Steve Maclin wasn't a free agent for very long.
After seven years with the company, Maclin was released by WWE on February 4, 2021. Though he wouldn't make his IMPACT debut until June, the former Steve Cutler knew where he was headed the day his contract was terminated.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Maclin shared that he got the call about signing with IMPACT the day he was let go by WWE. He also shared who he spoke with at the company and compared the process to that of an NCAA athlete.
"It was literally the day my contract was ended with WWE, I got the call that I was getting signed with IMPACT. My conversations with them were through D’Lo, with Tommy Dreamer. But with Tommy Dreamer it was funny because I talked about it on his podcast and when I went there originally, it was for one of Deonna’s matches that she had—I want to say it was for Bound for Glory last year. I went for the match to hang out. I was not doing anything on TV in WWE, so I said, ‘I needed to get away from Florida, let me come with you.’ She brought me with her and I just kind of sat and talked. Dreamer and I talked football. Didn’t talk anything wrestling. We just talked football. Then after that I went back again and then that’s when the conversations happened with me and D’Lo. It was kind of funny to me ‘cause I’ve been on college visits for football when I was in high school and they tell you, ‘Oh, we can’t technically talk to you, but when is this date happening?’ So it was one of those NCAA things. It was kind of fun to do how it all worked out. I’m very grateful where I’m at and how it all happened. IMPACT is such an amazing place. I know people have talked about how creatively freedom you have there is a lot of fun and anything you throw at them ideas wise, they throw it back at you in a different way. It’s just very good communication and that’s the number one thing, communication," he said.
Steve Maclin vignettes would start airing on the June 3 episode of IMPACT and he would make his debut just two weeks later. He explained how the original plan was for him to come in with a partner, but eventually plans changed and he was finally given the opportunity to try his hand as a singles competitor.
"No. Originally when I was getting signed was before Slammiversary and I was told, ‘Hey, we want to bring you in as a tag tem.’ Well, okay, I have a partner who just got let go as well.’ So that’s how it worked out with Weston Blake. It was working that way. They said, ‘Okay, cool.’ Then about a week later they were like, ‘Hey, we want to bring you in before Slammiversary, get the vignettes going. We’re gonna bring you in singles.’ Okay, cool. Then Blake and I sat down, we had a conversation. We’re obviously at a crossroads in our careers, but I was like, ‘I need to do the singles. I’ve never done it on my own.’ I’ve tried. It never worked with NXT at that time. Because of the influx, that’s why we became a tag team. The influx of talent there, that’s just how it worked. You just find a way to get on TV," Maclin said. "So now here I am riding the rollercoaster and since it started, I’m having so much fun. Especially the X-Division. It’s such a clash of styles. I know I’ve said it before; Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, you have Christopher Daniels, the Sabins, you have all the names throughout X-Division and that’s what the X-Division is at IMPACT Wrestling. It’s a clash of styles and I think that’s the one thing I bring to the X-Division, is that middle marker of I can do this and I can do that, but you have to match me in the middle ‘cause I’m gonna kick the shit out of you."
Upon his debut, Maclin quickly embarked on an undefeated streak. Six months later, though not without a loss on his record, Maclin has still yet to be pinned or submitted.
He is currently chasing the X Division Championship and is set to face Trey Miguel at IMPACT Hard To Kill on January 8. Maclin has faced Trey twice before in triple threat matches, but both times the title was won and retained without Maclin factoring into the decision. After weeks of seeking a one-on-one opportunity, Maclin finally has his chance to capture gold in IMPACT Wrestling.
Fightful will have live coverage of the event as well as a post-show review on Saturday, January 8, 2022.