Josh Matthews Feels Impact’s New Strategy is Working

Mar 23, 2018 - by Steve Gerweck

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Josh Mathews
Date: 03/20/2018
Your Hosts: James Walsh

He is considered by many to be the “GOAT” when it comes to wrestling play by play. One of the hardest working men in the wrestling industry stopped by the Wrestling Epicenter for his second visit, excluding the Impact Wrestling conference falls, to talk about the state of Impact, the WrestleCon joint show between Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground, the possibility of Impact working with Ring of Honor, and much more! Of course, we speak of the Impact Grand Champion Josh Mathews! Namaste, everyone!

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On the impact of the new Impact Creative Team of Don Callis & Scott D’Amore:
“I think the impact it is having is tremendous. It has given Impact the forward momentum it has needed for quite some time. There has been so many false starts over the past few years. January of last year sort of came in with a rush and by the middle of the year, things were changing, heading downward. That isn’t what anybody wanted. Everyone wanted Impact to succeed. When Scott D’Amore came back to Impact early last year, I was excited. I like Scott. I’ve had lots of talks with Scott about what Impact could be doing and where it could be going. I think when you look at it now that Scott and Don are in place and the creative is what it is – And Sonjay Dutt deserves so much credit for what he does on the creative side of things. The way it has all come together and everyone has been working so hard to make sure that you’re seeing exactly what you should be seeing and things are happenng exactly as they should be. Before, things were sort of falling by the wasteside. I think a lot of us are not letting that happen. There’s extra work that has to be done to make sure that the right messages are being sent and that the message is being sent on all platforms – You know, if something gets mentioned on social media, we make sure that it gets mentioned on the show. If that means going back and changing things just before the show has to go, that is what we have to do. So, the long answer to your question (laughs) is that I’m extremely excited about where we could be going. Just the positive momentum! The ratings have been up throughout the month of March. We’ve sold more VIP packages for Redemption with still a few weeks to go than we did for January’s. So, things are looking in a great direction. We’re doing great with our ticket sales for WrestleCon. Everything is looking like we’re going to succeed. That is a good opportunity for us to all take a collective breath.”

On the impact of Twitch and the Global Wrestling Network on the company:
“It is great because when you look at the content, it just isn’t being lost anymore. Things like One Night Only aren’t being lost anymore. They’re being thought of. This is 3 hours of prime time real estate. One Night Only is on the Global Wrestling Network. The packages you see on One Night Only are created by the production staff in Nahville. Eric Thompkins created that.It is just so cool. It is something you’re proud to look at and say, “This is a show that I want to watch!” It makes people feel like this isn’t just another throw away thing that Impact is doing. They’re thought out. The last one we did was March Breakdown and I was there in Windsor with BCW and I thought it was an incredible show. You have so many incredible talents there that are now being exposed to a worldwide audience. Guys like RJ City and Stone Rockwell. Guys maybe you don’t know right now but 5 or 6 years from now, those are going to be the houseold names of Impact Wrestling if everything goes according to plan. With GWN, Twitch… So, you have these One Night Only’s. And, you have these monthly events on Twitch, the last one being Last Chancery. And then, of course, we’re going to be live on Twitch on April 6th. We’re going to announce the main event for WrestleCon Impact versus Lucha Underground tomorrow on Facebook Live at noon eastern. The next one will be Cali Combat out of California. I remember a few years ago, somebody had posted a story that “Impact Wrestling had forgotten they had a pay per view on”. One Night Only went up… Maybe we did forget. Maybe it was just one of those throw away shows. That is not going to happen in 2018 and going forward.”

On who will be calling the action for Impact versus Lucha Underground:
“I don’t know. I’ll be there. If I’m called upon to call the show, awesome! If not, there’s other things that I could be doing down there. I would love to call the show. I’ve worked with Matt Striker for many years. That would be an easy thing to do. But, if that is not the decision that is made, then, all good.There’s other things (laughs)to occoupy my time. We’re going to be live on Twitch Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. There will be 48 hours of original content so that if you’re not in New Orleans, we can virtually put you in New Orleans through our Twitch live stream! (laughs)”

On Sonjay Dutt taking over color commentary:
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with more broadcast partners than anyone from 13 years in WWE to here at Impact and the people that I have worked with here. I’ve really enjoyed working with Pope. But, with Sonjay, it is different because Sonjay is completely dialed into what we’re doing everyday. That is different than anyone, ANYONE I’ve worked with in Impact Wrestling because Sonjay knows exactly what is going on maybe more than I know what is going on and I’m dialed into this product 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So it is great to have someone there that also knows what we’re trying to accomplish. It is about the talent in the ring first and foremost for me. Hopefully this “One True Spirit Guide” of Matt Sydal (laughs), we give that a chance and hopefully get an opportunity to talk about the guys that are in the ring. These are the people that we’re going to have to rely on in the future. They need to be front and center in front of everyone and described to our viewers so they can understand who our characters are going forward. I think Sonjay’s done an incredible job. It was thrust upon us. I think everyone knows the situation we were put in. Something happened and we had to adjust and I think we made the right call, the right play was called. If it is a long play that was called then I think Sonjay and I can be a great broadcast team.”

On being Impact Grand Champion and if the belt will continue:
“I’m going to be completely transparent and honest with you, if JB (Jeremy Borash) does not leave Impact Wrestling, I’d probably have a different answer for you. I quickly want this (being Grand Champion) to be something that doesn’t last forever. I’m much more cmofortable being the play by play announcer of the show that talks about the talent that we have. That is my strength – My strongest suit, if you will. This was born to be an opportunity to try something new and see how it would work out. It is something I thought of last year when we finished the story line (with JB). I thought it was fun! We went over to India and I gave somebody a Swanton Bomb in Mumbai and loved every second. I talked to the creative team at that point and said “Yeah, this is something that I would like to do” assuming that the broadcast side of it was going to be figured out. When the other shoe dropped, it was like we quickly had to get this backto where it needs to be. Honestly, to help Impact as much as I can, it needs to be with a microphone in front of me for 2 hours talking about the talent in the ring.”

On “Namaste” and if he is a Yoga kind of guy:
“I think if we had more time for this to play out, my character, that guy, he’s kind of a scam artist. (laughs) Mat Sydal was the double champion, as the “Spirit Guide” I can sort of help and maybe manipulate and maybe adjust to whatever the case may be. If Matt Sydal was into MMA, maybe I’m an MMA expert. If someone comes along that is super into Motorcross, maybe my guy can become a Motorcross (expert). He’s adapatable! Whateverthe situation is, he (Mathews’ character) tries to be part of it and make himself the best at it.”

On Madison Rayne and Austin Aries working with ROH Posibly Leading to an ROH and Impact Working Relationship:
“I think the opportunity for that to happen certainly exists. As for the talent, my wife (Madison Rayne) is a free agent. She gets to go wrestle for Ring of Honor or go down and wrestle for (WWE) NXT. Or, come back to Impact! She got called to do the Windsor show in BCW. It was fun for her. She got to go up there, see some friends, see some faces, say hello.She had a great match with a future Knockout named Gisele Shaw. That match was on the pay-per-view. It is fun for her. She likes that. But, on the other side of it, she would also like a place that she could call home. A place that she could compete regularly and build her legacy or continue to build upon her legacy that she has built in Impact. As a talent, you’re building your brand but you’re also trying to build the company that you work for. I think that is the mentallity of all wrestlers. As for the companies (Impact Wrestling and ROH), I think that has to be something that has to slowly evolve and play out and make sure everyone trusts each other and that everyone understands that everyone wants this to be an opportunity for everyone to succeed. On April the 6th, you’re going to get your first taste of that when Impact Wrestlng faces Lucha Underground at WrestleCon. And, we’ll all be together! (laughs) Everyone will be under one roof at the Sugarmill Factory and you can still get tickets at We’ll see how this all works out. I know there has already been some talks about doing some things in the United Kingdom. YOu may have seen a Facebook post asking fans who would you like to see us (Impact) work with in the United Kingdom.”

On what to expect at Impact Wrestling’s Redemption PPV:
“I often say you never know what is going to happen with Impact goes live because we don’t have those opportunities all that often. When we do, we make the most of them. You see surprises. You see returns. For me, that is what is fun about being a wrestling fan – See who shows up and what happens when they do.”

On his favorite wrestling theme song:
“Taiji Ishimori! It is so good, isn’t it? Mothball is the band. I’ve been trying to interview them for Sonjay and I have talked about how great it would be if they came andplayed live at Impact. Mothball has certainly caught the attention of all of us in Nashville! (laughs)”

On the hard work of the preview shows:
“Thank you. That was the team in Nashville. Kevin Sullivan, I mentioned Eric Thompkins, Jimmy Long… Everyone else that is a part of that production team – Andrew Thomas, Kenny Smith. Now I have to mention them all or I’ll be sad if they read or listen to this. Everyone heavily involved!”

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