To say that 2016 was a rocky year for Impact Wrestling would be an understatement. With legal troubles, negative rumours and declining viewership numbers, many of the articles written about TNA over the past 12 months have been focused on predicting when the now almost 13 year-old company would finally close its doors.
Ending on a high note
Despite losing stars like Samoa Joe, Eric Young and Bobby Rude throughout the year, Impact wrestling has been able to shift their focus to other wrestlers along with gaining some other well known stars to fill the void. Cody Rhodes, Aaron Rex (Damien Sandow) along with ROH standout Moose have all stepped up to the plate for TNA. Additionally, the “Broken Hardys” are having a career renaissance as their unique style of backyard wrestling mixed with great storytelling and in-ring action has made for some of the best TNA has had to offer in the past 6 months. The take over by Anthem Sports and the removal of Dixie Carter from power earlier this week was greeted by many TNA fans as a signal of significant changes that can be expected in the coming year. It should also be noted that according to reports from those who were in attendance for the first round of TV tapings, a new logo should be appearing soon.
It can only go up from here … right?
One of the things that I think TNA has been doing correctly is letting their talent also perform on the independent circuit. Drew Galloway holds multiple titles across various platforms including ICW and WCPW. This allows their performers to earn money and stay in the public eye around the world, and since TNA doesn’t tour (at the moment) is something that benefits both sides. Dropping from Spike TV to Destination America to Pop TV has hurt TNA’s viewership, but a strong performance in the next few months and the new ownership group could potentially be enough for bigger networks to once again show signs of interest in the US and for foreign networks also to look to be distribution rights.
It is still much to soon to tell how Anthem Sports taking over TNA will impact (no pun intended) their viewership numbers in the upcoming months. They have been able to acquire many of the hottest free agents in the industry and use them effectively in recent storylines. If this trend continues and TNA is able to get a solid booking committee established that moves storylines forward and keeps the viewers interested, 2017 could be TNA’s best year ever, or at the very least their best year since Jeff Jarrett was initially forced out.
Image courtesy of Impact Wrestling