Impact and the Future of Indy Wrestling

If you have any interest at all in independent wrestling – and even if you don’t – you need to hear Talk is Jericho’s Friday episode. Chris Jericho’s guests are Don Callis and Scott D’Amore, the new executive vice presidents of Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA). It’s an eye-opening discussion about their unique qualifications to take over the struggling promotion and take it in a new direction.

The highlight that stood out the most for me was when they discussed intellectual property rights and wrestlers. It’s well-known that Impact has finally given up the fight over control of “Broken” Matt Hardy, and the WWE and Hardy are already reaping the benefits. What D’Amore and Callis shared on the show was the reasoning behind their backing of this paradigm-shifting decision.

It was Vince McMahon and the WWF that established the idea that wrestling “characters” belonged to the promotion and not the wrestlers. Vince wanted control so he could own the merchandising and restrict people from leaving his company to make money of the characters he helped to create. The TNA policy that kept “Broken” Matt Hardy in limbo for seven months was adopted from the WWE policy.

Callis and D’Amore want to change that. They want to give a platform for wrestlers to build, grow, and market characters owned by the wrestlers. Wrestlers who sign on with Impact can rest assured they will not be starting over should their relationship with the company come to an end. The gains they make at Impact will benefit them in Ring of Honor, Japan, Mexico, Europe, anywhere they go.

Callis and D’Amore contend that wrestlers have more power now than at any time in the history of the business. It’s hard to argue with that statement. For nearly a hundred years, going back to the days of the Golddust Trio, the promoters held all the power. They controlled the territories. They controlled who won or lost. They controlled who got work and who starved.

The territories are no more. Today, wrestlers market themselves. They are savvy social media users. They have tools like Instagram, YouTube, and Pro Wrestling Tees that they are using to great effect. They give interviews on blogs like this. They appear on every podcast they can. They let their fans know where they can see them not only in person but on High Spots, Powerbomb.TV, and other networks.

Callis and D’Amore know the business of wrestling. They also know business-business. They see the market, they know the trends, and they seem smart enough to create an environment to appeal to wrestlers who are truly more independent than ever.

If you listen to podcasts, please give this episode a listen. It’s a great omen for what’s on the horizon, not only for Impact, but the independent scene at large.

2017 was a ground-breaking year for the independents. 2018 is looking even better. It will start with Alpha vs. Omega. Can’t wait to see how it ends.

Primus Primer: The Baddest Man Alive

14051698_1143659579045927_8665944391328206031_nLast week word broke that Crazy Mary Dobson, the cover girl on Eat Sleep Wrestle, has signed with the WWE. She might not be the only wrestler from that book cover headed to a major promotion.

Eagle-eyed fans, especially those from Ohio, may have recognized a certain security team member on TNA recently. Aaron Williams, the Baddest Man Alive, not only got some TV time, he got a dark match at the recently revamped promotion and left a good impression with the new management.

“Things at Impact went well,” he says. “Got a lot of good feed back! Everyone I met was very polite and I expect be go back in the future.”

After his injury hiatus in 2015, Williams has been on a tear. He won the Rockstar Pro Championship for the third time. He’s faced several dream opponents, including Sami Calihan, Raymond Rowe, Ricky Shane Page, Al Snow, and Ken Anderson. And he is especially proud to now be a full-fledged member of the Midwest’s most dangerous faction: Ohio is 4 Killers.

Williams is facing Jason “The Gift” Kincaid in the first round of the Primus tournament, and Williams can’t wait to step in the ring with the Ring of Honor star. “I do pretty well in tournaments, and I thrive in that kind of thing. I also don’t really feel like I’ve shown the fans of Pro Wrestling Freedom what I’m capable of, but winning the PWF championship will take care of that for me. As far as Jason Kincaid goes I’m very excited to go one on one with him! It’s kinda a ‘gift’ from PWF to me cause once I beat him in my mind I’ve already won this tournament. Kincaid is as good as it gets once I beat him it’s smooth sailing.”

Will OI4K claim another title? Find out on September 9 in Jeffersonville when Pro Wrestling Freedom presents The Primus.

For ticket and event information, visit the event page on Facebook.

Read more about Aaron Williams, fellow Primus competitor Hy Zaya, and Crazy Mary Dobson in Eat Sleep Wrestle by John Cosper.