January 2017 saw the end of TNA Wrestling on British TV and many believed that it wouldn’t be long before the company closed it doors for good. However, four months later, the company is full of life and has a new home for British fans, Spike TV.
NWA: Total Nonstop Action was founded in 2002 by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett, shortly after the demise of World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Initially, they operated solely on a Pay-Per-View basis. However, in 2004, they moved to cable television and launched their weekly episodic show, iMPACT! TNA discontinued its weekly Pay-Per-View shows and favoured a monthly PPV format, used currently by WWE and formerly by both WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). In 2005, the company struck a deal with Spike TV, which would see the product aired in the UK for the first time and despite changing stations in the mean time, remained on British TV until it was dropped in January 2017.
From it’s formation in 2002 the company centre staged their very unique X-Division, which highlighted performers’ athletic prowess and was the catalyst for some of the best wrestling matches to be seen on television. Stars such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels put on memorable matches that not only propelled the division and the company, but boosted their own stock ten-fold.
However, huge changes came about in 2010 when TNA hired both Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. The two men are well known for their stints with WWE and WCW. Hogan and Bischoff both held backstage roles and the idea was to spearhead a direct ratings conflict with World Wrestling Entertainment, similar to that of the Monday Night Wars of the 90’s, between WWE(F) and WCW. This saw TNA Impact now being aired live on Monday nights, the ring being changed from the companies historic six-sided, to a traditional four-sided ring and a number of high profile ex-WWE acquisitions. Now, everyone has an opinion on whether this was a good move or a bad move, however, that discussion is for a whole different blog entry. To cut it short, a few years after the mass changes were made, TNA entered dark times. Jeff Jarrett ultimately left the ship he’d founded in favour of forming a brand new organisation and marquee performers were leaving left, right and centre. The company was struggling to secure a TV deal, the roster was declining and there was many financial disputes which lead to the wrestling world believing that it was only a matter of time before TNA was to become no more.
2017 was the year of resurrection. Anthem Sports & Entertainment purchased an 85% majority stake in the company and rehired the founder himself, Jeff Jarrett. Almost immediately, there were links to other companies world wide being announced and it seemed as if the inevitable demise of TNA Wrestling had been halted and turned around. TNA was no more and is now re-branded as Impact Wrestling. A number of superstars were lost during the early stages of the year, however, they were quickly replaced with household names in the world of professional wrestling. With fresh faces and a new attitude generating around the Impact Zone, the company has a feel good factor about it.
April 21st, 2017. The date Impact Wrestling premiered on Spike TV in the UK. The show itself was almost unrecognisable to what we had seen over the past few years and in so many good ways. None more than the X-Division being moved into the main event slot. The division which had helped build the company was finally being ushered into the limelight again, after so many years of being almost forgotten.
I’m over the moon to see a product worth watching back at the Impact Zone, with new up coming talent competing alongside the more renowned names in the industry. Cody (Rhodes), Alberto El Patron, Low-Ki and LAX are just a few names now performing in the six-sided ring and it gives Impact Wrestling a reason to believe that the future is bright and I truly believe that in 2017, we will #MakeImpactGreat.