This week’s Impact Wrestling media teleconference was with two-thirds of the new executive committee: Don Callis and Scott D’Amore. Across all of the questions they fielded, there was one consistent theme in their answers. Things are changing. The third member of the team, company president Ed Nordholm, seems to have entrusted the duo to rebuild Impact as they see fit. This isn’t to say there will be changes for change’s sake. And on their eleventh day on the job, they are fielding questions on some of the changes they have made.
— 石森太二 (@taiji_ishimori) January 10, 2018
The most drastic change people will notice is that, as D’Amore put it, “the ring somehow got set up with two of its sides missing.” Impact is returning to a four-sided ring once again. The reason? “When Scott and I first started talking about it, with both of us having been former professional wrestlers, we both shared in the view that the primary importance is creating an environment where the talent can flourish from top to bottom. And one of those things, I think, is the ring. From all of the feedback that I’ve certainly ever gotten, the talent prefers the four-sided ring. It’s a better ring to bump in, it’s a better ring to do spots in. I felt like the only argument I ever heard for six sides was that it’s different.”
But again, change for change’s sake, differences for the sake of being different, that isn’t the goal for Impact. Callis continues “it would be different to have a ring with no ropes, but no one would do that… Switching the ring from six to four sides was a very common tweet in terms of people offering free advice, so I guess we took the advice.” Both D’Amore and Callis seem to remain open to feedback. In their closing statements, both mentioned that they would like to remain accessible to the media. This is because, as they said multiple times, a key goal is to make Impact Wrestling a destination for both talent and fans.
I am thrilled to PROCLAIM that we have ACQUIRED new ALLIES on our side of #TheGreatWar. Ed Nordholm & The Owl of Anthem have revealed themselves as MAJESTIC beings who stand on the side of the LIGHT.
The LIGHT always EMERGES, #WOKENWarriors.
Everything is COPASETIC & WONDERFUL! pic.twitter.com/bL6fN4cjnE
— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 10, 2018
On January 10th, an image hit the internet that goes a long way towards proving just that. Since leaving Impact, the Hardys have been at odds with the company over intellectual property. While Matt created the character of Broken Matt Hardy, he did so while under contract with Impact. This made the character Impact’s property. On the 10th however, Hardy tweeted out a photo in which he was shaking hands with Ed Nordholm.
When asked about the photo, D’Amore pointed out that “we’ve made a pretty drastic change in how we handle the IP. That’s because we want to empower the wrestlers to be able to feel they have ownership of that IP and that they have the comfort of knowing they’ll always be able to use it. So yeah, we sat down as a group and it’s important that all wrestlers, past and present, know that that right is available to them.”
Intellectual property, as well as freedom in where they work, are two of the aspects in which Impact looks to empower talent. After a question related to his relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Callis rejected the idea of territory-based booking. “Our attitude is that the days of thinking from a territorial perspective is old school thinking… We’re moving away from those institutionalized, old-school paradigms and moving towards a future where… the power is in the hands of the wrestlers. They have social media, they have t-shirt stores. They have the ability to promote themselves in a way that guys like me who came up in the 90’s never could.”
He continues to say “we’re very open to working with anyone. Not just New Japan, but also Ring of Honor, and any other promotion. I mean, I think you have to be, none of us are Vince McMahon.” D’Amore adds that they’re looking to have an open-door policy to any promotion that can have a mutually beneficial relationship with Impact. This obviously helps the talent get more work, but it adds a layer to the show that other major promotions don’t quite have.
Impact has also struck a deal with Twitch. While all of the details haven’t come out just yet, D’Amore revealed that there will be exclusive content. That content won’t be purely in-ring content either. There will be behind the scenes aspects to the channel, as well as looking into the wrestlers’ lives outside of wrestling. While providing content on Twitch and through the Global Wrestling Network seem to be the way wrestling is moving, they also announced that Impact will be returning to live pay-per-view in April.
While they didn’t divulge too much information regarding storylines or on-screen talent directly, you will be excited to hear that there will be no on-screen authority figure. Both Callis and D’Amore stated that they find the on-screen authority figure to be a dated character, a sentiment many throughout the wrestling world agree with. “I thought it was overdone in ’03 when I first got here, but people are still doing it thirteen years later.” In fact, you won’t be seeing Don Callis on your screen at all if he can help it. “When I promoted my own shows, small as they were, when I was talent and booking the show and being involved in every aspect, something suffers.” And these two are clearly dedicated to making the best product they can out of Impact Wrestling.
Less than a month into their new roles, we are seeing changes in Impact Wrestling. From a new ring to a new Impact World Champion in Austin Aries, the D’Amore and Callis era of Impact Wrestling is off to a great start. Within the next few months, we could very well see their goals achieved. Impact could become the premier destination for wrestlers and wrestling fans alike.