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Posted in: Column of the Month
March 2017 Columnist of the Month - 13 On Impact: Last Hope by JSR-13
By Steven Bell
Apr 26, 2017 - 5:03:13 PM

Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month. In other words, the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work, laying the foundation for what will hopefully, eventually be a permanent spot on the LOP Columns roster.

The month of March was special, as we saw someone pull off the rare repeat win. To properly frame this achievement, the COTM contest has been held 181 times and this is only the 10th time that someone has won back-to-back. The columnist in question is, of course, JSR-13, who you saw here with his February win.

If you would like to write for Lords of Pain, the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.


What's good, LOP? I am JSR-13 and this is a *special edition* of 13 On Impact. Shout out to Mr. Steven Bell for above graphic, and to Mr. Matt Reeves for providing the theme music for today's show. Regular viewers know this title to be the recap of the week's Impact on Pop; but with the most recent review already in the books, I wanted to take this opportunity to get some stuff of my chest concerning the now-distant-second largest wrestling promotion.

Why I Started Watching

I was never a die-hard TNA fan. This was due to a number of factors, of which I'm sure many of you can relate to: the constant switching of days and times; disinterest in keeping up with the 'Jeff Jarrett Show'; lack of compelling story lines (and some times the dropping of, or unsatisfactory payoff to said stories); the company being unable to avoid becoming 'WWE Junior'; the WCW-esque hogging of the spotlight by past-their-primers; the misuse of homegrowns- you name it. I've fallen off several times in my WWE viewing, but I always tend to return and enjoy the catch up. Not so much with TNA; if I so happened to return to it, I really wouldn't be bothered by not picking up where I left off.

Fast forward to the close of 2015. Somewhere in this space of time, I nearly gave up on the show once again for reasons that escape me now. But then, Matt Hardy wins the world title by pinning Drew Galloway in a triple threat match when his brother Jeff (the special guest ref) makes the 3 count. This leads to an "injunction" by former champion Ethan Carter III (EC3) that forces Hardy to vacate the title. Shortly after, we were given the World Title Series that saw every roster member- male and female; heavyweight or cruiserweight; tag wrestler or singles- compete in a tournament to crown a new champion. It had a real sports-like feel to it, and segments with commentators Pope and Josh Mathews exchanging analyses and placing their bets was an added bonus. For the first time in all of its years of existence, I actually went out of my way to DVR TNA. Then, they switched networks yet again, but it was to a channel that I was pleased to find was part of my cable package: Pop TV. The conclusion of the Series happened, as did an awesome double-turn by Hardy and Carter, and I found myself hooked.

It had its flaws, but the hits definitely outweighed the misses. Sitting through two hours of 'this' trumped sitting through three hours of 'that' by a margin. Rather than an overpushed star dominating the screen, and emasculating authority figures who just wouldn't go away, there was a good mix of old and new faces who always found themselves cycling in and out of some major occurrences. The matches, while not making it onto most people's best of lists, were some of the most top-notch pieces of in-ring work on TV. Yet, it was more hip to rag on TNA for all of the lawsuits, unpaid workers and the mass exodus than it was to praise them for whatever good they were producing.

And this is why there is a 13 On Impact.

Wrestling fans will complain incessantly about the tone-deafness of WWE, but will still inadvertently cause it to trend on twitter and be the biggest (and if possible- only) dance in town. Internet writers on sites such as this know that it is the WWE-centric content that will draw the most eyes and comments- even if only to allow a space for people to moan about what just happened on Monday. I noticed that despite the good weekly output, Impact wasn't getting a lotta love, so I decided to take up the task, starting with a year-in-review column . With some helpful feedback and minor tweaking, the recaps grew from a single lonely thread in the forums, to a full-fledged ongoing series that often attracts a few fans who hadn't caught the show in a long time. I tried my best to be balanced- not dipping too far in the mindless cheerleader territory, nor being the cynic who acts as though I'm watching the program with a gun aimed at my temple. Things were A-okay from the Final Deletion onward, right up until the end of the year, when all the backstage madness that I tried to tune out could no longer be ignored.

Then What Happened? Or Should I Say- WHOOO?

Without warning, a giant owl swooped down and changed the mood of everything. Several big names were gone in the blink of an eye; and Impact underwent a major face-lift. Whether or not that operation was needed is still being debated to this day; but for people like me who stuck with the home of the hexagonal squared circle (and liked it), there was no debate.

Impact did NOT need to be made great. It was just fine as it was.
Now, it is a wrestling variety show that has let go of what was causing its upswing, and it is journeying back into the dark recesses of its existence that turned fans away in the first place. Ref bumps? Meaningless multi-man matches? The pushing upward of a WWE-reject, and the pushing aside of homegrown talents? WHAT YEAR IS THIS AGAIN??? Such decisions by the 'new' brass are killing the motivation to stay connected -let alone keep writing about it. Watching and writing about wrestling is supposed to be fun, after all.

"LOL TNA Sucks- HAHAHA! Why do you STILL watch that crap?"

Just quit watching. That oughta learn 'em, right? That's what Tito has been saying for months now. And believe me- after listening to the never-ending bickering between Borash and Mathews, or seeing Karen Jarrett make Nikki Bella look like Ric Flair during promos, or watching Decay... decay (adios, Steve)- there are plenty of times that I want to hit the off switch. However, if I quit Impact cold turkey, here's what I'd miss out on:

  • The work of EC3- the man who is with good reason referred to by many as the franchise player
  • The fun rivalry of the Carolina boys Andrew 'Skywalker' Everett and the 'Technical Savage' Trevor Lee.
  • The 'Facts of Life' from E... Li... DRAKE- and that would undoubtedly be a dummy move, yeah?
  • Witnessing the growth of one of wrestling's brightest rising stars, Moose
  • Seeing Cody Rhodes proving himself outside of his former homebase
  • Marveling at the 'classiness' of Sienna and her growing stable of misfits
  • Having my heart warmed by the sweetness of Allie
  • Being freaked out by Rosemary... and liking it.
  • It might not be much, but it is enough to help keep me sane when watching the company undo what was done to raise the stock Bobby Lashley, or whatever the heck it is they're doing with James Storm. Despite what appears to be Jeff Jarrett relishing being able to play promoter again, and Dutch and Prichard seemingly falling asleep at the wheel, they are a bunch of new and familiar faces that I just can't bear to 'punish' along with the old guard and the higher ups who apparently missed all of what the company they took over did just 12 months ago.

    We all have breaking points. Like I said- this is supposed to be fun, not a chore. And if the chore repeatedly eats away at the fun, then what's the point of continuing on? Understand that I want for there to be alternatives- for us AND for our favorite stars. I'm not like the parrots who kept calling for the death of the company for years, and would take every opportunity to knock it down; I want for the promotion to be successful and for the wrestlers to thrive in front of national audiences without having to sign their lives away to MeekMan.

    Last Hope?

    Regardless of the star power that is gone, there is still plenty of talent left to help create compelling television that rivals- and even surpasses- the bar set in 2016. But the company formerly known as TNA needs to quit it with faux-TRUMP slogan, realize what a joke it is to merge with an 'imaginary' promotion that never got off the ground, and add some much needed logic and continuity to their product. Forget the tired authority figures and all the dated tricks that reek of 'bad TNA' and give us something fresh. By all means- build your new stars (even the ones running around with those toy GFW belts), but don't let the guys and girls who bust their rears for your promotion fall by the wayside, driving them into arms of Hunter.

    And for goodness' sake- just STOP IT with the "battle of the announcers". Please and thank you.

    I certainly hope Impact Wrestling gets its act together sooner rather than later. For all we know, this could be their last chance.

    That does it for this special edition of 13 On Impact. Now it's your turn! Are you a current fan struggling to stay on board? Have you already given up on the company? Or are you pretty comfortable with the way things are going? Let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. Until then, I'm JSR- and I'll see you when I see you! Peace!