AEW & IMPACT Set for WAR? Backstage News on the Improbable Partnership

Weeks ago Tony Khan announced via Twitter that the “Balance of Power” in the wrestling world was shifting, which peaked everyone’s curiosity. Later that night Pac returned to Dynamite and most assumed that that was what he was referring to, sparking many to compare his announcement to the historically bad Dixie Carter teases that often underwhelmed the audience leading fans to never trust her announcements. Well, we were partly right. The Pac return was just one part of a potential 3-part balance of power shift he was speaking according to Dave Meltzer via Wrestling Observer Radio. Part 2  was the debut of Sting. Part 3… a potential inter-promotional war between IMPACT and AEW…

Last night on AEW Dynamite, IMPACT Executive Vice President and Kenny Omega’s close friend Don Callis returned as guest commentator. Callis made his debut at AEW Full Gear as a “favor” (according to Tony Khan) to AEW EVP Kenny Omega and it was expected to be a one-off. As it turns out it was the beginning stages of an agreement between the two companies. During last nights main event of Dynamite, Kenny challenged AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley for the title, and towards the end of the match Callis interfered by distracting Moxley and passing a microphone to Omega, which he hit Moxley with. After the mic-shot, several “V-Trigger” knees and a “One-Winged Angel” Omega pinned a bloody Moxley to become the AEW World Champion. After the match Callis joined Omega to celebrate and the two escaped Daly’s Place running to a waiting SUV in the parking lot. The fix was in. Roving AEW reporter Alex Marvez was able to get a comment from Callis prior to him jumping in to the vehicle, and Callis directed the world to tune in to IMPACT Wrestling Tuesday Night on AXS TV to hear Don and Kenny “tell ya all about it!”. Absolute perfection and pro wrestling at its best.

This was the best television angle I have seen in more than a decade. Rarely do surprises work in wrestling these days. There is always a mole or a leaker. For a surprise between two companies to get paid off like this at this level in 2020 is unprecedented. Kudos to both companies for not spilling the beans. No one saw this coming. Literally no one, some will tell you they did but they are lying.

The surprise was so good in fact, that many within IMPACT were totally shocked. According to a report from Sean Ross Sapp via Fightful Select:

Some within IMPACT Wrestling had heard of the news, but were told there wasn’t much to it Almost nobody that we spoke to expects a “full crossover” to come from it, but wrestlers in IMPACT are happy about the buzz cast on their show.” h/t Chuck Obi

The report goes on to state that Omega will be filming some segments this Tuesday and that several IMPACT talents will be coming in for it. IMPACT taped several weeks of TV prior to Thanskgiving and are not scheduled for anymore tapings until their next PPV “Hard to Kill” which will air live on January 16th. Too bad this all didn’t happen prior to their tapings but oh well. With several talent contracts coming to an end at this close of this year and in the first quarter of next year, this could be a spark towards them being able to re-sign some talents. I have heard through a third tier source (basically a guy I know heard from someone from IMPACT so take it for what its worth) to expect more than just Omega to appear on IMPACT in the coming weeks/months. This is all still new and the companies are keeping the details quiet so expect conflicting reports, but I feel pretty good about where things currently sit and am hopeful the two companies are in a full blown working agreement.

Last night on Twitter, FTR, ever the opportunists called out The North and the Motor City Machine Guns.  The Young Bucks posted a picture of themselves from their TNA “Generation Me” days. Also, on this weeks IMPACT during their flashback segment, a clip of a Gen Me vs MCMG ladder match aired. Jordynne Grace and dozens of other IMPACT stars also began their callouts. The seeds were planted weeks ago and none of us saw it coming.

Who benefits the most? Pro Wrestling fans duh. But between both companies? IMPACT will clearly get the biggest rub here. The latest edition of IMPACT averaged 166K viewers and Dynamite averages roughly 4 times that. IMPACT’s peak this year was about 200K. But AEW stands to benefit here too. Not only are there are lots of big matchups to air on their TV & PPVs, but they have so many young talent needing TV experience and exposure, and IMPACT is the perfect place for that. WWF & ECW used to have a similar arrangement where WWF would send someone to Paul Heyman (Al Snow, Justin Credible etc) to get over and then WWF would bring them back. Plus, this angle has generated more buzz then even Sting joining the company and people salivate for dream matches. To me it’s a win-win for both companies.

This is a huge opportunity for IMPACT and this Tuesday will likely be the highest rated episode since their AXS debut. IMPACT really needs to overhaul their production to meet this moment. They obviously can’t right now because their shows are already taped. But Hard to Kill should be taped from a bigger venue with increased production values. Their little studio has been good for the pandemic era, but their audience just got a much needed boost and now they need a setting fitting a moment of this caliber, which means Anthem will have to spend big. Anthem spends very wisely, and I think a bigger/slicker production would be wise if they want to keep their audience growing. Such an exciting time to be a wrestling fan. I’ll be doing a “Top 10 AEW-IMPACT Crossover” article next so feel free to send some ideas my way @combatrepublic on Twitter

2 Comments

  1. Great article. I agree with the production aspect, I think that this is where Anthem open their coffers and start making a big point with production. Impact cannot afford to look second class during this, otherwise the opportunity will be gone.

    Like

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