With Hard To Kill in the rearview mirror, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of IMPACT Wrestling. One of the things I’ve learned while looking into the company’s history is that they’ve never taken the fans for granted. I know, I know — that sounds like some line that celebrities or corporations use to emotionally appeal to consumers, but I’m being serious. IMPACT Wrestling is known for taking meet and greets to the next level. It’s never been a cattle call, where they simply try to get fans in and out. Not at all. Rather than seeing these fan experiences as merely financial transactions, the company and the talent go the extra mile to make every single fan feel special. Accomplishing this in the era of COVID is harder than ever, yet IMPACT continues to push the bar higher. A perfect example of this is the Hard To Kill CELL-ebration that took place the morning of this epic PPV. Read on for my full thoughts on this special fan experience.
COVID has made all of us miss things we used to take for granted, including live wrestling events and conventions. I absolutely loved seeing IMPACT Wrestling live in Philadelphia and being a part of the audience for the IMPACT Plus special event, A Night You Can’t Mist. Meeting Tommy Dreamer and Jordynne Grace, among others, was wonderful. Having those shared experiences with fans and the talented wrestlers we all admire is something special, and I can’t wait until those days return.
So, what is IMPACT Wrestling doing to fill the gap and address this need to connect? They have been hosting virtual FanFest events prior to their big-time PPVs, the second of which took place the morning of Hard To Kill. Having never taken part in something like this before, I figured I’d see how IMPACT’s world-famous meet and greet transferred over to the digital realm. I have to say, I was very impressed with the entire experience.
When the Hard To Kill CELL-ebration kicked off, we were greeted with the visage of the backstage interview area — replete with Gia Miller and the returning Matt Striker. Speaking of Matt, I’ve always been a massive fan of his work and I’m thrilled that he’s back in the broadcast booth, joined by D’Lo Brown on commentary. This talented tandem is going places and I’m happy to be along for the ride.
But back to the virtual FanFest. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Gia and Matt welcomed in a veritable cornucopia of IMPACT’s biggest and brightest stars. We’re talking Rich Swann, Deonna Purrazzo, Eric Young, Moose, The Good Brothers, and Tasha Steelz & Kiera Hogan, among others. Fans had the opportunity to ask the talent any questions that popped into their heads. Many people had the opportunity to ask multiple questions and speak with several of these talented wrestlers. At the same time a lively discussion was going on in the Zoom chat room, as fans had the opportunity to connect with one another — in addition to the stars of IMPACT Wrestling. It was a wonderful communal experience that I was delighted to take part in.
One of the wrestlers who walked into the room to be interviewed by IMPACT Wrestling’s fans was Moose. I personally think that Moose is one of the most talented big-men in the business. And I was ecstatic to get called on to ask him a question. I mentioned to Moose that he’s been with the company since 2016 and that IMPACT has done a great job of celebrating its history while simultaneously focusing on the future. Being someone who holds the TNA Championship and has held numerous titles over the years, I asked him what he thinks about IMPACT’s recent success. He replied by saying, “Being one of the guys that’s been here the longest, I can say that the company’s success is the result of Scott D’Amore, Don Callis, and Ed Nordholm. We need to keep picking up the steam and keep rolling. 2021 can be our biggest year ever.” I found his answer to be short and sweet, which was perfect. Moose went on to steal the show that night with his gravity defying Spanish Fly off the top rope in the main event. If you haven’t seen it, buy the replay immediately and see it for yourself!
In between fans asking questions, Gia and Matt peppered in questions of their own. This was mainly done to fill in gaps when fans were conquering the technological challenges we all face in these uncertain times. This also helped keep things moving at a nice pace, preventing any moments of dead air.
What impressed me the most about this entire experience was how wrestlers would take the time to answer every questions asked of them, even if they had already stepped away. For example, I remember one fan in particular saying, “I wanted to ask Deonna Purrazzo a question.” Even though Deonna was done, she gladly came back to answer this fan’s question. This is the kind of special attention I’m talking about when I say that IMPACT Wrestling and the company’s talent take things to the next level. They never phone it in. They recognize the value of the fans and reward them for it.
On top of two hours of nonstop meet and greets, fans received an official Hard To Kill t-shirt, a $25 gift certificate to ShopIMPACT.com, randomly autographed swatches of the match-used ring canvas from Bound For Glory, and more. Considering admission to this virtual FanFest was $110, I’d say that’s one hell of a deal. Providing bang for your buck is something IMPACT Wrestling is all about, which is why I’m more than happy to support them, and I encourage others to do so too.
If you missed out on this meet and greet opportunity, don’t fret! There will be another virtual FanFest to accompany Rebellion, IMPACT Wrestling’s next major PPV on April 24. So, keep an eye on IMPACT Wrestling’s social media channels, as well as right here, for all of the details when it’s announced. While nothing can replace the magic of in-person events, these virtual FanFest meet and greets that IMPACT is putting on are something special that you absolutely need to take part in.