IMPACT To AXS Confirmed: But What Should AXS Become?

IMPACT is moving to AXS…is a headline most are running with today because the obvious is news.  AXS, now owned by Canadian company Anthem Media, will begin airing IMPACT after Bound for Glory on their service.  For the sake of clarity, we have no idea when the show will air but we know when it won’t.  It won’t be Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

Monday has been RAW for nearly 30 years, so why challenge it?  If you need to think about going on Monday, IMPACT, here’s what you should do.  DON’T DO IT.  Wednesday’s is already a log jam with NXT, and AEW’s show.  Friday will be for SmackDown and let’s face it, Friday’s isn’t great for wrestling after 10…or before.

So that leaves Tuesdays, which would really just piss me off as we JUST changed dates for our IMPACT show, Making an IMPACT.  Though…we could just move back to Wednesdays….Then there’s Thursday’s, the logical landing spot.  Then there’s Saturday’s, though with the way they run their Twitch and IMPACTplus shows, that’d mean double booking which is something we need to get away from.

Tuesday’s would be excellent, as there’s an expectation of wrestling on Tuesday’s right now and with SmackDown moving to Fox and therefor Friday’s in less than three weeks, the opportunity to air on Tuesdays is there from the jump.

Thursday’s however has been IMPACT’s go-to-day since 2006 or so.  There’s history there, a legacy and a comfort level that exists.  Maybe that’s why you shouldn’t go on Thursdays?  A lot of the stuff that worked from 2004-2009 was tainted by….most of the last decade? If it wasn’t Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan screwing things up, it was Dixie Carter cutting corners.  Or it was Jeff Jarrett getting drunk in Mexico and starting a fight with a partner promotion.

There was always something going wrong it seemed.  Yes, the Killer Kross stuff is a distraction and letting him go just makes sense.  That said, this isn’t a big deal.  It’s a disgruntled talent under contract.  Nothing more.

That said, there’s a lot of things going on with AXS proper that needs to be sorted out. Firstly, all of that music content that was on there is seemingly done.  The layoffs that hit the Dallas offices after the purchase were specifically targeted to the music and MMA side of content development.  With the end of the music, AXS is also seemingly ending their foray into MMA as Legacy Fighting Alliance has announced their next show on Friday, September 13th, will be their last event for AXS.

You have to realize that the music side of things make up 17 of their 22 promoted shows.  The other five are Women of Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, AXStv Fights, AXtv Films, and Nothing But Trailers.   Everything else is music themed.

Without MMA on the brand, then AXStv Fights is gone too, as is the programming that when hand in hand with it, LFA.  Mergers and acquisitions are tricky things.  Those 40 people that Anthem let go?  All worked on these shows and projects.

For fans worried about WOW and NJPW, they’re safe; for now.  WOW is owned by Geanie Buss and any positive leeway IMPACT/Anthem can make with her is just smart to do.  NPJW is a different beast entirely.  Their American deal is reportedly up in 2021.  So Anthem/IMPACT have about two years to make up with NJPW and try to get them to re-up and partner up with not just Anthem, but IMPACT as well.

I think getting rid of MMA is a mistake here.  Truly.  I don’t now if LFA is the promotion to build around, obviously but what’s the alternatives?  Warner Media has the rights to ONE, Bellator is on Paramount and unless they’re looking at another TV deal like UFC had (multiple tv outlets), then they’re not getting in bed.  Rizin isn’t on regularly enough to be on t.v. in the states every week or so.  The other two are the Professional Fighting League and Invicta but both have deals with the UFC to air on Fight Pass.  So if they were going to stay in the MMA world, LFA makes sense.

I think AXS should focus on fights.  IMPACT, WOW and hopefully NJPW should all be components for their future.  I’d go beyond that though, offer outlets like Pro Wrestling NOAH, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Wrestle-1 a “PuroresuCenter” show, where for one hour every, say Saturday or so, hosts would break down whats going on in other Japanese promotions.  Maybe do a LuchaCenter” too.  Then do a show for all the same thing but focus on IMPACT, WOW, NJPW and for shoots-and-giggles, go with OVW too.  Make it seem like pro wrestling matters beyond the specific name branded ring.

Documentary and “shoot” interviews are also a great way for fans to tune in.  Which they will, because they can get so much content for just $15 bucks a month thanks to Sling…I swear we’re not being paid for advertising.  (*Editors Note: I WISH*).  Sling offers AXS, ESPN,  TNT and Stadium.  For $15 dollars a month you get ESPN, which is a network most wrestling fans want, and access to IMPACT Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor Wrestling for the same price.  OR you could get the other $15 package that takes out all the Disney stuff but gives you Paramount (Bellator) and USA Network (WWE), along with AXS, TNT and Stadium.  That’s why putting on and promoting “shoot” interviews on AXS is such a strong idea.  The ability to get access to it is at a near all time high.

If Anthem’s previously biggest channel, Fight Network, is any indication of what to expect from AXS, there’s going to be a lot of IMPACT wrestling on AXS. There’s also going to be KSW, the largest European MMA promotion, on their as well.  KSW might be the reason why LFA was cut, who knows.  KSW is bigger and has far more mainstream-MMA stars that fans of the sport would know.

Though again, not sure why not just keep both…

Anthem has focused on games and sports in the past, so I expect AXS to do the same.  Though, with more integration on the two.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some shows from Game+, or shows inspired by Game+ (another Anthem property) make it to AXS as well.

AXS TV could be the premiere in combat sports and video games if done right.  That’s why I hope Anthem does everything they can to keep NJPW/WOW and improve their MMA content.  Hell, bring back the MMA Hour with Bas Rutten.  That was amazing t.v.

The simple question of “what now?” isn’t so simple.  We don’t know what Anthem is going to try to do with this new network.  All we know is that IMPACT is the first show announced for the newly owned AXS TV, which means it’ll be a large – if not the largest part of the network going forward.

That’s a good sign for IMPACT Wrestling fans.

 

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