It was a decision that came hard to absorb. I asked myself the question of how I was going to share this information with those who love me unconditionally; how I was going to look into my fifteen month old’s blue eyes and tell him something that has been dying to come out of my system for quite some time. What would my wife of six years think of me when I share the news with her about the shame that was brewing inside? Could I ever live with myself once I come clean?
The decision was made to share the truth with not only my wife and son, but with the entire world. It was time to sit the family around the table; to finally take the mask off and reveal my true identity of the double life I once lived as Yellow Dog and the Black Scorpion. I was proud to tell my family and tell the entire world that I, Peter Bahi, am a fan of IMPACT Wrestling and I no longer have to mask a façade nor feel anymore shame in letting you know about it!
So what is it about IMPACT Wrestling that I am able to share my love for the company that is, in hindsight, the alternative to the conglomerate that is World Wrestling Entertainment? For one thing it is the alternative to World Wrestling Entertainment. This is not the Monday Night Wars, where you tuned in to see the giants of the industry, World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling, compete against one another, nor should it be. Today, that era no longer exists because Vince McMahon, as most of you who read this know, bought out Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling which completely annihilated the development of superstars.
Fast forward to 2004; the Jarrett’s (Jerry and Jeff) launched with what was then known as TNA! IMPACT Wrestling; after several re-branding and re-launching, IMPACT Wrestling is still going strong today. People have the misconception of confusing it with competition to the World Wrestling Entertainment, which is far from the truth. Where exactly does the competition lie? One show, Monday Night Raw, is shown worldwide on Monday nights, while its alternative, IMPACT Wrestling, is shown on Thursday nights; sometimes live, sometimes pre-taped. The company has gone back to the six sided, octagon-styled ring, giving it the appeal to differentiate from the top organization in the world, the WWE.
When IMPACT Wrestling first started to get recognition, it would often use talent WWE released from their contracts in order to have the audience recognize some of their talents that had worked for the other company. Just like WCW, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Curt Hennig and Sting to name a few, had “jumped ship” and signed to appear with IMPACT Wrestling, only difference being they were beyond their primes and most of them were not able to appear in a match with the company due to age and physical constraints that had once made them top celebrities within the industry. Today, when WWE releases their young talent, IMPACT Wrestling is there for the picking ready to create their own future stars that the WWE had failed to capitalize on. It also helps the company by having their own stars developed such as: Bobby Roode, James Storm, Samoa Joe, Abyss, Austin Aries, Gunner, Samuel Shaw, and picking up released WWE developmental stars with whom they’ve molded into their image like Ethan Carter III and Bram.
IMPACT Wrestling is a breath of fresh air in professional wrestling. The face of your company is the powerhouse known as Bobby Lashley, who is the current World Heavyweight Champion. The trio of Kenny King, M.V.P and Lashley is properly booked as the most hated stable in the company. M.V.P is excellent on the mic and can make you despise him even on one leg due to injury.
There are also guys that have had major success from the WWE and have made a name for themselves on the IMPACT roster, including: Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, and Kurt Angle. Mix the older talent with the newer talent and that equals: entertaining, alternative television, Thursday nights on Spike.
In 2002, Robert Carter became majority owner of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling after purchasing a controlled interest of the company. Today, his daughter, Dixie Carter, is the president of the company and makes most of the creative decisions. Just like Vince McMahon, everyone who watches IMPACT Wrestling sees Dixie Carter on television and knows her role within the company which makes her hated throughout the industry. Past wrestlers of the company, or legends of the industry as a whole, all share their distaste for her, which is also a reason why people want to see her on television; she has a way to get under your skin, sometimes unbeknown to us why we tend to dislike her, but has people tuning in to watch her whether we care to admit it or not.
The storylines are fresh and exciting. You often hear that the company copies some of the story lines of the WWE; I consider it to be hogwash considering professional wrestling has always used someone else’ idea one time or another. It is what makes the industry so exciting and worth watching. When you are tired of watching the same routine on the USA network for WWE programming, keep an eye out for IMPACT Wrestling on Spike and notice the refreshment you tend to feel after watching the difference in programming. There is more of an emphasis on professional wrestling and for the most part that is what we, as pro wrestling fans, tune in to watch.
If you want to relive your childhood, or high school years like yours truly by accepting the fact that there is more than one professional wrestling company making an impact (pun intended) today, I highly encourage you to give IMPACT Wrestling a chance on Thursday nights. There is no reason to be afraid any longer. You do not have to hide behind the Yellow Dog or Black Scorpion mask any longer. You can set yourself free by revealing your true identity:
I, Peter Bahi, am a lover of IMPACT Wrestling and I hope you will be too!
— Peter Bahi, OWW columnist