TNA News: Exclusive Photos from Impact Wrestling in Chicago

Stephen SonneveldCorrespondent IIIMarch 15, 2013

TNA News: Exclusive Photos from Impact Wrestling in Chicago

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    TNA Wrestling began a new chapter on March 14, 2013, broadcasting “Impact Wrestling” live to the world in front of a rowdy Chicago crowd.

    The Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., marks the first stop in what will now be an ongoing tour schedule for the Nashville-based promotion's flagship program.

    Except for some memorable broadcasts in February from London's Wembley Arena, “Impact Wrestling” had aired exclusively from the largest soundstage in Universal Studios Orlando, dubbed by TNA faithful as the “Impact Zone.”

    In a press release about the “tremendous step forward,” TNA President Dixie Carter is quoted as saying, “Fans from around the world have been coming to us at Universal for more than eight years to be a part of the ‘IMPACT WRESTLING’ audience. It's now time for us to take the ‘IMPACT WRESTLING’ television cameras to them.

    "This is a very important next evolution for the company, and I'm excited that the backdrop to the show will feature our great fans in larger arenas around the country and world.”

    The following photos are a document of this event.

    In the coming weeks, I'll also be publishing my exclusive interview with Dixie Carter from this night, as well as a profile of So Cal Val.

Backstage: Robbie E

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    Robbie E waits to cut a local promo © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Backstage: So Cal Val

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    So Cal Val producing local and international promos © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Backstage: Jeff Hardy

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    Jeff Hardy cutting a local promo © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: The Ring

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    Bird's eye view of Impact ring © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: The Ring and Stage

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    Bird's eye view of the ring and stage © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Dixie Carter Thanks Fans

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    The queue to greet TNA President Dixie Carter © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: So Cal Val

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    So Cal Val fires up the incoming crowd © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Dixie Carter Greets Veteran

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    Dixie Carter signs an autograph for a disabled veteran © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Taz

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    Taz makes his entrance to the receptive crowd © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Fan Sign for Joseph Park

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    Fan sign for fellow Chicagoan Joseph Park © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Spanish Announce Team

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    Spanish language commentators Willie Urbina and Hector Guerrero situated on the hard-camera side of the arena © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Before the Show: Fans

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    Fans watch the PPV recap video moments before Impact © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Aces & Eights

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    Aces & Eights takes over the first segment © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Bully Ray Formally Inducted

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    Bully Ray officially dons the Aces & Eights colors © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Aces & Eights Tableau

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    Fans toast the heels © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Tara, Jessie Godderz, Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim

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    Mr. Pectacular impresses his girlfriend, the Chicago-proud Tara, who recently opened her own pizzeria in the Windy City, the "Squared Circle" © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Velvet Sky

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    The Knockouts champion greets her welcoming crowd © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Tara, Gail and Mickie James

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    Tara and Gail double-suplex Mickie James © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Velvet, Taryn and Tara

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    Velvet and Mickie won, but it was Taryn the ref who dispatched Gail only moments before © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Jessie and Tara

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    Personally, I thought this was a great ending that only arena fans were privy to, and it speaks a lot to Tara's sense of character. She could have easily walked back on her own, acting hurt, but instead opts to be carried out like a duffel bag over the shoulder of her beefy boyfriend.

    Considering he pressed her prior to the match, this exit makes for a nice bookend. It's also a little something extra for the fans, commitment to character whether the cameras were rolling or not © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Rob Terry, Robbie E

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    The impressive specimen that is Rob Terry hurls his former tag team partner, the talented Robbie E © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Kazarian, Christopher Daniels

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    Two standouts from the Southern California wrestling scene "pay homage" to Chicago's very own Road Warriors. In fact, Daniels was considering a theater career when his girlfriend at the time urged him to try out for wrestling (something he'd always talked about having an interest in) before he regretted not doing it.

    He was trained at the now-defunct Windy City Wrestling (which yours truly sometimes ring announced for), and has been performing this unique form of theater ever since © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Kazarian, Crowd

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    The Sears Center was packed with fans ready to see Kazarian and Daniels get punished © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: James Storm, Crowd

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    The Cowboy had a lot of urban fans when he informed Kazarian and Daniels about their luck © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: AJ Returns

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    The return of AJ Styles drew one of the biggest pops of the night, but the good feelings wouldn't last after Styles saved Storm, only to turn on him © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: AJ Returns, James Storm

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    AJ, moments before he clocks the unsuspecting Storm © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Joseph Park

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    The beloved character Joseph Park almost got booed out of the building by his fellow Chicagoans when he mentioned the Cubs. The crowd must have been full of South Siders © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Matt Morgan, Joseph Park

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    I wish the resolution of the photo were better, but I love the moment and how the body language tells the story © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Christy Hemme

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    Christy Hemme, waiting to announce the arrival of Sting © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Christy Hemme, Crowd

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    Hemme and the crowd await a star's arrival © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Sting Returns to Chicago

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    At first, the Hall of Famer almost looked stunned by the great ovation, one of the loudest and most electrifying of the evening © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Sting, Austin Aries

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    Sting pummels the greatest man who ever lived © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Sears Center

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    There were many fans on the hard camera side who simply didn't sit down during the entire Aries/Sting match. I believe some of those silhouettes pictured here might belong to the "Hardcore Pawn Chicago" reality television cast, a show co-produced by TNA's Eric Bischoff © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Hulk Hogan Returns to Chicago

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    The crowd was hot for Hulk all night long. Bully Ray and Aces & Eights riled up the crowd, presumably during the commercial break, so that by the time the Hulkster made his appearance, fans were frothing for a showdown © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Hulk Hogan, Stage

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    No one connects with a crowd quite like Hulk Hogan. Like any art form, technique can be taught, even mastered, but some people just have that intangible quality to emotionally connect with the public, and it puts them on a different level. The emotion of Hogan's backstage argument with Sting bled through to the arena © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved

Impact: Bully Confronts His Father-in-Law

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    The first night of the new "Impact" belonged to the new champion. Bully Ray is able to match Hogan's intensity, which is what such a personal feud as theirs demands if viewers are to suspend their disbelief © 2013 Stephen Sonneveld, all rights reserved