- If one were to look for parallels between this year and last, particularly in regards to TNA's television deals with Destination America and Pop, one would find many. I won't bore you with examples but it's uncanny how some aspects have played out. In fact, it's quite eerie. However, one aspect in which there has been no parallels, or very few, is the actual television show. By this time last year, the behind-the-scenes issues had festered so much that they spilled out into the television product, often rendering Impact, as well as last year's Slammiversary, ineffective. TNA's television product, by early June, had acquired the dreaded lame duck label - a label that even diehards couldn't ignore. This year, thankfully, whatever is seemingly happening behind the scenes has not at all affected Impact, and interestingly enough, the television product this year has progressively improved, which is a stark contrast to last year's trends. So it's important, if you're a TNA fan, to keep in mind that although there are many parallels between this year and last, many of them not so positive, the difference between this year's product and last year's couldn't be more stark.
And if you needed anymore proof, simply turn your attention to this year's build for Slammiversary. This year's build for Slammiversary is shaping up to be the best we've seen for a TNA PPV in, I'd say, at least two years. TNA fans have been clamoring for this for quite some time and I'm happy to say that we're finally getting a proper build, one devoid of any shenanigans, for a PPV event. With three episodes of Impact still remaining until Slammiversary, TNA has done a phenomenal job spotlighting the main feuds that will ultimately culminate with highly anticipated matches on June 12th.
- I've always felt that female wrestlers should be respected and properly featured by wrestling companies, and particularly those in the mainstream. That hasn't always been the case but I genuinely feel that TNA, especially because of Dixie Carter, have always at least tried to treat the women fairly as it relates to their status on Impact. I say tried simply because I feel that while they've succeeded in creating and developing the best women's division in pro wrestling, there have been times since 2007 unfortunately where they haven't been so successful. But I think it's important to make that emphasis, that TNA as a company has generally treated its female wrestlers well. For instance, it isn't uncommon for the women in TNA to wrestle in the main event of Impact or to compete in hardcore matches that oftentimes take place inside a steel cage. In fact, just this year, the Knockouts competed in Lethal Lockdown, a match that has historically been reserved for the men. And last year, a few select were given an opportunity to compete in the World Title Series for a chance to earn a world title shot, which is quite unprecedented.
So you see, in regards to the women, TNA's heart has always been in the right place. Where their mind has been, however, is a completely different story. I prefer not to rehash the many, many missteps in recent years but I bring it up because I want to make sure fans truly realize what's happening in the Knockouts Division right now. This is a division that is finally a product indicative of a company and creative team that's making decisions with lots of care and smarts. Whether it continues remains to be seen but I feel that TNA has set us up for some interesting times in the Knockouts Division, at least in the coming weeks and months. And for those of us who were privileged to experience the real women's revolution in 2007, it's a reason to be excited again.
- And lastly, a brief note on the recent WWE releases. If you're a TNA fan, you should be excited about the possibility of one or more of those former Superstars signing with TNA. In fact, I'd say it's a certainty that TNA signs at least one of Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, or Cody Rhodes, and I'll tell you why. Although there are more options for wrestlers now than there were a few years ago, the sheer number of free agents currently makes it almost impossible that TNA won't entice at least one of them to sign with the company. If I were a betting man, I'd bet on two of the three signing with TNA for this simple reason: TNA will offer the most money, they will offer as much creative freedom as necessary, and they will offer the ability to work the indies and internationally while appearing on Impact. Oh, and they will offer the opportunity to stick it to Vince McMahon in a way that signing with ROH, NJPW, or LU wouldn't. In other words, the Drew Galloway plan. Interesting times ahead indeed.