Disclaimer: Last year I came back ever so briefly and I don't want to elaborate why it didn't stick as a writer but this return is more of the permanent kind. Now due to being an adult I will never be able to go back to how it was years ago but I will try and do at least 2 of these a months. The style will still be the same with the disclaimer discussing what I will write about in the blog and then doing so. This time around I will be discussing the new additions to the Impact Roster both old and new and thoughts on the new regime's handling of Impact on and off camera so far.
Goodbye Old Friends
Let's get the negative out of the way: Losing The Hardys, Reby Hardy, Senior Benjamin, Vanguard 2 (Vanguard 1 gave his life for the Hardys last year, he was such a hero.), Mike Bennett, Maria, Jade and Drew Galloway in the span of 3 days was a real kick in the cajones in the days leading up to the Anthem/Jarrett led Impact Wrestling debut and really sucked. I get that business is business but even if you couldn't bring any of them back long term, it would've been really nice to get them to do the March tapings just so we can see these characters off properly. As it stood, the only one who got a half way decent send off was "Wronged Man" Drew Galloway who left TNA after being wronged by the TNA judges in his Grand Championship match with Moose. The Hardys fiasco (more on that later) just sucked because no one got the rub from beating the "best team in all of space and time" to become the best tag team in TNA, they just sort of disappeared and while Impact is doing an admirable job to rebuild the division without the Hardys it still sucked. Maria and Mike Bennett left before Allie could go all Cherry Bomb on Maria's wonderful ass and give her a righteous ass kicking right out of TNA (the wedding didn't really do that). Bennett walking out of TNA stumbling around as a crazy drunk following his angry beat up wife Maria would've been totally worth it.
Hopefully with one of Galloway's best friends on planet Earth in Impact wrestling (Alberto El Patron), Impact will be able to coax him back. Same goes for Jade with her significant other Eddie Kingston still in Impact Wrestling. As for The Hardys, I think that horse has left the barn as Jim Cornette likes to say.
Hello New People (No Spoilers)
With the gaping whole left on the roster following the mass exodus at the end of February, Impact quickly went into action and brought a whole shitload of new people into the fold with more still to go. Lets start with the top and that is a guy who I don't think very much of and its:
Alberto El Patron: With No Drew and No Broken Hardys, Impact needed some sort of name and the only ones out there was Bully Ray and El Patron. Of those two guys, Patron was clearly the right guy what with Impact officials clearly targeting the Latino demographic with Konnan back in the fold he was the only choice really. I was told how great El Patron was in his "go fuck yourself WWE Universe" phase on the indies in 2014 and 2015 and hopefully he lives up to that kind of hype in the upcoming months for Impact. Upon his debut, he was immediately thrust to the top of the card (and that's okay) and booked to have long matches with Impact's two top talents in Lashley and EC3. So far so good. While he hasn't been super duper great in the ring and on the mic, he has been good so far.
LAX Part 2- We got LAX back with Konnan as a mouthpiece (Yay), Homicide back 20 lbs lighter looking like he has been living it up in the year 2006 with Bram (Double Yay) and No Hernandez in sight (Insert a few cuss words before the word Yay in caplocks and with multiple exclamation points. See I really really loathe Hernandez, the useless slug that he is). Throw in a talented tag team and one bad ass chick (That beatdown on Rosemary was brutal man) and they are a wonderful addition to the roster. I'd imagine they would've broken the Hardys out of Impact if the Hardys stuck around to work this taping. Hopefully they wind up with the tag belts in two weeks.
Reno Scum- They certainly live up to their name don't they??? Again as you know I am more of a character/promo guy then wrestling guy so I dig these two guys already. They know their gimmick and they matched their look to their name and gimmick to a tee which really is missing from wrestling today.
Hector Garza Jr. and The Laredo Kid- They seem like perfectly cromulent wrestlers that will add some depth to the tag team division and X-division. I don't have much else to say about them unfortunately at this time.
Bruce Pritchard and Dutch Mantell- I'm lumping them together cause good god was their self righteous bullshit promos on the March 9th Impact both nauseating and face palm worthy. I honestly don't understand how they let those promos be cut let alone see the light of day on TV. Pritchard and/or Mantell acting as the Impact Wrestling booking committee spokesperson showing up for short cameos to announce matches, I can live with but they should never get full segment promos ever again.
Random Thoughts on the Anthem/Jarrett Led Impact Wrestling So Far:
The First Show was a Misfire- I mean it wasn't a total dumpster fire that others claimed it was but it wasn't good. Overly obsessed with telling us that the prior few years of TNA sucked ass, that the new regime will rescue Impact from the doldrums, Saying the WWE a lot, Josh and JB having a bitchfest on commentary and a dusty finish for the world title is a repeat of yesteryear and not anything new.
Impact Wrestling Has an Intro Again- Huzzah for that. I don't even remember the last time TNA had an intro video package for their shows let alone one this good. Even a little thing like that helps the show a whole lot.
The Broken Hardys vs. Anthem Feud- Only TNA can do something fiscally responsible and not let other wrestling feds make money off their intellectual property and be universally panned for doing so. The Broken Hardys got to use their gimmick at indy shows because TNA let them do so. Once the Broken Hardys leave TNA, they still need to be allowed to use gimmicks that were created in TNA which they don't have. Simple as that. The fact people are acting like TNA are criminals for this is a joke. The fact people mocked TNA for not doing stuff like this before and now mock TNA for holding their ground on something like this is another joke.
Wrestlers Aren't Being Killed At The Tapings- At the January tapings, it seemed like Lashley was wrestling 2 matches a night for 6 or 7 straight days. If Lashley wasn't black, I'd imagine you'd be able to see him black and blue all over like we saw EC3 and Bennett post the tapings. At these tapings, I don't believe anyone had to work two matches in one night which had to be nice for the guys and gals in the locker room.
Jarrett's Rotating The Main Event Slot Booking Is Alive and Well- TNA used to always have matches as it pertained to the world title or the Hardys main event Impact. If Jarrett isn't booking, EC3 vs. El Patron main events this show not that there is anything wrong with that of course. However if they did, the amazing LAX return gets lost in the middle of the show. Instead it closed the show and made the new age LAX a bigger deal square away which elevates 5 members of the roster which is assuredly a good thing.
The YouTube Video View Jumps is Crazy- The El Patron videos from last week did 1 million views in a week each, the LAX return is sitting at more then 250K in the first 24 hours and the overall viewership of the other Impact videos were up a good percentage from where they were prior. I mean there were times last year that the videos of the main event matches on Impact were barely doing 100K in a week.
There is still a lot more to come and the early returns on the new regime is a mixed bag for sure but its early. The entire point of these tapings was to introduce new characters and get them acclimated in the Impact Galaxy. The good thing is the additions have potential and the even better news is that there are more people still to come. Lets hope the kinks have been worked out by the end of the March tapings and the April tapings is smooth sailing for the Anthem/Jarrett led Impact Wrestling.
P.S.: Please come back to Impact Wrestling Jade and Drew Galloway, we miss you.