Friday, July 22, 2016

Finally making an impact

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

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Towards the end of episode 87 of the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast, I stated Impact Wrestling has been on a roll lately and encouraged listeners to give Impact another chance. Based on this week’s (7/21) episode, I stand by that assessment. Coming off the criticism I’ve leveled at Impact (and yes, I prefer to say Impact instead of TNA) over the past four years on this blog, if I’m now giving Impact credit, it’s done because I firmly enjoy the product.

I don’t know what’s changed since Impact moved from Destination America to Pop earlier this year but the company seems more focused with specific plans in place. Impact has lost several wrestlers over the past year which now seems to be a blessing more than a curse. The loss of top level talent such as Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Bully Ray, created spots for fresh new talent to take the ball and run. Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III have been on point to where one has to wonder why WWE didn’t do anything productive with either guy when they were with the company. The biggest shock to me though has been Bobby Lashley.

Courtesy: Impact Wrestling
During Lashley’s run in WWE and his first run on Impact, I thought he was nothing more than a jacked up muscle head. Over the past month though something has clicked with him both in the ring and on the mic that engages me when he’s on TV. His current run as badass champ who’ll fight all challengers has me curious to see who’s next.

The Bromans
Courtesy Impact Wrestling
Impact has also done a decent job of re-building the X-Division and Tag Team Division. The mid-card also features fresh talent who if given a chance, I think can become long term players. Most off all, as I mentioned earlier, there seems to be long term planning to story lines. There’s not as much just throw something at the wall and see what sticks then do something different next week.

The Knockouts
Courtesy: Impact Wrestling
The Knockouts Division features a mix of new and established talent who are all doing a good job to keep the women’s revolution going. I would like to see more talent brought in, as right now there are only five competitors.

"Broken" Matt Hardy
Courtesy: Impact Wrestling
Shockingly the biggest asset to Impact right now is “Broken” Matt Hardy. When Matt first started with the "Broken"character, I doubt anyone saw potential in what he was doing. Now, maybe because it’s so different or just so out there and Matt plays it 100% serious, I can’t wait to se what he’ll do week after week in his quest to belittle and rule over the “Obsolete Mule” Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy). I will also stand by my critique the WWE ripped off Matt and Nero’s “Final Deletion” match with the compound battle between the New Day and Wyatt Family. Only WWE’s version wasn’t half as entertaining.

Of course not everything Impact is doing is praise worthy. They still run too many gimmick matches for my taste. My personal dislike of the American Wolves also has me wishing Davey Richards’ recent injury had lasted longer. Although I will give credit to Eddie Edwards for his matches against Bobby Lashley the past two weeks as being two really good title vs. title bouts.

Overall, Impact still has some areas to improve as no company will ever be 100% perfect. Compared to Impact from 2012-2015 though, 2016 Impact is quickly become my must see wrestling show of the week. I hope I haven’t just jinxed them. I don’t know what’s going on backstage and I don’t care. I’m enjoying the product on the TV screen and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.

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