Posts Tagged ‘Impact Wrestling’

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We’ve heard from most of the big names since the official launch of All Elite Wrestling last week including the Khans, Cody and The Young Bucks. Now we get a chance to hear from arguably the biggest-named wrestler signed to the company – Chris Jericho.

As previously reported, Jericho discussed his process of joining AEW on his Talk is Jericho podcast and he described how he first heard of Tony Khan. Jericho’s manager told him that Khan was interested in starting a new company and Jericho said he would listen to Khan’s pitch and offer any advice.

“Who knows would could possibly happen,” Jericho said when recalling Khan’s idea. “I’m not gonna work there, but maybe I could use it for negotiations or give some advice. Because at the time I also called the family that owned Impact Wrestling and told them to hire Scott D’Amore and Don Callis and get out of the business…not because I wanted to go to Impact, but because I wanted the business to continue to thrive.”

Jericho mentioned that when he did All In in Chicago, he had a concert with Fozzy right after and used a private jet to fly from Chicago to Kansas City. That wasn’t just any old, private jet as it came courtesy of the Khans.

“I did the match [at All In] and then flew back to Kansas City to do the Fozzy gig at night on a private plane which was provided by Tony Khan,” revealed Jericho. “That’s something I never told anybody before – Tony Khan provided that jet.”

He then said that he met with Khan after doing a Fozzy gig in Jacksonville before All In and they talked for four hours. The passion and experience with business, the sports business especially, got Jericho interested.

“That’s when I realized, this guy really wants to do this,” stated Jericho. “Does he have any previous experience running a wrestling company? No. Did the last two presidents of the United States have any experience in politics? No. But what all three of them had is passion and experience with business.

Jericho then mentions the Khans owning the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and Fulham F.C. of the EPL, so they have experience within the sports and entertainment sector.

“They have a lot of elements and lot of acumen when it comes to running big businesses involved with athletics and entertainment,” Jericho said of the Khans.

Jericho then talked about the original offer that AEW threw his way to join their company.

“The original offer that came in blew my mind… What? This is a real, almost like NHL-level offer which I’d never gotten before,” said Jericho. “But I also know that with the money WWE has, they could probably match it if they wanted to.”

Jericho said him working longer in New Japan, working All In and doing his cruise was kind of a message to WWE, saying that he’s still relevant and making waves on his own terms.

“Do I really want to go back to WWE? If I go back, what am I going to be doing there? What kind of an angle would I have? How high up on the card would I be,” Jericho asked.

Jericho said that suddenly his name value is maybe bigger than its ever been and so hooking up with AEW was the payoff of all of that.

Many are expecting AEW to come in and right away compete with WWE, which is unrealistic. Jericho discussed the main intent of AEW right off the bat and it’s more to serve the wrestling fans rather than compete with the top wrestling promotion.

“WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world – you’re not going to beat it! We don’t want to beat the WWE. We’re not planning on that,” admitted Jericho. “That’s not the mindset of AEW. The mindset is to provide an option, an alternative for wrestling fans. It’s something you haven’t seen before and haven’t seen in a while.”

AEW launched in Jacksonville and their first show is in Las Vegas, but their plan is certainly to expand into global markets in the future.

“We could be going worldwide. We’ve already had inquiries from Australia, Germany, the UK. The Khan Family is based in London – you don’t think we’ll be in London working? You don’t think we’ll be back in Japan? Going to Germany? Australia? New Zealand? There’s a lot of places for us to go and I’m excited,” said Jericho.

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WWE Hall of Famer Booker T was a guest on Busted Open Radio. Among the topics discussed, Booker reflected on how much the independent wrestling scene has progressed, even claiming that it’s perhaps the hottest it’s ever been.

Booker has recently been investing in to his own independent wrestling school, Reality of Wrestling, where he actually wrestled against the ROW Heavyweight Champion, Rex Andrews in a one-on-one match this past Saturday at ROW The Last Stand. Booker recognizes that with a promotion of his own, along with the newly formed All Elite Wrestling, established promotions like Ring of Honor, New Japan, and Impact Wrestling, and other organizations that stay just beneath the mainstream radar, professional wrestling has an abundance of opportunities right now.

“It’s rich right now, I mean the independent world is rich,” Booker explained. “Oversees the money is good right now, small businesses, like myself, are flourishing because we’ve got social media and we can actually stream our stuff online without actually having to go and pay some big network and stuff like that. So the wrestling business right now is at its hottest that it’s perhaps ever been, not just in two decades, perhaps it’s ever been.”

Booker would go on to compare it to the days when WCW, WWE, and ECW were in a heated competition for ratings, saying that now-a-days, things like wrestling cons and the independent wrestling scene have taken it further than the days of the Monday night wars. Booker would also add how wrestlers no longer need to be involved with WWE to maintain financial stability.

“Even in the WCW, WWE, ECW wars,” Booker added. “Literally, from the independent scene on up, it could be the hottest it’s ever been with the wrestle cons and stuff like that going on. It’s huge right now. Guys don’t need to be in the WWE to make a living anymore. That’s saying something.”

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Former Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion and daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard, Tessa Blanchard had an undeniably successful 2018. Blanchard secured her first Knockouts Championship on August 12, 2018 and would hold the title in a dominant reign over the Impact women’s division for the remainder of the year. Impact Wrestling even awarded Blanchard their “Knockout Of The Year 2018” award for her contributions to the company.

Blanchard recently took time for an interview with TheGorillaPosition.com and while discussing various topics, she credited the last five years of training in pro wrestling for molding her in to the well-rounded competitor audiences see today. Blanchard recounted some of her most inspiring accomplishments and explained how learning all sorts of wrestling styles from around the globe allows her to adapt to different competitors in the ring.

“I just hit my five-year mark since I first began my training,” Blanchard said. “And right now, I feel like I’ve really, finally come full circle. At that point, if someone had asked me, where do you think you’d be in five years? There’s no way I could have imagined I’d be here. I’ve wrestled some of the best wrestlers in the world – both male and female. I’ve had the longest women’s match in [pro wrestling] history. I got to travel to Australia and I got to main event at Korakuen Hall. I got to be a part the first women’s match in the history of China.

“Everywhere I go, the styles are different,” Blanchard continued. “When you wrestle in Japan, it’s more strong style. When I go to Mexico, it’s definitely more high-flying. And in my matches I’ve had with Taya in Impact, it’s been a lot more ground-based. So, I basically have to be ready for anything, and be able to adapt depending on where I’m wrestling, or who I’m in the ring with.”

Blanchard is a third generation superstar, being the daughter of Four Horsemen member and WWE Hall of Famer, the aforementioned Tully Blanchard. She’s inspired to step out from the shadow of her father’s legendary career and create a legacy that is completely her own.

“I’ve said since day one that my last name might get my foot in the door, and give me an opportunity,” Blanchard admitted. “I’m not denying that. But, once you step in that ring, you’ve got to be able to back it up. You got to be able to work hard. And that’s what I do. I work hard, because that’s what’s necessary. You have to go that extra mile. Everybody can look at me, and make all the excuses they want. Like, ‘Oh, it’s because of her Dad or, it’s her last name.’ But if you work hard, none of that matters… it’s all just bulls–t.”

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Tessa Blanchard spoke with Wrestling Epicenter about Impact heading to Pursuit, Chris Jericho (and her step-dad, Magnum TA) being inspirations for her finisher, and her goals for 2019. Here are some of the highlights:

Impact leaving POP TV and heading to Pursuit:

“What is cool is, Impact isn’t trying to compete with anyone. Impact is, simply, an alternative. It is such a neat thing because you see talent that is giving, literally, 200% from the beginning of the show until the end. Nothing is just passable, everything is great! That’s what I say, I don’t want to just be passable. I want to be the best in the world! I don’t want to be good, I want to be great! So, I’m taking the time to get there—to learn from the people that are better than me and the people that have done something in the business.

“Nothing is just good enough. We take the time and we make it freaking great! That is the great thing about Impact—they care about each individual talent and everything that we put out on TV has a lot of thought and time put into it. A lot of people that are extremely knowledgeable, like Gail Kim for instance. Gail Kim has done so much and has so much knowledge. I think she’s extremely underrated. She wants the product to be great and she doesn’t mind taking the extra time to get it there. That is a really invaluable thing to me.”

Her goals in 2019:

“You know, I’m not sure what is going to happen in 2019, but I do know that it is going to be better than 2018. That is a huge statement to make because 2018 was absolutely amazing. But, with the WOW Superheroes on AXS TV, which has Mark Cuban and Jeanie Buss behind that. I’m so excited for people to see that air in January. With Impact, I hope to retain my Knockouts championship. I hope for women to main event an Impact [PPV] event which has not been done yet. I hope to share the ring with Gail Kim one day … I hope that intergender wrestling can make a breakthrough. There are a lot of hopes for 2019. But, you know, I’ve been going moment by moment, match by match, and it seems to be working out so far!”

The origins of her “Magnum” finish as a tribute to her step-dad, Magnum TA, and Chris Jericho:

“Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever told this story. So, I’m a huge Chris Jericho fan. I’ve always been a huge Chris Jericho fan. I was in Japan—I believe it was Osaka. I was wrestling a girl and I hit the finish and she kicked out. I’m like, ‘Well, fudge! What do I do now?’ So, I go to the top rope and I do a move off the top rope. That was the first time that I had ever been to the top rope! From that, it progressed. I was trying to think of something that I could do to anyone that was unique to myself and still showed intensity and still had a little bit of the past in it. So, as I said, I’m a huge Chris Jericho fan—I love his finish, but I wanted to up the ante a little bit. So, I do it off the top rope.

“My step-dad (Magnum TA) is an amazing person. He was an amazing wrestler. But, his career was cut short. He is someone that I look up to and someone that I respect. He is someone that I go to for advice … I think he is extremely underrated and does not get the recognition that he deserves. I think that he should be a WWE Hall of Famer, to be frank! I wanted to name something after him and I remember one of the commentators coming to me and saying, ‘Tessa, I need the name of some of your moves.’ I was like, ‘Well, this is the Magnum!’ [Laughs] I remember my step-dad always telling me to be careful with that move.

“He’d say, ‘That ring is unforgiving. That ring hurts.’ Every move, every bump! It doesn’t feel good. If it was easy, everyone would do it! It is a very taxing thing on your body. So, my step-dad told me to be careful with that move. That move is tough on me. It is a very tough thing on my body.”

Blanchard also discussed more on Gail Kim and Taya Valkyrie.

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Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard spoke with Wrestling Epicenter about her upcoming title defense against Taya Valkyrie at Impact Homecoming and her thoughts on Gail Kim. Here are some of the highlights:

Gail Kim being special referee of her title defense against Taya Valkyrie at Homecoming:

“Everyone is going to see three of the best women’s wrestlers in the world in the ring at the same time, which is very special. Regarding Impact making Gail Kim the special referee … I have said it before. I get it because not a single person in the Impact locker room has been able to take the title from me so why not stack the odds against the champion, right? Personally and professionally, Gail is able to separate personal and business aside. But, it is no secret that personally, she has never liked me. Professionally, she has always helped all the women. But, personally, she has never liked me. But, that’s OK! Personally, I’m not too fond of her either!”

Her true feelings of Gail Kim:

“She is one of the people, aside from my family, that made me want to get into the business. She is one of the best in the world. She is one of the pioneers that was trying to make women’s wrestling into what it is now. She fought for the women! She still fights for the women! So, while I respect her, I’m hoping that she is going to go into this match unbiased. But, you know, we really won’t know until we get there on Sunday in the ring. I’ve always done whatever is necessary to retain my Knockouts title by any means necessary. With Gail being the referee, I hope she saw what I did to referee Brandon Tolle the other day. When he got in my business, I made sure there was no more Brandon Tolle. If Gail Kim gets in my business, I’ll make sure there is no more Gail Kim.”

Facing Taya Valkyrie:

“As far as Taya, Taya has had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity at my title. She always comes up short. But hey, she’s married to the champion – The Heavyweight Champion! So, lets keep giving her a shot, right? That’s fine. Whatever. She’s one of the Knockouts that always takes me to my limits in different ways than I would expect. But while Taya is so good, she is still no diamond. She is still no Tessa Blanchard. I am one of the best in the world! This Sunday, everyone is going to see that.”

Performing in the birth place of Impact, the Asylum, at Impact Homecoming:

“You know, I think it is a really special thing. To be back at the Asylum, I’ve never been there but that is Impact’s roots. I think the women, especially, are going to make history this Sunday in something very, very beautiful.”

Thoughts as she heads into Sunday’s PPV:

“Everything about Impact Wrestling last year was on an upswing. We’ve been able to lock down talents that are the top independent talents in wrestling right now – Pentagon, Fenix, Sami Callihan, Brian Cage, it has been huge! Impact, right now, is hotter than ever. No matter what station we’re on, people go to find Impact Wrestling. The Homecomingcard is loaded! You’ve got Taya and myself, you’ve got LAX and the Lucha Brothers, Ultimate X is back, Eli Drake is one of the best in the world and he’s wrestling Abyss, and then, in the main event, you have got Johnny (Impact) and Brian (Cage). The whole entire card is loaded!”

Blanchard also discussed her 2019 goals, Impact’s move to Pursuit, and more. You can check out the full interview in the video above or read the highlights by clicking here.

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All Elite Wrestling are wasting no time at all in starting to make an impact – at the possible expense of the company of the same name.

Cody and The Bucks’ hottest new venture has apparently reached out to Mexican superstars Pentagon and Fenix with contract offers, supposedly tripling the low six-figure deals offered to the pair by Impact Wrestling. According to Wrestling News World, Elite hopes to obtain exclusivity on the duo’s bookings, and would like them both to attend their presser alongside other AEW talent in Jacksonville this Tuesday.

Apparently, this is just the start of Elite’s talent hunt, with the company allegedly presenting contract offers “comparable to what people make in WWE”, as reported by the ever-reliable Ryan Satin of Wrestling Sheet.

Aside from securing a competitive television deal – something which has less relevance today than ever – one of the biggest stumbling blocks upstart companies have faced in attempting to challenge WWE is convincing relevant and available talent that their grass is greener than the supposed promised land of Stamford. If Elite really are in a position to match WWE on those terms, we could be entering an exciting new climate in which disaffected talent might begin to consider their options, with the “dream” no longer being enough to secure their future.

Madison Rayne spoke with CBS Local Sports: Pittsburgh on her talks with WWE, wanting to face Brandi Rhodes, and wanting to take on Alexa Bliss. Here are some of the highlights:

Voting in a recent ROH poll to take on Brandi Rhodes:

“I actually did vote on that! Well, I voted on it because I wanted to see what the result was. Until the poll on Twitter is over you have to select one to see what the percentages are. I think that I voted for Brandi.

“Here’s why: I’ve been in the ring with Sumie, and I’m hopeful to be in the ring with her again in the very near future, because I loved my time working with her in the ring. She’s just such a fun addition to the locker room. She brings that happy energy that I was just talking about. Kelly, I’ve been in the ring with numerous times. Even before my time at Impact, years ago, in the early years of my career, I worked a lot with Kelly. Jenny I’ve actually never had a one-on-one, a singles match with, but I would love to.

“But there’s just something about Brandi. She’s this really hungry, not up-and-comer, because she’s been around the wrestling business for a long time. There’s this star quality about Brandi, and it makes me excited as a fan to watch her grow and evolve and change. As a competitor, she’s somebody that I really want to get in there with and I want to test her, but I also kind of want to test myself against somebody who’s so young and hungry into being in the ring.”

Her dream opponents:

“I’ve made my little dream list. The one that people talk about a lot, probably for varying reasons, would be me and Alexa Bliss. We’re both from Columbus, we’re both small, we both tend to have a bit of attitude when it comes to our in-ring persona. I’ve met her several times, I knew her years ago, when we both competed in fitness competitions. So, I just think that it would be fun for that to come full circle and for us to meet in the ring. I would love, and I hope that not far down the road it comes to fruition. I would also love to get in the ring one-on-one with Tenille [Dashwood]. I’ve not had that opportunity yet, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

How talks went with WWE and why she didn’t sign with them:

“Conversations between WWE and myself were always positive. I always got great feedback on everything I did, from the tryout a year ago to just recently doing Mae Young. This past year has been the first and only time that I’ve ever worked in any capacity with WWE. So, that was really exciting this many years into my career, to finally have been able to do that.

“But it’s about trying to figure out what was going to be best for me and which company I would flourish the best in. I felt that Ring of Honor was my best option, and that is not saying that WWE offered me something and I said no, I just feel like I was always very honest and upfront about the fact that Columbus was my home and Columbus would remain my home. I understand that they have a system that they put their talent through, regardless of whether you’ve never taken one bump, or you’ve been wrestling for many years, and that system starts in Orlando. While wrestling is still very, very important to me, being a mother and being a wife, those two things are greatly more important.

“There was never that definitive conversation, but just given the fact that I knew and I never wanted there to be any gray area in my communication with WWE, and I made it clear that I could and would not be willing to relocate, I think that probably kind of settled the question there as far as whether or not a contract with WWE was going to be in my future.”