Every major pro wrestling promotion is always searching for their next breakout star or stars to be the future of the company. The WWE uses NXT as their developmental in which they hope to find talent that can earn a spot on one of their main rosters either Smackdown or RAW. AEW has AEW Dark which showcases top indy talent that they can possibly sign and develop into one of their stars. ROH, before the Tony Khan era, had a program called Future of Honor in which they looked for new talent.
NJPW has a terrific developmental program in the form of Young Lions. To become a Young Lion, one must train at a NJPW Dojo. They are placed on the undercard of NJPW shows for about a year or so and then head off on excursion which can take place in one of numerous countries such as the USA or Mexico for various promotions. Once they have finished their excursion they head back to NJPW where they are ready to become to the next big star of the company.
As made clear by the previous two paragraphs, a developmental program is very vital to a pro wrestling promotion. With that said, I have always wondered why Impact Wrestling doesn’t implement such a program. Yes, they have used OVW as their developmental territory some years back on two separate occasions but that partnership has long ended. Let’s take a look at why Impact Wrestling absolutely needs to get a developmental program going again ASAP.
When top free agents become available, the odds are very, very likely they will sign with WWE or AEW. Signing top free agents has become a very difficult task for Impact Wrestling in 2022. We need to be honest about this fact. For example, if Brock Lesnar became a free agent he would be looking at AEW as his new home or returning to WWE. He won’t be thinking about Impact Wrestling as a potential destination. (This is not a knock on Impact Wrestling, I am a devoted Impact fan but facts are facts). I am not saying Impact will never sign another significant free agent but they will be few and far between.
Impact Wrestling needs to implement other methods to bring talent into the promotion. They need a dedicated developmental program designed to find top young, hungry talent and turn them into the next stars of Impact Wrestling. To their credit, they have done Gut Check competitions in an effort to find new talent but there have only been two such competitions in the last two years which resulted in finding Jackson Stone, Jason Hotch, and Jack Price. This is terrific but it’s definitely not enough.
One question to ponder is where would this developmental territory be located? I know the perfect place where new talent can establish themselves into the next stars of Impact Wrestling. Impact Wrestling EVP Scott D’Amore owns a promotion that runs out of Windsor, Ontario called Border City Wrestling. Also located in Windsor is the Border City Wrestling School. Now Border City Wrestling has been primarily dormant, with the exception of one show, since Covid hit but now is the time to get this excellent little promotion going again. Developmental signees can wrestle for BCW, train at the school in between events and Scott D’Amore can monitor everyone’s progress. I would sign any talent coming into this program to 2-3 year developmental deals. To me, this is a no brainer and an excellent scenario for Impact Wrestling.
There are many very talented indy wrestlers that deserve an opportunity to become an Impact Wrestling star. Names like – Alec Price, Titus Alexander, Reverso, Marcus Mathers, Junior Benito, Mariah May, Kylon King, Dustin Waller, Sammy Diaz, Alexia Nicole, Covey Christ, Chantal, Viva Van, Macrae Martin, Gabriel Fuerza, Jordan Blade, Starboy Charlie, Gabriel Skye, Myung-Jae Lee, Sandra Moone, Bryan Keith, Trish Adora, and Yoya would all have great potential in becoming future major players for Impact Wrestling. Imagine all the talent I just named made up the roster for a new developmental promotion for Impact Wrestling? That would be an amazing roster of fresh young talent.
When you consider who would be the person to be placed in charge of talent development, a few names come to mind. The first name would be Lance Storm. Storm currently working as a producer for Impact would be the obvious first choice in my opinion. He has a great amount of experience training up and comers through his wrestling school. He has been a star for ECW, WCW and WWE plus has a resume that spans 32 years. Storm, who would immediately earn the respect of his trainees, would do a tremendous job creating future stars for Impact Wrestling. Other names to consider would be D-Lo Brown, Bobby Fish and/or John E. Bravo.
The next step would be a place for Impact Wrestling to showcase their future stars. As I mentioned Border City Wrestling could become that promotion where the new talent is sent to perfect their skills. Then BCW could do a once a month TV taping which would be made in a 30 to 60 min program that Impact could add to their YouTube channel and Impact Plus subscription service. They could tag it as Border City Wrestling, Watch tomorrow’s Impact Wrestling stars today. And when that talent is ready to move the main roster, the Impact Wrestling marketing machine can take over and promote the heck out of him or her. I have zero doubt that this would generate fan interest and could get many more eyes on the Impact Wrestling product.
I truly believe implementing a developmental promotion for Impact Wrestling is a vital idea that should be strongly considered. It would not only benefit them but it would give their fans something to really get excited about. I mean, who knows, maybe Impact Wrestling can find another AJ Styles? They won’t know unless they give it a shot and hopefully they will.
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