When we last left off, it looked like Billy Corgan was in position to acquire the company that we all love. Much has happened since then. Corgan sued Dixie and company, the courts kind of ruled in favor of Dixie, Anthem media settled with Corgan seemingly writing him out of the company and we moved on.
There is a public face of the company and the face that the sheets have revealed. In the public face, Anthem will be creditors for the company while a board of managers will run day to day operations. Eric Nordholm (representing Anthem Media) will be joining the board of managers. A few websites have noted that the plan was for Anthem to acquire 85% of the company, Aroluxe gets 10% and Dixie maintains 5%. Jason Brown of Aroluxe would be running the company while Aroluxe produces the shows. Dixie would then stay on as a figurehead of the company.
On the creative front, Dave Lagana has resigned from the company. As of now, it appears John Gaburick, Matt Conway and Madison Rayne will be the creative team with other names possibly joining in the near future. With Corgan and Lagana’s departures, it almost guarantees at least a slight shift in the creative direction of the company. How much of a shift, we don’t know as we can’t get a solid answer on who is responsible for what?
It appears that the company will tape four marathon sessions a year (the first being in January) to keep costs low. Aroluxe supposedly will be producing the show in exchange of ownership shares with the company.
Anthem Media will be creditors for the company which means we will be getting some financial stability (for now). My guess is that Anthem is doing this because IMPACT Wrestling will be major content creators for Fight Network and the Fight Network OTT App. We could be seeing TNA’s version of the WWE Network in the upcoming years. I can’t guess if the Fight Network plans on expanding in the US. TNA could be in a position where they are a mixture of ROH and WWE having their show on their owner’s network while also having the opportunities of unlimited content on a specialty network.
The real question is where the brand goes from here? Right now, with Corgan’s departure, there will be a new frontier for this company.
The first thing I would do is clear up the identity crisis that this company has. They shift back and forth between TNA and IMPACT Wrestling on a weekly basis. There is a possibility that the company goes by something completely different come January. In my opinion (which I have stated for years) the company should play up the IMPACT Wrestling brand and slowly phase out the TNA brand. I have said many times why I think IMPACT Wrestling is a solid brand but mostly its because of the main show (IMPACT on Pop). The brand is named after the show, has ties with its history yet removes the idiotic TNA lettering.
Issue number two is that you clean up the website. Right now, IMPACTWrestling.com is in horrible shape, runs slowly and really doesn’t provide anything. I get more from the IMPACT Twitter page than their website. Clean it up, provide a roster page and make it look sleek. It get be lean and mean but you want it to be efficient and fast.
Monetize your product! The approach I would take is to scout licensing, merchandise, ad revenue and TV rights deals. There is an opening for a new British TV partner. Down the line, TNA will need to look for a new American TV partner. They have a solid partner in India in Sony Six who they need to strengthen their relationship with. They should be looking at merchandise as they have an interesting product and should make money off of their characters. Look at a possible IMPACT video game. Look for ways to put toys in stores.
Address internal issues. Right now, there is a list of staffers/personnel that aren’t doing their job correctly. These staffers are holding the company back. Anthem and the board of managers need to look at who these personnel are. Get them on board or replace them with someone who will. There is also a chunk of wrestlers who aren’t being used that could be cut to save some money. I am not going to go into who that is because I want to respect their individual livelihoods.
Focus on being content creators. The show has to take priority as it is the main asset of the company. 2016 in my opinion was one of the strongest years for IMPACT quality-wise. They need to make sure to maintain that quality. Right now, their creditor/owner has a network which could be a home for the brand. They need to be content creators for Fight Network, Pop, Sony and their other partners.
Tweak the One Night Only concept. In a conference call, it was mentioned that the company wants to bring back touring. Unless, they tweak their marathon taping schedule, I don’t see them leaving one location for TV. They have an opportunity for One Night Only. ONO is a supplemental show with no connections to the TV product. Much like Live Events, the results have no consequence on the product. At least bringing One Night Only to different towns to test the water will give fans another reason to attend as they will be attending shows that will end up on PPV.
Another aspect of my branding is bringing back the “Bell to Bell” event branding. All PPV-type shows will fall under the Bell to Bell brand. Along with regular shows like Bound for Glory, Slammiversary, Lockdown and Destination X. IMPACT will have other Bell to Bell specials that they would build up to like Sacrifice, May Mayhem, Turning Point and more. Build up these shows and put the bigger matches on them. I honestly believe the company would benefit more from moving towards a TV based product instead of relying on PPV. Until they can have their own exclusive network, putting most of their major shows on TV is a much better move.
Work closely with Anthem and Aroluxe to plan on the long-term. My long-term vision for the company requires Fight Network to expand significantly. IMPACT can help them do that. Eventually if Fight Network has the reach of other major TV Networks in the United States and across the world, I could see the entire IMPACT Wrestling brand moving there. IMPACT and Bell to Bell specials would air on the network while the Library and other content could air on the OTT App.
One Thousand Thoughts:
*Team X Gold is an interesting concept that was poorly explained this year. I think that with a few tweaks, it could be a fun annual concept. It could be a more modern version of what the World X Cup was. For example, you have four teams of three X Division wrestlers. The teams compete against each other in six man matches either for points or a win-loss record. The team who wins the event each gets a shot at the X Division Title and Team X Gold glory.
*I love the introduction of the Broken Universe this year where anything can happen. Matt Hardy has created a mythology with his catchphrases, characters (Senior Benjamin, King Maxel, Vanguard 1, The Scribe) and abilities. I love the on-location segments we get from IMPACT and hope they continue into 2017. Final Deletion and Delete or Decay were some of my favorite segments this year. I expect Total Nonstop Deletion to match that.
*The DCC are very intriguing to me, specifically the presentation of the group. I love the countdown clock, white masks, backstage PSAs and more. Their theme song is awesome. I am still looking for a purpose of the group and hopefully we get that soon. Right now James Storm and Bram stand out as badasses; Kingston not so much.
*Eli Drake vs EC3 was a very fun match. I still wish they presented the match more as “Put Up or Shut Up” as it was a good tag. The match was probably Eli Drake’s best match to date. I will miss the Fact of Life segments for the remainder of 2016 but hopefully it comes back in 2017. The Eli Drake vs EC3 feud was fun but I am guessing that it is over.
*One thing I really don’t like right now is the stuff between the Tribunal and Shera/Al Snow. It feels like the feud between Shera and Tribunal has been going on forever. I don’t feel any intensity from Tribunal and it feels like they don’t matter. These are acts that could definitely go away.
* I appreciate the fact that the writers gave almost everyone something to do with these tapings. Whether it was Jessie Godderz’ rise or the stuff between Eli/EC3 or the stuff with the Knockouts, almost everyone had something to do. I think using everyone is a good strategy otherwise it is wasting talent.