News broke yesterday that starting on January 13, 2024 at the Hard To Kill Pay-Per-View, IMPACT Wrestling will be reverting back to their TNA (Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) name. The company got rid of the TNA Wrestling name in 2017 officially and rebranded to IMPACT Wrestling. Now, It’s back.
Getting TNA Back Into Good Graces
Many fans are torn on the revamp, mostly because a lot of current fans are very familiar with the IMPACT Wrestling brand, and the TNA name left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths. In 2002, NWA TNA started before becoming just TNA in 2004. During the early years of TNA, it was a fun alternative to the WWE product at the time. With hot rising stars like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, The Motor City Machine Guns and even a unique six-sided wrestling ring, less traditional to their four sides, fans were tuned in to a style of wrestling that wasn’t seen on other American TV wrestling shows.
But, as time went on, former WWE stars like Jeff Hardy, Christian Cage, and others began to come into the company. It was fun at first, but suddenly, former TNA president Dixie Carter got out of control and before we knew it, former stars like Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and more started to take over the TNA roster. While some, such as infamous TNA Kurt Angle, were fun to watch, the product just became aggressively bad. With Hogan, Bischoff and Dixie Carter at the helm of booking and creative, the show was nearly unwatchable. “LOLTNA” memes started to fill the internet and the company was the laughing stock of the wrestling world.
Things got worse when Jeff Jarrett tried to turn TNA into Global Force Wrestling, but by that time, fans were less interested than ever before. The company was essentially dead and it was a miracle that they even ran events. In 2017, the company changed to IMPACT Wrestling officially and got rid of the TNA name all together. Former wrestler and current IMPACT Wrestling president Scott D’Amore came along and tried his best to clean up the stench of TNA. While it was and still is a hard task due to the years of bad graces the former owners left the fans with, Scott has continued to try his best.
As the years went on, IMPACT Wrestling has cultivated a small, but very hardcore fanbase of loyal fans that support their product. Now, in 2023, the company is steadily thriving with a very solid roster. While they still do have some questionable booking decisions like every company, and from time to time have old timers on screen like Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray, IMPACT has been on a steady rising pace. From hot young talent like Mike Bailey, Josh Alexander, Ace and Bey, and even former WWE talent who still have bright futures like Trinity and Brian Myers, the company is going well.
So, that begs the question, with IMPACT finally starting to cement their own legacy and have their own branding, why go back to TNA? Well, Scott D’Amore said it best. No matter where they go, TNA chants still ring through buildings. Fans online still refer to them as TNA no matter what or how long It hasn’t been that. So, why not lean into it? Personally, I think we’re enough years past the “LOLTNA” era that a revamp could be a positive. But, Scott D’Amore and the rest of the team have to stay away from the mistakes that the former owners made. Here’s a few tips.
Hyping Up The X-Division
For starters, TNA has to continue to do what fans loved and what makes them unique and a big part of that is the X-Division. Back in the day, the X-Division was a staple in the company to see, well, Total Nonstop Action. It was a division where the best fought the best, and had more of a Cruiserweight feel. Talent doing things we’ve never seen before, insane athletic ability, crazy moves and moments, that’s what drew a lot of people in as fans. Now, IMPACT still has some great talent for a division like this. Chris Sabin, Mike Bailey, Ace Austin, Chris Bey, Alan Angels, Black Taurus, Crazzy Steve and many more. But, more can be added. Bringing in a Lucha style to the division would give it a fresh coat of paint and more excitement to give fans that fast-pace, highflying action we known and loved in the X-Division. Making the title and that division feel like it’s as important as the world title is a must, and it would be a huge selling point to attract more fans.
Womens Wrestling Matters
The Women’s division, aka The Knockouts Division, was genuinely ground breaking back in the day. While women’s wrestling on WWE TV was bra & panties matches and a mud slinging mess at the time, TNA was letting their female talent wrestle just like the men. Who could forget Awesome Kong terrorizing the division or Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell having an epic Last Woman Standing match? They made their women must see in a time where Women’s Wrestling was barely respected. These days, Women’s Wrestling has a high bar and fans hold it to a way higher standard. But still, fans are clamoring for more. While AEW & WWE are barely giving us one women’s match on each show, let alone actual progressive storylines, TNA has the chance to really highlight their women better than ever before.
Now, IMPACT currently does a solid job at this, but there is definitely room for improvements. On the Bound For Glory Pay-Per-View, the Women’s Tag Team Championship match was relegated off the show to be taped for an digital exclusive. Fans, including myself, were disappointed over this. a revamped TNA has the chance to make women’s wrestling matter in their company like never before and really draw in the women’s wrestling fans. There’s a wide open market for it in American wrestling and TNA could really fill that void. From women’s wrestling fans world wide, please, Scott D’Amore.
No More Nostalgia Acts
A huge mistake TNA did in the past was focusing too much on the past and not enough on the future. While TNA had hot young talent like AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, they were putting their world championships on guys like Sting, Bully Ray, Kurt Angle and other legends that no one wanted to see as champions at the time. While nostalgia is sometimes fun to see in minimal settings, no one, I repeat, no one wants to see these legends as champions. Even the digital media title, sorry Tommy Dreamer. While they may be fun to watch for a match or two, we want the new rising talent to shine and really carry the show. Don’t focus on popping a rating with nostalgic acts, keep your programming fresh and new and then fans will come. The nostalgic acts ruined the TNA namesake to begin with, don’t make that same mistake. We want to see the young, new talent.
Getting More Eyes On The Product
IMPACT Wrestling is currently on AXSTV. While I’m not sure exactly how long the TV contract is and the legalities behind the scenes, one of IMPACTS biggest issues is not being able to get eyes on their product. Even me, the person writing this, doesn’t get AXSTV on my television. I don’t have the channel. So, fans have to pay for a YouTube subscription or watch through FITE TV. In this day and age, people aren’t willing to go out of their way to spend extra money on a wrestling company just to watch it, when we as fans can just watch the other companies that are on our cable channels. So, though I understand they can’t just outright go to a new channel, that’s not how things work, I would advise TNA to seek out options to possibly get on a new station that’s widely known, and allow for more fans to see their product. No hate towards AXSTV, but that’s one of the biggest hurdles of fans not watching their product. Some just simply can’t.
In conclusion, I know Scott and the powers that be know the sour taste that the original TNA left the fans with, and I know they’re smarter than to revert back to the same bad stuff the former owners did, but just incase they don’t, look at the mistakes TNA did in the past, and please do the exact opposite. Despite what a few bad apples may say, a lot fans really do want TNA to succeed because another true alternative is always a good thing. We’ll be rooting for the revamped TNA and truly hope that someone behind the scenes sees this and takes at least some bit of advice. TNA is back, and we can’t wait as we hope for the best. You can checkout IMPACT Wrestling every Thursday on AXSTV and starting January 13th at the Hard To Kill Pay-Per-View in Las Vegas, Nevada, TNA IS BACK!
From: Brady Alexander