` WrestlingEpicenter.com - THE RANT: Why TNA Impact Wrestling Becoming Global Force Wrestling is a Good Thing WrestlingEpicenter.com - THE RANT: Why TNA Impact Wrestling Becoming Global Force Wrestling is a Good Thing
THE RANT: Why TNA Impact Wrestling Becoming Global Force Wrestling is a Good Thing

Posted By James Walsh on 07/01/17

So, what is going on with TNA? Been quiet lately. Not much news... Right?

Is my sarcasm coming through? I hope so. I'm laying it on pretty thick.

At my AM radio station back in 2005, I was told by the station manager to stop referencing history to make my point. I did not listen to her in the slightest because it takes explaining the history of a situation is the only way I know to make the current situation clear. But, I have done my best to give the Readers Digest version of the history.

Impact started in 2002 under the name NWA TNA. Spelled out, National Wrestling Alliance Total Nonstop Action. The company used the NWA letters to appeal to the tradition and history of wrestling fans, including and especially displaced WCW fans who no longer had a wrestling company to call home. The company ran 114 (including Year in Review and Best Of episodes) Wednesday night PPV events before discontinuing the weekly PPV format as they had obtained a TV deal on Fox Sports Net and made the show Impact a thing on June 4th, 2004.

On November 7th, 2004, the company dropped the NWA letters from its name as they expanded into a 3 hour PPV format on a monthly basis. That first PPV was called Victory Road.

The name Impact became more ingrained in company history when they made their debut on Spike TV on October 1st, 2005. Spike was a larger network which had just lost WWE programming in September of 2005 as they returned back to their original cable home the USA Network.

In an in ring confrontation in 2011, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Mick Foley coined the term "Impact Wrestling". It was believed this would be the name of the company going forward as Hogan and Bischoff were critical of the implications of the TNA letters. For one, TNA does not include a "W" because wrestling isn't there. Plus, it implies T&A instead, urban slang for tits and ass which could be taken in a negative light by many.

But, the company stayed as TNA Impact Wrestling just extending the name. It extended name would see the company through some rough patches as the purse strings were cut by the parent company of Impact Ventures resulting in the loss of key talent like Hulk Hogan, AJ Styles, and even seeing the departure of company founder Jeff Jarrett in late 2013.

In 2014, TNA Impact Wrestling lost Spike TV amidst a debacle involving specific instructions given by Spike executives to company President Dixie Carter surrounding the involvement of controversial writer Vince Russo.

After a year on a network best described as a network that shows rednecks chasing ghosts called Destination America, TNA Impact Wrestling joined POP TV.

But, all was not well.

TNA Impact Wrestling's owner Dixie Carter was running the company on borrowed money from rock singer Billy Corgan. Leading in to Bound for Glory in October of 2017, the company was rumored to be sold to the WWE if Billy Corgan did not win a court case with the company to seize control. Corgan lost his case. But, Impact was not sold to WWE. Instead, it was sold to Anthem.

With Dixie Carter out, a void was left atop the TNA Impact Wrestling office. Who better to run it than Jeff Jarrett, the company's founder?

When Jeff Jarrett left TNA Impact Wrestling in 2013, he founded GFW, Global Force Wrestling. GFW started with a head of steam and even broadcast the NJPW Tokyo Dome show on American PPV under the GFW banner in 2015. They filmed a season of TV called GFW Amped TV in Las Vegas during the summer of 2015. Those tapes never aired and the company's stature seemed to go through atrophy. The company still ran co-headlined events with local independent companies. But, the head of steam they had built was not the same.

When Jeff Jarrett returned to the company, the change was obvious. And, during the first set of tapings under the new regime, the TNA letters were officially dropped. It became Impact Wrestling as it probably should have in 2011.

During the week leading up to Sunday's Slammiversary event, Impact Wrestling purchased Global Force Wrestling. And, on Friday, June 30, Jeff Jarrett announced that Impact Wrestling would now be simply known as Global Force Wrestling.

So,that was the Readers Digest version of the entire history of this company. Could you imagine the long version?

Why is this change, the change to Global Force Wrestling, a good thing?

During Impact's dark days, basically 2014 to late 2016 with a few bright spots such as the Broken Hardy gimmick and the work horse like performances of the Wolves (Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards). the brand name was severely damaged. In fact, some argue the damage becan during the 2010 to 2013 run of Hogan and Bischoff. But, I don't actually agree with that in the slightest so I will proceed without that included.

The company has always been in a weird no man's land. During the Monday Night Wars era, WCW was seen as the company of older wrestlers with bigger pay checks and WWE the hipper, more cutting edge show. During the mid 2000's, TNA was the much smaller company with younger, more cutting edge programming and WWE was largely the over 40 club. Yet, TNA could not capture any of the Attitude Era renegade fan base. For that matter, though even playing the legendary ECW Arena for a house show in 2006, TNA was not seen as much of a renegade product as ECW was and thus did not get that fan base. So, it suffered from a lack of an identity at least as far as the fans viewed the company.

That is not to say there was no fan base. In fact, Impact was still drawing nearly a million views each week on Spike TV. The dark era of 2014 through 2016 burned the bridges for TNA's fan base. The online community's negativity was over the top. Bottom line? The brand was damaged.

Global Force Wrestling becoming the new name is a scorched earth approach to re-branding the company to an audience that might have preconceived notions as to what TNA Impact Wrestling had become. It gets rid of the damaged brand name and hopefully will welcome back viewers. Plus, it has that "W" in it so people know what it is from the name. Some do judge a book, or a show, by its cover... Or name!

Finally, I want to throw a little love out to the Impact office crew. While Joseph Park paid us a compliment in our interview for always sticking by the company (though calling us another site, so I hope the compliment was due for us), the Impact staff has always been top notch. I have worked closely with Amy at Impact during the darker days who never seemed to be down on anything. And, the return of former WCW alum Ross Forman has shown his chops as Slammiversary press has been more positive towards the company and more aggressive by the company than anything in recent years.

Global Force Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, TNA Impact Wrestling, TNA, NWA TNA... Whatever you know it as or call it, this company has been the most viable alternative to a stale WWE product for the past 15 years. Cheers to all who kept the ship afloat during the hard times as we sail forward to what looks to be better days coming!