Longtime IMPACT Employee Bob Ryder Passes Away

It was a sad day for the industry on Wednesday when it was announced that Bob Ryder, co-founder of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and internet wrestling pioneer, had passed away. Currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Ryder was found non-responsive in his home on Wednesday morning, after IMPACT Wrestling officials could not get a hold of him.

A lifelong wrestling fan, Bob Ryder was at the head of the internet age in the early 1990s and in 1994 launched Prodigy Wrestling, the wrestling-related business side of Prodigy, one of the top internet companies at the time. Through this, he started up the first-ever on-line wrestling chats, with Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash at WrestleMania XI assisting the WWF as well as ECW with on-line capabilities, before joining WCW in the late 1990s. He helped WCW launch their website and hosted one of the first wrestling podcasts (then just on-line shows), WCW Live, with co-host Jeremy Borash, before and after each WCW Monday Nitro. When the WWE purchased WCW in 2001, Ryder was not brought over to WWE.

Another WCW name that wasn’t brought back into the WWE was Jeff Jarrett, and following the demise of both WCW and ECW, it was Ryder that convinced Jarrett and his father, promoter Jerry Jarrett, to launch Total Nonstop Action (TNA, now IMPACT Wrestling) in 2002. Bob Ryder was TNA’s first employee and remained with the company until his death, an 18-year run. Bob Ryder was the Jack of All Trades behind the scenes for TNA/IMPACT, working in a multitude of capacities in talent relations and more. Bob Ryder was also hugely influential in the earliest days of wrestling news on-line, launching 1Wrestling.com with former ECW announcer Joey Styles in the 1990s, becoming the first wrestling news site on the internet.

The staff at Last Word on Pro Wrestling sends our deepest condolences to the Ryder family and Bob’s friends, peers, and colleagues during this tough time.

Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. 

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