First Month Fire: TNA Impact #1

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We’re back for some more First Month Fire with the first TNA Impact episode. We looked at the June 2002 debut of NWA Total Non-Stop Wrestling. There have been better first shows. 

Let’s look at the first episode of what would become Impact Wrestling’s namesake and flagship show. It’s two years later—June 2004! What matches were good and which were scraps? 

Low-Tier 

Abyss rolling through Shark Boy was pretty much a non-match. I will say that by this time, Abyss had nestled into the gimmick. However, this wasn’t the match to showcase it. It’s a comedy squash. 

Mid-Tier 

Luckily, the Abyss vs. Shark Boy bout didn’t open the show. The six-man bout between Team Canada and Team International (Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, and Hector Garza) was a fun but short bout. 

This is a match that should’ve gotten more TV time. The same goes for the main event involving Styles, Elix Skipper, Chris Sabin, and Michael Shane. With nine or ten minutes, this could’ve been a rowdy match. 

These guys did get what they could in though. It was an exciting match that could’ve been on an Impact PPV around this time. And it was just a number one contender’s bout! 

A match that had just about the right amount of time and was enjoyable was America’s Most Wanted taking on the team of Kid Kash and Dallas. At stake were Kash and Dallas’ NWA World Tag belts. 

It was a solid match and one of three matches that really gave the FSN crowd a taste of Total Non-Stop Action. A good match if you haven’t seen Lance Archer before AEW or forgot about Braden Walker. 

TNA Impact #1 Verdict: 6/10 

I remember watching the debut of TNA Impact at this time. It was on FSN at 3 PM on Fridays—a bad time for a wrestling show. I’d just gotten back home and caught that original TNA intro. 

Fridays at 3 PM—after an hour ride back from graphic design school in Alabama summer—was a thing for me. It was like tuning in to TNN on Friday at 8 PM for ECW on TNN. 

That was the weekend wrestling I’d been missing. By 2004, no one was talking about WWE Heat. However, TNA was interesting. It was kind of new in the same way ECW was in 1999. 

Plus, this was before 6 PM professional wrestling. It was fast and exciting in-ring and had storylines and promos. So this wasn’t just 50 minutes of exhibition matches.

The commentary two years into TNA being around had become one of the most balanced teams. Mike Tenay called the moves and the action and turned it on for the X-Division and tag action. 

Then you had Don West who was just stoked about everything in-ring. I loved it. That level of enthusiasm from color commentary? A lost art mastered by someone most said wasn’t good. 

The finishing touch: the timer at the bottom of the screen. I always felt that gave TNA Impact something special. Like “This is another sports program on our sports channel.” 

The first episode isn’t a must-see episode but it is an enjoyable one. 

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