2017 Anthem Sports bought TNA Wrestling and rebranded it to IMPACT Wrestling. Following a seven-year absence, the three letters that defined a generation are back.
How did we get here?
Let’s go back to 2013 and 2014, IMPACT or as it was known. TNA had financial issues due to poor business strategies, such as bringing in Hulk Hogan in 2010 and changing the day of their TV show IMPACT Wrestling from Thursdays to Mondays in a failed attempt to compete with WWE’s Monday Night Raw.’
Eric Bischoff, the former executive producer for WCW Monday Nitro, was also brought in, but ultimately, issues within creative and booking caused issues. Within that period, the company had spent $4m on Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, and Rob Van Damn. Plus, the services of Bischoff and Hogan.
It could have been better timing for the company as it was when the company was doing shows in sold-out arenas and putting out a good product during the asylum years. You saw the rise of talents such as Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Alex Shelly, and Chris Sabin.
However, the input from WWE wrestlers who joined the company shifted away from the focus and would lead to big-money contracts. Jeff Jarrett was the founder of IMPACT Wrestling. By this point, he had given it to Dixie Carter, who made many mistakes in her position as an EVP.
The mistakes of Dixie Carter put IMPACT through financial trouble, and it saw many of the stars getting their first big break with the company due to the issues within the company. Presidents coming in and out. TV deals being a mess, 2013 to 2016 was a struggling time for the company, as it was trying to rebuild from the chaos of the early 2010s.
Thus, the focus was on young talent joining the company and looking to make their mark in professional wrestling. With Anthem coming in, the company would no longer be TNA; instead, it went with the name of their TV programme IMPACT.
2017, a buyer was founded, Anthem Sports, who own the Fight Network, which IMPACT aired on in Canada, bought the company and brought it sustainability—no longer the Nashville-based company, now Canadian-based. Don Callis and Scott D’amore, two men with a great history with the company, would be in charge of the day-to-day operations.
The Scott D’amore era
Don Callis would eventually leave the company. Which means Scott D’amore would be the sole president of IMPACT. One of the earlier paragraphs touched on how the focus shifted away from the younger talent and more on the past. When D’amore returned, he and his team ensured that the spotlight would go to the core of the company: the X division, the knockouts division (women’s division).
The chance for new talents to come in and make their way to the main event spotlight, we saw people of the past come back such as Alex Shelly and Chris Sabin but not so much taking the spotlight, to work with the young people that are making their way through.
During the early Asylum years, Kurt Angle had joined the company after departing from WWE and what he did was give talents that the company believed in, knew would be stars, whenever they got put in the ring with Angle their stock would go through even further.
COVID hit in 2020 and everything was in lockdown, Scott D’amore brought in faces of the past and got them to work with people on the present roster, same mistakes were not repeated. Now there were rumblings of a TNA rebrand during that time but the idea never got off the ground.
TNA is synonomous with wrestling fans as when they hear those three symbols they think off AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, the people that made those three letters mean something. IMPACT has a different feel to them, whilst it was wise for the rebrand especially with anthem, to a lot of people it is still TNA.
We’ve talked about Impact’s history and how good of a job Scott D’amore has done in a small tv studio in Nashville, he has brought that feeling back to the programming, the X divison is just insane every time you watch a match there.
There is a renewed and continued effort in the Knockouts division with Scott having Gail Kim and Mickie James two female wrestlers who made that division mean something during those early years.
D’amore hired in people that could capture TNA’s essence, he formed relationships with companies that could bring that vison to IMPACT, Will Ospreay the biggest UK wrestling star has gotten more eyes on the company with his matches and that is thanks to the partnership, IMPACT has with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
“We’re F****** BACK”
A new era kicks off as from January, the company will go back to the name that made it a competitor in the Pro Wrestling business to begin with
The name IMPACT will be used only for their TV programme, the company is going back to it’s roots, the name that put them on the map in the first place and made them the original alternative to the WWE. Total Nonstop Action, TNA is back.
The forgotten company will now enter itself in a battle to be the hottest ticket in town, WWE is thriving, AEW is starting to gain back momentum. What does TNA bring forward? 2024 is going to be a big year for the world of professional wrestling.