It’s a simple suggestion: Go to an Impact Wrestling event.
The first section of this piece is meant for people out there that don’t consider themselves to be Impact fans. I see a lot of criticism for Impact, but do these negativity-spewing critics even know what’s really going on with Impact Wrestling? I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “challenge” per se, it’s more of a “put up or shut up” type of thing. The concept applies to wrestling fans that would fall into many different categories. Are you a person who gave up on Impact at some point? Maybe you’re completely enamored with this AEW thing and now have tunnel vision. If you’re primarily a WWE fan, I’ll probably have a tough time convincing you to go to an Impact show, but then again, who knows? I’m not sure if there are many ROH loyalists left at this point, but you should give it a shot too if you’re still out there. In my opinion, it would only take one time of attending an Impact event and having a good experience to open someone’s mind up just a bit. Lucky for you, Impact Wrestling is touring non-stop.
Other possible turnoffs for people in the past were the Dixie Carter regime or the Jeff Jarrett debacle. Those two are long gone and the ownership and management team now have done a fantastic job of rebuilding the image of Impact Wrestling. Perhaps the old Impact Zone in Orlando being as quiet as a church mouse soured you? Whatever the present status is of your pro wrestling fandom and regardless of why you stopped paying attention to Impact Wrestling, all I’m asking is to be a tiny little bit receptive about giving Impact another chance. To me, the best way to go about doing that is to go see this wonderfully talented roster perform live in person. The tickets are very affordable and since they’re mostly running smaller venues, there’s not really a bad seat. I’ve been watching pro wrestling for over thirty plus years, and I know when it’s good. This Impact Wrestling product is really damn good right now.
Like Sami Callihan said recently, pro wrestling is like different flavors of ice cream and people pick and choose what they like. What fans choose to watch boils down to personal preference. Someone may like chocolate instead of strawberry or vanilla. Whatever flavors of ice cream Impact is offering right now (insert your favorite), I’m so confident that most wrestling fans would like something that Impact has on the menu that I’m willing to put my employment at Scoops Ahoy on the line just to get you to try it. Seriously though, you should try the USS Butterscotch Sundae; it’s amazing. (Go watch Stranger Things if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)
There’s a certain feel associated with attending an Impact event now as opposed to a TNA event of the past. Trust me, I’ve been to quite a few of these things over the years. And yes, I once ventured to the Impact Zone in Orlando back in the day also. Not that the live TNA stuff back then was bad by any means, but the security of the Spike TV contract at the time made the company slightly complacent. There’s just more of a gritty, underdog vibe with things now as the company has had to scratch and claw their way back from nearly going out of business. Who doesn’t like rooting for the underdog? If you think about it, Impact kind of embodies the Rocky Balboa character from the first movie of that series. People are speculating that success seems unlikely and the odds are stacked against them but they always have a puncher’s chance. They also have a lot of heart and they’re giving it their all, every time Impact wrestlers step in that ring. I don’t have any delusions of them becoming “the champion” of the pro wrestling business in the near future but the similarities remain in terms of succeeding and growing. Rocky didn’t become the champion in the first movie anyway.
I’ve attended every Impact event that has come close to me regionally in Boise, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Going to these shows in person has kept me as a loyal fan for the last 13 years. There have been a few times where I’ve either been burnt out on Impact or it felt like a chore to keep watching on a weekly basis. The main thing that kept me coming back was how great of an experience it has been when I’m there in person under the bright lights, especially at TV tapings. That’s why I’m so sure that Impact can and will keep winning people over that attend these events all over North America. Are they going to captivate every single person that sees them live? No. However, I do think enough fans will keep coming back to the point where they will have at least 10 home base locations or regions in North America that they will keep in a rotation. That notion would have seemed absolutely ludicrous even as recently as two years ago. It is reality now because they took a leap of faith to tour again and they’re doing it in a cost-effective and smart way. Impact is picking up steam, with or without a new TV deal and despite all of the stiff competition right now in the pro wrestling industry.
If you’ve been an Impact fan for several years, but haven’t been to an event in a long time or have never gone, what are you waiting for? Really supporting Impact means going to these shows now that they’ve been touring full-time. The company going to different cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico is the new normal. I do think that eventually they will reestablish the U.K. scene again in the next few years but that’s unfortunately not in the cards immediately. So if they come to a destination near you, buy a ticket! They need you more than ever right now.
I’ve never missed an Impact Wrestling event in Las Vegas. From the LIVE broadcast on Spike TV celebrating the move to HD in October of 2008 at the Hard Rock to the June 2013 TV tapings at The Orleans and now the Sam’s Town shows recently. It’s all been fun but it seems like they have really found a nice groove at Sam’s Town. There was a big increase in attendance numbers from the November 2018 tapings to the February set earlier this year. In just 3 months, they had established themselves with charity partnerships and local promotional work that, in turn, translated to basically doubling the amount of fans in that venue. This Las Vegas stop has kind of turned into their de facto headquarters for the Western United States. Maybe someday the California stops will be more popular but that isn’t the case at the moment. I would guess that the crowds in September will be strong again, especially with Las Vegas resident RVD making his first Sin City appearance for Impact.
An interesting little side note about the band, “The Killers” is that they have an album that was named for this Sam’s Town venue. Look it up.
Here’s my thing…. if you’re worried or concerned about Impact surviving and thriving, then do something about it. I fully understand that going to live events is not everybody’s cup of tea for various reasons. However, how do you know that you won’t like it if you don’t ever try it out? So, if going to an Impact show isn’t in the cards for you, then find ways to support them that work for you. Have you subscribed to Impact Plus? Are you a subscriber to Impact’s Twitch account either by paying for it or using your Amazon Prime account to get it for free? How often to you use social media to help push Impact through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? Are you subscribed to their YouTube channel? Do you actually buy the pay-per-views or do you instead illegally stream them? When’s the last time you bought merchandise through ShopImpact.com? Do you ever tell family or friends that may be wrestling fans to check out the show? All of these things help at some level and it’s kind of up to us in some ways to help spread the word that Impact is back on track and worth watching. That may sound a little bit preachy but so be it.
If you live in the Mid-West, you really should attend Bound For Glory in Chicago this October. It’s going to be a huge show and it’s a big deal for Impact to be running a venue of this size for the first time in several years. I have a feeling that they’re going to put on the best pay-per-view of 2019 and it would be awesome to see a jam-packed Odeum Expo Center.
In the end, everything will be fine with Impact and they’ll land a new TV deal at some point but I’m done worrying about when that will be finalized. I hope that we eventually get the full story behind why there have been delays with that happening once things are settled down as the dirtsheets only know little bits and pieces of information. Obviously something changed and there has been a lot of speculation about AXS TV and all of that stuff. My total guess is that a new U.S. TV contract won’t be announced until Bound For Glory, but I’d love it to be sooner than that since the Pursuit Channel is garbage. Honestly, if waiting an extra few months means that they get a better situation and a quality long-term agreement then I’m totally happy with that. They’re not going to do something stupid or make rash decisions. In the meantime, why not go to an event in person? I’d be interested to hear your guys’ stories of attending Impact events in the past if you’d like to share them below.
ICYMI, check out Big Dawg’s fantastic article Is Impact the New ECW?