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Making an ‘iMPACT!’



By: Dan
14 August 2005

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- The Story so far

To say that TNA Wrestling is on then verge of greatness could be considered a bit of an over exaggeration, and to also say that TNA Wrestling is at a “make or break” time could also be considered a little of an over exaggeration, but I think it is fair to say that TNA Wrestling has never had an opportunity like it does now, it really is the time for TNA to make an impact on the wrestling world.

In just one year TNA has experienced a lot of highs, and an awful lot of lows, but to it’s testament it has come out fighting, and some could say looking better than ever. Just over one year ago TNA was gaining limited national exposure on the Fox Sports Network, which initially looked ok, apart from the terrible 3pm Friday afternoon time slot, at least it offered TNA with some exposure and there was a hope that the 3pm timeslot would improve to a prime time slot. Just one year later, in June this year, the TNA & FSN relationship came to an abrupt halt, as the contract between the two parties wasn’t renewed and TNA TV came to an end on FSN. There were dozens of rumours going about that TNA had signed a new TV deal, that TNA were going to sign a TV deal, and that TNA was going to come to end because they had no TV. Well TNA went into talks with WGN, A “Superstation” based out of Chicago, the WGN/TNA deal didn’t work out, its believed a number of reasons were a factor, including the fact the WGN isn’t available in the North Eastern areas of the States which have a big wrestling audience .

So with the WGN deal fallen through, TNA had another alternative, Spike TV, owned by the Viacom network. As I’m sure everyone is aware, for the past few years Spike TV( formerly TNN) has been the home of the WWE, giving WWE the coveted Monday Night Raw slot, as well as broadcasting other WWE shows such as Heat and Velocity. Now, earlier this year the WWE made the decision to go back to the USA Network, the station which WWE Raw debuted on many moons ago. So with the WWE leaving Spike, this left Spike with a slight problem. For a channel aimed at a male audience, wrestling would be a key element, going back in time wrestling has always been a cheap and usually successful way to gain ratings for a station, so Spike TV surely had to replace the WWE with something. Well they already had in a way, UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championship programming had already made its way to Spike, and was becoming quite popular for the network, but this still left Spike with the need to have some wrestling on its network, and what better way to hit back at the WWE, than to sign a deal with the nearest thing it has to a competitor, TNA Wrestling.

So, several weeks ago, after so much speculation TNA & Spike TV finally announced that TNA ‘iMPACT!’ would debut on the channel later this year, in what is rumoured to be the old WWE Velocity timeslot when the WWE move back to the USA Network in Autumn. Now, while this is not a great timeslot there is a few reasons why it is better than it sounds. Firstly, the TNA show will be part of Spike TV’s “Slammin’ Saturday Night” which includes male orientated TV shows and movies, so TNA should fit in really well. Secondly, if TNA manages to pull in good ratings then there should always be the potential to moves timeslots and even add more hours or shows to Spike’s schedule, but this all depends on how good TNA is, and if the people will tune in to TNA.

So this bring us to where we are today, awaiting the debut of TNA on Spike TV.

- Good to see them back

Its good to see Sabu back in TNA, after his appearance at ECW: ‘One Night Stand’ back in June, I thought that Sabu was WWE bound, but I guess not. I know the WWE was looking to bring him in, but obviously there was a change of plan somewhere down the line. I think Sabu will be a good addition to the TNA roster whether he is there for a short period of time, or for a long run, I think he’ll be a useful name in attracting some of the ECW fans over to the TNA product. While he is currently being used in setting up the tag match involving himself & Raven against Jarrett & Rhino at the “Sacrifice” PPV, I don’t think it will be too long before we see a Rhino vs. Sabu match, and if their match from “One Night Stand” is anything to go by, I’d be more than happy to see that.

- Simon Diamond is back in TNA, and I am very pleased. I have always thought Diamond is a great asset to any company, and it mystifies me why he hasn’t got a job with the WWE. He has the in ring skills, the talking skills and has a certain “superstar” look about him. While at the moment he is tag teaming with David Young, I think if he is used correctly he could be a major player in the NWA Heavyweight Championship picture.

- Who’s Next?

Who will be next for TNA to sign from the recently released WWE superstars? My first pick would be Charlie Haas. Haas, has showed some interest in joining TNA from many interviews which I have read, speaking of his anger at the WWE creative department and feeling TNA may offer him a better opportunity to wrestle. I can only agree that TNA should hopefully be able to offer Haas a better opportunity to shine than the WWE did. With TNA having a smaller roster, it should enable Haas to break through up into the upper mid card ranks of TNA much quicker than he would have done with the WWE. Haas is an excellent worker in my books, and he just needs the chance to shine, something which I hope TNA can offer him.

- Planet Jarrett

For TNA to become a fresh product it needs Jeff Jarrett to vacant the main event picture for sometime, in fact Jarrett needs to leave TNA TV altogether for a period of time. His character has become stale, boring, lifeless and needs to be taken off TV to freshen himself up. While Jarrett is still a shareholder in TNA, it doesn’t give him the right to be on TNA TV every week, in my opinion if he had any business sense he would take himself of TV for sometime, concentrate on his backstage duties, which I’m sure he has a lot of, and return to the company in a few months. I’m a fan of Jarrett’s work don’t get me wrong, I think he is able to have good matches with people like Sean Waltman, Raven & AJ Styles, and is a good talker, but there is no getting away from the fact he has become stale.

- A missed opportunity?

I’m sure I was not the only one who had mixed emotions seeing Matt Hardy on RAW, while I was glad he made a return to the WWE, I was disappointed we never got to see him in TNA. I was so looking forward to the prospect of Hardy debuting in TNA, with the possibility of him getting pushed as one of TNA’s biggest stars, and the possibility of him being in matches with the likes of Chris Daniels and AJ Styles really was an exciting thought for me. I thought that Hardy’s career had come alive since leaving the WWE, and I honestly thought that both Matt Hardy and TNA could compliment each other so well. However, Hardy is back on RAW now, and while his feud with Edge seems promising, it’s not going to last forever. I have to question what will be there for Hardy after he has finished with Edge, if the WWE want to use Hardy correctly, I’m all for it, but I have some doubt in my mind that he’ll end up on Heat every week, due to no real fault of his own, fingers crossed it doesn’t happen.

- Pay Per View Time!

- Just to quickly take a glimpse at the ‘Sacrifice’ PPV Card, here is how it looks;

  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion Raven & Sabu Vs. Jeff Jarrett & Rhino - Looks to be a good match on paper, although I think it lacks a certain “main event” quality about it. I think this match won’t steal the show, but will build up some angles for the next couple of Pay Per Views.
  • 2005 SUPER X CUP FINAL : AJ Styles Vs. Samoa Joe - Should be a good match, interesting that TNA have put their “golden boy” AJ Styles up against Samoa Joe, if Joe is to have any sort of TNA career he has to beat AJ Styles in this match, and that could be considered a bit of an upset.
  • Sean Waltman Vs. Jerry Lynn - If both men are on top form, this match should hopefully steal the show. Both Jerry Lynn & Sean Waltman can produce first class matches when they want to, and this should really be a clash of two of wrestling’s greatest light heavyweights.
  • The Naturals & AMW vs. Team Canada - Should be a good tag team match, TNA at least seem to have the right mentality when it comes to tag teams, unlike the WWE at the moment.
  • Abyss With James Mitchell Vs. Lance Hoyt - I think pairing Abyss with James Mitchell is one of the finest moves TNA has made in the last year, and I honestly think Abyss is the best ‘big man’ in wrestling at the moment. Hoyt is also shining in the TNA ranks, the fans just seem to love him, not sure how the match will turn out, hopefully should be good.
  • X Divison non-title match - "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels Vs. Winner Of Dream Match Vote - It looks like it will be Austin Aries facing Daniels at ‘Sacrifice’, I’m not going to pretend I have seen a lot of Aires because I haven’t, but I have it from very good authority that Aires is a top notch worker, so I look forward to this match very much.
  • Kip James & The Alpha Male Vs. Ron Killings & Konnan - SPECIAL REFEREE: BG James - Possibly the longest TNA storyline ever, should hopefully come to an end sooner rather than later, with BG James turning on 3 Live Kru. The match should be average, but should lead to some good storyline developments, only gripe is that I wish TNA management would use Monty Brown in a better way than he is being used.
  • Shocker vs. Alex Shelley - I like Alex Shelly’s TNA work, not a huge fan of Shocker so I hope Shelly gets the win at ‘Sacrifice’.

That’s it folks, I’ll have the news and views from the PPV, and all the latest TNA news when we meet next time.

Dan

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