wrestling / Columns

Impact Reboot ‘Live’ Blog and Thoughts

March 10, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

I watched TNA Impact Wrestling Anthem Owl on Pop for the first time in forever on Thursday. I haven’t watched Impact on a consistent basis since the days of Sting. I’ve checked out random segments and matches over the years, and I make it a habit to always read Larry’s reviews because he’s let me live with him for a weekend, but I couldn’t put many names to many faces.

When it comes to the Pop Era, the only thing I really know about is the Broken Hardy’s and Bobby Lashley. I’ve watched all of the Deletion segments and people tell me that Lashley has been awesome.

I tell you this because I decided to watch Impact on Thursday. The full episode. No skipping. I actually sought it out after seeing the reactions to the show. I knew full well that this show was going to be bad based on opinions that I trust, but I wanted to see how bad it was going to be.

Here’s the thing about me. I love reboot episodes in wrestling. I’ve watched the Nitro reboot with Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo more than once on the WWE Network. Monday Night Impact remains on my parents DVR. Reboots always excite me because there is the promise and the hope that they’ll be good. That the company will truly reboot and change things for the better. In truth, they always suck. And nothing actually changes. But the amount of suck in these reboots is something that I enjoy. Maybe I’m a masochist.

This episode of Impact was a special kind of reboot. It was a reboot to the past, which is really a TNA

Below are my thoughts on the show, as I’m watching it.

*The opening video was a nice reminder of how good TNA used to be. The most recent highlight was still ten years old, which tells me that the company hasn’t been good in 10 years. But man, TNA did have some cool moments and matches. I guess that happens when you’ve been in business as long as they have. I like how they say they are going to “Make Impact Great.” Not “Again.” They are just going to make it great. Like it was never good to begin with. If that’s the case, what’s the point of this video? And do you really want to pattern your company after a Donald Trump slogan? This didn’t seem well thought out.

*THE OWL!

*Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards are brawling in the crowd. I’ve heard of these guys. They both look 20-pounds heavier than how I remember them. The crowd is just sitting there. The commentary doesn’t do a great job explaining why they are fighting. One guy was hurt, the other guy had success while he was hurt, so, jealousy? Oh, their wives got involved. So it’s really personal.

*IT’S A NEW ERA, YES IT IS!

*WHO IS THE THIRD HEADSET FOR?!?!?! Josh Matthews just mentioned Smackdown. I heard there were a lot of WWE references on this show. I would count, but it’s 1AM and I was told there would be no math.

*Jeremy Borash comes out and Matthews doesn’t know why. Is he dumb? Pope is laughing. Hey, I remember Pope. Matthews is pissed. The crowd is chanting “Josh is boring.” How do they know? Do they go home and rewatch the show just to listen to the commentary? That seems like a waste of time. Borash shoots on Matthews. WWE did an announcer vs. announcer angle. It wasn’t good. Matthews buries his own audience, which doesn’t seem like a smart idea. They name drop Jim Ross a lot.

*Oh geez, Cody Rhodes is here. He has a title. No clue what title it is. He wants to fight a moose.

*The lights go out. The clock strikes midnight. DCC is here. I don’t know who these people are. Matthews tells me that James Storm is part of this group. Instead of being a cowboy, he’s now Mortis.

*Next up is Reno Scum. Matthews doesn’t know them and neither do I. They are the Future Stars of Wrestling tag team champions. If they were really the future stars of wrestling, they wouldn’t be in this version of TNA.

*Borash and Matthews keep arguing. Pope is trying to call the action. Thank God for Pope. Reno Scum hit their cool looking top rope curb stomp for the win and Matthews calls it a “fluke.” Way to put over the new talent after what looked like a pretty decisive win. Matthews keeps calling it a fluke.

*James Storm left NXT for this?

*Recap of some wedding from two weeks ago. I don’t know who these people are. Oh wait, that’s Maria. The bride got left at the alter and had a breakdown, which I guess is pretty typical based on every “bride gets left at the alter” movie I’ve ever seen.

*McKenzie Mitchell wants to talk to Maria, but someone named Sienna informs her that Maria had a nervous breakdown. She then screams “FAKE NEWS!” So, they’re really going all in with this Trump stuff. Sienna keeps calling her “McKenna” because she’s the female Chris Jericho, I assume.

*X DIVISION! THIS WAS GOOD AT ONE POINT! It’s between Braxton Sutter (with Allie) and three guys already in the ring. Wonder who wins this one. Braxton is the dude who left the girl at the alter to be with Allie. He’s a babyface. I still don’t know who these other guys are. Marshay Rocket, DJ Z, and Caleb Konely. I probably misspelled those names. I don’t care. They should have been given entrances if they wanted me to care. Borash and Matthews keep talking about scoops and stuff. I don’t buy that Rocket couldn’t catch Allie off that dive. Weak ass. Braxton wins. No surprise. The crowd was into it and it was fine. But don’t reboot and then just have guys in the ring with no intro. If you think new people are watching, inform them of everyone.

*The bride shows up, still a wreck. I think her name is Laurel.

*BROKEN HARDYS VS. SMOKIN JOE!!!!!!!

*Borash wishes Mike and Maria the best. “Whatever it is.” Yes, wish her the best in her nervous breakdown. Now it’s Sienna vs. Rachel Ellering. Paul must not have much pull in NXT if his daughter had to go to TNA. Holy shit, Borash and Matthews are still arguing. Pope is trying his best and Borash tries to give background, but Matthews is burying everything. Ellering’s uppercuts look really bad. Sienna won as Matthews screamed about something. HOLY SHIT SHUT UP DUDE!

*Bruce Prichard is here as Matthews buries him. Because he hates everything. Prichard has a podcast. Bruce says Impact used to be great and then murders TNA on live television. He talks about all the great times in WWE. “I was there.” So? I was there for it all too. Bruce introduces Lashley, who brings up Trump and that Wrestlemania match. They really are trying to appeal to the Donald. No one brings up Tiger as a great athlete in 2017. Bruce really in touch with today’s audience.

*IT’S ALBERTO EL PATRON! AND HE GETS NO REACTION! Literally, no one reacted. It would have been sad if it wasn’t so funny. It didn’t even feel like a big deal. His music just hit and he immediately came out. No big build to him stepping foot onto the ramp or anything. It was like he’s been in the company for years and everyone is sick of him. He does get an “Alberto!” chant, which is something. Alberto says like two lines and then EC3, who I guess didn’t support his mom/sister/aunt (I don’t know their relationship, sue me) Dixie in leaving the company, comes out. Man, remember when Chris Jericho debuted in the WWF? He cut off one of the biggest stars in the company, said a couple of lines, and was then interrupted by Jeff Jarrett? Can’t believe TNA copied that. EC3 says “bitch” and Lashley blows him off. He’s then ignored by everyone. LASHLEY VS. EL PATRON IN THE MAIN EVENT! I KNOW THESE GUYS!

*So, they were definitely writing off Ethan Carter 3 in that segment, right? Cause his involvement was pointless and he was made to look really stupid.

*Borash has a scoop about a legend being backstage. McKenzie is backstage with Eddie Edwards. I still don’t know what’s going on. But here’s Angelina Love to defend her husband, Davey Richards. This does appear to be a jealousy storyline between two guys who seem like terrible friends.

*Cody is back out. Still looking to fight a moose. You’re in Orlando, dude. Go to Canada. Cody mentions the GFW Next Gen title, whatever that is. He then calls some security guards short. Cody stages a sit-in. It lasts 10 seconds before he leaves. Hell of a threat there, Cody.

*Dutch Mantell is the legend they were talking about. That’s a loose use of the term “legend.” Dutch tries to teach us history. He says Impact was great eight years ago. So, it was great? Dutch feeds us member berries. “Member AJ Styles? Member Samoa Joe? Member Bobby Roode?” Dutch says all of these guys left due to a lack of leadership, vision, and respect. And pay. Don’t forget about pay. He then says that the paying customers left as well. “How can we make Impact great? Bring the people back.” BUILD A WALL TO KEEP THEM IN! Dutch says he’s going to listen to the audience. If that’s true, Alberto is getting fired tomorrow. He does the “We The People” salute, which means Jack Swagger will be here next week. Dutch is trying to inspire hope by using old commentary and Trumpisms. Yup, that’ll bring the people back.

*HARDYS VS. SMOKIN JOE! This is some cutting room floor footage and it’s easy to see why. There are some teleporting hi-jinx that leads to Decay picking up the tag titles on ground. Just like when Jim Duggan found the TV title in the trash.

*I feel so bad for Pope. And I have a headache.

*It’s time for the main event. Matthews and Borash are still arguing. My headache is really bad right now. I swear things were fine prior to watching this show. This match is fine thus far, but I can’t say that I care. Never been a fan of Alberto. Definitely not a fan in 2017. EC3 stands at the top of the ramp. REF BUMP! Matthews calls him “Del Rio.” They couldn’t edit that out? This match is boring. OH ANOTHER REF BUMP! Alberto hits Lashley with the belt and then covers him. Is he the heel? WHO IS THE FACE AND WHO IS THE HEEL?!?!?!

*Borash says this is an “instant classic.” I guess if Dutch is a legend, that was an instant classic.

*Alberto grabs the mic and starts a weak “Si” chant as there is fake crowd noise and people arguing. Alberto just walks by EC3. He’s doing an invisible man gimmick. That’s a pretty cool idea.

What a show this was. I’m not really sure what the point of the episode was supposed to be. They didn’t make me care about the talent that they already have, and they really didn’t make me care about the new talent. They played into the “former WWE guy shows up and wins the world title” cliche that everyone criticizes them for. They had a bunch of people telling me how great Impact used to be and how it’ll be great again, but they didn’t do anything to make me believe it’s going to be great again. Sorry if I don’t exactly trust old white people in power right now.

Alberto is the new world champion based off cheating and two ref bumps, I guess Decay are the new tag team champions based off finding the belts on the floor, Cody had a title, Reno Scum had some belts, I don’t know who the Knockouts champion is, and I don’t know who the X-Division champion is. I’m not even sure those titles still exist.

And if Borash and Matthews are going to argue like that every single week, there is no way viewers stick around. That was quite honestly the most insufferable commentary I’ve ever listened to. There’s nothing wrong with a face/heel announcing dynamic. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler made it work for many years. There’s something very wrong with two guys just yelling at each other and detracting from everything else in front of you. Those two killed any joy I could have possibly had for this show. If I were to re-watch this episode of Impact, I’d have to do it on mute.

You know why reboots in wrestling never work? Because they tell you that they are rebooting the show. They have to come out and smack you in the face with, “the show wasn’t good, but I’m here to make it better.” How about you just make it better? Don’t tell me it’s going to be different or great. Just make it different and great. Wasting time by bringing up the past is simply a waste of time. Focus on what is in front of you and what you need to achieve.

TNA may be great again, but what exactly does that mean? There is a very “been there, done that” feel Jeff Jarrett. He got the company to a certain level, but couldn’t take them any further. Why is he the right choice in 2017 when he couldn’t get them over the hump in 2007? The same goes for Prichard and Mantell. They are smart guys, but they are set in their ways. It’s 2017. There is so much accessible wrestling that is fresh and different, that you need a new line of thinking.

Maybe we’ll see those efforts come to life in the near future, but nothing I saw tonight would inspire me if I were a TNA fan.

I just wrote 2,000+ words on TNA. The least you can do is say hi on twitter @jeremylambert88

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