Over the past three days, Impact Wrestling has been taping it’s television tapings for the run to leading towards this year’s Impact Slammiversary XVI, which has been announced as being filmed live from Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 22nd. Before their second biggest pay per view of the year (behind Bound For Glory), they will have one more set of Impact tapings, a reduced two night affair in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. With one day left of Impact tapings in Orlando scheduled for tonight, we’ve already seen a couple debuts as well as a lot of returns for former Impact talent, as the new regime of Impact Wrestling continues to push its momentum following an overwhelmingly positively received Impact Redemption PPV this past Sunday. The first night of Impact tapings will be featured on tonight’s edition of Impact Wrestling on PopTV.
While not entirely a return or debut, Pentagon Jr. became a part of Impact Wrestling storylines when he defeated “The Belt Collector” Austin Aries to become the new Impact World Heavyweight Champion at Redemption. Pentagon Jr. was heavily involved with this week’s tapings (as well as being confirmed for the Windsor TV tapings), so it’s safe to assume that Pentagon Jr. is now an active member of the new Impact regime’s plans in the foreseeable future.
We are delighted to announce @katarinasinfamy will be making her return to IMPACT in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/rYzmtMVlkR
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 23, 2018
Formerly known as Katie Lea Burchill in the WWE and as Winter in a past run with Impact Wrestling, Katarina Leigh made her anticipated return to Impact Wrestling at this week’s tapings. We originally broke the news last week that the former 2x Impact Knockouts Champion would be making her return when she was announced for the June tapings in Windsor.
The popular Scottish superstar hasn’t been seen since his defeat to Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match at Bound For Glory 2017 last November, but he’s returned for this round of tapings. Interestingly, he’s been paired with the returning Katarina Leigh.
Z & E
DJ Z was a part of Impact Wrestling under past regimes, first as Xema Ion, before switching to DJ Z, debuting with the company in 2011. A 2x Impact X-Division Champion, he lost his second title early in 2017 and following a match on an April episode of Impact last year, he seemingly departed the company. He suffered a ruptured colon injury that sidelined him for a while, but he returned to wrestling at other independents, including EVOLVE, AAA, WrestleCircus, and others, before returning to the Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling event over WrestleMania weekend. At this week’s tapings, DJ Z formed a new tag team with another X-Division star, Andrew Everett, named Z & E, that look to add some flash to the Impact tag team division.
AEROSTAR & DRAGO
Lucha Underground participation continues to grow, as Aerostar and Drago were added to last week’s Redemption PPV for a Lucha Libre showcase. Drago is no stranger to Impact Wrestling, having taken part in a series of TV tapings last summer and being a part of the Impact Super X Cup 2017. Together with Aerostar, the two also worked the Lucha Underground vs. Impact show at WrestleCon, but Aerostar returned to Impact this week as part of this week’s tapings, taking part in several Lucha matches taped for upcoming episodes of Impact.
Perhaps one of the most surprising returns is that of the “War King” Eddie Kingston. One of the toughest men in the indie scene for the past decade or more, Kingston had a rather disappointing run with Impact not too long ago (although it was hardly his fault). Initially pushed strong out of the gate as part of the DCC (Death Crew Council), a three man unit lead by “Cowboy” James Storm and featuring Bram, but after Anthem took control of Impact Wrestling in early 2017, the DCC was disbanded and Kingston was one of the early casualties. His last appearance with Impact was last August, as part of a 20-man Gauntlet Match for the Impact World Heavyweight title (won by Eli Drake), before his release. Kingston returned at this week’s tapings to help LAX’s Santana & Ortiz in the numbers game, apparently as the new enforcer for LAX.
A regular part of the Impact Knockouts division since 2008, Rayne was another person who quietly left Impact Wrestling last year when the ownership change occurred, after she had transitioned into a producer role backstage (much like what Gail Kim is doing now). Her last match was in a #1 Contenders Gauntlet Match for the Knockouts title in April of 2017, before she made a brief return at last year’s Ottawa tapings as part of the tournament to name a new Knockouts Champion following Gail Kim’s retirement as Champ following Bound For Glory 2017. She appeared at Impact’s One Night Only: March Breakdown in a match against Giselle Shaw this past March, but she returned for this week’s tapings in a more meaningful role than she’s had in years.
Does Suicide every really go away? The popular masked character has been portrayed by Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Kiyoshi, TJ Perkins, Jonathan Gresham and Caleb Konley since he first debuted back in 2008 and just pops up here and there as needed. Either way, Suicide is back with this round of tapings.
Another former Knockout made her return at this week’s tapings, in former Dollhouse member Rebel. Rebel was last seen on Impact television on a July episode of Impact last year, in a loss to Sienna, before leaving Impact Wrestling after a four year run. Last summer she made her Stardom debut in Japan for a two month tour, but she’s returned to Impact Wrestling this week for the tapings.
An emerging indie star on the women’s scene, she spent a good chunk of last year with Stardom in Japan, as well as Ring of Honor’s WOH and with AAW. She’s appeared for Impact once before, back at a One Night Only: Knockouts Knockdown PPV in 2014, in a loss to Angelina Love. At only 26 years old, she’s still got a bright future ahead of her in the game. It’s not known if she’s going to be a full time new addition to the Knockouts division or she was just brought in as enhancement, but one can hope it’s the former.
STONE ROCKWELL & SUGAR DUNKERTON
While neither of these two has wrestled yet this week, both made an appearance on today’s live video on Impact Wrestling’s Facebook page, joining Allie in her sit down with Josh Matthews. Both wrestlers have worked for Impact in the past at tapings, but neither are from Orlando – Stone Rockwell is from Toronto and Sugar Dunkerton is from Georgia. It’s most likely both are being used for Xplosion matches as they have on previous tapings, but following last month’s One Night Only: March Breakdown, Stone Rockwell became somewhat of a viral sensation on Twitter, so Impact may have bigger plans down the road for this man of Adventure.