The third guest on this week’s IMPACT Bound For Glory Press Pass podcast was none other than IMPACT co-Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore.
Talking with Hooked On, Scott discusses IMPACT’s new TV partnership in the UK, in addition to discussing free agents he may be interested in signing,Bound For Glory & more. Hosted by Josh Matthews.
In your executive position, how was the chase to regain a prime time television spot for IMPACT in the UK once again?
Oh, man. It’s been something that has been in the works for a while, since 2018 when Ed Norholm, Don Callis & myself took the reins here; getting re-engaged and reinvigorated in a meaningful way in the UK was an important plan of our plan. Unfortunately, we had to focus on our home base for a while to get organised, and then of course the world turned upside down, due to COVID. But this deal with FreeSports and PremiereSports is really exciting because we want the same things the fans want; we want to engage with and entertain the fans every week.
We get asked all the time, especially through Twitter, ‘when are you coming back to the UK?’ and the situation of 2020 has pushed some of our plans back. But the silver lining, we can finally roll out some brilliant events for our British and Irish fans. In 2021, we’d like to hopefully get back over there; live in front of the UK fans again, if everything permits so. That first UK tour we ever did, I mean, we weren’t the Beatles, but we were rock stars. That meant a lot to us.
How long is this deal with FreeSports & PremierSports?
The deal has been in the works for a while, it didn’t happen overnight for sure. Certainly the goal with FreeSports is to create a long-lasting relationship, and to grow that relationship. We’re very much open and looking to discuss with FreeSports and PremierSports the possibility of creating more programming to put out there. We know the UK audience is loyal, and they rabidly love their wrestling. We want to help scratch that itch they have.
I’m confident it’s going to be a positive relationship. Maybe one day we could even look to reboot old programming in the UK, such as British Bootcamp.
In terms of the current roster, when safe, will you look to expand the roster onto UK wrestlers?
Yes, 100%. This is one of the things we were looking into earlier this year. We’re eager to add some UK talent back into the roster. We’ve hit a few hiccups this year, but this is still one of our priorities when possible.
I remember spending my Summer in 1996 doing the holiday camps, Butlins and such. I went over there with the World Wrestling All Stars, then again with TNA. It’s been great to see the evolution of wrestling in the UK. When I was there, respectfully the UK scene was not as thriving as it had been, and certainly not as much as it is right now. As I follow the UK scene, I notice a lot of great talent over there.
IMPACT have always been good for allowing their talent to do things outside of the company, most recently with EC3 and the video at ROH. Will we continue to see EC3 in IMPACT and how important is it to you to allow talent some freedom?
Historically wrestling has clamped down very hard on talent. Sometimes, having a very close relationship is great, and sometimes it is hard. Often, it’s something that both the company and the talent cherish.
EC3 is a different guy, he marches to the beat of his own drum. When he was released from where he was previously, it was very important to him to experience as much different stuff as he could, and that’s fine by us. He has got a lot of history here and we have a lot of respect for him. Sometimes it seems as if he may not for us, judging from the way he treated poor Moose’s Championship belt, but he is a great and entertaining performer. We’re happy for him to do what he wants.
It’s been discussed prior that there unfortunately won’t be any fans present at Bound For Glory, however have you discussed the possibility of having some talent at ringside during the show?
Everybody’s tackling this unprecedented time differently, and I applaud all wrestling organisations and people in general, as we try to find some sort of normality.
I know people want fans at BFG. We have looked at our own situation, and unfortunately we simply don’t feel comfortable with it at this time. Even with talent out there, we aren’t so secure or keen to just place talent out there for the sake of it. If you can’t see the talent on camera, they’re probably backstage stretching and preparing, or shooting content for IMPACT Plus, YouTube or Twitter; this is how we have to engage for now. Our talents have very busy days, and the idea of slowing them down by asking them to be in the crowd, it doesn’t really seem fair to them. This is the status quo for now, but we do monitor it a lot. Believe me, we want you guys all back and out there in the crowd but we have to look out for our roster.
Recently, a certain TNA Original & a certain Tennessee Cowboy, has become available. Is there any chance of a surprise appearance at Bound For Glory?
I’ve had many run-ins with the ‘Cowboy’ over the years. I recall him handcuffing me to an infrastructure once… and I’ve been on the wrong end of a few superkicks. But I do respect James, even with our long history.
It’s the wacky world of pro wrestling; you never know what’s going to happen or who’s going to show up. We’ve had an open door policy over the years and certainly under Anthem Sports, you’ll just have to tune in to see if any Cowboys come blasting into the IMPACT Zone one of these days.
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