21 May 2017

Keep On Keeping On

 
It's safe to say that Impact Wrestling is starting to hit their stride.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that they have reached their full potential and, obviously, the show will never be perfect (and no wrestling program should be held to that standard) but there are more and more signs lately that Impact is vastly improving.  The best example of their recent refinement is the way that the X-Division has received the proper attention that it has long deserved in the past few weeks.  Low-Ki is a pioneer of this style of wrestling and with him leading the way, the consistency in-ring from Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett, the addition of another valuable veteran like Sonjay Dutt and the quality matches that new talents Dezmond Xavier and Matt Sydal have been involved in, this division is finally feeling and looking revitalized and revived. If you were to add in a Zenshi to the current mix of talent, the X-Division would go to yet another level of success that we haven't seen in several years.  Having the X-Division main event Impact twice in a short period of time is very encouraging and it makes me think that Destination X could be a special event this year.  The future is bright for this vital portion of the product, but there must be sustained attention given to the X-Division for it to work long term.  There are also promising developments with new feuds building towards Slammiversary, especially the EC3 vs James Storm program.  The old school brutality that we've witnessed with the belt lashings from a heel Ethan Carter has been a sight for sore eyes.  The tag team division has evolved into a strength again with LAX at the helm.  There are talents which have been misused or miscast that are being placed into more suitable roles.  Things are coming together nicely with the overall product but, again, it must stay consistent.   

In a recent Twitter poll (which you can also vote on in CHAT for those anti-Twitter peeps) conducted here at TNAMecca, the question was raised, "What's your current level of satisfaction with the overall Impact Wrestling product?".  We found that of the approximate 175 voters, 65% believe that the product is favorable right now.  The ratings system used a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest and one being the lowest.  Of that 65% I mentioned, the majority vote was in the 7-8 range at 47%, while 18%  of voters were in the 9-10 range.  So these numbers suggest a rise in the level of enjoyment that fans are having with the overall product, although there is still room for improvement.  It's logical to assume that previous to the new regime taking over earlier this year that conducting that same poll  would have produced a drastically different result.  There was such a negative, black cloud hanging over the company for a good chunk of the latter end of 2016.  Now I'm seeing a lot of fans really engaging and investing themselves in the show again.  Impact has steadily gotten better and better this year, regardless of the roller coaster TV ratings.  Despite the adverse bullshit out there surrounding the company with the Hardy situation and some fans being disgruntled about the GFW talent usage, Impact has had a really successful 2017 so far overall.
 
The upcoming India tapings are fascinating to me.  The logistics alone of getting the roster and other necessary production staff and employees to that side of the world should not be overlooked.  This is a major endeavor that has been in the works with Sony Six for several years.  However, it is concerning that the details surrounding this adventure have been so vague.  There are reports on social media from fans in India that suggest that they have not been aware of how to even attend the shows in Mumbai.  There has been one ambiguous tweet so far from Impact (as of this writing) which gave some general direction on attending these events.  Hopefully Impact management has their bases covered and all will be well when it's said and done.  As these tapings come to fruition next week, please keep in mind that most likely Impact is going to have some segments of the show which will appeal primarily to the Indian audience.  This means Mahabali Shera will have a prominently featured role, and we have discussed this very thing for a couple of years in the comment sections.  We have to accept that this is going to be the case, and as long as he isn't involved in the Impact Heavyweight Title scene, I'm fine with it for these specific shows.  Sonjay Dutt finally capturing the X-Division Title could potentially serve as a special moment.  I also wonder if we will see the artist formerly known as The Great Khali (Dalip Singh Rana) and if he will be involved somehow (ideally not to wrestle mind you). He appeared previously for an Impact promotional tour in India around a year and a half ago, but I have not seen confirmation of his potential participation so far.  In fact, most things surrounding these India tapings are a complete mystery at this point as very little has been reported on at all.  What we do know is that these two days of tapings will provide the final episodes set to air before Slammiversary and that they are the first international tapings in quite some time.  In fact, Impact has not been shot outside of the IZ at all in nearly a year and a half, if memory serves me.  The historical significance of this undertaking is that no American wrestling promotion has ever taped their flagship show in India before.  I imagine that the company will want to make these Impacts feel special and will capitalize on the unique live audience elements, as they did with the Ring Ka King experiment.  These Impact episodes will be very interesting to say the least.          
 
At this point (and without reading spoilers) it's becoming more and more obvious that there will be a unification of the GFW and TNA (Yes, I said TNA because those are the letters on most of the belts right now) championships at Slammiversary.  The merger of the two companies is being presented fairly well so far, and I'm hoping that new Impact branded title belts will be the actual prizes up for grabs at their landmark 15th year celebration Pay-Per-View.  In my opinion, Impact should just keep on keeping on as the overall direction of the company is definitely pointing up.  Post-Slammiverary the GFW angle should be done with for the most part and Impact figures to be hitting on all cylinders.  If things continue to trend this way, the fans and everyone involved with Impact Wrestling will benefit for many years to come.  It feels like the creative team is really starting to figure things out, which everyone knew would take some time.  I've been accused of being too negative in the recent past and you're all entitled to have whatever opinion of me as a columnist that you'd like.  I stand behind what I've written previously and I can assure you that all I have ever done is provide my honest, straightforward opinion.  I want to see Impact Wrestling succeed and prosper, just like all of you do.  Articles are written pieces that report information on people, places or things.  Columns are opinion pieces in which the writer provides his or her viewpoint on the subject at hand.  We're never going to agree on every single thing but I respect and encourage honesty.  There is one particular issue that I have with Impact Wrestling and that is the mishandling of a certain wrestler.  This man has been chronically underutilized and misused in recent months.  For the millionth time, if you want Impact to experience real kavorka, you need to give the ball to the man with the master plan, the one and only:

E

Li

Drake!

 And that's not an insult, that is just a fact of life.  Dummies!  YEAH!!!  

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