While Impact Wrestling might be reverting to its original name of TNA Wrestling, that shouldn’t be seen as a step backwards. On the contrary – according to company President Scott D’Amore, the change is all about looking forward.
The announcement was made during the closing moments of this past weekend’s Bound For Glory event, with a video and an emotionally-charged promo by D’Amore. On Tuesday afternoon, a more subdued – but just as excited – D’Amore provided more details around the change during a virtual press conference.
“It was a special night,” D’Amore said to interview host, Impact commentator Tom Hannifan, about the announcement. “There was a lot of angst heading into it, but I think we all knew in our hearts we were heading in the right direction. Watching that video, getting to see the (live crowd) watch it, getting to see that reaction – it’s a landmark night in our company’s history, and it’s a night I will never personally forget, and a night I will cherish. It’s going to be a pivotal night in our company’s history.”
D’Amore noted that the rebranding – which will officially kick off on January 13th with the company’s Hard To Kill event – had been in the works for a while, but they were just waiting for the right time to pull the trigger.
“When I got here and took over the helm in 2018, the company had gone through so much,” he said, listing off some of the previous name changes, including the short-lived Global Force Wrestling moniker. “Coming in, the last thing it needed at that time was another name change. It needed to figure itself out. It needed stability, consistency, and respectability.”
“While we found that stability under the Impact Wrestling banner, we’re (now) ready to have our growth and our true success – our second golden era – under our true name: TNA Wrestling.”
Asked by one media outlet whether there was concern that the TNA name would serve to remind people of former management members whose legacies aren’t always seen in a good light (names like Vince Russo and Dixie Carter were specifically mentioned), D’Amore said that they won’t be hamstrung by their past.
“Over the past many years,” he noted, “there’s been a lot of time spent apologizing for past regimes and past mistakes, and not enough time celebrating what we do. Which is put on one of the best wrestling shows in the world. There’s no more apologizing.”
“In 2024, when we say we’re TNA Wrestling, we‘re saying that we’re a creative force in this business. We know what we do is good, and we’re going to put out fantastic shows with our amazing roster. Certainly,” he acknowledged, “TNA, Impact Wrestling has had its ups and downs (in the past). But this isn’t about any one person. This is about a locker room and a company that feels something special. This is about a fan base that I think is starting to feel something special. When you see the crowd, there’s a connection between our audience and our company. This is about TNA Wrestling. (We’re not going to) dwell in the past – we’re looking to the future.”
That future will include a new set of championship belts, which D’Amore teased will be rolled out starting with Hard To Kill. It may also include other favorite TNA elements like the Ultimate-X match or the King of the Mountain match (“We’ve got the penalty box,” he noted, “so we might as well use it”). Another change will be to the arena set, though he didn’t tease whether that would include a return of the old entrance tunnels.
One thing that fans should definitely not expect to see is a return of the six-sided ring.
“Almost to a person, the athletes don’t prefer it,” he explained in response to a question asked by this writer. “It’s harder on the body, it creates more – maybe not more injuries, but certainly more wear and tear on them. I’m happy to have conversations about how to make the product look the best. But one of the things we’re not going to compromise on is the athletes’ safety. (It becomes a question of) do you love the six-sided ring more than you love ensuring the health and safety of these men and women? It’s a simple (answer) for us: athlete safety is (the) number one (priority).”
He also hopes that fans will get to see new stars come to the company. He noted that Will Ospreay – who competed for the company this past weekend and is scheduled to appear on their upcoming UK tour – is one that they would love to sign to a TNA contract. And the feeling may be mutual.
“Will Ospreay is arguably the greatest wrestler in the world right now,” he praised. “In 2023, he had one of the greatest yeas in wrestling history. The second that his contract expires, he becomes the hottest free agent in the industry. Would we love to sign him? Absolutely.”
“What’s cool is that he’s said that he wanted to wrestle in Impact Wrestling. But when he was young, he dreamed about being in a TNA ring.”
D’Amore said that other wrestlers on the current roster have shared that same sentiment – that for many of them, the TNA name was the one that resonated in their childhood, and the company that they dreamed of joining. Their excitement, he said, was palpable and the locker room erupted as loudly as the fans in the arena when the video played at Bound For Glory.
“To hear athletes like Jordynne Grace be almost giddy that she’s going to be a TNA Knockout, to hear Josh Alexander say that this is what he dreamed about when he was struggling with his career and looked at TNA as his way forward. To see the Motor City Machine Guns’ eyes light up, and to see Frankie (Kazarian pump his fist and) give me an ‘F yeah’. I’ve never seen a locker room explode like that and go crazy. It was an explosion of emotion and excitement, and I think that was matched in the arena.”
“It was amazing to hear the ‘TNA’ chants in the arena. Because those chants never went away. They were heard when AJ Styles and Bobby Roode were in the Royal Rumble, you could hear them at an AEW pay-per-view when Sting and Jeff Jarrett were in the ring. Those chants never went away.”
For D’Amore, the return to the TNA name is particularly meaningful for him personally as well.
“I talk about the passion of the heart from the fans and the roster – and I’ve got the same feeling. When I joined this company, my wrestling career was winding down. I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he recalled. “I stumbled into Nashville and sat down with (company co-founder Jeff Jarrett), and it changed my life. To be able to relaunch this is exciting and humbling. I love this company – and I love those initials.”