Impact Wrestling: A Masterclass in Partnerships


Impact Wrestling has completely dropped the Global Force Wrestling nonsense. The one remnant they have kept is the Global Wrestling Network. Despite that, Impact is now more global than ever. It's flown under the radar but they've started building one of the most global partnerships in pro wrestling.

Impact is more Global than ever. They kicked it off by partnering with Twitch which seemed like an odd partnership but it's been great. People around the world have access to Impact house shows, promo classes, indy shows where Impact talent appear and Eddie Edwards doing cat yoga. It sounds ridiculous but any time I've tuned in there's been at least 4,000 people watching. That was a low number on a Sunday at 9 am while Eddie Edwards did cat yoga and tried to lure a cat home. On the high end, the Impact vs Lucha Underground show had almost 30,000 viewers at some points.

People are lured to these events from around the world because you don't get a wrestling show, you get everything involved. You see the ring crew setting up, Josh and Sonjay reviewing notes, what wrestlers do to prep for shows. At one point Josh Matthews streamed for over 24 hours straight with no sleep. It's an incredible insight behind the scenes.

But here's the thing, partnerships don't stop with Twitch. The largest and most prevalent partnership had obviously been Lucha Underground. They started with a major show during Wrestlemania weekend which some people labeled the best show of the weekend. The downside was Alberto El Patron not showing up for the main event which led to Impact releasing what amounts to a "screw you," press release. It didn't stop anything in the long run. Since then Lucha Underground stars like Pentagon Jr, Aerostar and Fenix have become mainstays on the roster. This includes Pentagon Jr winning the Impact World Heavyweight Championship.

WWE is focusing on snatching up indy talent right now. They've also built partnerships with some companies which mean their talent can't work Impact, ROH, NJPW or the likes. Impact on the otherhand has formed a different kind of partnerships. Canadian indy promotions have begun popping up on GEN. Additionally they've started live streaming entire events even if only one or two Impact guys would be there. Impact fans have grown to love Dezmond Xavier but because of these streams people were able to see him team up with Zachary Wentz, his long time tag partner. A lot of these companies have no way to stream their content so it's the first time a lot of people have gotten eyes on the talent for these promotions. It goes a long way in creating good relationships.

Impact treats everyone of these companies as an equal. They hype up their champions, plug upcoming events and if your promotion can't afford a promotional package, don't worry. You get the Impact treatment. This was seen in the recent Penta dies Iowa events. Treating them as equals makes everyone of these events bigger than they seem.

It's not a one sided relationship. Impact is always the bigger company in these partnerships but treating everyone as equal goes a long way. ROH and NJPW have had a long standing partnership. The issue is it's a one sided relationship and you know it's going to always be NJPW coming out on top. They've used ROH as a launching point for their North American brand and nothing more. When Impact works with Pro Wrestling NOAH you don't know what is going to happen. An Impact guy might become the first American GHC Heavyweight Champion or a NOAH guy might just become a multi month X-Division champion.

They've already got partnerships but constantly looking for more. Recently they announced they're returning to the UK for a tour. Of course that's going to be streamed and the UK loves Impact. They've also gone out of their way to offer an open challenge to any UK promotions. Impact vs The UK is going to happen. It's just a matter of guessing which promotion. My guess is Defiant because Austin Aries is running around with championship gold from both. But, only time will tell.

WWE and NJPW certainly work with indies but it's a different kind of collaboration. With WWE they re essentially talent farms. You will never see an Evolve Champion on SmackDown, Raw or Main Event. With NJPW they use them as an expansion point for their own brand. Impact is different. It's quickly becoming the best place for cross promotion competition. You can watch an Impact promo class occasionally but if you'd like to watch a masterclass on building relationships you can watch them every week.

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Impact Wrestling: A Masterclass in Partnerships Impact Wrestling: A Masterclass in Partnerships Reviewed by Darrell S. on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 Rating: 5

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