Rohit Raju On His Relationship With IMPACT Wrestling And Fears Of Entering A Crowded Free Agent Market

Rohit Raju talks about leaving IMPACT as the free-agent market in professional wrestling becomes even more crowded.

Sometimes in professional wrestling, you need to bet on yourself in order to succeed and that is what Rohit Raju decided to do when he left IMPACT Wrestling after the expiration of his contract at the end of 2021.

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Now, he is reflecting on the good relationship he still has with the promotion and the fears that set in when he decided to leave amid more WWE releases and a Ring of Honor hiatus that crowded the free-agent market even more.

One thing that Rohit immediately asked Scott D'Amore was if he could continue to use the name as he felt he had built equity in the name during his time with IMPACT Wrestling.

"Yeah. I literally texted Scott and asked him if I could still use the name Rohit Raju. He said, ‘Yeah, man.’ ‘Cause I was going down to Dark to do that and I want to still use Rohit," Raju tells Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp. "After the X-Division run that really opened a lot of eyes and that name meant something. It had some value after that. Then all the other antics I did at IMPACT after that. So I felt like I wanted to continue that. It wasn’t my name it was something they created, I was Hakim Zane. But I thought I did something with Rohit and I wanted to continue to use it and keep that name fresh."

Continuing on, Raju spoke about feeling as though IMPACT Wrestling still doesn't get enough credit in the world of professional wrestling, especially when in the last year, they have partnered up with promotions like New Japan and All Elite Wrestling.

"They do a lot of great things. I mean, look at the Forbidden Door. Look at all the talent. The Ring of Honor thing that happened. The New Japan thing that happened. The AEW crossover. That’s all tremendous stuff. That all happened at IMPACT. They don’t get enough credit in the world of professional wrestling. People still look at IMPACT like the red-headed stepchild of professional wrestling. Some of the best wrestlers are there right now. It blows my mind. It’s funny, when said wrestler will go to a different promotion, they’re like, ‘Oh, this guy’s really good.’ Yeah, he was really good when he was wrestling at IMPACT as well. Nothing changed. He just got a bigger platform. It’s a shame that company does not get the eyes it deserves. They do. They deserve a bigger audience because a lot of the stuff they do is really, really good," he said.

As much as Raju wanted to take a chance on himself, he is very aware of the current free-agent market in professional wrestling and just how many high-profile free agents are out there. he says this caused him to have some fear when leaving IMPACT because he is worried that perhaps with so many high-profile names available to sign, promotions would be less willing to take a chance on someone like him.

"I think it was in November, it was the last set of tapings—I think it was in Vegas—that I figured, when I sat down with Scott. I was like, ‘They’re probably not going to give me what I want,’" he recalled. "But, man, in the summer I was like, ‘There’s a lot of options if I don’t re-sign, to go places.’ AEW didn’t have that full roster yet. Ring of Honor was still popping. Then of course you had MLW, NWA. Then October/November hit and WWE released so many people. So those guys had a lot of name value and people were hitting them up. Then Ring of Honor went on hiatus and it was like, ‘Ooh. That’s nowhere to go. There’s really not too many places that are gonna pay you what you want.’

"So, fear hit instantly. I was like, ‘Man, I’m competing with guys like Swerve, Buddy Murphy’s—guys who already have this worldwide name,’ and I know I’m good, but the rest of the world might not see it like that," he continued. "What’s going to draw more? Bringing in this guy who already has a big following? Or this kind of unknown in most circles? So that fear sets in, like, what am I going to do? But then it sucked because I shot myself in the foot kind of. I knew my value and I didn’t want to stay in a place that didn’t know my value."

Raju is currently taking advantage of the independent circuit and also making appearances on AEW Dark. Learn more about that at this link.

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