From the monumental event that was Slammiversary, to an extraordinary episode of their weekly television show, IMPACT Wrestling may just be hotter than ever right now. So who better to chat with that the newly crowned World Champion - Eddie Edwards?
Now, there's no doubt Edwards has had a pretty...let's say "eventful" few years in IMPACT. On March 1st, 2018, a freak accident involving a baseball bat and a steel chair would see Edwards suffer a broken nose and several broken bones in his face.
Two years on, the 36-year-old is right back at the top of the food chain in IMPACT, he's a locker-room leader, and he told me why he wouldn't change a thing...
Sportskeeda meets IMPACT World Champion Eddie Edwards
Thanks to IMPACT Wrestling, I recently had the chance to catch up with Eddie Edwards hot off Slammiversary and the following weekly episode of IMPACT to discuss his own journey, the company's new recruits, and just why right now is such an exciting time for IMPACT.
You can watch the video below, or read on for the full conversation.
Firstly, I need to say congratulations. How's it going today, Eddie?
Oh, man, thank you. It's a surreal moment any time you're able to be a champion, so I am still riding that high and thank you for having me on, man. Good to talk to you.
You too, man. So, I feel like this is going to be the easiest interview ever because what a week for IMPACT Wrestling and for yourself! I need to start with the question everyone that interviews you over the next however long will be asking you. How does it feel to be IMPACT Wrestling World Champion?
It feels great. Especially with all the excitement around IMPACT right now. With everything going on. To be able to be the face of IMPACT, to be the champion, the World Champion of IMPACT, it's a special thing and any time a company takes a chance on you, it's a true honor. Especially right now with everything going on and all the excitement around IMPACT. I'm honored to be champion right now. It feels really damn good, I'm not going to lie.
I can only imagine. We are definitely going to get into a lot of Slammiversary and what's coming up for IMPACT but I have one question that actually goes past before this week.
It's only one question but I think it's an instrumental one in terms of Eddie Edwards - and the new and improved Eddie Edwards that I think we are seeing right now. I feel like this maybe goes back to a couple of years ago and maybe a certain incident with a baseball bat.
You've been on a tear ever since then, making the most of every single opportunity that I would say it comes your way but it's opportunities you're carving out for yourself. Is that something you feel like was maybe a turning point in your career and may be something that has spurred you on to success, or is it something completely different?
Without a doubt. That was obviously some bad luck at the time and we took that whole scenario and whole situation, and we made the most of it. I feel it forced me to grow not only as a performer, but as a person. But it challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and see what else I can do, and it's all led up to a moment.
Obviously, as crazy as it is to say that being hit in the face with a baseball bat and breaking my face that I wouldn't go back and change a thing but I stand here as the champion, I'm healthy, I'm happy so I, in fact, wouldn't go back and change a thing. It was very instrumental in playing its part into who I am today.
NEXT: Eddie Edwards discusses the feeling backstage before Slammiversary
Like we said, like we keep saying because it's great, you are the current World Champion. Of course that happened at Slammiversary. Now, I'm not sure if I remember an event in the past few years with so much hype surrounding it, so much excitement and it somehow still exceeded expectations. I need to ask...
I know that backstage in IMPACT and in the locker room for the past year and even longer, there has been a very high morale, a lot of excitement and determination - but were there any nerves in the buildup to the event that maybe, you know, there was just too much expectation to deliver or was it just pure excitement and wanting to go out there and get it over and done with?
I think it was pure excitement. I'm not going to lie, it was pressure but I think it was good pressure, and added pressure. We had a lot of eyeballs on us with the hype going into the event so especially being in the main event, it's like, "Okay, it's a big pay-per-view, we're the last match, it's the main event, we have to get out there and represent not only ourselves but represent the company to the best of our abilities.
If anything, all the hype, all the pressure, it forced us to go out there and make sure that we did everything we could because, after an event like that, you don't want to come through the back, you don't want to be like, "Oh, I wish I did this, I wish I tried harder." That is one thing IMPACT will never do. We're always going to leave it all out there and I can say, without a doubt, everyone on the roster went out there and left everything we had out there in the ring.
I feel like that something every IMPACT interview I've done, everyone has spoken about the thing I mentioned there of how tight-knit a locker room you guys are, how determined everyone is to pull together and work as a team. That being said, there have been... I think an understatement would be "a lot of new additions to the locker room" over the last few days. I know it's early days, but how are they all fitting in?
Yeah, so far, so good. It's obviously still fresh and still new but I feel like anybody who is going to come to IMPACT, anybody who is able to come to IMPACT or come back to IMPACT, they understand what IMPACT is about and I feel like that between the front office and the wrestles coming and there is an understanding of how this works, how we act and how we support each other. I think that is something that is understood before coming in so, so far, so good and I feel like they great additions to the locker room that I think will help us take the next step.
I would be remiss not to ask about a few of them. I will not run through all of them but I would like to get your thoughts on a few. You're holding the gold right now but I need to ask about someone who is definitely familiar with holding gold in IMPACT.
He's almost like a legend when you think about IMPACT or even back even when IMPACT was under the TNA brand. What are your thoughts on Eric Young and him returning to IMPACT?
I think... First of all, he's a great wrestler and a great asset to have coming back to IMPACT. It's our chance to capitalise on him.
He went elsewhere and obviously wasn't given the chance that he should be given but that's going to be their mistake. He's coming back to IMPACT and the great thing is he's coming back with something to prove. Not that he has anything to prove but he's coming back with something to prove which, again, that sets into the IMPACT locker room where IMPACT has been written for so long and we've had this underdog attitude which can play to our advantage.
Him coming back and wanting to prove something, it will just help IMPACT as a whole and I'm looking forward to working with him and wrestling with Eric Young.
The possibilities of match ups throughout the whole roster - it's unbelievable the fact that he can come back and we get to use him, and he gets to do what he wants to do and prove to the world that no-one should ever you miss out on the chance again to use Eric Young to their full advantage.
NEXT: Eddie Edwards discusses The Good Brothers
Definitely. Now, the opposite end of the scale I think this goes to. I need to ask. I always pride myself on being transparent. Full disclosure, I put out an article last month about The Good Brothers signing with IMPACT - so when the news came out making it official, I was obviously personally delighted - but that tweet has gone on to become the best performing tweet in the company's history. That's an instant impact if there ever was one. What do The Good Brothers bring to IMPACT Wrestling?
Obviously, they bring a lot of hype, they bring a lot of excitement. The fact that it was announced the night before Slam and it picked up so much momentum leading up to Slammiversary itself.
Obviously they are able to bring new eyes and bring some fans that may be they had that weren't watching IMPACT, they get to bring that in so it's a whole different level where we are going to be able to show ourselves and show what we can do to people who may not have watched in a while or maybe haven't watched IMPACT at all, forever, so for them to bring a new fan base in, that's an amazing thing.
Like you said, you can see the, quote unquote, impact that they've had already from so for them to come in and create this momentum and create a new buzz, that's just a good thing for everybody involved.
A cheeky one here. We know a lot of free agents have come aboard.
I know there's not a lot left out there after the amount that IMPACT seem to have picked up. Are there any others you'd like to see join the brand?
You know, it's tough because, like you said, there's been so much change and so many new faces right now. I feel like if the offices at IMPACT feel like there is someone out there who deserves a shot, I would love them to come in - whether it's from another company or they've been independent wrestlers for so long. I feel like we are in a great place right now. We don't need something right now but if someone can come in and make a difference, I say by all means, let's sign them and see what they can.
NEXT: Eddie Edwards discusses Ace Austin and Trey
A lot of people might have recently started watching IMPACT and they might not have seen the hard work that's gone on over the past two and a half years so I want to ask about a couple of those names as well before we round up.
You were in the main event with a man who I think has taken the world by storm, who has proven to be one of IMPACT's breakout stars, though you guys were two of the last guys standing in the main event of Slammiversary. Ace Austin. What a talent and what a young talent. What are your thoughts on Ace Austin?
Yeah, he's one of the guys that, going into Slam, him and Trey, obviously the match had changed numerous times and these were two young guys are forgetting your first shot in the main event at the biggest pay per view, at the most hyped up pay-per-view for IMPACT in quite a while and they had to go out there and it's either sink or swim time and clearly they both succeeded in swimming in the main event.
I've worked with Ace Austin before and I know what he's capable of so to see the success that he's had recently, it's a great thing because he's young, his athletic ability is off the charts. He's going out there and proving, week after week, that he does belong on IMPACT, he does belong in the main event and he can deliver in any position you put him in.
It's always good to see somebody who came into IMPACT with not much name value, or came into IMPACT as a relative unknown but then to have the success and every time IMPACT gives him the ball, he runs with it so to see both Ace and Trey do that, that's an accomplishment for the company. That shows what IMPACT is and what IMPACT does for the talent and the opportunities they give us.
I know you have a slight vested interest in the Knockouts Division to say the least. What are your thoughts on just that division? For me, I think it's probably one of the best female rosters in the world. What do you think of the Knockouts Division in impact right now?
I think the Knockouts... I think it's on fire. The whole division. With the amount of Knockouts we have and the talent. The talent the IMPACT division has right now, I think it's off the charts.
There are so many... You talk about IMPACT as a whole that there are so many matchups and different matchups we can do but if you look at the Knockouts Division, there are so many matchups and so much talent that any one of them can be champion on any night.
So the fact that right now Deonna is the champion but the sky is the limit as far as it goes for the Knockouts. I wouldn't be surprised, with the amount of talent and the amount of girls that we have, that maybe they bring back the Knockouts Tag Titles. I wouldn't be opposed to that because I feel like we have that many great athletes in the Knockouts Division that that would be a great thing to do right now.
Completely agree there. And that leads onto another different point I need to ask about. So, bringing back championships. What are your thoughts on Moose holding the TNA World Championship?
However it came to be, it is what it is. Moose wanted to be the champion so therefore he got the belt and he is the champion. With all that being said, he has done a great job as TNA Champion.
Representing this championship belt that had no longer existed but he brought it back and he's turning it into a true championship and you have to applaud him for that. So to see what he's been able to do, to see him take it from nothing into what it is now, that right there is an accomplishment and now there's another championship in IMPACT that people are going to want to fight for.
NEXT: Eddie Edwards discusses Ace Austin and Trey
We've mentioned numerous times over the past few minutes that IMPACT is maybe hotter than ever right now. That has been the result of years of hard work, it's not an overnight success by any means.
Even looking at Twitch on Tuesday, 8000 live viewers at the peak of the Twitch stream which is obviously a simulcast with AXS TV. Trending on Twitter several times. I think this may be the most exciting time that I remember in modern history of IMPACT. How exciting is it for yourself and the rest of the roster, and what can we expect going forward from you guys?
I mean, it's unbelievably exciting. Obviously with the success of Slam and then we had the TV tapings following it, everyone was walking out on cloud nine. We all felt good momentum and everything. It's also a time where we can't... We are going to be comfortable and we are not going to get complacent.
I feel like we are all on the same page with that. Slam was a success. The last IMPACT episode was a success but we need to do that each and every week and I feel like that's not something we are missing. We know what we need to go out there and do so, sure, we can be happy about it, that's fine, but it's all about the next week and the next match, we cannot get happy with last week's win. We have to go out there and do it again next week.
100%. And I think that's the hunger that has made IMPACT thrive over the last couple of years and got you to this point so why change?
I have one final question. We've mentioned it a lot but I don't think I'll get sick of mentioning it and you won't get sick of hearing it.
You ARE at the World Champion. You're the guy at the top of the food chain right now. Who do you want to defend it against first?
You know, right now, we talked about Eric Young coming back. I feel like me and him, we can really do some good things in that ring, inside and outside. Our personalities, styles, just everything combines. I look forward to defending the title against him in the future. I feel like we can do some great things.
You can watch IMPACT! live every Tuesday on AXS TV or Twitch, and stay tuned with Sportskeeda for more IMPACT interviews coming very soon.