The debut of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in late 2009 was seen in hindsight as the beginning of a very long and tumultuous fall from grace for the company that was considered by some as competition to the WWE.
Despite Eric and Hulk's departures from the company in 2012 and 2014 respectively, it would take the company until 2018 to finally regain the intrigue of many wrestling fans and critics alike.
While the Hogan/ Bischoff regime from 2010- early 2014 is still remembered for bringing in aging wrestlers like the Nasty Boys and Orlando Jordan to wasting money on talent and conceptions that didn't work out in the long run.
What many fans and critics tend to forget however, was that there were actually some good things that came about during this period within Impact's History.
Whether these ten things somewhat redeem the Hulkster and Bischoff in the eyes of TNA/Impact fans is neither here nor their, but it is important to go back and see some of the great and memorable things that happened during Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff's time with the company.
10. Open Fight Night
In the early 2010's, the company introduced a new concept known as Open Fight Night, where wrestlers and even some staff members like Jeremy Borash would call out other wrestlers to a match/fight which would allow them to settle issues that hadn't reached a proper conclusion in the previous years.
In addition to the unpredictability of the callouts, the Open Fight Night episodes would also see segments like Gut Check (which was Impact's version of WWE's Tough Enough) as well as segments where those in charge or even the champion would forced to decide on who he or she would defend their championship against out of a small collection of wrestlers from the locker room.
The idea was used sporadically over the years with last one happening in 2017 during the GFW period.
Although the concept has been forgotten like so many other things during this period, it could an idea that current regime of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore could use as the theme for a possible Twitch or Impact Plus special as the unpredictability factor could not only add some intrigue, but it could allow the company to finish off feuds or storylines that were never resolved.
9. Aces and Eights
One of the most polarizing storylines in Impact History (and that's saying something) was the angle that ran from 2012-2013 Aces & Eights, a group of masked individuals who dressed in biker gear and attacked anyone and everyone on the Impact roster with weapons particularly with ballpein hammer's.
For 13 months these masked assailants would appear leaving cryptic messages to their victims while at the same time attacking them at random whether it was backstage, in the ring etc. this group was hell-bent on destroying everything.
The angle worked well at first as it brought upon a sense of unpredictability and paranoia as the members of the club wore masks to protect their identities thus, making it easy for wrestlers to become distrustful of one another.
Highlights include a brawl that took place all over Universal Studios, Ruining the wedding Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan, the shocking reveal of Bully Ray being the club president after winning the world title, Bully Ray explaining/cleaning up any loose ends to his grand plan on becoming champion, and of course the disband and burial of Aces and Eight in a funeral home.
While the reveals of Garrett Bischoff, Wes Briscoe, D'lo Brown and the inclusions of Brooke Tessmacher and Tito Ortiz only lead to the group becoming over bloated, the overall angle itself became an interesting part of the Hogan/Bischoff regime.
8. Making New Stars
When people look back at Bischoff and Hogan's time with Impact and the talent they had, many tend to remember names like Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Sean Morley and Lacey Von Erich among others, however many are quick to forget that around the Hogan/Bischoff era a lot of new or underrated names came to Impact and became synonymous with brand.
Winter, DJ Zema Ion, Crimson, Jessie Godderz, Brooke Tessmacher ...and yes Robbie E, are just some of names that came around this time period and became fixtures within the company's male and female divisions.
Another thing that was done right under this regime was how wrestlers who had been with the company for a long period of time would finally be pushed into the main event or upper mid card status like Jay Lethal's feud with Ric Flair and AJ Styles, Chris Sabin becoming world champion, Velvet Sky becoming knockouts champion for the very first time and the aforementioned Bully Ray winning the world title.
7. Joseph Parks
While the treatment of Chris Parks aka Abyss was deplorable in the first couple of years under the Hogan/ Bischoff Regime from using Hogan's hall of fame ring as a major plot device to becoming a jobber after joining Immortal, the monster and hall of famer was almost completely wasted by this regime if not for Joseph Parks.
Loved by some, hated by others Joseph Parks debuted in early 2012 as the attorney of the Parks Family and was looking for his "brother" Abyss, who had gone missing after a violent victory over Bully Ray at the Genesis pay per view.
The lovable lawyer turned wrestler eventually began a feud with Bully Ray leading to a match at Slammiversary where Abyss made his return to help his brother out thus leading to Joseph picking up the win.
What made this gimmick change so good was that it allowed Chris Parks to take a break from all the gimmicky, bloody soaked matches his best known for and allowed him to show off his more comedic side. It also helped to bring back the credibility to the Abyss character by making him into an enigmatic but dangerous figure who could appear at any time and leave nothing but destruction in his wake.
Plus, his the only thing from that regime that the company would continuously use up until Abyss' departure in January 2019, so the character must of been popular.
6. Destination X 2011
In 2011 The X division, one of Impact Wrestling's most celebrated and trademark division's (right next to the knockouts) was a shell of it's former self as the death defying moments, high flying action had become secondary and a bit mediocre under Bischoff and Hogan's control.
This was due to a number of bad or forgettable X division champions and a general lack of interest from the regime.
This issue eventually became a storyline in which the X division believed they were being held down by management and not getting the opportunity or the spotlight as other wrestlers.
Having the monster abyss win the title and proclaiming it the "Xtreme" championship and label the division "dead "only added more fuel to the fire.
This led the way for Destination X to become an X division exclusive pay per view celebrating the best of X divisions past, present and future.
The event went on with matches like Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn, an Ultimate X match to crown the next #1 contender for the x division title, a four way match which included the likes of Low Ki and Jack Evans, Brian Kendrick defeating Abyss to become champion and capping it all off with a classic bout between former x division champions Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles.
The event not only became a classic for many fans and helped to revitalized the X division but, it also began a serious of changes including a 275 weight limit for those who can compete for title as well as the creation of "Option C" a once in a lifetime opportunity created by Austin Aries, in which the x division title holder could give up the belt in exchange for a title shot at the world heavyweight championship.
5. Jeff Hardy's Road To Redemption
At the Victory Road pay per view in 2011, Jeff Hardy was set to face off against 'The Icon' Sting in the main event for the World Heavyweight Championship, however Jeff was under the influence of an unknown substance/s which resulted in the match being cut short and lasting only ninety seconds.
This incident became a black mark on both Impact Wrestling and Jeff Hardy himself, who was sent home following the "match" and wasn't seen or heard from in months.
During a set of tapings that had taken place at Huntsville Alabama, the charismatic enigma returned to TV asking for "One More Shot" at redemption for the massive mistake he made.
Many were skeptical about bringing Jeff back and others were slowly but willing to give Jeff a second chance.
Hardy would engage in a number of feuds along his road to redemption including a 3 month feud with both Jeff and Karen Jarrett, A few title matches against Bobby Roode at Genesis and Against All Odds and a memorable 2 month rivalry with Kurt Angle leading to an impressive but underrated steel cage match at Lockdown 2012.
The final stages of Jeff Hardy's redemption saw 'the charismatic enigma' winning the Bound For Glory series that year at No Surrender and challenging Austin Aries for the title in the main event culminating in Hardy becoming the world heavyweight champion once again at one of Impact's biggest pay per views.
4. The Motor City Machine Guns (2010-12)
One of the most iconic teams within the company's near two decade existence is the Motor City Machine Guns.
Members Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, were well known for their time as loud mouth heels as well as heroic babyfaces within the X division but, the duo are equally known for their time as a high flying, well oiled tag team during the golden and early Hogan era.
During the latter period, Sabin and Shelley engaged in matches that were ahead of their time (but common place today) and some that have been considered some of best matches within Impact Wrestling.
For much of 2010 the duo went to war against Max and Jeremy Buck (better known as the Young Bucks) in a series of matches that ranged from your standard tag team matches to empty arena matches to Ultimate X to Full Metal Mayhem.
Also around this time, MCMG took on Team 3D in their "final match" at Turning Point 2010; And mostly notably the guns would face off against Beer Money Inc. in a critically acclaimed best of five series which highlight the best from both teams but also on pay per views like Victory Road 2010 and Genesis 2011.
While injuries would take their toll on the guns in 2011, the group would return in early 2012 where they went on to battle Magnus and Samoa Joe for the tag titles in a losing effort at Lockdown 2012.
They've since return to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary 2020 and no less than a few days later both Shelley and Sabin would become the Tag Team Champions yet again after defeating The North in main event on an episode of Impact.
3. Austin Aries Becomes A Megastar
The self proclaimed "Greatest Man that Ever Lived" returned to Impact Wrestling competing in a series of qualifying matches to see which wrestler would get a guaranteed contact with Impact.
At Destination X 2011, the finals saw Low Ki, Jack Evans, Zema Ion and Aries fighting for a spot on the roster which saw 'A Double' become the newest member of the Impact Wrestling family.
Two months after winning his spot, Aries defeated Brian Kendrick at the No Surrender pay per view to become X division champion for the very first time; he would hold on to that championship for a record breaking 301 days only losing that championship after cashing in and creating the stipulation known as "Option C" (read the previous entry for more on that).
At Destination X 2012, Austin Aries challenged Bobby Roode in a high profiled match which saw Aries winning the world heavyweight title in spectacular fashion and hold the championship for around 3-4 months.
Aries would become tag team partners with Bobby Roode and eventually champions a year later. In short, Austin Aries was probably the most out of anyone on the impact roster at the time of the Hogan/ Bischoff regime to profit the most.
2. The Bound For Glory Series
In June of 2011, the BFG series was created; it consisted of 12 wrestlers competing within the tournament with a point system added in for every pinfall, submission, count out or disqualification with the final four participates competing in the semi finals and finals at the No Surrender pay per view in order crown the new #1 contender of the world heavyweight championship at Bound For Glory.
The series was used a launching pad to push wrestlers into the world title scene and in some cases enhance or conclude a wrestlers storyline leading to Bound For Glory. Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles all manage to not only win the tournament but became world champions not too long afterwards.
The series ceased to exist after No Surrender 2013, but the stars and future world champions it created help to elevate the Bound For Glory events that proceed it, but it also gave opportunity to wrestlers who never got a shot at the big gold belt.
This may be one of the only successful concepts made under the Hogan/ Bischoff regime that many fans would love to see come back especial under the new management of Don Callis and Scott D’Amore.
1. Bobby Roode's Heel Turn and World Title Reign
By far the crowd jewel during the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff's era in impact and one of the defining things they did (outside of the BFG Series) would have to be making Bobby Roode world heavyweight champion.
After winning the inaugural BFG series, Roode went on to battle Kurt Angle for the World heavyweight title only for Bobby Roode to lose thanks some cheating methods on Angle's part.
That loss plus seeing tag partner James Storm become world heavyweight champion after defeating Angle in a matter of seconds on the following episode of impact led to Roode and Storm having a match for the title on November 3rd which saw Roode smashing a beer bottle over his tag partners head and become the world heavyweight champion.
This would begin a long and glorious reign as world champion which saw Roode defend the title for a total of 256 days which saw him defend that title against names like AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, James Storm, Bully Ray, Rob Van Dam, Sting and so many more.
His reign saw Roode become a despicable heel who would resort to any method to walk out still the world champion was amazing and helped to establish Bobby as a bona fide star.
At Destination X 2012, Roode would lose his title to Austin Aries and failed to win it back at the following Hardcore Justice event. Roode would go on to continue his feud James Storm and Jeff Hardy, both times would see the former "It Factor of Professional Wrestling" lose to his archrivals.
While Roode would win the title back a couple of more times before leaving for the WWE, It was his first reign as champion that has stood the test of time and continues to be fondly remember to this day.
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