Impact Wrestling: Kenny Omega’s Appearance Grows Impact’s Twitch Numbers

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 08: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody during the King of Pro-Wresting at Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 08: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody during the King of Pro-Wresting at Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images) /

Last Wednesday, Kenny Omega won the AEW World Champion, defeating Jon Moxley in a fantastic match. Omega won with the help of Don Callis, who told viewers to tune into Impact on Tuesday to hear from Omega. They did.

Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA Wrestling) played host to many legends in the professional wrestling world over the years. Their peak in popularity as a company was around 10-12 years ago, and they have struggled tremendously in recent years. Baffling booking decisions, terrible overspending on names like Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and the insistence on giving Vince Russo chance after chance left the company in severe decline until Anthem bought the company from Dixie Carter and installed Don Callis and Scott D’Amore as the heads of the company. There has naturally been increased interest with the announced appearance of Kenny Omega.

While Impact’s decline had stabilized, they have simply continued to produce a decent wrestling product every week, with good to great matches, and quietly had a very consistent product that appealed greatly to the fans that they had left. It has provided a place for many wrestlers to find work outside of WWE, AEW, ROH, NJPW, and others, which is absolutely wonderful. They are a far cry from where they were when Impact was on Spike TV, but they have settled into a nice niche where they are no longer bleeding money like they used to.

Impact airs weekly on Twitch and AXS, providing viewers with easy access to the show if they don’t have traditional cable. Most weeks, Impact Wrestling does around 3000 viewers on Twitch, and it has been relatively consistent in that. Their peak was around 8000 viewers once before, and there were questions about how much Kenny Omega appearing on the show would drive viewership up. The answer became clear throughout the episode: A lot of people were interested in seeing what Kenny Omega had to say.

The viewership for this episode of Impact peaked at 55,000 viewers on Twitch, shattering their previous record, and drawing 18 times the viewership they normally draw. Omega’s appearance clearly put eyes on the Impact product, some of which haven’t watched for years, or have never watched before. This is a wonderful thing for Impact, and I expect the TV viewership numbers will have increased quite a bit as well. AXS viewership is difficult to track because they do not subscribe to Nielsen for their numbers, but if Twitch is any indication, there is a very good chance this is the most-watched episode of Impact in years.

The episode itself was largely a standard wrestling show, with nothing that really stood out, but nothing that was so bad that it would drive me away from the product. The production was fine, and most of the show was easy to watch. However, I can’t help but feel like Impact still felt like WWE Lite, a criticism many had of them years ago. They also made the baffling decision to make Rich Swann, their world champion, look like a geek as he was not allowed in the parking lot where the “real” world champion, Kenny Omega, was.

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Will this hook viewers next week? I certainly hope so. I hope Impact is able to grow their audience and improve their product for years to come. Wrestling needs more promotions doing well, and working together for the benefit of the business. I hope whatever this AEW and Impact relationship turns out to be that it sees benefits for both companies. Kenny Omega hinted strongly that some stars from Impact were going to be on AEW this week, so I will be watching with very interested eyes. If something big happens on Dynamite to make me want to tune into Impact again, then this is clearly a relationship that will benefit Impact greatly.