Despite renewed hope at the beginning of 2017 for Impact Wrestling with the Anthem buyout, GFW merger and some decent shows to their name (Slammiversary), the last six months have been yet another period of setbacks for the company. The GFW merger sadly didn’t last due to Jeff Jarrett’s issues with alcohol causing his departure from the company before it could be finalized and the promotion put on one of the worst shows in history with Bound For Glory.
Now it looks like 2018 is off to a rocky start with four of the promotions top stars leaving this week! Chris Adonis (F.K.A. Chris Masters) Bobby Lashley, Laural Van Ness, and EC3 have all finished up with Impact Wrestling after the latest lot of tv tapings. As of press time, we believe that Lashley, EC3, and LVN are all headed to WWE.
Other former Impact names rumored to be WWE bound include Rockstar Spud and James Storm who both left the promotion late last year.
The reason for all these talents leaving is simple…money! Anthem has been cutting out the big money contracts as a cost-cutting measure (along with firing their referees and choosing to glue pieces of metal that say “Impact” on all the promotions Title belts to cover the GFW symbols as opposed to getting new belts made) and understandably several workers were not happy about that.
However, all is not lost for the Impact brand! After Jeff Jarrett’s departure, Anthem brought in former WWE and ECW Manager and current New Japan Pro Wrestling English Commentator Don Callis and named him the promotions c0-executive vice president along with Scott D’Amore who will handle the creative reigns moving forward.
Callis is a smart guy with decades of experience in the industry who helped play a pivotal role in organizing the Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Many have speculated that this might lead to a future partnership between Impact and New Japan, but you shouldn’t get your hopes up. New Japan is very happy with their partnership with Ring Of Honor and is in a stronger place than Impact as far as exposure and popularity in North America.
Callis and D’Amore have already instigated some big changes such as ditching the six-sided ring, retiring the Impact Grand Championship and putting the Impact World Championship on a returning Austin Aries. All of these steps can only be seen as positive, but they were tempered by the loss of four big names. Aries return and Title win being spoiled by the promotions social media and the scary injury Eddie Edwards suffered at the hands of an errand Baseball bat spot involving Sami Callihan.
Thankfully, Edwards is ok (and even worked the next night’s taping) and the loss of talents are being offset with new talent like Brian Cage debuting (with more names to follow), and perhaps Aries return was spoiled on purpose to get people tuning in to Impact on POP every Thursday at 8 pm?
Will Impact Wrestling still be around this time next year? Well, we’ve all been asking that question every January for the last five or six years now, and somehow they are still here!