The long wait for TNA fans is over as impact returned to television on Wednesday 7th January in what was their live debut show on Destination America. The new look show featured Josh Matthews on commentary alongside Tazz as well as the new colour scheme, ring, logo and entrance set.
The show itself started off with a well filmed and cool sounding video that launched into a big opening brawl starting off on the street outside the Manhattan Centre that travelled into the inside of the arena. Eventually being broken up by former head of wrestling operation Kurt Angle before he beat MVP in a impromptu street fight.
Impact featured many different camera angles, music, different pacing and with some reality TV elements to the programme that if stuck with and adhered to can help TNA be a different choice for the wrestling fan compared to WWE. Lucha Underground has shown that different can be done. So let's look at Two Bad and Two Good from this week’s broadcast.
Where are you?
Not a shot at those in attendance, but where are the rest of the fans from the previous TNA shows in New York City? Granted, this may be a product of many things in particular the current state of the wrestling business or TNA's lack of appeal or marketing.
But some of the shine was taken away from this weeks successful show due to dark and half empty arena. The show could have been filmed outside in the middle of the night. It would have easily felt bigger, better and more poignant in front of a packed crowd. Despite this those in attendance did themselves and TNA proud. All were clearly fans of the product, and they added a lot to certain parts of the show. They even stood out at times with some funny and loud chants, more on that later.
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In particular they along with TNA rising star EC3, his colleague Tyrus, JB and Rockstar Spud helped that particular segment stand out. With the UK tour on the horizon the hope will be that TNA can deliver this type of entertaining show in front of the larger UK crowds that will make the shows and in particular storylines have more gravitas.
Once again the TNA World Championship main event matchup that featured Bobby Roode and Bobby Lashley in a hard hitting contest succumbed to outside interference. This followed the obligatory referee bump that allowed MVP, Kenny King and the masked duo of Samoa Joe and Low Ki the chance to distract Roode.
A chair wielding Eric Young appeared to have evened the playing field, however EY used the steel chair on Bobby Roode turning heel and sufficient weakening him enough for Lashley to hit the spear and gain the three count. In the process he is now a two time the TNA World Champion. To many times TNA fans have witnessed a main event match end as a result of outside interference.
Hopefully this time The storyline ramifications will prove this to be the right finish, it could have worked with Young attacking Bobby Roode after the bell. However in typically contradictory fashion this outside interference does lead into.
Eric Young Heel Turn
EY is entering his eleventh year as part of the Impact Wrestling roster and has done it all during his tenure with the company. Long time fans still discuss and remember his last heel run.
Incase you aren't aware he was the leader of the World Elite group who vied for dominance against Kurt Angle's original Main Event Mafia and AJ Styles TNA frontline but that was back in 2009, prior to the infamous Hogan/Bischoff era.
Many fans still recall his heel run as EY transformed into a tyrant style leader with ease, this despite his many years of comedy gimmicks on impact, anyone remember Super Eric or the Not So Great Muta? Shortly after forming the group, Young captured and renamed the TNA Legends Championship to the TNA Global Championship and as per the anti-American stance of the stable. He claimed he would not defend it in the USA or against any American wrestler.
Upon Hogan's arrival in TNA all prior storylines disappeared as it was clear, he had no idea what made TNA different to WWE or had any idea what he and Bischoff were doing. Back to this week’s heel turn, it could and hopefully see a return to what some consider EY's best work prior to this 2014 World Title run.
Kong Is Back!
"H*ly Sh*t" and "This Is Awesome" chanted the New York crowd and indeed it was! Awesome Kong has made her return to Impact Wrestling. It was a huge surprise, so let's set the scene.
Following an over-the-top rope battle royal that saw Taryn Terrell retain the Knockouts title. She eliminated Havok who had just tossed Gail Kim out of the ring. Havok re-entered the ring still clearly wanting her Knockouts Title rematch.
Upon which she brutally attacked the champion. The lights went out and Awesome Kong appeared in the ring. Havok for the first time started to back down, leaving the ring. Kong took exception and choke slammed referee Brian Stiffler who had attempted to separate the two women.
Kong, who performed briefly for WWE as “Kharma” in 2011 and early 2012 although used terribly. Has not been seen in TNA since early 2010 after a controversial backstage incident with Bubba the Love Sponge and his then a close friend of Hulk Hogan.
Having previously vowed never to return to TNA in many media interviews, this was a truly stunning return. A big moment of 2015 already for TNA, and the signing of Kong rejuvenates the Knockouts division almost immediately. It also offers TNA the chance to capture former glories of the division with a multitude of feuds possible amongst Kong, Havok, Gail Kim, Taryn and Angelina Love.
We'd love to hear if you agree or disagree? What was your best and worst moment of Impact this week?