Much like Impact Wrestling dedicated this week’s show to him, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s column to Barry Scott, the legendary voice of TNA, who passed away last week.

The reaction from the wrestling world to the news of Barry’s passing showed his legacy and impact. Deep and resounding, there was a distinct timbre to Barry’s voice that conveyed gravitas and lent the sort of credibility you couldn’t buy to any segment he was involved in.

His beautifully rich voice narrated countless video packages over the years in TNA, but he was most associated with the promotion’s earlier years. You could watch any big TNA show from 2005 onwards and it’d be very easy to understand what made him so special and an underrated asset to the company.

Impact put out a selection of highlights on Twitter last week of his career and I wanted to focus on three of those here that, for me at least, best illustrate what he brought to the table and why he will be so keenly missed, even if their use of him in recent years was much more sporadic.

Package #1
Introduction to iMPACT! on October 1st 2005, the first episode on Spike TV

Aside from trailers hyping the promotion’s arrival on Spike, this video package to start the show marked the first proper exposure viewers of the channel had to TNA. For a fledgling promotion still trying to take root and establish themselves as something new and different, a genuine alternative, first impressions were vital.

From the off, Barry’s unmistakable voice reels you in with the wonderful line: “There are moments that enchant us, inspire us, define us”.

It’s well known that the rule of three has a powerful impact on the audience and those words, while largely simple, conveyed a strong sense of togetherness and were an attempt to bring in those new viewers as part of the TNA family. It is worth noting that as a voice artist, Barry was ultimately giving life and voice to words written by somebody else, but the depth and tone of his voice made that emotional pull feel incredibly direct.

Some have said that maybe the words used in this package and others like it were too serious and that ‘it’s only wrestling’. But that comes from a place of conditioning – the biggest promotion in the world have run for years with the premise that it’s perfectly acceptable for wrestling to be silly and that you shouldn’t want too much seriousness in your product. In truth, that is nonsense.

The video footage played to the viewer is of dramatic moves and high-flying action. It’s the sort of highlight content designed to intrigue and captivate, to spotlight feats of agility that make you readjust your television sets (to borrow an old industry line).

Scott introduces you to the big stars off the bat – AJ Styles, the Naturals and Jeff Jarrett – immediately giving the viewer a point of reference and providing the promotion with a credible, serious veneer from the off.

The line that stuck with me most? “Who have, until this night, toiled in fields of relative obscurity. Starting tonight, these emerging stars will toil in anonymity no more”.

Poetic brilliance that could only have been delivered that well by one, inimitable, person.

Package #2
Opening promo for Bound for Glory 2005

Given to many to read, a written narrative of the promotion’s year that deliberately mentions the name of every PPV would sound forced and awkward. With Scott however, with his wonderfully precise cadence and intonation, it’s something utterly compelling.

The visual of Scott in a seemingly otherworldly setting is unusual but it works. He is almost cast as the wise prophet, regaling the lore of time gone by. When you factor in the video footage, and the wonderful clips narrated by Don West’s invigorating enthusiasm and Mike Tenay’s experience, you’ve got audio-visual magic.

Forget kicking a PPV off with a hot opener, this should be the only way you start a show.

Package #3
Opening promo for Slammiversary 2018

By this point in time, Scott’s appearances in Impact were sporadic as I mentioned earlier. In fact, this is one of his last collaborations with the company and I think that might play a part in why this one resonates with me so much. It might also be the fact that I have wonderfully nostalgic memories of Slammiversary 2018, one of the best North American PPVs in recent years.

But when you sit back and watch the package itself, it’s every bit as good and as captivating as the others. You can feel the age in Scott’s voice – it’s more breathy but somehow more urgent. While it develops into a remarkable monologue, the package is very much a case of less is more at the start – the phrases “Impactful Moments”, “Impactful Actions”, “Impactful Drama” are spaced out with the words of Austin Aries, Eddie Kingston and Matt Sydal.

Again there’s that use of repetition and he also once again reaches out directly to you, the viewer, with the lines – “We told you that tonight is about you. We told you that our energy would be relentless”.

Much like the Bound for Glory package almost 13 years prior, the visual of Scott himself adds a lot to the overall package. His pacing around on an all-white background and his face looking directly down the camera adds real urgency and a sense of the epic to this hype video without it feeling remotely forced. It got the juices flowing the first time and it hit me with the same energy again this week.

I’ve barely scratched the surface in covering his work, or in fact doing his tremendous work justice with my ramblings, but the loss of Barry Scott is a hugely significant one for the promotion. He is a direct link with their past and his role in that past cannot be underestimated. His voice and the words he gave life to add the sort of gravitas and credibility to the promotion that was simply invaluable.

While Scott was very literally a voice artist, it was his profession, he embodied that description because he was an artist. A gentleman who was able to paint a picture with his words and enamor a generation with his distinct, powerful voice. He will be sorely missed.

The Week in Review

  • This week’s episode was a distinct improvement on last week and I also feel decidedly less grumpy about wrestling, so that’s a double win.
  • I try not to be so curmudgeonly anymore but honestly, the Su Yung stuff and Rosemary getting married to John E. Bravo are both stories I could do without.
  • Eric Young against Rich Swann is set for the Bound for Glory main event and I cannot wait. Swann’s promo this week was brilliant and I think with several weeks left to build to it, they’ve got the chance to do something really special.
  • Acey Romero got a win this week alongside tag team partner Larry D and it was great to read about his weight loss journey. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander are real good brothers for putting him on the right path and long may it continue.
  • Talking of The North, they were part of a really fun eight-man tag main event that highlights just how strong the tag division is right now in Impact. Not sure exactly where they’re going for the PPV but it should be fascinating.

Well, until next time…