Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Why to watch tonight’s TNA Impact Wrestling

So you want a war?

Of course you do. Which is why you and much of the wrestling media is hyping up a “war” between ROH Wrestling and TNA Wrestling due to both being on the same network. Destination America’s shocking announcement was no doubt a big deal, but these aren’t really companies fighting each other. ROH has a taped lead-in to Impact Wrestling that will be going head to head with Lucha Underground on El Rey Network and WWE NXT on WWE Network. Meanwhile, Impact Wrestling goes unopposed (unless you’re in Canada), unless you decide to watch NXT after it airs on the Network so you can catch Lucha or ROH instead. Impact Wrestling is taped as well, but if you already have ROH on one of the Sinclair Broadcasting local affiliate stations, you’ve already seen the episode over the weekend. In other words, this isn’t really a war. It’s a broadcasting block containing three hours of wrestling on a network that might not want two of those hours around anymore. I know this ruins all of the narratives that we’re embarking on a brand new “Monday Night War” but this is more the Wednesday Night Skirmish.

While ROH on cable could lead to more eyes on the product, it’s also an opportunity for ROH fans to catch TNA Impact and see what they have been missing. TNA has a terrible marketing department that has done itself little favours for years now in promoting what they have and what they don’t. In lieu of that, maybe I can do some of their job for them. If you wrote off TNA long ago, here’s what to watch for tonight’s TNA Impact Wrestling if you haven’t already been watching.

Former ROH Stars

Featured in a best of five tag team series is The Wolves (former ROH tag team and heavyweight champions Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) versus former ROH heavyweight champion Austin Aries and TNA original Bobby Roode. Even the most loyal ROH fan knows that Bobby Roode is the real deal, one of the most complete heavyweight male wrestling packages in the business today. Many watched when Aries took the TNA World Heavyweight championship from Roode at Destination X back in 2012 and saw how good Roode was every step of the way. Davey Richards used to rule ROH while Edwards was always consistent and resilient. To see these guys in action again will be a treat. There will also be a match involving the Beat Down Clan, which includes former ROH stars Homicide, Kenny King and Low-Ki.

Former WWE Stars that can go

Speaking of the Beat Down Clan, the leader is MVP, who hasn’t lost that much since his halcyon days in the WWE and work in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’s going up against The Rising, lead by Drew Galloway. The former Drew McIntyre turned in the rock star parody for a babyface revolutionary leading The Rising. He has been something of an inspirational leader for the TNA fans feeling beat down by all of the negative news as of late. Bobby Lashley will work one on one with Eric Young. Lashley is someone who still has a very negative reputation from his time in the WWE but Lashley is an excellent worker. I don’t know if he’ll get a lot of time against Young, but both men have very few deficiencies when it comes to wrestling ability.

Ethan Carter III

I’ve praised Ethan Carter III in the past and he’s done nothing but prove me right. He really wasn’t a former WWE star (hence why I didn’t mention Brooke Tessmacher either) but a preliminary guy who got a little bit of exposure but nothing in terms of a proper push. Nobody remembers him as Derrick Bateman anymore. The reason for that is he completely re-invented himself as Dixie Carter’s spoiled nephew Ethan Carter III. It’s not just the gimmick but the way EC3 carries himself which is magnificent. He’s a heel that can stay ahead of the audience and get real, true to goodness heat instead of just, “I cheer for the bad guy because I like bad guys” reaction that’s all too common in the WWE. His recent storyline where he is “campaigning” to become TNA World Heavyweight champion is a stroke of genius. To campaign for something you’re supposed to win in competition is about as pretentious and nefarious as it gets, but Ethan puts 100% into the gimmick. It’s not a joke to him.

It also doesn’t hurt that he handles his Twitter account better than 99% of the wrestling business today. He can be off the cuff and “shoot” when he needs to (like when the subject of Bill DeMott was hot) but for the most part he stays in character. When everyone in TNA was afraid of what the implications of ROH coming to Destination America meant, EC3 went right on the offensive. Or rather, went right to being the best character in wrestling:

Make no mistake about it. Whether you’re a WWE fan who loves characters or an ROH fan who loves wrestling, there’s something to find on Impact Wrestling. That’s not even going to their high quality Knockouts division or how we’ll be getting a Destination X supershow soon featuring high flying that a Lucha Underground fan will enjoy. TNA sort of hits the warm center of all of these qualities, but unfortunately all of the heat, controversy and attention tends to go straight to the business instead of in the storylines. Impact Wrestling is a jack of all trades wrestling program. I’m not saying you should give TNA chance because they made a hashtag promotion to do just that. Whatever. Watch the wrestling you want to watch. But we are in a unique opportunity today, where the middle of the week gives us four national wrestling products in a single night. Instead of staying in your comfortable WWE bubble or deciding to only watch ROH, let your night of watching wrestling continue when Impact Wrestling airs at 9PM EST/8PM Central (for Americans). You never know, you might only have three or so months to do so.

So here’s an open invitation: 



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