Impact Wrestling

So last night was the debut of the “new” TNA, err Impact Wrestling and I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the changes, the things they did right and the things they did that were very wrong.

First let me preface this by saying I am a longtime TNA fan. Unlike most of the people who criticize the product, I’ve follwed TNA since day one. I ordered almost all of the early weekly pay-per-views and followed them from Fox Sports to Spike to Destination America to Pop. I’ve seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I actually believed for a time that Hulk Hogan was a good signing for the company (to be fair I lobbied for that about 5 years before it actually happened) and I’ve been in favor of some regime change.

Secondly, I’d like to say that TNA never gets a break. When Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels were putting on 5 star matches in TNA, the mainstream wrestling audience still crapped on everything. People will tell you now that they liked TNA back when it was “good” but the truth is even when TNA was consistently putting out the best wrestling product on television, they were disliked by whole groups of people. Wrestling needs a punching bag company and no matter how many times WWE puts Roman Reigns in the main event of Wrestlemania, has Randy Orton win the Royal Rumble or does an angle like Katie Vick, they will always get a pass. TNA became the new WCW from day one (insert your own joke there) because no matter what TNA did they became the punching bag of the wrestling community. TNA could literally put on the best match EVER in pro-wrestling and they’d still get slagged off for it.

That said, there has been some optimism and speculation how the new “reboot” would work. Dixie Carter has had a hand in TNA for the past decade and a half. In the beginning that wasn’t a bad thing, but eventually Carter did become a detriment to the company. Anthem bought her out and brought in a team on paper, that’s relatively good. Jeff Jarrett not only founded TNA, but has been exposed to more wrestling knowledge than few people on the planet. Dutch Mantell and Bruce Prichard have been around the block many times and in the case of Mantell, is one of the best minds in the business.

Along with them came some familiar faces in the production end and for the most part, I have to applaud Kevin Sullivan for his mostly excellent work on this reboot of Impact. The show looked new, sleek and clean, while still retaining a familiar feel. It was nice overall, though I thought some of the lower thirds weren’t as nice as they could have been.

Unfortunately, that was probably the highlight of the show. They did a nice video package talking up the history of the company and going on about how they “used” to be the place to be. The theme is to “Make Impact Wrestling Great (Again)” which is immediately a turn off. First, it’s an ignorant slogan even when Trump used it as it doesn’t really make sense but even if TNA was hoping to use the “trendy” factor, it sort of defeated the purpose when it’s connected to the world’s most unpopular politician. More than half the country absolutely LOATHE that saying, so it’s probably not a good idea to throw that albatross around your neck. The fact that they changed it to just “Make Impact Wrestling Great” is a nice attempt to distance yourself from Trump, but it’s sort of like putting a bandaid on a gunshot. They should have rebranded with an entirely new slogan.  Continue reading

TNA Abyss, Deluxe Impact Series 4, Infinite Hollywood figure review
TNA Wrestling (Deluxe Impact Series 4)
7.5 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific

Abyss is one of the best characters that TNA Wrestling has produced. The “monster” has been with TNA practically since the beginning and has continued to evolve through the years. At 6 foot 8 inches tall and over 300 pounds, he’s also one of the biggest men on the roster. For his size, he’s incredibly athletic and he has a penchant for getting involved in hardcore situations, adding another element to an already dangerous persona.

ECW's Sandman hits Abyss with a garbage can.

Whether it’s thumbtacks, barbwire or even fire, Abyss is ready to tear into his opponents and often due to his own tunnel vision, hurt himself in the process. Unlike most “big man” or “hardcore” wrestlers, Abyss is actually very technically sound and can have great matches without resorting to those tactics. Back in 2010, I reviewed the basic style of Ruthless Impact Abyss and today I’m taking a look at his first Deluxe version.

Is this monster a worthy addition to your collection or will you feel like you’ve been hit with a Black Hole Slam to your wallet if you buy him? You’ll have to read the full review to find out!

Originally Jakks had a clever six sided ring package, but when TNA dropped that ring, Jakks had to adjust to make it a four sided ring package. The red and silver coloring is a bit dark, but it does catch your eye to a degree. Jakks has since changed the packaging (yet again) to reflect the Impact Wrestling branding banner.

The back shows off the rest of the figures in Series 4. Nothing exciting or revolutionary going on here. Just the basics, but that’s okay.

Usually the Deluxe Impact style is thrown under the bus for being too big, muscled and bulbous. Scale is often wonky on these figures too. Thankfully, Jakks actually spent a little time on Abyss and have produced one of their finer figures as a result.

TNA Series 4 Abyss

The body is reasonably big and they’ve managed to capture the size of Abyss well. He’s not overly muscled, but he’s not a big fat guy either. He’s just a massive brute of a man. No wonder they call this guy a monster!

The detail is much better on things like the tattoos, compared to the rather cheap basic version. The body is just a much better fit too. Although Jakks has used some recycled parts here, it fits for Abyss really well.

Of course the big victory for this guy is the head sculpt. The previous version had this ridiculous cartoon screaming head scan, but this one has a much more sedated look. I prefer my figures to look neutral, so I like this. The details on the mask are impeccable as well. The yellow stitching and other small details just show that when Jakks wants to, it can be a major player in the toy aisle.

“Nice tattoos!”

All of Abyss’s tattoos are accurately represented as well. This is a drastic improvement over the basic version, as you might imagine.

There’s also a great attention to detail to give Abyss spots on his tattoos where they look “scratched out”. That’s because in real life his arm tattoos have several spots that look like that because of his various barbwire matches where he ended up with scarring there. He’s a hardcore dude. Unfortunately that gnarly gash on the arm is NOT supposed to be there and he came out of the package that way. I mentioned back in my Deluxe Impact Series 5 Rob Terry Review that the plastic felt cheaper on these toys. This appears to be a case of that.

It’s not the end of the world, because for Abyss is sort of fits into his character… But I shouldn’t have to make excuses for why my action figure has a big chunk of plastic taken out of it. It’s a real bummer, in general.

The rest of the details are good, including the full Abyss anarchy logo on the back of his shirt. This is the red and yellow version that he wore for a while when he was under the tutelage of Hulk Hogan… In an angle I’d rather forget.

The shirt is rubber and technically removable, but I didn’t take it off all the way because it looks like it might be a pain to get back on. Underneath is the same chunky body mold we’ve seen before in this line. The shirt may impede the articulation a bit, but in general I think it’s the best course of action. It’s soft and pliable enough, unlike the rock hard rubber clothing in Mattel’s WWE line.

His scale isn’t perfect to be used with WWE figures, but it’s workable, I think. Since Abyss is supposed to be huge.

The scale for the actual line that he’s supposed to fit in, the TNA Deluxe Impact line is… Decent. He’s bigger than most figures, but that can vary some. Basically, Abyss is the right size, it’s a lot of other guys who aren’t.

The Deluxe Impact style has a ton of articulation. Abyss is hindered some by his design though and the rubber shirt.

He can flex in a variety of ways and can do a fair amount of wrestling moves as a result. There is some minor hindrance in the ab crunch due to the shirt, but as I said before, it’s nothing too bad.

The legs are not super poseable, although he has double knees. The feet are restricted by his pants legs and his legs sort of want to go out to the side when lifting them up. However, he can do a decent big boot to smaller figures.

Abyss comes with absolutely nothing.

In a perfect world Jakks would have made a plastic version of Abyss’ old weapon of choice and his favorite girl, Janice… The 2×4 with nails in it. Although to be fair, I don’t think Abyss had started using Janice when this figure was first developed. Still, it’s something to think about for the future. He should come with SOME sort of weapon.

These weren’t terribly expensive when they came out, at about $9, which is cheaper than even Mattel WWE Basics. At the price, they’re hard to complain about. TNA’s website often runs sales on these figures and I was able to pick up Abyss for about $6. At that price, I can’t really complain that much, even with the limitations of the figure and the cheaper plastic.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – N/A
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

I decided on a pretty high 7.5 out of 10 for this guy. Which is pretty amazing considering that he has a flaw and comes with no accessories. However, I based my decision on how much this figure looks and feels like Abyss. There’s no denying that this is a pretty darn good encapsulation of the character. If he didn’t have the gash in his arm, I’d probably go ahead and give him a full 8.

The TNA Deluxe Impact line is far from perfect, but there are some decent figures in there. At the price point of under $10 and often in sales for less than $8, it’s one of the more economic toy lines out there. For the value, it’s usually pretty good, if not great.