Josh Mathews spoke with the Wrestling Epicenter on Sonjay Dutt joining commentary, Impact's new creative team, and the potential for Impact Wrestling and ROH to work together. Here are some of the highlights:
The new Impact Creative Team of Don Callis and 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 happening exactly as they should be.
"Before, things were sort of falling by the wayside. 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 [tapings]. 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."
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."
Madison Rayne and Austin Aries working with ROH and that possibly leading to an ROH/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 mentality 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 Wrestling 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 WrestleCon. 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 work with in the United Kingdom."
Mathews also discussed the Grand Championship. You can check out the full interview in the video above or by clicking here.