iMPACT Wrestling is one of the longest running wrestling entertainment shows still surviving on cable television. Although the immediate future of the show is still somewhat in doubt at the present time, it has enjoyed an extremely successful decade-long run on various networks, commencing with its very first episode in June 2014.
Breaking The McMahon Monopoly
The show was initially part of the Fox Channel’s Sports network. Although the initial premise of the show seemed to be simply focused on providing the wrestling fans with another top-quality entertainment product, sources close to the action confirmed that a largely unspoken and non-publicized purpose was also at play.
This unspoken purpose was no less than a concentrated effort on the part of the show’s creators, as well as the Fox Sports Channel’s unseen movers and shakers, to break the virtual monopoly that was held by Vince McMahon and his gigantic World Wrestling Entertainment franchise. While previous “independent” wrestling federations, such as ECW, had been defeated and absorbed by McMahon, the creators of iMPACT Wrestling were adamant that their product would remain outside of the orbit of WWE.
Roster Of Noted iMPACT Wrestling Performers
Perhaps the most well-known personality from the world of wrestling to appear on the show has been Kurt Angle, the famous Olympian athlete and grappler, who now serves as the fictional Executive Director of Wrestling Operations. Although Angle only rarely appears in the ring, he has a large presence on the show as a fictional behind the scenes “mover and shaker” with a characteristically villainous presence reminiscent of the famous story lines he was involved with in the past.
Some of the other famous male performers who regularly appear on iMPACT Wrestling include the “Hall Of Famer,” Bully Ray, TNA’s former Tag Team Champion Davey Richards and newer characters such as Manik and Rockstar Spud. These famous and infamous performers have kept the level of viewer interest very consistently high through the decade that the program has aired.
An Equal Opportunity Employer
iMPACT Wrestling has also gained a fair degree of notoriety for its open door policy of employing female wrestlers and featuring them in story lines which run concurrent to those that feature their more commonly accepted male counterparts. Characters, such as TNA Knockouts champion Havok, Velvet Sky, Rebel and Madison Rayne have managed to excite and intrigue viewers.
These female pioneers of the grappling industry have really managed to give the show a uniquely unisex flavor, a feat that was unheard of only a few short years ago in the previously male-dominated world of professional wrestling. Although most of the show’s female performers still take a relative back seat to their better-known male counterparts, the gender balance of featured performers is surprisingly proportionate.
Much of the credit for this revolutionary advent of female performers can be traced to the original directive that the show’s creators had in mind. That is to create a show that had a flavor and following all its own, that would prove to be all but impossible for the massive McMahon franchise to emulate, much less duplicate.
Network Positioning: A Moveable Feast
The network television history of iMPACT Wrestling has been erratic and sometimes incoherent. Indeed, the network positioning of the show has proven it to be somewhat of a moveable feast. The show began life as a member of the Fox Sports network in June of 2004, but only lasted a year there before its cancellation.
During the summer of 2005, the franchise stayed alive by offering webcasts on its own dedicated site. This kept the show alive during the summer and fall of 2005, although the content offered was somewhat obviously circumscribed by budgetary considerations.
Finally, at the end of 2005, the series found a new home on the then new cable television network Spike TV. With its combination of gritty, adult-oriented, “urban” programming and “edgy” sports content, iMPACT Wrestling was a natural fit. Indeed, the show immediately began to thrive, picking up a new audience of fun-loving fans and wrestling aficionados in a very short amount of time.
A Time Of Transition
However, as of July 2014, the future of iMPACT Wrestling has been somewhat in doubt. The show’s creators have hinted that the show will continue on in whatever form, not even ruling a return to the webcasting solution that sustained it during the uncomfortable summer of 2005. There is still plenty of reason to hope that a new deal with Spike TV will still be signed in order to save it from leaving the network. As of the autumn of 2014, no new arrangement has been announced.
Watch iMPACT Wrestling Online
Although the show has had a rocky history on various cable television networks over the past decade, it can easily be found by its dedicated fans and interested newcomers alike. Anyone who wants to catch up with past episodes, or see where the franchise is heading at the moment, is free to watch iMPACT Wrestling online.