When I was 9 years old my father took me to what was then known as the James L Knight Center in downtown Miami, Florida. I remember not knowing why my dad was taking me there until we arrived and I saw those magical letters, WWF. My father and I had just returned from visiting my grandparents in Boston. They were members of the Delta Sky Club and that allowed us to wait in the private members lounge. While we waited I was introduced to the world of professional wrestling when the biggest man I or anyone had ever laid eyes upon walked in the room. André The Giant. His thumb was bigger than the pen I gave him to use for an autograph. He was a very kind man, he asked where we were traveling. I told him we were heading back home to Miami. He chuckled with delight as he told us that he would be in Miami in just a few weeks for a live show. I asked my dad if we could go and that day after Christmas in 1984 with the very first Wrestlemania just a few months away my father kept his promise and I got to see André The Giant in action. That day changed my life forever, like so many other fans I was hooked immediately. André partnered up with Tony Atlas to fight Ken Patera and Big John Studd. Barry Winham and Mike Rotundo (Bray Wyatt’s Dad) fought against The Moondogs. As if that wasn’t enough for my nine year old brain I was swept up in Hulkamania when the Hulkster defeated Brutus Beefcake.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love wrestling, but for the most part I was raised on two brands WWE (WWF), and WCW, and was lucky enough to be in the specific demographic that sports entertainment was aiming for in the late 1990s. So when Vince McMahon asked at the end of the WWF’s attitude era Super Bowl ad, Get it? I yelled a resounding YES!
However, after the Monday Night Wars and the WWE raised its arm in victory, the landscape of wrestling changed. Suddenly the WWF, WCW and even now ECW were all under one umbrella. A lot of talented superstars became part of the machine and others unfortunately fell by the wayside. Some kicked the dust off their boots and made something happen. That something was TNA Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.
I’m going to disclose full honesty here, I wasn’t interested in TNA. I was too busy with four to six hours of weekly WWE programming. That was until even WWE was getting a little stale for my taste. Mixed with a number of other reasons eventually a number of years went by without me watching any wrestling. Then just as suddenly as I stopped, I started again. That included catching up with what I had missed. It’s incredible how many elite superstars found their way to the TNA ring. That brings me to the here and now. As much of a lover of WWE television that I am, I feel that they’re beginning to creatively go backwards, but my appetite for wrestling needs to be fed.
Then one Monday night I was given the answer. Somebody had great idea to advertise TNA Wrestling’s new television show airing Friday nights on Discovery’s Destination America smack in the middle of WWE Raw. Now, finally, TNA regains a television deal and the commercial they air looks completely different and fresh. One problem, I don’t have Destination America - Thank you Torrents!
So I’m writing this as someone who truly never gave the other brand a chance and is laying his eyes on this product for the first time. I’ll start by saying this; they need to tighten it up. I’m speaking solely about their production standards. When it comes to the athletes, I would never say they were second tier or minor league, those dudes and babes are exceptional talents that no doubt could go toe to toe with WWE Superstars. The promos have more of a reality sense to them which I appreciate, but I would enjoy them better if I could hear them. The sound quality on the shows that I’ve seen have not been good and the camera work doesn’t give the IMPACT (sorry) that is seen on WWE TV. Then there is the issue that I have with a six-sided ring. WTF?
Impact has had a short and interesting history thus far, but they have a few things going for them right now. One - they have good talent. Two - they have TV. Three - their short history has given them credibility.
Though Impact may not being going head to head on Monday nights right now, it shouldn’t be dismissed as a non-combative. I’ll keep watching because who knows, this is a business filled with both Shoots and Works, anything is possible.