At the stroke of midnight on January 1, IMPACT wrestling lost one of its top stars and most consistent performers in Ethan Page. Page had been 1/2 of the North tag team with Josh Alexander and were the longest reigning tag team champs in company history. Page started to break out with great backstage character work and promos, and had gotten in tremendous shape. At the same moment IMPACT lost Page, Sami Callihan announced that he re-signed with the company for 2 years. Impact also lost the Rascalz to free agency in November. Taya, Moose, Edwards, and more are rumored to have contracts expiring in 2021 and IMPACT won’t be able to keep everyone. So let’s take a look at the top 10 talents who are not signed to a major company that IMPACT should try to bring in:
Karam, the monster tag team partner of Hakim Zane (Rohit Raju) in AAW out of Chicago is a can’t miss prospect, which is exactly the type of talent IMPACT should be looking for. Their team is called “The Hustle and The Muscle” which is fitting. After losing The North and The Rascalz, the IMPACT tag division could use a boost. And in my opinion, while all the other companies are signing up all the high flyers, IMPACT could bring in the hosses, and Karam fits that.
9. JR Kratos
Kratos exudes “Bad Mother Fucker”. The big hoss is a Northern California talent who has some All Japan experience and most recently has been working the NJPW Strong shows where he was pushed as a monster. I had the chance to see him live at multiple All Pro Wrestling shows in San Francisco and of all the local talents there, he captured the audience’s attention the most. He is also currently a NWA Tag Team champion with partner Aaron Stevens. He is a big powerful dude who has some MMA training with Josh Barnett under his belt that carries himself like a star and means serious business.
8. Grizzly Kal Jack
Kal Jack is a 6’6” 265lb former Oregon State University heavyweight wrestler and a former NXT talent (Cal Bishop) who was cut in 2015 due to injuries. He took some time off and reinvented himself. He has been working California indies (APW and BTW) and recently competed at Josh Barnetts Bloodsport. Before writing this, I had the idea that Kal Jack should form a team with Madman Fulton. Well the already happened (see above). I love that idea. Fulton has had his share of start and stop pushes in the last year and it appears that Ace Austin is headed back to the X-Division leaving Fulton with nothing going on. Everyone knows how much I love the Steiners and Gordy/Dr. Death, and they could be IMPACT’s version. Its hard to find this level of blue-chip athlete on the indy scene. Side note: Kal is from Vacaville, Ca and I lived there for a couple years while stationed at Travis Air Force Base and I still have many friends there and will likely retire there one day, so yes I’m biased.
7. Tre Lamar
Tre Lamar is a young, excellent high flyer who has had some outstanding matches in GCW and Warrior Wrestling. Lamar was brought in by Alex Shelley earlier in 2020 and will be competing in the Super X Cup. If he shines there (he will) IMPACT should lock him in. The X-Division pool is shallow after losing all three Rascalz and Lamar would slide in nicely.
6. Chris Dickinson
Chris Dickinson is my absolute favorite Independent wrestler on the scene and has had some bangers in his home promotion of GCW. He had the opportunity to headline Bloodsport against Jon Moxley and absolutely lived up to the moment. Before the Pandemic he was scheduled to have a match with Minoru Suzuki and likely would have been signed by someone after. He is the second coming of Bas Rutten with a great look, tremendous physique, believable strikes and has MMA training. He could fit in either the X-Division or as we saw with Moxley, could mix it up in the main event scene too.
5. Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar)
These two monsters were big stars and former champions in NXT and like many others, were wasted once they reached the main roster. They were released in the fall and their non-competes recently ended. As of now they remain unsigned and if I’m IMPACT I jump all over them. They would instantly upgrade a good, yet shallow Tag Team roster now that the North have separated and the Rascalz have left. They have a history with Eric Young from his “Sanity” days and Young appears to be heading a new faction. AOP could be brought in to feud with them, and then move on to the Good Brothers. I do not know the status of Paul Ellering but they are definitely more effective with him by their sides.
4. James Storm
TNA legend Cowboy James Storm proved he still has a lot left in the tank in 2019 and 2020. His NWA contract expired in the spring and was rumored to be returning to WWE around Wrestlemania, but the pandemic hit and plans changed. Storm made his return to IMPACT during the Bound for Glory Gauntlet battle royal as a surprise and then worked the Turning Point event, teaming with Chris Sabin to take on XXXL. He is in great shape, a name, the people love him, and is primed for another run as a top guy, and IMPACT sure could use some more main event talents right about now.
3. Blake Christian
Being this high on the list should tell you what I think of the young high flyer Blake Christian. Blake has been setting the independent scene on fire with Game Changer Wrestling, having spectacular match after spectacular match. He also competed in the NJPW Super-Cup having one of the standout performances against Rey Horus in the first round. Christian makes his IMPACT debut this Tuesday and will be competing in the Super X Cup at Genesis, but at this point remains unsigned. He had a tryout earlier in 2020 with WWE so he is definitely on their radar so IMPACT should make him a priority.
2. Sam Adonis
You might be thinking I have Sam Adonis too high on my list, but I disagree. He is 6’4” or 6’5” and moves like a cruiserweight. He was a top guy in CMLL, and has worked in All Japan and Europe and also has some WWE experience. He can literally work any style. Honestly I am not really sure why he isn’t already with a major company. Adonis made the most of the pandemic as he got a regular job with Amazon like an adult and then worked for Warrior Wrestling, The Wrestling Expo, and others during his off time.
I hesitated even putting the former TNA champion on the list because he returned to IMPACT last year for a 3-month feud with Moose that culminated in an underwhelming cinematic match at Bound for Glory. IMPACT made him an offer but he turned it down and went to Ring of Honor for a series of matches. He appears to want to keep his options open, maybe he is hoping for an AEW gig. Not really sure. But main event talent doesn’t grow on trees and he has it. IMPACT should re-visit this option as he is still available, and lock him up.
Notable Omissions: Lio Rush is a star and would be a great fit here but he would cost a lot and IMPACT is seemingly cutting costs. Don’t be surprised if you see him work a few dates here in 2021 though. Kurt Angle was offered a deal but it didn’t work out and is now being trotted out on another “Old Timers Day” episode of RAW this week. Matt Cardona is another guy who could fit but he’s gonna cost a lot and was really just another lower card WWE guy and IMPACT has plenty of those. Zicky Dice hit free agency this week after his NWA contract expired, but he made it clear he wants to go to AEW, thus shunning all other companies. Hope it works out for him. Erick Redbeard (Rowan) made some waves by appearing on Dynamite this week. He is not heading back to AEW (at this point) and is 7ft tall, hopefully IMPACT or somebody will give him a look. Davy Boy Smith Jr would be my top choice but rumor has it he is WWE bound.
Just Outside the Top 10: This was a difficult list to make which is a good thing. Lee Moriarty is someone to watch out there and I think IMPACT will give him another look. The Besties in the World have a terrible team name but can really go. Tony Gunn is an OVW stand out and has worked some shows here before. Can’t Miss Xavier Walker is part of the Raju-Karam-Jake Something crew out of Michigan and is another big dude to watch.
Up Next: Top 5 Female Free Agents…