Several weeks ago, rumors spread of a now confirmed closed door meeting that took place at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, between Triple H, several WWE officials, Scott D’Amore and Ed Nordholm. Speculation abounded about what the meeting could have been about but the only details initially revealed told of what the meeting wasn’t about, namely a sale of IMPACT Wrestling and it’s tape libraries to WWE.
The tape libraries did come up however, as according to both IMPACT’s President Ed Nordholm and Co-Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore, who were interviewed recently on separate podcasts, there was talk of WWE being interested in leasing more IMPACT footage for their network. As D’Amore explained, WWE and IMPACT have done three content deals so far, first for the documentary on Matt and Jeff Hardy, then for an episode of Table for 3 featuring Kurt Angle and AJ Styles, and most recently for Bruce Pritchard‘s Something Else to Wrestle With podcast on the WWE Network.
“So we’ve done a few deals together and I think WWE is seeing this is a different day with IMPACT Wrestling and maybe just on the most minute of levels, maybe they’re seeing it’s a different day and age in wrestling,” D’Amore told Petey Williams and Dennis Farrell on The Wrestling Perspective podcast.
“There wasn’t like – it’s one of those things where there was a meeting, we got together, we talked and it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, it’s kind of nice to be face-to-face and say hello and just say that it’s 2018, it’s a whole different world and there’s no reason why people shouldn’t communicate’…So there’s really no agenda to it, but it was nice and we move on. But it’s how the business is now which I think is tremendous.”
On the topic of leasing video footage, D’Amore responded with a very forward thinking answer. As the VP pointed out, while WWE are the ones asking for the footage in order to produce content on their network, they aren’t the only ones who have been benefiting from these sort of recent content-sharing agreements.
“It’s certainly good for us to just make a little bit of scratch for providing the footage, but also more so than that is the promotion they give us for the GWN (Global Wrestling Network) and that having it on their network and on their platform and saying, ‘Hey, if you want to see more of this, download and watch the GWN, that’s great for us, and that’s something that wouldn’t happen even two years ago,” D’Amore said. “So whether it’s WWE, whether it’s Ring of Honor, no matter who it is, I just think it’s great in this day and age – finally we’ve stopped with that old school wrestling BS of ‘You’re with him, you can’t do anything with us.’ So to get past that – that’s how the business works, everybody benefits if there’s communication and a little respect. I think it’s great everybody in the wrestling business is seeing that and we’re very proud of the part we’ve played in help trying to push that agenda.”
While Nordholm kept his comments a little closer to the vest, he did tell Sitting Ringside with David Penzer, that the meeting was about content and finding ways to share more of it in the future.
“We have been working more with them than previous incarnations of management in the past to my understanding, in ways in which they can access our library for their content development,” Nordholm told the host. “And it was time to explore if there were other things we could do to be better over the course of a conversation.”
Years ago, even the thought of IMPACT Wrestling and WWE sitting down for a meeting would never have happened. There was so much animosity between the two sides that working together on something that is seemingly so simple as sharing video content would have been absolutely off the table. Then again, five years ago, WWE wouldn’t have had the need for any of IMPACT’s content as guys like AJ Styles, Eric Young, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, the Hardys, etc had yet to sign their new WWE contracts.
As the landscape of WWE has changed so has the need for them to work more openly with some of these promotions in order to tell the stories of their wrestlers’ pasts. And so has the need for these other promotions to begin working more openly with each other. IMPACT Wrestling has shown that willingness, perhaps originally out of necessity to survive, but now they are doing it as leaders of the industry. Having already worked with New Japan Pro Wrestling (Taiji Ishimori) and Ring of Honor (Austin Aries), not to mention partnerships with Lucha Libre AAA and Lucha Underground, IMPACT has shown that cooperation not competition is the most important factor in wrestling today.
If the Stamford meeting is any indication, WWE might be closer to agreeing to that sentiment than ever before. While we’ll have to wait and see what exactly comes out of this meeting, the initial reports are positive and seem to suggest that the future is bright and as D’Amore said, it is indeed a “different day and age in wrestling.”
And for fans, that only means good things.