Tit for Tat

BigDawg

Something to keep in mind with the current version of Impact Wrestling is that the management team is strong.  From my view, they’re stronger in many ways than any management regime that I’ve seen in many years.  They’ve proven that in word and deed.  According to a recent poll that I conducted with fans, eighty-two percent of voters graded the team of Scott D’Amore and Don Callis at either an “A’ or “B”.  That’s impressive because that means even the disgusting Twitter trolls couldn’t taint the results.  So, these two Executive Vice Presidents along with Ed Nordholm are making good (and some great) decisions and the fans are backing them up tremendously.  Not all of the decisions are easy and not all the fans will be pleased no matter what decision they make when it comes to talent.  This team does have a distinct direction and the company is going there, full steam ahead.  It feels nice to see Impact have this type of momentum with the majority of their supporters approving of what’s happening in and out of the ring.  Are they perfect?  No.  If you’re expecting perfection than you should really lower your expectations because that’s not realistic.  There’s no denying that there is some real buzz regarding the big picture of what’s happening with Impact Wrestling.  Yes, the viewership/ratings have been consistent for several weeks now but that is not the only measuring stick when it comes to success.  The partnerships they have established (and will establish) with other promotions has unbelievable promise attached to this whole thing.  I might just have to delve deeper into that topic in a future column because my gut tells me that some major things are on the horizon.  I will briefly touch on that subject at the end of this piece, however, for now let’s discuss the main three talents coming in and those going out.

 

OUT:

Ethan Carter the Third was once the poster boy of TNA and subsequently Impact Wrestling (and the more forgettable GFW in there somewhere).  There’s no denying that at one time he had the support and approval of the decision makers in the company and the adulation of fans.  At some point that changed as did a lot of things.  It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why he stopped being the face of the franchise and I’ve heard endless theories and speculation on the matter.  It is undeniable that somewhere along the way he had lost some of that “it factor” that made us believe in him so much to begin with.  Some blame goes on the booking but EC3 also deserves some criticism for looking like he was just going through the motions at times.  It was a complicated fall from grace.  It does suck that they spent so much time building a main event player of their own just to have him leave and run to NXT and I won’t sugarcoat that at all.  The question is, do we need him?  Honestly, I don’t think we do.  Now, if this was Eli Drake or Rosemary doing the same thing, I would be ten times more pissed off and that would be a different conversation.  With EC3, we thank you for the good times but it simply didn’t work out.  Good luck with your future endeavors.  No hard feelings but no great ones either.

I apologize if this is a quasi-spoiler for you but I doubt many people aren’t aware of Lashley leaving Impact at this point.  Bobby Lashley has the respect of Impact fans and, I assume, Impact management too.  I really like that he’s putting over the right wrestlers on his way out.  It is similar to how Kurt Angle did this for him when the Olympic gold medalist left a couple years back.  Bobby’s departure seems less contentious from an outsiders perspective.  He came back to Impact a few years ago and really developed and evolved as a performer.  TNA provided the platform for him to grow and improve on the mic and in the ring.  He exceeded everyone’s expectations and became one of the most dominant and revered World Champions that we’ve ever seen.  He is legit tough and it shows.  The man could destroy most people that he’s ever come in contact with in real life and that translated to what he was doing during this run that he’s on the verge of completing on-screen.  I imagine that the door is open for Lashley to return someday and possibly have one last go at it before he decides to retire from in-ring competition, but who knows what kind of deal that the WWE will throw at him.  He will be missed but the time had come where he needed to move on.  Hope to see ya down the road, Walking Armageddon.

Laurel Van Ness I’m a little torn on.  She started out as a very different “spoiled rich girl brat” kind of character.  Then she evolved into a psycho-drunk-jaded bride that created some intrigue from fans for a time.  Eventually a lot of us kind of stopped caring about her as much because word kept leaking that she wasn’t going to stay with Impact.  I am of the mentality that we need wrestlers who believe in the vision of the current management team and that actually want to stay in Impact and help it grow and succeed.  At one juncture, there were reports about Laurel wanting out of Impact that surfaced while she had just been rewarded with the KnockOuts Championship.  That’s not going to do you any favors with fans or management when that type of scenario happens.  It makes everyone involved look stupid.  There’s been an unfortunate pattern of champions in TNA/Impact over the years leaving the company while currently holding a title or very recently holding one.  While this track record of such a thing is kind of concerning, I’d like to think that the pattern of such a thing is now in the rear view mirror.  I understand that sometimes this situation would be nearly unavoidable and that there are several factors that go into why this stuff takes place.  It seems like Scott and Don have a more defined “no bullshit” philosophy though, which plays into my prediction that this pattern will be avoided as much as possible moving forward.

 

IN:

Austin frickin’ Aries.  Seriously….. enough said.  Honestly, I could just move on here and it would be as effective as anything else that I could possibly write from this point on regarding him.  He came into Impact at the perfect time, and it has been said over and over again regarding professional wrestling that it is all about timing.  His return was a shock for everyone and it really buoyed up the fan base at a critical time in this management transitional phase.  He is one of the absolute best on the planet in the ring and on the mic.  He is charismatic and unique.  He is The Belt Collector and he’s representing Impact Wrestling all over God’s green Earth as their World Champion right now.  He recently showed up on ROH’s 16th Anniversary show and created buzz.  You can’t buy that kind of publicity.  He is the perfect choice to lead Impact right now as the ever evolving movement towards uniting pro wrestling companies together in order to help each other survive against the great WWE whore takes shape.  The Greatest Man That Ever Lived?  Fuck yeah, he is.

Brian “I’ve got muscles on top of my muscles on top of my muscles” Cage.  This guy.  Wow!  He is an ass kicker.  The dude is super crazy ripped.  Don’t get it twisted though; he’s not just some muscle head like Rob Terry that has no skills at all.  He has a moveset in the ring that is basically unparalleled by anyone else of his size.  The dude is very athletic and can really move.  He is a badass looking mofo that has a bright, bright future.  Can he completely fill the shoes of Lashley as the new alpha dog?  I guess that is yet to be determined but he’s off to a hell of a start.  He looks like an unstoppable force right now and they have booked him perfectly so far as he has been destroying everyone in his path.  The vignettes that aired before his debut (or return, but not really) were amazing and really set an expectation of dominance and power.  He has delivered on that expectation and I think Impact has a future World Champion on their hands that should have been signed a long time ago.  He has yet to speak but he hasn’t really needed to and, truth be told, that adds to his persona.  I have nothing but good things to say about him and the matches that he’ll have in the future will be epic because he can work well with anyone.

Admittedly, I don’t know as much about Su Yung in comparison to other talents that have come into Impact in the recent past.  Think about it though.  How much did most of us know about Rosemary before she came in?  How much did we know about Dezmond Xavier?  What about Trevor Lee?  I’m not huge into following the indy scene so I had barely heard of any of them before their Impact debuts.  For some reason, I’m getting the same type of “potential for success” vibe with Su Yung.  I may be wrong and if so, that’s fine.  However, when you see this type of strong, attention grabbing character come in and make a splash like she has done, it’s hard to deny the potential.  The Undead Bride has already impressed me more with her first appearance than Laurel did the entire time that she was in the company.  Different strokes for different folks I suppose, but I prefer the somewhat disturbing and bold personas.  If you’d like to see more of Su Yung before her time at Impact, here’s a match (seems fairly recent) that I found with her Vs Kiera Hogan.  Obviously she has many other matches which you can find online but I thought that one with a current Impact talent would be relevant.  I’m very much looking forward to her in-ring Impact debut this week and I hope that she stays with the company long-term.

 

In conclusion, there are genuinely good reasons to be excited about Impact Wrestling, regardless of any of the recent talent departures.  This big upcoming show with Lucha Underground at WrestleCon on Friday, April 6th at 9 pm  (which you can watch right here at DPW in our Twitch room) is going to be one that you don’t want to miss.  The matches on the card look awesome and remarkable.  I never considered that Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling would end up working together like this but I should have.  Look at all the talents which have worked for both promotions not long ago and some that still do.  There is savvy business to be done with LU and Impact forming this partnership.  Now, what exactly that partnership is or will be is anyone’s guess.  If you listened closely to the Talk is Jericho podcast episode that Sami Callihan was recently on, the oVe ringleader confirmed that the two companies have a deal in place.  He also hinted at another company that Impact is working on getting a deal done with but stopped short of naming it.  If I had to guess, I would say that ROH is that company.  Again, I could be way off here but I don’t think so.  For a second, just imagine Ring Of Honor, Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling all working together.  That is a future that I would like to be a part of.  I am merely speculating here so don’t lose your mind just yet.  Whichever way the cookie crumbles, Impact Wrestling has their shit together right now and that is fantastic to see.  Big things are coming and you can thank Ed, Don and Scott for that.  They are showing Dixie Carter what it actually means to take calculated risks.

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