The weather may be freezing in the UK at present but the temperature will be soaring next week as TNA return to England and Scotland for the Maximum Impact Tour. With a series of main events including ladder match, Ultimate X and an “I Quit” match, the UK looks set for more dramatic action to follow up from last year’s successful tour. The new year has already seen big changes in TNA with the debut of Hulk Hogan and a host of other top performers including former WWE champion Jeff Hardy and the legendary Ric Flair. However, while the company plan the next stage of their bid to increase TV ratings, they know full well that becoming known internationally is just as important. WWE owe a great deal of their profits to the finances made from overseas tours and that’s a success TNA must aim to replicate.
The UK is certainly one of the areas in which they’ve managed to build a strong fan base and that was before The British Invasion and Desmond Wolfe were added to the roster. 2009 saw TNA pull in some great crowds, in fact some of the highest the company had ever drawn. Now they’re on their way back with shows at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on the 23rd, the Bournemouth International Centre on the 26th, the Cardiff International Arena the following night, the Sky Dome in Coventry on the 28th, the Manchester Evening News Arena on the 29th and finally the Wembley Arena in London on the 30th.
In Glasgow the main event sees Team 3D take on Beer Money and the team of Hernandez and Matt Morgan (who could be tag champions by the time they arrive in London if they win the belts at ‘Genesis’) in a Tag Team Tables Match. It’s a battle of the toughest in Bournemouth as Samoa Joe takes on Bobby Lashley in an “I Quit” match while in Cardiff the feud between current tag champions The British Invasion and Beer Money continues.
The British Invasion top the bill again in Coventry in an eight-man Gauntlet Match as they join up with Eric Young from the World Elite to take on Beer Money and The Motor City Machine Guns. The main event in Manchester is destined to be an absolute classic that would top the bill in any TNA PPV. Current TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles faces Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and Daniels in a four-man ladder match that isn’t to be missed. The tour ends in London with a main event that’s definitely not for the faint hearted as Amazing Red faces D’Angelo Dinero, Chris Sabin, Suicide, Daniels and Alex Shelley in an Ultimate X match.
Last year I had the chance to chat to Abyss (aka Chris Parks) about the 2010 TNA UK tour. He’s no stranger to the UK making many an appearance for 1PW over the past four years so he knows exactly what the UK fans are like. “It’s fantastic, the fans are so electric, they’re fun to be around and very endearing you know, it’s a great place to come to.”
That’s something he experienced to a higher level when TNA came over to the UK in early 2009,. The company appeared in front of more fans than at any time in their history and Abyss absolutely adored it. “Wrestling is really big in the States, very popular with the fans. Coming over to the UK is something we want to do. The atmosphere is electric, crazy and it’s so much fun to perform in. There’s so much reaction and they’re so endearing to us. It makes us perform better and really motivates us.”
Abyss knows full well that this coming tour of the UK is vital to TNA. “The UK market is such an important market and it’s a gateway and a number one market to capture. Wrestling in front of fans who are crazy about wrestling, it’s an important market to be successful in. It’s a huge part in our attempt to be recognized worldwide.”
Abyss has been a part of TNA almost from the start so he’s ideally placed to look back at the history of the company and the success achieved to date means a great deal to him. “It’s something I’m most proud of having been there close to the beginning and seen the
company grow. The guys who have been there since the beginning like myself, Jeff Jarrett who started it of course, Jack Storm, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Robert Roode. From the days we worked Wednesdays and we weren’t even on television but on PPV to our partnership with Spike TV, the merchandise, the action figures and the DVDs. All stuff we were hoping for at the beginning and to see it happen, to be part of it is so important. I had high hopes and to be able to say I was part of it and the group has done so much in seven years and I think we can achieve even more in the next seven years.”
So the clock is counting down to January when TNA return to our shores. Here’s what we can expect in six months time. “Get ready for an action packed night, It’s what TNA stands for Total Non-stop Action. Anything can happen, whether it’s the TNA Knockouts, the X-Division, the Heavyweights or the Legends”.