Impact Has No Environment

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I want to talk about how matches or performance in the ring should serve as the climax of the show, not the entire focus of why people watch in the first place. To give some perspective on where I'm coming from, there was once upon a time, that I had a feeling of intensity around thinking about how many days until Impact is on. Today, I completely skipped the last 2 months of 2014 Impact shows. That has never happened since I starting watching when Black Machismo was the X Division champion and there was 2 entrances, one at each opposite side of the arena.

Now when I think back on certain time periods of how did an individual wrestler become passively recognizable to people who are not interested enough to watch wrestling on tv more than once a month, it is almost never because of an in-ring match or performance. There has been the occasional Mankind jumping from the top of a cage moments only to crash through the announcer's table that stood out to people, but almost unilaterally that is never what made a name or character remembered fondly or made viewers watch again.

Part of human nature is to deduce others that we come across for the first time to one single definable quality or characteristic that we can label that person with until we get to know them in a more thorough or complete way. This is where Impact needs to embrace their circus freaks roots that wrestling, or rasling, originated from. I knew the name Sting, but I was not watching any wrestling shows during the Monday Night Wars, and over time I became a fan of Sting in TNA because of his work, but also from the split second you saw him, or part of him, you knew immediately who it was and you didn't have to try to name who it was. Hence, circus freak, and being quickly identifiable without knowing things about them. I read when Hulk Hogan brought in Jimmy Hart, he asked Jimmy to watch the show and give feedback about what's wrong with it. From what I read, apparently Jimmy said when wrestlers come out in jeans and their own branded t-shirt, then everyone starts to blend together. He said that's why he has the megaphone and the outfit, jumping around, to deliberately stand out and be noticeable. People need something to latch on to until they know the character better.

Think of it in this sense, in an Impact specific ring, do you know what a grey guitar indicates? Do you know what a black bat means? Do you know who has a partial mask? What does an Olympic medal or frog splash off the top as a finishing move mean? All things that you know who it is without thinking because they have successfully linked their character to a specific item or maneuver in people's minds so that they can latch or jump to quickly know who it is on a primal level.

Another big key missing with Impact shows is theme music that is very distinct. "I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man..." and you're waiting to see the yellow and red with that guitar riff blaring with vocals. Or when you heard the graduation song, you knew who it was, you knew what they were about, you knew if you liked him or not, and you knew his performance quality regardless of who he was going against. The same thing when you heard symbol crash 3 times and guitar playing really fast, you knew some freak was going to come running out at full speed towards the ring and there was something naturally energizing watching him come out, even on tv, much less in the arena.

The last thing I want to cover is interaction with fans during the show. I recall reading something from an original ECW fan that was I believe a regular attendee, apparently got partially beat up from security for a reason that I don't know, and some time later talked to the security guard and essentially said "Thank you for the awesome memories". Fans take it as a compliment being able to mix it up with the talent resent being relegated to a separate part of the show. I remember watching WWF at the end of the 80's, how close the fan railings on opposite sides of the aisle were for the performers or wrestlers to walk down to the ring, they always had to be accompanied by several security guards to knock away people's arms and hands so that the talent could reasonably get to the ring. Some fans like to be included as part of the show and not told to go sit in their corner and watch like a good little puppy.

Twitter: @_Shaul

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