Has the door reopened
Go back in time TNA Wrestling had a working agreement with the biggest promotion in Japan and would be the gateway for talent in Japan to get in the states. New Japan had the connection in Mexico with CMLL and were looking for a stateside connection they found it with TNA. Think about this though Kazuchika Okada ended up in Impact on his excursion and was made a jobber/green lantern rip off which angered New Japan and would lead to that door closing. Impact's misuse of the future "Ace" of New Japan was one of many steps that plague the company back a decade ago.
After a few years, Impact came to a new agreement with Wrestle-One in Japan which was ran by Keiji Mutoh aka The Great Muta. The promotion and working agreement weren't built to last partially due to Impact finally hitting the wall and having to focus on things at home. From there the company has really set the last few year aside focusing on rebuilding the brand and setting a foundation for the company. Recently, with Don Callis assumingly opening the door to work with All Elite Wrestling you have to wonder if the door finally reopened with New Japan.
The main reason I ask this question is that promo package played following No Surrender promoting the arrival of former IWGP Tag Team Champions Dave Finlay Jr. and Juice Robinson. Take a look below at the video as this is and interesting turn of events:
One thing that WWE never let happen in while these veterans were a part of the promotion was a feud between the former tag team champions. Both Matt Cardona and Brian Myers joined Impact Wrestling soon after Bound For Glory last year and were among the names that WWE released from the company in April. Brian and Matt have worked together for the better part of twenty years at this point both men getting their starts in New York Wrestling Connection back in 2004. Both men were trained by Mikey Whipwreck and came up in the big company in Connecticut together starting in developmental and making the main roster as a tag team.
Point is these men have a long history together and have always had chemistry with one another. Based on the ending of the tag match at No Surrender it's clear that something could be building between the former teammates. Myers has secured protection from Super Mex the Impact veteran again recently and it seems like Impact has plans for Myers, but Cardona has been moving around since his departure from WWE and it's unclear if he will remain in Impact long term or if a feud with his friend could be on a short list of things for him to do in Impact.
In my opinion, Myers and Cardona will not have center stage for their much deserved rivalry and it will be heated as they have a ton of history to draw on. The fact is though this will not lead to them getting a World Title shot as they are still to new to Impact to have this build to that type of result. I don't mean that Myers and Cardona can't or wont be in the Main Event, but they need to get this feud done first of all. Giving underrated talent the chance in the spotlight is what Impact has become known for since the arrival of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore in Impact. Cardona and Myers were two stars that never were given a shot in WWE and were sent packing much to the surprise of fans. With two months between these events it'll be surprising to not see a match between Matt & Brian at Rebellion in April.
Tommy still a star
Turning over a new leaf wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer still shines up his hardcore wrestling past, but doesn't go hardcore very often anymore. Dreamer at age forty nine years old at this point is still giving to the world of wrestling and a credible member of the Impact roster. For years I've wondered why WWE pretends that after a certain age some wrestlers loose all credibility or importance. Dreamer in Impact and Dustin in All elite prove that completely wrong. Recently, on Impact Swann appeared to lay down a challenge to Tommy Dreamer for a title shot against him as Turning Point takes place on his birthday when he turns fifty years old.
As expected some other top stars didn't take kindly to the World Champion offering a well deserved title shot to a wrestling legend to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. At this point, Impact could consider giving Dreamer one last reign with the gold, but taking the title off Swann now could be a rush decision. Reality is this something totally different from the norm in modern wrestling which usually sees veterans like Tommy fall way far away from the top of show to give younger stars the spotlight.
I firmly expect Tommy to go back down the card following No Surrender which this is more of an old school style of booking giving the champion a monthly challenger instead of a long term story. Letting Tommy get the title shot is a built-in story to allow short quick build for a title shot. Circling back to Eric is also something that Impact could do for Swann and considering there are options on the table it could make sense to keep the title on Swann. The fact that Tommy still has such credibility is a testament to how Impact views him and the amount of value that Dreamer still has.
Impact wrestling's future
I was able to look back at the previous twelve months for All Elite Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. The other three companies that are normally accounted for on the website I don't have enough information about NWA, New Japan or Impact to know the positives and negatives of the last twelve months for these companies. Other than stepping up and signing a number of former WWE stars giving them a platform to get an opportunity to prove themselves in the spotlight. One of the biggest returns for the year was Eric Young coming home and immediately becoming the top heel in the company. In one night Eric Young became one of the top ten most hated heels in wrestling after injuring Rich Swann. After years with WWE and them being unable to figure out something engaging for him to be included in other then Sanity in NXT it took Impact around five minutes to give EY something meaningful.
Young not only became a top heel in one night but within months would regain the Impact World Title from Eddie Edwards. His momentum kept building and even after a loss to Rich Swann he is still the top heel on the roster leading Violent By Design alongside Joe Doering and Cody Deaner. Stepping back with Ken Shamrock in the Hall of Fame the next step would be Eric Young, but I think EY getting inducted would add an interesting layer to his character allowing him to make a choice between Sanity and Violence.
It would be a mistake to speak of the last twelve months and not mention the working agreement that shocked wrestling thanks to Don Callis. Impact Wrestling is working together with All Elite Wrestling which has seen both Impact stars and AEW stars appear on each others program and now with KENTA appearing on Dynamite things might get even more interesting if New Japan is involved. Callis and Omega have long standing friendship which is the main reason for this agreement coming to pass. The reformation of the Bullet Club and Kenny on Impact has lead to the Wrestling world turning on it's head. For the first time in a very long time eyes are paying attention to Impact Wrestling and finally a roster, a company, and talent that have flown under the radar for the last two to three years might be back on the radar if they aren't yet they should be soon enough.
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