The last couple weeks have been rough for Impact.
Four major stars have said sayonara to the company. A defeat, however cordial, was still endured in wrestling’s latest legal drama. In spite of all of this, in typical Impact fashion, the show has gone on.
While the show has gone on, the future of said show seems to be a little more up in the air than usual for the company. With Ethan Carter’s departure, Impact lost one of its flagship stars - a competitor who WWE passed over completely only to see strive with their competition. Bobby Lashley, someone who tenured more time at Impact than at the company who used him as a future president's proxy, is now free to go back to said company to pursue a potential dream match with Brock Lesner. Chris Adonis, a key feature to the Impact Champions story and title reign, has tendered his resignation as well. Finally, James Storm, one of the last original members of Impact still on board, bid adieu in an angle which quite frankly, fell a bit flat.
Everyone knows all of this though, but what seems to remain a mystery is what Impact is going to do about it. Without delving into taping spoilers, Impact is left with "Johnny Impact", Alberto El Patron, and Eli Drake heading the company.
Johnny, the man of many surnames, already is a bit of a divided interest star, someone who seems to be more a made man in the international scene than a true Impact-focused star. El Patron has been mired in controversy after controversy for what seems like years now. It undoubtedly has left something of a stain on his reputation putting into question his ability to truly lead a company.
That leads us to one man, Eli Drake. Without the presence of his lackey, Adonis, Drake is free from the shackles of cheap victories. He’s free from the plot device even companies like WWE can’t figure out how to get around with its star non-monstrous heels. That’s why Impact finally, in spite of the events of the past few weeks, is poised to truly develop a brand of its own.
Drake, a competitor who has the confidence to spout off on the mic in a style reminiscent of The Rock, a look not far off from that of a John Cena, and some good in-ring chops to boot, appears to be the total package star Impact needs. For a company who’s struggled sticking with a brand name, let alone a top star, they should see the value they have in a Drake and give him the spotlight. In my opinion, as the champion armchair booker I like to view myself as, I could easily see Drake going on a run not too far off from Ethan Carter’s undefeated streak and title reign of 2015 except free of the pitfalls of awkward Dixie Carter interventions and kayfabe lawsuits. After perhaps clearing up some loose ends from the recent yet to be aired tapings with a certain returning Impact star, I believe an approach like this could easily put Impact on the gravy train to ratings.
I want to know what the Cageside Community thinks, though. Everyone has their own opinions on what the next step for Impact should be.
Is Drake the star of the future? Is this the start of Impact's final swan song? Either way, it should make for some interesting speculation, and maybe even programming, in the months to come.