A year ago, nobody could have predicted that TNA Wrestling would be alive and thriving. After twenty-two years, TNA's Hard To Kill has become more of a mantra than a pay-per-view. 2023 was a tremendous year for the company seeing the returns of Frankie Kazarian and Zachary Wentz, the ascension of Alex Shelley to becoming the TNA World Champion, and Impact Wrestling's 1000th episode to just name a few. They were the company to watch in 2023 and kept viewers entertained. This year, they look to do the same.
TNA Wrestling looked to rebrand with an impact. Hard To Kill was a showcase of the mostly homegrown talent in the company. While WWE and AEW remain the places that so many independent stars aspire to work for, TNA Wrestling remains the place where wrestlers can become stars. While Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes speak of stepping away and rebuilding themselves, they fail to mention that TNA Wrestling was the place that both stepped away too.
The narrative has written itself for TNA Wrestling to be a diehard professional wrestling fan-favorite promotion. The performers in TNA don't have the coverage that the stars of WWE, AEW, or even NXT have. They work hard to show the wrestling world that they are deserving to have their name in the top-dog conversation. A long time away from the days when Hogan and Bischoff looked to recreate the Monday Night Wars, TNA Wrestling is arguably closer to that popularity level since. It speaks volumes that a star with the value of Nic Nemeth has joined TNA.
While the former Dolph Ziggler also debuted with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, this appearance made a bit more of an impact in my humble opinion. It may have been a minute since Nemeth was at the peak of the mountain, you can never deny the star that he was and still can be given the right opportunity. After immediately confronting the new TNA World Champion Moose, it looks like TNA may just be giving him that opportunity.
TNA Wrestling's grand return to form has brought in new, old, and current viewers alike to see what they had in store. They were all treated with a show that showcased how hard TNA has worked. You can see and hear the passion for TNA Wrestling in the likes of President Scott D'Amore and other TNA originals. In D'Amore's announcement of TNA's return, he fired up the fans and got the ball rolling. The stars kept it rolling and scored the winning basket.
The future is blinding for the thriving company. The roster is full of talent ready to be the next big thing. Guys like ABC's Ace Austin and Chris Bey have thrived in the tag team and mid-card divisions but they are only one step away from being TNA's top draw. The Knockout's division remains one of, if not, the best women's wrestling in the business. Despite the departures of Deonna Purrazzo and Trinity, stars such as Knockout's Champion Jordynne Grace, Killer Kelly, Masha Slamovich, and recently signed, Xia Brookside and Ash by Design, the former Dana Brooke, assures that the division is in safe hands moving forward.
At Hard To Kill, Moose reached the pinnacle of TNA for the second time after forming "The System" alongside Brian Myers, Eddie Edwards, Alisha Edwards, and former NFL running back DeAngelo Williams earlier in the night. Forming a new stable of TNA powerhouses on such a big night was a strategic move. The company was shifting in a new direction and "The System" looked to play its part. It will be interesting to see the stable develop and hopefully, TNA can grow into a beloved stable. After the letdown and blurry demise of Honor No More, the company has a golden opportunity to create something near the levels of a Main Event Mafia.
The growing buzz of TNA Wrestling can cause others to be attracted. We could see a swarm on the way to TNA shortly. With many notable free agents in 2024, none come more speculated about than Kazuchika Okada, who recently announced his upcoming departure from New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Despite a lackluster run with the company between 2010 and 2011 that he was notably not fond of, Okada and TNA have reconciled. Despite larger pastures, Okada may find TNA is the right field after his return to Snake Eyes.
Despite the critics, TNA is a major player in the world of professional wrestling. In modern times, a working relationship with the WWE is hard to come by. However, we have seen the two companies work together in short stints. In 2012, the world was shocked when TNA and WWE struck a quiet agreement that saw WWE-signed Christian Cage return to TNA to announce the Hall of Fame induction of Sting in return for TNA-signed Ric Flair appearing with The Four Horsemen being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
10 years later, the WWE allowed TNA original AJ Styles to appear via camera at the 20th anniversary of Slammiversary. However, the biggest breakdown of the Forbidden Door came at the Royal Rumble in 2022. WWE legend and then TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James appeared at a WWE event with her TNA theme music, with her Knockouts Championship, and was addressed as such by Michael Cole. While many were expecting a potential partnership of sorts between the two companies, things went quiet until recently. After pictures went viral from Hard To Kill, rumors began that WWE's Triple H and CM Punk were in attendance.
Despite these rumors being so far debunked, Bayley and Mercedes Mone were spotted in attendance attempting to be incognito; perhaps they didn't come alone. A potential partnership with the WWE would be earth-shattering for TNA. However, TNA has already announced a partnership with AAA that the TNA fans are excited about. However, partnerships or none, TNA has shown they can not just survive but thrive in the toughest conditions.
With blood, sweat, and tears, the TNA roster has fought hard to gain the reputation that they have today. After years of becoming a near mockery of the business, TNA shines brighter than any star in the sky despite its size. Keep your eyes on TNA Wrestling in 2024 because the world is surely in for a show. With Nic Nemeth signed, TNA Wrestling is "here to show the world."