It's a toss up between 2004 and 2005. I give the edge to 2005.
2005 was just an amazing year for the company and fans.
They sign with Spike TV.
First ever Lockdown ppv.
The summer of 2005 was the best booking period in the company history under D'Amore.
Some of the best matches in the company history. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles at Turning Point,AJ Styles vs. Daniels Iron Man, Styles vs. Abyss at Lockdown, Unbreakable 3 way. Best Impact match to date: Kid Kash vs. AJ Styles. It wasn't repetitive like Angle matches.
Without a doubt 2006. Well to be specific, my favorite period in TNA was from about the time they got onto SpikeTV until about midway through 2006. All the storylines they had in that time clicked. The roster was great. The matches were great. It was jut an exciting product all around.
What did I like? Well...
This was the highest point of the X Division, IMO. Why? Because of three guys: Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, & Christopher Daniels. They had some of the greatest matches in TNA's history complimented with the greatest storyline the X Division has ever seen with AJ & Daniels trying to force off the disrespectful Samoa Joe, who spat in the face of the X Division's legacy. That animosity created some very intense matches, including my favorite X Title match in company history as AJ defended against Joe at Turning Point 2005, and a few months later, what I feel is the best match in the history of Impact as Joe defeated Daniels to win back the gold & end the feud. It was an awesome series of matches that perfectly encompassed what the X Division was all about, and it had the right amount of intensity to go along with it, and to be honest, the division hasn't been as good since these three moved out of it following this feud.
But that wasn't all the X Division had. At around the middle of the year, we were treated to a World X Cup, which is always fun. However, the real juicy stuff came with the return of Kevin Nash who teamed up with Alex Shelley to form Paparazzi Productions, which to me, was one of the hottest ideas in the company at the time. First of all, it brought Alex Shelley to life as a character, and also broke Sabin out of his shell too as he took on the task to defeat Nash & restore honor to the X Division. Due to Nash's (cough cough) "Injury" the angle didn't get the proper ending, but we did get some of the funniest segments in TNA's history, and IMO, the best stuff Nash has done since his best days in WCW. At the tail end of the year, Paparazzi Productions carried over into other X Division talents like Lethal, Dutt, Senshi, & the like, and that made for a pretty hilarious set of skits as well.
But you know what I love more than the X Division? FUCKING TAG TEAMS!!! Oh yeah, I am a huge fan of tag team wrestling, and TNA had a great share of that during this time too. Remember a time when Team 3D was actually fun to watch? Well upon their arrival to TNA, they were and added a lot of credibility & excitement to the show. But the real stars of the division were Chris Harris & James Storm, America's Most Wanted. Not only did they have the longest tag title reign in company history & alot of great matches to boot, but they were the shining symbol of what a tag team was all about in an age where Tag Team wrestling was all but dead. But there was more. The rivalry that AMW had against the team of AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels was one of the very best series of matches that TNA has ever had. Later on, AJ & Daniels would take the gold & carry that into yet another awesome rivalry, that being their feud with the newer tandem of LAX. There were other tag teams to fill the division like Team Canada, The Naturals, & even The James Gang to a degree all contributed to making this one hell of a selling point for TNA.
Let's see, what else: Well there was plenty of Hardcore Action. 2006 TNA to me was a perfect accomplishment of providing just about everything a wrestling fan could want. Tag Teams, X Division, Strong main events, and Hardcore! They haven't really been able to find that same level of balance since this year. But yeah, getting to the Hardcore, Abyss & Rhino had a pretty awesome series of matches that tend to go unrecognized today. Abyss obviously shouldered most of the hardcore matches which eventually led to an AWESOME feud with Christian Cage over the World Title & into some entertaining matches with the likes of Raven & Brother Runt. But it wasn't all Abyss though, as I happen to recall one little gem involving Samoa Joe, Monty Brown, & Rhino.
And that leads me to the Heavyweights, which was a pretty strong lineup for TNA at this time. They had acquired Christian Cage, who was an instant success IMO and delivered very well. Rhino proved to be a strong addition and delivered some of his best work. Jeff Jarrett had his strongest year as a heel & still holds a place as the best heel in TNA history, and his feud with Sting was a nice thread line to carry the company throughout the course of the year & culminating at Bound for Glory. And of course they got their hands on somebody that you may have heard of called KURT FUCKING ANGLE!!! That was a HUGE announcement from TNA & I'd say he certainly delivered for them in terms of bringing credibility & quality work to the show. But to me, 2006 was the year Samoa Joe really came into his own. After dominating the X Division, he transitioned into the Heavyweight ranks very well. His feud with Scott Steiner (who I am a big fan of by the way & I thought he did really well in TNA) was one of the best of the year, and he eventually tore through the Heavyweights like he did the X Division, culminating in his rivalry with Angle (which I felt was rushed way too soon, but what can you do?)
TNA in 2006 was AMAZING and I would put that programming up against anything I am seeing now. WWE wasn't really doing it for me back then, so it was nice to have this very exciting alternative. Sadly, both WWE & TNA have gotten WORSE since 2006, so now I'm just depressed, lol.
As TripleG mentioned, the start of Spike to the middle of 2006 was the peak. Since then it is progressively gotten worse by the year. 2007 and 08 were both completely terrible. 09 wasn't so hot but the last 3 months of the year made up for it. This year has been very middle ground.
03 and 04 were both solid years seeing as 02 was all about the X-Division.
2004- Was okay until the last couple months (the last couple Impacts before Dusty began booking were complete messes and featured a complete nWo ripoff as they even redid the infamous Rey lawn dart spot with Red, I think).
2005- First four months left a lot to be desired, especially February and March, with stuff like Kazarian getting pinned by JEFF HAMMOND, the DOD vs. Phi Delta Slam and Monty Brown vs. Trytan feuds, as well as the infamous Monty Brown heel turn. Slowly got better in the last month of FSN shows until they streamed the shows from their website for a few months (this period featured some great matches such as Joe/Sabin, Joe/AJ Sacrifice, and the Unbreakable 3 way but they HAD to book for online fans as they're the only ones who'd watch so I don't lump that period in with the times where they were trying to get casual fans) until their Spike debut, which started the Joe/AJ/Daniels feud on TV, had Christian's debut, and had a good 3D/AMW feud going on and December had the Joe/AJ Turning Point match, which is TNA's 2nd best match behind the Unbreakable 3 way though the AJ/Daniels AAO 2005 ironman has a case for 2nd best as well. Their TV product the final three months of this year was the best it's ever been at that point.
2006- Very solid through the first 8 months of the year with the period from Lockdown-Slammiversary period being the best of the year (AMW/Styles/Daniels feud, Christian/Abyss cotinuation, X Cup, LAX angle where they refused to work, and Joe starting to advance to the heavyweight division by beating Sabu at Lockdown, pinning Jarrett at Sacrifice and beating Steiner at Slammiversary), though the months before Lockdown were still good with the Joe/AJ/Daniels and AMW/3D feuds still taking place, Alex Shelley filming Sting and his kids, Christian's wife, and Abyss attacking Christian in his house, Eric Young slowly becoming a fan favorite, and the Jackie Gayda/Raven storylines which DID intrigue me as I am a sucker for mystery storylines. The summer months were solid as well with the build to Christian's heel turn, LAX/Styles/Daniels feud, AMW breakup teases, Naturals' push with Shane Douglas as their mentor (VERY good storyline), and Sabin's push before the Jackass angle. The last couple months, mainly after the Genesis PPV, were bad but the year as a whole was very solid.
2007- The first 3-4 months had a VERY Russo-esque vibe (Ron Killings getting an actor gimmick, LOTS of male violence against women, VKM, Far Oily Guy, the PCS which was the X Division guys doing non-wrestling skits in which the winner got NOTHING for it as a result, shows with 10 minutes of wrestling or less, and rushed shows in general), while the Sacrifice-Victory Road period was VERY good (featured a very good Harris/Storm Impact match as well as an Impact that was a very good one hour match) until the wheels started to fall off, especially after the Hard Justice PPV with Pacman Jones becoming a tag champ (while not being allowed to be touched!) and the terrible Abyss/Black Reign feud. Not a great year to say the least.
2008- First half of the year was pretty underrated with the Gail/Kong/ODB feud, Stone Cold Shark Boy gimmick (found it hilarious as it wasn't meant to be taken seriously, it was fresh, and it is a guy in a mask that's grinning TALKING TOUGH!), Team 3D trying to make weight in order to wrestle (stupid idea on paper but their charisma made it work, especially Brother Ray's), Little Petey Pump (was a lame gimmick when he was "Maple Leaf Muscle" but it clicked when he started working with Steiner), end of the Angle/Joe feud where they FINALLY got it right, the Lethal/Dutt feud before it got overly stupid, and the X Cup. The second half of the year? Prince Justice Brotherhood, Taylor's KO title reign (solid wrestler but this was an example as to why it's NOT a good idea to shove a wrestler down the fans' throats IMMEDIATELY), Joe's title reign started to lose momentum, The Governor, the stupid part of Lethal/Dutt with the tuxedo and ladder of love matches, the decline of the KO division, the debut of the Legends title, and letting Christian and Gail leave without much resistance. First half of the year was very good while the second half was very dire.
2009- First few months were pretty good with the Angle/Sting feud (the best feud in wrestling at the time as it felt VERY realistic, made sense, and the winner wasn't very obvious which puts it a notch above HBK/Taker) being the main focus of the shows, the middle months were middling with a decline of the wrestling quality on Impact (TWO MINUTE ladder matches and three minute thumbtack matches!), the MEM losing momentum due to the Frontline angle being botched, the Jesse Neal/Rhino storyline, Cody Deaner, and the Jenna/Sharmell feud, the August-October period was their best programming of the year with Morgan and Hernandez gaining momentum, AJ winning the title, the KO division finally recovering from the Bolt/Khan/Christy push days with Sarita, Hamada, and Alissa Flash putting on good matches along with Kong, Tara, Taylor, and Daffney, Rhino heel turn, World Elite, the rise of the British Invasion, and Beer Monry cementing themselves as one of TNA's top tag teams, and the last two months felt very mailed in as Hogan was promoted more than any of their feuds or PPVs! Very hit/miss year with more good.
2010- The first four months were better than the last two months of 2010 were as AJ improved his charisma and mic skills EVEN MORE while remaining champion, the X Division was showing a sign of resurgance as Douglas Williams was getting airtime every week and feuding with Kazarian, Shannon Moore, and Brian Kendrick, Pope was gaining momentum, Anderson had LOTS of momentum as a heel, and the Nasty Boys had some entertaining backstage skits (TNA DID do the right thing in releasing them after the 3D feud though). The last Monday night show was terrible as was their Thursday return show before Sacrifice (The Band becoming tag champs, Desmond Wolfe losing to RVD in three minutes after the fans voted him as #1 contender), before TNA put on several good shows between Sacrifice and Victory Road with the Lethal/Flair feud being the main highlight as was the return of Abyss as a monster rather than a clapping mental patient or a Hogan ripoff. After Victory Road though, they've probably put out their worst programming since 2007. Still, the first 7 months were good despite a bunch of terrible mistakes in it (BTLS, releasing Kong, releasing Daniels after jobbing him to Morley and having Angle squash him in 30 seconds, jobbing Joe to Orlando Jordan and having him kidnapped with NOTHING happening as a reault of it), having Abyss come out to Hogan's WCW music and act like him due to "the power of the ring" which I have no idea why anyone would think that would work in 2010.
Yeah, I agree with the early Spike era being the best, with the August-October 2009 and mid 2007 eras as runner ups.
I'm gonna vote for 2010, 2006 is a shoe in for second, could of voted for that year but like I said before, 2006 was basically the Christian Cage show, with every TNA wrestler and their grandmother jobbing to him.
Great point, this is why I don't get the love for the end of 2009. It was just throwaway tv. With 2 good matches for each ppv but those matches meant nothing especially the world title feud. Daniels was fired two months later, that should tell you how important those two months were to TNA.
2010 started out great but then the whole deception/THEY thing with EV2 just destroy this year. This is AJ Styles weakest year performance wise in the ring by far.
I don't see how anything can top 2005 historically and quality wise.
Well this was disappointing to learn that Tessa may not be as awesome a person as I thought she was
There may be more women voicing on Tessa behavior i haven't come upon yet.
On the heels of her likely winning the Impact heavyweight championship to