The perception of IMPACT Wrestling as a credible North American wrestling promotion has changed dramatically in the last four years. Following the inception of Scott D’Amore and Don Callis as Executive Vice Presidents in December 2017, the Anthem-helmed promotion is now viewed as a candidate for free agents when deciding their next step, or indeed those who are looking to get their first televised wrestling gig. Previously, it had been treated more like a pitstop before they moved on to quote-unquote bigger ventures.
They didn’t always have these names, of course. Their roster was once needlessly overflowing with ex-WWE Superstars. Though there is still a decent amount of former WWE talents within IMPACT, it is no longer the majority group there.
Note, the following 12 names are all individuals who have never had a long-standing run with WWE, so the likes of Brian Myers, Matt Cardona, and Chelsea Green will remain honorary mentions. The 12 names mentioned are also all from IMPACT’s official website roster page, bar Taylor Wilde, who, despite having been removed from the site itself, has confirmed her status with IMPACT as still ongoing.
So, here are twelve current IMPACT stars who have wrestled for WWE.
There’s a solid chance many will recall Madison Rayne being in WWE, as she wasn’t there as an enhancement talent, but rather as an entrant in the second Mae Young Classic. As Ashley Rayne, she entered the 2018 instalment, though she was eliminated in the opening round by Mercedes Martinez after a seven-minute back-and-forth.
Regularly touted as a stalwart of IMPACT Wrestling’s esteemed knockouts division, having wrestled there on-and-off since December 2008, Rayne would enter the tournament with five reigns as Knockouts World Champion and two as the Knockouts World Tag Team Champion, making her one of the tournament’s more decorated entrants.
More recently, the real-life Ashley Lomberger made a return to IMPACT during their post-Slammiversary tapings in July, aiding Tenille Dashwood during her feud vs. Taylor Wilde, thus joining Dashwood and Kaleb With A K in The Influence. Prior to this, Madison had been providing commentary from April 2020 until January 2021 alongside her husband Josh Mathews, with January’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view initially marking her official retirement from the business.
The case of Eddie Edwards in WWE was a missed opportunity on their part. Billed as John Cahill, Eddie and iconic American Wolves partner Davey Richards – renamed Derek Billington for the occasion – took on the moniker of The American Pitbulls for their 18 December 2013 loss to The Ascension on what would be NXT’s two-hundredth broadcast. This came during Konnor and Viktor’s legendary reign as NXT Tag Team Champions, making it a high-profile spot for the pairing just weeks before they arrived in IMPACT.
These days, Eddie can be found in IMPACT Wrestling, where he’s viewed as one of the company’s pillars. He’s a Triple Crown Champion there aswell, having held the World, X Division, and World Tag Team Championships throughout his nearly eight years with the promotion, while producing consistently superlative work opposite Sami Callihan, Moose, Ace Austin, W. Morrissey, and countless others.
In speaking to Lucha Libre Online’s Michael Morales Torres, the Boston Knee Party innovator explained why he wants to remain with IMPACT for the remainder of his career:
“That’s exactly what I want and I see no other option. This is what I want to do. You can tell through this interview with something that I really believe in something that’s in my heart. I take pride. Not only what I do, but what IMPACT does. Because I feel that we can do so much more and we can continue to ride this momentum and just keep getting better”.
The sole WWE match of Chris Bey came during a weird time in the career of “The Ultimate Finesser”. At that point, he was getting his foot in the door at not only WWE, but also IMPACT Wrestling and Ring Of Honor, with IMPACT being his ultimate destination. His WWE debut, however, came on 11 October 2019 broadcast of 205 Live, where he lost to Ariya Daivari in two and a half minutes.
IMPACT would formally confirm their signing of Bey in February 2020, with the five-year veteran capturing the X Division Championship by that July, doing so on the critically-acclaimed Slammiversary pay-per-view vs. Willie Mack. Despite his reign only lasting a month, Bey has remained a popular figure within the promotion.
He would unsuccessfully challenge Rich Swann for the World Championship at the Final Resolution special last December, while this past summer saw him offered a spot in The Bullet Club by Jay White. He now regularly teams with Hikuleo on IMPACT programming, alongside sporadic appearances on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s American-based STRONG show; there, his traditional partner is El Phantasmo.
Much like Chris Bey, Ace Austin’s single WWE outing came via 205 Live, the 24 July 2018 broadcast to be precise. Competing as Ryan DePolo, he teamed with Chris Robinson, with the duo doing the job for Lucha House Party’s Kalisto and Lince Dorado. The match lasted just over two minutes, though it’s still worth checking out to see the former two-time X Division Champion in a different scenario.
Alongside his two runs as king of the X Division, Ace is predominantly perceived as a pillar of modern-day IMPACT Wrestling, much to the chagrin of Eddie Edwards. The pair have had a transcendent rivalry in the past that included a late-2019 Street Fight that was packed with innovation. In 2021 alone, Ace has produced some incredible bouts opposite Josh Alexander, Christian Cage, and Chris Sabin, to name but a few.
Upon speaking to Inside The Ropes’ Gary Cassidy in February, Ace listed a handful of AEW stars who he’d enjoy tangling with:
“I see a lot of fans on Twitter throwing out Sammy Guevara. People want to see that match, which is a match I haven’t had, so of course that’s tempting as well. Surprisingly, I haven’t ever wrestled Brian Cage. It’s certainly a match I’d be interested in. PAC too! Some people compare me to PAC”.
There’s a technicality with this one, as Laredo Kid is effectively on loan from Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, but if he’s on the IMPACT roster page, he counts!
His inclusion is rather intriguing, too, as he’d lose a dark match to Los Matadores prior to a Main Event taping in April 2015, wrestling under the alias of Tony Guevara. His partner? Sammy Guevara. Perhaps they were intended to be brothers for the evening, but either way, it’s an interesting story given where both men are at this stage in their respective careers.
The reigning AAA World Cruiserweight Champion, Laredo Kid returned to IMPACT earlier this year after a two-year absence, beginning a mini-feud with John Skyler, a feud in which Laredo Kid ultimately won, two victories to one. After a tremendous five-man scramble at Victory Road, an X Division Championship challenge is next for the high-flyer following a recent win over Rohit Raju, Steve Maclin, and Black Taurus, with his title quest coming against Trey Miguel on 20 November at Turning Point in an inevitable banger.
John Skyler differentiates from the previous names here, in that he’s wrestled for WWE on seventeen separate occasions, ranging from June 2012 until April 2018. These have always been in the role of enhancement talent, of course, though he did wrestle some notable names during this time, including The Revival, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, American Alpha, and Elias, with he and regular partner Corey Hollis even making it as far as WrestleMania Axxess in 2016.
Having only made his formal debut for IMPACT in July, Skyler is already a formidable talent within the company, having pinned Matt Cardona in his debut outing. Wins over Laredo Kid and Zicky Dice have followed, with the thirteen-year veteran competing for the inaugural Digital Media Championship during Bound For Glory’s pre-show a few weeks ago, though it was Jordynne Grace who ultimately lifted the title.
There are two instances of Brandi Lauren wrestling in WWE. The first was a loss to Lacey Evans, suffered on the 16 May 2018 NXT broadcast, while the second came as recently as September 2020. She participated in a Battle Royal to decide Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship challenger for NXT TakeOver 31, a match that was ultimately won by Candice LeRae. Lauren was simply fodder for the regular NXT Superstars.
As both Ava Storie and Kayci Quinn, Brandi wrestled regularly for IMPACT in 2017 when it was still merged with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, resulting in her challenging Christina Von Eerie’s GFW Women’s Championship. Recently, she resurfaced in the company after her NXT release to act, once more, as fodder, submitting easily to Melina before she faced Deonna Purrazzo. Now, Brandi is an Undead Bridesmaid for Su Yung, having been kidnapped following the Melina loss by Kimber Lee.
Another multi-time WWE appearance guy is VSK, who, again, similarly to other entries, wrestled under a different moniker during his two outings. He was dubbed Vinny Scalice when he and Kevin DeTiberus lost to The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher on the 17 April 2018 edition 205 Live, before changing his surname to become Vinny Gruner in a loss alongside Jackson James to The Viking Raiders on 15 July the following year.
The Plainedge, New York native has wrestled just six matches for IMPACT, however, his first being as an enhancement talent vs. a debuting El Phantasmo back in May. Since then, he’s come under the tutelage of Brian Myers, joining his Learning Tree stable alongside Zicky Dice and, for a brief period, Manny Lemons and Sam Beale. Fans may also recognise the name from All Elite Wrestling; he has sixteen matches under his belt there, including a thirty-second loss to Shawn Spears on the 28 October 2020 broadcast of Dynamite.
Prior to his short stint alongside – and then against – ODB in 2009 in the then-Total Nonstop Action, Deaner wrestled as Cody Steele for two WWE encounters, one of which actually had him challenging for Kurt Angle’s Olympic gold medals. He lost, naturally, but it’s nonetheless an interesting footnote on his career. His other match there was a dark match before an episode of Sunday Night Heat, losing to Muhammad Hassan.
Now back in IMPACT Wrestling and aligned with Eric Young and Joe Doering in Violent By Design, Deaner is producing some of the greatest work of his career. His feud with kayfabe cousin Jake Something provided some great content for the first bit of IMPACT’s 2021, while his overall aesthetic has made him stand out from the pack. He’s a believable sociopath, and thus, he fits the VBD mantra exceptionally well.
It’s weird, in a way, that the two appearances Hernandez had in WWE actually came in the World Wrestling Federation, before IMPACT had even produced their debut show in June 2002. He lost separate Jakked matches to Crash Holly and Haku in November 2000 and April 2001, respectively. The Crash Holly outing was only his fourth match on record, too; Hernandez had to fill big boots early on.
Once he found his feet, Hernandez quickly became engraved in IMPACT’s history books through association to Homicide in The Latin American Xchange. Being three-time World Tag Team Champions – twice with the NWA straps and once with the TNA ones – LAX’s feuds vs. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, Team 3D, and Beer Money, Inc. have gone down as some of the promotion’s most iconic. Nowadays, Hernandez flanks Johnny Swinger, having made his fourth return to the company during the 2020 Rebellion event.
If you recall, the opening to this feature noted that those who actually spent time in WWE rather than having one-off appearances would be excluded. Technically speaking, Shera did have an official run there, being signed between February and September 2018, but seeing as this was exclusive to NXT live events, he can be mentioned.
As Amanpreet Singh, The Indian Lion wrestled a total of ten non-televised matches with WWE, only two of which he would be victorious in; he defeated Dan Matha in his debut, and then the recently-released Jeet Rama a few months thereafter. His losses came via Kassius Ohno, Danny Burch, and EC3, amongst others.
The former Mahabali Shera opted to resign with IMPACT Wrestling following his WWE release, being a factor within Gama Singh’s Desi Hit Squad faction with Rohit Raju and Raj Singh. Though the group is officially no longer in existence, Shera did return to IMPACT following a lengthy hiatus from television, aiding Rohit alongside Ace Austin and Madman Fulton ahead of Slammiversary. He’s now again on a hiatus from the ring, battling an undisclosed injury, though Raj Singh has since stepped in his place as Rohit’s second.
Like Shera, Taylor Wilde was signed to WWE for a while, but none of her appearances were ever broadcast on their main programming. She wrestled as Shantelle in both Deep South Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling while they were WWE’s developmental territories, but the closest she ever came was two dark matches prior to SmackDown broadcasts. As Shantelle, she defeated Jillian Hall, while she also defeated Jamie Noble under the alias of Sensai.
Having retired from the ring in 2011, Wilde officially returned to IMPACT during April’s Rebellion pay-per-view. She saved Tenille Dashwood from Deonna Purrazzo, Kimber Lee, and Susan, though her appearances have come and gone since. Her most recent match saw Taylor defeat Tenille during the Victory Road special in September. A former one-time Knockouts World Champion and two-time Knockouts World Tag Team Champion, Taylor is also a firefighter, having been in the profession since January 2015.
During an interview with Inside The Ropes’ Liam Alexander-Stewart, Taylor detailed the recently-inducted IMPACT Hall of Famer – and who she defeated to become Knockouts World Champion – Awesome Kong as her greatest mentor:
“In terms of learning, I think Awesome Kong was my biggest mentor. And then, you know her and I had a storyline for like two years. So, you know, we became our own kind of travelling circus together. And she was this big superstar in Japan and she had a huge independents recognition in the States. And, you know, I came into TNA in a very unique way, I was essentially nobody off the back of being released from WWE. And, you know, I showed up on TNA as a fan in the audience. And you know, within a month I was knockouts champion. So she welcomed me with open arms in a way that was very old school, I had to earn my stripes with her, she just didn’t befriend me. And I respect her so much for it because I really felt like I earned my relationship with her in a professional manner. And I think we made for a really great storyline as a result.”
IMPACT Wrestling programming can be found on IMPACT Plus, their official YouTube channel if you’re an Ultimate Insider, and FITE TV. Stay up to date with all the IMPACT ongoings via their Twitter page.