On Thursday, Aug. 11, the wrestling world changed when Aron Rex—formerly known as Damien Sandow in WWE—made his stunning debut on Impact Wrestling.
For the first time in a long time, Rex was not only given the opportunity to shine but also encouraged to stay true to himself. With a heartfelt promo, his words hit home with wrestling fans and created a genuine buzz around the TNA product.
Rex spoke following his debut in Impact Wrestling about joining the brand, his former role with WWE and the creative control he has been afforded with his new employer. While many fans looked at his debut promo as a “shoot,” Rex was adamant that it was simply a heartfelt message full of truth.
While some wrestlers being signed to a new company would face resent and even jealously, the Impact Wrestling locker room is one of the best in the business, and executives and wrestlers welcomed Rex with open arms. Instead of trying to compete with WWE or other companies, Rex is trying to focus on helping TNA make its product the best it can be on a weekly basis.
“Everyone in the TNA locker room right now, everyone on the TNA management team, from what I have seen, is only looking to compete with what they did on the last show," Rex said. "TNA gets better with every single show. Our competition is to make sure that it snowballs. Our competition is to create a unique product that has never been seen before using the platform of professional wrestling while showcasing the athletes to put on the best show on earth.”
One of the most anticipated aspects of Rex’s run with Impact Wrestling will be the creative control he has been afforded. Starting from his first promo with the company, TNA officials have shown a huge amount of confidence in Rex.
With over 15 years in the wrestling business, Rex has earned some creative privilege.
“This is on pretty much a night-to-night thing, let’s see what it works, go do it, and in my opinion, that’s how the wrestling business should be. That’s how the form of entertainment we do should be done,” Rex said. “You have a live audience and a TV audience. There is also that Shakespearean element to it, and there is also the element of improv. The coolest stuff sometimes will catch on, and I think you need that.”
“I was never a guy that you hand me a piece of paper and tell me to go out there and recite it," Rex continued. "If I’m not feeling it, it’s going to come across as scripted. You have to feel it. You have to believe everything you are saying. If someone writes something and I believe it, I’ll go out there and recite it verbatim. If I’m not, then we will see if we can make some changes, and that’s on a case-by-case basis.”
As amazing as Rex’s promo was during his debut, it was just the latest in a long line of entertaining segments featuring the wrestling veteran. Unfortunately, the latter stage of his run with WWE stifled his creativity and limited how much he could give to the fans.
In typical fashion, Rex spoke honestly about his former employer, the opportunities it gave him and the way he was pigeonholed. Now that TNA has shown faith in him, Rex knows the company is changing the game.
“To me, my former employer, I really have nothing bad to say about them," Rex said. "They gave me a platform, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the street cred, so to speak. With that being said, my role in that company was very specific. I was labeled as entertainment, and that’s fine. Here, I can work throughout the whole spectrum. It wasn’t a shoot, it wasn’t a negative, it was expressing how Impact Wrestling has taken some chances and is changing the game. I am proof of that.”
Rex signing with Impact Wrestling is the kind of move that has gained mainstream press for the company, and it will continue as he makes his mark on the brand. With a quick wit and the charisma to get over with any crowd, he has instantly become one of TNA’s biggest assets.
If Rex’s first night on the job is any indication of what’s to come, he will be one of the best mic workers in the company and elevate any of the wrestlers he works with in the ring or behind the scenes.
Fans know that Rex will work hard to be entertaining every time he hits the ring, so even the most jaded wrestling fans will be forced to give Impact Wrestling an opportunity due to the presence of the recent signee.
With Rex on the roster as a cornerstone of the brand, TNA has the momentum needed to carry it into the future.
All quotes obtained firsthand, courtesy of Impact Wrestling.
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