Why I’m Going To Watch Slammiversary XV After 4 Years Away From Impact

It’s been 4 years since I last watched Impact Wrestling (Then known as TNA). In fact, it’s nearly 4 years to the day, as the last Impact PPV I can remember watching is Slammiversary from June 2nd 2013, main-evented by Bully Ray facing off against “The Icon” Sting.

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However, I have now decided to go back to the product and watch the upcoming PPV, Slammiversary XV. Now I know, enjoying Impact Wrestling isn’t the most popular opinion in the IWC right now, but having no prior experience of what the product has been/has become over the past 4 years and having no prior expectations of what the show can provide. I feel as though now is the time to go back to the product. Also, I’m not afraid to admit it, but I used to enjoy watching TNA. Sure it wasn;t the best thing on the planet, but neither was WWE, particularly around the 2009/10 era when I first found myself getting into TNA (Even going as far as to go back and watch TNA PPV’s from years gone).

So why have I decided to go back to Impact Wrestling after so long, and why do I think you should too? Well, the bottom line of my thinking comes down to the fact that I think that competition can only be a good thing for WWE. You’d be foolish to deny that WWE is going through somewhat of a slump at the moment, sure they seem to have picked things up again in the last couple of weeks, but the long-term picture of the WWE scene right now is that they only pick up the writing around the time of the Big Four PPVs. A severe lack of competition has led to the WWE becoming complacent when a Big Four PPV isn’t around the corner. To the extent that every PPV which isn’t a Big Four is almost treated as though they are network specials, with often very little effort put into them to make them special.

The issues in WWE spread further than the PPVs though, the TV ratings are suffering and WWE seem more concerned with short term fixes (see giving away a MITB match for free) rather than taking a step back, re-evaluating their product and making the drastic changes that are needed to make them feel fresh again.

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I admit that from what I hear Impact Wrestling is currently not much more than a “WWE-lite”, but that’s why I think it’s so important to come back to the product at this PPV. Having listened to two fantastic interviews conducted by Simon Miller, one with Impact wrestler Moose and one with the main man himself Jeff Jarrett, it seems as though everyone involved with the company are truly treating this as the reset button. It may be the final chance we grant Impact Wrestling to change their product enough to differentiate themselves from the WWE, because God knows they’ve had enough chances to do it already, but I believe that we need to give them that chance.

Coming in at this stage I must admit is partially selfish, as I have only heard bad things about the Borash/Matthews feud and I’m hoping that the feud is one of the things that are tied up and finished with this PPV. Similarly, I’m hoping that Impact takes this chance to end the GFW side of things and move forward as one consistent and singular brand.

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Lastly, I think the card is strong enough to warrant a return to the product. Bobby Lashley vs. Alberto El Patron has the star power and ability to be a strong main event, with the winner being a worthy face of the company going forward into the new branding (I personally want this to be Bobby Lashley). EC3 and James Storm are both fantastic performers from what I have seen (Or heard in regards to EC3), so the strap match between the two should be fun. The Full Metal Mayhem match has the potential to be a show-stealer if done correctly, and then perhaps the match I most excited about, my return to the X-Division a 2 out of 3 falls match between Sonjay Dutt and Low Ki for the X-Division Championship. It’s rare that you see such a strong card on one PPV, particulalry in WWE where you rarely see a card like this, even at one of the Big Four PPVs.

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So does this mean I’m going to start watching Impact Wrestling exclusively? Not at all. Does it even mean that I will carry on watching Impact beyond Slammiversary? Not if they don’t do enough to win me over, no. I’ve simply decided to give the company one final shot in the hopes that they can see a return to form, and even if it’s in the smallest of ways, push the WWE to be better. Wrestling will benefit from a reborn Impact Wrestling, but we as the fans are the only ones who can make that happen.

Fingers crossed Impact take advantage of this PPV.

But that’s just one Mark’s opinion. Let me know what you think by finding me on social media @MitchKAdams

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How To Build An Alternative To WWE?

Going off this week’s very excellent edition of The Squash podcast (27/06/2017) hosted by Ben Spindler and Gavin Duenas, I decided it would be a fun blog to try and tackle the same subject that they expertly handled, if you were given free reign to create an alternative to the wrestling conglomerate that is the WWE, how would you do it?

Some of what I say in this blog will be echoes of what Ben and Gavin covered in their podcast, so I highly recommend giving that a listen first and then coming back here after. However, I feel as though I have some key differences to the way I would build up this alternative to the way they would do it.

For the sake of arguing I’m going to roll with the assumption that this company we’re building from the ground up has the pulling power and production value of around the Impact Wrestling level (Sans financial problems).

So let’s get cracking by taking a look at the general structure of my alternative to WWE.

Part 1

Firstly, I think it’s very important to note that the WWE is for the large part focused upon the “Entertainment” side of pro-wrestling, rather than the faux-sport side. As such, my new company would lean heavily in the other direction, taking the sport aspect in its stride and treating everything with a serious sense of realism. This would feature in a range of aspects of the company, including press conferences before each PPV (Which would be every 2 months) where fighters would build a large amount of the pre-match hype. To compensate for there only being a PPV every 2 months the company would have bi-weekly shows instead of weekly, with the show time clocking in at 2 hours.

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Feuds would be based around the idea of two wrestlers wanting to prove they are the best in the world/working towards a title shot/fighting over a championship. This way when personal feuds do come along (Again, they would be realistic feuds, no fighting over custody of children) they feel all the more important and real blood feuds can be crafted.
Wrestlers would be rotated so that the major stars aren’t appearing every other week, keeping their larger than life aura in tact and preventing acts from getting stale. With perhaps the larger stars who are currently involved in feuds only appearing in sit-down interviews, or promo packages to keep hype and interest going, then re-appearing live on TV at the following show.
Instead of having one style of wrestling on the show, e.g. the WWE Style which results in Cruiserweight matches feeling exactly the same as heavyweight ones, I would instead split the roster up into true weight-classes as is done in MMA and Boxing (From which the vast inspiration of this company shall be drawn). Each weight class would then be given a unique style and feel to it, whilst at the same time allowing the unique aspects of individual wrestlers to shine through in order to help get over their own character/style. Also, I wouldn’t limit the wrestlers to only ever having to fight others from their own weight class. If the story is good enough then someone who has been booked to look like a star in their own weight class can make the jump up or down to challenge a champion from another class if they are able to prove themselves against other members of that new weight class first.

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Finally in terms of structure would be the aesthetic of the product itself. I wouldn’t want to feel anything like WWE, so we can do away with the ramp and large set that WWE have, and instead we would focus on a more intimate setting. For our entrance I want to think of the Madison Square Garden entrance, where wrestlers walk down a tiny pathway, with fans on either side. And it terms of entrance music/presentation I want to copy what the WWE (Ironically) has done with Sonya Deville in NXT. Give wrestlers an entrance that makes them feel like a badass, attire and all. Once you have got them over enough that their entrance alone makes them feel like a badass, then the wrestlers can do all the hard work in the ring to complete your in-ring product.

Part 2

As for personnel and who I would bring in, I would want to avoid any potential “WWE rejects” so as to feel completely isolated from that brand of wrestling. Only bring in stars who were legit top guys in the WWE, should they be released (e.g. Del Rio, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Lashley etc.) but don’t strap a rocket to their back right away. Make it seem like they struggle once they get to your company, that way you can begin to paint the picture to your audience that the competition is tougher here than in the WWE.

Beyond the WWE former stars I would focus entirely on the best workers in the world in terms of in-ring performance. Remember, this promotion wouldn’t be reliant upon promo work, as is the case in boxing a lot of that would be done through video packages and pre-taped interviews (Where you have all the time in the world to get the right take), so the people you bring in can be pushed to the moon so long as they can get their wrestling ability over.

Top Indy-scene stars should be your projects, the guys who you do strap a rocket to and see if they can take off. If you can mould these Indy-stars into world renowned wrestlers, who carry your company on your shoulders, then you’re doing a lot right (Think TNA’s best years where it was being carried by AJ Styles, Kaz, Daniels, Storm, Roode, Abyss and Joe).

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The final piece of the puzzle would be your authority figure. Instead of having a GM or Commissioner, as is the way in WWE, I would have an owner/promoter (Think Dana White in UFC). Someone who can do the talking for wrestlers if needs be, and who can book impartially because they just want to make the company the best it can be without having a personal agenda.

Combine all this together and I think you have a pretty damn solid recipe for an alternative pro-wrestling platform that moves away from the WWE mould.

But that’s just one Mark’s opinion. Let me know what you think on social media by finding me @MitchKAdams.

Why Roman Reigns doesn’t deserve the hate

My first wrestling piece for this new blog and I’m already bracing for the hate. But having being on the side of fans who despise Roman Reigns with a passion, I began to question why it was continuing and I’ve now convinced myself that Roman Reigns is a worthy John Cena Jr.

Why? *Borrows (Steals) catchphrase from Simon Miller* Here’s why!

At the time of me writing this Roman Reigns, the person we all fell in love with during his time in the Shield, is currently received worse by the majority of WWE live crowds (Not to mention on the internet) than the jobber who was sky-rocketed to the top, Jinder Mahal. It was this fact that made me finally turn a corner and begin to question exactly why we were all booing the Samoan Cena.

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When Reigns debuted in the Shield, as the bunch of Indy-loving, heel supporters that we are, we immediately took the group to heart (Reigns included, despite his lack of Indy scene experience). For the entire run of the Shield, all 3 members were massively over with the crowd. Whether they were being booed as heels, or cheered as faces, they were over in a good way. Then Seth broke off on his own and everything started to go downhill for Reigns.

I have no doubt that the ludicrous scripts the WWE gave him whilst pushing him to the moon did him no favours, but we know that Reigns is better than that and we never pin bad scripts on other wrestlers, we pin the blame where it belongs, creative. Furthermore, whilst Reigns was delivering  ridiculous promos, we were calling for Reigns to be turned into his badass version, for him to come out, say little and just kick ass. So what did WWE do? They did exactly that. But the heat never stopped coming, no one stopped to say “Hey, they actually did what we asked, why are still booing him?”. What’s more important than that MASSIVE fact though, is the fact that Reigns is always putting on great matches. Yes, it takes two to tango as they say, but Reigns has shown he can have a great match with nearly anyone and as of right now his programs have by and large been the best things about Raw for quite some time. So why was Roman proving the exception to the rule?

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The answer is pretty simple, he was being pushed at the wrong time. He was being pushed at the time when Daniel Bryan was hitting fever pitch levels of support.

Had Roman Reigns been pushed the following year, had he been allowed to step aside for 12 months to give Daniel Bryan his Rumble win and subsequent win at Mania then I truly believe that by now Reigns would be the solidified top-guy in the company (Because as much as we would have wanted Bryan to maintain that run, no one would place the blame on Reigns for what happened to Bryan’s health).

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So just take a step back the next time you’re about to boo Roman Reigns. He may not have spent 6 years travelling the Indy scene before arriving in the WWE, but he paid more dues during his time in the Shield than many other wrestlers have paid before hitting the top (Looking at you Jinder).

But that’s just one Mark’s opinion. Let me know what you think via social media @MitchKAdams and be sure to stick around as I write up the many blog ideas I have backlogged.