What...A...Year! 2020 is almost over and the amount of insane stuff that's happened in almost the last 12 months is enough to make the previous year's look tame by comparison.
From the outbreak of Coronavirus which has affected and killed millions across the globe to the increasing numbers of police brutality in America thanks to cases like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd to tragic deaths of legendary names like Kobe Bryant have made this year into one of the worse in recent history.
Despite all of that, Impact Wrestling has managed to succeed and even thrived during a period of madness both in the real world and in the wrestling world.
With all of that said, here are the ten best things about Impact Wrestling in 2020...as side note I wouldn't be mentioning the best moments of 2020 as I've already made a list discussing that topic.
Coronavirus Postpone Future Events
Tessa Blanchard Allegations
Impact getting Banned on Twitch due to a racy RVD segment
Hard To Kill's Multiple Issues (Traveling, Wrestlers and Backstage Employees getting sick from Salmonella, Numerous injuries before or after the event)
Brian Cage and Tessa Blanchard's Anticlimactic End with Impact Wrestling
The Allegations Involving Dave Crist, Joey Ryan and Michael Elgin
Technical Difficulties on Twitch and the Impact Plus App
The Passing of Barry Scott and Bob Ryder
The End of Jimmy Rave's Wrestling Career
Kylie Rae Retires From Pro Wrestling
The Positive Reception of Bash at the Brewery 2
The Return of monthly Pay Per Views
Madison Rayne and Matt Striker doing Commentator
Wrestlers Re-Signing Multi Deals with Impact
Various Championship Wins on PPV and T.V.
Producing and Advertising New Merchandise
Improving Xplosion and the Impact Plus App
The First Ever Impact Week on AXS TV
The Announcement Of The Knockouts Tag Team Titles Returning
10. Creating and Obtaining New Wrestling Content
A year ago, the new regime of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore announced via a quick commercial at the Rebellion pay per view that the GWN app would be replaced with the Impact Plus App thereby severing the last vestiges of the Global Force Wrestling era.
The new app gave subscribers the same offerings as the previous app with things like pay per views, weekly episodes of Impact and stuff like that but, one of many things that fans were asking for was more content on the app and considering that this would be a period of time when many of us would be stuck at home, the fans needed some new stuff on the app.
Thankfully the higher-ups in Impact managed to make this happen in the first few months of the year; For starters the company started to treat their special events like Bash at the Brewery and Sacrifice as the "B-pay per views" and resurrect old TNA themed shows, which meant that some of the outcomes at these shows would affect the storytelling narrative of the main weekly episodes of Impact.
In addition to this, Impact managed to work out a deal with Impact wrestler, Ethan Page to get his content for his Canadian based promotion, Alpha-1 on the Impact Plus app as well as new stuff like Sami Callihan's documentary show, 'Sami and Friends' as well as the return of Gut Check which not only led to a new wrestler getting signed to Impact but it also managed to make John E. Bravo look and act more serious than he would be portrayed on Impact when hanging around Taya Valkyrie.
9. The Hype and Momentum Leading Into Slammiversary
Towards the end of an episode of Impact on June 9th 2020, a clip showing a news update regarding the futures of previously fired WWE superstars were mentioned before it's revealed that this whole thing was the first hype video for the up-and-coming Slammiversary event which would take place on July 18th.
For the next couple of weeks the company would tease the fans, critics and journalist like with promises of things like a former world champion will be at the event, former WWE stars debuting or returning at the event and even hints to things like Super Eric, and even a rebooted version of Team Canada or Ace and Eights.
This was a major talking point in wrestling during the summertime as everyone wanted to see what Impact Wrestling had up their sleeves; And despite the affects of the Speaking Out Movement leading to a few stars getting fired and the dismissal of a now ex-Impact wrestler and champion, the anticipation for this event didn't wavier at all.
If you want more details about the returns at Slammiversary as well as some interesting facts regarding the show itself, be sure to check out my articles on the "10 Interesting Facts About Slammiversary 2020" and the "Top 10 Impact Wrestling Moments In 2020".
10 Interesting Facts About Slammiversary 2020:
Top 10 Impact Wrestling Moments In 2020:
8. Moose: TNA World Champion
2019 was a good year for Moose what with his heel turn in 2018 leading into a feud with friend turn enemy Eddie Edwards, challenging Ken Shamrock to a match at Bound For Glory not mention he did this while wearing the most expensive and eye catching outfits you will ever see on an almost weekly basis on Impact television.
But It was 2020 when Moose finally became a world champion...well sort of
Back in April, Michael Elgin (who would of been challenging for the world championship except the champ was in Mexico) was inside the ring when he got interrupted by Moose, who revealed that he had the TNA World Heavyweight Championship around his waist and began proclaiming himself as "The Real World Champion", this plus the inclusion of a returning Hernandez led the way for a triple threat match which saw Moose victorious and showing off "his championship".
According to reports, Moose was suppose to win the TNA Title in a King Of The Mountain Match at the TNA: There's No Place Like Home event but the pandemic drastically changed those plans and instead Moose would come out on Night Two of Rebellion and claim he was the TNA Champion. In the months that followed Moose defended the belt against names like Crazzy Steve, Suicide, Trey Miguel, Hernandez and even Tommy Dreamer at Slammiversary...and then he ran into EC3.
Ethan Carter The Third aka EC3 reappeared in Impact after a disastrous second run in the WWE and set his sights on Moose and more specifically the TNA World Title; Moose and EC3 would continuously play mind games with one another on Impact and in videos on Twitter until EC3 revealed his motives for his actions: Being that he needs to destroy his past (the TNA Title) in order to control his narrative.
On the October 6 edition of Impact, EC3 promised a funeral for the TNA World Title which resulted in him...dropping the belt over a bridge in the lamest and most anticlimactic way possible, the following week both EC3 and Moose would fight on that same bridge which saw Moose retrieve "his title" back and leaving EC3 a bloody mess.
Both EC3 and Moose would face each again at Bound For Glory with Moose once again coming out on top
While Moose continues to be in possession of the TNA World Championship, his intents nowadays seems to focus on another world title in Impact Wrestling.
7. International TV Deals
When you're a wrestling promotion looking to make sure your product is being watched by thousands if not millions of people, having multiple television deals both in and outside of the United States is very important and in regards to 2020 Impact had certainly done well for itself when it comes to expanding their international reach.
In the early part of the year, news was broken that Impact would be expanding and renewing their broadcasting deals respectively in areas like India and Mexico, who are no stranger to Impact as the company have produced some of their weekly content in both areas and have used some the countries local or well known talents for many of their tapings.
In early October, it was announced that Impact have partnered with RUTUBE.List, which is one of Russia's largest digital platforms and then a day or so later news comes out that the promotion have partnered with Premier Sports, a major sports channels who air their content both in Ireland and the United Kingdom across multiple channels further increasing Impact's presence around the world.
Coupled with Impact's partner company, Anthem Sports and Entertainment airing Impact Wrestling among other content in places like the Middle East, North Africa and Canada, Impact Wrestling's global popularity almost rivals that of the WWE.
When people can start traveling internationally again and attend wrestling events, it's going to be interesting how much demand there will be for Impact to bring their weekly program to their town.
Expanding TV Deals In India:
Renewing TV Deal With Mexico:
Impact Wrestling Airs Content On RUTUBE.List:
Impact Partners With Premier Sports:
6. Rich Swann: The Comeback Wrestler
The year 2020 has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions, heartache and disappointment and for Rich Swann that's probably one way to describe it.
In early 2020 for the impending "Hard To Kill" event, Rich Swann and partner Willie Mack were set to take on Ethan Page and Josh Alexander of The North for the tag team titles when he suffered an injury to one of his legs during a match at Bash at The Brewery 2 which not only took him out of the tag team match for Hard To Kill but it also took him out of action for months.
While the tag team match would go on as a handicap match with Willie Mack putting on a tremendous solo performance (but not winning the gold), Swann would reappear in a few backstage segments until Slammiversary 2020 when Swann revealed that he was cleared and ready to go in the ring until his previously injured leg was violently attacked by a returning Eric Young who was eliminated from the world title match at Slammiversary by Swann via pinfall.
On the August 4th 2020 episode of Impact, Swann would make announcement where he told the world that would have to retire due to his leg getting re-injured and in the segment you can see the emotion in Swann's voice and face as says that he says that he has to retire and think about what's best for his family.
The locker room clear out and come to the ring to support Swann is his "goodbye" from Impact and pro wrestling until Eric Young emerged from out of nowhere and attacked Rich Swann's leg again but this time with one of Swann's one crutches.
Rich would make a recovery almost a month or so later and soon he would be announced to challenge Eric Young for the world heavyweight championship in the main event of Bound For Glory and in one of the best feel good moments of the year, Swann defied all expectations and became the new Impact Wrestling World Champion.
5. David Sahadi
There are a lot of people who worked important backstage jobs for Impact Wrestling over the years (like recently departed Barry Scott and Bob Ryder), with many of them not being well known to many causal fans. But perhaps one of the most respected names working behind the scenes in Impact today is none other then David Sahadi.
A giant when it comes to his work as a multimedia producer, David Sahadi has been involved in the wrestling business longer before many of us were born; After being released by the WWE in 2004, he joined up with TNA (now Impact) where he took a backstage role working with the production team which has led to some of most amazing video packages outside of the WWE.
When Impact got rid of him 2016 due to budget cuts he managed to find work in MLW before it was announced in late 2019 that Sahadi would be returning to Impact and he even threw some shade at All Elite Wrestling on Twitter when he sent out a tweet saying "In 2020, @IMPACTWRESTLING is going to give wrestling fans something they've long desired and something AEW promised but never delivered: CHANGE!"
Since the first set of tapings in 2020, the product value for Impact Wrestling has greatly increased but perhaps the greatest challenge for the Sahadi and the production team came in late June of 2020 when numerous changes had to be made to previously taped episodes of Impact that hadn't aired yet due to things like the #Speaking Out Movement, needless to say the show's were well edited and considering the amount of time and effort put into making the show look that good, Don and Scott better make sure that the people in the production truck get paid with a very nice Christmas bonus.
4. The Return Of The World Class Maniac
WWE is notorious for signing up wrestlers and basically doing nothing of real importance with them only to be release a few years later and prove that they can be bigger stars elsewhere then in the WWE, such is the case with Eric Young.
After leaving TNA in 2016 to sign with the WWE, the possibilities on what he could do in the company were almost limitless but poor booking or a lack of booking saw EY spend the next four years doing nothing much aside from getting attacked by Seth Rollins with a steel chair, chasing after the 24/7 title and even his faction "Sanity" was mishandled once the came to the main roster.
After being released by the WWE as a cost cutting measure during "Black Wednesday" the future of Eric Young was unclear as many company's weren't running shows due to the pandemic but at Slammiversary 2020, it was clear to everyone where he would appear next; EY (back under his World Class Maniac persona) was revealed to be the former world champion that the company advertised for the world title main event and even though he didn't win, he made one hell of a statement by savagely attacking the leg of Rich Swann (the same leg that got injured earlier in the year and took Swann out of action).
Following this, Eric would trash the WWE for their failures and continued to cause anarchy in Impact by re-injuring Swann's leg after Rich announced his retirement from wrestling and he even won the world championship off of Eddie Edwards on the September 1st edition of Impact and he did all of this in less than a month after returning.
It's been revealed that EY has signed a two year deal with Impact so it's safe to say the madness and incredible matches we've come to know from the World Class Maniac isn't over yet.
3. The Growth Of The Knockouts Division
The Knockouts Division is one of the best women's divisions in North America pro wrestling so it's only natural that the division would continue to grow in size and even accomplish some major feats.
In the early part of this year, you had Taya Valkyrie becoming the longest reigning Knockouts Champion for a total of 377 days and Tessa Blanchard becoming the first female to ever become a world champion for a major pro wrestling company at the Hard To Kill PPV not only that but by summer a few stars like Su Yung (and Susie) re-signed with Impact and many more returned and debuted in the company (more on that point in the next entry).
Names like Jordynne Grace became the Knockouts Champion whilst defeating names like Lacey Ryan and Miranda Alize, Madison Rayne moved to the commentary table and brought her quick wit to every episode and she even got her own talk show segment "Locker Room Talk".
Speaking of segments, 'Wrestle House allowed names like Rosemary and Taya to develop more on the ever going storyline involving themselves and John E Bravo but it also helped in developing Alisha Edwards' confidence when delivering lines and sharpened her skills on the microphone.
The division increased rapidly, so much so that the company finally pulled the metaphorical trigger when they announce at Bound For Glory that the Knockouts Tag Team Titles would being returning with a new set of champions being crowned at Hard To Kill on January 16th.
Overall the Knockouts Division feels and looks stronger than it's ever been in years and with the women's divisions in promotions like AEW, NXT and elsewhere trying to sign and develop new stars it's good to see Impact doing the same.
2. The Era Of Free Agents
If signing free agent wrestlers were Impact Wrestling's business in 2020 then it's safe to say that business is pretty darn good as they've had the most amount of free agent wrestlers appear on a wrestling program next to All Elite Wrestling.
In the Pre-Coronavirus period of 2020, names like Chris Bey and Kylie Rae were signed to long term and exclusive deals with Impact Wrestling and that by itself was a great thing for the company, however once the pandemic started and numerous wrestlers were released it became open season and close to or more than a dozen wrestlers who were let go or never signed to a major promotion got scooped up by Impact.
Names like Deonna Purrazzo, Brian Myers, Eric Young, Crazzy Steve, Heath, The Good Brothers, Neveah, Kimber Lee, Tasha Steelz, EC3 and more have all managed to appear on Impact television thereby keeping their names fresh within wrestling headlines with many of them signed with the company ensuring that their work will continue long into the years to come.
While the possibility for more wrestlers to sign with Impact is still out there, it's great to know that Impact's roster has greatly expanded and from the looks of it doesn't appear to be ending any time soon.
1. Consistency and Company Stability
While the real world has been rife with issues not named Coronavirus and the wrestling world having it's fair share of holy you know what moments and headlines this year, it's surprising to realize that Impact Wrestling have been the most consistence and stable out of any other promotions operating during this time.
Sure things like Tessa's disappointing exit from Impact, plans and storylines being scrapped due to the pandemic and the shocking stories about those implicated in the speaking out movement weren't the best especially for Impact's PR but in all honest this didn't really hinder or slow down the company too much as they continued with their day-to-day operations and storyline progression without any issue, plus they've been able to not only keep their wrestlers paid and working but, also safe during the pandemic.
Impact has also manage to remain stable this year as the management team of Scott and Don and Anthem Sports has continued to keep the company afloat during the most turbulent time in the world's modern history while producing some of the best and most consistence wrestling on a weekly basis.
Proof if proof be needed that even during a goddamn global pandemic, Impact Wrestling can still operate and make some of the best wrestling in the world and that by itself is why this is the best thing about Impact Wrestling in 2020.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to follow me on Twitter @hakeemfullerton and for more wrestling related content, be sure to follow, Wrestling New World on Twitter @wnwnews.