This upcoming Wednesday will feature one of those ultra-important LIVE IMPACTs for TNA. There's no way around it. When so many shows are taped in advance like the company has done for an extended time now, it naturally places more importance on a show that does not have spoilers out there for everyone to see. Unfortunately, this episode of IMPACT, in some ways is more paramount than Slammiversary itself. Wrestling fans want to be sold on spending money on a real TNA Pay-Per-View again. Why am I dishing out the extra $40 to $50 dollars next Sunday? You tell me. What do you want to see? There are no spoilers in the coffers to be had right now but that will change very soon. To me, it's a fun time yet a critical time because people haven't "made their mind up" yet about whether they are going to invest that money into financially backing the product. Now, I know a lot of people stream the shows for free but I am not one of those and I won't judge you for doing so. If you do stream, TNA also has a new option to do that on the up and up through Flipps this time. Also, fans in France and the U.K. can watch Slammiversary for free on their respective networks as the event is shown LIVE (or you could record it and watch it later on). The key is that those options are there for the first time in company history and it does add some extra significance. I have spent real money on buying TNA pay-per-views for many years now. I'm buying Slammiversary on Sunday, but then again, I'm going to do that out of loyalty and my affinity for TNA at this point. There are those that sit on the fence and those are the fans that can be sold on buying this PPV by late Wednesday night.
What will it take? I am hoping for a nice surprise because that is thrilling if done properly. Bully and Velvet did not provide that so I expect that it's not something along those lines again. A nice addition (and I know nothing here) is the possibly of Jeff Hardy coming back. Even if it's only to be on-screen in some capacity if his leg is not medically cleared yet. He doesn't have to wrestle in order to make an impact. I don't think bringing Jeff Hardy back for the umpteenth time is a big surprise but it could lead to some type of a role at Slammiversary that will help sell the PPV. I'm not aware of what the "big surprise" here is, but it feels like something is in the works that has been kept close to the vest by upper management. Will the new/returning Knockout be a part of these tapings? Again, I'm just speculating and I do not claim to have insider knowledge. I simply go by a feel of what is happening on screen and as we follow the product closely here at TNAMecca. This is Slammiversary after all. Very important things have happened in the past during TNA's anniversary showcase. Don't forget, the next Hall of Fame candidate will also be announced on Sunday and could be a part of the tapings this week. Of course, having multiple matches which are of high-quality is a must but there needs to be appeal beyond that. This is the time to cash in your chips. Take some risks and play your cards right and you can make at least somewhat of a small wave right now that could potentially lead to something bigger.
Why is "making a wave" so important to TNA? They need to show the world that they can put on a great Pay-Per-View, despite the confines of the Impact Zone. Don't even get me started on how much I begin to loathe the Universal Studios sound stages after several months of programming is shot there. I always try to start out with a good attitude when TNA goes back to Orlando for a long stint. I tell myself it won't be that bad and most of the time they are coming off of the U.K. Tour or a U.S. road PPV that provides a break from the stagnant, constant reminder of budget constraints. It is what it is when it comes to the Impact Zone. The only fans that love it are the few regulars that show up and try their best to act like tools just to get the camera on them. Besides that, not so much. All the other millions of TNA supporters look past it and yearn for a better day in the future, but still remain as patient as possible in the mean time. Bringing back the King of the Mountain match is a smart decision and it's one that people have been vocal about for several years. We will have a majority of the Slammiversary card by late Wednesday night, but I'm hoping that issues like those that surrounded BFG 2014 don't come in to play too much. At least there's not the complication of certain talents not being on the show. Traveling the whole roster to Japan was a challenge. The main trial this time in Orlando is shooting a major PPV out of sequence and going in a wacky chronological order from Thursday to Sunday in accordance of presenting the post-Slammiversary Impacts for several weeks to come. If you read these spoilers this week, your head may spin. If you avoid them there's nothing to worry about as it should make a lot more sense when the final presentations are shown.
ROH is now sitting in your backseat when it comes to TV exposure in the United States. I say backseat because it is clear that TNA has a more solid deal with Destination America when it comes to advertising, promotion and social media. Ring of Honor is taking the Destination America ride with you whether you like it or not. To rational people, that means that it should be a directive for everyone involved to step up their game and, in turn, the fans would win. Will Slammiversary or the LIVE show on Wednesday be the first time in many years that ROH and TNA take that first step to cross-promote with some kind of initial talent exchange? Personally, I hope so because it could help both companies immensely. We have a keen eye on ROH right now at TNAMecca and I think there are a lot of TNA fans that do. I don't perceive ROH as direct competition for TNA necessarily but in some ways they are actually vying for casual viewers that do not want to watch an entire 3 hour block of programming each week. Another potential occurrence is the more dedicated fans tuning in for both shows that normally would not. ROH has never been in a time-slot like this on national TV leading in to another promotion directly afterward. TNA has never had this type of a lead-in from another wrestling promotion either. It is a unique relationship for two companies that have worked together in the past. I believe that ROH and TNA can find some kind of way to work together that would make sense business-wise for everyone. The wrestling industry needs it and the fans deserve it. I wish for egos to be put aside and desire for business to be done here. I'm not alone in this regard.
You hear that sound? It's the sound of the Spoiler-Free Train and it's just pulling in to the station. Don't worry, the train is not in Nashville so there will be no delays involved in getting someone removed from the train tracks that may have gotten nudged off the platform. There are plenty of seats on this locomotive and the ride is free. Go find a seat and order yourself an appetizer and a beverage of your choice. The Spoiler-Free Train is making a long trip and depending on how things shake out, we will be this course for 6-7 weeks. Don't worry though, there's plenty of fuel, snacks and supplies. There will be some great scenic stops along the way. Of course there are faster ways to get to your destination and if you decide to go by plane or by DeLorean to check things out, that's fine. You can meet back up with us on the Spoiler-Free Train and get back on board anytime as long as you don't break the space-time continuum. In that case, Doc may have to go on a rant about a separate paradox being created and the universe being destroyed as we know it. Some of us just prefer to take things nice and easy, like the tortoise. We'll get there and we'll finish the race, but we don't care to jump around all over the place like a hare may do...and this hare can go back in time...through a black hole in the universe...and then reappear behind us in the race...are you confused yet? Again, you won't be if you get on the Spoiler-Free Train available only here at TNAMecca. We're not forcing you to get on the train but there's plenty of company if you choose to do so. All aboard!