Like a phoenix from the ashes, IMPACT is yet again the word on the lips of wrestling fans all over the globe, following a monumental Slammiversary that would prove to be the promotion's biggest live event in years - smashing the company's social media records and seemingly kick-starting a monumental, renewed interest in the promotion.
However, that first cliche isn't quite true. While it's the story many may want to spin - the truth is that IMPACT's "overnight success" has actually taken the best part of three years to achieve, and it couldn't have happened any other way.
Last night, IMPACT Wrestling's weekly show hit 8,000 live views on Twitch, the online simulcast running adjacent to the AXS TV airing, with Twitter FILLED with praise for the promotion. But, let's not kid ourselves, a lot of hard work went in to this.
An instant IMPACT
The saying goes that you "make your own luck", and that's never been truer than with IMPACT. I don't think I have to take us on a grand tour down memory lane to make anyone aware of the problems IMPACT Wrestling faced in the past. But at what point do we rid ourselves of prejudice, recognise change and, more importantly, enjoy an incredible wrestling show?
Well, the latter is just what IMPACT provided this week, and at Slammiversary, and - here's the shocker - for a good two and a bit years before that too. While there's still the odd technical kink to work out, the company have given themselves a strong basis, they've been sitting back and biding their time, and now... Now they're ready to, pardon the pun, make an impact!
From attracting some of the biggest names in wrestling to "trending" on social media, it has to be recognised that all of this has happened as the result of nothing less than the hard work and sheer determination of management.
In December 2017, Anthem - who had purchased a majority stake in IMPACT the previous year - named that "management" as Don Callis and Scott D'Amore, in the role of Executive Vice Presidents, who did make instant changes in January 2018 - namely reverting to a four-sided ring from its hexagonal predecessor, and announcing a partnership with Twitch!
While the company found their feet in the world of broadcast, the unique Twitch partnership was also accompanied by IMPACT Plus - the promotion's own subscription streaming service - in May 2019, with IMPACT moving to AXS TV after four months later.
All the while, IMPACT's weekly show had been gathering momentum, their roster expanding, and credibility improving along the way.
Slammiversary and beyond
Last month, the internet was whipped into a frenzy when IMPACT Wrestling teased some big names for Slammiversary, which rather conveniently fell on the day many Superstars became free agents.
As the names swirled around social media, myself and Sportskeeda were able to confirm that The Good Brothers - Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson - had signed with the company. When announced by the company officially at midnight on the day of Slammiversary, the tweet would take the internet by storm, becoming the company's best performing tweet in history!
While The Good Brothers may have brought the eyes of the world to Slammiversary, though, several surprise appearances and some ingenious booking would expectations were exceeded and those eyes would return for IMPACT on AXS TV three days later. As Heath, Eric Young, EC3 and The Motor City Machine Guns all shook up an already stacked roster.
And it didn't end there. After an event which saw Chris Bey and another new addition in Deonna Purrazzo crowned as new champions, IMPACT Wrestling kicked right back off where they ended with another title change, as the Motor City Machine Guns ended The North's 381-day reign, and another surprise addition to the roster with Brian Myers, FKA Curt Hawkins, appearing on the broadcast.
The genius of all this, too, is in an age where tragedy has struck with COVID-19 claiming lives across the globe and shutting down businesses and wrestling promotions left, right and centre. And leaving others wide open to criticism, IMPACT have thrived by going about their business as usual.
The company have been taping several episodes at a time, then allowing their talent to rest up at home. When calling their talent back into action, they've been requesting that talent self-isolate, having them stay in separate hotel rooms, running tests on talent and obeying social distancing in the studios - as detailed by Ace Romero when chatting with Jon Alba on the Living The Gimmick podcast.
Not only that, they've shrewdly picked up some big name talent on the way and positioned themselves perfectly for success. IMPACT have built their own stability, and now they're well equipped to make the world watch and listen.
Now, as many IMPACT Wrestling talents have disclosed in interviews with Sportskeeda over the past year, locker room morale is high, and the entire roster is incredibly motivated, united, and ready to take their chance. That "chance" is an opportunity like never before - and one we're already seeing the company take full advantage of.
Slammiversary is history, in more ways than one, and now the company is Bound For Glory.
IMPACT Wrestling - the name has never been more fitting.
Published 22 Jul 2020, 22:39 IST