By this point, we all know that the wrestling promotion for which this site is dedicated changed the name of its primary television show last month from TNA Wrestling to iMPACT Wrestling. Along with that change came a promotion-wide effort to erase the letters “TNA” from as many places as possible. And, for the most part, the internet wrestling scene has taken up the charge and changed its “reporting” style to incorporate the term “iMPACT Wrestling” instead of using the letters “TNA.”
Yet, as we know, the internet wrestling scene is typically populated by hardcore wrestling fans like you and I. If the folks in Nashville tell us that they’re called iMPACT Wrestling now, well… we sort of just shrug our shoulders and think, “Okay, whatever.” You know – the same response that the bulk of the internet wrestling scene had after the folks up north said that they were now only “WWE” and not “World Wrestling Entertainment.” After the initial head scratching moments and the consistent repetition of, “But you’re a wrestling company,” we just got on with our lives.
Because that’s what the internet wrestling scene does – it looks for the next big story and then hyper focuses on that story by creating logically extended lies about the story (we cover the lies perpetuated by the internet wrestling scene all of the time here at TNAStars.com).
But that’s what the internet wrestling scene does – it’s not what the regular, casual professional wrestling fan does… at all.
You see, I’m of the same mind as Eric Bischoff in that I think the vocal voices on the internet represent, at best, some 10% of the entire television audience/total fan base of any major promotion. And because I agree with Bischoff on that point, I wonder whether or not the regular, casual professional wrestling fan will so readily accept the phrase “iMPACT Wrestling.”
No, I’m not criticizing the product or the people behind the product. Not at all. The folks at iMPACT Wrestling are doing what they’re doing and I accept it because I’m a fan of their product. What I’m questioning, though, is whether the regular, casual fan can get behind a professional wrestling company that is called “iMPACT Wrestling” instead of being called some combination of three letters.
Fans aren’t used to a professional wrestling promotion with a full name. Usually, fans only hear the full name of a promotion when it is mentioned during a broadcast (i.e. “And your NEW World Championship Wrestling Television Champion…”). Wrestling fans have, in large part, only ever been exposed to three letter companies. Think about it – when a wrestler says he’s going to be the champion, he says, “I’m going to win the NWA Championship and put you in the hospital in the process!” He usually doesn’t say, “I’m going to win the National Wrestling Alliance Championship…”
Wrestling fans are almost trained to listen for three letters. They’ve heard WWE, TNA, WCW, NWA, nWo, ECW, ROH, AWA, CZW, XPW, DSW, FCW, UFC – hell, even the professional sports leagues in this country usually have three call letters (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, MLS)! Aside from the international wrestling promotions that have four or more letters in their name, most regular professional wrestling fans don’t talk in a vernacular that includes reciting the entire name of a promotion. Actually, history shows us that some fans can even get inspired at live events and begin to chant the promotion’s call letters. Who could ever forget the chants of “ECW” in Philadelphia and the chants of “TNA” in Nashville early on in the company’s history? As the years go on, some of those frenzied fan moments are becoming classic footage.
And now the team in Nashville has opted to promote its wrestling company as iMPACT Wrestling. I suppose one could chant that name by breaking up the word “impact” in between the “im” and “pact” and then squeezing out the “wrestling” word really quickly. Think about that chant in your head for a minute to the tune of the old “E! C! Dub!” chant…
Sounds weird, right?
More likely, I think that regular professional wrestling fans won’t chant “iMPACT Wrestling” just like I think regular fans aren’t going to call the promotion iMPACT Wrestling instead of TNA. They’re not going to do it because they’re not trained to do it. A full name doesn’t roll off the tongue. A full name isn’t catchy.
You and I? Yeah, we’ll call it iMPACT Wrestling because we know it’s the same thing that it was before (and, in reality, most of us don’t care what it’s called). The casual wrestling fan? I’m not sure – I just can’t envision a day when regular, casual professional wrestling fans are talking about “iMPACT Wrestling” instead of “TNA.”
Let’s face it – wrestling fans need three letters… and that means that iMPACT Wrestling might need three letters, too.
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com