IMPACT's Scott D'Amore spoke with Fightful's Denise Salcedo about the importance of having a stable home on television. Now that Impact is on AXS weekly, fans will know where to find them consistently. He put over their digital growth and said they're number two digitally globally in wrestling. He said that the biggest challenge when he, Don Callis and Ed Nordholm came in was trying to regain trust in the brand. He was confident that the brand could promote a good show, but had to get the audience to trust they weren't going to screw things up the way past regimes had. He feels they've regained that trust, which is what helped them lead to selling out Bound for Glory.
D'Amore didn't want complacency on the roster or the product, and wanted to provide something fresh and new for IMPACT. He and the new regime also wanted to create a roster from the ground up, which they've done. He put over Ace Austin as a great performer that they helped gain a profile in the company. He also hasn't ruled out working together with WOW Women of Wrestling and doing some crossover there now that Anthem owns AXS.
With all of the competition in pro wrestling stepping up, D'Amore claims that as of right now, they're trying to keep their own house in order as opposed to getting involved in that.
Other nice notes included the fact that D'Amore still owns a lock of Adrian Adonis' hair from WrestleMania 3, which he attended.
Mathews told us that he actually found out about the move to AXS when Scott D'Amore contacted him and told him that they needed to start creating graphics for AXS. D'Amore joked to Mathews that the last two years had been "practice" for this.
Mathews thinks that some people had a tough time investing in IMPACT and their characters, because they weren't sure that the company would be around for very long. Now they know where to find IMPACT weekly and know it'll stick around. They didn't know the wrestling explosion would happen and wrestling would be around every night, but feels that if they win, viewers win.
R-Truth and Carmella
R-Truth tells me that he was more worried about everyone else, including me, taking his WWE 24/7 Title than Carmella, because he and Carmella are “dawgs” and share the title. Carmella confirmed that she's “got R-Truth's back” and vice versa.
We talked about Carmella's versatility, and she seemed really happy that she had the opportunity to show her abilities in a variety of roles. She knows that a lot of wrestlers get pigeonholed into one particular gimmick and can't really stretch their legs. Carmella says the 24/7 Title skits are the most fun she's ever had in her career.
Truth talked about his Hardcore title run and said that holding that title doesn't even compare to being 24/7 Championship, as it's caused a complete lifestyle change. He joked that he doesn't even feel comfortable in his own home. As we wrapped up, he clarified that he wasn't a backup dancer for MC Hammer, but he opened shows for a lot of groups, including Kid N' Play and 3rd Bass.
In regards to the Maria Manic situation a couple of weeks back, we were told she'd be brought into the company as far back as the Spring, but she wasn't used until late June. Without even wrestling a single match, Manic's six month deal expired without Ring of Honor rolling it over on October 1, and she used the opportunity to secure a private WWE tryout. The private tryouts are less intense than the more expansive ones. ROH knew the tryout was coming, as she'd informed them the week prior. However, she was brought back on what we're told is a non-exclusive, one year deal with a good monthly salary.
- Kylie Rae hasn't signed with Impact, but we're told she made a positive impression on many backstage. Most of whom were already familiar with her.
- Tessa Blanchard's deal is up in the Summer of 2020.
- We're getting a lot of positive reactions from people working in IMPACT right now. It's probably been the most sense of optimism we've seen come out of the company in quite a while. One wrestler told us there are a few integral decisions over the next few months key to morale, but wouldn't specify what those were.
Randy Orton caused a stir backstage with his AEW teasing on Instagram.
Shortly after the post, Fightful began receiving inquiries from WWE talent and employees about Orton, who volunteered up information that as of right now, Orton's WWE deal is up next summer. He was reported to have signed a ten-year deal in 2010, but considering a number of variables, the length of the deal could have always changed. We're told that the contract expires in or at the end of June.
CM Punk-Fox- WWE Backstage
Fightful was able to speak with a couple of people close to the WWE-Fox deal about the relationship between the two, which seems to still be doing swell.
One source at Fox said that the company is happy with WWE and how things have gone so far.
As far as the rest of the partnership, CM Punk did try out for WWE Backstage last month, but was not offered a deal by Fox. As mentioned before, Punk's tryout went well and he impressed the Backstage team, but it was left in the hands of higher ups at Fox that seemed like they'd "moved on" as recently as this week. Nothing is concrete in that regard, though.
The show is run through them, as opposed to UFC Tonight, which would see names get a check from the UFC instead of Fox. We're also told that WWE doesn't have much input on the WWE Backstage show, and it was originally set to feature more inside terminology and references than it does now, even.
Punk has since confirmed that he hasn't heard back from Fox.