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TNA’s/Pop TV Relationship Shows Promise But Company Still Has Work To Do

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett


On January 5th, TNA began another new chapter in the company’s history by debuting on their new television home of Pop TV. The first show featured the finale of their World Title Series and the introduction of one the hottest wrestling free agents in recent memory in Mike Bennett. Instead of looking at the first show, which one of their best in recent history, I waited to watch Week 2 and see if the company would take the foot off the pedal after their great show a week prior.

What I have compiled is a list of pros and cons about Impact Wrestling. Some things I have enjoyed about the shows, other things I still believe is an issue that could be fixed. I will get into this a little later on but since TNA films so many shows in advance, many of you may already know the direction of the storylines. Rest assured this article will feature no spoilers so don’t worry about finding anything out for future shows. Let’s begin with the biggest improvement I have seen in the first two weeks.


Pro: Better Production Value


In July, TNA partnered with AO1 Productions in a way to improve their broadcast production on television as well as at their live events. It seems that the relationship is beginning to show dividends as the first two Impact Wrestling shows have been better lit and the camera, while shaky at times, is a lot better than last year. The other big difference is the set for the Impact stage. They went away from the old WCW Thunder stage and went to a big titantron-like entrance which is way better than before. The more television they have, I think we will only see the production values get better.


Con: They Are Still Taping Way Too Much In Advance


One of the major issues that TNA has to contend with is the fact that they tape shows about three to four weeks in advance. That means that in a given weekend, fans can know exactly what will happen in the coming weeks of Impact without even watching the show consistently. When Monday Night Raw was taped, no one really knew what happened unless you were there in attendance or unless Eric Bischoff told you on Monday Nitro. I know TNA is trying to save money by doing this but at some point, you have to tape two shows at a time and leave it to two shows. You are giving results without holding the viewer responsible to watch the show.


Pro: They Bring In Mike Bennett And Re-Sign James Storm


Storm was a bit of a surprise. He has been on NXT over the last couple of months and reports had Storm signing a deal with the WWE. According to reports after the first Impact, WWE offered Storm less than six figures to sign for on year while TNA countered with a multi-year deal that doubled and a half the WWE’s offer. Of course he took that deal and I don’t blame him. With Bobby Roode just floundering with a pointless title, the reunion of Beer Money, who are one of the best tag teams in the last ten years, may be what TNA needs to bring some new energy into the company.

The signing of Bennett, a former Ring of Honor and IWGP Tag Team champion, is something that TNA needed to do. You bring in a 30-year old pro who has 13 years of experience to come into the company and automatically become the biggest heel in the company. Add in that former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis is his wife and has become the best manager/valet since Sunny in the 90’s and you have a cornerstone, blue-chip talent that TNA can build with. Can you imagine when Bennett and EC3 lock up? You have two guys that could lead the company for years


Con: The Farewell Tour of Kurt Angle


I love Kurt Angle. His career has been spectacular and when the time comes, he is a Hall of Famer in both amateur and professional wrestling. He helped TNA become a name in the wrestling industry when he jumped to the company from the WWE and has continued being a veteran voice in a locker room where they are not many veterans remaining. However the long goodbye that Angle and TNA are beginning just seems pointless.

It’s common knowledge that Angle will be leaving TNA when their European tour is over later this month. Until then it seems that Angle will defeat everyone who is lining up to wrestle him in his farewell matches which accomplishes what? What happened to the old saying about a wrestler putting guys over when they leave or retire? It would almost be better if Angle didn’t wrestle again until a younger wrestler (like Bennett) challenged him during the European Tour and the match that would ensue could be a “Loser Leaves TNA” match where Angle leaves. Angle winning matches in his final month just weakens the roster when he finally departs.


Pro: Pop TV Is Way Better Than Destination America    


I have written in the past about how Destination America did not put their best foot forward when dealing with TNA and Impact Wrestling. Well the national nightmare is over and TNA has found a new home away from live exorcisms and dumb ghost hunts. Pop TV has more coverage than Destination America and has CBS and Lionsgate backing the network, which opens up crossover opportunities for the TNA talent similar to how the WWE and the USA Network does business.

While Pop TV’s president mentioned the 1.3 million viewers TNA received on average a few years ago, that number should not be looked at to compare at all. The first two weeks of Impact Wrestling in ratings looks like this:


January 5th- 255,000 viewers

January 12th- 288,000 viewers


A 13% increase from last week’s show. It does help that TNA has started some good storylines and had some great shows. However it shows that the company has a good energy about it and it seems that they want this network to work and for the company to continue. Pop TV seems like a good partner and one that is willing to wait for the company to regain the footing that they have to be on in order to become a viable alternative to the WWE. Here’s hoping that they are given the time they need to be successful for everyone who works in the company and the fans who want another option.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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