Over the years since the end of Extreme Championship Wrestling we have since a number of reunion shows designed to try and give the one time rebel of wrestling a proper send off. Thinking about it one aspect that has never been properly thought of is feuds among talent that never fought in ECW. At this point that ship has sail with only a handful of ECW alumni still active it would be easier to see one more match and extremely difficult for one more feud. Speaking of one more match that's what we got from Tommy Dreamer & Rob Van Dam at 2300 Street Arena.
Years ago I thought wrestling would never be able to call the former ECW Arena home again, but of course wrestling found it's back to the old stomping ground of ECW. Over the years Impact has even held some events at the arena, but this recent edition of Impact was their first time taping their television show at the arena. Even though the arena looks different atmosphere looks the same with Dreamer & RVD getting the chance to walk down the isle they walked down so many times in the past for one last match. In my opinion these two went above and beyond what was expected, tapped into some old favorites and really showed why they are two legends of the ring.
Overall though I think it would be best for me to allow the action to speak for itself and just let you take a look at the final meeting between two legends of wrestling. This edition of Impact Wrestling was for lack of a better word or phrase "One of a Kind."
Starting in 2002 the company then known as NWA-TNA the foundation of the company was set by some familiar faces like Jeff Jarrett, Ken Shamrock, Raven, Sting, and others. However, had a plentiful of future stars like James Storm, Chris Harris, Christopher Daniels, and of course AJ Styles. It is incredible to see the ups and downs that these talents have had over the last decade and a half especially one name in particular and he's "Phenomenal." It didn't take Styles long to capture his first championship becoming the first ever Impact X-Division Champion, the first NWA-TNA World Tag Champions, former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, TNA Television Champion, TNA Tag Team Champion and TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
It is truly fair to say that AJ Styles had done absolutely everything possible while he was a member of the Impact Wrestling roster. After becoming NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion he became the first triple crown champion in the company after winning TNA Legends Championship (Later known as the Television Championship) he became the first Grand Slam champion in the company. In my opinion, it was the feud with the Main Event Mafia that really put on display how important AJ Styles was to the company & that he was TNA's version of John Cena.
I do think that eventually AJ Styles will enter the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame, because much like the WWE side the Hall of Fame wouldn't be complete without Styles. In my opinion, Styles was sort of the Ric Flair of TNA, because he could have a good match with anyone and kept getting pushed down aside when ex-WWE talent would join the company; the same way Flair did in WCW during the Monday Night War. Overall though very few wrestlers can touch the amount of success that AJ Styles had as a member of the Impact Wrestling roster.
After seeing this as a titled Youtube video on the WWE channel I thought it would be interesting to take it but use it for other company's outside of WWE. Admittedly I have let the other sections of the site suffer in favor of the more common places to place articles, but hopefully this series like with series of the the past it will give some new content to the under used sections. For those who may not be aware I love having the chance to take a trip in the wrestling time machine back in time to highlight the past.
Over the years Impact Wrestling has had some tough years especially within the 2009-2013 period. This coming off the height of their hottest period specifically Lockdown 2008 being the most bought PPV in the history of Impact Wrestling. At one point or another Impact has had an incredibly deep roster with so many future, present, and past stars coming trough the company at some points. With names like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, James Storm, Magnus, Jeff Hardy, Sting, and others entering the Impact Zone this series will have a lot of different names to turn to over time.
Overall I will not just be looking through the annals of Impact history, but I will also be looking to New Japan, Ring of Honor, and NWA to attempt to really get the most out of this series. The reality is this will give me a chance to explore the past of former talent & all of their accomplishments like I use to do with the "Scouting Report" series back in the day.
One of my recent consistent criticisms of the WWE has been the fact that lack a long term plan for any aspect of their programming. Since the arrival of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore we have seen a massive change in the creative direction of the company as they have shown a heavy reliance on having longer term plans for top talent specifically which helps keep momentum high and allows there to be a flow between feuds for talent. Also if one person is heavily featured for 6 months to a year it isn't a big deal if they disappear for a little while, because this allows the company to focus on other talent.
From his days in the WWE it was clear that Johnny has always been comfortable as a heel then as baby face, because he comes off as a cookie cutter good guy. But as heel I feel like Johnny comes as a more natural and is a more effective heel. Overall story lines that include crooked referees are always tougher to do because everyone compares it to the "Montreal Screwjob," but comparing this to other crooked ref angles I think they did a great job making this seem different and getting more proper heat on Johnny & Taya as well as making people want to see Brian Cage win the title even more.
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.
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