The IMPACT of WWE's Talent Releases - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

The IMPACT of WWE's Talent Releases - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Dallas Allsopp Thursday, July 30, 2020
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Dallas Allsopp, Callum Wiggins and Bodeen Green will be discussing the success of IMPACT Wrestling's recent acquisitions following their release from WWE, in addition to the overall impact on the wrestling industry of those releases.

WWE felt it necessary to cull a large number of wrestlers and backstage staff in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of these names weren't surprising, however some of them were genuine shocks. In such a fragile world, it has been difficult for some wrestlers to find gainful employment elsewhere. Considering IMPACT Wrestling has snapped up a number of these released wrestlers, who will have the biggest impact for the company? Where will Rusev go? And just what has happened to Drake Maverick?

Question 1: Which recent WWE acquisition for IMPACT wrestling will have the biggest impact within the company? Is IMPACT Wrestling the best choice to sign with, or would AEW have been the better option?

ALLSOPP: Strangely enough, I actually feel like Eric Young will have the biggest impact for the company. He is a former World Champion, and although his run on the main roster in WWE undid everything he achieved in NXT, he still feels like a strong option to challenge for the IMPACT World Championship. AEW would seem like the better option as they are the better company in terms of viability, but someone could perhaps create a better niche for themselves in IMPACT Wrestling where it seems creative freedom is afforded more.

WIGGINS: It's probably an easy answer, but it's hard to look beyond EC3. He and IMPACT Wrestling already have a strong and successful history, and there's no reason to suspect that they won't thrive again beyond the fact EC3 is trialling a new gimmick. I think after being so heavily underutilized in WWE across his entire tenure, he'll be hungrier than ever to show what they have missed out on, and that could lead to even more success. Or, as much success you can have working for IMPACT Wrestling at least.

GREEN: Whilst it is easy to say established names like EC3, for me, the biggest signing at the moment for IMPACT Wrestling is Heath Slater. Everybody loves an underdog story, especially in wrestling. Slater is the ultimate underdog, having been fired from WWE whilst trying to provide a living for his family, therefore having nothing to lose is a great set up for an underdog story that practically writes itself. Whilst IMPACT Wrestling has suffered throughout the years, mainly due to their own actions, it is still a great place for someone like Slater. Whilst I know a lot of people would love to see him in AEW, I feel Slater would get lost in the shuffle, especially due to many WWE releases already having signed with the company.

Question 2: Rusev remains unsigned, however this may have been affected by his recent positive test for COVID-19. Do you feel Rusev is waiting for New Japan Pro Wrestling to sign him once it becomes logistically possible, or is he headed elsewhere?

WIGGINS: Rusev does seem to be a perfect fit for NJPW. You can see him blending into the strong style version of wrestling seamlessly and he could be a ready made main eventer. However, due to the fact he seems settled in the U.S. and is married to the WWE based Lana, I think if he does join NJPW it would be on a part-time schedule. I'm sure AEW would welcome him with open arms, as would practically any other promotion in America. Of course, he could just turn to full-time streaming, which would be a shame for fans of his work like myself, but it is totally his prerogative.

GREEN: Rusev would be a great fit in NJPW. His hard hitting strong style mixed with his power would be a great fit, and I could easily see him making an impact, even winning a title in a short timespan. That being said, I find it very unlikely he'll move overseas for a different promotion. Whilst it is not uncommon for wrestling couples to move overseas, I can easily see Rusev not wanting to move to Japan due to his marriage with Lana. Although I wouldn't be surprised if her position in the company became empty in the near future due to a lack of booking.

ALLSOPP: I would love to see Rusev in NJPW. He could be the next strong gaijin to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but I suspect he is AEW bound. Cody has expressed his interest in only 2 free agents. Matt Cardona was one, but he made his AEW debut this week which leaves only Rusev. Whilst he will be going by the name Miro, he still has legitimacy in the eyes of wrestling fans, and would perhaps achieve more widespread acclaim for his work in Jacksonville than he would in Japan.

Question 3: Drake Maverick signed a new deal thanks to his performance in the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Have his performances since been impactful, or was it a case of letting sentiment win?

GREEN: Apart from a few moments where WWE have made Drake Maverick look extremely brave, it ultimately feels as if all momentum has been lost. Whilst putting him on 205 Live does keep him in the mix in the cruiserweight division, it feels as if his status has dropped, especially as his feud with NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar has ended. I feel that if Maverick was to mean something in the eyes of everyone again, it would have to take some doing. Maverick is a great athlete, and what made his story in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament so good was the fact he had a great story behind him, fighting for his job. Now that's over we have very little reason to support him again.

ALLSOPP: Initially he seemed unstoppable. It was clear he was being pushed due to sentiment, but it seems he has fallen to the wayside as of late, and his feud with Santos Escobar feels non-existent. His performances since his release were the best of his WWE career, although he is lacking when compared to the rest of NXT's cruiserweight division. Sentiment certainly won here, but he at least made the journey watchable. Hopefully there is more to come from him, otherwise he may be looking at a second release, albeit a more permanent one.

WIGGINS: I think WWE made a mistake to release Drake Maverick because he has a great deal of personality, charisma and wrestling ability. But, like they so often do, they used the momentum of his Cruiserweight Championship Tournament performances to tell a brief story, and then when he was back in the fold had zero follow up. Now the company seems to be transitioning into a feud between Santos Escobar and Isaiah Scott, I think Maverick will probably end up floating around NXT's lower midcard and losing squashes to main eventers soon, or worse, find himself confined to the No Man's Land of 205 Live.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Dallas Allsopp is a writer with two main interests, Pokemon and wrestling. He has been writing for a few years for his own personal blogs and is now taking his passion for wrestling and putting it into his writing. You can follow him on Facebook.


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