Impact Grand Championship - Could The Format Be Used Better Elsewhere?
The Impact Grand Championship was introduced late last year in TNA, now GFW, and it's this somewhat heartfelt attempt at blurring the lines a bit between professional wrestling and fighting. The outline of matches for the title are as follows:
Three 3 minute rounds, with special event matches going 5 minutes.
10 point must system.
Judging categories: Physicality, aggressiveness, controlling the action.
Wins can happen anytime via pin or submission.
If there is no winner after three rounds, a winner is decided by judge's decision.
For some reason, the whole Impact Grand Championship thing just popped into my head and I almost never consciously thing anything about TNA/GFW and haven't for a long time. It's an interesting concept but one thing that takes me out of it are the 3 minute rounds as it just seems much too short for the match to really get out of 1st gear. With a few tweaks, this is something that you'd think would fit right in with wrestling companies that promote themselves more along the lines of being sports rather than entertainment like New Japan, Ring of Honor or, to a lesser extent, even NXT.
I'd extend the rounds to 10 minutes each with a 60 or 90 second rest period. As for the judges, I'd do something like picking seemingly three random wrestlers from the back; every so often, animosity between a judge and one of the wrestlers who doesn't agree with said judge's decision following a match can be used to form a feud between them. Various challengers would also have to compete in "Fighting Spirit matches" as a means of helping determine who goes after the champion, none of this "if you defeat the champion, hen you get a championship match" stuff as that always seemed ass backwards to me since you're supposed to "move your way up the ranks" to earn a title shot by beating other competitors.
But yeah, as I said, I could see something like this being a strong mid-card title in New Japan, Ring of Honor, possibly NXT with a few modifications as they're more inclined towards the sports aspect of sports entertainment.
I truly don't think it's working in GFW and I don't see it working anywhere else. The round system makes it nearly impossible to create the drama needed to tell a good story, and far too often when the matches go to the judges, it's obvious who was going to win. The one thing this style could do and be good, and they can only really do it once, is have a face champion completely dominate the rounds, only for the heel challenger to win hanks to corrupt judges. That would be a solid storyline, but once you use it then the concept dies. It has almost no shelf life. Nearly every match I've seen for the title is boring. It's just one guy dominating a round, then the short break, then the other guy dominating the next round. Rarely do rounds ever feel competitive. It's just a stupid concept all around that the awful GFW creative team thought would be hip and cool. I like pro wrestling, I like MMA, but I don't like pro wrestling trying to be MMA. For some reason, some people just can't let each exist as their own spectacle and try to blur the lines between the two far too often and the results usually are the drizzling shits.
Their a reason why the round system never worked in wrestling, because everybody knows that wrestling is predetermine so when you go to the judges score card, you know that it just a way to advances the story in the match. In fact look at the history of the grand championship since they started it, Look at all the matches that went 3 rounds. The formula is always the same, one guy wins the first round, the other wins the second round even if he doesn't deserve it then whoever they want to win the match win the third round.
It's predictable and feel fake. You don't have the time to engage in the story because of the short interval so you fast forward through the match until the ending.
If you go back in history, they're was a federation called the AWF in the early 2000's that would use this system for they're matches. You would get the same type of 3 round matches and while you had the who's who of wrestling legends in the company, the product was so boring that the company didn't last a year.
Same thing is happening with this, yes it's different, but doesn'T mean because it's different that it's good.
This was touched on the other day during the Impact live discussion. I brought up how instead of the championship being determined by rounds, make the matches 2 out of 3 falls. Now, depending on time constraints any of the falls could go on forever. In that case dedicate about a half hour or so of Impact to the Grand championship match. You could have two or three falls complete within that time. This seems more realistic that wrestling "rounds", and each fall has a decisive winner.
I don't watch Global Force / Impact / TNA / whatever they are calling themselves, so I have yet to see one of these matches in action. From what I have read about the Impact Grand Championship, it's not making me want to check any of the matches out. It sounds like a really stupid concept and all those weird rules make it only worse. Like others have said, pro wrestling trying to MMA is just dumb. If I want to see MMA then I'll watch MMA. Wrestlers trying to do be MMA in a predetermined format just never clicked with me in the past. I don't see the Grand Championship's format doing particularly well anywhere else. If the WWE tried it whether it be on Raw/Smackdown or even on NXT I doubt it would be successful because there's too many odd rules and we as fans could just as easily go watch real MMA instead.
It isn't working well in GFW/TNA/IMPACT. And I don't think that it will work well anywhere else as well. I didn't dislike it initially as much as I do now but I don't think that it should continue anymore. 3 minutes rounds aren't just enough and the breaks disrupt the gradual flow wrestlers try to make in 3 minutes. Shouldn't continue but will in the same promotion.
Honestly, the amount of rubbish being spoken here in this thread as though it were gospel is quite frankly stupid.
"The round system makes it nearly impossible to create the drama needed to tell a good story..."
Bollocks! The story telling in a round system is different to the story telling done without rounds. Each round is an individual story in itself, sometimes two. They're shorter stories that combine to make a longer form story of the match. Quite a few times there's been a submission attempted towards the end of the round, and it's a race against the clock to see if the wrestler can avoid tapping out before time expires in the round. Couple of times, we've seen wrestlers go for a pin, only for the clock to beat them.
There's a lot of great storytelling potential in the rounds system, a system that by the way, was the mainstay of british wrestling back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. And those weren't three rounds of 3 or 5 minutes, they were usually 4, 6 or 8 rounds of 3 or 5 minutes, with 2 falls, 2 submissions or a knockout to decide the winner, with 2 public warnings before disqualification, or just occassionally a transgression so bad, it was instant disqualification.
It's not the rounds system itself that is at fault when a match is bad.
" It's just a stupid concept all around that the awful GFW creative team thought would be hip and cool."
Hate to break it to you sparky, but the Impact Grand Championship was created during the Billy Corgan as TNA President era. Anthem could have dropped it if they wanted do, but decided not to.
"Their a reason why the round system never worked in wrestling..."
It worked for many years in British Wrestling. So your statement is factually wrong.
"The formula is always the same, one guy wins the first round, the other wins the second round even if he doesn't deserve it then whoever they want to win the match win the third round."
Are you really advocating that somebody win both the first two rounds, rendering the third one moot? That would be stupid.
"From what I have read about the Impact Grand Championship, it's not making me want to check any of the matches out. It sounds like a really stupid concept and all those weird rules make it only worse."
Why are you relying on what other people say? Ignore the masses, watch it for yourself, make up your own damn mind. Don't listen to what anybody else says, watch it and decide for yourself.
Couple of reasonable points now.
"I brought up how instead of the championship being determined by rounds, make the matches 2 out of 3 falls. Now, depending on time constraints any of the falls could go on forever. In that case dedicate about a half hour or so of Impact to the Grand championship match. You could have two or three falls complete within that time. This seems more realistic that wrestling "rounds", and each fall has a decisive winner."
That's a reasonable idea, and in British Wrestling under the rounds system, championship matches were always two falls, two submissions or a knockout. If you want to keep it within the TV time limts, then you set a 20 minute time limit. You can have a 30 second break after each fall, or you can do 6 x 5 minute rounds, with a fall or submission ending the round early.
"3 minutes rounds aren't just enough and the breaks disrupt the gradual flow wrestlers try to make in 3 minutes."
I think 5 minute rounds would be better, but I get the 3 minute length, and by the way, you could say the same about Boxing's 3 minute rounds and the breaks there disrupting the flow.
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