Ed Nordholm, the Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports and Entertainment and Impact Wrestling, sat down for a lengthy VIP discussion prior to last Sunday's Impact Wrestling Homecoming. During the discussion, which Wrestling Inc. was on hand for, Nordholm touched on a variety of topics, including his vision for Impact's new content, as he wants to push the boundaries of conventional television to their limits. He also discussed Austin Aries, Nordholm's role in the creative process, and how he doesn't see something like WWE's Attitude Era ever returning to television.
Nordholm explained that, though he is Executive VP and the man in charge at Impact Wrestling, his involvement in the creative process is minimal. Nordholm watches the characters progress on their 13 week journeys until it culminates at the next PPV and he admitted that it's entertaining to see them compete for their spot on Impact Wrestling's larger shows.
"We spend thirteen weeks at a time getting ready for the PPVs, and watching the stories develop," Nordholm said. "And although I'm not heavily involved in that creative process, I'm certainly excited to watch the match-ups line up and the talent themselves get into their own sort of jockeying as to who's going to have position for the PPV."
This Friday, January 11, Impact Wrestling makes its debut on the Pursuit Channel with a live simulcast on the Twitch streaming service. The Pursuit Channel first launched in 2008, their tagline is, "We Deliver The Outdoors," and they feature nature-based programs targeted towards men, such as hunting and fishing shows. Anthem and Nordholm own both Impact Wrestling and The Pursuit Channel so this transition will give them the opportunity to push the boundaries of what they can do with their product and the targeted male audience. Nordholm explained that their newfound flexibility will not result in something like The Attitude Era but will instead be an original product where women aren't treated as misogynistic as they were in The Attitude Era days.
"The limitations of a prime time broadcast program are to find the edges that are in line," Nordholm explained. "And maybe sometimes you get too close to the fire and get burned, and maybe we'll be criticized for not going far enough...I don't think we'll see the Attitude Era. I don't think any of us have much interest. This is the day and age where that type of misogynistic sort of behavior is coined in play anyway. But I do see some stronger places where women wrestlers are receiving more and more types of match ups, action moves, flying moves, how far we can go in their storylines."
Nordholm further detailed the creative benefits of Impact Wrestling moving to Pursuit, even hinting that they may develop a product that's exclusively available off television networks.
"Within the limitations of what we can do on conventional television, we want to find where those boundaries are," Nordholm said. "It may be the matches that get done - perhaps we do things that aren't for television that we do elsewhere as well. So, we're always looking to create something for everybody as interesting of a product as we can put on that stage."
At the conclusion of the 2018 Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory PPV, following his loss of the World Championship to Johnny Impact, Austin Aries took matters into his own hands after the match ended, immediately getting up after Impact's finishing move. Aries stormed out of the arena, made obscene gestures towards members of the crowd, and screamed profanity at Impact VP Don Callis as he exited. Aries contract ended with Impact Wrestling and he's yet to be seen at any Impact Wrestling shows since the incident.
Nordholm explained, while sporting a big smile, that Aries is unique in the way he responds to things. Nordholm commended Aries for his abilities and assured the audience that, if there was an opportunity for him to wrestle with Impact again, he would try to find a way for it to come together.
"That's more of a creative thing, I'd say Austin is Austin," Nordholm chuckled with a big smile. "He's his own man and he's a talented wrestler, and if there was an opportunity for him to wrestle with us, I'm sure we could find something that worked for everybody. But he is who he is."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit us with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.