Former WWE Star Joins Impact Wrestling as Authority Figure, Another Returns During Latest TV Tapings

Impact Wrestling recently saw the arrival of two former WWE stars. Friday night's Hard to Kill pay-per-view saw the arrival of Santino Marella as the show's new authority figure, the Director of Authority (DOA). The former Intercontinental Champion has made a few sporadic appearances on Impact programming since 2017, but this appears to be a more consistent role as it was later announced he officially signed with the company. Marella was released by WWE in 2016 and would only make sporadic appearances in the years that followed. He has wrestled 26 matches in his post-WWE career and runs the Battle Arts Academy in Ontario, Canada. 

The promotion then held its latest taping on Saturday in Atlanta, which featured the return of former WWE Women's Champion Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) as Tara. She previously worked in the promotion from 2009-13, winning the Knockouts Championship five times and the tag titles once with Brooke Tessmacher. The taping saw her team with Giselle Shaw in a losing effort against Taya Valkyrie and Jessicka. This was her first bout since the 2021 Women's Royal Rumble and it's unclear if this was a one-off, though she was also present at Hard to Kill to see Mickie James beat Jordynne Grace in the main event for the Knockouts title. 

Josh Alexander on the Impact/AEW issues

The show also saw Josh Alexander successfully defend his Impact World Championship against the villainous Bully Ray. Alexander was on The Wrestling Perspective Podcast leading up to the show and discussed the backstage issues between AEW and Impact wrestling during their 2020-22 crossovers

"During the whole, especially during the Kenny part portion where he was the champion and all this other stuff, there was definitely like a cloud over the locker room, I'd say you'd hear whispers and little conversation in the corner being like, 'Man, like, the doors swing in one direction right now. They're all coming in here.' You know what I mean? That's fine," Alexander said.

"It elevates our product to have new faces and stuff competing with our guys to put us on the same level, of course, like me defeating Christian Cage," he continued. "That's like, another thing that, you know, we have to be grateful for, obviously, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity. But it would have been real nice if some Impact wrestlers could have got on to the AEW programming and showing what we could do against those guys, because I think, you know, our locker room stacks up right up there with any locker room in this business, be it WWE, AEW, New Japan, anything like that."