wrestling in a lame duck situation won’t be easy for anyone in TNA. Dixie Carter will have a lot of fires to put out over the next several months and unfortunately for her, she is running out of water fast.

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TNA Impact Wrestling Paycheck Troubles and WWE Thoughts

April 16, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The cracks in the TNA armor are starting to show again.

Even with solid numbers and a fan base that are more cult-like than the rise and fall of fan support for the WWE, TNA’s Impact Wrestling is dealing with its own issues of late. One issue in particular has re-invented itself to a point that the smoke it is causing could lead to a real fire if not put out soon.

Wrestlers aren’t being paid in a timely fashion, according to a story by Mike Johnson of pwinsider.com.

TNA is well behind on pay to their wrestlers, according to many talents who reached out to PWInsider.com under the agreement of anonymity over the past several weeks.  One wrestler claimed the company is behind two pay periods while others have claimed they are still owed money dating back to February.  With no TNA dates scheduled until the live Impact broadcast on 5/8, it has been a growing source of aggravation for TNA wrestlers as they are working the Indy scene to supplement their TNA income.

In asking sources within the TNA office in Nashville, I am told that the pay issues are legitimate and have been a source of great frustration within Nashville over the last several weeks as well.  While one source I spoke to denied talents were behind two pay periods, they did concede they have been behind on checks being cut to talents and that it was something TNA was trying to get a handle on over the last week.

One of the factors involved is that TNA’s checks are not cut in Nashville by the company but are outsourced to Dallas, Texas where TNA’s parent company Panda Energy is headquartered.  This alone adds another step to the process.

TNA had these issues before when it was struggling to stay afloat on Spike TV and the fledgling promotion had to scale back its production of shows, cut back its pay-per-view events and even release talent to remain the niche outfit it has been since its creation by Jeff Jarrett.

For everything TNA is – with better technical wrestlers as a whole (Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Eric Young) and stronger talent in the Knockouts division and in the tag team scene, these issues should be a constant habit that the talent has to deal with.

The Death of the Divas in WWE

With the sudden retirement of AJ Lee and the need for more talent and promotional angles, have we final witnessed the beginning of the end of the Divas in the WWE?

The current champion, Nikki Bella, who is sided by her sister, Brie, cannot carry a division that has Paige as its main “face” attraction and a couple other stars (Naomi and Natalya) on its current roster. There is not enough interest in the division, which of late has shown more wrestling and less glam. Still, with the loss of its main attraction – the cute girl with the killer abs who just happens to be married to WWE’s biggest enemy in CM Punk – it looks as though not even a shot of epinephrine can save the group that appears to be on life support.

It would be in Stephanie McMahon’s best interest to watch Gail Kim and Awesome Kong go at it and see how women’s wrestling is really done.

Life After Rusev

Now that the table is set for the third installment of Rusev and the current United States Champion, John Cena, what happens to Cena once the dance with the Russian ends? Is there life after defensing America for the 15-time world champion?

I would think, the WWE may take Sheamus and his Red Rooster wannabe look and work a program with these two stars.

The WWE has put Sheamus back in the same position he once was when he came to the WWE – a brutal force with the Irish accent – who runs through his opponents with ease. The only person who should be able to stop the immovable object is the irresistible force that Cena has with the company.

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TNA Impact Wrestling’s Destination America Debut: The Good and the Bad

January 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s on a third-tier American cable channel that half of the country doesn’t get. They’re coming off a six-week fresh program layoff, and hadn’t recorded new material in nearly four months (not counting Bound For Glory, which is still three months old). By the estimates of anyone who knows Impact Wrestling inside and out (read: anyone with a Twitter account, not to mention fingers), the company should be dead by now.
Yet TNA managed to secure a new cable home, Discovery offshoot Destination America, just before Thanksgiving, and has re-signed pretty much every performer of relevance save for Bully Ray. Tapings continued this week, beginning with a live broadcast Wednesday night from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
If you like omens, the literal ECW held its final pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged, on January 7, 2001, precisely fourteen years earlier in the same building. It’s worth noting that the ECW influence that TNA appropriated over the summer was completely absent. For once, the default number two promotion in North America stood mostly on its own two feet.
There was plenty of good to be had from the Destination America premiere of Impact, and a share of bad as well. Here’s a primer on where the company sits after one show on its new home.
GOOD: Things were happening in the opening, and they were good things!
For once, TNA felt like a happening place to be! A stylized intro saw the entire roster making their way toward the venue, mentally preparing themselves for the night ahead. That’s a nice touch, given how often TNA has devalued its own product to kneel at the altar of someone like Hulk Hogan or Kurt Angle or Sting or whatever aging former World Champion shows up this month. Bobby Roode, the reigning champion, drew the most focus along with the Hardy Boyz, Gail Kim, and MVP’s crew. Not a bad start, especially from a production standpoint. The video was on par with anything WWE or UFC would do for hype, and probably emptied Dixie’s pocket a bit. Worth the coins, I think.
To conclude the video, both sides of the roster erupted in a brawl just outside the Ballroom and then, in real time, the fight spilled into the actual arena! Samoa Joe pounded DJ Zema in the front row while a host of other wrestlers battled in the Ballroom’s balcony. Even the Knockouts were involved in the skirmish. Why were they fighting? Who cares? I’d rather a horde of endorphin-spiking wrestlers brawl at the drop of a hat than see a handful of top babyfaces get fired by the evil boss and just stand there like a sad mannequin. If the criticism against Raw is the lack of action, then Impact at least delivered in that regard. A tremendous ten minutes to open the night.
BAD: Richard Dreyfus should help the censor find the beat
Someone should clue in the censors at Destination America, who are apparently more hyper-sensitive than an eyeball to a chisel lodged in it, that sometimes wrestling crowds will chant naughty, naughty things. In the opening bit, a chant of “SHUT THE F–K UP” directed at MVP was partially censored by some lifeless drone timing the mutes with the F-bombs. The mutes were excessive to the point that MVP’s promo sounded like an airing of Pulp Fiction on ABC Family. Tell em to relax their asses a tad.
GOOD: New life in the booth
I figured even Michael Cole with a mouthful of Good-n-Plentys would be an upgrade over Mike Tenay, who for twelve years ranged from “trying to parlay the wrestling historian shtick unsuccessfully into a lead role” to “poor man’s Jim Ross” to “disinterested to the point where Taz could probably draw on him with a Sharpie during most broadcasts.” Tenay needed to be removed from the booth, I opined, and I figured Taz as well.
Replacing Tenay is Josh Mathews, a man 26 years younger, with over a decade experience in WWE on headset (mostly B-shows). Mathews appeared earnest in his first TNA outing, and never grated on the ears. Sometimes his enthusiasm didn’t exactly sell the magnitude of what was happening (a criticism of most announcers, really), but at least he was focused on the action at hand. That’s another criticism against WWE that TNA, at least for one night, avoided falling into.
While I didn’t get my wish of Matt Striker to upgrade the color commentator’s chair, Taz was a pleasant surprise. It seems like it’s been forever since I heard the “Human Suplex Machine” so lively, on-point, and knowledgeable in his call. Either the time off sharpened his focus, or Mathews is his ideal partner, or both. Whatever the case is, I found the call to be enjoyable.
BAD: Quick, onto something else!
While the change in announcing will go a little ways in extinguishing the mustiness of TNA’s worst days, the TV production needs to break some old habits. Austin Aries had barely celebrated with the X Division Title before the cameras cut to the next bit TNA wanted to get across. One thing WWE has infinitely done better is let moments sink in before going to commercial or fading to black. Tenay’s scream of “TO THE BACK” was like a twist and a turn on a roller coaster you don’t remember getting on. I realize TNA has some limitations on time (we’ll get to that later), but if they feel what they’re presenting is important, they need to let the dust settle before moving on.
BAD: Everything you remember, minus disembodied Jason Hervey
The great production piece to open the show, as I said, probably was a hit to TNA’s wallet. To off-set that a smidge, the low-quality backstage vignettes still exist. Here’s MVP and Kenny King conspiring with the graininess of a 1992 America’s Funniest Videos entry. Whatever happened to a good-old-fashioned one-question interview in front of a set-piece?
GOOD: Inquiring professor
Mike Tenay, as I mentioned, was ill-equipped to try and be TNA’s Jim Ross, given the highness of his voice and lack of authorative gravitas. In spite of the qualities the he, not to mention you and I and billions of others, lack, he’s still a well-schooled historian in the art and history of wrestling.
Tenay vacated the commentary chair to take a new role, a bit of an invesigative journalist for a secondary program called Impact Wrestling: Unlocked that will air on Saturdays on Destination America. In a preview, we got Tenay interviewing James “Bray? Who’s Bray?” Storm in a character-building piece. I’m okay with all this; as I mentioned, a big TNA knock from two points ago is that nothing sinks in. Needing a weekend show to explain everything that should be sinking in during prime time might be excessive, but it’s a leap forward, and a suitable role for Tenay.
As a side note, I think Tenay would be fine as the one-question interviewer from the last point, since Tenay’s skeptical grimace is hard to duplicate. Wouldn’t you wanna see Tenay scrunch his face up while Robbie E claims he’s the one that dumped Brooke? I know, me too.
BAD: Watermarking out
The Destination America logo bug on the right hand of the screen could double as a to-scale replica of Comiskey Park. If it were any more distracting to the viewer, the viewer would be oblivious to any and all outside interference behind him. Get a trimmer and shave that thing down.
GOOD: Keep the screwjobs simple, stupid
If you don’t count Jessie Godderz jumping on the apron in the Knockouts battle royal, then three of the five matches Wednesday night went without interference. That’s a 60 percent clean rate! Are we sure this is TNA?
Of the two matches that *did* feature screwy outcomes, one was pretty excessive (more on this later), while the other was in the Tag Team Title match. James “Why yes, I guess I am a little Husky” Storm and Abyss defended against The Wolves in a decent little match that ended with a Storm pin on Eddie Edwards, following a miscue from Jeff Hardy. Hardy was at ringside with brother Matt, and headed off interference from Storm’s other lackeys Sanada and Manik.
At least it wasn’t convoluted, right? The Wolves and Hardys (Hardyz? Is the extreme-Z still a thing?) face off on next week’s Impact, so the plan is either just a simple feud with the two teams, or a three-way rivalry for the belts. The ending didn’t make anyone look pitifully stupid and given TNA’s track record, this counts as progress.
BAD: An unfortunate lull
Ethan Carter III has come a long way from being secondary-show chum in WWE as Derrick Bateman. The character is wonderfully self-absorbed and smarmy, and is one of the better examples of TNA taking a WWE write-off and actually getting good mileage out of him. Paired with bodyguard Tyrus (a non-dancing Brodus Clay) and the act is a sustainable heel bit.
EC3’s use on Wednesday was to beat down diminutive former toady Rockstar Spud, and then go after Jeremy Borash (conducting the in-ring bit) for intervening. Carter shaved off part of Borash’s hair to punctuate the angle. A feud between Carter and Borash has no desirable payoff, unless the idea is to have Carter continuously bully ‘little’ people until someone puts him in his place. Then alright.
Beyond that, Carter struggled a bit with his live promo, and it ended up one of the lower points of the night. He’s done far better, but judging the angle as a standalone, it didn’t click.
GOOD: This IS Awesome
The January 4, 2010 Impact was derided for the debut/return of a million has-beens. Five years later, there was only one notable return on the Impact reboot: Awesome Kong, well removed from her blink-and-you-missed-it WWE stay as Kharma. The New York fans freaked out as the monstrous former Knockouts Champion stared down Havok, with the lure of Monster Female vs. Monster Female looking rather enticing.
BAD: Commercial break, or infomercial break?
One major gripe against Destination America, aside from the aforementioned lot: commercials feel like they’re WAY too long. If the breaks are shorter than four minutes, I’d be surprised. I’ve seen enough “Kate Plus Eight” and “Treehouse Masters” commercials in two hours hate everyone involved. Now I know how John Gosselin feels.
GOOD: Austin Aries as X-Division Champion
Aries regained the X Division Title over Low Ki in a fairly brisk (seven or eight minute) match that hit all of the important notes, and gives us a fresh champion for the reboot. To my way of thinking, Aries is one of the closest things in wrestling to CM Punk: a credible performer capable of working various styles and match-types, with an authentic swagger, and he carries himself like a main eventer.
If any TNA performer could be air-lifted and dropped into WWE’s upper card scene today, without being unwelcome or looking out of place, it’s Aries. He was the right man three years ago to halt Bobby Roode’s endless run as TNA World Champion (in a near five-star match to boot), and he’s a great keystone for rebuilding the company. He’s not a WWE reject, he’s not an aging has-been, and his body of work speaks for itself. Aries is the best they have.
BAD: Same old ending
The World Title match, hyped throughout the night as Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley, Part III, ends with runs ins from a heel brigade of MVP, Kenny King, Samoa Joe (who initially interfered in disguise), Low Ki (ditto), and a heel-turning Eric Young. It’s a lot to digest in the 60-second span that this all happened in.
Heel stables and sudden turns have been played out by the company, one that’s had difficulty establishing who their faces and heels actually are. I suppose with a reboot, it’s a bit more permissible to re-establish everyone, but just don’t overdo the specialness of turns and groups as you’ve done in the past. The phrase, “the match was great until the ending” is a staple of TNA’s troubled history, and it emphatically ended the first show in the new home. It’s also ammo for the fans that want to ignore anything good that TNA does, with one glaringly bad/annoying instance to rip apart.
GOOD: The energy was there
While most Raws these days feel like vacant-stared death marches into oblivion, Impact actually brough feistiness and and excitement to the table, with as noted a lot of good and a lot of bad. At this point, given a choice, I’ll check out the show that actually tries.
They may be pulling out of the same old worn bag of tricks, but eh, at least they’re fumbling for the gimmicks with actual vigor.

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TNA Wrestling: Looking to Make an IMPACT With New TV Contract

November 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

While it appears TNA’s Impact Wrestling has been revived from life support with a new television deal, can it save the product that needs some refreshing as well?

Taken straight from the press release, which was made public this week, it looks like Discovery Communications had enough faith in the product to throw their hat in the ring and make the fledgling promotion its latest find.

Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States.

Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015. The series features some of the biggest names in professional wrestling, including Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley and Gail Kim.

The partnership includes the U.S. premieres of additional TNA WRESTLING series and specials and provides Discovery Communications with international broadcasting rights in select regions, to be announced at a later date.

“Our partnership in this uniquely entertaining franchise with TNA IMPACT WRESTLING provides a significant addition to Destination America’s programming strategy,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Destination America, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Fit & Health and Discovery Family Channel. “The enduring, cross-generational enthusiasm of pro wrestling is felt by millions of fans around the country, from coast-to-coast and throughout the heartland. We are delighted to bring this beloved American pastime to the one and only network dedicated to celebrating the unique spirit of the U.S., Destination America.”

Now that the niceties have been issued and there is a new hope for TNA, how will Dixie Carter and the creative team work to make not only the promotion stick, but can the script flip and more depth added to the overall concept of programming?

  • The Bobby Roode/Lashley angle works. Start with that and look to find other contenders instead of reused champions.
  • Find a way to make Kenny King the lead heel of the company.
  • Look to ROH and released WWE roster members to show new changes.
  • Change the camera angles and work to make the arenas bigger so it does not look as if the ring overtakes the entire television screen.
  • Go back to old school NWA announcing with an announcer’s table a la Gordon Solie and CWF.

Make tag teams important again. Find new teams to bring in. Also, find managers to promote wrestlers. I would love to see James Mitchell back in the fold.

While the brand appears to be a cross over at times of TNA and ECW, why not bring back a Hardcore Title so fans can see table, ladders and household appliances on a weekly basis.

TNA has a habit of using great storylines and burying them in the dirt because there is a lack of creativity. The company has also lost great talent over the years like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Crimson, Matt Morgan and Kharma.

The corporate partnership with TNA is based mostly on the state of professional wrestling and its fans, who tend to be loyal, even with the issues that the business has experienced over the past few months. Both TNA and WWE have had issues with storylines, wrestling angles and keeping fans interested with superstars who are basically retreads without growing or bringing in newer talent to change things up and revive stagnation.

Since the company will not move over to the new network until January, the next six weeks could be the start of something new or the end of the ill-fated programming the fans have come to tolerate, but do not appear to be fond of.

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New TV Home for Impact Wrestling Gives TNA a Fresh Start

November 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Wednesday November 19, the professional wrestling world was buzzing when Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling announced its flagship program Impact Wrestling will begin airing on Discovery Communications Network Destination America in January 2015 ending their 9 year run with Spike TV.

It’s no secret TNA’s ratings on Spike TV have been less than stellar and it was evident over the past several months that Spike TV was looking for an out with TNA. I knew that when Spike moved Impact Wrestling to Wednesday night’s to avoid competing with NFL Football the ratings would change, thus giving Spike more leverage to in their case to cancel Impact Wrestling from their line-up. I really can’t blame Spike, as TNA’s product the last several years has been less than stellar.

While Destination America is a much smaller network (seen in roughly 60 million homes vs. Spike TV at 98 million), it gives Destination America an opportunity to gain a new audience and it keeps Impact Wrestling in business. The only disadvantage is that with most cable and satellite providers Destination America is offered on a more expensive channel package. However, I do have one of the lower cost expensive packages and located the Destination America channel on my line-up.

This new opportunity can be huge for both Discovery Communications and Impact Wrestling. Various reports are saying TNA will not only have its flagship show on the Destination America, but other new Impact Wrestling programming which is a win-win for both parties. Between now and the time TNA holds their first television taping, they should re-examine their roster, look at their overall creative plans and basically start fresh on the new network in January.

If I was in charge, I would take the rest of November and all of December and turn Impact Wrestling upside down with an entire brand new set, brand new logo, brand new opening introduction – basically start all over again from scratch, not concerned about what World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or Ring of Honor (ROH) is doing on their television shows or what potentially Global Force Wrestling may look like. TNA should not be distracted by the other companies. I am not saying TNA shouldn’t act like they don’t exist, just don’t make it a main focus to attempt to copy or semi-copy storylines from WWE or ROH and get caught up in what is or isn’t working with your competition.

What I found interesting is that the press release didn’t indicate what night of the week or what time Impact Wrestling with air on Destination America beginning in January. With RAW on Monday nights at 8:00pm, SmackDown moving to Thursday’s at 8:00pm and Lucha Underground Wednesday’s at 8:00pm on the El Rey network, Destination America and TNA have several viable options that could work.

The idea night of the week for Impact Wrestling would be Sunday night’s at 8:00pm. However, with some cable outlets still carrying WWE Pay-Per View events and now ROH Pay-Per View events, Sunday night’s may not be an option legally. Tuesday or Wednesday’s would be the only other viable choices for a week night timeslot.

I am excited for Impact Wrestling and the wrestling business. Once a day and time is announced for Impact Wrestling, I will be setting my DVR to record Impact Wrestling in hopes that I will be watching a whole new and fresh TNA product.

I have always liked TNA overall. Whenever there has been a house show in my market, I would attend their event and enjoyed the interaction with meeting the wrestlers before and after each show. I want TNA to succeed. As Triple H would say – “it’s what’s best for business.”

Destination America should, and I suspect they will based on reading the press release, take advantage of every opportunity to promote Impact Wrestling on their network as much as possible, which is something, so it seemed, Spike TV did not do the last few years.

This new partnership with Discovery Communications should be seen as a fresh new start for Impact Wrestling. TNA should bring an entire new look and feel to the show and most of all have a complete creative overhaul of the product with a new focus.

With a new network and hopefully a renewed focus, TNA will give me a reason to start watching their show again in 2015.

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TNA Wrestling Stars Celebrate New TV Deal On Twitter

November 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wresting have found Impact Wrestling a new home. The new television deal will land Impact on Destination America. The available audience may be cut but that isn’t stopping the TNA superstars from celebrating!

News broke on Wednesday that Impact Wrestling will start airing on Destination America in January. TNA will move from Spike which has an 85.50% clearance of homes to Destination America which reaches only 52.20%. It should also be mentioned that of that 52%, some viewers require a tiered package to watch D.A. unlike Spike which was available to all. So let’s celebrate say the TNA superstars!

“Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States.  Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015.”

I was scrolling through Twitter and a plethora of tweets from excited TNA superstars took over my Twitter feed. The budget is cut, there are no house shows on the schedule, TNA will be in less homes, but these cats are all excited about their new endeavor while others offered congratulations on their new deal.

Jesse Godderz – “SO EXCITED that @IMPACTWRESTLING has a NEW Destination Bro… @DestAmerica #BOOM @CBSBigBrother @CBS #BB16 @ESPN @ESPN2 @ESPNU @TMZ @MTV” – https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular

Tommy Dreamer –“Congrats @IMPACTWRESTLING on new TV deal w/ @DestAmerica America F*CK YEAH #DestinationIMPACT http://bit.ly/1qsJhpC ” – https://twitter.com/THETOMMYDREAMER

Abyss –” Here we go!!! The @IMPACTWRESTLING family joins @DestAmerica” – https://twitter.com/TherealAbyss

Matt Hardy – “The future looks pretty damn good from where I’m standing. http://fb.me/3CkTFxSvg” – https://twitter.com/MATTHARDYBRAND (Does it really Matt?)

Gunner – “Looks like @DestAmerica just added a Modern Day Viking to their network. Good move. @IMPACTWRESTLING has a new home in January – https://twitter.com/TNA_GUNNER

Taryn Terrell – “So excited about @IMPACTWRESTLING moving to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheTarynTerrell

Sam Shaw – “Excited that @IMPACTWRESTLING moves to @DestAmerica in January. Lots of #Creepy shows like #GhostAsylum & #AHaunting #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TheSamuelShaw/status/535137848622854144

Kurt Angle – “Good for the Wrestling Biz! Starting January 2015, @IMPACTWrestling moves to its new home: @DestAmerica! #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/RealKurtAngle/

Dixie Carter – “Proud to join the @Discovery family! @IMPACTWRESTLING comes to @DestAmerica in January! http://impac.tw/1xPTYlJ  #DestinationIMPACT” – https://twitter.com/TNADixie

Hey listen, at the end of the day it is a good thing that TNA got a new television deal and found a home for Impact. Unfortunately the new move will come less viewers and a reduced budget. It’s great that got a deal but celebrating this as if it is some kind of a better move is just ridiculous.

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TNA Wrestling Has Some Life Left

September 12, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I applaud TNA for trying to add new life into its niche wrestling program by bringing back former ECW stars to its roster. The added excitement of hardcore rules, the chance to see great tag team action and another opportunity to save TNA from falling off the cliff just may work – for a short amount of time.

Since the WWE has moved away from the old Attitude Era and won’t even consider Bully Ray or AJ Styles, but will bring in a veteran like Sting, the thought of Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno and the Dudley’s makes my temperature rise ever so slightly. Anything that brings back the past in a positive way in professional wrestling works for me.

This – this new lease on life, so to speak – works for me. I happen to like TNA for its NWA style, its ECW antics and more realistic – if that is such a word – wrestling angles. In this case, wrestling does matter, even moving to New York gives this outfit a better chance of sticking around.

But for the most part, the tag team wrestling of late, the hardcore rules matches and the better than average angles is what is keeping me glued to the screen.

In a way, maybe TNA has Paul Heyman to thank for his conception of ECW and the hardcore style we see today.

ECW was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon. ECW closed when then owner Paul Heyman declared bankruptcy in April 2001. After purchasing the assets of ECW, World Wrestling Entertainment relaunched the Extreme Championship Wrestling franchise as a WWE brand from June 2006 until February 2010 to complement their existing Raw and SmackDown brands. The promotion showcased various international styles of professional wrestling, ranging from lucha libre to puroresu and hardcore wrestling.

ECW had its origins in 1989 under the banner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance owned by Joel Goodhart. In 1992, Goodhart sold his share of the company to his partner, Tod Gordon, who in return renamed the promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling. When Eastern Championship Wrestling was founded, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). At the time, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert was the lead booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gilbert, after a falling out with Tod Gordon, was replaced in September 1993 by Paul Heyman. Heyman, known on television as Paul E. Dangerously, had just left World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and was looking for a new challenge.

It is a program that has its place in wrestling today and fits the TNA profile for more conventional “sport”. Fans up north are familiar with the programming of ECW and TNA’s bring has brought back the brand and changed venues to make it more accessible and popular to the fan base.

I love it.

If TNA is going to continue to show improvements it must continue down this path. The tag team division is red hot with Team 3-D, The Hardys and The American Wolves leading the way. The X-Division is solid (welcome to the club, Tajiri). Bobby Roode is again on the side of good instead of evil. The Knockouts are top notch (better than the WWE) and of course, there is actual wrestling on the card when we watch every Wednesday (which was also a good move by the Board of Directors to have more of a following in the middle of the week.

Everything adds up. But now comes the hard part of sustaining the success. Like it was said before earlier this week, this is the start of something big or the first nail in the coffin. I tend to think the latter not the former. If that is the case, then TNA just took old school and made it new again.

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