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.
Bob Ryder was found dead at his home in Nashville by police today. We don't know more but he had fallen yesterday and was on advanced chemo. Impact officials couldn't get in touch with him and went to his home and he never answered, police were called and found him dead,
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) November 25, 2020
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.
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From WrestlemaniaXI, AOL chat rooms, WCW Live, to moving him to Hendersonville, TNA days, Impact days, to Fantasy Football drafts(Bob brought the steaks) and the countless hours of working together…thank you for being you!
Love ya my friend…your pain is over!
RIP Bobby Ry pic.twitter.com/FJMbiGb92d
— Jeff Jarrett (@RealJeffJarrett) November 25, 2020
BEYOND devastated about the passing Bob Ryder. He was the kindest, most selfless person you could imagine. He always did for others. He meant the world to me. We had just talked & I was worried he would be alone for Thanksgiving. Cannot tell u how much I will miss @brydertna 💔
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) November 25, 2020
There are people that can enter your life and completely change everything. Bob Ryder was that person for me. His courageous, long fight with cancer never kept his spirits down. He was the kind of best friend that comes along once in a lifetime. I will miss him terribly.
— Jeremy Borash (@JeremyBorash) November 25, 2020
RIP Bob Ryder. You were a good man.
— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) November 25, 2020
I love you Bob Ryder. Rest In Peace my friend. Goodbye. I know I’ll see you again someday. pic.twitter.com/qtAO1VGWsB
— Abyss (@TherealAbyss) November 25, 2020
The wrestling business is a tough, harsh and often cold business. You don't forget the people that were in your corner.
Bob Ryder was in my corner.
Farewell Bob. I hope you know how much I appreciate what you did for me and my family. No more pain.
RIP my friend. 🖤
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) November 25, 2020
Rest In Peace Bob Ryder. A true gentleman who helped me and countless others immensely. One of the good ones, he will be sorely missed!
— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) November 25, 2020
Bob Ryder and I became friends my first day in @IMPACTWRESTLING My last day there he was one of the very few that it was difficult to say goodbye to. We remained in contact since then. A total pro who loved the wrestling business. I am incredibly sad today. RIP Bob. Godspeed sir
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) November 25, 2020
Just heard the sad news about Bob Ryder’s passing. Bob took such great care of me & my family during my time with @IMPACTWRESTLING. Even after I left, Bob was so incredibly supportive of my family & career. Godspeed, my friend, you’ll be missed.#RIP Bob Ryder
— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) November 25, 2020
AEW and the wrestling world mourn the passing of Bob Ryder, our thoughts are with his family, and his friends. #RIPBobRyder
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 25, 2020