Monday, March 13, 2017

How many reboots is this for Impact Wrestling?

Thursday night TNA Impact Wrestling went through yet another of the company's many many reboots. Now firmly under the Anthem regime, they've bled several of their bigger talents due to late contracts, losing Drew Galloway, Mike Bennett, Maria and the Broken Hardys, five individuals that drove much of the storytelling for Impact for the last two years. This left The Wolves, EC3 and Lashley as the credible main eventers in the promotion, although Cody could easily be moved into that role if he was willing to commit to more television time.

This would of course be a great spot to build on existing talent. So the company of course brought in a former WWE star, and one that's damaged goods at best. While Alberto El Patron is certainly capable of great matches, he's not a guy to build a company around. Impact has two men for that role already: the World Champion Lashley and the leader of The DCC and criminally under-utilized talent James Storm. Hope springs a bit with Storm as The DCC seem to be at odds after losing a lackluster tag match to the debuting (and equally lackluster) Reno Scum.

But with a show dominated by arguments between lead announcer Josh Matthews and new third man on commentary Jeremy Borash distracted from the entire program. They do much to ruin a rather pointless X Division match and do more to hurt Rachael Ellering's debut than help her.

The most pushed storyline on the first episode of the new Impact.
Image credit: Impact Wrestling Twitter.
Prolonged chat sessions from Bruce Pritchard and Dutch Mantell don't really help the program get far either, but they did encourage yet more references to WWE programming. I've seen the words WWE mentioned less on episodes of NXT and 205 Live than on this episode of Impact Wrestling.

Dutch has to be the one that thinks Make Impact Great as a slogan is good as well, right? Because only someone that portrayed a racist right winger on television for over a year could think a reference to the current divisive President's campaign slogan is a way to bring in viewers. I can see a good section of the potential audience automatically turned off just by that phrase, never to give the new Impact another chance.

But the women's match was solid as was the main event between the debuting Patron and Lashley, at least up until yet another Dusty finish from a company absolutely obsessed with them. Cody's search for Moose (supposedly in Japan for NOAH despite not having that NOAH match until after the tapings) were superb promo segments, but they were devoted to a part time star prioritizing New Japan over the company.

And the brawl between Richards and Edwards as well as Decay's magic theft of the Broken Hardys' titles were both pure agony.

There's hope in the new Impact Wrestling, but is it an improvement over the last year, where TNA had actually started to solidify a decent project? I'm not so sure. Only the coming weeks will show us for sure.

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