Throughout 2018, IMPACT Wrestling has made leaps and bounds when it comes to implementing improvements and much needed changes, bringing in new fans, and bringing back old fans discouraged by past iterations of the company (including myself). There are still some of you out there though who are yet to check out what a different product IMPACT is today compared to the days of old, so if you need a little convincing to give this show a go, here are the 10 Biggest Positives about IMPACT Wrestling.
10. Graphics and Video Packages
For many years, WWE have been the supreme standard when it comes to video packages. Whether its to hype a show, a match, or a career retrospective, nobody has been able to rival their slick presentation and professional production. However, it seems in the past year or so, WWE have had some major competition from IMPACT Wrestling, who have been producing some of the most stunning, cinematic highlight reel promos you’ll see on television.
What IMPACT does better than anybody else is blend different videography styles and camera shots together to create an experience you need to watch, even if you’re already fully caught up on the events leading up to the show/match. IMPACT’s video packages feature perfectly clear slow motion shots that we never get to see during matches, giving us a new perspective on the beauty of pro wrestling. And WWE knows how well produced these segments were clearly as they hired IMPACT’s then Head Producer and Video Editor back in August, yet thankfully the quality of this company’s content has not declined in spite of this.
On top of all of that, when it comes to the best promo images, no major company can compete with IMPACT these days. On a weekly basis you will see the most gorgeous and stylised match-up images full of effort and at times imaginative ideas. Even the most basic of matches will have a striking promo image to accompany it, but when a match has a particularly interesting stipulation, or they feel like really hyping up a unique quality one of the participants has, their creativity flows to create captivating artwork that makes it difficult to forget about the match in question.
Aesthetics play an often underappreciated role in pro wrestling, and as far as promotional material quality goes, IMPACT really are one of the best out there today.
9. Working with Other Companies
Pro wrestling as a whole is better when people work together. Building up working relationships between companies allows for so many interesting opportunities, talent exchanges, and sharing of resources. In the last few years, we’ve seen IMPACT partner with several independent companies, broadcasting their shows which feature IMPACT stars for free on their Twitch channel. They have worked extensively with Pro Wrestling NOAH, and in 2018, made connections with Lucha Underground and AAA.
Because of these relationships, we’ve seen many cross-promotional shows and events, including Chris Jericho’s Rock and Rager at Sea, and the great IMPACT vs. The UK show in September, there has been an influx of incredible talent into IMPACT, and wrestlers from this company have expanded their reach around the world. Without their relationship with Lucha Underground, we wouldn’t have Pentagon Jr. and Fenix on weekly international television, and that alone is worth having a relationship for.
8. It Ain’t PG
If you’re looking for something a little more mature in your weekly pro wrestling offerings, IMPACT is for you. More often than not, you will be treated to some of the most brutal and entertaining death matches you’re bound to see away from a pay-per-view broadcast, mainly thanks to Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr.. Even on their Twitch channel they gift fans with wonderfully entertaining hardcore matches for free, including the gruesome yet fantastic match between Sami Callihan and Jimmy Havoc in Manchester (Getting to see Havoc dive barefoot into thumbtacks live whilst stood next to one of the higher-ups of IMPACT Wrestling was quite the experience for me).
And then if you are willing to fork over a bit of money to watch their PPV’s, you’ll witness even more wonderfully pleasurable violence. The OG’Z vs. LAX’s Concrete Jungle Death Match from Bound for Glory offered up a unique take on uncomfortably punishing torture, and Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr. from Slammiversary is genuinely one of the most violent matches I have ever seen from a mainstream wrestling company.
If you like you a bit of blood, guts, and violence in your pro wrestling, perhaps it’s time to give IMPACT a try.
7. Genuinely Good PPV’s
This year’s Slammiversary is easily one of the best top to bottom shows of the year. Taking place in July, the event offered us a fast-paced fatal-four-way featuring Bullet Club member Taiji Ishimori, a brutal street fight between The OG’z and LAX, an incredible and at times uncomfortably savage brawl between Pentagon Jr. and Sami Callihan, and a surprisingly good main-event.
Fast-forward to October, and Bound for Glory gave us a hot crowd, the PPV debut of Willie Mack, a great Knockouts Championship match between Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie, an oVe Rules Match with one hell of a finish, a gruesome Concrete Jungle Death Match, and a main-event with very interesting results.
Unlike other promotions, IMPACT now only has a pay-per-view once every few months, so if you don’t want to cough up money on a regular basis, or you feel overloaded by content but still want to be treated to some stellar pro wrestling content, consider checking their next big show out.
6. Allowing Wrestlers to be Themselves
In a recent appearance on Talk is Jericho, former-WWE and current NJPW commentator, Kevin Kelly, said that a wrestler works best when what they say is directly from their mind, and that, “Nobody knows what you would say about something better than you.” The overly scripted nature of WWE is a widely voiced criticism by fans, as it leads to false-sounding promos, and at times, writing staff not knowing exactly how to treat somebody else’s character, especially those that are new to the main roster, which halts the momentum they gained from NXT.
Well, in IMPACT, people can be who they really want to be (within reason). Sami Callihan has stated that one of the reasons he decided to sign with IMPACT was because they were willing to let him be himself more than anyone else. No other company was willing to put his oVe faction on television, yet they had the belief in Sami’s ideas and abilities, and allowed him to be who he wanted to be.
With more freedom compared to WWE, IMPACT stars can make, well, an impact right from the start by making fans fully aware of who they are and what they represent. The flowing of creativity is great to see, and makes for some engaging viewing.
5. Don Callis
In December last year, Don Callis became the new Executive Vice President of IMPACT Wrestling, and it’s no coincidence that the company has improved so much since that signing. Don has brought his years of experience in the pro wrestling industry, his eye for talent, and his great creative mind to alter IMPACT Wrestling for the better. What’s more, Callis has also made his way to the commentary table with entertaining results.
If Callis keeps things going the way they are, and he uses his NJPW connections to forge somewhat of a relationship between the two companies, even if it is just a few minor talent exchanges, IMPACT can only continue to improve.
4. Stepping Out of the Ring
One of the best parts of watching IMPACT is when the action is removed from a ring. Whether it’s a meeting inside LAX’s clubhouse, a street fight that literally takes place in a street for once, a brawl in the woods, or a battle in a different realm, IMPACT offers interesting, cinematic, and beautifully shot content that you will not see from another major wrestling promotion, barring Lucha Underground (which sadly isn’t widely available).
Although the most famous example of this was The Final Deletion from 2016, IMPACT hasn’t relied on this WONDERFUL brawl, yet has instead took inspiration from it to craft distinctive pieces of great television. It may take a while to adjust to, and it does require more suspension of disbelief than a traditional wrestling match, but once you get your head around it, you’ll want to see more and more each week.
3. Quality Matches on Television
If you’re not quite ready to part with your money to watch a pay-per-view, fear not, IMPACT showcase some great matches on television on a regular basis. This year we’ve seen great bouts featuring Pentagon Jr., Eddie Edwards, LAX, Fenix, Sami Callihan, Brian Cage, Tessa Blanchard, and more, all for free on television.
At the heart of it, we all watch pro wrestling for the matches – everything else is a bonus. As we’ve seen so far, I believe IMPACT are getting a lot of the theatrical and eccentric aspects of pro wrestling right, but if they don’t offer good matches as well, none of that matters. Thankfully, they’ve got plenty of good programming to offer us all.
2. It’s Not Trying to be Anything It’s Not
Finally, it seems as though IMPACT Wrestling isn’t obsessed with trying to be a WWE competitor, or WWE Lite, or the place where former WWE talents go to play out the rest of their career. As we’ve seen with the influx of talents and much-needed changes, IMPACT seems to have forged an identity for itself, with a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and what type of product it wants to put fourth.
By acknowledging what they have, what position they are in, and where their gap in the market is, IMPACT will continue to improve and hopefully will find more success because of it.
- Amazing Talent
At the heart of it all, pro wrestling is all about the talent inside the ring, and oh boy does IMPACT have that by the bucket load at the moment:
The Lucha Brothers.
And plenty of great indie stars that make one-off appearances.
When IMPACT have a roster this stacked, do you really need any other reason to give them a chance?
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