Is it possible that a new ownership group involving both Jeff Jarrett and Conrad Thompson could purchase IMPACT WRESTLING from Anthem Sport & Entertainment? Well, the short answer to that is – ANYTHING is possible.
Here’s where the rampant speculation comes in:
Tommy Dreamer works backstage with Impact Wrestling. Back on June 13, 2022, Tommy Dreamer was on his Busted Open Radio show talking about Impact Wrestling’s 20th anniversary show, Slammiversary, which was being held on Sunday, June 19th. During his broadcast, Tommy’s co-host Dave LaGreca was talking about how people can watch Impact on YouTube and plugged their subscription. Tommy then mentioned that “There will be some bigger news coming out of Slamm for people being able to watch more IMPACT WRESTLING.”
That same week leading up to Slammiversary, Impact Executive Gail Kim did an interview with the Battleground Podcast (transcribed by WrestlingNews.co).
She indicated that Impact Wrestling has “BIG PLANS” in mind for the future of the company.
Commenting on the company’s future, Kim stated:
“I think everyone knows I’m very loyal and invested in this company with the women’s division and everything on top of that. I just want to grow within the company and help it move in a new direction. I think the fans will be surprised because I think we have big plans in terms of where we want this company to go and just be more exposed to a bigger audience, and for everyone to enjoy what we all love and that’s to see the talent, the incredible talent, that’s on this roster.”
Shortly after Ric Flair’s Last Match event, which was held on June 26th – exactly 1 week after Slammiversary – Dave Meltzer reported that “85-90% of the production staff for the event were part of IMPACT WRESTLING.”
In an interview with Steve Fall of NBS Sports Boston on August 9, Gail Kim again revealed plans for potential growth and a “possible new face” of IMPACT Wrestling.
Gail stated her goals were:
“To help it grow, get it out there to more fans. Again, back to where we were, say, around the 2007, 2010 era,” Kim explained. “Definitely we’ve got a great management team and everyone’s very positive and we’re growing in terms of who we’re adding. So we want to start thinking outside the box in terms of what you see in wrestling.”
Gail Kim continued to hint at a possible new face of the company.
“Hopefully in the next coming months to the end of this year, you’re going to start seeing maybe a brand new face of IMPACT or something just a little bit different from what we’ve been doing,” she teased.
Jeff Jarrett, the former owner of TNA Wrestling, could easily be that “NEW FACE”. He could also be who she alluded to when discussing the management team and talked about who they’re adding.
Then there’s this interesting tidbit from Brian Hebner during a recent episode of his podcast, “Refin’ It Up with Brian Hebner,” from August 17th, where he discusses the future of Impact Wrestling:
“To me, it’s about numbers. Numbers don’t lie, and until they figure out a way to get on a bigger network, and I understand that they’re on the network of AXS TV, which is actually the owner of Impact Wrestling.” Brian continues.
“The last I heard when I was leaving, or retiring, however you want to put it, I knew that there was some shopping of networks going on at that point in time and there probably still is as we speak, but I do think if there’s a bigger network and they can be bigger as far as numbers, weekly, I think they would be in that conversation.”
You might be sitting here asking yourself why this is significant. To my knowledge, and I’ve followed Impact with their new owners since the beginning, there has never publicly been an admission that they’re shopping the show around to different networks, which is something a new ownership group would most likely look to do pretty quickly after taking control of the company.
On his “My World” podcast, hosted by Jeff Jarrett and Conrad Thompson, Jeff and Conrad had a pretty interesting dialogue….
Conrad: “We’ve been preparing a lot lately, preparing for this big Dallas meeting of the minds in a couple of days, preparing for Chicago next week, preparing for L.A. (Los Angeles, California) the week after that, or the West coast, preparing for Mexico in 3 weeks”
Jeff: “Oh My God”
Conrad: “Its gonna be pretty, pretty, pretty, uh…I mean, I signed my NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Did you sign your NDA yet?”
Conrad: “I’m not kidding around! I haven’t even told you about the second thing. You’ve got another NDA coming today.”
Jeff: “Docusign is a wonderful program!”
Conrad: “Since we’ve been on this call, that was me signing. There’s another one coming your way. It’s about something next April.”
Here’s the interesting part on why this conversation COULD BE a clue as to what they’re doing….
Dallas is hosting 2 days of TV tapings this weekend for Impact Wrestling at The Factory.
Conrad mentions a “meeting of the minds” in Dallas this weekend. Ed Nordholm, President of Impact Wrestling, is very commonly present at, and in town for, sets of both live events and TV tapings. Scott D’Amore has mentioned numerous times recently that he’s been sitting in on more broadcast meetings with companies and seeing how some of these deals come together. In the same breath, Conrad mentions going to the West coast, specifically LA. This is also interesting because Impact’s parent company – Anthem Sports & Entertainment – also has offices in Los Angeles for the AXSTV network, which they also own. (Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc. is a global multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City, Cleveland and Toronto.)
Jeff Jarrett also has a great relationship with former pro wrestler Konnan and Dorian Roldan, both of whom own/operate AAA lucha libre wrestling company in Mexico, which he could be working out a deal with to bring more talent in. Add to that whole scenario, mentioning NDAs being signed. It could lead one to believe that Conrad and Jeff are part of an ownership group that is interested in purchasing Impact Wrestling. With the great free agent talent available, Jeff has openly said he did not want to start a new company- but has never broached the subject of buying and running an existing company. There is no reason to believe that Impact Wrestling is actually for sale, but the TV show is allegedly being shopped around.
There was said to possibly be some bad blood between Jarrett and Anthem over a lawsuit, but in 2020 both sides reached a settlement.
As an avid IMPACT WRESTLING fan, let’s fantasy book this for a second….
Jeff Jarrett and Conrad Thompson find a big financial backer who’s willing to take a chance on them and purchase Impact Wrestling from Anthem Sports, but let them run the company – a “silent partner” if you will. The structure should be kept the way it is – Scott D’Amore remains Executive Vice President – and Gail Kim remains in her role as an executive as well. As part of the purchase agreement with Anthem, they agree to keep Impact on AXSTV for at least 6 more months, possibly up to a year, while Anthem looks for more programming to replace it’s top viewed show, and Jarrett seeks out/”shops around” the show to other networks who might be interested in giving Impact a shot.
Anthem doesn’t seem very interested in either the growth of Impact Wrestling OR the growth of AXSTV, in spite of having equity partners Mark Cuban and Steve Harvey on their board. Impact only averages about 100-150k viewers right now on the network; while it’s fan better then all of their other programs, that’s not a great number. Anthem has done nothing to expand the channel itself. I have Xfinity in my area, and AXSTV is non-existent for me unless I add a paid tier to my cable plan.
Conrad Thompson did a great job booking AND marketing (one glaring spot Impact is lacking) talent from all over the globe for Ric Flairs Last Match event. MLW, GCW,IMPACT, AEW, NJPW, AAA all had talent represented, as well as some good free agent talent as well. He would be a major asset to the company if he were to also come on board.
There was a lawsuit between Jarrett and Anthem a few years ago, which finally got settled in January of this year.
Jarrett and GWE – which is the parent company for Global Force Entertainment – hit Anthem Sports Entertainment with the lawsuit in 2018 concerning the usage of GFW Amped content.
Nobody knows for sure if there is still major heat there, but an indication might be that Jeff and his father Jerry Jarrett – original founders of TNA wrestling – weren’t invited to Impacts 20yr anniversary show back in June, even though it was held in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. That begs the question…if Jeff came to Anthem with a good offer, would money stand in the way of a business deal getting done? Reality is I don’t see any of this happening, but it’s fun to kick around the “what if” scenarios.
Follow Gerard at @BearDown316 on Twitter