TNA Impact Wrestling has turned the page on the last two years of its existence by moving forward without Hulk Hogan as general manager, and the company is already seeing the positive results with more interesting storylines and better booking.
Instead of TNA forcing Hogan on the new generation of wrestling fans, Impact is reverting back to the mindset that wrestling is the most fundamental part of the business and should be the main focus.
Add in the subtle changes to the booking that makes the shows easier to follow and the stars easier to support, and it’s clear that the company is making great strides.
With the time to develop, Impact Wrestling could be heading into a boom period.
Where: Cincinnati Gardens, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Thursday, Nov. 14, 9 p.m. ET (pre-taped)
Watch: Spike TV
Austin Aries vs. Kurt Angle
The TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament is one of the best possible ways to handle the AJ Styles storyline while he is away, and the company set the tone for the title chase by allowing Jeff Hardy and Chris Sabin to steal the show with an amazing match last Thursday. With this week’s Impact Wrestling featuring a submission bout between Austin Aries and Kurt Angle, there is little doubt that the first-round matchup will steal the show once again.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Which Superstar Gets the Win?
As great as Angle is for TNA (the only Olympic gold medalist in the wrestling business), Thursday’s show should feature Bobby Roode playing a role in the outcome of the match, allowing Aries to steal the victory. Angle and Roode spent all of last week brawling, and giving Aries the victory while further building a potential long-term secondary feud is smart booking. Let's hope the company follows through.
Hype Meter: 4 out of 5 Moments of Clarity
TNA has been accused of porous booking and creating impractical storylines over the last several years, but the tide has turned on how the company handles its shows, and that should result in the correct way to book the tournament bracket. This is the perfect opportunity to get Roode and Angle out of the title hunt without making either look weak, and officials can’t allow this opportunity to slip through their fingers.
TNA News: Last Week’s Impact Ratings drop again, per TV By the Numbers via Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.
Final Build to Turning Point
The focus has shifted once again to the build for next week’s Turning Point free-per-view, and the go-home show should be one of the more exciting taped versions of Impact Wrestling to date. With tournament matchups featuring Bobby Roode vs. James Storm and Samoa Joe vs. Magnus on the schedule for next Thursday’s event, this week will feature the Wheel of Dixie deciding what stipulation each bout will feature.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will Turning Point Drive Up Ratings?
The report that Impact Wrestling’s ratings dropped once again is alarming, but nothing draws fans into a show like PPV quality matches on free television. As much as the Aces & Eights storyline has hurt the company overall, the bout between Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray is a legitimate secondary storyline that will add depth to the show that already features the two championship tourney bouts.
Hype Meter: 3 out of 5 Fundamental Builds
TNA has booked smart since resetting the company after Bound for Glory, but it is imperative that the company continues to book using fundamental storylines that are easy to follow for the casual fans starting to watch on a regular basis.
This week’s show will feature the final build to Turning Point. Add in the open challenge from Gail Kim to any female wrestler in the business and the continued focus on AJ Styles leaving the company with the title and defending it around the world, and Impact Wrestling must ensure that fans are genuinely interested in the show to drive the ratings up for the free-per-view.
TNA Rumors: Hulk Hogan’s Reported Status with Impact, per Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics, or catch the latest episode in the player below (some language NSFW.)