Impact Wrestling’s Open Fight Night

I’m writing this hours before even the US broadcast, and I have to admit a certain amount of excitement and trepidation about Impact Wrestling’s new Open Fight Night. The principle is sound. TNA’s focus for the last couple of years has been to promote the wrestling rather than letting the surrounding nonsense take over the way WWE often does. Logically, therefore, it makes sense to show more and interesting matches, which makes their curent run of drawn-out feuds a bit of a nonsense. But I have to question how well this is all going to come off.

For one thing, the promised “Wrestling Idol” spot could go one of two ways. The best case scenario is one in which fine new, or lesser known, talent gets a tv spot for ten minutes or so. The worst is that a series of jobbers are given some token matches. I still roll my eyes at the commentators’ surprise that Mark Haskins had no home-crowd support at Wembley. What do you expect when your X-Division challenger has been on TV twice since you signed him? Meanwhile, more recent middleweight signings were rolled up in a feud that turned what was supposed to be a growing division into an interminable four-way wrangle for the title.

And the open challenges? A great idea in principle. Given how long the feuds seem to drag on for, I’m always up for some varied match pairings. But given TNA’s writers’ mentalities of late, I can forsee this spiralling downwards into a situation where it’s used as an excuse for feuds to continue when they should be over, or for new long-running feuds to be ignited without any real thought as to the rhyme or reason.

I am deeply aware that the mentality of the British wrestling fan is different to the Americans that make advertising revenue for the makers. Maybe long-running feuds and big guys doing power moves are what keeps an American audience watching. Maybe it’s me being a bit too geeky for my own good when I want to see different matches every week and see new talent on my little goggle-box. It wouldn’t surprise me to find my voice was a lone cry in the dark even among British fans. But then, despite the fact that Impact Wrestling is the biggest thing on Challenge, it’s not exactly capturing the imagination of the British audience as a whole. Whether I’m too British or just sad, I can only look on experiments designed for growing the American audience with trepidation.

One thing I am looking forward to, though, is the TV title actually beginning to mean something again. It was a belt for a belt’s sake for years while TNA dithered over what to do with it, but now a weekly title match where the champion takes all comers gives me something to be excited about. And Devon getting more ring time is no bad thing, either.

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~ by Scary Rob on 27 April, 2012.

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