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The week that was in pro wrestling: looking into the impact of Impact

By JP Abcede

With WWE Raw focusing on Elimination Chamber, SmackDown Live taking its sweet time to develop storylines heading to Fastlane, and tournaments over on 205 Live and at the Mixed Match Challenge wrapping up their first round of competitions, I would like to focus on a promotion that I have not given any particular attention to: Impact Wrestling.

The reason I am in indifferent is because it is hard to follow when it keeps on changing, whether it is the name, the ring, or its personnel. Impact!, Total Nonstop Action, Global Force Wrestling, or whatever name it refers to itself right now, is what it is and what it has become. Once the second biggest and next most recognized wrestling promotion in the US, it is now devoid of identity after going through numerous management shakeups.

You can determine its different eras from the times it changed the shape of the ring. It started out in 2002 with the traditional four-sided squared circle before replacing it with the six-sided ring that became its trademark look. It then went back to four corners during the time when Eric Bischoff took over before the hexagonal ring reintroduced after a popular fan vote. Now in 2018, it reverted to its original four-sided roots.

Impact is currently picking up the pieces after a tumultous 2017. It was not able to maintain the momentum that Matt Hardy's "Broken Universe" storyline brought the year before as the control of the promotion changed hands a number of times, and with it several name and branding changes.

As things stand presently, Impact greeted the new year with another overhaul. And if you follow backstage developments, one might notice that there are several workers who have long left the promotion who are still showing up in the show's latest episodes. This takes out the suspension of disbelief as you watch the program of another wrestling company and see a former TNA star only to see them on Impact! the next Thursday (or Friday).

In the past two years since I widened my options to include New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Underground, and Ring of Honor, my stance towards the former TNA (and also former GFW) has swung from "this is a good alternative to the at times bland mainstream product" to "I cannot help but look at this train wreck" to "why even bother". What is the use of doing a weekly recap when EC3 is contending for a championship when just the week before he was at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia?

Would I continue watching? To keep myself abreast of storylines, most likely. Would I be emotionally invested in the product? Not right now.