There's a roller coaster ride at Universal Studios Orlando named "Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit". This particular coaster has some scarily fast inclines and declines as you tear along the track with music blasting in your ears. One second your stomach is rapidly sinking as you climb up and up and the next second you feel as if you'll literally fly out of your seat as the ride plummets down with amazing gravitational force. I've been on this roller coaster myself some years ago and the ironic thing, as I relate this theme park ride experience to the recent events in TNA, is that its track weaves through the same set of buildings that make up the sound stages where Impact has been taped for years. While you wait in line for entry to the Impact Zone, you can hear the screams and yelling from patrons over and over as they experience the thrilling, adrenaline-inducing excursion. These extreme ups and downs do apply to how things have transpired for Impact Wrestling lately, albeit some items have been totally out of their direct control. Slammiversary was very successful as they delivered an above average Pay-Per-View that was well received by fans and critics alike. They accomplished this in the midst of the worst mass shooting in modern day U.S. history that happened in Orlando earlier that same morning. It was inspiring to see such great reactions from the IZ crowd as the wrestlers provided much needed escapism to a city that had just experienced a devastating tragedy mere hours before. TNA was riding very high by the end of that Sunday night despite daunting circumstances. Then, just 2 days later, PopTV absolutely shit the bed with the Impact LIVE broadcast as the show did not air at its scheduled time due to technical difficulties. All of the fantastic mojo that the fans and everyone involved in the company were riding high on slowly trickled out the window in a slithering cloud of smoke.
I used to think that TNA has simply been the victim of bad luck on several occasions and that there was nothing really to it besides coincidences and various extenuating circumstances. After PopTV was not able to broadcast the post-Slammiversary edition of Impact on June 14th for nearly 2 hours, I'm becoming more and more convinced that TNA simply cannot catch a break, no matter what they do. It's like the Fates are laughing in their faces and taunting them relentlessly. It has to test the fortitude of TNA employees at times. I know it's extremely discouraging for the fans. We defend this company constantly but it gets to a point where there are no more excuses and the failures become indefensible. I could write a whole novel about all of the issues that TNA has had with their U.S. television partners in recent years. We finally were starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with PopTV as they have been visibly supportive in their working relationship with Impact Wrestling, even to the point where Bradley Schwartz has admirably done interviews with pro wrestling news sites in order to set the record straight. Then this network goes and drops the ball in a worse way than Fox Sports, Spike TV and Destination America ever did before, and that's truly saying something. Despite the depressing events of that night where fans were forced to watch an unbearable loop of commercials, most of us stayed intensely patient and our community here at TNAMecca made the best of it. A few of us who were streaming the Fight Network version of the show were actually viewing the entire broadcast while those attempting to watch on U.S. TV were in agony. It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances. TNA and their fans should never have to go through something like that ever again. It was embarrassing and deflating.
Even with all of that, the wrestlers are still delivering a quality product as per usual. Has Impact been perfect? No. The Matt Hardy stuff has started to become somewhat divisive as some fans love it and some fans loathe it. The Mike Bennett X-Division Title victory (combined with a flash in the pan title reign for Eddie Edwards) has also poured some salt in the wound for a lot of us that desire for the division to return to glory or at least regain some semblance of days past. Also, one of the main storylines seems to be gravitating towards a worn out power struggle type of direction with Dixie and William (you know, Billy) Corgan. If I think about it hard enough, I can almost begin to hear a collective sigh from most of TNA fans as we contemplate the idea of segment after segment with Dixie Carter and William Corgan fighting for control of the company. I really hope that this is not where things are going to end up because it comes across as regurgitated and very "been there, done that". The only explanation for this overdone type of angle would be if they are trying to capitalize on the popular (yet misconceived, mind you) idea that Dixie Carter is ruining TNA and that she will spell the demise and eventual end of this wrestling promotion. If they are really catering to these trolls and smarks in that manner by making all of their pathetic and twisted dreams come to life on screen, I have to take issue with the writing team. This seems totally unnecessary and comes across as a desperate attempt to draw in a few more viewers while playing on the fears of its loyal fan base. I don't like it and frankly, they need to call an audible if this is the current plan.
Most of the time, we here at TNAMecca try to have a glass half full approach when it comes to TNA and their future. We can see the potential for a much improved wrestling promotion a year from now and several years from now. They will turn a corner at some point, I'm fairly confident about that. So the question is, when will TNA burst through their glass ceiling? There will be a point where we'll look back on these challenging years that we have patiently sat through and be glad those times are over. In that improved future point, the company should be in a much better position financially and the issues that plague them currently should hopefully be a distant memory. Will the torch continue to be held by EC3 and should he be the focal point to build around? Will there be some former WWE talents like Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett or Damien Sandow that will help TNA regain some viewers that turned away some time ago? How many years will it take for TNA to begin taping any Impact episodes in the U.S. outside of the Impact Zone? There has to be some give at some point. I understand the need for them to play things conservatively right now as far as finances go in order to keep the ship afloat, but you can only maintain this same blasé approach for so long. They have some amazing young talent but they can only do so much to move the meter. Let's hope that Destination X, the next LIVE show on PopTV on July 12th, really delivers in order to help erase from our minds the previous disaster that materialized on June 14th. I never want to feel like this roller coaster ride is going to derail ever again.