I know that it’s a brand-new year but tonight I felt a definite feeling of déjà vu while watching Impact Wrestling. TNA once again debuted on a new network for the second year in a row. And while the new network name may be Pop TV , it’s inaugural episode of Impact Wrestling on the channel definitely didn’t.

When TNA began in 2002, the wrestling landscape in the US was a barren wasteland when it came to television. Sure some promotions tried to fill the void in the wake of WCW and ECW closing but they didn’t have the following of their predecessors. With TNA fans got the Indy darlings that were available at the time mixed with former WWE and WCW stars to make a very interesting mix of talents.

The thing that really put the TNA name on the map in its early days is its highflying X-Division Stars. Names like AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, The Amazing Red and many others helped bring eyes to the fledgling brand they gave fans the action they craved with none of the filler.  In the years that followed however, the company fell into a bit of an identity crisis. They wanted to compete with the big boys not really realizing what that meant. More past names were brought in at the expense of homegrown talent and bad decisions were made crippling the company going forward.

In 2016, the company while alive is nowhere near what it used to be just a few years ago. With all the limitations that would fall upon them many in the company would hunker down and still create great matches, but bad business decisions and the loss of talent would see fans leave the promotion behind. For years, experts have eulogized the company but it still seems to have one foot out of the grave. And its this tenacity that makes tonight’s re-debut so disappointing.

First off, let me say the show was not terrible. The action was solid and the company really tried to put on a great show being the first official taping since July. It just didn’t feel like something important. Sure, there were some moments but it didn’t have that feeling that something special. You would’ve thought with all that time to plan there would’ve been a little more energy.  Or at least a better sense of identity. We see every Monday and Thursday a promo open the show on WWE programming. So why do that on your show? I understand it’s an easy way to inform the audience but couldn’t it be more special to start out with action. I don’t know may be a six way X-Division contest which wasn’t even represented on the show. It seemed like TNA’s focus was this Friday’s live special on pay-per-view. The Beer Money reunion was nice as was the debut of Maria and Mike Bennett as The Miracle.  But did it make you feel excited for next week’s episode? Not really. I guess they want to try to get you to buy the pay-per-view on Friday for $14.99. You can’t blame them for that as a business.

In my opinion, having to really drag out this World Title Series really made the show lose momentum that they have yet to get back. Especially since it took them three months to get back to where it all started with Ethan Carter versus Matt Hardy. TNA is still struggling to find itself away from the wrestling norm 14 years later. They used to be on the alternative but now they feel like yesterday’s news .  Things like NXT, Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, New Japan Pro Wrestling and the ability to stream independent promotions have really made them bland. Tonight’s show really didn’t do anything to tell your friends you really need to watch this show again. Maybe in the weeks to come, the company will find some magic. However I’m not sure if they know what they can even do to get eyeballs watching them again.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.