During a recent Impact Wrestling media call, Michael Cavacini was called by TNA/Impact Wrestling Hall of Famer Gail Kim “the historian of the company.” Enough for the SteelChair Mag team to ask him why. In addition to being an award-winning communications professional, writer, professor, and micro-influencer, Michael Cavacini is also a lifelong wrestling fan, working on a book project on the TNA/Impact Wrestling history. He has done 300 interviews covering the nearly 20 years of the company’s history, including wrestlers, Creatives, founders, TV executives, and more. His book is still in the making but he already had a lot of things to share with us.

Here are a few highlights of the video interview you can find below:

  • Why a book on TNA Impact Wrestling history?

“This idea for a book about Impact popped into my head like, “this doesn’t exist, maybe I should do it.” What inspired me actually is Eric Bischoff. I was listening to his podcast “83 weeks” last year and he was talking about how a lot of people will say nowadays that AEW is the first serious competition for WWE since the death of WCW and he was saying that’s not really true because TNA, at the time, was attracting millions of fans, two million fans in some cases, and today those are numbers that WWE or AEW kill for. TNA/ Impact were the first serious competition after WCW and that got me thinking that “yeah, he’s right” and I wondered if anyone’s ever written about the history of the company because if people don’t know this, they should know this, so how do you educate them aside from a podcast? And I saw there weren’t any books.”

  • How the book will be sequenced

“Now, I remember specific events that happened because of all the interviews I’ve done. The trickiest thing is how to structure it because there’s so much to cover like Global Force, TNA, the founding with Jeff and Jerry Jarrett and Bob Ryder, Dixie Carter, Billy Corgan, Hulk Hogan… There’s so much to say, so I think I’m breaking it into four parts, it’s going to be loosely chronological, but not necessarily completely chronological. For example, I think people would love a chapter where it’s just an interview that I did with Matt and Jeff Hardy, bringing those together and having it its own chapter. Obviously, those guys were in the company at different time periods so you’re going to get a little bit of the earlier days, you’re going to get it sometime in the middle and then you’re going to get like the 2016 time period as well. I think that certain chapters will kind of dance around a little bit.”

  • How and why the company was at the forefront right when it started

“There are a few things when I think of what made them special, I find that it’s three things really, the X-Division, the Knockouts and tag team wrestling because they did a great job in all three areas. The Knockouts are important, their story needs to be told and it’s not just going to be from their point of view. When I talk to Earl Hebner, Savio Vega, when I talked to a variety of people, they had things to talk about when it came to the Knockouts because they were part of that.”

  • Is the passion of the TNA times back now?

“I do think that. The company’s history is interesting because I think that it really was at its peak in 2009 because Jeff Jarrett got sent home for the whole Karen/Kurt Angle situation in July 2009, so he lost creative control of the company at that point. That’s when things started to shift so I think leading up to that, a lot of passionate fans of the company felt like it was an alternative, people felt like they’re part of a movement, “cross the line.” After that, it kind of lost its way because it became more WWE light. These are the words that people I have interviewed said, that they were being WWE like they were trying to compete with something that you really can’t compete with when you have a tenth of the resources to make it happen. And it’s better to be different than to try to be better than.”

“I appreciate every year of the company. I feel like there’s always something good to find in each year even if a particular year was kind of a mess. I think that’s the thing you’re going to get (in the book) is you’re going to get the founding of the company, kind of their rise to fame, their downward fall and what led to that, and then you are going to get insights from people who work there now about how did they go about rebuilding this thing and what did they do to turn it around.”

  • The Forbidden Door effect 

“Since Anthem took over they could have easily gotten ignored the company’s history right but something that they do really well is they celebrate the company’s history. They’ve had TNA flashback/moments of the week, they were going to plan a TNA event like an actual pay-per-view around here. I think it’s great that they embrace their past because their past is pretty special regardless of a couple of years when things are really rough. There’s a lot to celebrate and be happy about. I think that’s smart, that’s a good way to kind of pull in those older fans and just be like, “We care about you, it’s not just about the new fans.” With this whole forbidden door thing, I know a lot of impact fans didn’t love the AEW situation because AEW wasn’t really kind of giving IMPACT proper exposure on its show but IMPACT was for AEW and I would actually argue that the NWA and New Japan partnership is way more valuable for IMPACT because those guys really are going the extra mile when it comes to putting in the work and helping to promote IMPACT.”

  • Something special you learnt through making this book

“I interviewed multiple people who worked for Midway Games who created the TNA video game back in 2008. They told me, “we were planning a sequel to that game,” but then Midway went out of business. They actually shared with me the script for this storyline for the second game that never came out. I was like whoa, to kind of see like what could have been and that’s going to be in the book, I’m going to include that stuff in the book because I want fans to (…) see some of those things like that, that could have been and I think that’s really fascinating.”


Follow Michael Cavacini on his website and on Twitter. Also, stay tuned for news on the book and its release on our media.

Pics courtesy of Impact Wrestling, video courtesy of @frenchnygma exclusively for SteelChair Mag. 

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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