It is pretty rare that I actually bring this series to a specific section, but I figured it'd be a nice change of pace for the series. As always wrestling gives us both great memories and memories we try and forget, but with the amount of moments worth remembering that have happened we are bound to forget some. The same could be said about some talent that were very much underrated during their career or never at the top of a company during a run this unfortunately makes it easier for fans to forget certain talent.
These two are very different talent and had two very different careers while they worked in this great business. Also sometimes we encounter those that deserve to be remembered and acknowledged. I would like to wish a very big Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating their special day today and especially to the one featured below.
Starting out as a radio broadcaster hosting a show called "Wrestling Insiders" where he would interview wrestlers Jesse Ventura, Jim Cornette, and Sting. It was his work on the show that netted him a job with World Championship Wrestling. Mike Tenay's first announcing job with WCW was as one of the many announcers to work the legendary When Worlds Collide event specifically working with Chris Crusie during the Guerrero/Barr vs Hijo Del Santo/Octagon contest. To start Mike would mostly be seen on the B-Shows like WCW Worldwide and Saturday Night and would occasionally be a guest announcer during luchadore matches on PPV.
Tenay would move up to Monday Nitro and would be able to fully put on display his vast knowledge of the wrestling business, wrestling history, and maneuvers getting the nickname of the "Professor" from his knowledge. Following the debut of Thunder after seeing the announce team pull double duties the company chose to switch things up. Tenay would become the lead announcer of WCW Thunder alongside of Larry Zbyzsko after the change. The change would be short lived though as the company would bring Tony Schiavone back to Thunder in December.
Following the closure of WCW in 2001, it was a while before we saw Mike Tenay back in the booth for a wrestling program. Upon the arrival of NWA-TNA it wasn't long before Mike would join the booth to become the lead announcer for the company. To start Mike would click with color commentator Don West who he would partner with for years until he was replaced by Tazz. The one constant through the years even with all the ups and downs that TNA has gone through over the years until he was relieved of his duties and moved back into a different role with the company.
When Impact made the change from Spike to Destination America they would give the company a fresh voice in the announce booth with Josh Matthews taking over the lead announce duties. In 2016 while appearing on the Ross Report Mike would announce that he quietly departed TNA Wrestling and is currently retired from professional wrestling. One interesting and fitting note is that Mike Tenay serves on the board of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
With a lot of different things going on and getting in the way we are finally getting back on track with my list of Top 10 Wrestlers from the previous twelve months. At this point we have been focused on mostly top WWE talent and with Wrestlemania taking the focus away from the list. Now we shift our focus back our list but on the honorable mention side of things with a top star in Impact Wrestling. Since the most recent rebirth of Impact Wrestling one name has risen through the muck was Eddie Edwards. With the arrival of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore the company shifted booking philosophies to a more long term booking approach almost like a seasonal story arch for a television show.
Edwards would begin a year long feud very early on in 2018 against Ohio Versus Everything (Sami Callihan, Jake & Dave Crist). This would be the most brutal, back and forth feud in recent memory and it displayed perfectly the change in philosophy for Impact Wrestling. The story arch of Eddie saw layer after layer added to the feud starting with Tommy Dreamer and then his partnership with Moose would be revisited. I said this a few months ago that I never thought that Eddie Edwards could pull off such a gimmick, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he pulled it off.
Overall Eddie has played a massive part in helping Impact find some stable ground to rebuild the promotion on. At this point I have been a fan of Eddie Edwards for over a decade and in seeing the progression of his career I think he has finally been able to put everything together. I do think that Eddie could become a World Champion at some point especially after signing a new multi-year contract with Impact Wrestling.
This section of the site is proof enough to show how things have changed in the last few years with only one article being written a day at this point as oppose to two or three like I had done before. The reason for that is solely based on life outside of the internet getting a lot more busy then it was in the past. I don't have less faith in or careless about this site and if you ask where this is coming from well the fact that nothing has been written about Impact since the beginning of the year is the main reason why I decided to write this little explanation.
Now onto the actual article with the card coming together and the matches already set it seems like Impact has another solid major event set for Wrestlemania weekend. In what looks to be a stacked card:
Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship:
(c) Rich Swann vs Yamato
Ultimate X Match: #1 Contender of the X-Division Championship
Pat Buck (WrestlePro) vs Jake Crist (Impact) vs Kotto Brazil (MLW) vs Dante Fox (Lucha Underground) vs Jack Evans (AAA) vs Mystery Opponent
Eli Drake vs Tessa Blanchard
LAX vs Low Ki & Ricky Martinez
Team Impact (Johnny Impact, Eddie Edwards, Moose, and Brian Cage) vs Team Lucha Underground (Aero Star, Drago, Daga, and King Cuerno)
Monsters Ball Match:
Jimmy Havoc vs Sami Callahan
Extreme Dream Match:
RVD & Sabu vs Lucha Bros
Though the wrestling world has it's attention set on the newest promotion in All Elite it is pretty clear to me that Impact will be doing their best to try and gain that spotlight back on the biggest weekend for wrestling. In my opinion one of the best decisions that Impact could've made was revisiting working with talent outside the company, because it helps the promotion tremendously and allows dream matches to take place that wouldn't otherwise. I'll let you know that not only will I be sharing my thoughts on the dream match main event, but I am looking forward to the Monsters Ball Match between Sami Callahan & Jimmy Havoc as that will be a brutal fight.
In the big picture I will be staying on top of any other announcements that come up for this event and will try and shine a little more of a light back on the company north of the border. Anyone interest in this event though won't have to go far as it will be shown live on Fite.tv and will run from 11pm on April 4 to 1:30am on April 5 this is definitely fitting for Wrestlemania weekend and something this company has never done before. Overall this does make them stick out a little more and might peak the interest from wrestling fans looking for some wrestling to watch.
At this point nothing really surprises me anymore with Impact Wrestling, because I have thought so many times that the company was done but every time they find there way back. This is not to say that I have ever hope that the company go away it's just that I have gotten tired of all the bad news centered around the promotion. It is for this reason that I was very happy with how 2018 turned out with the year being really the first year that very little bad was reported about the promotion. However, one thing that changed for Impact is that 2018 was the promotions last year on POP TV which has been their home for programming since they moved from Destination America.
Now it is possible that the promotion that always finds a new way to amaze the fans has done it again finding a new home on the Pursuit Network. For those wondering the Pursuit Network is the most widely distributed outdoor network and one of the fastest growing channels in history. Anyone wondering how Impact ended up on a network that largely airs hunting and fishing programming well Anthem Sports and Entertainment owns a large stake in the channel.
Overall though according to one source, this new deal with Pursuit Channel is financially better for the company than the one they had with POP. The promotion seems very happy with the change as they are now given a little bit of extra room due to them not having the financial obligations that they did with POP TV. In a way this is a gain for the company even if Pursuit is a smaller channel it does seem to be a better deal overall for the promotion.
Recently there has been an amazing amount of news not just about major American companies, but with Wrestle Kingdom 13 happening earlier this weekend. Every New Japan has the first major event of the new year and for the first time Impact Wrestling will have the next major event of the year. For the first time in a very long time Impact will be returning to the arena they called home for the first three years of their existence. The Fairgrounds in Nashville was the arena once called the "TNA Asylum" once they moved to the Impact Zone that became their new home where they held every show.
Trying something new Impact Wrestling will be heading home for the first time in a very long time. I do like the idea of such a unique event, and this really is unique partially due to the fact that they now don't do shows in this area as much anymore. Now don't get me wrong there is no comparing Wrestle Kingdom and this event, but this does have a similar concept as Wrestle Kingdom as this could be exactly what Impact needs to set a positive foundation for 2019.
Looking at the card there is little doubt in my opinion that Impact Wrestling has done a lot of good building to this event. In my opinion I still that Johnny Impact is better off on the chase then being the "Face of Impact," but that doesn't mean that he doesn't belong as a World Champion. With matches like LAX vs Lucha Brothers and the assumed blow-off of the heated rivalry between Eddie Edwards & Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere match they should steal the show. If things go right at this event then I believe that this could really get Impact on the right track for the new year which is especially important after the massive All Elite Wrestling announcement.
One thing that has been a point of interest this year in the world of wrestling is if Impact Wrestling could begin to build momentum in the right direction now that they have stability in the office. Since December of last year we have seen Don Callis & Scott D'Amore running things and they have really given Impact Wrestling a stable long term picture. This was also the first year with Impact Wrestling located in Canada instead of the United States like it had been in years prior. With those two things in place some much needed stability had been found by Impact Wrestling.
As far as the company's overall direction it has been very refreshing to see the company having a long term direction for the top talent. Names like Eddie Edwards, Johnny Mundo, LAX, and Lucha Bros have really been busy during the entire with consistent feuds and momentum building from start to finish. I have really enjoyed the Lucha Bros, Eddie Edwards, and LAX all throughout the year with these men getting into the primes of their careers.
In my opinion, Impact Wrestling has finally rebuilt their roster to the point where they have extremely capable talent to help carry the company. I will admit that I still believe Johnny Mundo will drop the Impact Wrestling World Title very early on in 2019 maybe even at Impact Wrestling Homecoming in January to Brian Cage. To make a bold prediction for the upcoming new year I will take a guess saying that both Eddie Edwards and Brian Cage will taste World Championship gold in 2019.
As the build continues to Impact Wrestling Homecoming the card seems to be getting better by the week with two new matches being added to the card. In my opinion other than the LAX vs OGz grudge match this upcoming event could be better then Bound For Glory. I did sit down to watch the most recent edition of Impact and have few take away from the current Impact Wrestling product. For me one thing hasn't changed and that is I like wrestling on my wrestling (sorry WWE) and that is something Impact Wrestling has gotten a lot better at providing. With long over arching story lines and a once again deep roster filled with incredibly talented performers things are finally looking up for Impact Wrestling.
I know in the past I have pretty much solely focused on Eddie Edwards as his transition to a lunatic has been something I never really expected to see, but in this edition we will focus on two wrestlers Johnny Impact & LAX. First of all both are at the top of there careers right now holding the Impact World & Tag Team titles respectively. However, in my book one is showing room for growth while the other is showing that the ceiling might have been hit. Before elaborating I do believe that there could be a more in depth article coming in the future on this subject, but for this let's keep it short.
I think that Johny Impact formerly John Morrison has proven the WWE wrong that he could lead a company, but maybe they were right with the idea that the company wasn't WWE. I don't think that Johnny is a bad champion or the wrong selection to be Impact World Champion it's just I don't see him as a long term champion. It is really for that reason that I think the WWE were right for never letting him be WWE Champion, but also wrong as Johnny has proven to be a very reliable in ring competitor. I guess I just think that Johnny is better at chasing the title than actually being the champion in my opinion.
As for the tag team champions the work that LAX has been doing for most of the year has been fantastic. In my opinion Impact should consider themselves lucky to have found Santana & Ortiz when they did and that they have such chemistry with Konnan it's like they are the perfect match. Starting with there feud against the OGz and now likely heading into a very interesting feud with the Lucha Bros the momentum doesn't seem to be slowing down for the youngsters and it is very fun to watch. I have been saying for years that Impact needs to find there own talent and build from scratch and they are doing exactly that with Santana and Ortiz which is awesome to see. I think that if Impact Wrestling keeps this up they could have a better tag team division then the WWE and even if they aren't in competition anymore they could once again find themselves being a serviceable alternative to the company in Connecticut.
As I mentioned about a week ago Impact Wrestling are currently negotiating a new TV deal and are likely moving off POP TV for a new station in early 2019. It is very interesting to see how different the negotiating period has been compared to when they left Spike TV a few years ago. Now based on reports it seems like POP and Impact Wrestling have a great relationship as POP is allowing Impact to remain on the station until early 2019 as I mentioned earlier.
Currently, Impact is in talks with SyFy, TruTV, and WGN for a television deal after their current contract expires. According to a recent edition of the PWTorch Livecast one thing that drove a wedge between Impact & Pop is the wrestling company's desire to return to a prime-time slot and Pop's unwillingness to give them the spot. It seems like Impact will likely head to whichever station will give them a prime-time slot and it would be interesting to see SyFy land the company knowing their history with the WWE. Also an interesting note if Impact does end up on the SyFy network it would be the first time that the WWE & Impact are on stations owned by the same company. Though it might not seem like a big deal I feel like it would be interesting having both Impact & WWE on channels owned by NBC Universal.
In my opinion, I think any of these three channels or maybe a mystery one could be in the running for Impact. Specifically though I'd go for either WGN America or SyFy due to their past history with having wrestling programming on the network. In hindsight though I think SyFy or TruTV would help Impact more as they are more nationally known stations on television. Overall 2019 promises to be another interesting year for wrestling and this is just adding fuel to the fire.
At one point I remember when this was a "major" news story every other day when the company was leaving Spike TV a few years ago. Luckily this time around it is not as much of a questionable situation and if anything it is total opposite situation. Following the companies stay on Destination America which is where they headed after Spike TV they moved to another channel and that was POP TV aka the former TV guide network. Prior to POP picking up Impact Wrestling they had given television time to Vegas Independent wrestling company Paragon Pro-Wrestling. Now in reality during there time on POP we saw Impact almost hit it's end when Dixie Carter finally sold the promotion.
The last two years have been full of ups and downs for the company with the promotion having seemingly found stability and a foundation to rebuild the promotion. At this point it has been an extremely long amount of time since we last saw a negative story about the promotion which was common place at one point. As far as where they stand with POP television at the point and though the relationship seems in a good place it doesn't seem like the company will resign.
Overall Impact Wrestling still has television in both the UK and Canada, but as of early 2019 they will loose television in the United States. The latest news points to Impact & POP coming to a short term extension to keep the promotion on the channel until late winter or early spring, but after that is uncertain. For those who may not follow Impact the company recently was moved to a different time slot and has seen a drop in viewers because of it. Looking at the possible places for Impact to move that is one thing I am unsure of due to nobody reporting anything about possible new homes. However, if I had to guess the Fight Network might be a possible spot considering it is also owned by Anthem Sports & held an ownership interest in Impact at one point.
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