2020 has been quite a busy year for Impact Wrestling as the company has been making moves in the last 52 weeks that has garnered the attention of many in the wrestling community.
One of these moves have seen a large influx of wrestlers appearing, returning and signing with Impact in a period that can best be described as "The Era of Free Agents" as many wrestlers haven't been able to find much wrestling related work during the whole Covid-19 pandemic; This and WWE's decision to released many of their underutilized wrestlers in the early part of the year have led to Impact enjoying the riches of having new stars on their roster and all of the spoils that go along with that.
So with all of that said, I'll be talking about the top 10 free agent wrestlers who have signed with Impact Wrestling in 2020.
Hailing from Ohio and married to former X Division champion Jake Crist, Nevaeh has wrestled in various promotions like Shimmer, CZW and Women Of Wrestling before making her debut in Impact back in April.
In her first number of appearances on Impact Nevaeh could be seen in the dark watching matches involving former Knockouts Champion, Jessicka Havok as the two were a tag team in a number of promotions outside of Impact; This led to many wondering if Nevaeh was Havok's ally or was she an enemy looking for the right opportunity to strike.
The answer would come on the May 26th episode of Impact when Nevaeh would interfere in one of Havok's matches with Kimber Lee and saved the former KO champion from getting hit in the face with brass knuckles; Both Havok and Nevaeh would hit a double team maneuver on Lee before embracing one another thus confirming their partnership.
Now together once again as a tag team, Havok and Nevaeh would bring their style of tag team action and devastation to the Knockouts Division where they would get into a memorable feud with Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz that led to both teams getting the attention of the Impact fanbase while at the same time giving hope to the idea of the Knockouts Tag Team Titles coming back.
As of the writing of this article, both Nevaeh and Havok are just two of many teams competing in a tournament to crown new Knockouts Tag Team Champions with the victors to be decided at Impact's first pay per view of 2021, Hard To Kill; It is quite possible that Nevaeh starts off a new year as one half of the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Champions.
9. Brian Myers
For most of his career, Brian Myers has at best been seen as an underrated performer and at worse a glorified enhancement talent. This latter point was showcased during Myers two runs in the WWE from 2006-14 and again from 2016-2020 where Myers known as Curt Hawkins in the WWE spent the majority of his time losing matches with him infamously having a near 270 loss record during his second run and that's if he even appeared on screen.
While Myers did have a few good moments like being the lackey to former world champion Edge and winning the tag team titles with Zack Ryder once in 2008 and again in 2019 at Wrestlemania 35, the general consensus is that Myers/Hawkins was treated as an absolute jobber.
After wrestling in the independent scene and having a brief run in Impact in 2015 where he won the tag team titles with Trevor Lee (aka Cameron Grimes in the WWE), Brian Myers would return to Impact on July 21st 2020 seen in a series of pre-taped videos sporting a custom made face mask and would later adopt the moniker "The Most Professional Wrestler".
On the August 11th edition of Impact, Myers accepted Eddie Edwards' open challenge for the Impact World Championship and despite Myers not winning the bout, he did put on a tremendous performance in the ring and the first time in a long while he was able to do so.
Myers would then go on to interrupt Willie Mack's backstage interview and cut work a shoot promo criticizing a certain out of touch 70 something year old man (I leave it to you to guess who Myers is referring to), soon a feud who begin between Mack and Myers which saw the former WWE superstar cheat to win in their first couple of matches but in their final match of their feud, Willie used Myers' dirty tricks against him and in the process defeated his rival.
Myers has since moved on to feuding with names like Tommy Dreamer, Swoogle and Crazzy Steve both on T.V. and pay per view and has proven himself to be a very impressive wrestler who finally has been given the chance in Impact Wrestling to show just how good he truly is.
8. Chris Bey
The first free agent to sign with Impact Wrestling in 2020, "The Ultimate Finesser" Chris Bey signed with Impact Wrestling on February 19th after making a number of appearances for the company going all the way back to November of 2018.
Since signing with Impact, Bey has been predominately seen in the X Division wrestling in matches with names like Ace Austin, Trey Miguel, Rohit Raju, Suicide and Daga before having a temporary alliance with Johnny Swinger which helped to get Bey a shot at Willie Mack's X Division Championship at Slammiversary and to the surprise of some Bey defeated Willie Mack to win the X Division title just months after officially signing the company.
Bey Would successfully retain his title against the former champion in a rematch on an episode of Impact but his reign didn't last long as he lost it in a triple threat match against TJP and Rohit Raju at Emergence Night Two less than a month after getting the strap.
Since then Bey has continued to become key player in the company with his work being so impressive that he was announced to take part in New Japan Pro Wrestling's Super J Cup event set to take place on December 12th.
With rumors about the company putting more time and effort into making the X Division feel important again, it's safe to say that the sky is the limit on what could happen in the career of Chris Bey going forward.
After his exit from the company in 2018, EC3 returned to the WWE under his TNA name and spent some of that time on the black and yellow brand, NXT before being called up to the WWE main roster where he was completely wasted during his two years with the promotion with the motives behind his terrible booking basically boiling down to petty or nonsensical reasons.
Thank his departure from the company, his reinvention as a calculating boogeyman type of character and his appearances on both Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling have helped to restore the intrigue that EC3 once had before.
After resurfacing in the final moments of this years Slammiversary event, EC3 set his sights on Moose and "his TNA World Heavyweight Championship" playing mind games, sneak attacks and sending the former football star on a wild goose chase for months leading into their fight at Bound For Glory.
The fight itself was another example of Impact Wrestling making the cinematic matches look impressive and ended with Moose beating a battered and Bloody EC3 which has led to new change in attitude for Moose. At this year's Bound For Glory event, EC3 and Moose would fight in another cinematic style match with Moose once again coming out on top, leaving not only with his "World Title" but also a new attitude.
Since BFG, EC3 has yet to make another appearance on Impact but has resurfaced more recently in Ring Of Honor; However the possibility of EC3 returning to Impact is still open which means the former TNA World Champion could return to control his narrative.
6. Tasha Steelz
Like a lot of names on this list, many fans at first didn't know what to make of the new crop of wrestlers coming into Impact but soon they began to become key players in various divisions within the company such is the case with the Boricua Badass herself, Tasha Steelz.
Tasha was first seen on Impact on the May 17th 2019 edition of Impact as one of a few ladies to take part in the knockouts battle royal which kicked off the show; Months later, Tasha would appear at the 'Into The Fire' PPV for Billy Corgan's NWA promotion and during her time there she wrestled names like Thunder Rosa, Marti Belle, Melina and Ashley Vox.
In April of this year, Tasha was suppose to wrestle in a tournament for the Ring of Honor Women's championship but the Covid-19 pandemic prevented that from happening. Tasha would return to face off against Kylie Rae on the May 12th edition of Impact and one day later it was revealed that she had signed a contract with Impact Wrestling.
One of the big things to happen to Tasha since signing with Impact, is her partnership with Kiera Hogan which has helped her to show off more of her personality while also becoming an amazing duo in the ring thus fueling the fans' interest in seeing the return of the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.
Much like the previous mentioned Neveah, Tasha and her tag team partner have advanced in the tournament to crown new Knockouts Tag Team Champion; Her matches and boisterous personality have so far made the Boricua Badass a knockout to look out for and if all goes well she and Kiera Hogan might just start off the new year with gold around their waist.
5. Kylie Rae
Kylie Rae is best known to many in the independent scene especially in Chicago for many of her matches including those involving former Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champion "All Ego" Ethan Page; So when news broke back in 2019 that 'Smiley' Kylie Rae would be leaving the newly created promotion known as All Elite Wrestling before her match at the company's Fyter Fest event, many saw this as an unexpected move.
If that wasn't shocking enough, Kylie Rae would make her first major wrestling appearance at Impact's Bound For Glory event in 2019 as one of the participants in the inaugural 'Call Your Shot Gauntlet' match and while she didn't win, she did excite the crowd in Villa Park Illinois with her appearance in the match.
This led to the question on if Kylie Rae was going to sign with Impact and on March 31st 2020, while being interviewed backstage she revealed that she had signed a long term deal with Impact Wrestling which was soon confirmed by the company on their website.
Kylie's time in Impact Wrestling has seen her form a unique friendship with Susie (the alter ego of Su Yung) and compete against names like Taya Valkyrie, Rosemary, Kimber Lee, Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz while also talking part in the company's recurring but satirical segments known as Wrestle House.
After winning a Gauntlet For The Gold match at this year's Slammiversary pay per view, Smiley Kylie got the chance to face 'The Virtuosa' Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts Championship at Bound For Glory but in one of biggest talking points to come out of BFG 2020, Kylie was unable to show up to the event with reason as to why being revealed on November 3rd as Kylie would announce that she would be retiring from pro wrestling due to mental health concerns.
While her time in Impact Wrestling was short, her impact (no pun intended) was felt by both the fans and the wrestlers in the locker room.
4. The Good Brothers
Much like the previously mentioned EC3 and Brian Myers, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows also known as "The Good Brothers" were completely underutilized during their time in the WWE, so when they and a number of other WWE stars were let go from the company early this year, many fans wondered were they would show up next with many speculating that they would join their friends in All Elite Wrestling.
Despite it being speculated that Gallows and Anderson had signed with Impact Wrestling weeks if not months in advanced, many fans including Impact fans had to wait a see for themselves and on the day of Slammiversary 2020 a video was released on social media showing Gallows and Anderson in a dark room, drinking beers and chatting about what their next move would be; Suddenly the lights turned on to reveal that the rumors had been confirmed and that The Good Brothers had indeed signed with Impact Wrestling.
Since arriving in Impact, The Good Brothers have done a variety of things:
- Created their own podcast called Talk-N-Shop
- Aired two of their own PPV's labelled "The Worse PPV Ever?"
- Promoting Impact's merch as well as their own on TV and in interviews
- Had number of impressive matches with names like The North, The Rascalz and The Motor City Machine Guns
And so much more...
While the Good Brothers were unable to capture the belts at Bound For Glory, Gallows and Anderson were successful the next month at Turning Point where they were able to defeat the North and become the new Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champions and became the second team in history to have won the WWE, Impact and IWPG tag team titles in their career (The first was Team 3D back in the 2000's).
The Good Brothers vs. The North For The Impact Wrestling Tag Team Titles (Turning Point 2020)
3. Kimber Lee
Kimber Lee could best be described as a "Dark Horse" signing for Impact as her presence within the company have resulted in some of the best matches and moments involving the Knockouts Division in quite some time.
On the May 5th edition of Impact, Kimber Lee was a surprise guest for Jessicka Havok on Madison Rayne's kayfabe talk show "Locker Room Talk" which eventually led to the two of them battling each other in a match the following week which saw Kimber win after using some brass knuckles to knock out her opponent.
A month following her feud with Havok coming to an end on August 4th 2020, it was announced that Kimber Lee had signed a contract with Impact Wrestling and then a few weeks later she and her now husband, Zachery Wentz announced their engagement and soon got married.
After losing a match to Deonna Purrazzo, Kimber Lee was asked by the Knockouts Champion to take out Jordynne Grace, when that failed Deonna asked Kimber to be her curator/ hostess for her Black Tie event which was to celebrated Purrazzo's dominating victory at Emergence Night Two to which she accepted.
Since then Lee has been the henchwoman for Deonna Purrazzo in her battles against Susie and Kylie Rae while producing quality matches with every single person she's wrestled; Like everyone else on this list, the future is bright for "The Crown Jewel" Kimber Lee and if her matches from last number of weeks are any indication she might become Knockouts Champion somewhere down the road.
2. Deonna Purrazzo
The Virtuosa, Deonna Purrazzo has been able to turn her fortune around this year as she's gone from being wasted by the WWE after years of not doing much in NXT or the main roster to being released from the WWE as part of the infamous "Black Wednesday" to resurfacing on Impact Wrestling in a number of vintages re-introducing herself to new fans and immediately setting her sights on Jordynne Grace and the Knockouts Championship.
On the June 9th edition of Impact, Purrazzo came out to the ring and looked as if she wanted to shake Grace's hand; This would be a setup as Purrazzo snatched Jordynne's arm and applied a Fujiwara armbar on her thus making a statement in the process.
After weeks of backstage attacks and interviews (most notably the one involving the two on Busted Open Radio), Deonna and Jordynne faced off at Slammiversary for the Knockouts Championship which led to the Virtuosa becoming the new champion, this surprised many fans at the time as Deonna hadn't signed a contract with Impact, so the idea of a wrestler "not officially signed" with the promotion holding a major championship frankly made a few fans concerned.
Following this, Purrazzo would face off against Jordynne Grace again for the Knockouts Championship on night two of Emergence in a 30 minute Iron Man match which saw Purrazzo narrowly defeat Grace to retain her title.
Since then Deonna has formed a partnership with fellow knockout, Kimber Lee, defeated Susie at Victory Road but lost the Knockouts Championship to a returning Su Yung at Bound For Glory only to regain the gold a month later in a rematch at Turning Point.
While it took some time for fans to warm up to Deonna Purrazzo in Impact, by the end of the year she has proven herself to one of the best female athletes currently working in the sport today.
1. Eric Young
A homegrown talent, multiple time champion and 'Jack of all trades' these and so many other words could be used to describe the man known as Eric Young who has manage to go from being a forgettable face in the WWE to becoming the most despised heel in currently working in pro wrestling.
In a story you've heard me saw countless times already Eric Young went to the WWE, was horribly underutilized, let go during "Black Wednesday" and then went on to head back to Impact Wrestling and did more in a few months then he ever did in the four years he was in the WWE.
While returning to Impact Wrestling in the main event of Slammiversary for the vacant world title, Rich Swann (who also made his return at Slammiversary) eliminated Young from the match which led to EY brutally re-injuring Swann's leg and began a series of events that would have an effect on the rest of world title and main event scene in Impact Wrestling going forward.
Eric Young would attack Swann's leg once more during Rich's retirement speech, attack names like Willie Mack, The Deaners, Tommy Dreamer not to mention Scott D'Amore, he even managed to defeat Eddie Edwards to become the new Impact World Champion and viciously attacked Eddie's leg after the match....again all of this happened in the span of two-three months, it didn't feel rush or overbooked and it was more than what he did in the last four years in the WWE.
EY would go on to lose his world title to Rich Swann in the main event at BFG and then lost in the rematch a few days later but Eric Young would continue to make headlines when came to the ring with seasoned wrestler, Joe Doering as his new muscle.
Since his departure from the WWE, Eric Young has proven himself to be headliner and main event star once again and his easily the best free agent signing for Impact in 2020.
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