The Salvation of Impact

Nick Paglino

The Salvation of Impact
by Mark Madden

Don’t be surprised if Hulk Hogan re-signs with Impact.

It would be a total con, a promise of one last run for Hulkamania. It would mean somehow convincing Dixie Carter that Hogan will be able to work later when he can’t work now. But Dixie is easily fooled. Fools usually are.

Barring such audacious idiocy, though, Impact should use Hogan’s departure to clean house. Go bare bones. Pare down to a profitable business model.

Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy should be the only big-money stars kept: Angle because he’s a dependable in-ring fulcrum with huge name recognition, Hardy because of high upside. Dump Mr. Anderson and RVD. It just hasn’t worked.

Joining Angle and Hardy on top: A.J. Styles, Bobby Roode, James Storm and the marvelously rejuvenated Bully Ray. Hovering on that fringe: Matt Morgan and Samoa Joe. Personally, I don’t think Crimson, Gunner and Hernandez are worth a damn, but keep them, then make them earn it.

In the mix: Austin Aries, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels, D’angelo Dinero and Zima Ion. X Division, tag teams, good workers, use them however.

Make Ric Flair a manager. The new J.J. Dillon. Flair wrestles only on occasion, even then just briefly, and only in tags.

Use Mickie James as the linchpin of the Knockouts. One Knockouts match per show, period. De-emphasis. The interest and talent just aren’t there. James is a constant. Everyone else is used as needed.

New announcers. I don’t know who. I do know that one of them shouldn’t be me. Suggestions? Mike Tenay and Tazz are the faces/voices of failure. They’re identified with a bad promotion. Their announcing has gone downhill, anyway. I’ve always liked Jeremy Borash. He’s fresh and energetic.

Anybody else should be used as needed. On a per-show basis. If you don’t like it, hit the indy trail. Old guys, go home.

That’s your roster, give or take. Now run a WRESTLING PROMOTION.

Not a sports entertainment promotion. Not a TV show where “THIS IS PERSONAL! THIS IS PERSONAL! MY GOD, THIS IS PERSONAL!” Run a wrestling promotion where the belts matter, winning matters, and issues between wrestlers are created primarily (but not only) because of that. Back when, personal issues mattered because companies picked their spots, and with belts, wins, paychecks, etc., as a constant backdrop.

The final (and most important) touch: Hire Jim Ross to run Impact. Give him ABSOLUTE AND TOTAL CONTROL. Power to HIRE and FIRE. Ross, not Paul Heyman. The chase interests Heyman a lot more than the catch. Anyway, you don’t want ECW. You want Mid-South. Ross was there. He remembers how to do what we’re talking about.

There is no better student of the game than Ross. He could and should do play-by-play, at least at first. Who better to get across the concepts we’re discussing?

Ross is 59. He’s got to be tired of being humiliated by Vince McMahon, of being put at physical risk like he was with Mark Henry this past Monday night. I’ve got to believe, also, that Ross would like the opportunity to execute a model like this, because it’s the business the way he believes in it.

At the very least, this model could maintain Impact's current ratings, PPV buyrates, etc., and at a much cheaper price. At best, you might be onto something.

Impact won’t do any of this, however. Why? Because Dixie Carter is too ****ing stupid. VINCE RUSSO FOREVER!

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA (105.9). Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail.com.

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