Impact Wrestling Executive VP Don Callis was the special guest on this week’s Impact media call, which ProWrestling.com was able to participate in Wednesday afternoon. The wrestler-turned-color commentator covered a myriad of topics in his “State of Impact” address while answering numerous questions from members of the media. You can check out the full video above.
One thing plaguing Impact Wrestling for years has been the negative stigma attached to the old “TNA” name and branding, which is something Callis spoke at length about during today’s call. He also touched on long-time Impact stars leaving for WWE, and how he deals with the negative criticism surrounding that.
“Of course there had been a tremendous amount of negativity towards the brand the last year before I got here, before Scott [D’Amore] and I took this thing over with Ed [Nordholm] There had been a tremendous amount of negativity. That narrative becomes engrained in people’s thought processes, and I think that sometimes it’s like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop as the media going, ‘Okay they’re doing good now, but we know this is still TNA’, which it’s not. But we’ve seen this movie for 12 years; when’s something bad going to happen? And it hasn’t.”
“People will still say, ‘What about EC3? What about Bobby Lashley? What about this, what about that guy?’ First of all, if you were a General Manager and you took over a hockey team, some talent’s going to leave and new talent’s going to come in. That’s just the reality of professional sports. People will say, ‘EC3 left,’ but they don’t follow up with saying, ‘…but Brian Cage came in, and Austin Aries came in.’”
“From our perspective, for every EC3 we’ve lost we’ve brought in a Brian Cage. We’ve brought in a Su Yung. Some of the talent – Austin Aries, Pentagon, Fenix – some of the top talents are the most buzz-worthy talents out there. For the talents that left we wish them all the best. It was great for me to get to work with EC3 and Bobby Lashley. [They are] great guys and real professional dudes. We wish them all the best, and we’re moving on with our group of performers that we’re happy with. As with any sports roster, that roster is going to be evergreen, and it’s going to be changing, but we think surprises that are good for the fans will be continuing to come.”
As recently reported, former WWE Superstar Rich Swann will be joining the Impact roster at their next set of television tapings, but he enters the company carrying some controversy. The former 205 Live star was arrested back in 2017 on charges of domestic battery and false imprisonment after an altercation with his wife, fellow wrestler Su Yung, escalated in a public setting with multiple eye-witnesses. However, charges were later dropped and the couple quickly reconciled. Even so, Swann was released from his WWE contract and actually contemplated retirement earlier this year due to the negative backlash surrounding his return to the indie scene.
“I think that Rich is a guy who has resurfaced on the indie scene out there, working for a bunch of different promotions, as you probably know. His wife [Su Yung] works for us, and was an advocate for him coming in. So yeah, he’ll be at our next set of tapings, and he’s going to get an opportunity in the same way that the other talent that comes in gets an opportunity to show what they can do.”