Welcome everyone to the return of Spin Cycle. In honor of our ten-year anniversary, our roundtable column based off the web-series of the same name has returned.
I have sent our panel a list of questions which they have been gracious enough to answer. Today we are joined by Impact Dude, Fireguy, DDG and Darryn Simmons. All have been wonderful contributors to this site.
There will be a plethora of free agents available within the next few months. Who are the top three names that you would like to see join Impact Wrestling?
Impact Dude: I’d really rather they concentrate on continuing to build their own stars. While I believe a guy like Ace Austin still needs some work to be a star, they’ve put a lot of effort into developing him. Honestly, it would be criminal to halt that effort because someone new just became available. Dixie Carter was infamous for doing this and look where it got her. Guess who else did it? Eric Bischoff. The one that didn’t - Vince McMahon.
That said, Eric Young is a talent that brings a lot to the program, particularly if they want to push the old TNA brand. Additionally, the Revolt would be a huge boost to their decimated tag team division if they could be pried from AEW. But for my money, the best tag team for them would be Gallows and Anderson. Impact could be their North American home and they could also work New Japan as well. They’d make a lot of money and Impact would get a foundation-level tag team. That’s a win for everyone in my book!
DDG: It's very hard to chose just three, but for sure Rusev and Eric Young would be my first two picks. Kurt Angle would be a good signing as well, as such a vet would be invaluable.
Darryn Simmons: The first is EC3. As a guy that found his stride in Impact and couldn’t replicate the success in WWE (for whatever reason), he would be a conquering hero in an Impact return. He’d fill Impact’s need for more main event level talent as well
The second is Deonna Purazzo. The Knockout division is as deep and talented as it has been in awhile, but Purazzo is one of the best workers in women’s wrestling and you don’t pass on the chance to get that talent. She could steal the show with any number of the current Knockouts.
The third might be a shock, as it’s not someone with a WWE background, is former NWA talent Ricky Starks. Starks is one of those young talents you want to beat everyone else to the punch on. This is a guy who got signed to the NWA without them ever having seen him wrestle on the strength of his self-produced promo videos. There’s some Ethan Page potential in him.
Honorable Mentions: Eric Young (who I think is coming anyway). Gallows and Anderson, Chris Hero, Rachel Ellering.
Fireguy: This is a hard one and it’s only the first question! With all the WWE releases, it’s hard to narrow it down to just 3 names. It also depends on how Impact will use them. The first name I’ll have to put on the list (in no particular order) is TNA original (basically) Eric Young. Even though in the last few years it seems like he has stepped away from wrestling and pursued other interests, I definitely believe that Impact can offer the schedule that will appeal to someone like EY, who’s definitely not a young stud in the wrestling scene. I definitely believe he can be an upper card talent and can have very interesting programs with Eddie Edwards, possibly Rosemary, and many others.
A second name I would add to this list is The Revolt/Revival/whatever name they’re gonna be using now since the lawsuit. Impact has slowly been rebuilding their tag team division after the departure of LAX and the Lucha Bros, but The North can only carry it so far. With the addition of The Revolt, we have tons of new programs with the current tag champs, The Rascalz, XXXL and many other possibilities.
A final name I would like to see, and this one is a bit of a twist here, would be Brian Cage. All indications point to him being gone from Impact since he got injured so I don’t feel like I’m cheating by adding him to the list. I still think he has lots left to offer Impact and with a fledgling main event scene right now that is very heel heavy, Brian Cage could be a good hand.
Following the success of the TNA on AXS TV special, there has been a renewed interest in the TNA brand. Where do you sit on bringing back the TNA brand and how would you integrate TNA's legacy to appease AXS TV?
Fireguy: There’s no need to bring back the TNA name. Not that I think it brings a black cloud over the company (I couldn’t care enough about the 5 people that are still on the LOLTNA bandwagon), I just don’t think changing names again is good for business. People are used to the Impact name, it’s a lot more marketable in this day and age (TNA definitely won’t slide in PC 2020) and their main programming is called Impact so it keeps everything uniform. On the other hand, the concepts are definitely something to explore. No, I’m not talking about the reverse battle royale. If it wasn’t for the current world pandemic, we would have been able to witness the return of TNA for one night at Wrestlecon.
Something tells me since they weren’t able to pull off their King of the Mountain match, and with no ending in sight for the pandemic, that they may pull off a KOTM match at Slammiversary. Other concepts include Ultimate X (which has already been done by this new regime) and possibly the return of matches like more Barbed Wire Massacres (when needed), Lethal Lockdown (which was also supposed to happen), Elevation X, etc. I would also like prime TNA booking and creative… but we can always wish.
Impact Dude: It depends. If I put on my rose-colored glasses, I’m saying this is awesome! It helps bring back some old fans to watch the current product. What better way to market your existing product than with your old product? It’s almost marketing brilliance.
But this is Impact and unfortunately it’s history tells a different story. The Impact brand now represents a product with much less glitz than the old TNA product. While Anthem has done a fantastic job stabilizing the company, it came with cost cuts for both talent and production. So while it may be more stable than ever (or at least close anyway), it’s entirely possible they are concerned about the brand name once again. Like it or not, Tessa as champ will fuel that argument as well.
So it may or may not be a good thing. Time will tell. As a fan though, I personally welcome any opportunity to view that older, nostalgic content. So for me - I’ll give it a thumbs up every day!
DDG: As a long time TNA fan, and someone who remembers it fondly (the good at least), I think bringing it back in some capacity is pretty cool for nostalgia's sake. Moose declaring himself the TNA Champion is hilariously awesome, but I think they should avoid overdoing it. I don't think they should bring the brand back full time, especially since it continues to live on through Impact+ and the countless shows dedicated to it.
That said, doing a TNA special every once in a while is a fun idea. Even without access to most original TNA originals, the company has so many things and gimmicks that will forever be associated with it that you can easily use to get around the absence of some of its former key talent.
Darryn Simmons: Nostalgia only takes you so far, and then it works against you because it becomes a reminder that the promotion isn’t what it once was. I think bringing back the TNA brand would be a mistake. However, bringing back some of the traditions and legacies from the TNA days is long overdue. I think Impact has begun that with the attempted return of Lockdown and naming the Impact Plus shows after the old TNA PPVs, and they should keep it up. World X Cup, Super X Cup, King of the Mountain, heck even the old Ultimate Sacrifice match should make a return. Bury Joseph P. Ryan and bring back Joey Ryan along with RVD and Katie Forbes and replace #CancelCulture with Sports Entertainment Xtreme.
AXS TV announced that Impact in 60 would be joining the weekly show every week. If it were up to you, would you add additional programming on AXS. If so, what is one program you would add?
Darryn Simmons: PPV Countdown shows of the production quality that AEW has achieved. Those kind of shows are where you help build and develop characters and personalities, which is where Impact could use a shot in the arm. The talent has the in-ring covered. They just need characters and stories for the fans to care about that makes them want to watch that in-ring action. Also, an Impact Insider show for the same reason. Let’s face it, one of the biggest draws of the Attitude Era was the behind the scenes drama: who is on the outs with who, who is dating who, whose deal is up and who is jumping from one company to the other? Wrestling media was formed on this and has made a nice living for several of its practitioners. Why shouldn’t the actual promotion get a piece of the pie that they make in the first place? Impact needs its own Adrian Wojnarowski/Shams Charania/Adam Schefter.
Fireguy: No, I would not add any additional programming. I understand the use of Impact in 60, as it’s cheap to produce (no new content) and they can easily make a talent or two sit and react to the episodes and matches. What I would do however is revamp the show they currently have, Xplosion, into a proper secondary show where midcard talent like Cancel Culture, The Deaners and all the new Knockouts can go shine. I want to see lower card stories be fleshed out on that show and see some intertwinement between both Xplosion and the traditional Impact show. I’m not sure if Impact still has international contracts that prevent them from airing Xplosion in the US still, but they should definitely get it on AXS TV (if it hasn’t been done already, I’m Canadian, cut me some slack please!) as soon as they can besides just the Impact Plus app and start making AXS happy.
Impact Dude: I’ll pass completely on any “new” content. Let’s face it - wrestling TV is officially supersaturated. You’ve got 5 hours of prime time WWE, 2 for AEW (plus Dark), MLW, ROH, and I suppose some would even count “Carneyland” (although after watching it, I can honestly understand why Billy Corgan couldn’t describe it).
Any new content is just too much for the market (although I’m fairly sure Will would be watching with a bucket of popcorn).
However, if AXS needed additional content, I’d run a series called “Slammiversary”. I’d make it one hour long and put up a couple of Slammiversary matches each week. It would be cheap, a quick watch, and would help the network while promoting the current product.
DDG: The Fight Network airs a ton of TNA content. Other than Impact in 60, they also air TNA Legends, Greatest Matches, Unfinished Business, Xplosion and some classic PPVs. If it were up to me, I would air most of these on AXS as well, but if the choice was only one, I'd say add Xplosion (and make it mean more).
What are your thoughts about the empty arena era of Impact Wrestling so far? If the pandemic continues, do you think this style of show is sustainable in the long run?
DDG: I need to catch up on the empty arena shows, but I've heard good things about them. What I have seen so far was quite entertaining. Wrestling in front of no crowd is very strange, but Impact's more relaxed nature makes it lively enough. Under normal circumstances, empty arena shows wouldn't be sustainable in the long term. But as long as they can't get a crowd, then empty arena shows are better than no shows at all. Everyone knows and understand why there's no crowd, so I don't think it would be much of an issue (at least to die hard fans) if the situation goes on for longer.
Darryn Simmons: Hate it. I think pro wrestling needs to do a practical 180 until things change. Cut down the empty arena in ring action that is done to no reaction and comes off like a dress rehearsal. More time devoted to vignettes and promos and developing your talent and giving the fans a reason to be invested in them. Then they’ll be ready to watch them put more time in the ring when the crowds return.
Fireguy: I believe that Impact has kicked the empty arena shows out of the park! With the arrival of Crazzy Steve, Neveah, Kimber Lee and more than likely tons of new talents in the upcoming weeks and in the new taping session that is rumored to happen soon, as well as a seemingly refreshed creative team and new directions for most of the talent that could make it to the tapings, Impact has definitely turned this negative into a positive. And once the rest of the talent can make their return to Impact TV, Impact can make sure their returns feel important and build it into ongoing stories. Is this sustainable long term? Absolutely. Maybe not years but this pandemic isn’t going to last years.
If we look at AEW and NXT, their ratings haven’t dropped that bad so having a live audience there or not doesn’t seem to be affecting interest. On the other hand, Raw and Smackdown are struggling but I believe that’s more so due to the fact that the main roster can’t figure out how to do an empty arena show for the life of them as well as that most fans were probably just watching out of habit and were waiting for an excuse to stop watching a subpar product. If Impact can continue to keep their shows entertaining, I believe that Impact can once again be the cockroach that keeps on kicking.
Impact Dude: I mean, you do what you gotta do, right? On one hand, sustainability depends on the financials. If they need live gates, then it’s going to get ugly and it’s going to get ugly quickly.
But if they can make the financials work? It’s a HUGE opportunity for them! Let’s face it - when you tape with fans, you’ve got spoilers. But when you tape without them? You’re as good as live! And they levels the playing field between them and WWE/AEW. So while it seems like they’ve been served a plate full of lemons, they’ve actually been served a golden opportunity to make lemonade.
Impact has brought in a plethora of new talent during the empty arena era (Tasha Steelz, Crazzy Steve, Hernandez etc.). Of that talent, who has impressed you most? Which talent do you miss seeing most?
Impact Dude: It’s understandable they brought in new talent, given that so many couldn’t travel. AEW has done the same and WWE even continued using releases talent.
For me, personally? Eddie Edwards has always been a favorite. But in reality, the talent we really needed to see was Tessa. The WC is the face of the company and everything should be revolving around they belt. Not having your WC for an extended period of time is unacceptable. I’m particularly hard on Tessa since I know her family is in NC and she easily could have hunkered down there and driven to TN for tapings. Instead she hunkered down in Mexico of all places. Now, regardless of your individual political stance, it’s pretty well-known that this administration isn’t fond of they particular border, so why even consider doing that? I mean, she’s the face of a Canadian company that is based in the US and Canada yet moves to Mexico. I’m literally dumbfounded at that decision. I’d I were Ed Nordholm I’d be livid.
DDG: I'm very happy that Crazzy Steve is back. Always been a big fan of the guy.
Since I need to catch up of the recent shows, I haven't had the time to miss anyone, but Impact without Eddie sounds crazy. Is it even Impact if Eddie isn't there?
Darryn Simmons: I predict Kylie Rae, Tasha Steelz and Kimber Lee will be major players in the Knockouts Division going forward for a long time. With WWE’s overreliance on Charlotte Flair and AEW’s women’s division still trying to find its footing, Impact has a rare opportunity to be the best women’s division on cable TV in the states if they play their cards right. I miss seeing the North in something more than comedy skits (not that those skits haven’t had their moments). The tag division is improving, only a couple teams away from being unmatched (cough*The End and Jaka and Chris Dickinson*cough) and I look forward to the North mixing it up with XXXL, the Fillipino Brotherhood, Reno Scum and the Dez/Wentz version of the Rascalz when normalcy returns.
Fireguy: I feel like it’s a bit early to talk about any first impressions for the talent that have debuted at the most recent set of tapings, but I’ll go against the grain here and say Crazzy Steve. He’s solid in the ring, he’s a very great character and someone that does story heavy stuff very well, which is something that Impact has had a hard time pulling an equal balance of on TV. It seems like they much rather have a wrestling heavy show instead of a healthy balance. But these empty arena shows are definitely striking a better balance than before. The talent I miss seeing the most is Daga. I’ve been strongly opinionated in the Asylum for a while now for Impact rebuilding a proper, isolated (in a sense) X-Division for a while now and with Daga out of the picture due to the pandemic I feel like the X-Division is back to being on the shallow end. I definitely hope he can make his return to Impact TV soon.
This year marks the 10-Year Anniversary of Impact Asylum. What are your general thoughts about celebrating a decade of existence. Is there anything else you want to say?
DDG: I'm really glad the Asylum is still going strong after 10 years! I'm also proud to say that I've been here for the past 10 years, having lots of fun and heated arguments with good people. There's a reason Impact Asylum is the only comment board on the net that I frequent: it's the best site, period.
Everyone should be thankful to Talon for creating this site (without even asking anything in return, on top of that). I hope to see it continue for many, many years to come!
Darryn Simmons: Congratulations and applause to Talon and the rest of the guys that have made Impact Asylum the undisputed best Impact fan site on the web. This site could have gone the way of other similar sites that have become the butt of the jokes of the “loltna” crowd. Instead, it’s about as balanced as Impact discussion gets on the Internet. They even let my long-winded ass contribute from time to time.
Fireguy: Man, there’s so much to say, but Talon only wants one paragraph! I can’t say I’ve been here since the very start but I started lurking on this site since about 2012. This was about 5-6 years into my fandom for professional wrestling and once I found out that there were fan sites out there to discuss TNA, my favourite promotion at the time, I knew I had to get involved. I started commenting in about 2014-2015 if I remember correctly and since then I’ve had the honour and pleasure to write a plethora of reviews, previews and columns as well as host and be a part of plenty of podcasts. My fandom for Impact and professional wrestling has dwindled and sparked over the years but one constant will remain the same, I will always remain active on this site. Impact Asylum has turned into a tight knit group of individuals and even though we have our disagreements, this is what makes these conversations so great and allows for amazing discourse. If we all agreed all the time, this would be the most boring forum page on the Internet! Thank you Talon for keeping this website running out of pocket, the effort you put into this site doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you to all the mods that help run the day to day with the website as well. I hope I can keep producing columns and podcasts in the near future. Fireguy isn’t going anywhere.
Impact Dude: First and foremost - thank you Talon! Thank you for doing this for a decade, and thank you for putting up with all of us, lol! This site has had a lot of ups and downs, but you’ve lead it with a steady hand when it was red hot, and also when it was ice cold. You’ve welcomed people, and then welcomed them back. But most importantly, you’ve always been welcoming!
And if I had to point my finger on the reason that 10 years later I still read almost every comment here, that would be it.
I’d also like to thank all the folks that helped make this site great. From JSO to OSH and every other person that ever moderated a “cyber fight” between two people who were likely guilty of nothing more then maybe being a bit too passionate about TNA / Impact Wrestling, I owe you all a beer as well.
But particularly to TNATroll. I owe you a beer for each of your songs. They were all epic. OSH still texts me and RavenEffect those on occasion so they are not forgotten! Not even close my friend!!!