Oh dear, it’s happening again. Just a few months after it seemed like Impact Wrestling/GFW had got their act together, the train has not so much fallen off the tracks as backflipped off them in an explosion of chaos. Jeff Jarrett has been sent home due to personal issues (and whatever they are, I obviously hope he sorts himself out sooner rather than later) while rumours are swirling that Anthem already wants out. On top of that – in classic Impact style – they hadn’t completed the paperwork for their merger with GFW, which considering Jarrett’s position, may now never happen. Basically, it’s a disaster.
Then again, disasters are par for the course with Impact. The company formerly known as TNA has danced from catastrophe to catastrophe throughout their history. Whether it’s wrestlers not being paid or that whole thing with Hulk Hogan, it’s almost surprising when things are going alright. But, and this is the thing that makes it all quite annoying, recently they had been going alright. You could even go as far as saying that they were going well.
Which isn’t to say it was perfect, the Del Rio situation wasn’t great and quite frankly I’d rather not have to watch Jim Cornette, but in the ring, it was getting better. Impact was returning to its roots by bringing together incredible wrestlers from around the world and having them do battle. You had Drago, Marafuji and Bobby Lashley all appearing on shows together, and that alone has got to tickle your interest. It wasn’t quite back to the days of Styles, Joe and Daniels, but it was heading in the right direction.
Yet, with every disaster, the road to recovery gets a little bit longer. Reports from recent house shows spoke of pitiful attendances and Pop TV is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to TV networks. Is good wrestling enough to get people to tune back in? Or have too many fingers been burnt in the past? The brief period involving the Broken Hardys aside (which didn’t actually pop that big a number for them and as the Hardys were doing their own merchandise, probably didn’t make them that much money), the narrative around Impact has been negative for years.
And in a world where you are competing with New Japan, WWE, ROH, PWG, Progress, ICW and much more, you can’t work on the build it and they will come philosophy. When Impact came into life, the wrestling landscape was very different. There were indies but they weren’t served on a platter and only the hardcore had access to them on a regular basis. Your average WWE fan had no idea how to get ahold of ROH, but they could find Impact, and if they wanted something different, it provided that. Today, there are a thousand options and most of them are better than what comes out of that company.
I want Impact to succeed. Every new era I tune in and hope for the best. Sometimes the changes are there and sometimes they are non-existent, but whatever they are, they almost inevitably become irrelevant when the shit hits the fans again. You could say that Impact is running out of chances, but in reality, they might have already exhausted them.