Never before has an American wrestling company embraced the United Kingdom as TNA has in recent years. From fan interactions to television tapings, TNA has repeatedly gone the extra mile for its loyal following in the UK. In return, those “stinking freeloaders” (as Jeff Jarrett described them) have been as rowdy and passionate as any fan should be. But, perhaps the biggest development of note has been the emergence of quality British talents on Impact Wrestling.
It started with the British Invasion (Magnus and Doug Williams) and has now evolved to a diverse group of characters such as Rockstar Spud, Mandrews, Bram and Drew Galloway. The results speak for themselves: Most have gone on to win championships or perform their best work in front of a worldwide viewing audience. Hell, with the British indie scene as healthy as it is today, even more names are slowly making an impression on fans and promoters alike.
Recently, the good folks over at Royal Ramblings published an article listing their top five dream matches for the 2016 Maximum Impact Tour. TNA President Dixie Carter then turned it into a Twitter poll, asking fans to voice their opinions on which wrestlers deserve a shot on the upcoming tour.
So, just how committed is TNA to featuring more British talents? Rockstar Spud had this to say during a candid interview on Stevie Knight's podcast:
“Impact Wrestling announced that when they do the UK tour at the end of January, they want to highlight a British independent talent. It’s a great opportunity to expose yourself to a bigger audience if you’re a UK wrestler but also expose yourself to the top brass that may have never heard of you, because when you’re running a television company, you’re usually just focused on your company and you’re not really focused on what’s going on outside your own bubble. Somebody might have the opportunity to open a few eyes. It could be anybody, it really could.
“Will Ospreay is one of the most phenomenal young men I’ve ever watched. People care about him, and that means more than anything because he connects with an audience. What I personally would be looking about is getting another TNA Knockout. I never really saw Winter (Katarina Waters) as a sole UK lady; she’s half-German. So I’m interested to see if there’s a potential Knockout in the UK scene, as well as some of the other talent like Marty Scurll, Dave Mastiff and Jimmy Havoc. That’s down to the fans. Get your favorites as much support as possible and we’ll see what happens.”
Yes, indeed. A great opportunity for the wrestlers, and a great set of shows for the fans. Everybody has their own wish list of matches and wrestlers they want to see on Impact, whether it’s for one night or on a regular basis. So, just for fun, here are some of mine:
1) Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway
This is a no-brainer. Aside from their in-ring skills, Drew planted the seeds for this match when he said during a promo that he hopes to face Kurt one day for the TNA title. Now that Kurt is leaving, we have to see it at least once while Drew is hitting his stride. It's just too bad they're not going to Glasgow this time but hey, #StandUp for wrestling. Because we love wrestling, damn it!
2) Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
One match that always sticks out in my mind is the X Division showcase between Austin Aries and Roderick Strong at Unbreakable 2005. It only lasted eight minutes, but it was so entertaining that both guys wound up getting TNA contracts. That's the same scenario I'm hoping for with Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr. (or any two talents of their caliber, in case one or neither is unavailable). Just let them do what they do best, and that is all.
3) Gail Kim vs. Kay Lee Ray vs. Taryn Terrell
Gail and Taryn have had an amazing rivalry since 2013. Gail and Kay Lee had a nice match at the British Boot Camp 2 finale in 2014. All three ladies are exciting to watch when they bust out some crazy moves, so imagine if they faced off simultaneously for the Knockouts Title as the crowd chants “This is awesome!” Given the right time, this could easily steal the show and provide another cool memory in the eight-year history of the TNA UK tour.
4) The Wolves vs. Dave Mastiff and Rampage Brown
The Wolves need new challengers, so why not a dangerous duo like Mastiff and Brown? Both guys are not only physically intimidating, but deceptively agile for their size. And since most TNA fans already recognize them from British Boot Camp 2, their pairing feels pretty natural in this case. It would certainly be a fresh change of pace from the usual tag teams that Wolves have faced, such as the Hardys and the Dirty Heels.
5) Marty Scurll vs. Rockstar Spud
Their history is well-documented. Spud and Marty were once heated rivals on the indies, as well as fierce competitors on British Boot Camp. While Spud earned a TNA contract and became a two-time X Division Champion, Marty reinvented himself and became a hell of a performer in his own right. Just the evolution of their characters - Villain vs. Underdog - makes for a fun, intriguing match years later on TNA TV.
Jimmy Havoc - brilliant character with an edgier style and a hardcore reputation.
Joel Redman - has a terrific look and is versatile in singles or a tag team.
Noam Dar - great mat wrestler who is already experienced in his early twenties.
Nikki Storm - has well-rounded skills but may be heading to WWE, so who knows?
What are your dream picks for the UK tour? Feel free to share in the comments below.