Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Impact Wrestling: Now Or Never

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

Impact Wrestling debuts on their home, Destination America this Wednesday (January 7, 2015) and in my opinion this is Impact's make or break moment. WWE is beyond stale. While Destination America is in fewer homes than Spike, and USA, thus Impact will most likely not be beating Raw in ratings anytime soon, Impact can use this re-launch to try and gain momentum while WWE continues to rest on their laurels. 
I wish I could say I have faith that Impact will utilize this moment and give wrestling fans a fresher more innovative product. Unfortunately, I’ve been following Impact for the past 12 years and think even if every other wrestling promotion in America shut down it would take Impact five years to become the number one wrestling promotion in America.  
I don’t know what to expect from Impact’s first show. I am hesitant for the first month of Impact due to them taping a month’s worth of shows in three days. While I understand the budgetary reasons for taping shows in a short period of time, it doesn’t help to get a clear idea of what’s working and what isn’t in terms of stories and wrestlers. 
Without knowing what to expect, here are my top ten list of what I’d like to see, or not see in some cases, from the new Impact. 

Dixie Carter
1) NO AUTHORITY FIGURES: Yes, the Mr. McMahon character was entertaining when he feuded with Steve Austin. The reason? It was something new. The McMahon/Austin feud started nearly 17 years ago. 17 YEARS AGO!!!! Since then the evil authority figure has been recycled more times than necessary. Right now WWE has the Authority making their show uninteresting. If Impact wants to be seen as a different type of wrestling promotion, having a show without any type of ruling persona is a good place to start. 

2) NO IMMEDIATE NEW EX-WWE STARS: Rumor has it Impact is trying to get Alberto Del Rio to show up on the live episode of Impact. I don’t know what type of reaction Alberto got at the recent ROH taping but I don’t recall hearing too many people claiming this disappointment when Alberto got fired from WWE. The point being bringing Alberto in isn’t going to make a difference. Look at all the ex-WWE wrestlers Impact has brought in over the last ten years. How many viewers did those wrestlers bring to Impact? Enough to justify sandbagging Impact's original talent at their expense? Probably not.  WWE has done a decent job of getting the next generation of talent in place for when they finally get all they can out of John Cena. Impact has a solid roster of up and coming talent and talent that has been with the company long enough without being properly utilized. Now is the time to Impact to create their own brand and their own stars. If Impact is incapable of creating stars perhaps they shouldn’t be in business. 

3) NO 20-MINUTE OPENING PROMO: Brevity is the soul of wit. Has their ever been a show opening promo that couldn’t have accomplished the same thing in half the time? One of my biggest pet peeves with wrestling shows is how the opening promo sets up the rest of the show based on who interrupts the promo. What would happen if no one came out during the promo? The show should be booked as a complete show and if there are any altercations between wrestlers, those altercations should pay off in a match on a later show. 

4) NO SCRIPTED PROMOS: Give wrestlers bullet points to hit and let them showcase their personality. If a wrestler can’t cut a promo convincingly then either give them a manager or don’t give them promo time. 

5) BRING BACK MANAGERS: If the old adage, everything old is new again is true then it’s time managers made a comeback in professional wrestling. While there most likely won’t ever be another Bobby Heenan or Capt. Lou, surely there’s another Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji or James J. Dillon somewhere out there on the indie scene. 

6) GO MORE THAN 6 MONTHS WITHOUT A FACE/HEEL TURN: Pretty self-explanatory. 
Josh Matthews
7) HAVE THE COMMENTATORS PUT OVER THE ACTION IN THE RING: Josh Matthews will be replacing Mike Tenay at commentary. This fixes 50% of the problem at commentary.  The announcers should focus on the action in the ring and put over the wrestlers competing. If the announcers don’t pay attention to the action, why should the viewer?  If the announcers talk about how awful a wrestler is, why should any fan care about the wrestler?  This is broadcasting 101 but for some reason seems to be a foreign concept in wrestling today. 

8) DETERMINE A FACE OF THE COMPANY: Going back to point 2, Impact has never gotten behind one person and made them the focus. Whenever it looked like they might have a face of the company, some new ex-WWE star would show up and take the spotlight. Going forward, Impact needs to pick a face of the company and stick with that person for at least a couple of years. (Disclaimer: This person should not be Kurt Angle)

9) NO POINTLESS GIMMICK MATCHES: If Impact never had another cage match, ladder match, Full Metal Mayhem match for the rest of its existence they would still have had too many gimmick matches. Gimmick matches should be used when necessitated by the story being told. Throwing out a random ladder match for the sake of having a ladder match means nothing.  Having a show full of cage matches, which includes matches between wrestlers who haven’t had one match against each other, negates the purpose of the cage. At the same time, having a random cage match during the rest of the year devalues the point of having an entire show devoted to cage matches. 

10) NO MORE REF BUMPS/RUN INS/OVERBOOKING: To put it in simpler terms: Don’t have Impact style title matches.  If I had the time and resources, I would like to go through every TNA show and see how many title matches/main events ended with a clean pin. I’m willing to bet the total would be less than 5%. If booked properly a clean pin fall will not harm the loser in the long run. On the other hand, a typical Impact title match will get me to turn the channel and find something else to watch.  

I realize this list seems pretty negative. That wasn’t my intent. Thinking about it though, I realize why I stopped watching Impact over the last year. Even though WWE has me bored at the moment, there are enough wrestling alternatives out there that Impact won’t get my viewership simply because they exist. 
The ball is in your hands Impact Wrestling. Show me you want to be different and entertaining and I’ll watch. Show me you have learned nothing from your first 12 years and you’re content to keep doing the same old same old and I’ll seek out other wrestling companies that actually care about not being WWE-lite. Which option do you choose?

No comments:

Post a Comment