wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: What Wrestlers from Impact #1 Can Appear on Impact 1000?

August 21, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Eric Young Impact Wrestling Slammiversary Image Credit: Impact Wrestling

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

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Who from the first episode of TNA Impact could theoretically show up on the Impact 1000th episode?

A little over a year ago, I ran down everybody who was still around from the first (and second) TNA weekly pay per view. The list hasn’t changed enough in the last twelve-ish months that I feel rewriting it is worthwhile, but you can go back and read it and update it in your own head if you like.

Instead, in this answer we will focus on the first episode of TNA’s television program Impact, which was taped on June 3, 2004 to air on June 4 on Fox Sports Net. Fun fact: TNA actually paid FSN for its air time on the network, so Impact effectively started as an infomercial, which may be the most TNA thing to ever TNA. (It also made Don West’s presence all the more appropriate.)

The good news is that almost everybody who was on the show is still alive, which is sadly an unusual thing to say when you’re talking about retro pro wrestling. In fact, the only person from the first episode of Impact who is no longer with us is Hector Garza, who sadly lost a battle with lung cancer in 2013, when he was just 43 years old.

There are actually five men who are very likely to be on both Impact #1 and Impact #1000 because they are once again regulars with the company, despite it being over 19 years later. They are Eric Young, who was wrestling as part of Team Canada when Impact debuted, Scott D’Amore, who was managing Young, Johnny Swinger & Frankie Kazarian, who were technically not on Impact proper but wrestled in both pre- and post-show dark matches at the taping, and last but not least Chris Sabin, who was in the main event of Impact #1, which was a four-way match for the number one contendership to the X Division Title.

On the other side of the coin, there are four wrestlers who were on the first Impact but almost assuredly won’t be on the thousandth due to the fact that they are currently under WWE contract. They are, in no particular order AJ Styles (the winner of the first Impact main event), Abyss (who has an agent role in WWE), Boobby Roode (who recently started agenting matches after being on the shelf with a neck injury for a while), and Ron Killings (who won a dark gauntlet match at the close of the first Impact taping).

Meanwhile, two wrestlers are unlikely to be at Impact #1000 because they are currently signed to AEW – though, to be far, AEW and TNA have worked together in the past. Those men are Sonjay Dutt and Lance Archer, the latter of whom was still known by the ring name “Dallas” when Impact debuted.

That leads to a list of nineteen more wrestlers who could theoretically show up on Impact for its big celebration next month, because they’re still living and not contractually committed anyplace else to my knowledge. They are: 1) Pat Kenney (a.k.a. Simon Diamond), 2) Sonny Siaki, 3) Disco Inferno (or Glen Giberti as he was known at the time), 4) Desire (a forgotten female wrestler who would later appear on reality TV show The Biggest Loser), 5) Trinity (not to be confused with current TNA wrestler Trinity “Naomi” Fatu), 6) Heavy Metal (a luchador appearing thanks to TNA’s relationship with AAA), 7) The Amazing Red, 8) Petey Williams, 9) Shark Boy, 10) Chris Harris, 11) James Storm, 12) Kid Kash, 13) Elix Skipper, 14) Michael Shane, 15) David Young, 17) Monty Brown, 18) Raven, and 19) Sabu.

There you have it. All the former TNA stars who could share the stage at Impact 1,000 with all the current big name TNA stars like . . . uhhh . . . Bubba Ray Dudley?

Josh isn’t joshing . . . he really wants to know the answer to this question:

How was Jerry Lawler allowed to work independent shows on weekends while also announcing for WWE?

The answer to this one is pretty simple. I don’t know if this is still the case today, but for many years WWF/WWE announcer contracts didn’t prevent talent from taking outside bookings. Lawler isn’t the only one to take advantage of this, either. As one example, Jonathan Coachman appeared on a North East Wrestling show on April 27, 2007 facing . . . Jerry Lawler.

Tyler from Winnipeg is repairing quads:

If Triple H was active during The Invasion storyline would it have been better?

No, if anything I suspect it would have been worse. The biggest problem with the Invasion was that they failed to put WCW and ECW over as a credible threat to the WWF wrestlers, and Triple H during that period of time did not exactly have a reputation for showing weakness against his opponents.

Ticking Time Bomb Taz is covering well-trodden ground:

I am going to piggy-back a bit off the Ric Flair question from the other week. I believe the “money match” at Wrestlemania VIII was Hulk Hogan vs Flair. The two biggest stars from the two big territories finally meeting and settling it in the ring. We have heard that the reason it was not booked was because it did not draw well on the house show circuit. Personally, I do not believe that. Perhaps they didn’t want to put the belt on Hogan because he would be leaving soon to do movies. Perhaps, they tried to milk it by putting them in separate matches and having “two main events.” With all due respect to Psycho Sid, you cannot tell me he was a better opponent for Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania. Can you please shed some light on this?

I covered this back in December.

Todd is exposing the business:

Watching some of the old NWA matches and I noticed they never had mats outside the ring. Any reason why? I am guessing this decision ended a few careers earlier than expected.

It’s because wrestlers weren’t regularly performing moves or taking bumps on the floor in that era, so the mats really weren’t necessary.

Uzoma is loving life:

Michelle McCool admitted in interviews, especially Lilian Garcia’s podcast, that part of the reason she retired was due to people attributing her being pushed to success as the top female star (Diva back then) of SmackDown as a result of her relationship and marriage to The Undertaker. She even stated that one writer of SmackDown went as far to suggest the brand be renamed “The Michelle McCool & Undertaker Show”. What are your thoughts?

Saying that Smackdown would be the “Michelle McCool & Undertaker Show” is a bit overblown, because the women’s division was such a minor part of the program during that time. They were almost always limited to one segment, it was almost always in either the midcard or the death spot right before the final segment, and the matches were almost always rather short. It simply wasn’t the women’s division we’re used to in 2023.

Also, regardless of her relationship with the Undertaker, Michelle McCool was almost certainly going to get a run and possibly an extended run on the top of the women’s division. Why? It’s because there weren’t a lot of women in the division, particularly due to the roster split, and almost every woman got her “turn” to have the belt. Thus, I didn’t really feel like McCool was getting shoved down anybody’s throat as a result of nepotism.

That being said, I do remember there were references in commentary and in places like WWE.com at the time to Michelle McCool being among the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time, and THAT was overblown. She was fine for the era, but “among the best of all time” was a significant overstatement. Nattie Neidhart wrestled circles around her.

Ron is freshly squeezed:

I am not the biggest Orange Cassidy fan, but I respect his in-ring performances. But it’s making it harder for me to suspend disbelief when he comes out the winner in matches like he had with Kyle Fletcher” on 5/24 AEW. Kyle had too many winning moves for Cassidy to escape each and every time and ultimately win the match. Not sure I have a real question here, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

If you look back to Orange Cassidy’s career before he was Orange Cassidy, it’s apparent that he knows how to structure an excellent wrestling match without his current gimmick, and it’s apparent that he is a high caliber athlete. If you’ve not seen any evidence of that, go watch any of his main event matches from Chikara when he was under a hood as Fire Ant.

I know several people are critical of the Cassidy gimmick. I don’t mind it as an opening match or undercard act, but I tend to agree that in a main event capacity or even in a capacity where he is regularly defeating serious wrestlers, it strains credulity. If I were booking him, it would be something equivalent to a babyface version of Santino Marella in terms of positioning as opposed to a credible secondary singles champion, which seems to be what Tony Khan is doing.

Night Wolf the Wise wonders what could have been:

Clash at the Castle. The first WWE UK show since 1992. Roman Reigns retained over Drew McIntyre. Will this come back to haunt WWE since it will probably be years before WWE has another UK PPV?

First off, Clash at the Castle was not WWE’s first major show/pay per view/PLE in the UK since 1992. There were numerous UK PPVs in the late 1990s through the early 2000s, including the infamous One Night Only which featured Shawn Michaels going over the British Bulldog in a European Title match.

However, even accounting for those shows, there still had been quite a break, and the question of whether putting Roman Reigns over Drew McIntyre was the right move is still a valid one.

With several months having passed since the event to put things in perspective, I am a-ok with the decision. Since Clash at the Castle, WWE has been doing fairly well per 2020s standards in terms of television viewership and live event ticket sales. Though calling it a boom period is overly generous, the promotion is on a bit of a hot streak, and every indication is that said hot streak is attributable to Reigns and the Bloodline storyline.

Further, there is as of yet no indication that business in the UK has suffered due to the finish of Clash at the Castle. Even if it were to take a slight dip, I would argue that would be less important than maintaining the momentum of the Bloodline given what they have been able to do in the company’s primary market of the United States.

Big Al has voted to authorize a strike:

Who handles negotiations for wrestlers whose contracts are coming to an end? Is it Vince McMahon himself or someone working on his behalf and then Vince just has to sign off on it? Also, are they true negotiations where the wrestlers can want one figure but “management” wants to pay lower and then t hey haggle back and forth until they meet int he middle? Or does Vince or whoever does the contracts offer a figure and it’s a take-it-or leave it deal?

Primary responsibility for signing wrestlers to deals would fall to WWE’s talent relations department, which in the past has been headed by people like Jim Ross, John Laurinaitis, and Mark Carrano. Currently, Triple H oversees that area. Vince McMahon would no doubt get directly involved on the deals of particularly big stars, but it all starts with talent relations.

And, yes, there are actual negotiations that go on with some members of the roster. Don’t get me wrong, someone like Akira Tozawa probably gets what he gets and doesn’t throw a fit, but anybody with any degree of star power can engage in a back and forth with the promotion over money, dates, and other perks. This is one of the reasons why, every time Brock Lesnar’s deal with WWE was coming due, there would all of a sudden be rumors that he was considering a return to UFC and talking to Dana White – he was trying to play the two sides off of each other and get the best deal imaginable.

Plus, sometimes, those negotiations do fall apart. This goes back quite a while now, but that is what lead to Chyna’s departure from the WWF. She felt she was a bigger star than management wanted to give her credit for and demanded she be paid accordingly. Meanwhile, the powers that be had a different perspective and, though they tried to iron out a deal with her, ultimately the two sides couldn’t reach a meeting of the minds and never worked together again prior to her untimely passing.

Brian wants to keep things in good taste:

What was with the Tim White/Josh Matthews suicide skits?

For those of you who don’t know what is being referenced here, the 2005 WWE Armageddon pay per view was headlined by a Hell in a Cell match between Randy Orton and the Undertaker. In an effort to get over how dangerous the match could be, the company commissioned a skit involving announcer Josh Mathews and retired referee Tim White to air on the show. White had legitimately suffered a career ending shoulder injury when he refereed and ’02 version of the match involving Chris Jericho and Triple H, and the skit was meant to show that Hell in a Cell had ruined a man’s life. Unfortunately, WWE decided to take this a step further than it really needed to go and ended the skit with White being so despondent over HIAC costing him his job that he ultimately took a gun and appeared to end his own life.

Standing alone, that skit would have been weird and a bit tasteless, but it didn’t stop there. Instead, WWE started uploading weekly skits to the company’s website which saw White attempt suicide by other means, only to fail in each instance. Fans online tended to be disgusted by them, though in the grand scheme of things most folks probably didn’t even know they existed, because ancillary content produced for the web reaches only a small, small percentage of those who watch regular television.

Why did these continue? They served no real purposes from a business perspective, because they were hidden on the company’s website and did nothing to further any storylines that would conclude on television or pay per view.

The only answer is that somebody backstage found them entertaining and kept them rolling to amuse themselves. Who was it? That hasn’t seemed to come out to my knowledge, but oftentimes in these situations the person’s name rhymes with Blince Blickblan.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.