Impact Wrestling – a name filled with speculation, turmoil and controversy. For a long period of time, Impact a.k.a TNA a.k.a GFW has been at the brunt of many jokes in the wrestling world. Whether it was trying and failing to copy WWE, employing WWE part-timers, not being able to pay talent and much much more, Impact did not feel like a legitimate promotion. Right now we’re going to briefly go through every era of the company known as Impact Wrestling and see exactly why the Redemption PPV was an indicator of a huge upswing.
The Asylum Years
TNA first began as an affiliate of the NWA and ran weekly PPV programming. Through the arena referred to as The Asylum, this new promotion began to show some promise in the ashes of the fallen WCW. With Jeff Jarrett at the helm, this was the period in time where we saw some originality in TNA’s presentation. The dawn of the X division very much made that individuality apparent as stars like AJ Styles came into the fray.
TNA Impact Wrestling
As the ball started rolling in 2004, the best years of this company were underway in my opinion. 2004 through 2010 were my favorite years with Impact, as it felt edgier and overall distinct to WWE. Under the namesake of TNA, led by Sting, we saw stars emerge like Samoa Joe, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Petey Williams, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Eric Young and many more young lions just trying to show the world that they had “it.” This era is when the infamous X division title triple threat match took place- AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe. If you haven’t seen that match, watch it. It’s magic. Also not to mention how awesome and innovative the Knockouts division was with Gail Kim at the helm.
On the flip side of this, you had many big WWE stars jump to TNA. Although this would eventually plague the TNA product a bit, the initial benefits were rather exciting. Jeff Hardy and Christian came over early in the game to participate in much deserved main event runs, while Kurt Angle trailed behind and debuted in 2006. From then on you had characters like Booker T, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner and more come right into TNA. The Main Event Mafia storyline is still one of the strongest in TNA history, and it occurred without a hitch at first.
The Hulk Hogan Era
2010 is really when things took a turn for TNA. Hulk Hogan arrived in 2010, and with the addition of Hogan, TNA really amped up with their odd storylines and carbon copying of WCW and WWE. The first jab to the gut was the removal of the infamous six sided ring. This time from 2010 to 2014 saw the resurgence of the NWO in a stable called Immortal (basically). A terrible Jeff Hardy heel turn, and matches involving Ric Flair and Mick Foley. Nobody wanted to see any of those things, so therefore it did not work out too well.
Fast Forward to Now
After Hogan’s departure in 2014, the company went through a tumultuous period from 2014 to pretty much right now in 2018. The product was saved at the end of the day by the likes of EC3, Bobby Lashley and most notably the Broken Hardy gimmick, but the company suffered many losses and many financial setbacks. This leads us to today and the landscape of Impact Wrestling.
With the Redemption PPV earlier this year we saw a few things. We saw Impact Wrestling invent a new brand, we saw some surprise wins and we saw some great wrestling. No authority storylines, no BS, just a fun wrestling PPV. That has been a long time coming for the previously wavering Impact. The likes of Pentagon, Austin Aries, Eli Drake, Johnny Impact and others have revitalized Impact to how it was in it’s golden age. Wrestlers putting on the best show they can.
From all the setbacks, it seems that Impact is finally back on track to delivering a solid wrestling program. They started to focus more on the performers and their abilities, and it clearly paid off in one of the best PPV’s that company has done in so many years. The addition of lesser financial troubles also probably help as well.
It took a long time, but Impact now has the ability to go up after digging itself out of that Hogan-sized hole. Was Hogan’s trek to TNA exciting? It sure as hell was. But did it do anything great for the company? Absolutely not. Through rebranding to GFW to going back to Impact Wrestling in the last few years, Impact is now back on track and I look forward to watching more as it attempts to be a solid alternative to WWE and NJPW.