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Old 09-25-2017, 03:40 PM
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Default Another Rebrand, This Time Done Right

I know, I know — the title alone is already a failure to launch. This is [Insert Company Name Here] we're talking about. At what point in history have they ever gotten this sort of thing right? If they had, we wouldn't be here today. We wouldn't be looking down the barrel of another rebrand within in a calendar year for one of the dumbest business reasons I've ever read about (Jarrett owning "GFW"). But bear with me. At the very least, this will spark some conversation, even if literally none of it is actually adopted.

I considered resurrecting my old "Seven Ways" series to do this, but my argument on a rebrand here hinges on an actual reset, not a refresh, or a light coat of paint (like changing the ring ropes). Part of that suggests that this company shouldn't be engaging in digging into their past going forward, so I won't dig into mine either. Instead, here's five ideas I'm offering, in no particular order:

1. Move the Company to Canada, and Never Go Back to the Impact Zone

The goal of a rebrand is to give your audience something new. Nothing is new about the Impact Zone and Orlando. It's been ground zero for nearly all of this Company's tumultuous history, and the site of its worst failures. I know I said in no particular order, but I'd consider this top of the list. Anthem is based out of Toronto, or the Toronto area, so establishing a new home north of the border is A-OK by me. It probably makes business operations a bit easier anyway, but it certainly makes for the kind of visual reset required to forget about all things Orlando.

This won't be without issue, as they'll actually have to sell tickets to fill seats for their shows in Canada, but you've got to start somewhere. Frankly, I'd take 500 vocal North American fans versus 1000 tourists any day of the week.

2. Settle on a Company Name, Copyright it, and SET IT IN CONCRETE

NWA-TNA, TNA, TNA Impact Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, GFW, GFW Impact Wrestling – this Company's history is like a pro wrestling version of Split with James McAvoy. Settle on a name quickly and emphatically, then lock it in with reinforced steel rebar concrete and encase the whole thing in a bank vault tended over by armed guards. Changing the name of this Company again should require the combined casts of the Oceans films, along with The Town, Heat, and Inside Man working in conjunction just to get inside the thing, let alone getting away with it.

Even though I think Impact Wrestling is/was actually a fine enough name (and one Anthem clearly owns the legal rights to), I'd strongly suggest going with something brand new if for no other reason than to truly wash off the stink of the last five years. Anthem Pro Wrestling (APW), for example, would work just fine. But regardless what name is chosen, it needs to be ironclad, forged in Valyrian steel. It must be unbreakable and untouched for the critical first few years. This name/logo will be plastered on everything from collateral to ring posts to broadcast graphics and more. That means not fucking around anymore by changing it every six months. Not only do you confuse your audience (and ultimately lose them), but you erase whatever traction you're building through brand recognition every single time. Not to mention the insane amount of money being pissed away. I don't want to see so much as a color shift or pixel changed for years.

3. No More Six-Sided Ring

Yeah, I know "it's their identity". So is Immortal, Jeff Hardy at Victory Road, Claire Lynch, Hogan, a reverse battle royal match, and countless other moments of profound stupidity and embarrassment. You can call it "tradition", but like the Confederate flag, it's a symbol most people associate with failure and a history of not getting things right. Lose it. Go back to a four-sided ring in the same way ROH and Lucha Underground didn't veer from. If they can still have a unique identity despite utilizing the same ring set up as WWE, then so can this Company. It's not like the talents wouldn't appreciate it, either. Dozens have spoken out against it over the years. Besides, if you're losing the TNA/IW identity anyway, what's the harm in ditching it?

4. No More X Division

Yes, it was the foundation upon which TNA/IW was built. Yes, it birthed the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and others. That's all true, and it'll live on in the tape library for as long as there's a heartbeat behind this Company. However, it, like the six-sided ring, is also a cornerstone pillar of the identity of old. Not to mention a constant reminder of how the company did wrong by the aforementioned men. Arguably the single greatest mistake they've ever made (and they've made plenty).

The concept of a "no limits" division is fine, but I'd do away with the "X" concept and any of its historical associations (like the X Cup, Ultimate X, etc). Fans simply need to be given the opportunity to appreciate a new set of titles. A new division. Even if it still embodies some of the high spots and exhilarating speed of the X Division, it simply shouldn't be called such. The X Division is dead. They were able to bring it back for a short while with Austin Aries, but even his work ultimately hurt it as champions year-after-year emphatically cashed in the title for a shot at the Heavyweight title. While 'Option C' made sense on paper, alluding to the process by which performers in the past have used the X title to "graduate" to the Heavyweight rank, the manner in which it was booked (or more accurately the manner in which the division was booked around it) made it a mad scramble for who could earn the winning lottery ticket. It buried itself.

If there's an insistence on still having a mid-card title—and I do agree there's value there—something closer to what GFW originally envisioned with their "Next*Gen" title probably makes more sense. It can be like the X Division, it just can't be the X Division.

Just make the title belt itself less ugly, please.

5. Adopt an NWA Model

In many ways, this is already what they are currently doing based on what I presume was largely Jarrett's vision. They have working agreements with NOAH, Crash, and AAA, and I suppose Lucha Underground, though that one seems informal.

This Company's roster should effectively have a core of around a dozen male singles competitors, half a dozen female singles competitors, and two stable tag teams. This would make up a "core roster" of around 20 (give or take) names that would constitute "Company" performers. Using the working agreements with the aforementioned companies, talents should be regularly traded in the same way they used to be during the territory days to expose Company viewers to new faces while allowing Company competitors to refresh and liven their scope of work by also taking their talents overseas for stretches.

I don't know the exact contract status of anyone on the current roster, but I'd imagine the end roster could look something like this:

Male Singles: Johnny Impact, Moose, Eli Drake, Trevor Lee, Eddie Edwards, Dezmond Xavier, DJZ, James Storm, Lashley, Matt Sydal, Alberto El Patron (since they're clearly keeping him), and Abyss.

Female Singles: Sienna, Rosemary, Allie, Laurel Van Ness, Taya Valkyrie

Tag Teams: LAX, oVe, and maybe VOW.

It's not the strongest possible group, but given who I assume is under contract, it's good enough to start.

If there's room to negotiate with free agents, I'd also be throwing offers at Ricochet, Zack Sabre Jr., and would have gone hard after Cody, who unfortunately for this Company, signed an exclusive deal with ROH.

I do have more ideas, but I think these five could be the cornerstones of a phoenix rising from the ashes of TNA/GFW/IW to finally, truly, give them new life.

Thoughts?
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