It’s unclear how much of a surprise it was ever supposed to be, but both the former Damien Sandow & TNA went ahead and started promoting his debut on Impact Wrestling yesterday.
Moments before his segment on the Aug. 11 episode, he broke the news about his new name on Twitter:
Ok, new handle is @AronRexTNA but I assure all of you it is still me . In fact it's more me then ever . You will see tonight #IMPACTonPOP— Aron Stevens (@AronRexTNA) August 12, 2016
Dressed in street clothes, with shorter hair and a cleaner shave than normal, Aron Rex was warmly received by the Orlando crowd while Josh Mathews and The Pope sold the magnitude of the moment.
Here’s a transcript of his remarks:
Impact Wrestling's management has done what a few people were scared to do -- give me a microphone on live TV. Now I am not going to stand out here and talk about glass ceilings and brass rings and any other kind of cliche. I am going to do what I always have done and that is come out here and tell the truth. I am going to speak with full disclosure and for those that used to employ me -- don't worry, because this is not about you. This is about something near and dear to my heart, something that I've always put first and foremost in my career: the paying customer, the supporter of professional wrestling, the fans. Over the course of the past five years, me having this philosophy, some people have labeled me too entertaining to receive opportunities to compete for world titles. But remember this, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, no matter what any majority shareholder, CEO, or authority figure may want you to believe, anyone who has ever set foot in any ring has always worked directly for all of you.
So, Impact, here we are.
Let's talk about opportunity. Now, there are some that are preordained to receive opportunity after opportunity after opportunity and in the process not only is your intelligence insulted but your opinions are thrown out the window. There are others that on an even playing field seize opportunity. Right here on Impact Wrestling, right here in TNA, this is the proving ground where a talent can pass or fail, succeed or not succeed, based on talent alone.
Do we really need proof? I'll give you proof: EC3, Drew Galloway, Bobby Lashley, I mean there's even a guy called Brother Nero that I hear everybody talking about but I haven't met him but he sounds pretty good. You get my point.
When I first came here there was a graphic that said 'he's doing it his way.' This is my way: even playing field, take and sieze opportunity, exercise and realize my full potential. ... But mark my words, my way is simply proving it here. And my way is not only going to change the landscape but is going to change the very template of our industry. And for those of you that know me personally you know I'm telling the truth.
I've been called many names over the years. I'm going to keep it real with you guys -- my name is Aron and as of right now, as of this second, Aron Rex's new home is Impact Wrestling.
The announce team went out of their way to make it seem fresh (and sell it as a “shoot”), but it sounded a lot like other babyface “shoot” speeches we’ve gotten from guys like Galloway and Alberto El Patron after leaving Vince McMahon’s employ. It was also short on details about what his plans are - or what TNA’s will have him doing.
They’re taping Impact episodes this weekend which should take us all the way to the Bound for Glory pay-per-view (PPV) in October, so we’ll likely have a few answers to those questions soon.
While we wait, what did you think of Aron Rex’s fresh start?