Impact Wrestling has undergone a litany of changes behind the scenes over the last twelve months. Lawsuits, wrestlers and staff members are not getting paid, a dwindling audience and a severe lack of leadership finally took its toll. Just when it looked like TNA’s nine lives were about to expire, the Toronto-based Anthem Sports & Entertainment group came out of nowhere and purchased the company.
Dixie Carter, John Gaburick and the rest of the management team were evicted, and in a weird twist of fate, company co-founder Jeff Jarrett was hired to run the day-to-day operations along with Dutch Mantell and Bruce Pritchard. The new administration’s appointment prompted the resignation of several wrestlers and the signing of new talent, all to usher in the new era of Impact Wrestling that was utter garbage.
TNA has had multiple chances to make a new first impression and Thursday night’s show proved that Jeff Jarrett and company haven’t learned from past mistakes. Two hours of television of which the majority was spent burying former management and building a feud between the two lead commentators.
After a quick brawl between former tag team partners Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, commentators Josh Matthews and Jeremy Borash began their idiotic feud. Matthews was upset that Borash was added to the broadcast team.
Borash said that he was originally going to become the lead commentator but the “idiots” who used to run the company marked out over a former WWE personality in Matthews. Matthews bragged about his résumé saying he was taught by Jim Ross and called WrestleMania. Borash ended THIS particular argument stating that no one in the company likes Matthews.
Borash and Mathews argued all night on commentary…all night.
This was frustrating to listen to because putting over the wrestlers and storylines took a backseat. What’s crazy about this whole angle is that it’s derived from the fans legitimately not liking Josh Matthews.
Plus, Matthews has the type of heat that makes people want to change the channel as opposed to people paying to see him get beat up.
If that wasn’t enough, former longtime WWE producer Bruce Pritchard came out to the ring and told the world that TNA is dead and Impact Wrestling is here to stay. Pritchard buried the old management and stated that the new management will make Impact Wrestling great.
Pritchard also introduced World Champion Bobby Lashley as the face of the company and said that no one in the locker room can beat him. This brought out the debuting Alberto El Patron who challenged Lashley to a title match. Pritchard made the match thus burying the entire locker room because he’s basically saying they all suck.
After some more matches that were hindered by Borash and Mathews arguing back and forth, Dutch Mantell made his Impact début. He reiterated Pritchard’s earlier proclamation saying TNA is dead, long live Impact Wrestling. Dutch went on to say blah, blah, blah, I’m not a boss, blah, blah, blah, I’m not an authority figure, blah, blah, blah, the fans are my boss. Are quotes needed here?
The best part of this segment was when he mentioned all the stars from the past such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle. I bet you can’t figure out why they all left. Yep, you guessed it, the old management was to blame. This segment was the nicest way of saying that Impact/TNA used to be great, now it sucks, but the new management will make it great again.
Back to business… Borash announced the date for the next pay-per-view event and Matthews was livid because he didn’t get to make the announcement. This led to the same old crap, which carried over into the main event where Alberto El Patron won the world title.
I like to have, and encourage, a wait and see attitude when storylines go off the beaten path, however, no…just, no. Instead of telling us ad nauseum how great Impact is going to be, why didn’t they spend more time actually showing us?
“The old management was bad” and “the new management is good.” Who the hell cares?! Besides you’re not telling us anything about the old guard that we didn’t already know. Oh, wait a minute. Was the insider-kayfabe-worked shoot-internet gossip of it all supposed to draw ratings?
Unless your name is CM Punk, using real backstage drama to tell a fake story never works. It requires the fans to already know the situation beforehand. Punk’s “pipe bomb” promo was unique because of his delivery in how he told the story. There was nothing remotely unique about the convoluted mess that is the new era of Impact Wrestling.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.